While a positive mental attitude can go a long way to making life easier, I like the idea of it being used in tandem with whatever else we’re trying.
Guitar practise made easier
As a (hopefully!) budding guitarist, regular and frequent practice is essential. However, there are times when I get bogged down with focussing on playing the correct notes, concentrating so hard that I end up with a faltering rhythm that’s hard to unlearn.
Enter GuitarPro! GuitarPro is software for guitarists to view, play and write music. What’s great is that I can get it to play the same bars that I’m struggling with, over and over, to play along with. I pick out the area that’s tough for me right now, and work on that. It makes learning way easier as I'm learning the notes and the rhythm at the same time.
Silver cross pendant made easier
In the workshop, I have squiggly things (sorry to go all technical on you) to make and they need to be uniform. Yes, I can use pliers and hope that the piece turns out OK but the perfectionist within won't be happy! So, when I created this Toulouse Cross pendant, I made my life easier with a jig to guide the silver into a perfect shape.
Creativity and design needs space. Sketchbooks, favourite pencils, gemstones, notes, rulers and gauges, a calculator, a laptop and a variety of other essentials - including tasty snacks! - all need to be to hand for the design space to be a good fit.
Freedom to discover
In my original workshop studio the setup was kept simple with much of it shared between designing and the hands-on creating at the bench. An unconstrained layout that gave me the freedom to experiment and discover how I wanted the studio to work for me.
The most important find was the need for a lot more surface space to get everything out and be able to keep it out. Having to put an ‘in progress’ project away to make space for something else, whether it’s a commission or an idea that I want to explore, can spoil the flow. Being able to switch over and spend a few minutes on a complicated piece, like this Secret Proposal Pendant, to annotate sketches and develop ideas is perfect.
Plus, I just like to pop back and just say ‘hi’ to things 😉
Making the right kind of space
The recent improvement to the workspace now means a much larger surface area and lots of shelves, making it easy to keep the tabletop itself available for everything I want to work on.
It’s still a part of the workshop studio, but it’s now the right kind of space. Delightfully inspiring and cosy, too.
Here are some silver compass necklaces in progress. Shown here on my workbench, the soldering is finished and cleaning up is the next step.
It's not a very pretty stage but I love watching these compass creations come to life. Each one is unique and with its own style, its own personality. Some of these will become gemstone compasses, others will be simpler forward facing compasses.
All of them will be destined for adventure!
With music in the background (yes, perhaps a bit louder than background music if I'm honest!) and Connie and Jasper cuddled up nearby, life feels good.
Connie and Jasper in the Workshop overseeing things