construction ahead

Four feet outside of my studio door, backhoes, dump trucks and crews of people rip up the cobblestone street to replace a gas line.  Jackhammers, “reverse” warnings, shovels on stone.  Not peaceful.  Hoping the cobblestone is returned to the areas ripped up; the asphalt patches are not a pretty replacement.  Missing the old…

Just got back from being downtown, renewing a vehicle registration.  Downtown was humming, busy, with new skyscrapers being built, old buildings being renewed, streets blocked off, everyone looking for parking.  It’s a dense, tight downtown, old-monied, coming back from a long sleep.  It was great to wander through and see renewed parks, tons of eateries.  There was also an unveiling of artist-designed bike racks placed downtown (which I missed, although a friend created one of the racks), while bike lanes are being painted at the same time.  The new comes in.  Back at home, I’m glad I see it all from my back porch, but do not live within it.   It’s lovely, but perhaps would be too much as a constant.

Back to the studio now.  Working on commissions, and trying to get small work built up for the Plaza show in Kansas City.  Hoping to shake the rumblings of the nearby street crew, the buzz of the city, and land back in my head, solid in the studio.  This is a part of why I work at night.  It’s time to claim more creation time, though.

Have a good day.


time to get of the box

Working on:

Rings, rings, rings.  Other commissions, as well.

Also spent a fair bit of time cleaning unpacking the studio.  So much still hasn’t been unpacked since the last move.  Getting boxes out of the studio for the sake of cleaning, but also to get my head back in the studio, and aimed in the right direction.


Today I unpacked part of the studio/my brain that isn’t seen much: technology/electronics.  Pulling out projects that were built five(?) years ago, projects intended proof-of-concepts for the beginning of a new stream of work.  It didn’t happen; life got challenging. It’s good to see these things — the direction was correct.  Possibly a bit early, as some of what I was trying to do (LED controls, motor controls, reactive responses) are so much easier now.  Some of the software is now so old for the pieces I built that it will be easier to rip out all the hardware and rebuild pieces than it would be to make the software work.

During a drive to a recent show, part of my mind was writing a future biography for myself.  The phrase that came to mind was “… using hidden technology and mixed media to create future artifacts…” It’s the place I’m aiming for.

Time to move forward.

g’nite to you all.


working on the personal shelter

I’ve been a bit quiet here… realizing we both had a bit of time, Brianna and I have pushed hard on some home renovations.   It’s been a week of electrical work, drywall, plastering, painting, and new windows being installed.  A year and a half ago Brianna and I bought a cute former neighborhood grocery store in Pittsburgh.  It was solid, but fairly uglified by previous owners.  We proceeded to tear out walls, an extra staircase, and clean up various aesthetic nightmares.  (windows covered over with drywall, walls covered in stainless steel… the list continues) We’ve lived with a partial/rough kitchen during our time here, being gone often as not has not sped up the remodeling.  So, we’ve now made a few major leaps and hope to move up to a semi-normal middle class standard of living.  It’s pretty exciting. I may put up images once we’re at the end.  It will become a very cool house.

Lots of commissions being finished before and during the construction, as well.

Currently working on:

Lots of the little stuff.  Earrings, elements, this and that.


There’s a local show happening this weekend in Pittsburgh, and I’m pushing to get ready for it.  It’s not a show I’m excited about, it being put on by a promoter that is more of a business person that a promoter of the arts.  I thought I’d give it a try, since it’s local.  I have doubts.  I’d like to be surprised.


More interesting things coming soon.



night visions

Currently working on:

A commission for a piece in the Balance series — something along these lines:

Balance piece 201405.b
Balance piece 201405.b

(I’m thinking I’ll attempt to do a “what I’m working on” as a regular aspect)

Upcoming work:

Sleep has not been my forte’ for most of my life. Mostly, it’s just a fact of life, similar to having big feet or bad eyesight. Occasionally it’s a pain in the ass (more often so for those around me). Sometimes, though, it’s when answers come.

Many projects wait in the wings, and I admittedly have been waiting for one to excite me. I’ve been excited and concentrating on the methods, on the presentation, on everything except which piece is actually coming up next. My lack of knowing full details of the next piece is not terribly unusual, it’s pretty common.  A person can’t wait for inspiration, it comes from the work itself.  Something is started, then it grabs me as I dig into it.  The favorite pieces, though — they’re different. There’s a bit of vision to them, they’ve been sighted before their existence is certain.  They reach further.

This is one of those nights.  I saw the piece (perhaps it’s a “set” actually, vs. a “piece”) and I call it good.  Commissions come first for this next week or so, but I may carve some time out to start. Happily, I’ll also get to use many of the techniques I’m excited about.

Part of that vision is a bit of self-understanding, at least in this case. Simply put, I like functionality. It creates a puzzle for me to solve, rules to fit into. Pieces that are purely an aesthetic piece, art per se, I love… but I get lost.  People can argue for days about art vs. craft, and frankly I’m not sure I care much these days. If a functional piece pushes past its existence as a useful object and creates a reaction… that may be art. Pure art has a function as well, aesthetics, questions, (perhaps a bit too much self-reference in some cases)…  I just get excited about things that do a bit more than that.  Even if an object is more dysfunctional than functional.  The function isn’t always necessary, but perhaps it’s a good starting point for me.

Feeling I am understanding which one of the directions I’m heading, a bit more a goal of my work than I expected, at least for awhile. We’ll see.


Opening last night at the Pittsburgh Glass Center. Second part of the Pittsburgh Biennial.   In particular to see a friend’s new piece presented in the show — Toby Fraley and his glass tower:

(a video about the piece, and the project, here)

The works presented overall at the show were an order of magnitude better than I expected.  Not sure what that says about me.

