Saturday, January 20, 2007

"An Inconvenient Truth"

Tom and I just watched this movie this evening, literally, we shut the DVD player off about fifteen minutes ago, and I was so moved by that film, I have to write my thoughts down here, on my little soap box, while they are still fresh in my mind.

The first thing that I loved about that movie was that Al Gore hit the nail on the head when he said that we have a moral responsibility to take care of this planet and this issue. You can sit there and wrangle all day over the science behind it, and you could spend the next two hundred years debating the numbers behind it all, but really, we don't have time for that anymore. Whether we like it or not, our world is changing. I can see it here, in the Adirondacks, and we've only lived her for about ten years. This is not the same Adirondacks as it was when I moved here and we had our first snowstorm in October. This year, the temperature did not drop below zero until just this week. Eight years ago, we were sub-zero before Christmas. I found all the ice in and ice out information for Mirror Lake when I was going through some of the Historical Society's archival records the other day - thirty years ago, ice in was as early as the beginning of November. This year, in 2006-07, I don't think there's enough ice on Mirror Lake yet to support even a dog. (Two dogs actually broke through last week, according to the dog catcher.)

So, you can sit back and say, yeah, okay, we're in a warming trend, but so what, it'll just cool off again. Will it? Human beings are so changing the face of this planet to the extent that we just don't know if things will cool off again. How do we compensate for lost ecological niches? All of my reading back in college pointed towards the new ecological niches being filled by bacteria and viruses - small, simple organisms that can easily wipe out millions of us larger, more complex organisms. The ocean currents are changing. The polar bears could be extinct in twenty years. Twenty years. That's well within my lifetime. Imagine a child being born today who will grow up in a world without polar bears. (I think Coca Cola may have to find a new cartoon character for their Christmas advertising. Hope it's not an ebola virus.)

It all comes back to the things that I researched in high school. The rate of consumption in this country is staggering. And every one of us is at fault - my generation are the children of the baby boomers, who grew up with a lack of material goods. They gave us too much, and now, we expect "things". The problem with mindless consumption is just that - it's mindless. If we go out to the store, buy a plastic pre-packaged import from China, throw a card on it and give it to someone, well, what have we given them? What happened to the days when everything was made by hand, and the costs of things reflected that? If you needed something, you either made it yourself, or you paid for it.

The implications are so tangled, so vast, that when I start to trace all the route causes in my mind of the whole problem of mindless consumption, I start to get dizzy. (Or it could just be a cold coming on, I'll let you know in a few days.) But the other thing that Al Gore said that was right on the nose was this: we have the power to change these patterns. We have the power to stop what is happening. We have a CHOICE. It doesn't have to be like this.

I firmly believe that if more people were aware of what was going on and the relative simplicity of the solutions that the issue of global warming would be more of a non-issue. And I'm going to sound like some kind of bougeoius pig here, but I firmly believe that most of the problem rests with the oil and gas industry and the automobile makers. It's corporate America that is making the problem worse, and it is corporate America that has to back down. But how do you get the richest people in the world to give it all up? People are frightened. Fear is powerful. Powerful enough to make these people do everything they can to keep things the same. Change is frightening. But what is more frightening - the change to our global climate and the potential for the ultimate collapse of the world as we know it, or a change of our economy from an energy glutton to a more renewable energy economy?

Tom and I both know that we leave far less of a "footprint" on the world than the majority of people in our state. But that movie left me feeling like that's not enough. It really left me feeling like I have to sit down and think about what else I can do to get somebody else out there to sit down and think about what THEY can do to change the world, too.

There. Now that that's done, I'm going to put on my pajamas, sit in front of the wood fire with my dog, and then go to bed.

