…And maybe they’ll help you, too!
I’ve basically recovered from six weeks of ongoing agony this summer/fall. (Two back-to-back kidney stones and diverticulitis, ugh!)
The last stone passed a day before I was scheduled for surgery. I recovered enough to participate in this year’s Sonoma County Art Trails open studio event. Yay!
And yet I’ve felt blah ever since. Just not back up to snuff yet. (Why is something “up to snuff” a good thing? Inquiring minds want to know…) (Actually, not really.) I feel useless, irrelevant, unproductive, and purposeless. Tired, down, unseen, unheard, unenthusiastic. I could go on, but you get the general idea.
I have a custom order in the works for a long-time collector back East, but nothing seems to be sticking in my brain for how to proceed.
I finally had some ideas for beads that might work for that necklace. I made several versions, put them in my convection oven in my studio, and fired it up. About 30 minutes later, I added more, and reset the timer. (It doesn’t hurt polymer clay to have it “cook” longer.) I couldn’t wait to see how they turned out!
I took them out of the oven the next day. And they were literally a hot mess. They looked like scorched blobs o’nothin’ much.
I freaked out. I thought the new Kato clay product, Kato “Blackout” polymer clay* I used as a bead base, had somehow leaked through the lovely colors I’d layered on top. Had I ruined every single batch of colors I’d made with it??
I went home with a heavy heart.
This morning, I found a great quote in my news feed:
“Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.” (Will Rogers)
Hmmmm…..that hit home.
I was ruminating about my miserable yesterday, and it was not helping. So I decided to get to the studio even earlier than usual, and get to work.
But the doldrums set in again. I puttered around, but couldn’t stop the ruminating. What’s the use? I don’t matter. Nothing I do matters. What do I have to offer the world? Nada….yada yada yada.
Then I got a notice a package I’d been waiting for had been delivered, so I took it as an excuse to leave, and high-tailed it back home.
The new (old) beads I’d ordered were lovely, and for some reason, they lifted my heart a little. So I decided to go back to the studio, if only to drop them off. And I’m so glad I did!
First, I made more beads without the “Blackout” clay, to see if that’s really what had made my previous batch look scorched. And when I put them in the oven, that’s when I realized….
On my second batch of beads the day before, I hadn’t turned up the baking time…
I’d turned up the temperature! (My oven is at least 20-plus years old, and some of the markings are wearing off.) They really were scorched! I literally burned those beads.
I reset the temperature, set the timer, and decided to call it a day, with a happier heart.
And on my way back home, I saw a minor accident along the road and was able to help everybody get back to their feet. (Literally!)
If I hadn’t come back to my studio, they would have been in a bad place.
So bead emergency solved.
Helping hands available to those who needed it.
And an insight that was perfect for me, today. (Yes, I’m feeling a little better!)
*Kato “Blackout” clay is a super-saturated black polymer clay to mix with leftover scraps. It’s so intense in color, I used half a bar to turn 5 pounds of scrap clay into well-conditioned, solid black clay! Read more about it here.