Pittsburgh is great, and occasionally a bit tough.  It’s very decentralized; I occasionally refer to it as a “collection of mountain villages with a crunchy center.”   That crunchy center isn’t even very centralized…  while there is officially a “downtown”, it’s an extremely neighborhood oriented city.  Which means the classic first Friday art walk doesn’t present you with twenty galleries in the same area.  There are that many galleries here, and so many more, but it’s irregular.  We moved here a year and a half ago, tend to be in either the studio or out-of-town, which doesn’t help to give us familiarity.    Eventually we’ll live here and not feel lost.  (or rather, Brianna might.  I have little sense of direction.)  It was good to see a large, energetic, varied turnout of the populace to the show and the walk.

Happily the show and art walk was followed by delicious rum beverages and fancy tacos with the Fraleys.  Many things should be followed in such a manner.

Off to the workbench.



old work, new work

Ordered some parts today for some of the new work that’s moving off the back burners.  Small video screens, various parts, and the wonderful little thing known as Raspberry Pi.  Essentially a small computer, the size of a credit card.  I do love modern technology.  This project may not be in the public’s eye until late this year.  If that.  It’s time to get it started.
Yes, I talked about needing to build up the standard inventory first.  I apparently cannot help myself.
I also repaired a damaged bracelet that I love.  Made back in 2009, it was the first Machinapede bracelet.  Images shown were taken when I created it. (interestingly enough, I called it “Machinapod” back then. Didn’t realize that until just now)

That’s it for me tonight.  G’nite.

back to the shelter

I’m home again. There tends to be a recovery period after getting home, reacquainting myself with the primary shelter I’ve returned to.

Currently being annoyed that the wifi has died on my four year old MacBook Pro. Obsessing over a Surface Pro 3 and trying not to. Will buy the $12 wifi adapter and work on forgetting dreams of new technology.

I need a better daily studio practice. This writing is part of it, working on focus. A house in the middle of remodeling doesn’t help, but that’s an easy excuse. What I realized whilst standing in my booth during four very long days of the Ann Arbor show was a need to build up a solid base of jewelry before jumping into more of the exploratory works. Perhaps not as much fun as making whatever I want, but it should create bigger chunks of solid “new work studio time”. Jumping back and forth hasn’t been working. New methods, new tools are helping this idea.

Today was a morning of paperwork, an afternoon of kitchen/bathroom construction, and an evening of preparing for the commissions that I’ll be jumping into. Working on notes, quotes, and the like.

Wishing you all a fine evening.

going, going…

In about 8 hours I leave for a show in Ann Arbor, MI.  I’ve done this show many years.  It’s a massive art festival, actually comprised of many art festivals crammed together.  It seems as if there is a horde of artists, taking over the town…  I always feel a bit sorry for the locals on this one.  The show really takes over.   The best thing that has happened to me at this art festival… is meeting the woman who is now my wife.

My honey!
My honey!

While that was not the reason I do art festivals…  it’s pretty much made it worth it, and makes going there a bit sweet.

I’m excited to go see my wife (who has been on the road with her own work), and so many friends at this show.  It will also be great to get back, get in the studio, and continue to get prepared for the coming months.  Haven’t thought about how much I’ll put the traveling show images and notes here… it could happen.

With the exception of the push to the (barely used) Google+ page, is basically scribbles in the dark.  I’m okay with that.  I’m happy to have anyone ride along while I work on my sanity, but it’s not required.  What’s important is that I gain focus to make both you and I some great work.



revisiting the visitors

Images above:  “Visitor #5”   Normalite, alabaster, titanium, sterling silver, antique lunch box. base: 6.75 x 3 x 3″ vessel:2.9 x 1.5 x 1.5″ Visitor/Larvae: 1.5 x 0.6 x 0.5″

Today I spent about 4 1/2 hours finding information for past customers, and putting together emails.  The upside is that it got me to look through older work, and the “Visitor” series which I haven’t added to in quite a while.  As I said in my email today “it’s taken awhile to gain the time, skills, and equipment to reach the goals I had for the upcoming pieces.”.  I think it’s finally time.  That’s a little exciting.   It was simply too complicated to get into before now.

Those emails have also caused my “oh look I have lots of free studio time” in August to change into something rather full.  Not a complaint, instead an acknowledgement that I must be efficient.

Not many words here, but I believe it’s now studio time.



I’ve created work and sold it for fifteen years… perhaps more if one counts the non-full-time years.  The early years were challenging, always creating new work, figuring out how to sell the stuff, figuring out where to sell the stuff…  Slowly it solidified, and became some sort of business.  Early on, I wrote a blog.  It contained the trials and tribulations of travelling via camper/van/box trucks, and everything that felt new and raw.  Making work in state parks in between shows because I no longer had time to go home.  Getting married, getting divorced.  Keep working, keep working.  Always working…  Writing about it all, for public consumption.

Slowly the grand ideas moved to the back burner.  More back burners were created to hold ideas I couldn’t get to.  I grew uncomfortable talking about the ever enlarging list of work I didn’t seem to ever reach; I grew uncomfortable talking about a life that had, itself, become uncomfortable.  The grand ideas began falling behind the stove and decomposing.

Today:  happy.  Married to a great artist and human, Brianna Martray.  Still working, working…  …and I recognise my need for clarity, once created by daily-ish writings.  They will be public (somehow they need to be), but I’m putting these writings away from the standard website, as they may not be all that business related.  It will be a collection of those challenges, ideas, sparks, goals and failures.  It’s time to see what’s behind the stove and build something with it.  Posts might be about the missing cat.  Mistakes while learning to use a water jet cutter may appear.  It’s a bit of a rabbit hole into my life.  This is my push for clarity, for more.

Welcome to the rust.  I’m sorry.