January 2010

I’ve been of two minds here lately – on one hand I’ve been making larger, chunkier ethnic eclectic pieces and I am so in love with them.

On the other, I’m equally enamored with a series of pieces based on images from the forest floor – tiny leaves, pods, vines, moss, lichen.

This pair of earrings is from the latter.  I’m working in brass primarily, cutting tiny designs in it, and then adding a second layer of related designs by stamping the metal.  I then add additional interest by darkening the brass, sanding it, and then darkening it again.  The result is darker edges – a small touch, but one that I think matters.

When I first learned to saw metal and was breaking saw blades right and left, I could not have imagined making such tiny cuts.  It’s nice being better with the saw and being able to make some of what is in my imagination.  So far, I’ve done two necklaces and this pair of earrings in the series.  I’m calling it “Secrets from the Forest Floor”.  I’d like to explore it more over the coming months.


Two of my friends and I have embarked on a collaboration project and I am very excited about it.  First, because I’ve wanted to collaborate with other artists and have tried at times, but my attempts never fell on fertile soil until now.  Secondly, both friends are amazing artists – one paints and the other is a collage and mixed media artist – so I know I will not only enjoy the process but also learn and grow from what happens.  And end up with a beautiful creation they both lent their time and talents to.

So, here’s what we’ve come up with.  Each of us will create an item of our own choosing.  We will then hand it to the next person who will embellish it and add the artistic elements of their choosing.  The second person then hands the item to the third person for them to further enhance.  Each item then goes back to its original owner altered in some way by the hands of the other two artists.

Everyone created their item and we made the first hand-off.  We made the exchange at lunch and everyone was excited to see what they would get to work with and also had questions about  any constraints or limitations the originator felt strongly about.

The collage shown above is what I received.  I think it is beautiful and I can’t wait to work with it.  I have an idea and I’m trying not to think too much about what the next person will do with it.  I want to add elements that honor it and express my point of view and where I am artistically right now.

A surprise occurred when the second friend also brought something for me to work with – a button she had painted on, some handmade paper, and a bit of raffia.  I’ve got an idea for it too that I’m excited about.

And here is the item I made and handed off.  It’s a copper rectangle with a second piece of copper that has a flowered pattern on it.  I really can’t wait to see it at the second hand-off and to get it back after the third.  OK, I really want all three pieces to come back to me, my two friends have said – no way.

I’ll put up photos of the collaboration project as it moves through the two phases and just enjoy the process however it goes.  I’ve already learned something from it.  I realize that I tried to exert some level of control in what came back to me.  I’ve let that go and am open to whatever occurs.

I hope we do this again.  It feels good and true.

Shiny new stuff and things from the past, the sweet simplicity, the deep complexity of walking through life with another person…

These are some of the concepts I tried to capture in this necklace, starting with an old key attached securely to a textured silver-toned metal plate.  That plate is firmly riveted to a second larger plate – this time darkened brass with multiple, random holes.  From the key and metal assembly hangs a shiny new heart – one filled with swirls of color – wondrous and inviting.  The chain – bright, shiny silver hearts, so delicate in contrast to the metal plate but strong enough to carry it.  A few crystals and tiny darkened brass hearts scattered up the chain complete the design.

The glass heart is from Artbeads.com Valentine’s Day glass pendants and the silver chain from their collection of Valentine’s Day chain.

Disclaimer:  The glass heart and silver chain were provided to me free of charge as part of Artbeads.com Beading for Bloggers program.  All other materials were supplied by me.

This evening I attended a concert in which my boyfriend played with his group.  And wow, did they do an awesome job.  The music was just beautiful, it was well attended, and I enjoyed just seeing him play – alive, free, and passionate.  To be on stage, to give one’s all, and to be recognized and appreciated is no small thing.  It won’t ever happen for me, my path is a different one, and a path I am happy with, but to him I say – I am proud.

I love playing in  my button jar and finding ways to make jewelry using buttons.  Button jewelry can be colorful and fun, buttons can also be used to make jewelry more contemporary and sophisticated like these earrings.  I like the color palette – everything is in dark neutral and muted tones.  The adventure for me in making these earrings was to use the holes without using a lot of jump rings.  I could have done it that way but I think the visual emphasis would have shifted away from the buttons and towards the jump rings.

I used one jump ring in each earring – to attach it to the earwire at the top.  The other connections were made using head pins that start in the center of the smaller button at the bottom.  The head pin at the top bends up, through the back of the top button, back down and then around to complete the attachment.  The second head pin bends into a loop in the back used to attach the brass dangle below.  I’m going junk shopping today and hope I can snag a jar or box of more buttons.

I love it when a plan comes together – don’t we all?  In designing this necklace, my goal was to use a bit of tin from a box a friend gave me.  Once people know you can work with tin, old boxes start coming out from everywhere – the attic, garage, that closet – you know the one.  And I’m always happy to receive these treasures and the people who give them to me are happy the tin gets used.

I had this man in the moon charm and it fit so nicely over an area of the tin with a star.  I love the way the two fit together – you can’t tell if the moon is watching over the star or if the star is watching over the moon.  Doesn’t matter – you can tell that there’s a relationship.  And when I found another charm that fit nicely behind both pieces and already had three holes at the bottom for dangles, well, we were cooking with gas, as they say.

I used glass beads and pearls in shades of blue and bronze for the necklace and added bits of chain at the bottom with little star charms and more glass and pearl beads.  Here’s to sweet dreams.

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This is one of my favorite pictures of my father.  This picture was taken in Florida – St. Petersburg I think.  My oldest sister and I were living in Tampa at the time and our parents came to visit for a little vacation.  We ended one day with a walk on the beach. I must have looked at it hundreds of times and never once questioned why he had a suit on at the beach – because that was Daddy.  My father almost always wore business clothes.  And unless he had on a tux, he only wore short-sleeved shirts.  Winter or summer – didn’t matter.  This is who he was and his personal style.

Style is made of so many elements – the era and culture we live in, climate, one’s heritage, our profession, how we feel about ourselves, how we wish to be seen, so many things.  It’s nice when we can find those things that reflect who we feel we are and make us comfortable in our own skin, even it if’s a suit on the beach.

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