Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Happy Holidays...

It is the second night of Hanukkah and, just after midnight tonight, it will be Winter Solstice also. Three days from now it will be Christmas Eve and four days from now Christmas Day.

What a powerful, magical moment in our year wheel. Despite the dreariness of this day in Tallahassee, I'm feeling the mojo of these special, important holidays lining up this way.

This has been such a transitional year for me. Going online with an Etsy shop and Facebook fan page was a new step for me. I can't report overwhelming numbers, but I'm pleased with what I hope will become the beginning of a new way of selling my art jewelry.

The most wonderful development in my online life is my new global community! Daily, I 'chat' with dear new friends in Hong Kong, Sweden, Greece, Canada, Australia, Brittain, Israel, and all over the U.S. I have already learned so much from each of them, and have had so much fun. My 'award of the year' goes to online virtual communities who support fellow friends and artists, sharing what they know so freely.

On the homefront, I've watched my elderly parents march up to the edge of mortality a little bit more than in the past. At 87, they've lived here in Tallahassee again for the past 5 years. 89% of the credit for their good care must go to my younger sister. She lives with them (and her husband) in a large home in my city. My elder son and I pitch in with discreet but critical help (shopping, feeding, time spent, help with decision making, etc.).

After 5 blessed years of a mostly slow, imperceptible decline, their decline is suddenly speeding up. We do not know what the new year holds for us. We are an aging family! Our youngest will soon be 23, but our other child turned 31. Life looks and feels different now.

I know I will continue to make my art jewelry. I'm just getting good at it! Just figuring out what I want to make that will sell. I plan to explore that more in 2012. I plan to enjoy my new friendships (and my old ones, too). I plan to be here for my family members. And to embrace the coming of 2012 with open arms.

Pictured above are my funky, folky sterling Christmas Tree earrings. They're available in my Etsy shop, which you can reach by clicking on the tab at the top of my blog page.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Almost Here! 'Just Midtown!'

'Just Midtown: A Humidity Holiday Show' begins this Thursday evening! It will take place over two evenings (Thurs & Fri) and one day (Sat), 12/1-12/3.

Located in Barbara Psimas' Midtown studio at 335 Beard Street, it's an inside show.

Sharri Moroshok and I will present our very newest art jewelry. Sharri is known for her beautiful beaded beads. I work in metals. And we both make beaded jewelry in vintage glass and semi-precious gemstone beads.

Perfect for holiday gifts (or as a gift to yourself -- remember all of those holiday events coming up)!

Find Barbara's studio easily, from Thomasville Rd. (Waterworks is the corner landmark), or from Gadsden St. It's on the corner of Beard St. and Gadsden St. in a 2-storey red brick office building, in the lower left unit. Free parking in front of the building or in the parking lot behind the building, and other nearby spots. Chez Pierre's parking lot is across the street.

There was an article about this show in our daily newspaper, The Tallahassee Democrat, and you can see it as this link:

The schedule:
Thurs 12/1       7-9 pm
Fri 12/2           5:30-8:30 pm
Sat 12/3          11-4


Pictured above is my Blossom Jasper Pendant with sterling silver. It's available in my online Etsy shop.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Every Once in Awhile...

In the new year, when I have more time, it's my intent to work on my blog and turn it into more of an online 'zine about art jewelry and the artists who make it and who sell it in different ways online.

This first year in business online myself, I've had a zillion learning curves, all while working hard in my studio to create new works worthy of the endeavor.  And now the holiday shopping season has arrived and I'm getting busy.

Pictured is one of my funky Christmas tree pendants in patterned steel and copper. Available in my Etsy shop, along with several others.

In the midst of all of the activity, along comes a nice experience, that of having a piece of my work highlighted in another artist's blog!

The writer/editor of that blog is already where I want to go with this one, and so it was a privilege and very fun to find my work included there.

Once in awhile, something really nice like this happens and it's the highlight of the day.

Hoping all of you in the U.S. have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Just Us in Midtown: A Humidity Holiday Show... with Tana & Sharri

Once upon a time, two Tallahassee jewelry artists (Tana & Sharri) grew weary of life on the road and art shows and bead shows in distant villages. They wanted to stay home more and work with local artists and find ways to market their work there.

So they opened Humidity Gallery, first in an art park called Railroad Square. And then they moved it to Market Street. They ran their gallery for 4 years. They sold the works of more 200 local and regional artists during that time. But, in their first year on Market Street, the national economy tanked and it became difficult to grow and prosper in a small college city.

