Thursday, April 10, 2014

Fight The Good Fight

Introducing my newest design of the CTR collection: "Fight The Good Fight" necklace.

Making music has always been a deeply personal experience for me. The first time I wrote a song I locked myself up in my room, opened up to a blank page in my journal, and poured my heart out. I whispered the melody so nobody could hear me through the closed door. I locked my journal with one of those cheap, flimsy, metal keys and hid the pages in the bottom of my underwear drawer.

I know now that music isn't about me, alone, locking myself away, and trying to hide my art. Other musicians are invaluable in helping to bring my music to life. And my greatest enjoyment lately has been helping other artists bring their music to life.

As I get older, I am realizing that music and life are so much bigger than me and my ego. I'm learning how to trust other people, to hand over the reigns, to write music sometimes not even for the music's sake, but because if I sing vocals for people, then I get to be with these people. And I love spending time with these people. When music is used as a means to bring people together, to experience something as a group of friends, I think it is a beautiful thing.

Now that I think back on it, I would rename my old band's major label debut, "Here, Here, Here, and Here" instead of "Here, Here, and Here". (Warner Brothers would have had a heyday with that album title! Ha!)

"Here, Here, and Here" meant "Heart and Mind and Ears" to the members of Meg and Dia and our audience, but I think we missed something. The symbols are obvious: heart for loving and caring, the mind for thinking and pondering, the ears for listening and being in tune with music and art, 

but we forgot about the soul. 

We need to acknowledge soul, because we need it to connect with ourselves to be open enough to connect with other people around us and the world at large.

I know that this task isn't always easy. You have to be brave and vulnerable. You are setting yourself up to be judged, to be seen, to be heard, perhaps to be told that there is a better way, and that takes courage. 

I made my latest creation, "Fight The Good Fight" necklace, because I believe that it is SO important to be brave and seek out other people, other artists, other people to share your work with.

Put yourself out there, scary as it is. You can't do this alone. And you'll find out, after you get over the initial scary part, that you won't ever want to.

Honestly, Meg

Friday, March 28, 2014

"Up" Necklace Pre-order


Imagine dozing off to sleep after a long day in class. Suddenly, you are jolted awake by a loud crash! Your entire house starts shaking.You watch your favorite eggshell-blue, table lamp smash to pieces. Is this an earthquake? You don't own any sturdy tables to duck under, since your furniture was all bought on sale at IKEA.
You tumble off the couch and run to grab the handle of your front door and shove it open. A burst of fresh air blows into your nostrils. 
With wide eyes, you peer down below. The apartments and homes look like tiny lego pieces. In front of you, only miles of blue sky. You look up and are completely dumbfounded as you make out hundreds of mint-green, gold, and white balloons bobbing up and down, their strings securely anchored to the top of your house. 
After the magnitude of the situation sets in, you collect your thoughts and start to become concerned about survival. How much ramen and Mountain Dew do you have left?
Then, a funny thing happens. You realize that an army of balloons don't attach themselves to your house and fly you away just any old day. You start to worry less and less about...well, worrying! You've been waiting for an unexpected adventure, an opportunity to seize the moment.

Maybe your lack of concern is being caused by the altitude and lack of oxygen up here, or maybe you are thinking straight for the first time in your life! You feel freedom, peace, and tranquility. You're going on an adventure!

Would you like a miniature, wearable, handmade-sculpture, that will remind you to seize the moment and live your life like one crazy adventure? 
I would like to introduce you to my "Adventure Is Out There" necklace. I created this necklace to inspire artists and creatives on their journey. You will be able to look down at the pendant, and imagine yourself tucked away in the tiny, black house with a dusted gold roof, flying off on your adventure! 
To order, click HERE. Use coupon code: "timetofly"
to receive 20% off!
For the next 24 hours, 80 "Adventure Is Out There" necklaces will be available for pre-order. Please keep in mind the discount code will only work today. The official release date of "Adventure Is Out There" will be April 3rd. 
  • Sculpture height: 3"
  • Chain length:  27"
  • Materials: antique copper and polymer clay.
  • Price: $100 ($80 with discount code)
  • Delivery time: 3-4 weeks. (If you are ordering from outside the U.S., please allow an additional 2 weeks for arrival.)
  • includes autographed CTR postcard with the unique number of your design. 
P.S. This is the second piece I have designed inspired by the movie "Up". I love Pixar and everything that they release. Nothing makes me more excited to work on new art more than great stories about adventure and love. My hope is that my "Adventure Is Out There" necklace can help inspire you in the same way! 



