Setting a path to purpose.

Art Tank. Art Tank. Art Tank…

I was accepted to and am participating in business classes for creatives, offered by LiftFund, an organization that helps small businesses succeed. They are national, but headquartered, right here in San Antonio.   I feel so lucky to have this help, spurred on by intention, thinking of what I want and need, asking for it, from whoever, where-ever, and somehow what I ask for eventually magically is working its way to me (it works, try it!).  We are about 1 month into a two month program, and all of this info is starting to gel in my brain… Business plans, business model canvases, websites, SEO, making, marketing, selling, networking… A lot of this eluded me in the past, or, I ran away from it, because it seemed too overwhelming, too complicated.  When you’re constantly immersing yourself in it, like a foreign language, it becomes clear in an almost organic way; all the puzzle pieces fitting together, systematically.

All Art degree programs should offer real business courses as required courses!  A whole suite of classes to cover what you need to know to succeed.  But they don’t.  That is why LiftFund exists, I suppose.

So, I am dwelling on all this information;  planning, preparing, more than I have ever done before.  The actual making of jewelry and art has taken a sideline, whereas it has always been the most important thing to me in the past.  That was misguided.  People told me throughout school, but it never took hold for me before.  Now, with a house, a place to work, a mortgage and future plans that need funding, I find myself perfectly forced into doing the things that scare me the most.  Talking to people, making friends (gasp!), learning how to do taxes, learning sales strategies…all with the bigger picture in mind of continuing with my art jewelry, making objects of adornment, and finally being able to go to a SNAG conference and not put it all on a credit card!  These are pretty lofty goals.  I still have work-work goals, but the large, grandiose ideas are being shuffled to the back for a time.  I am looking at practical, necessary objects to make, and tasks to be carried out.  Yesterday  registered my business name, Jennifer Hermann: Handmade, legally with the City of San Antonio and the State of Texas.  Edging ever closer to ‘Legit’.

All the while, I feel a need to give back.  To do something outside of myself to help the world…  I’m not sure what or how I am going to do that but I know I can’t do as much as I would like until I have my own house in order.

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Antiquities and the end of August.

Autumn descends, which I could do without, honestly.  I have been so busy with my new job and life changing events from all corners of my world.  Then, there’s the situation in Syria to remind me that all of my problems are petty and not even worth thinking about.  The government will wait to get my student loan money; I’ll figure out how to make and sell more work; I’ll get that tire on my car fixed that somehow luckily passed inspection even though there is a nail plugging the slow leak that is in it.  None of these things really matter.

Sometimes I speak and hear the words coming out of my mouth and wonder who is saying them.

But, I’m really here to write a post that has been brewing in my skull for months.

What I’d like to write about is follow through and the slow progression of ideas that seem to snowball…I hope they will snowball, eventually…

When I was an undergrad, I had an Art History Professor, Bill Wolf.  Mr. Wolf (who did not like to be called Dr. Wolf, as he so deserved, because he said it was more suited to people who were medical doctors…I think his father may have been a doctor, I can’t remember exactly…) was a tough grader.  I took his classes over and over starting with grades of C’s and I think I got up to a B+  during my last class with him.   His classes brought my grade point average down. A lot.  But I didn’t care.  Did I mention, he was the ONLY art history professor at Millersville while I was going there?

Modern Art History was the worst.  I think he didn’t like teaching it and I certainly didn’t like learning about it.  It was boring and tiresome, (and still is) except for when he talked about Cézanne.  He loved Paul Cézanne and it was definitely clear in his tone when he was teaching.  He also seemed to love Medieval art and on this subject he was a fabulous lecturer.  There were times during his lectures in Medieval and Byzantine art history that he would build from a soft whisper to a raging bellow in making a point about a painting.  The hairs on the back of my neck would stand on end as he seemed to take on the role of a priest condemning the 7 Deadly Sins or some other sort of moral code of the time or medieval women (in explanation of their life/station in that time).  I always sat riveted in his classroom and usually didn’t look away for the whole three hours (not counting breaks).  His classes were relaxing and fascinating and were usually the best parts of my day.  He instilled in me a huge curiosity in the medieval time period, in general, and I continued to take classes in medieval history when I went on to graduate school.