So, after 4 years, they sadly closed their gallery and returned to the lives of studio artists. They began to market their work on Etsy and Facebook, and returned to placing  their work in galleries in distant villages. The first year was full of learning and surprises and transitions and some successes.

One day, another local artist, Barbara Psimas, came to them and offered them the opportunity to do a 3-day show in her beautiful Midtown art studio. They decided to hold this during the holiday season and to spread the word that their newest work would be featured in a studio show.

And so, on December 1st, their show, 'Just Us in Midtown' will open. On that first evening, they will be open from 7-9 pm. On the next evening (Tallahassee's 'First Friday' monthly gallery hop evening), they will be open from 5:30-8:30 p.m. And on that Saturday, December 3rd, they will be open from 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Holiday snacks will be served.

To get to the show at Barbara Psimas' Midtown studio, find the 2-storey red brick office building at the corner of Beard Street and Gadsden Street, at the south edge of Chez Pierre's parking lot. From Thomasville Road, the landmark is Waterworks.

Barbara's studio is in the lower left unit of the building. There's parking in front of the building and nearby.

We'll have some signs outside guiding your way.

Barbara will also have her classical jewelry on exhibit, as well as her Madonnas and other fine art.

To stay in touch with us and to learn more, please find us on our Facebook fan pages:


Address for the studio and show:  335 Beard Street, Tallahassee, FL 32302

These gorgeous photos were shot by Sharri Moroshok (copyright 2011). They depict current work by Tana & Sharri. Sharri creates beaded beads of many types and is world famous for this! The top photo is a duo of earrings, one pair by Sharri (the green & silver beaded-bead pair) and one by Tana (the bronze leaf pair.)

The middle photo is of Sharri's stacking bangles with beaded beads & vinyl tube beads and of Tana's bronze & sterling pendant, fabricated with a sterling 'cabachon.'

The bottom photo is of one of Sharri's gemstone beaded-bead Sea Urchin beads and one of Tana's stacking bangles in recycled copper and bronze, with an abstract blossom adorning it.

All of these items and many more can be found in the artists' Etsy shops!

Sharri's Etsy shop, TheBeadedBead, can be found at this link and you owe to yourself to take a look!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Upcoming Local Shows...

As time grows closer, I'll publish more details about my three local holiday shows. But I wanted to give you a heads-up about them now, because each one will be a fun event -- and the chance to see my new work and that of other local artists!

My first show will be in Tallahassee's 'Downtown Marketplace' on Saturday, Nov. 26. This is the Saturday of our Thanksgiving weekend. I'll be bringing new metalwork and beadwork.

My second show, with my former Humidity Gallery business partner, Sharri Moroshok, will be a 3-day show at artist Barbara Psimas' Midtown studio. Located at 335 Beard Street, her studio looks across the street to the south edge of Chez Pierre's parking lot. Waterworks is at  Beard Street and Thomasville Road, just slightly west of Barbara's place.

This show is called 'Just Us in Midtown... A Humidity Holiday Show!' It will open on the evening of Thursday, Dec. 1, at 7 pm. We will be open again the following evening (Friday, Dec. 2 -- 'First Friday' gallery hop), from 6-8 pm. And our final day for this show will be Saturday, Dec. 3, when we'll be open from 11 am - 4 pm.

My final show of the season will be back in the Downtown Market for the 'Just One More' show on Saturday, Dec. 10.

My Etsy shop will be open all through the season and I will be posting new work there. The last moment to get guaranteed delivery by Christmas will be Monday, Dec. 12. I will package all last orders that evening and ship them the next day.

For the very best selection in my Etsy shop, please considering purchasing early in the season. During my shows, some items will be taken down from Etsy and might not make it back onto my online shop after the shows, if they sell during shows.

I do mostly one-of-a-kind work, but I do produce lines. Pictured here are two of my new stacking bangle bracelets, a new line I'm working on. The top bracelet is hand-forged copper with an organic sterling silver blossom. I recycled the sterling and forged it into the blossom. The bottom bracelet is hand-forged copper with an organic copper blossom. I created it in the same way. These look great solo or in a stack of several. They're available in my Etsy shop:

You can also click on the tab at the top of my blog page to see a sampling of new work and to access my shop easily!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Treasury for Day of the Dead

Halloween and Day of the Dead lie straight ahead. Originally 'All Hallows' Eve,' Halloween is also known as the Witches' New Year and a moment when the portals between the world of the living and the world of the dead is open widest -- so that ancestors may be remembered.