Monday, March 24, 2014

Dear Postman

I just got back from a post office run to drop off my Chandler orders. I sent a Stupendous Chandler to the United Kingdom. The post office lady and I tried to decipher the long address. We couldn't tell if some of the words were part of the business name or the street name. We worked it out to the best of our ability until the ancient computer deemed our formatting acceptable. 

She then reached for the other packages I had pre-stamped. As she sorted through them, she said, "You should see the way addresses are written out when they are being sent to Iran. They usually say something like: Turn left at the second dirt road, make a right, look for the building across from the cemetery, and then on the second floor locate for the door with the broken handle." I laughed. 

As I walked outside, clicking the clicker to my car, I thought about the two different types of addresses. I realized that in both cases the delivery man has the same objective: locate recipient and deliver mail. Yet, the methods to getting to the destinations differed so dramatically. 

We all want the same things out of life. We want to be happy. We want to enjoy ourselves, and we all have such different ways of searching for and arriving at that same destination. 

True there is a set way that addresses are written out: 

Jane Doe
1953 Golden Crescent Way
Birmingham, AL 35205 

This address, translated into life instructions, might look like: graduate from this high school, get into that college, marry that guy, get that job, own that house, have kids and a dog, and eat at your mother-in-law's house every Sunday evening. 

Would it really be so strange to instead to have the address, the life plan, to travel the world, join a circus, own a teacup pig, compete in transatlantic hot air balloon races (do these even exist?), work at a gourmet Asian fusion food truck on the weekdays, and perform at the comedy club on weekends?

Post card image used from an Etsy Shop called Eyefun
I hope my address at the end of my journey reads: 

Dear postman,

Please deliver the package to:

Meg Frampton
Follow the cobblestone road until you see the bent mail box, make an immediate right turn, followed by a left turn until you see the oak tree tilted 45 degrees. Follow the direction of the tilt until you find the animal pen with the two vivacious goats. (Please be careful not to upset the goats!) Proceed to the broken stoplight (that only flashes red these days.) Look for the corner store with the nice, old gentleman who always sits on the bench out front with his tiny pet poodle. There is a doorway to the right of that bench which will lead up two flights of stairs. Drop the package in front of the apartment door painted bright purple. Also, try not to make any noise while you are there. There is some messy art being created behind those doors. 
Somewhere in America. 82345

P.S. Nothing wrong with marrying that guy, owning that house, and eating at your mother-in-law's house every Sunday. I would freaking LOVE to eat at my boyfriend's mom's house every Sunday if we lived nearby. I was just using that example for the sake of this blog post. Cheers!




P.P.S. If you are wondering what kind of "messy art" I've been working on lately. I would like to introduce you to the newest member of the CTR shop: "Cooky Owl"!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Making "Lady Luck Earrings" (Behind The Scenes)

Today I would like to take you behind the scenes to show you a bit of how my process works. I'm going to show you how I make the new "Lady Luck Earrings" that I created just yesterday, because as we all know, St. Patrick's Day is on its way:)

First I cut the wire into small pieces, which I then wind back and forth. I use the handle of one of my polymer clay tools in order to get those smooth curves. I also have some round needle nose pliers that I use to make those curly cues at the tops and bottoms. (I use those curly cues in a lot of my designs. It's kind of one of my signature elements of stye.) I then use that hammer in the top right to hammer flat the edges of the design. This gives it a more sleek look and finishes off the metal portion.

Here I am using sulphur to "patina" the copper wire. Sulphur smells awful. I'm used to the smell, but for Nick's sake, I do the patina process outside. The sulphur looks like tiny chunks of rock. I stick one of those chunks in a bowl of water to dissolve it. (Usually, I wear gloves for this part of the process, but for the photo, I took them off even though I am obviously due for a serious manicure!)

