I often suffer from obsessive thoughts. I’m told it’s just one of those things that come along with having Tourette Syndrome. Suffer really isn’t the right word to use though. While sometimes the thoughts stuck in my head are just junk keeping me from focusing on what I’m doing some of my best ideas start as obsessive thoughts I just have to get out of my head.
Spike the bookmark
My “Spike the bookmark” chainmaille lizard came out of my need to put spikes on something after someone, many someones actually, got “spike” stuck in my head. I just kept repeating spike, spike, spike, spike, spike, spike, spike, spike over and over in my head. I’m lucky it stayed in my head and I wasn’t saying it out loud. Okay, maybe it came out a few times. Making a lizard with spikes helped me get that word out of my head. Putting it on a bookmark just seemed fitting for a Spike, Flashpoint fans will understand why. That turned out to be a good obsessive thought.
Not all of my projects that come from obsessive thoughts work out, many now live on my “wall of shame” but just having visually done something with the thought quiets my mind. Sometimes I don’t have a good idea to deal with a thought and sometimes I get an idea I don’t really want to follow through with. I often fight the need to make something and the thought just hangs around in my head bouncing around sometimes at the front,sometimes just hanging out at the back but always there. The other day I finally acted on one of these thoughts that just hung around for a while.
Back in December I made SRU logo Christmas ornaments for some of my friends who are fans of the TV show Flashpoint. Everyone I offered one to enthusiastically accepted, except Angelo. Not only did Angelo say no thank you to the ornament he added a little humor to his response. Thanks to him for the last three months I’ve had thoughts of leprechauns dangling from trees stuck in my head. Finding a leprechaun in December isn’t all that easy and even finding one in March didn’t work so well because the dangling needed to be by the toes. Odd how with all the cheap decorations out there for a holiday that so many use as an excuse to drink no one thought to make leprechauns that dangle by their toes. Since St. Patrick’s day was last weekend I finally broke down and just made my own leprechauns. I hung them from my smallest cherry tree for scale and that thought was done… until after I’d taken them down and realized I should have placed some pots, minus their gold, on the ground below. Damn.
Sometimes obsessive thoughts lead to great ideas and sometimes they lead to a tree full of dangling leprechauns. I’m sure I’ll have a new thought to obsess on soon and I’m even more certain Angelo will be the cause of many more obsessive thoughts in the future.
I love chainmaille. The flexibility and movement it allows. The nearly endless possibility for different patterns. From my first attempts at using it to accent my silver work to my time making chainmaille armor to my current work with sculptural chainmaille for jewelry I just love chainmaille. It keeps my hands busy and my mind focused. I can work for hours so focused that my Tourette Syndrome is almost non existent while I work.
Those hours are also the downside. Weaving tiny jumprings together one by one takes a lot of time, a single earring could be made out of hundreds of rings a bracelet or necklace could have thousands. The rings I use are too small to be commercially available so I start with spools of wire make my own jump rings and weave them together ring by ring. Some of my simplest designs will take only an hour to make a pair of earrings but I get bored making them. The things I like to make are more complex, take more thought to make the design work and a lot more time to make. A LOT more time.
Typically I get an idea and just let it sit in my mind awhile until I know exactly what I want to do. I may draw it out on paper to guide me while I work. Sometimes something that works on paper doesn’t work in chain and I’ll have to take it apart and rework it til it does just what I want. Sometimes it doesn’t work out and the project ends up on my “wall of shame” to be revisited in the future. Other times I end up with something I love but I have no idea how long it actually takes to make so I have to time myself making a second one to figure out how much I should sell it for.
My current project spent a lot of time on the “wall of shame” in fact I think the original has been there about three years now. In making the original it was coming together looking great but I had so much time invested in it I knew it would never work out. I didn’t even bother to finish it, just hung it on the “wall of shame” and walked away. I’ve revisited it several times and now have two pieces that I absolutely love, but while the time has come down since that first attempt it’s still a lot of time to make one necklace or bracelet and really my chosen material is nothing but colored copper. How much is someone going to want to pay for copper jewelry? I put both pieces aside and worked on other projects until recently with a friends encouragement (pestering) I decided to finally do a time trial. It can’t really take as long as I expected… I thought it would be somewhere over thirty hours. Currently my timer reads 35:36 and the end is nowhere near in sight.
There is just no way I’ll be able to sell this for enough to make it worth my time. Over the past three years I’ve put hundreds of hours into this one design and in the end I probably won’t be making anymore than the three I’ll have once I finish this time trial. It was a great idea but I just couldn’t make it work. Maybe I will list it on Etsy and just see what happens. If it doesn’t sell all I’ve lost is my time and I am proud of what I’ve made.
I’ve been doing a lot of multi-tasking today so it seems appropriate to add blogging to the mix of everything else I’m doing right now, especially since I just finished one project. The day started out slow, probably because it started early thanks to my Evil dog, so I figured I’d finish off an order for some wood pendants before Facebook woke up. Went out to the garage and got them all shaped, probably the only task I’ll accomplish on it’s own today. Sat down at my desk to paint them and the first message of the day pops up. Alternating painting and typing, second message pops up. Question about chainmaille, check the box of finished pieces. Back to painting. Check Twitter. Chat with friend. Answer more questions on chainmaille. Back to painting. Paint brush never leaves hand, woohoo for being able to use a touch screen with just a knuckle! New message from the friend I asked to make me a cover pic for my Tourette syndrome awareness page. Oops the paint on my brush started to dry out. Back to painting. Make a sale, over to Paypal. Wash out paint brush. Address envelope. Chat with friend. Switch colors, back to painting. Check on FPTO’s Facebook page. New question on chainmail. Answer a question about Flashpoint. Back to painting. Price on a custom order? Where was I in that chat with my friend? Check Twitter, post link for a set pic to FPTO’s wall. Finish painting. Dogs need to use the yard. Pull out colors for chainmaille order. New cover photo on FPTO! Let dogs back in. Open up blog before starting on chainmaille just to keep the multi-tasking going…
Now after all that aren’t you impressed to hear there is no paint on my computer?
I’m a little leery about my recent decision to start selling my work on Etsy. When people first started telling me I should sell my work there I took a look and saw a lot of people selling chainmail jewelry, a lot of people selling the exact same things. In fact from my searching it appeared that some sellers existed only to copy other people’s work. Some of my designs take me weeks to figure out how to make them work and then hours or days to make a single piece. There was no way I was going to risk someone else using my work before I got the chance to make that work known as MINE. I walked away.
It’s been a few years and countless “Are you on Etsy?” and “You should sell your work on Etsy” ‘s and I’ve finally decided to go back. I started a store a couple weeks ago with the plan that it would just be for my wood scroll work projects. That was the plan but after looking around and not finding the things I had seen as a problem in the past and being encouraged by Facebook friends who like the pictures I’ve posted of my chain work I decided to try it out. How much of a risk is it really? I’ve come to realize that my work really only works at the tiny scale I love to play with and how many others are even capable of working that small? Can work fast enough at that scale to be able to sell for a reasonable price? Have the patience to spend hours on end staring at practically microscopic rings of metal without going insane? I’m guessing there aren’t too many people out there who CAN copy me so why worry? With that in mind I’m slowly posting a sampling of my work. Today I posted one of my favorites, dragonflys. We’ll see how it goes, I hope Etsy was a good decision. http://www.etsy.com/shop/kateevans68
Finally started a blog. Not sure what I’ll be writting. I’ve been told I should start a blog about Tourettes, a blog about jewelry, a blog about gardening, I’m sure a few people out there think I might know a few things about Flashpoint…. Most likely this will just be a disorganized mix of everything.