In New Orleans, the Feast of All Saints takes place on November 1. Families go to their cemetaries and clean the graves. They often picnic near their family plots, communing with loved ones who have passed.

In Mexico and elsewhere, the Day of the  Dead is celebrated over two days: November 1 is All Saints' Day and November 2 is All Soul's Day. Sugar skulls, bright colors and revelry are seen in these celebrations of the dead. Day of the Dead skulls and skeletons are happy creatures, filled with hearts and flowers, not the ghouls of Halloween.

To celebrate the Day of the Dead, one of the Etsy teams I participate in (Etsy's Best Kept Secrets) accepted a leader's challenge to produce Day of the Dead pieces. A blog montage and Facebook fan page posting will reveal these fabulous works. And I have curated a Day of the Dead treasury on Etsy:

It's been said that how a culture handles death says a lot about how it handles life. By making the dead extraordinary, Day of the Dead also makes it ordinary -- and something one can accept. At least a little better...

In the photo: My 'Day of the Dead' necklace with a sugar skull pendant. Made expressly for this team challenge! It's available in my Etsy online shop at:   Or you can click on the tab at the top of my blog!

Monday, October 10, 2011


I ran around in the rain today, a she-hunter/gatherer collecting ingredients for the newest artmaking workspace in my house.

My dining room will soon be the place for hand-knotting beaded jewelry and selecting beautiful yarns for two crafts I've not done in awhile.

Cramped into my tiny metalsmithing studio and equally tiny computer/office corner of the family room, I found I was paralyzed re: beading and crochet because I couldn't SEE my materials.

My generous husband suggested I take up more room in the house. And as I looked around I realized that it is the dining room that saw the least use and was the most cluttered.

And so I have spent today not working on metals projects, but shopping for new shelving, furniture paint, Ott lamps and yarn bins -- so that this very public workspace can look good even when I'm being productive in it.

Since you'll see two spaces when you enter our front door: our living room and this new studio, it has to look good.

Out went all the mail and clutter. Out came the brooms and dusters. I turned the table around and positioned the side furnshings and took down a huge canvas. In that painting's place will go new shelving for my yarns. I'm thinking this area will be more of an asset to the house than the old dining configuration.

Still some work to be done before I can move my materials in. The smell of latex paint will be around this evening. But as it dries and dissipates, my yarn bins and bead boxes will fill new cubbies and shelves and I will begin to work in these media, too.

After all, for working crafters, it's already Christmas and Hanukkah! Not a moment too soon to be ready for home shows and downtown markets when holiday shopping begins.


The photo, above, is my hammered copper bracelet-cuff which says: 'Art is a hammer with which to create reality.'  It's available in my Etsy shop. Please visit the tab at the top of my blog that leads to my Etsy shop!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

CityRusticJewelry on Etsy... a new mini version for my blog!

Now you can shop for my jewelry on Etsy directly from my blog! I've added what's called an 'Etsy Mini' to the blog and you can see it by clicking on the tab at near the top of my blog page called 'CityRusticJewelry on Etsy.'

The content of the Mini will change from time to time, as I upload new items to my shop. Etsy's a great way to find and purchase amazing handcrafted items in all craft media. (Vintage pieces and art supplies, too!)

As the holidays approach, we artists would love you to buy original handmade gifts for your special peeps! You'll find excellent choices right on Etsy.


I'm hard at work in my studio these days, creating all manner of new artisan jewelry in my rustic/urban vernacular!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Leaves of Bronze...

I love what I do. I'm lucky. I've already achieved what Stewart Brand and Steve Jobs admonished us to do. I see many friends and loved ones struggling to find their passion so they can get started on their life's path. I don't know how to help them except to admonish them to do as Stewart Brand did on the back cover of The Last Whole Earth Catalog: Stay hungry. Stay foolish.

Steve Jobs said: "You've got to find what you love. The only way to do great work is to love what you do. So keep searching."

My passion (besides my family) is metals. I wish I had found metalsmithing decades earlier than I did. I wish I could live forever, to do this.

There is always something new to discover, to find out about. Always a new conversation to have with fellow metalsmiths. Always a new tutorial to present to non-metalsmiths, about the magic and physical science of working with metals. So that they understand what they see when they buy or wear jewelry.

And I am passionate about my new metal: bronze. It is similar to and different from the other metals I work with: silver, copper and brass.

It inspires me to work in a more contemporary, minimalist direction than the other metals. Maybe because its bronze color is just the right shade of warm and glowing. It shows texture. It looks great with silver.