Now to make the four leaf clovers. This is where the detail of the piece come in. I have a pasta machine I use to roll the clay into flat sheets. I then use the above tool to cut out tiny triangles, which I then cut into hearts. I use my nails and the edges of my fingers to give the leaves that round, smooth curve.

Then you have a tiny four leaf clover like this! (Ignore the peeling nail polish please!) 

Here is a row of lucky four leaf clovers. I usually make my jewelry assembly line style after I receive the days orders. I lay out the parts of the style I'm working on in rows, so I can count and keep them organized. Don't want to spend extra time making too many. These little things take quite a bit of time and effort.

The most challenging part of the whole process is getting the clovers to stay on the earring securely. I fashioned a way to do this from the back. I took a tiny dab of clay and attached it in the back, making a criss-cross with my x-acto knife tool. This way it kind of looks like a screw which ties into my "steampunk" theme that I incorporate into the rest of my online shop.

The last step is to add a metallic talcum powder. I used a brass color for these earrings because it has a bit of a green hue. I stick these in the oven at 275 degrees for thirty minutes or so, let them cool. Then I package them up, and they are ready to go!

Honestly,
Meg




Sunday, February 23, 2014

Productivity V.S. Creativity (An Excuse)

I'm always dreaming up new creative projects to try. (I'm sure you guys are too, based on the emails and feedback I get.) While experimenting with the latest new idea of mine, I find myself reading through dozens of blogs and books trying to discover "the secret" to success or the "best tips and tools for productivity". How did these professional writers, musicians, artists make it all the way to the top? 

As I've been digging and digging I came across similar recommendations such as:
  • Send out good vibes to the universe.
  • Use such and such software. (There is even a productivity writing software called "Write Or Die". Look it up. It's terrifying!)
  • Use such and such app.
  • Figure out how your body and energy correlates with the moon cycles/seasons/menstrual cycles 
  • Eat certain foods
  • Wake up early
  • Meditate
  • Have accountability partners
  • Read these books
  • Listen to these audio cds
  • Go on daily, spiritual nature walks
  • Escape for a weekend to recharge.
  • Use egg timers

I stopped one day, after reading through a rather dense blog filled to the brim with productivity tips, to remember the things I did to facilitate moderate success as a musician. What was my secret sauce? I've climbed the creative Mount Everest before. I started from day one with nothing. What tips and tricks did I use?

Did I use an egg timer to time my creative spurts?
Did I use spreadsheets, apps, and detailed calendars?


Nope.


I sat down every day to work out songs because I wanted to. I wrote down my melodies and lyrics not caring or worrying about critics or pleasing audiences or being concerned if anyone would listen to them. I wrote song after song, played guitar non-stop. When I had enough material I found other musicians who would play with me, an audience that wanted to listen. I showed them what I had. I did these things over and over again, day after day, for years. I just knew in my innocent, little heart of hearts, that someday, some people, somewhere, would absolutely go batty for what I created. I simply had to find them.


I focused on the art itself, and didn't get caught up in the details of how to create it.


Please understand that I'm not saying all of the productivity advice floating around the internet flat out sucks. What I am saying is this:

I now realize that every time I was looking for "productivity" and "creativity" tips, I was actually biding time and pretending to work on the planning of creating my art, so I wouldn't have to actually create it. I thought it was more important to look up the best methods to be productive instead of grabbing my guitar and coming up with good lyrics. I focused on building a detailed to-do list, even planning when I would stop to meditate before writing a chapter to invite my muse, instead of going forth and writing something down. Hell, my muse is either going to be there or she isn't! 

I was evading the actual sitting down to make my art because I was (and still am):
  • Afraid that it won't be good enough
  • Afraid that my new art won't measure up to what I've created in the past
  • Afraid that I'll never finish
  • Afraid that I'll never start
  • Afraid that I will be misunderstood.
  • Afraid that people will think I'm an idiot 
You'd think that after a decade of being a musician and performing in arenas that fears like this wouldn't deter me, but they still do. I'm right there with you. Doubts are dumb. Life shouldn't be so serious. People are counting on you and me to be entertained, to feel an emotion, to make the mundane, boring, painful parts of their lives easier to bear, like you and I are counting on all the artists that we look up to. We've got an assignment to do.

