Happy New Year!

New Years Day has always been one of my favorite holidays. I know it’s just another day, but it symbolizes a lot to me. It’s a chance to refresh everything in my life and say goodbye to the previous year. It’s just an arbitrary day, but it’s full of opportunities. I usually try to do something fun and relaxing on the actual holiday, but I spend the next few days getting organized, planning out my year, and setting goals for myself.


I’ve never been one to make new years resolutions, but for the past few years I’ve been choosing a word for the year. It’s not a goal or a mantra or an affirmation. It’s just a word. But words are powerful and hold a lot of meaning for me. I don’t really like to share them, but here goes. My word last year was generous. I tried to do my best to be generous with my time, energy, and money. I tried to say yes to as many things as I could. It worked out pretty well. At times I was spread pretty thin, but I feel like I accomplished great things. 
This year my word is satisfied. I want to feel more satisfied in the things that I make especially. And the choices I make, and the things and people I have in my life. I have super high standards and I want to be more okay with not always hitting those standards. Of course I’m not going to give up my standards or try less hard, just try to be more okay with myself where I am. That’s all. Satisfied.


Of course, I do set goals for myself and my business. But first, I take some time and think over the last year and write down everything I’ve accomplished, big and small, personal and business. I take this pretty seriously because throughout the year I get stressed out and put a lot of pressure on myself, and tend to forget to celebrate my accomplishments. I lived on my own and supported myself all year for the first time ever. I had my work in 7 shows, won a grant and an award, traveled to 2 different continents, did 3 bike races, and ran 2 half marathons. I did all that last year.

After I write down all my accomplishments, I write down all my goals for the coming year. I get really specific with them, categorize them, and set deadlines for them if applicable. I go over my finances for the last year, create a new budget, and set monthly goals for my business.


Two of my favorite things do to are make to-do lists, and then cross things off them. At the beginning of the year I make a weekly to-do list and plan out everything. Blog posts, newsletters, marketing plans, exhibition applications, bills, taxes, budgeting. Everything goes on the list at regular intervals so I (hopefully) never forget to do something important and have to do the last-minute-scramble. I love being able to cross things off, even if they’re easy tasks.


I love calendaring. I make a very detailed weekly schedule. It includes sleep, exercise, meals, and of course my admin and studio time. I give myself specific admin tasks for each day and write them on my schedule before hand, so I don’t have to sit in front of my computer wondering what I should work on. I like to get the most import things done first. As for studio time, I give myself the morning to finish orders, repairs, and work for other jewelers, and then I give myself the afternoon to play and be creative. This creative time is my reason for being self employed. I enjoy working for and with other people, but I’m very independent and don’t like to adhere to other people’s schedules. I need my own time and space and rules to feel creative and satisfied. I need to be making things for myself and for art. I need to make things I love and am proud of. Being able to create my own schedule is so important for me.

clean up

Before I start any work, I throughly clean my apartment and studio. I go through all my paperwork and supplies, and inventory all my finished pieces. This way, I know where I’m starting from and don’t have any clutter in my way. I print out all my goals, lists, and schedules, and tape them to my wall. This year I actually moved my studio from the shop I was working at back into a shared jewelry studio.

I’m so excited to unpack, organize, and get creative this year. I’m going to do my best to feel satisfied. Happy new year!

2018 Wrap Up

Wow, what a year.

Although I’ve had my ups and downs, overall I had a really great year. I feel like I’ve grown as a person and as an artist. I’ve accomplished a lot in my personal life, such as moving into an apartment on my own for the first time. And I’ve accomplished a lot in my business, like showing my work in several gallery shows, and winning the SMG/Pratt grant. I feel more confident in my skills and my artistic voice. I have more of a sense of what I want to explore in the coming months, and more courage to say no to opportunities that aren’t perfect.

I feel so grateful to all my friends and family who supported me this year. Thank you for coming out to my shows. Thank you for buying my work. Thank you for the opportunities to do what I love. Thank you for being there when I needed to vent. Thank you for all the advice, guidance, patience, and gifts.

I am so lucky that I get to do what I love every day. I try to never take that for granted.

Here are some highlights from what I’ve done this year

Beautiful Little Monsters

I finally finished this killer piece! Handmade from sterling silver sheet and wire, labradorites, moonstones, and mother-of-pearl. (Inquire for price, or a custom piece like this)

COCA Show Opening

I went to an art show opening last night that I had work in at COCA in Pioneer Square. When I applied, I sent in photos of my current work that I’ve been making with silver and semi-precious gemstones. But when they accepted me, they requested some of the pieces from my senior project at RISD. I was happy enough to have them displayed, even though I thought it was a bit strange that they wanted work that I made 5 years ago. It was a good work with a strong concept though, and some of my more current work isn’t as conceptual. So I brought in the pieces.

I didn’t think the opening would be a big deal, so I showed up almost an hour late. Fortunately I was right on time because they started the awards presentation soon after I got there. I wasn’t even aware that they were giving out awards. So I was really surprised when they gave me an “honorable mention” award. I didn’t win any cash or anything, but they said some nice things about my work and then everyone congratulated me after. It was really nice.

It was kind of an emotional event for me though, because the pieces I displayed were part of the “Tandem” series I made my senior year of RISD when I started dating Mike. They are hand carved wooden pieces with depth and warmth and great attention to detail. They are all about the spaces between people, and Mike was my muse for most of them and model for all of them. Bringing them out, having them on display, seeing the images I made about them, talking about them to friends and strangers, and being recognized for my concept was all so surreal to me. I didn’t feel sad about it, but I felt very self-reflective and contemplative and bittersweet. It made me want to be 21 years old and in love again.

I’m mostly the same person now, but my life has changed so much. I have a deeper understanding of relationships. Those wooden pieces are a symbol of my past and of a very important relationship to me. However, the context has entirely changed. I have such fond memories of those times. Five years doesn’t seem that long ago, but those specific 5 years from 21 to 26 for me have been completely life changing. Especially the last few months. I’m curious what the next 5 years will bring and how I’ll feel about the work I’m making right now. I’m still so young and have so much to experience.

When I was describing the show to people last week I was saying that it would be kind of a retrospective for me. I was saying this somewhat sarcastically because I feel like I’m just beginning my career and I don’t have much to look back on. But I had no idea how accurate the description “retrospective” would be for me. I have done a lot of retrospecting, introspecting, and prospecting in the last few hours, and feeling lots of feelings. It’s been real.

Click here for more info about the show: https://cocaseattle.org/exhibitions/you-got-the-look

Click here for the entire “Tandem” collection: http://nina-raizel.com/portfolio/#/spring-2014/