My new  Bronze Leaf Series is being born. These are two pairs of earrings in this series. I have 4 pairs available in my Etsy shop, known as cityrusticjewelry on Etsy:

I will soon be uploading a new pendant and cuff bracelet in this series, so stay tuned!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Trapezoid as Muse...

Way back in the distant past, I encountered the trapezoid. Maybe it was 10th grade geometry class. While the teacher rambled on about finding the area of a trapezoid, I got lost in a daydream about how cute they were.

Since then, I've always drawn them in my doodlings. And once I became a metalsmith, I brought them to life in copper.

I love to applique (by sweat soldering) shapes and forms onto their surfaces. Sterling, brass and bronze are used for the details. I fabricate each piece and solder them to the trapezoid.

Brand new in this line are my Copper Trapezoid Earrings. Reminiscent of my Trapezoid Fan Necklaces, the trapezoids in my earrings are smaller in scale, but host nearly as much detail.

They are asymmetrical in their detail, but balanced by their matched trapezoids. They're also hand stamped, on the copper and on the leaves and blossoms.

You can see these Copper Trapezoid Earrings, plus others, by following this link to my Etsy shop.  I have Trapezoid Fan Necklaces there, as well as other Trapezoid Earrings!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Buy Handmade This Holiday!

The notion of 'handmade' has exploded in the past decade, and nothing is more perfect for holiday giving than original gifts of high quality made by artists.

It's great to buy directly from artists, whether from their studios, online sites, or at art shows and holiday bazaars. It's also great to support the locally owned galleries and shops in your community.

So I and my fellow artists have launched this 'Buy Handmade This Holiday' project to get the word out.

We hope you'll join us in the cycle of crafting and gifting in the season to come!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Reintroducing myself to my Muse...

Life is busy. I'm a wife, a daughter, a sister, a mother of two grown sons, a pet owner, a social networker and a member of my local community. And I'm a studio artist, a metalsmith.

I often walk around muttering to my Muse. She sits on my shoulder and whispers design ideas to me all day long. She tells me bedtime stories as I close my eyes at night. She makes me twitch and itch to spend hours and hours and hours in my too-tiny home studio, trying to make that ever-elusive 'breakthrough' to the other side.

I seem to remember some character in a book long ago, whose quest was for an Original Idea. This is also part of my conversation with my Muse.

I found her so long ago I can't remember when or how. But I have also lost her many times. The most important story on this that I have was a moment more than 20 years ago, when I had not made art in many years and found myself in the Laughing Horse Inn in Taos, New Mexico. In deep pain and feeling lost, I encountered two older women, close friends who met up in Taos every year to take art classes together. They drew my story out of me and when I said that, on top of everything else going on in my life right then, I was in deep pain because I wasn't making art, they said that getting back to artmaking was the most important issue for me to tackle. That everything else would fall into place if I would just do that. This seemed so impossible at the time.

But, eventually, I found jewelry design and, with halting steps, began to make and sell bead jewelry. I traveled to market it. I gained new confidence in myself and my life. And, most importantly, found happiness in building upon jewelry-making skill sets. I found a great many excellent teachers along the way. I found that, having stated my intent to be happy making and selling jewelry, that the resources in the universe lined up to help me do it.

Along the way, I became a happy person instead of someone off-track and in pain. I met my husband and began a long marriage. My own son grew up and I gained a younger stepson. The computer age arrived and I began to learn it. The social network age arrived, and I learned that too. I opened and ran a beautiful gallery for four years and then returned to making and marketing my own jewelry design again.

I push myself forward, always. My Muse sits on my shoulder and fuels me with that promise of a 'breakthrough.' She reintroduces herself to me daily, and I accept her insights and companionship and her admonition to get busy with that Original Idea.


This article is written in conjunction with my Etsy team: Aspiring Metalsmiths on Etsy, which organized a 'blog roll' on the topic of: Finding Your Muse. Here is the list of links to other team members' blogs on this topic!


September Project Blogroll - Finding Your Muse

Each month the Aspiring Metals team chooses a topic and each write about that topic on their blog. This month we want to know what inspires you, and where do you look for inspiration?

See what we have to say by visiting the blogs below:

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Journey Through Metalsmithing: Recent Etsy Treasuries

Four new rings using recycled patterned sterling wire with handmade copper blossoms in different styles. These are heading to Newbill Collections by the Sea, a wonderful fine craft gallery on Ruskin Place in Seaside, Florida.