Gonna go do it now,

Meg

P.S. In the first part of this blog, the question to my search was, "How did these professional writers, musicians, artists make it all the way to the top?" That's the wrong question to ask. The right question is, "how can I find a way to face my fears so I can focus on what's important and finish the art that I start?" Well, how can you? ...

Monday, February 3, 2014

Tour Diaries: It's Cool

Our hotel in Kuta, Bali, stood just a few 100 meters away from the beach. (Yes, I now think in meters instead of miles, kilometers instead of pounds, and am accustomed to military time.) Tiny shacks sold kites shaped like pirate ships along the sandy shores. We watched the charcoal-colored ships sail through the sky, like brave shadow warriors, as the sunset morphed from a tangy orange to hot pink. 

The next day, Dia and I decided to take our chances leaving paradise to travel to Ubud, another town in Bali about an hour inland, for a mini, spiritual retreat. Mike and Carlo decided to stay behind, preferring to spend their two days relaxing by the pool with a cocktail and eating Pizza Hut in bed. (Which sounds awesome, but it wasn't as awesome as Ubud turned out to be!) 

This photo was taken at Sari Organic. To come here, we walked up a mountain on yet another dirt road, past rice paddies everywhere we looked. (You can see them in the background.)

This food looks (and tasted) amazing. This was not an exception. All the food in Ubud is fantastic and there are always health conscious options. I chose not to drink alcohol, but I didn't feel like I missed out, because they always had delicious non-alcoholic beverages. This was a homemade lemon grass, ginger ale.

There wasn't a name for the road that our hotel was on. It's not even a road actually. It's a narrow, windy, dirt path tucked away in between a 24-hour coffee shop and a souvenir store. Why did I choose this hotel if I knew it would be hard to find? Because it's right next to The Yoga Barn. Plus, reviews on Trip Advisor said that this place was quite a find once you actually, you know… find it. 

I don't care for "touristy" activities when traveling. Our manager, Mike, and Dia loved The Gardens By The Bay in Singapore and The Butterfly Farm in Penang, but I was bored out of my mind in both places. The Gardens By The Bay was a bunch of bushes and The Butterfly Farm was a bunch of bugs. (I'm visualizing Dia rolling her eyes right now as I type this.) 

Dia took a shot of me searching for the damned map that I lost that had the directions to our hotel. Ha!

When Dia mentioned going to The Sacred Monkey Forest, I grudgingly agreed. I knew The Sacred Monkey Forest would be just a bunch of monkeys, but I reasoned we could ask some people who worked there if they knew where our hotel was. Well, nobody had any idea where the hotel was, but this happened!
We did eventually find our hotel. Dia wanted a bubble tea. We stopped at a friendly looking coffee shop. The man serving us told us our hotel was just behind his shop. Our asses were saved so many times by hunches like this. We would be riding our bicycles (rented for $3.00 a day!), and all of a sudden one of us would have a slight inkling, a funny feeling in our bones. So we'd stop and say, "I think we need to turn here," or "I think it's just beyond that stone wall." Most of the time we'd be right. 

People come from all over the world to go on yoga retreats in Ubud. The most famous yoga studio is called The Yoga Barn. It consists of several studios, thoughtfully constructed with wood and glass, spread out over acres of jungle. Windy staircases, hidden by tangled jungle vines, lead from one studio to the next. 

Our teacher opened our vinyasa class with a speech about "humanizing" everyone we meet. I did implement her advice, imagining how our hotel clerk's family might interact during a holiday or what leisurely activities our waitress enjoys in her free time. 

Our instructor, a hippie transplanted from Tempe, Arizona, had wild, sandy hair and an enlightened, whispy smile. She wore colorful, beaded jewelry around her wrists that jingled when she raised her hands to the sky as she demonstrated poses. 

Halfway through the class, she told us to step down from our handstands and sit cross-legged on our mats. I seated myself and prepared to hear a spiritual lecture about "heart centers" and "chakras". She said:

"We're going to try these handstands again, just the way we did before, and if you lose your balance and fall out of the pose … that's cool."


Our spiritual leader of the afternoon told us it was "cool" to screw up. It was o.k. to make a mistake. Once she took the pressure off us, you should have seen how graceful we all whirled ourselves upside down. We rooted our fingertips firmly into our mats, and our legs to flew up against the wall like a giant, peaceful wave.

