Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Word Tag Pairs

On a recent trip to Michael's, these Tim Holtz word tags caught my eye. I always welcome any opportunity to add text to my jewelry. (It must be the ex-English teacher in me.) 

I had great fun playing with word pairs. Dumping them out on the table, the words seemed to naturally find each other. They sat on my work table, getting knocked about by my curious cats. Fearing that they would lose each other, I tied the pairs with some hemp scraps.

It's often difficult for me to use commercially-made items as is. I needed to somehow alter them to make them my own. Enter my chasing hammer and Vintaj patina. 

Hello, play!

Hello! Play!

Either way it is punctuated, the message is the same. Go play! I certainly played a lot making these earrings. I dimpled them with my chasing hammer and painted them. Much more playful than the original. smile emoticon

I just love the pairing of colors: turquoise and orange always makes me happy.

*magnesite, fire agate, pewter


Wish Noted

It's funny how these two words found each other. I imagine someone making a wish and sharing it with a friend who writes the wish down in a journal, saying "Wish noted." Maybe that wish will eventually come true; maybe it won't, but at least it was noted for future consideration.

*red coral, magnesite, pewter, waxed linen

The piece of waxed linen is a lagniappe, that little something extra that brings a piece full circle. I added it at the last minute.

All You Need is Love

LOVE spoke to me, and it didn't take too much thought to design these. I've been hoarding these red Czech glass teardrop beads forever. Any piece I make with them seems to just design itself. I mean, look at these beauties! 

This time I used black paint to highlight the lettering and then added the red trim. I debated for some time about whether to add the pieces of waxed linen; they looked nice either way. I suppose it would super simple to cut them off if a customer so desired. 

Happy early Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


I am slowly dipping into the collection of gorgeous stones that I have been hoarding since last spring. The owner of one of the shops that carries my jewelry put an order in for some stone earrings, but every time I make a pair, I sell them or want to keep them for myself. What's such fun about working with these stones is that the stones themselves are the star of the show; I only need to add some small accents. 

Last night I cleared off my studio work table of all other projects that might distract me, so I can get focused and serious about designing more stone earrings to take to Angelinas in Nehalem.

Here are the earrings I have made so far:

Fabulous amazonite. The first pair I made. I don't think these can leave home. Ever.  :)

This second pair were made for a challenge at Earrings Everyday, inspired by a photo of a slot canyon in Arizona. Happy accident: my wire wrapping was sloppy, so I wrapped it with waxed linen to cover it up. I quite like that little fix. 

The next pair were a custom order for a dear friend who grew up in New Mexico. They have that kind of NM vibe. My wire-wrapping was better this time, but they looked too plain without the waxed linen accent. A style is born!

I am forcing myself to let go of these lovely jasper stones and send them to Angelinas. I won't believe I am capable of letting them leave home until I am actually handing them over to Lina in her shop. 

Here is my lovingly hoarded stash. I swear these stones are my addiction. I can get stoned just looking at them. :) 

Next project: I can't decide whether to stick with blues or go with a secondary orange accent. Such difficult decisions!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

We're All Ears :: October Reveal

This month's inspiration is fashion, specifically the Fall 2015 collection by designer Monique Lhuillier. The challenge was to select one of these looks and create a pair of earrings to accessorize it. 

I don't really follow fashion. Though I enjoy watching Project Runway, I rarely am blown away by the clothes that walk the runway. The unconventional challenges intrigue me because of the challenges they present and the creative process involved. The bottom line is that fashion doesn't really interest me that much, especially now that I am retired and living in practical clothes (jeans, fleece, and hoodies). 

This challenge involves choosing one dress to accessorize. Something about this particular dress drew me in. I don't particularly like it; I guess it just so desperately begged for some earrings, that I had to oblige. 

Black, purple, and pink. Interesting colors. To counteract the whole high-fashion thing, I wanted to create something long and dramatic but also funky with a vintage vibe. I cut some discs from recycled tin and embossed them using a floral pattern to echo the pattern on the skirt of the dress. After covering the entire area with black Vintaj patina and meticulously painting the raised areas of the floral pattern in amethyst, opalite, and agate, it just looked too neat and tidy. Wanting more of a grungy flavor, I scruffed them up with some sandpaper. Better. More vintagy. Punch a hole. Good to go.

That dress needed hoops, so I made some out of 19 gague steel wire, forged them, and sealed them with Rennaisance wax. To finish, I added the painted discs and some crazy-lace, steel-wrapped gunmetal earwires. (Note to self: wrapping 26 gague steel wire around those earwires was a nightmare. Steel is a bugger to manipulate in tiny spaces for fine, detailed work.)

They look slightly different on another background.

I wish I knew a way to Photoshop my earrings into the photo with the dress. This is the best way I can think to accomplish that. 

Making these earrings jolted me out of a pretty serious creative slump. Usually, I make several pairs of earrings for these challenges; this time I was fortunate to accomplish one pair.  I've spent a lot of time lately sitting in my studio, staring at walls at a loss for ideas. Thank, Erin, for the jumpstart

To see earrings created by other talented artists for this challenge, CLICK HERE

Friday, September 18, 2015

I Speak for the Trees

I Speak for the Trees

I am profoundly saddened by what is happening in the state of Oregon. Is there no place left on earth that isn't tainted by destructive environmental policies?