My spending lots of time on my computer (working on Etsy and Facebook and Twitter) dovetails perfectly with time in my home studio. I bounce back and forth from workbench to computer desk all day long.

Recently, many of my pieces in Etsy have been removed because those pieces have been sent to various galleries who have invited my work.

This is giving me the chance to rethink what work to put into my Etsy shop next. I'm busy in my studio, filling gallery orders, making some things for Etsy, and getting ready for some local selling events in November and December, in time for the winter holidays.

In the meantime, I'm also continuing to publish Etsy 'treasuries,' collections I curate from works I find on the online site. My main treasuries thread is what I call my 'curriculum' on metalsmithing.

I am endlessly fascinated by all things metalworking. Since I came up in an era when an MFA in metals was virtually unknown -- and, certainly, girls didn't take that career path -- I've spent the past 18 years teaching myself all manner of jewelry-making skills. Since I did not take the academic path to this, I'm educating myself about metals, methodologies and design.

Thank goodness for the age of online information!

Here are 6 recent Etsy treasuries I've curated on metalsmithing and design:

The Bronze Age: a look at modern work in this ancient alloy:

Copper is the Season: A gallery of exquisite art jewelry design in copper, sometimes using semi-precious gemstones:

The Big Bang Theory: Artists expressing ideas about the cosmos in metals:

Modernist, Minimalist Metalwork:  Contemporary design in metals, sometimes with a retro feel:

Industrial Frameworks:  The use of line and form to suggest solidity:

Fiber Techniques in Metals: Handwoven: A look at works in metals that resembed loomed work or baskets:

Monday, September 5, 2011

Brick and Mortar Locations for My Work!

I've been in transition for nearly all of 2011. This means I closed my beloved fine craft gallery, Humidity Gallery, which I co-owned with a friend, in January of this year.
Then I took a few months to rest and get my wits about me. And to get my chops back as a metalsmith. And to establish my new online presence as City/Rustic Jewelry.

I started my Etsy shop and my Facebook fan page, made a lot of jewelry and uploaded it to Etsy. This has been a fun and interesting process!

I have now reached the point where my inventory has grown large enough to return to out-of-town galleries. And so I am happy to say that I have returned to Newbill Collections by the Sea in Seaside, Florida. And tomorrow I am sending work to The Tortured Heart Gallery in Gulf Breeze, Florida (near Penasacola).

It feels good to be placing work in galleries again. Annette Newbill Trujillo and Stephanie Ritchie are each incredible women. And their galleries are beautiful.

I also have work in Plum Nelly Gallery and Shop in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I have long wanted to enhance my collection there, and I am on the brink of doing just this.

And I have work in Crystal Connection in Tallahassee, Florida. There, I display my crocheted hats, scarves and bags, as well as beaded jewelry.

Please patronize these great local businesses! Their inventories are unique, gorgeous and interesting. They are wonderful sources for self-adornment, decor and gifts.

Following are the locations and phone numbers for these!

Newbill Collections by the Sea, 39 Ruskin Place, Seaside, FL 850/231-4500 (off the main Central Square in the art colony called Shops of Ruskin)

The Tortured Heart Gallery, 3477 Gulf Breeze Parkway, Gulf Breeze, FL 850/932-0050

Plum Nelly Gallery & Shop, 330 Frazier Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 423/266-0585

Crystal Connection, 1105 Apalachee Parkway, Tallahassee, FL 850/878-8500


My Pebbles Necklace in sterling silver is seen in the photo, above. It is made of silver I recycled in my own studio, from sterling scrap. I formed each pebble and fused them together. Then added joinery and attached it to a sterling silver chain. It is available, along with my entire Pebbles collection, at The Tortured Heart!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Blogging for the ages...

One of my missions in life is to make sure no one is left out of anything important. And I feel that art -- and artisan jewelry, in particular -- is important.

In this age when we are instantly linked to one another (when we see protests and revolutions fomented by social networking), we are held in thrall to all of the information zipping around.

I want to be sure that some of that chatter is about art and design and craft. So I do my part.

One of my new passions is to curate 'treasuries' on Etsy (an online crafts marketplace). This satisfies the former gallery owner in me, as I put together little exhibits of works illustrating a theme or point of view.

On Etsy anyone -- customer or vendor/artist -- can put together a treasury list of 16 things they love, give it a name, add live links, and send it out into the world. I do this about twice a day these days. It fulfills my urge for presenting a curriculum on metalsmithing and art jewelry. And reminds me of one of the joys of running a gallery.

So, I hope you'll click on the following links to several of my recent Etsy treasuries and join me in this journey.

