As a creative person my hands take a great deal of punishment, I think that working in an outdoor workshop my hands are exposed to the cold at the start of the day, they get warmed by the torch and then suffer the cold again later, I have a little arthritis in my finger joints which can make them achy and sore, needless to say it doesn’t stop me but it does mean I should probably take much better care of my hands. Last year I bought myself a warming paraffin wax hand bath, basically you moisturise your hands and then submerse them in melted wax several times before wrapping them up and letting the heat soak in, its blissful and has the added bonus of hitting your hands with a blast of moisture.
I don’t have time to treat myself every day so on the days in between treatments I use a homemade hand balm, I know that lots of lamp workers use this, its good for treating etched beads too.
In a bain marie I melted the following ingredients:
20g raw organic cocoa butter
20g organic shea butter
10g apricot oil
There are heaps of recipes online to make something like this, you can add a few drops of your favourite oil, I used peppermint (it smells of mint chocolate with the cocoa butter) you can substitute the apricot oil for coconut oil or any other nice quality oil. Once its all melted together you can mix it well and pour it into little pots for the perfect hand treat! Like any other tool, you need to take care of your hands 🙂
A couple of years ago while I was in the middle of creative slump a friend recommended a book to me called The Artists Way by Julia Cameron. I will be completely honest and say that I didn’t follow all the exercises but two of them stuck with me, the one I want to tell you about is the idea of having a creative ‘date’ with yourself, a concept of giving yourself a day out, to explore something that inspires you, it could be a walk somewhere beautiful, it could be a trip out with your camera or a visit to a gallery or exhibition, something that inspires and replenishes your creative well.
This week my lovely hubby took me into Glasgow to the Kelvingrove Museum to visit the Alphonse Mucha exhibition, its only on for a short time and I really wanted to go, I wasn’t disappointed, such incredibly beautiful work on display, and stunning colours, I can only say that if you have the opportunity to visit, go, its so worth it, even more so if you love Art Nouveau.
Needless to say I came back to the workshop brimming with ideas, this weeks beads are a bit scattergun, so many different colour combinations, I’m not convinced they all work but somewhere in the chaos of being inspired is a seed, something that will grow and develop until it becomes something more tangible 🙂
Either way, when you next sit down with your beads and feel stumped or blocked, take yourself out for a date with yourself, refill that well!
I have been making beads for nearly ten years, granted the first couple were a huge learning curve, and it certainly took a while before I had anything I felt was saleable and even longer before I could confidently say that I had something that was distinctly mine in terms of style. Its not really any surprise that my mojo has taken a little bit of a hiatus recently and in some respects I think my confidence has thought ‘ooh, mojo is on its hols, I think I will go with it!’ I will be honest, its a pain, and a worry, I don’t want to go back to working for someone else, I love that I am home with my kids, I love that I get to listen to audiobooks while I work and drink tea whenever I want, I don’t have scheduled breaks and if I want to sit and eat my lunch in the sunshine and dip my feet in the kids paddling pool I can do that too 😀
I don’t love the fear of not selling enough, or the realisation that selling in quantity has become validation for what I am doing. I wish with my whole heart that I could pop back to the days when earning money from, what was then a hobby, was a wonderful bonus to what can only be described as the absolute pleasure of melting glass and turning it into wonderful new shapes.
So this week I decided to cut myself a little slack, I pulled out my rather dusty paint box and started to play 🙂 I don’t know what will become of these yet, I think that little notebooks might be rather nice but we will wait and see. For now the pleasure lies in watching the paint float across the page and mingle its colours