These days, all of my research and learning has sadly been relegated to the internet (which I would love to remedy with trips to the Library–have to make time for it!).  A few weeks ago, I came across the amazing work of the contemporary metal artist, Giovanni Corvaja.  I forget where I stumbled upon his work… it could have been Facebook, or possibly Crafthaus.  He makes golden fleeces, headpieces, fabric and jewelry from raw metals- gold, mostly.   I was immediately struck by the work’s intense, complex simplicity.  It is serious, and intricately crafted, yet simple in form and intent.  It is thick with unspoken references to alchemy and beauty formed by slow, steady craftsmanship.  It really relates to the Renaissance when knowledge and skill in craft was evolving and coming to a pinnacle.  The Medieval aesthetic appeals to me in relation to my own work, as it feels similarly primitive.  The two ages and aesthetics feel  connected in my understanding of art and craft and represent a slow progression,  much like what I am trying to achieve in my studio practice.  There is a balance that Corvaja’s work strikes; being not too overly-processed while reaching beauty; still holding on to a delicate simplicity that is so hard to achieve while demonstrating virtuosity.

Follow through.

The very best thing (to me) about Corvaja’s practice is that he is extremely generous with information and images pertaining to the making of the pieces and his process.  His website has a great album of beautiful process shots.   I was so struck by his website that I sent out an email to thank him for what he is doing and to ask for permission to write about his work.   He graciously responded with high quality photos for me to share with you here, (see below).  To read his interviews on ethics and aesthetics, which I can’t recommend highly enough, you must (!) go to his website here:

Carved Box
Carved Brooch
Img0030 (1)
Constructed Brooch
Golden Handkerchief
Golden Handkerchief


New STUDIO SPACE SOON!! And New earrings May 6th 2013

I have been busy!

The next place you can find me will be at the Traveling Wares show at Tattooed Mom’s on Saturday May 11, 2013.

Then, the week after I’ll be at the Trenton Avenue Arts Festival in Kensington/Fishtown.  That will be a really fun day!  The Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby is at the same time.

MoRE big NEws!  I’m moving upstairs in my studio building to a cozy, warm, 2nd floor studio (with a lovely big window!!!)  I am so excited for this move and I know it will invigorate my making, and push me in the direction of new work.  I really couldn’t be happier!!  Many thanks to Steve Krupnick- the building manager- for alerting me to the availability of the space.

One more thing!  My Sidetour-

Craft and Keep a Unique Hand-Punched Tin Can Luminary

has not been filling up!!  I’d love to teach some folks and guide them in making their very own Luminary to take home, so check it out!  It’s just $35 for a 3 hour workshop (which is a STEAL), you go home with your own piece of art that you made, and I supply all the tools, materials and expertise!



Heart and Hex sign inspired motifs for Luminary votive soda can candles

Heart and Hex sign inspired motifs for Luminary votive soda can candles

Leftovers from Valentines day, but i’m going to make some more of these:) (Votive luminary soda pop can designs)

a harem full of bearded ladies on balloon flights hitting piñatas filled with love

Sometimes i think it would have been nice to have been born into a nice victorian era middle eastern society…Victorian as in around and between 1835 and 1901- the span of Queen Victoria’s reign in England.

Cupcake Pinata

Candy Bar Pinata

I might have been a member of a harem, or part of a wealthy sultan’s polygamist family.

lots of chicks to hang out with… probably, i could even get my own eunuch.

I’d have everything I needed.  as may babies as i could want… nice clothes… no responsibilities…. (mmm. except maybe one…)

File:Swoboda-shopping in harem mid19th.jpg

a prison of convenience and leisure…

all I’d have to do is have sex with one old guy…

The This to The That

This necklace was sent back to me from Julie Artisans Gallery. It came into disrepair due to my hurried grad school craftsmanship, and the owner sent it back for fixing.

I thought it would be nice to show some steps in its recreation.

The piece above was a sample during the original making of the necklace.

These are pieces that fell out of their settings.

The settings.

There seems to be a wierd jump ring added…not sure why…

These are samples that I made in preparation for the piece in 2007.

These are drawings I did to use as templates for the new pieces.

Should be done in a few weeks, I’ll put more pics up when it’s done.