Pictured above are my new Maple Seed Earrings in fold-formed copper, with facted lemon quartz. The earwires and cold connections are sterling silver. The copper bears a heat patina from my torch. All pieces, except for the faceted stones, were handmade in my home studio. These and other things are found in my online Etsy shop: CityRusticJewelry!


This is my treasury about fine metalsmithing and colorful set stones:

This is my treasury about cast metal jewelry:

And this is my treasury of handcrafted blossom rings:

I hope you enjoy each one!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

We live in a spiral galaxy...

The Milky Way is shaped as a spiral and humans have always sensed the spiraling, cyclical nature of life. Metalsmiths have, from Day One, created them in this most elastic of materials.

I just just curated a treasury on Etsy: "We Live in a Spiral Galaxy," and I focused on the many ways metalsmiths relate to and create the spiral form.

From ancient petroglyphs to today, we exist in a spiraling galaxy we can't escape. And, why would we want to?

Pictured at left are my Spiral Post earrings in sterling silver. I have always used spirals in my work. These simple ones are great for second earring holes! Available in my Etsy shop.

You can see this new treasury on Etsy by following this link!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dots as Design Element

I've curated an Etsy treasury based on dots used in metalsmiths' design. It's a list of 16 really charming pieces using dots in a variety of ways.

Dots lend great detail and repeated pattern. Circles and round forms are usually both interesting and restful to the eye. They provide texture, too.

The piece at left is my minimalist Leaf Pendant. The dots are varied. Some are raised dots, some circles, some drill holes. And the round black onyx stone is encased in a round bezel. All of this on a brushed oval platform.

This link with take you to the Etsy treasury I curated called 'Dots!'

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Awakening to Fine Metalsmithing

I think of 'fine metalsmithing' as those pieces where an art jeweler makes something more difficult, amazing and complex, that goes a little beyond the ordinary.

While art jewelers often make affordable, more accessible everyday pieces, they will  break from their routine to create a coup de gras piece now and then.

I've curated a new treasury of Etsy metalsmiths' work to illustrates this.

As I come to understand how metalsmithing is done, I can see deeper and deeper into the methodologies and thinking of the artists who create it.

Though some pieces in the treasury could also be defined as 'fine jewelry' because they use gold or precious stones, the artful invention of these pieces anchor them firmly within my definition of 'fine metalsmithing.'

Please follow this link to see my treasury:  Coup de Gras: Fine Metalsmithing on Etsy I

The necklace in the photo, above, is my Trapezoid Fan Necklace. I fabricated it in copper and sterling silver. Each piece is handmade in my studio by me. I consider it one of my coup de gras pieces!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

In a Minimalist, Contemporary Mood...

I was recently struck by a different creative mood and made this Contemporary Leaf Pendant.

It is made of darkened sterling silver, bright sterling and back onyx.

It features 'dots' in flattened sterling 'stepping stones,' sterling tube slices and round drill holes.

Its self-bail is the stem of the leaf wrapped backward, large enough to accommodate many chains, omegas and cables.

The black onyx cabachon is set in fine silver bezel wire.

I'll be producing more works in this vein before too long, as it was fun to make.

You can find this and many other metalsmithing and fold-formed pieces in my Etsy shop. This is the link to this piece, in my shop:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

August Sunshine: Golden Rutile Quartz!

Summer isn't my favorite season in the deep South of the U.S. Hot. Humid. Buggy. Muggy. Ick.

But, the visuals are stunning. Everywhere it is verdant beyond belief. An orgy of green accented with blossoms everywhere. A second springtime, but more intense.

The golden rutilated quartz cabachon I set into this copper Trapezoid Pendant echoes the bouncing sunlight that is everywhere when it's not raining. You can almost feel it.

Two views of my Trapezoid Pendant with golden rutilated quartz. To the copper trapezoid, I soldered a shapely sterling silver leaf (with hammer textures from a chasing tool) and several flattened sterling 'stepping stones.' Drill holes in the copper repeat the circular motif found throughout the piece. (It's linked to an 18" stering chain with sterling toggle clasp.) Available on my Etsy shop at:

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Of Lichens and Mushrooms and Little Weedy Vines... a treasury!

I pay attention to the details. Walking in nature, I first see the broad strokes, the macro. And then I hone in on the tiny details.

And so I notice little blossoms and seeds fluttering in the wind. I see the superorganisms that are fungi. The honeybees gathering nectar.

