When I set up my blog a couple of years ago the woman guiding me, (actually doing the technical work), Lin, was pretty insistent that I also secure the domain of my yet to be realised artisan company, Made by Mann. I wanted Mann Made but that was already taken, and Lin came up with Made by Mann. So you can get to my blog site, A Meandering Mann by madebymann.ca. The idea being that at some point in the future the two things, my blog and my artisan site would work together. For the life of me I couldn’t see how that would work, they seemed so separate. How could my thoughts about life and all its quirks, and my experiences meld with what essentially would be the sale of the things that I created. Now I realize that they are intertwined. So how does that work you may well ask?

In my mind, here’s how.

All my life (and this does not just apply to only me by any stretch of the imagination) I have collected stones. And beach glass. It was a bit of a tradition that we went to Seaham Harbour on Boxing day, a shore on the north east coast of England on the North Sea. As soon as we hit the beach down went the heads and we started to pick things up. Mom loved to pick up glass, always looking for the illusive red pieces. At the end of the day we carted our beach finds home. And I have been carting stones home ever since then. From Italy, from Iceland, from France, from all over England and Canada. Some of them quite sizeable. To do what with them? That was always a pretty unanswered question. At my last house I made a small waterfall and stream bed so that was a place to deposit many of my collection, and an excuse to find many more.

Not a great picture of the stream on the left, but a lovely one of Zoey
Early summer and just a little out of focus!

And then I took a course in drilling holes in stones and making them into things, like earrings, and pendants. A whole new world opened up for me. I could transform my finds into something else, something I would enjoy wearing, and something I hoped other people would enjoy wearing. And where I found the stones added to the story for me.

This was my first offering, and it could have said, Great Lakes Collection, Shores of Lake Ontario. My friend sold all of these in her studio in Prince Edward County while I was traveling. And I made the stones I collected on Seaham Harbour beach into another collection which were eagerly purchased by my sisters friends.

The stones have different characteristics depending on where they come from. The ones from Seaham Harbour, above, are very hard, and vary greatly in colour. I wish I had the knowledge to identify what kinds of stones they are, but I know some others are concretions, solidified mud or sedimentary rock and some are igneous, cooled lava, such as granite and basalt.

Georgian Bay stones, drilled and waiting for polish and further creation

Essentially, where the stones come from is as important to me as transforming them into something else and I think it will be for other people as well. It makes the pieces personal.

So my experiences are entwined with what I create on a fundamental level and it is important to me to express that.

I have also had to work through another issue. I like to do many things. I was quite surprised that it took a while to get my dremel back out and begin drilling things. I bought a dremel drill press in England and shipped it back to Canada. I don’t know how many lovely stones I drilled at an angle so that they were unusable, and the drill press gives me more control. But instead of drilling, I pursued other interests, and went down other creative alleys.

This is a “fake” picture because in real life I have to drill with water to keep the stone cool. Which also makes drilling in the middle of the stone hard due to the distortion of the water.

So part of my dilemma was, what am I going to focus on. And I realize I am not going to focus, because I don’t have to. Or not totally. I am interested in doing too many things. So I am not going to push myself to do just one thing over and over. That sounds an awful lot like work, and not creativity, and not fun. So who knows what else will pop up on these pages!

And talk about luck. The Southampton Arts Centre is presenting a series of workshops called Business of Art. It is very timely as the previous course I was going to take at Georgian Bay Centre for the Arts did not happen. By the end of the course I know I will feel more confident to take the next steps in the process of getting my work out into the world. Or my little world at least. I can’t wait.