After class, our teacher told us how important community is. She asked us to introduce ourselves to the person sitting next to us. The people who come to Ubud are from all over the world. They come to escape, to search, to discover. I sat next to a man named Michelle from Switzerland. He used to work in a corporate job and made lots of money. When he turned 65, he asked himself, "What am I doing here? What's all this about?" He immediately went on a holiday to Ubud. He said he planned on staying for 5 days. He ended up staying for 13 years! 

Dia sat next to a travel blogger from Europe. She came to visit Ubud for a week and stayed for a month! 

As the day went on, we made several friends who we kept running into throughout the town. Many conversations were had, and I realized, all of us, coming from all different parts of the world, may have different political views, different religions, different ideas of culture and traditions, but we can still come together and share a moment, be it a yoga class or whatever. And even though we don't all agree on everything, we can agree on one thing: 


We are all human. 


I'm pretty sure that we all feel the same way about wanting to find love, hating wars, and wishing for happiness and peace.

And as for all those other things that we can't and won't ever agree on… It's cool.

Honestly, Meg



Monday, January 27, 2014

Tour Diaries: Do It Anyway

I feel tired, even after ten hours of sleep. Three weeks is about the time the exhaustion starts to set in. We've sat in dozens of airport terminals, at least fifty taxi cabs and vans, slept in boat-loads of hotel beds. I'm starting to feel the "tour haze". No matter how many naps I steal in between flights and shows, I'm not going to be able to escape it. I'm not looking forward to the 16-hour plane flight home and accompanying jet lag. 

Yes, I know traveling all over Southeast Asia, all expenses paid, is a dream. That doesn't mean I don't feel homesick at times and miss someone (special!) back in California. 


In the Philippines we appeared on a few t.v. shows and radio stations. Carlo was starstruck most of the time, pointing and saying, "Look there is so-and-so! She's dating so-and-so, and that guy over there just announced he is gay and is helping the homosexual community!" Stunning women stood next to me on stage and back stage. I felt under-dressed and under-make-uped where cameras flashed and host's grins sparkled like the tops of snowy glaciers. 

I told Nick over Skype I'm kind of glad he didn't come, because he might have been swept away by a pair of mysterious hazel eyes. 

Everyone sang in Manilla. Our cab driver sang. The greeter at the hotel sang. It's strange to see people without any inhibitions openly express themselves in public. 

After we landed in Malaysia, I tried to associate it to a place I had been to before. Hawaii was the closest I could think of. Our host said, "The similarities stop with the coconuts." After spending three days there, I agreed. 

The people are a mix of Malay, Chinese, and Indian. You can walk down the street and buy fresh vegetarian samosas made right in front of you from a little food cart while shopping for a sari, then walk a couple blocks more to what they call a "Hawker Center" and order up some authentic Chinese cuisine. I never stopped feeling exhilarated each time we walked out of a shopping mall or restaurant and were greeted by the ocean's gently rolling waves.


Dia's fans have been really respectful. A little too respectful. For example, at our signing at Puma, everyone shyly stood back a few feet from the store entrance and had to be ushered in by a Puma associate in order to get the ball rolling. In the states, at a festival I attended, people literally knocked over a chain link fence to be the first in line at a Modest Mouse signing. (Not that we are Modest Mouse status, but still…)


We spoke at a University in Malaysia about the music industry. The young students were equally as shy and respectful as the people coming to our shows. A member of the audience asked how a shy person might perform if she has stage fright. Dia replied that she is taking acting lessons to learn to not be shy. While I agree that a person doesn't have to give in to this personality trait, and one can learn how to be more outgoing, I still haven't discovered the secret to being fearless on stage.

I told the audience there has been one or two performances in my whole life when I haven't been afraid. All the rest of the shows, even still to this day, after seven years of performing, I'm still afraid. 



So I told the shy student, "So what if you are afraid? It's o.k. to be afraid. You aren't going to die."

Do it anyway.


It's o.k. to be afraid, to expect fear, to treat it like a pet that is going to show up anyway, so you might as well be prepared and allow it to sleep by your feet, just as long as it stays still and doesn't become too jumpy.

Do it anyway.

            Do it anyway.

                        Do it anyway.


Honestly, Meg