Monday, January 15, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

I do this every year. In January, try to come up with new goals and I look back at what I did (and didn't) accomplish the year before. So, my goals for 2007:

1. Enter four pieces of work in the Bead and Button Show
2. Submit a portfolio of work to The Guild
3. Apply to the Philadelphia Museum of Art Fine Craft Show
4. Submit photos to The Crafts Report for their Bead showcase issue
5. Work out an advertising budget and take out ads in The Crafts Report, Beadwork, and possibly Ornament or Bead and Button
6. Research high-end fine craft shows in NY, NJ, VT and NH for 2008.
7. Take as many classes as I can
8. Re-evaluate my business and marketing plans and update as necessary
9. Continue to create work - set goals for creating a certain number of neckpieces, bracelets, and earrings
10. Continue to evaluate and re-design marketing materials as needed
11. Continue to submit projects to teach at national and local shows
12. Continue mailings to retail galleries and individual customers to update them on upcoming shows and events
13. Find some time to sleep! (Ha!)

I think I did reasonably well in my goals for 2006. I managed to get my marketing materials printed (twice, grummble grummble), I did a mailing to over 200 galleries over the summer, and I managed to start a relationship with a small gallery in Lake Placid. And I think I finally got a handle on the whole photography thing, grummble grummble grummble, just in time to find out that I can now get a 7 megapixel camera for what I paid for my 4 megapixel camera two years ago. >SIGH<

I hope everybody who's reading this had a very happy holiday. A million times during those two weeks, I kept thinking I should add a post to the blog, but to tell the truth, I was so tired at the end of the day after spending time with my two nieces (ages 5 and 2 1/2), that I didn't even feel like switching on the computer. It was great, though. Kathy and Kevin and Kinsey and Kady came out just in time for Kinsey's 5th birthday, and then we got to spend Christmas Eve together, had the present-opening-frenzy on Christmas morning, and then got to spend New Year's Eve together drinking pink champagne and watching the Hee-Haw marathon on satellite t.v. (Really, the champagne helped!) We got to take Kinsey sledding at Angel and Eric's house, and Kathy, Kevin, Tom and I went to go see "Night at the Museum" on New Year's Eve. It all happened too fast. One minute they were here, and the next, we were packing up the van for their trip back to Albany and their flight back to Reno.

The photo of the bracelet is the bracelet I made for Kathy for Christmas. Actually, I started it for her birthday last year, and then got distracted with my day job and never got back to finishing it. When Thanksgiving rolled around, I thought, I've got to finish this for her, I know she wanted one! So, I just plugged away at it while watching my Netflix movies, and made sure that I took a few good photos before I gave it to her. It was so funny - Christmas morning, she opened her package from us, and saw that it was a box of echinacea tea. She laughed and said, gee, thanks, I know we've been sick, but... I told her to open the box to see what was inside of it and then explained that I had to use the tea box because it was the only box I could find that would fit the bracelet! Ha ha ha!

Sooo, let's see, what else is new. I submitted a piece to our local Mountain Lakes PBS station for their annual Arts Auction in April. I was amazed at how quickly she came together. I got the idea from an illustration in a book called "Living Wicca", and then when I saw this beautiful ceramic face by Diane Brieglieb sitting in my drawer, I thought that this was the way to work her up. The neckstrap, admittedly, was a bit of a nightmare. I didn't want to have a thin strap with such a dramatic focal pendant, but I didn't want to have a strap that took forever and would overpower the pendant. In the end, I kept thinking, okay, what's the second right answer? And I came up with it at four o clock in the morning as I was trying to get back to sleep. (Of course, when else do I come up with any decent ideas, right?) I took her to Mary Jane and got help taking pictures of her because I just knew that I wouldn't be able to do her justice. I named her Metis after a suggestion from my friend Ann to name her after one of the Greek or Roman muses. Metis was the muse of wise counsel, and I feel like that has a particular significance in my life right now as I try to figure out what path I am on and what path I want to take in the future.

Well, we're finally getting some snow, but unfortunately, it's turned into ice. I've got a million web updates to make, so I think I'm going to go off and try to get those done, and then post some new work later this week. Take care, everyone!