*shudders* bad eighties music running through my head now. Although I think we're probably the luckiest generation.... born long enough ago to have had free reign and exploration encouraged, whilst modern enough that the positive side of feminism had left its mark. We're the far ranging, imaginative innovators :o)
Either way... as the title suggest, I am in fact, still here. And my workshop is looking a lot more Stephie-friendly now with all the crap removed and useful furniture of the we-had-to-put-it-somewhere variety all arranged. And a herd of My Little Ponies adorning the shelf. Absolutely essential.
My opals, tools and beads have been moved in there (I really ought to get my arse in gear and do some beadwork - which qualifies as 'real' work because I use my designs to sell the components). Although I'm still waiting for a couple of opal parcels - some cut Mexican and a lot of what should be extremely high quality Lightening Ridge black.
I'm not actually doing anything in there yet. Partly because I'm still stupid busy with real work, partially because I'm too broke to buy any equipment that I need. Although the nice people at eBay gave me a shiny £150 Powerseller Reward voucher which I promptly spent on a rolling mill (bargain - £250 list price, £150 best offer accepted so all I paid was the £30 shipping).
The good news is is that I'm one of those people who really absorbs books. I barely ever read fiction, because I become completely and totally immersed in it until finished (which is cool, but it don't half piss off anyone around you). Similarly, good techniques books are read from cover to cover, then sections that particularly interest me reread. Then I go to sleep and dream about working metal. You may laugh... but I've got a particular affinity for materials as far as shaping, displacing, bending etc go (I'm also one of those people who can tell by touch whether dye will leak from a garment, or if it really ought to be dry cleaned or if the label is lying). Had I followed my mother's physics-degrees footsteps, I probably would have excelled at an engineering discipline that required a lot of materials science. Sadly the same doesn't apply for carving, drawing or sculpting. I've got very little ability at creating from an empty space. The point being, that dreaming about metalsmithing is a perfectly good starting point for me.
I did have a fun hour or two with my mum 'opal dipping' - the idea being that when rough opal is wet it looks like it will when polished... so we sat dipping rough pieces or Andamooka opal into water in the sun. Its amazing :o)
So I'm thinking. Lots. And exploring websites (I've fallen in love with the work of Victoria Lansford - check out her site, she's absolutely amazing. And on top of the actual metalsmithing techniques, there's been some definite design tricks that have struck a chord. I already have various (scattered) folders on the PC where I nab images because I like the feel of the jewellery, or the colour mix or similar (I almost never copy... where's the fun in that?). Inspirational pictures is what I should refer to them as. But the very simple idea of keeping them and cutouts from magazines etc in ye oldey-fashioned-scrapbook appeals (and its not an idea I would have thought of - I've been surgically attached to computers since I was eight years old with a C64 and a BASIC programming book). But I like the idea of being able to flip through. The other, related, idea was to keep a looseleaf design sketches folder. While I can't draw to save my life, the idea is not to Make Friends and Influence People with my scintillating artwork, but to pin MY ideas down as and when I think of them. Especially important for me because I have a memory like a sieve.
Anyhoo... its 1am and I'm supposed to be getting some real work done (actually I'm supposed to be sleeping, but it just wasn't happening *shrugs* terminal insomnia sucks). So its bye for now but I will be back soon with pictures of my magically transformed workshop and my not-yet-magically-transformed rough opals.