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!