I've curated a treasury on Etsy: 'Fungus Among Us,' to celebrate this kingdom of living things that are neither plant nor animal.

And I'm including a shot of my Spider Lily Ring because it reminds me of the tiny details I'm so fond of. It has a wide hammered band. I fabricated it from sterling silver. The blossom is also sterling, with a bit of copper at its center. You can see it and many other rings in my Etsy shop:

Friday, July 29, 2011

Pebbles & Stone: My New Treasury on Etsy

I've long be fascinated by organic, natural shapes and nowhere am I more excited by it than in art jewelry. Pair that idea with recycling sterling silver in my own studio and you get my Pebbles collection. (You'll find them in my Etsy shop.)

Today I curated an Etsy treasury, a collection (or list) of works by Etsy artists embracing an idea or theme. I named my treasury 'Pebbles & Stones' and selected 16 marvelous works depicting Earth's building blocks.

At left is my Pebbles in Chevron Formation necklace. I melted piles of sterling silver scrap with my acetylene torch until they drew up into rounded mounds of metal. Then I soldered them together and added a ring at each end so I could attach a bold sterling chain and clasp to make it wearable. It's a nice, hefty piece. You can see more details in my shop:

And this is the link to 'Pebbles & Stones,' my Etsy treasury.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Glad to be alive!

Some days odd things happen and you experience the "razor's edge." A fluke event reminds you how fragile -- and miraculous -- life really is.

Today, I was in my car as a massive rotten tree fell beside me. Its branches brushed my fender, but it was the loud, explosive noises that shook me to my core.

The tree brought down many wires and cables from the nearby utility poles. As they snapped, fire and sparks shot from them like loud fireworks. For over two blocks, wires and cables fractured and fried in four directions. I was in the epicenter with the tree. A transformer overhead exploded. Though it lasted only half a minute, it felt like 10 minutes of wild visuals and percussion.

Of course, my adrenaline dumped into my system. I was disoriented, confused. It took me long moments to sort out what had happened.

I did call the authorities and they did take charge and eventually put our segment of the grid back together. It took about 4 hours. No one was hurt. I'd been alone in the street, with the tree, having this experience. But people soon came running.

Tonight, I shared this story with friends in person, and on Facebook. My heart is very full of their love for me and my love for them. All of us are glad the tree fell parallel to my car and not over me.  It's felt very good to remind each other of how important we are to one another. Though we walk on the "razor's edge," it's very nice that we experience such love and good feelings.

This is my Heart With Window pendant. It is fold-formed in copper and hangs from a nice rubber cord. You can see more photos of it and learn more details on the link below. It's featured in my Etsy shop.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Examining Beauty... My Treasuries on Etsy...

I've discovered the simple pleasure of curating 'treasuries' on Etsy. The curator can make up to 16 selections from artworks on Etsy to fit a theme, and publish on Etsy. To date, I have curated two.

The first, 'Jellyfish Dreaming,' features 16 images of graceful, colorful jellyfish in several craft categories. Because I want to invite the world to join me on my journey through metalwork jewelry, many of my selections in this treasury are the works of metal artists. But the old gallery owner in me wants to balance the collection with related works in other media. The link to this treasury is:

My second treasury, 'Of This Good Earth,' explores 16 subtle, earthy works (including metalwork jewelry), from beaded beads to a hammered copper bowl. My thoughts were on where land and sea join and one can think about things aquatic and land-based.  The link to this treasury is:

There are more Etsy treasuries in my future! Ideas are percolating and, when they are clearer, I will publish again. My own work has been included in a number of Etsy treasuries.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Of Sea and Stone...

What a gorgeous planet full of surprises we live on! Among my favorite things is Purple Spiny Oyster, a shell/stone from a fossilized oyster bed on the Gulf side of Mexico.

These oval Spiny Oyster earrings feature gorgeous examples of the stuff. I added reticulated silver tabs at the bottom, loving their rectangular shapes up against the oval stones.

These work well with my Spiny Oyster bracelet and necklace. All are found in my Etsy shop.

(You'll also find the bracelet and necklace in my shop!)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Art is a Hammer...

"Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it."

Metalsmiths celebrate this firsthand. We collectors of hammers, tools and torches explore the qualities of metal even as we shape it under heat and pressure.

I own about 30 hammers. Each has a voice of its own, from my dead-blow hammer to my tiniest riveting hammer. A brass mallet stamps letters and other images into my work. A 'magic' hammer I own is perfect for fold-forming.

Some hammers forge and shape, some flatten and polish. Each is an extension of my body when in use. The rest of the time, they hang from my hammer rack and beckon to me.

