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When The Going Gets Tough, Just Keep Going

Recently I felt like a little mouse, with a tiny helmet, attempting to figure out a way to get the cheese out of a giant mousetrap. I’m not going to bore you with the details of how I got into this situation, I’ve already talked about it in length in my last blog, I will say running a creative business is a bitch a lot of the time…

Heck, being a human can be a bitch a lot of the time, so what do we do in this thing that we call life?

A lot of artists ask me how I managed to “succeed” in a field that actually carries with it the stigma that you are automatically going to starve if you pursue said career. The word “artist” is synonymous with “starving” and a lot of the time, they seem to go together like email spam and my grandmother opening it.

What is funny to me, is that I don’t focus on having a successful career. So whenever someone asks me how I did it, I usually don’t have that clear of an answer. I do, however, have certain things that I try to remind myself daily, and that’s probably one of the reasons people assume I’m doing so well. These don’t have much to do with career, they are the way I want to see the world and myself. Simple little reminders to keep going.

  1. You’re alive right now, and if you are alive, anything is still possible.
  2. You’re expecting too much of yourself. Most successes are not overnight successes. Take your time and find a way to enjoy the slow burn. Keep chipping away, little by little, you’ll get there.
  3. Remember that you are stronger than you think. You might privately think to yourself that you can’t handle the pressure. Trust me, we all do that, but we can do so much more than we think… and we can especially do way more than some people think we can.
  4. Even when things seem to be falling apart, you have reason to smile. This one is tricky, don’t lie to yourself with false positive thoughts, but find a genuine reason to smile and change perspective.
  5. Don’t compare yourself to people who you think are doing awesome. Instead, I think “If they’re doing great then I can too.” Besides, you haven’t walked in their shoes, you don’t know how they feel, but you know how you make yourself feel when you do something dumb like feel bad comparing yourself to someone you don’t really know anything about.
  6. I can find a different “How.” Take a deep breath, do number 4, and then find a different way… especially if you have been knocking on a wall for days… you may just need to move to the left about 3 ft and knock on the door.
  7. Can you find the fun in doing this? If not, consider the fact that maybe you should be doing something else. For this to work, I have to be honest with myself, because I can easily deceive myself into stopping. It’s important to remember why you started whatever you started and find your why… then check with yourself that you haven’t deviated from that purpose with your current project.
  8. Take a break and work on something that will make you feel like a bad-ass. We all have things that we are really good at. Sometimes, I’ll take a break from the thing I am currently failing at, and work on something that makes me feel awesome. An “I am forking AWESOME!” break… We need that reminder sometimes, and I find that it is best to remind yourself by doing something you are a rock-star at, even if it is totally unrelated.

Usually right after I remind myself of these things, I have a momentary lapse into despair. It’s the lowest point in your whole journey, a hopeless-looking place that comes right before feeling good. Because I expect it, I handle it pretty well, most times. It is the brain’s last ditch effort to keep things safe and maintain the status quo.

I know, it’s a weird relationship we have with our brain, but most of the programming we have in our brain is designed to keep us safe and sound from anything perceived as a threat. Recently, the idea of leaving the safety and comfort of Etsy to pursue our own platform was seen as a threat to my well being, so my brain did everything in it’s power to protect me. It’s why some people giggle when they are nervous… not sure how that would save you from a saber-toothed tiger, but maybe you can giggle away ghosts or something.

Anyhow…

When you’re pursuing anything, it’s almost inevitable that at some point you’ll think one or more of the following:

“This is harder than I thought it would be.”
“Why is this taking so long?”
“I’m getting nowhere with this.”
“I keep failing and screwing it up.”
“I can’t do this. What was I thinking?”

And when you do have one—or more—of these thoughts, it’s very likely that you’ll want to give up. When that happens, I remind myself of the points I made above.

Achieving large, hairy life goals isn’t easy. Doing much in life isn’t easy, and somewhere along the way it’s very likely that you’ll want to quit. But when you feel like quitting, and the going gets tough, just keep going.

Beside, it’s not a failure if you don’t quit… It’s just a work in progress.


HELP ME WRITE MY BOOK!

Pretty soon I’ll be starting a crowd funding campaign to help me finish my book(s) and audio-books. It’ll be the first of a series that I have been working on for the last 8 years. I am both excited and nervous!

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A Walk Through The Opal Flames

Recently I was presented with an exciting and challenging commission that I could not say no to, even though I was admittedly somewhat reluctant to take it on. Reluctant because, well, it was centered around the largest and most beautiful opal I have ever had the privilege of holding in my hands.

Klee Angelie Fire Flower Opal

Proposed by two collectors of my work who have not only become good friends of mine over the years, but who continuously support and believe in me as an artist, always pushing me ever further into the realm of “Sure, I think I can do that.” They had purchased an astoundingly gorgeous Australian Lightning Ridge Semi-Black Opal from a local lapidary artist, who is also a friend of mine and an expert at his craft. The cut opal weighed in at 24 carats and measured 34x27mm, originally intended to be cut into two or three separate opals but was too magnificent to be separated into smaller pieces.

Immediately following the purchase of the opal they brought it to me, placed it in my hand and said “You know you’re the one we’re commissioning to make a necklace with this, right?” To which I replied “Uh… sure! Wait… are you sure?? I can’t believe this opal! Yes, sure! I’m honored and terrified to be the one to work with it!” and the commission had begun.

