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!