Huge swaths of clear cuts are what is left of our beautiful and diverse old growth coastal forests.  Destructive logging on private timber lands is just the beginning. What follows is the aerial herbicide spraying of the new "managed" forest that devastates wildlife and other competeing vegetation and pollutes the drinking water and air in nearby communities. Sadly, this is all legal, courtesy of the Oregon Forest Practices Act.  Efforts to reform this act stalled in the Oregon legislature this year due to powerful lobbying from the timber industry. 

As a member of the Rockaway Beach Citizens for Watershed Protection, a local grassroots association of citizens working to ensure clean, safe air and drinking water, I had the privilege of planning a town hall event that included a panel of experts speaking on these issues and the screening of a new film Behind the Emerald Curtain. Filmed in Oregon coastal communities, it highlights current forestry practices that put at risk our air and water quality and offers a look at practices that are fish and drinking water friendly. In October, this film will be posted online, but here is the official trailer:

Behind the Emerald Curtain

For last night's screening of the film, I donated a jewelry set as a raffle item.

Thinking of the plight of our coastal forests, "I Speak for the Trees" kept circling through my head as I was embossing and painting this recycled tin. It's the first time I thought of painting only the raised portions of the embossed pattern, while leaving the background unpainted. 

Usually I use the exact opposite process by painting the whole surface and then sanding the raised areas to remove the paint there (as in the earring charms and the focal on the cuff). Interesting inspiration.

I also figured out a way to make the leather cuff adjustable to a variety of sizes. (I hate setting snaps, so this was a great way to avoid having to struggle with them.)

am happy that the gal who won this set was featured in the movie. She lives in a cabin on the hillside,  got sprayed by herbicide, and ended up very sick and in the hospital. In the trailer, right after they show the containers of chemical (atrazine), she's the gal with the long braid who talks about the spray coming into the health clinic. She was just delighted with her win!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

We're All Ears :: September Reveal

For me, this challenge inspiration and process was w-a-y more interesting that the pieces I actually created. With that said, here we go . . . 

The Inspiration

This month's inspiration is a performance art piece from Japanese dance and art troupe ENRA called  
Torque Starter.

Check out other Works by Enra.

Without color to rely on this month, the design focus is on shapes and geometric forms. 

The Process

First step, pull out black and white materials. Limit myself to these materials. (We'll see how that goes.)

Second step, watch the video several times, look for appealing shapes, and draw them. 

Now . . . start creating! Cutting discs from white tin.

Drawing shapes on tin pieces with Sharpie and doming them. (Feels a bit like Zentangle.)

The Earrings

Ok, so this idea had promise, but the result didn't hold up under the ultimate scrutiny of a close up photograph. Totally unhappy with the quality of these, and my perfection won't let me live with them. But that's what challenges are all about. Sometimes you hit; sometimes you miss. This is a miss. 

On these next pair of earrings I decided to highlight the spiral shapes and trapezoids in the video. Basic earrings. Nothing special. Maybe this challenge is going to defeat me. Usually I am very pleased with the pieces I create. There is still hope. I hope. 

Life got busy and my muse departed. I really wanted to create something I feel proud of for this challenge, but I am throwing in the towel on this one. Thanks, Erin, for another great inspiration. Sorry I couldn't do it more justice. 


Speaking of justice ....

I'm think that part of my problem for this challenge was that I was distracted by another project. My creative energy gravitated to a cause for which I have great passion, the environment. I made this set as a raffle item donation for an event that I was involved in planning. Here is a link to my blog post about it:

Saturday, September 5, 2015

New Consignment: Forsythea (Astoria, Oregon)

A collection of my jewelry is now available at a lovely shop in Astoria, Oregon. Forsythea, a store I have long admired, specializes in artisan decor for home & garden and features work by local artists. Patricia, the owner, waded through the five display cases I packed of every style of my jewelry and chose an eclectic selection of pieces, shown below. Her cool shop is right on the main street of town and gets quite a bit of traffic, so I am hoping to get some exposure there. Astoria is such a vibrant place - so funky, and so much happening. 

It seems that every time I go there, someone is camped out in those chairs in front of the store. I don't blame them; it's a great place to people watch, especially on Sunday during market hours. 

Step inside and you'll find stunning artwork and beautiful displays. 

            *photo from her Facebook page

These are the 10 pieces Patricia chose to consign for me:

Mixed Metals:
(Handcut, textured and antiqued aluminum, copper and brass gears, handmade earwires)

(Textured and antiqued copper washers, copper and silver dangles, handmade earwires)

Gemstones and Metal:

(Chalcedony, copper washer, copper and silver wire, handmade earwires)

(Peruvian blue opal, silver dragonflies, handmade earwires)

(Lapis lazuli, turquoise magnesite, silver, handmade earwires)

(Larimar, amazonite, embossed and patinated tin, antiqued brass, handmade earwires)

(Blue lace agate, copper, handmade earwires)

(Blue lace agate, textured and antiqued copper washer! antiqued copper beads and chain)

(Prehnite, blue quartz, amazonite, copper, handmade earwires)

(Prehnite, blue quartz, fire agate, textured and antiqued copper washer, copper wire, antiqued copper chain)

1124 Commercial Street
Astoria, Oregon