This copper cuff bracelet celebrates hammers and the shaping of reality through art with a truncated version of the quote. It is perfect for everyone who uses a hammer anywhere, for anything.

Here is a link to it on my Etsy shop site:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

By the light of the moon...

It was really fun making the pieces in my Diana Lunar series. This pendant was first cut from brass and then treated to several layers of surface embellishment: soldered volcanoes from my sterling 'splats,' and then moondust from my metal filings (sterling, copper and brass). I attached a sterling bail to hang it from cords and chains.

And then made two pairs of earrings in the same vein. You'll see all of these and more details on my Etsy shop.

Works in progress... a new Trapezoid Fan Necklace

Sometimes I like creating more complicated things and thought you might like to see a new necklace now underway on my workbench.

Fanned out at the bottom of this photo is my next Trapezoid Fan Necklace. I'm in the process of finishing the trapezoids' details and setting the stones. I'll add a heat patina and tumble the trapezoids just before the stones are finally set.

It's so tempting to rub the bezels down now, but then I could never add heat again, so I'll wait.

This next pic is a completed Trapezoid Fan Necklace already in my Etsy shop. Each one has been so different!

Dreaming of Jellyfish... an Etsy Treasury

This is a repost of my Etsy treasury, 'Jellyfish Dreaming.'

I wish I could post the whole grid of artworks I selected for this treasury!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Jellyfish Dreaming: A Treasury on Etsy

Dreaming of jellyfish... living not so far from the sea...

Following my instincts, I became aware of many artful jellyfish works on Etsy and have composed a gorgeous collection of 16 of them for you to see.

In my time, I have created two jellyfish pendants in metals. On the left, you can see my new Etsy avatar image, which I composed in celebration of the 'Jellyfish Dreaming' treasury. Please visit the link, below to see the whole treasury, and visit my shop: CityRusticJewelry on Etsy to see my two jellyfish!

Here is the link to my treasury!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Newest Metalsmithing Method... Fold Forming

Most of the forms of metalsmithing in the world are quite ancient. From casting, to stonesetting, to fabricating, metalsmiths have produced crowns and jewelry for millenia.

Along comes fold forming. Invented in the late 20th century, the metalsmith heats and folds the sheet metal and hammers it flat. Multiple heatings and hammerings yield a stretched, expanded and textured surface. And then the piece is opened from its folded position, to reveal new contours.

Once unfolded, the piece is subjected to grinding, polishing and drilling. And then often placed in a tumbler with steel shot and some solution to work-harden the piece and smooth its edges. This also brings a bright, shiny finish.

The fold-formed Leaf Earrings are made from sterling silver sheet metal. They bear fine hammer marks from a particular hammer's edge. The center veins of the leaves reveal the fold. I dish the leaves once they are open with a hammer and stake. Their contours are usually unpredictable. The airy sterling earwires were handcrafted by me, too. They're smooth and springy, for comfortable wearability.

Find these and others in my Etsy shop!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea...

I live in a region I long ago named 'the humid zone.' It is a land that is diverse, with a sea lapping from two directions, mountains at the top, and numerous rivers, creeks and forests threading their way throughout. It is unified by its humid climate.

Our flora and fauna are diverse. Long growing seasons bring us verdant woods and fields. Temperate salt waters bring us seafood and strange, wondrous creatures.

The jellyfish is ubiquitous in our region. They float around with gorgeous dangling tendrils, providing food to other species. I've long been fascinated by them.

In my piece, Jellyfish Blossom, I have created a pendant that combines my love of organic blossoms with the jellyfish. It just grew in my hands as I fold-formed each copper petal/tendril with my hammer. It took on a lustrous patina from my torch. (I must anneal, or soften, the metal with my torch's flame between each folding and hammering stage.) And then, by drilling holes and contouring the metal, I construct the piece from 5 fold-formed parts, a large faceted golden tigereye bead (up inside its belly), and a heavy sterling pin I make which runs through everything and is then wire-wrapped to form the bail.

You'll find more details and more pictures of Jellyfish Blossom on my Etsy shop site:

Monday, June 20, 2011

Imagined Botanicals...

Simple complexity... two paradoxical terms. But sometimes complex ingredients come together to create a simple whole. And I think this is true of my Blossom Cuff.

I enjoyed making this and was eager to see the final result. I am pleased. It is sized for a medium-sized, sturdy wrist.

It is made with sterling silver and copper. Please go to my Etsy link to see additional views and more information.