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.


I’m still working hard on setting things – gemstone, glass, shell, rocks, you name it.  And, I’m branching out with the settings.  This necklace is one of my newer designs and I just loved putting it together.  I started with the white glass cabochon and wanted to accent the designs in it – they brought to mind twigs and leaves.  So, I cut tiny twigs and leaves out of silver, soldered then onto a silver base, and then soldered on the bezel ring that is holding the glass.  I further embellished the setting with a leaf stamp and random markings also meant to repeat the design reflecting twigs and leaves.

I tend to make beaded necklaces for most of my pendants but this one wanted just a few beads and mostly chain.  I used three dark fresh water pearls on one side and a faceted rhodonite bead and dark ruby crystal on the other and completed the necklace with darkened silver chain.  I even darkened the clasp and added one pearl and one crystal right at the clasp.  Learning to do more with metal has been a gratifying journey for me and I have so much yet to learn.  I care so much about each piece I make and am very involved with each while I am making it – carefully considering each element and its placement, editing and refining as needed.

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I love miniature chairs and have a small collection of them.  Most of my collection is on my fireplace mantel, a few are placed here and there throughout the house.  I always wanted to try to make chair jewelry and as part of my journey to learn to work with metal, I tried making chair earrings.  These are the first design I’ve come up with.

Now, I must tell you, this is the second draft of the first design.  My thought was to do a little retro chair, the kind with a bucket seat that swivels.  I looked at chairs, sketched my design out and made a sample pair of chair earrings.  I asked one friend what she thought and she said they were beautiful butterfly earrings.  Not what I was hoping for.  I asked another friend, she said what cute little hearts, they’re adorable.  So, I went back to the drawing board and hopefully this pair looks more like chairs.  I’d like to play with the idea some more – different chair styles and maybe a bracelet of little chair charms.

Two-dimensional chairs like I’ve done give you more challenges when it comes to design because a level of abstraction is needed.  Three-dimensional ones may have some wearability challenges when it comes to the chair legs.  I still love them all anyway.

There are some other people out there playing with chairs and here are some pieces I like.  This single chair necklace is from Beyond the Valley and I think has a graceful elegance.

Photos courtesy of Beyond the Valley

For a total WOW factor, I love, love this necklace made entirely of chairs.

Photo courtesy of Lost a E Minor

Here’s hoping there is more chair jewelry in my future.

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My inspiration for this necklace was the beautiful ojime bead that sits right below the two turquoise nugget beads.  It is beautifully carved out of wood and features a little frog peeking out from under a mushroom.  Ojime (pronounced oh-jay-meh) beads originated in Japan and were designed to work in conjunction with other items to allow the wearer to hang items from a sash around their kimono.  Many of today’s ojime beads are reproductions of antique ojime; others are original works inspired by the tradition.

The ojime bead just felt so earthy to me and I loved it’s warm brown color.  Pairing it with a simple brown rock found outside seemed the right way to go.  I set the rock in sterling silver and cupped the silver around the rock to cradle and nestle it.  The beads I chose felt equally earthy to me – turquoise, Hill Tribes silver leaves, sodalite, and creamy coral.  I think I did right by the little frog and love the color statement the piece makes as well as the interestingness of each element.

I had never worked with Cubic Zirconia Beads or components prior to making this piece.  I knew CZ was a less expensive alternative to diamonds and was often seen in settings similar to those you would find for diamonds and precious stones but did not really consider them as something I would use in my jewelry.  So when Artbeads.com asked if I would try designing something with them, I was excited by the challenge.  I quickly realized that CZ beads come in a number of shapes and colors and as soon as I saw these long teardrops, I knew this was what I wanted to use.

They are absolutely gorgeous, sparkly with rich colors and facets that play with the light.  I laid them on a blank piece of paper, took my pencil in hand and started sketching.  I came up with the idea to create squiggles out of wire to separate the CZ teardrops.  After considering silver and copper, I decided on brass and I knew I wanted to darken it to accentuate the golden and red tones of the CZ’s.  I also added crystals in warm colors with the exception of the tiny olive crystals that cool down the heat of so many warm, fiery colors.  Black spacer beads and two lengths of handmade brass chain complete the design.

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Red Jasper Necklace with Picture Frame Part

The inspiration for this necklace came from two things – one was the red jasper cab set in silver at the top of the pendant.  The other is the blue and rust strip that sits at the bottom of the pendant.  It is a piece of painted wood that had an earlier life as a picture frame.  It had broken but I liked the colors and put it in a box to do something with – I wasn’t sure what.  I’m not a pack rat, but as a creative type, I tuck things away here and there that seem interesting.

When I started building the pendant for this necklace, I realized I wanted more dimension that just the copper strip provided.  I started digging in my box of stuff, saw the picture frame, and knew it was the right color.  Problem was, I have no experience working with wood.  Compared to my jeweler’s saw, wood saws look giant and I don’t understand the purpose of the different types of wood saws.  So, I used what I know and tried my jeweler’s saw on the picture frame and it got the job done.  I started by cutting a test strip off the frame.  I tried drilling it to see if the wood wanted to split.  The wood drilled beautifully, so I thought – this is workable.

I then cut the actual piece used here in the pendant.  The copper strip is soldered onto the silver base.  The wood piece is riveted to the metal.  I love the pendant and enjoyed working on it, bringing multiple layers together.  It only wanted a simple necklace in a harmonious soft olive green tone with the tiniest dash of blue crystals.  I obliged.

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Paulina Necklace

In my city, there is a little bit of waterfront that yields wonderful treasures.  It’s not really a beach.  It’s more like an area with rocks and tall grasses near some warehouses and office buildings.  Over the years, I’ve managed to collect a few objects that I knew would be beautiful as jewelry.  For a long time, I did not have the skills to do anything with the pieces.  They sat in a box and I would run my hands through them every so often – things worn by the sea can have such a nice feel.

The blue ceramic piece in this necklace was found at this waterfront area.  I loved the color.  I loved the v-shape that is now at the bottom.  I loved that part of it was broken and then smoothed by the water.  Maybe it was a hexagon?  Doesn’t matter – I think I like it better this way.  I set it in sterling silver with four shorter prongs and one really long prong that curves around nestling in the crevices.  I elaborated on the color blue by adding a lapis stone at the top.  Most of the time, I make beaded necklaces for my creations.  This pendant said no – it wanted the simplicity of a chain only.  I said OK.

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