me-in-redIf you’re young, maybe you imagine that by the time you reach “retirement age” things will be pretty settled and secure. I know I did.

The only thing that’s for sure in my life is that I’m an artist and making things is what I need to do to be happy. I’m good at it, if I say so myself, but it’s a tough way to make a living.

artI finally got divorced about 6 months ago, and came out of it pretty thoroughly impoverished. I thought– twice– that I had a good job lined up, first with F&W Media in Fort Collins, CO (I’ve been writing and doing videos for them for years on a freelance basis) and then for Rio Grande Jewelry Supply in Albuquerque (they flew me out, wined and dined me– then decided not to offer me the job). Tough to get hired at 65.

It isn’t going to be any easier when I turn 66 in about a week.

So I’ve lived through the last couple of years in a constant state of fear and trepidation. I was living alone in the house we raised the 4 kids in, until my estranged husband moved back in, not to be with me but to save money and to put pressure on me to settle. Probably the less said about THAT situation the better.

Ultimately, it worked.


Now I live with an incredibly generous friend who is also going through divorce.If you’ve been following this erratic and infrequent blog, you are probably wondering what happened to my plan to RV across the country. Well, I decided that it is more imcozy-home-smportant right now to stay where I have a network of friends, though I still cherish that dream.


Here’s the thing, though. You can’t live in fear and trepidation. It’s bad for your health, and it’s good for… nothing. In retrospect, I realize I was experiencing hypervigilance. I felt as though if I didn’t hold that fear in my mind at all times, if I let go of it for a second, something terrible would creep up and wallop me.


I did get walloped, right upside the head, by the events of this period, and all the seeing it coming in the world didn’t even slow it down. But I’m still here, my incredibly generous friend has put a roof over my head, a new friend is sharing her studio/gallery space with me, and I’m making things again after years of not really being able to. I have two articles to write for F&W. I *finally* got a web store set up (!!!


A couple of months ago, I sat myself down and decided that the fear wasn’t serving me and that I was going to stop being afraid. To my astonishment, that was all it took! I am sleeping well again (without pills now), and feeling much stronger and more positive. I can’t say that would work for everyone, of course, but if my situation sounds at all familiar to you, I hope you’ll have a “talk” with yourself.


And a couple days ago, I actually made something just for myself, which I don’t often do. I have let my hair grow out for the last couple years, so I made myself a barrette.

Now I just need to let the world know they can finally buy my work online. And I plan to set up some classes at my new space (1123 Florence Ave, Evanston) and offer one-on-one metalsmithing if anyone is interested. I can teach (and have taught) any level and almost any te

arts-room-smchnique, subject to the limitations of not having room for *all* my tools there. So if you can, spread the word a bit for me. I haven’t “always depended on the kindness of strangers” and friends, but I do now.


Crisis Mode, Creative Block and Tango

by noelyovovich on April 26, 2016

Last night was one of those nights that surprised me, but shouldn’t have.

The last 4 days I’ve been busting my butt to finish a webinar presentation that needed to be submitted to the producers yesterday, to go live in a week. You might ask why I was playing catch-up ball on this, because I knew about the deadline f22 done frontor a month or more.

Well, I could say I’m a procrastinator, but I’m really not, or that I thrive on last-minute pressure, but I really don’t. But sometimes when something is difficult, I give it as long as possible to work itself out internally before I knuckle down and confront it. This webinar was a challenge because I proposed to do a course on techniques to get past creative block, and my editor said, “Fine, do anything you want, as long as it involves Argentium silver”.

Now, this is not really a natural combination. On the other hand, even way back when I was a graduate student, I put an ad in the local free paper (the Chicago Reader) saying “Freelance Artwork $10 an hour” and whatever people asked me to do, I’d say “Yeah, I can do that”– then figure it out. (Well, except for the guy who wanted me to paint his body. But that’s another story.) And mostly they never knew I was scrambling. So I have a lot of faith in my ability to come up with something. So I said “Yeah, I can do that”.

Also, during the last couple weeks, my house went under contract, a good thing but distracting. Oh, and I’ve been trying, without notable success, to move my divorce process forward, and two days ago I gave up and told my lawyer we have to go to litigation. So, that was grim.

And because the house is on the market, most of my tools, along with most of my everything else, are stored away and inaccessible. So I was, once again, scrambling.

In the end, I did, in fact, come up with something that included the stuff I originally wanted to talk about, and alsRed shoes smo uses the suggestion that exploring a new-to-you technique or material (Argentium silver, for example) is a great way to blast yourself out of the lack-of-inspiration doldrums.

I’m very pleased with the presentation and I’m actually looking forward to sitting alone in a room for an hour, talking non-stop into the ether, trying to imagine a rapt audience that I can’t see, can’t hear, and who may not really even be there (but of COURSE they will!)