Anyone who has ever owned or held an opal knows that you can break them by just looking at them the wrong way. How can something so pristine, with such a delicate composition, contain so much life and color that it appears to have the very fire of creation itself within it?

Everyone involved, especially me, knew it was going to take some time to create this piece. They wanted it created in solid gold and they wanted something that had never been seen before, something to truly do the opal justice. We bounced ideas back and forth for weeks, some playing it safe, some really outside the box, until we landed on the concept of fire. “Our son mentioned that flames might be awesome, is it doable?” they asked.

Klee Angelie Fire Flower Opal

I honestly wasn’t sure it was doable, but in the spirit of going with inspired thought, I expanded on the idea and rendered a sketch of layers of flames in yellow, white, and rose gold, and presented it to them (along with a few other “safer” design layouts) to see what they thought. To my excitement and horror, they loved the not safe, totally daunting, tri-tone gold flame layer design. I loved it too. We all knew it was the one. Now I just had to actually make this thing… in solid gold… no pressure.

It could not be rendered in wax and cast, it had to be completely hand fabricated because of the three types of gold that would be used. The flames were so organic in shape, so free flowing that anything other than just jumping in with both feet and going for it would not have produced the desired look. So, I went for it… in sterling silver (I’m not THAT crazy folks!)

Klee Angelie Fire Flower Opal

I built a prototype piece in sterling silver to make sure that the design actually worked, would protect the opal, and would look as amazing as I hoped it would. It was many hours of successes, setbacks, design tweaks, small challenges, inching forward until the prototype was finished. I presented it to them and they were thrilled with it. Then it was time to make the actual piece in gold.

Klee Angelie Fire Flower Opal

Thank goodness for the prototype, it allowed me to work everything out beforehand and create a piece in gold that I was beyond happy with. Organic shaped yellow, white, and rose gold flame layers, carefully built section by section to form the back setting for the stone. Rose gold “Flame Petals” as I call them, and yellow and white gold prongs to wrap gingerly around the sides and front of the opal to hold it securely and complete the design.

Klee Angelie Fire Flower Opal

Once it was built, I set the opal in the design, more slowly and carefully than I’ve ever done anything in my whole life, looked at it, went into slight shock that it was finished, and then screamed joyfully at Rafi that it was completed and I had done it!

Klee Angelie Fire Flower Opal

Klee Angelie Fire Flower Opal

Throughout the whole process, I had been referring to the piece as the “Fire Flower” (a working title) to try to describe something that embodies an intense amount of light, passion and fire, and is simultaneously impossibly pristine, serene, and delicate. It described the opal as best as words can, and it described the design of the piece that would complete and represent it. I feel it also describes the beautiful woman it was commissioned for, and there’s a bit of myself represented in there as well. We all resonated with the feeling and the name “Fire Flower” stuck as the official name of the piece.

Klee Angelie Fire Flower Opal

It was the most challenging and thrilling commission I’ve had thus far, and also the longest running commission, ongoing for about six months from concept to completion. I have to thank my collectors and friends Dina and Kelly, and their son Kyle for the challenge, and the trust that made it possible to create something I would have previously never thought possible.

I am now refining the Sterling silver prototype I had created, in which I will set a Nuummite stone, and will belong to them as well. The silver counterpart to the Fire Flower.

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Jewelry By Klee This Week #1

I’m really excited to share some of my newest inspirations with you this week. There is something so intimate about the connection and expression we all have with jewelry. I am honored to be in a position to bring that to life. I hope you enjoy. Click on the images below to find out more information on the pieces.

Jewelry By Klee Angelie Oct 2017
Tree of Life Necklace – Sterling Silver – Dendritic Agate – “Misty Fronds” By Klee Angelie

Jewelry By Klee Angelie Oct 2017
Tahitian Pearls Necklace Earrings Set – Genuine Baroque Shape Multicolored Tahitian Pearls – Solid 14k Gold Clasp and Accents – Untreated By Klee Angelie

Jewelry By Klee Angelie Oct 2017
Sterling Silver Feather Necklace – Small Sideways Curved Feather – Hand Forged Unique Feather – Solid Sterling Silver By Klee Angelie

Jewelry By Klee Angelie Oct 2017
Geometric Silver Nugget Earrings “Triad” – Fine Silver Hexagons and Sterling Silver – Minimalist Drop Dangle Earrings By Klee Angelie

Jewelry By Klee Angelie Oct 2017
Amber and Sterling Silver Pendant Necklace – Honey Golden Orange – Genuine Amber – Spiral Design By Klee Angelie

Thank you! Please let me know if you enjoyed me sharing this with you, I’ll have some new designs next week to share with you, see you then!

-Klee

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Love it with everything you have.

Today, as I was creating some jewelry at my bench, this came to me. I wanted to share with you!

Klee and Rafi Painting with Friends“Be not a lost or vacant partner to your own life. Embrace it as your lover and best friend. Laugh with it, cry with it, and give it your whole self. Revel in the gorgeousness of it’s simultaneously fleeting and timeless presence, and most of all, love it with everything you have. For it is, truly, the one for you.”