Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Featured Friend: Louise O'Dwyer, of Ireland

One of the things I love best about living in the electronic communications age is the sense of community it fosters all across the globe.

Nowhere is this truer for me than with the accomplished metalsmiths and jewelry designers who are my colleagues and friends.

One such designer/friend is Louise O'Dwyer, of New Ross, Wexford, Ireland, who owns a farm with her husband. There they raise their children and animals and grow wheat and other cereals. And there Louise creates intricate, beautiful jewelry.

Working in sterling silver and semi-precious gemstones, Louise constructs pendants, earrings and other pieces with appliques of blossoms and petals surrounding beautiful set stones.

Her personal language intrigues me. I love her compositions and the execution of her designs. I want to wear her pieces, as she reveals each new work. And I want to absorb her life lessons and learn something from her. I want to live on a farm!
Take a look at these gorgeous pieces! They can be found in her Etsy shop, on Flickr, and in her blog.

Her Flickr link:

Her Etsy shop:

And her blog:  

I hope you've enjoyed this look at Louise's work and that you visit her links. Many of her items are one-of-a-kind, so if you see them offered in her online shop, snap them up!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dreaming in Purple...

It's been said that all of the Tiffany Stone on earth comes out of one small spot in Utah, a mine once owned by the Tiffany jewelry company, which bequeathed its name and then retreated.

Today that mine is owned by the U.S. government or military and nearly 100% of this beautiful stone is crushed for one of its inherent elements. And that this element is used to coat the nosecones of military planes or missiles.

I say, 'Phooey.' Put away the war toys and release this gorgeous, rare semi-precious gemstone to art jewelers who can make the world a more beautiful place!

Bearing several different names: Porcelain Jasper and Exotica Jasper, along with Tiffany Stone, its proper name is Bertrandite. The purple versions are grape and snow eye candy. The black dendrites are graphic markings in an alien language.

I happened upon a stonecutter who collected the Tiffany Stones in my work nearly 30 years ago. When I first spotted them, I was stunned by their size, beauty and shapes.

Five weeks ago, I was spending nearly all my time in my studio, preparing for the then-upcoming Magic City Art Connection in Birmingham, AL. These pendants were produced during that wave of creativity and production.

Then my father suffered a heart attack and stroke and I was in a quandry about whether to go to the show (for which I'd been preparing for most of a year), or stay home.

As difficult as it was to do, I wrenched myself away from home and did the show. I was well aware of the gamble this was, re: my father. And I am glad I won the bet: That he would be here when I returned.

Win/win...  Dad survived and got better and I had a good show. Ever since I got back, I've pitched in on the care of both parents and organized a big family reunion. Mom and Dad are clearly in a transitional moment in life and my sister and I are jumping through all the daughter hoops one does at this point in elderly parents' lives.

Meanwhile, I'm dreaming of more studio time and maybe I'll get some again soon.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a stay-home day for me and my fingers are itching to put some new things together.

Until now, I haven't even had time to do more than snap a few pics at my computer desk and post them on Facebook. So only one of these three pendants is listed in my Etsy shop so far (the top one), but I have high hopes of listing more there soon!

It feels so good to think about metalsmithing and my Etsy shop and Facebook fan page again, if only for a little while! God willing, I'll do so a lot more soon.

Meanwhile, here's my beautiful family!

My father, age 87, in his Scottish tam and a twinkle in his eye, at our recent family reunion!

My son and husband...

And my sister and mother...

We never got a good shop of my stepson that night... nor of my brother-in-law, who's an important part of our family, too!