Which brings me back to last night.

After I finished the Power Point and submitted it, on deadline no less, I felt great. Really good. But as the day went on, my mood dribbled downward. When you are on deadline, you know exactly what you need to be doing and there are no doubts or uncertainties. I call it “crisis mode” and it is a simpler mindset, a relief, really, in a complicated life.

But after I sent off my presentation, all the complications crowded back in. By 8pm when my boyfriend finished work and called to say he was ready to head over to the Grecian Taverna where we were supposed to meet for their Wednesday night milonga, going out at 9:30 to dance tango seemed an exhausting prospect. Still, I pulled myself together and went, despite my misgivings.

It might have been the most fun I’ve ever had dancing, and I love to dance. And I should have remembered what my friend Shirley says: “When something is bugging you, dance it off!”

I’ve wanted to dance ever since I was a little kid in rural Florida and I saw the older kids dancing the jitterbug. That looked like the best thing in the world to me.

Over the years, I tried to get boyfriends and then my husband to learn to dance with me but none of them would do it. In 40 years of marriage, even though my husband went to a set of dance lessons with me, we never ever once went dancing, or tango creven danced together at a wedding.

So when, after 5 years of separation, I started dating, I told my new boyfriend early on, “If you want to tie me to you, your best bet is to dance with me”. Happily, he took that to heart. After some general lessons, he suggested we take a tango series. I still wanted to jitterbug (I think it is now called swing) but, hey, it was dancing, so I said OK.

I am now deeply in love with tango. After something like a year and a half of somewhat on-and-off lessons, we are good enough to be able to dance in a milonga without embarrassing ourselves. I love the music, the clothes, the shoes—and the beautiful, sensuous, intimate collaboration with your dance partner . I finally get to dance. I have little interest now in the jitterbug. Tango is heaven.

So I should not be surprised at all that my grumpiness and fatigue fell away as soon as I heard the music, put on my shoes, and stepped out on the dance floor with my every-dance partner. So now I’m wondering whether my answer to the question “How do you bust out of creative block?” should have been, “Dance it off!”tango cr 2


POST SCRIPT: It has been a year since my last post. A YEAR!!! Things get bogged down, don’t go as they should or as you thought they would. But I think I’m finally about to be on the move. It is exhilarating and terrifying. But as I like to say, “You can’t get THROUGH it til you get TO it”. More to come…


The Winged Pig Eats the Elephant

May 28, 2015

It’s been a while since I felt I had anything worth writing here, but it seems like time now. I’ve taken a decisive step—I have left my job. Yay! And, YIKES. One of the results of my current situation is I have an itchy, red rash that waxes and wanes with my degree of anxiety […]

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Serendipity and Flying Pigs

April 1, 2015

I am very big on imagining things before they happen, thinking them through logistically, planning, anticipating. Doing this both makes me more eager to make the plans real, make them happen, get to it, as well as “scratching the itch” to a certain extent. Imagining how things might go is like looking down the road […]

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The Anticipation Builds: The Winged Pig Gets Impatient

March 19, 2015

I think I’m ready to share another part of my dream. It feels a little scary to tell the world about it, though I’m not sure why. But it’s been slow-marinating for quite a while now, and I think I need to put the idea out there for the Universe—and for you. I described in […]

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Me and Tarot

March 11, 2015

Let me say right up front, I am a rationalist– an analytical person who wants and expects, even needs, to make sense of things, and for things to make sense. That may seem contradictory for an artist, but I guess it must not be since being an artist is one of the few things that […]

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A New Adventure: the Winged Pig

March 5, 2015

Goethe said that when one is committed to an enterprise, doors open where you did not think there would be doors, and where there would not be doors for someone else. I am committed to a new life, as we are all are, I guess, every day—the difference is that I realize it, know it […]

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What’s An Artist To Do?

January 14, 2014

There are a few of you out there who have been gracious enough to notice that I’ve been silent a long time and to wonder what happened to me. Thank you. Really. First off, I am still here and kicking! Not dead, not gone, but life continues to throw me curves and I continue to try […]

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On Open Letter on My Personal Transition

July 24, 2011

I’ve been out of touch for quite a while now. For good reason. My whole life has been pretty much rearranged, and that takes some recovery time. To recap—I saw an opportunity and I took it, but I had to move fast to make it work. I saw on Orchid that James Binnion, the Master […]

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Still not up to speed in the cyber age…

March 3, 2011

I just spent half an hour trying to understand some of the arcane options behind the scenes in this blog. I feel a bit like someone who has plopped down in a Mazurati and just wants to turn on the lights. I feel sure there must be a way to put a permanent link in […]

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