Monday, October 01, 2012

Keeping Sane

I have been on this full-time writing adventure for two months now, and I'm starting to realize a few things. Mostly I was aware of these things already on a textual level, but now I'm getting to really know them on an in-my-bones basis. Writing can be a very lonely affair.

I'm a bit of a lone wolf anyway, so time alone is necessary. I do spend a lot of time with my characters during the day, but I do find that some interaction with flesh and blood is helpful in keeping one's sanity in check. At least, the brand of sanity I have at any rate. I try to preserve one day a week as "Errand Day" to get out of the house, go the post office, forage for food, and visit the yarn at Joann's. Last weekend I went even further. I attended the Jewelry Television "Jewel School" at their headquarters in Knoxville, TN.

I think it was the best twenty-five bucks I've ever spent. That was the registration fee, and I got it back in the form of a gift certificate for their retail store. I got to hang out with some of my local craftsy friends and met new ones. They fed me lunch for three days and threw chocolate at me every time I turned around. I took classes in all sorts of jewelry making skills: wire wrapping, chain maille, and beading, among others. I really enjoyed the mixed metal collage class. It was very difficult for my little dyspraxic self, as they wanted us to work with torches and acidic-type substances. Anyone who knows me well will tell you that KT and Fire (or acid or anything sharp or anything requiring knots) are always an explosive combination. However, I managed to anneal that sucker without burning the building down (with lots of help and supervision), and I teased some gorgeous colors out of the copper to boot. Most of the students were creating pendants, but I decided it would be more fun to make a brooch. I love how it turned out. I brought it home and attached some chains and skeleton key "findings" to it and turned it into a chatelaine. I thought, well, I'm writing steampunk, let's have a steampunk chatelaine. It's copper and brass, and I love it. Hmmmm. It may be time to buy some nippers and a blowtorch. And more fire insurance.

Here are some photos of my projects:

Chatelaine. I hope to find some charms that represent other normal tools on a Victorian chatelaine, such as a pair of scissors, and add them over time. The class was taught by the lady that invented the Wubbers line of tools. She was a lot of fun and very down to earth. I'd love to take another class from her sometime.

Wire wrapped ring, pinwheel style. This was a lot of fun to make. This might be cool for a faerie or elven costume in the future

Chain Maille Bracelet (Work in Progress), Persian Weave. I have done chain maille before, but this is an advanced weave that I had not tried yet. This was one project in which we were not expected to finish during the allotted two hours for class time. We were expected to complete about an inch of it so we could learn the pattern and then complete it at home. Love love love this weave.

Crochet beading. This was probably the easiest class for me. I already knew how to crochet. I just never done it with beads or stones before. This made a really cute necklace. It seemed a little chaotic for me at first, but its mix of colors makes it coordinate with almost any outfit I have. I think I wear it more than anything else that I made.

Five-strand knotted bracelet. I like this one, too, and it was easy to make with the Knotty Board. I may have to get one of those. This will make great Bellydance Bling.

I think I'll be going back next year! If you enjoy the same sort of activity, I highly recommend it.

I like to keep my hands busy. When I'm not writing, I like to pretend that I'm a fiber artist. If I'm not knitting or crocheting, I'm working on my costumes for DragonCon. (I often sound like a character from American Pie: "And one time, at DragonCon...") I also like to make jewelry, although it usually takes the back seat to the fibery crafts. Who knows? That may change.

I did get more work done on chapter one this weekend, and it's almost ready for my intrepid beta-reader to view. Chapters two and three are shaping up into something very story-like. I really rocked yesterday during our weekly Panera Day. Corvus Corax and Clanadonia really get one a-typing! The rest of the story is sketched out in one giant document, and over time I'll be extruding more chapters from the brew with twists and turns galore. It's raining frogs and camels today, so there will be no sunny outdoor distractions for now. To the keyboard!

Terra Vigila!