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.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Classic, One of a Kind...

I was in a hand-forging, copper mood today and turned out these two pairs of Copper Hoop Earrings.

I think they're fun and classy. They remind me of comfortable jeans and outdoorsy activities, but I can also see them with frothy summer frocks.

Please visit my Etsy shop for details about them:

Top earrings are Wire-Wrapped Copper Hoop Earrings and the bottom earrings are Stirrup-Shaped Copper Hoop Earrings.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The gifts of the metalsmiths

I first saw handcrafted artisan jewelry in a really cool boutique in Tampa when I was a teenager, in the late 1960s. I was surprised to find jewelry that spoke to me (though I couldn't afford it then), and that wasn't as traditional as 'fine jewelry,' nor as disposable as costume jewelry.

Right then, I knew I wanted to figure metals out. It was two decades in my future before I made a serious try.

I also loved beadwork and began my jewelry career there. But, ultimately, I evolved into a metalsmith with the help of a very supportive local community.

I have found, through this medium, the stuff with which to express my ideas. I could not have gotten here alone. It's taken a 'village' of really brilliant women who have unveiled the secrets of metals to me. And practice, lots of practice!

Now that I am listing my metals pieces on my Etsy shop and have joined an Etsy team called 'Aspiring Metalsmiths,' I again feel a great community of talented artists in my life. I hope to feature some of these on this blog in the near future. You will be amazed at what they create. And I hope it inspires you to collect these wonderful works and to become knowledgeable about metalsmithing!

Above is a photo of my funky earrings which feature etched-copper plumbing tubes sliding on sterling chains. Marvelous metalsmith Fae Mellichamp shared her knowledge of chemical etching on copper tubing and her copper tube beads which are etched and enameled are gorgeous. She taught a class in my town a number of years ago. These are etched from original drawings I made on the surface of the copper.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

New Pics and New Items in My Etsy Shop

Just finished a marathon session of re-shooting and uploading many of my pieces into my Etsy shop. I felt that black (or dark) was the better background to highlight the colors of my metals.

Finding my way and having [exhausting] fun! I'll write some more tomorrow. Good night!

This Two Leaf Pendant has a copper leaf and a brass leaf. Both are hand-textured, then soldered together. The bail is Thai Hill Tribe sterling. It hangs from a satin cord-covered necklace, but the bail is large enough for an omega, or almost anything. See it in my Etsy shop!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Handmade in America

As a working artist and former co-owner of a brick-and-mortar craft/art gallery, my life is filled with art, craft and artists.

I know how much we are all struggling in 'this economy.' Customers want our prices to compete with Walmart and Target while our materials costs soar.  And this comes after several decades of the big chains' downward push on prices, which have trained us all to worship the lowest price for everything.

It seems like nearly everything can be imported from China, too. And that in the 3rd World, original designs by American/Western artists can be easily knocked off, reproduced and re-imported back into our own markets at lower prices than we ourselves can produce them. No matter how poor the quality of the knock-off may be, they find their way to market. And we artists are again left to try to figure out how to ply our craft, achieve profitability, and satisfy our souls.

And then along comes a 'Handmade in America' movement that asks us to support American artists and designers. To be willing to pay a fairer market value for creative goods. To know the makers of those goods. And to understand the difference between an original piece of art or craft and a reproduction of it.

What else do you get for paying a fairer market value for artistic creations? For one thing, more originality. You won't be consuming cookie-cutter works that come from the corporatized method of production/distribution. For another, it's likely that the materials in your piece will be authentic and of high quality. Sterling instead of pot metal. Real stones instead of paste. A few steps up the quality ladder, instead of the lowest common denominator.

And you'll get the satisfaction of supporting artists of your own culture. Of doing you part to assure that artists will be here in the future. If you buy local art, you'll also get the satisfaction of keeping more of the money you spend in your own community, enhancing your local economy.

And, most likely, you'll hear that deep, quiet vocabulary of an artist who also lives in your culture, and who understands you a little better than a large, faraway factory in another land.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Earrings in repose...

Continuing my Earrings Extravaganza, I've begun to work in sterling again. Not that I don't love copper, but silver has its charm.

These little sterling stud earrings were fun to make. I loved sawing their irregular, eccentric edges and soldering them onto spiral posts bent to 90 degrees, making the connection very strong and comfortable.

This pair is stamped with a star surrounded by dots and remind me of the earliest American flags (a bit). Anyway, they look a little patriotic, as we approach Independence Day next month!

The next pair is my Sterling Silver Cluster Earrings. Multiple dangles swing from handmade earwires, catching light and shape-shifting when you move. Featuring squiggles and rings and a bit of chain, they are pretty delightful.

Both pairs are found in my Etsy online shop:

Friday, June 3, 2011

Time in my studio...

Give me four hours in my studio these days and I'll emerge with a handful of new pieces. My inventory is definitely growing!

I'm mainly marketing my work on my Etsy shop these days, but I have begun to think about holding a small local booth/sale of my new work so it can be seen and tried on! (I'll let you know if/when this comes to be...)

These are my new daisy earrings in brushed sterling. They're approx. 2" long from the tops of their earwires to the bottom of the blossoms. 

See more details about them on my Etsy shop (the link is found in other postings, below).

Thursday, June 2, 2011

New work every day...

I'm on a roll in my studio these days, and loving it.  I take a day or half-day and create a lot of new pieces, and then shoot and upload it in a quick-to-follow session.

This is my new Poppy Ring and it can be found on my Etsy shop right now.