28 December 2009

here's to a fresh start

There are so many promises I need to make to myself and my business this year. The problem is that I loathe the word "resolution." So, here is to a fresh start to a fun new year!
time to rock the new year with the same pizazz Callie has for every day!

25 November 2009

My love for Craftland's holiday show!

This past Sunday night I went to my beloved Craftland and dropped off a box full of jewelry goodness for their holiday show. I loved seeing the boxes of all the other art work piled high awaiting their debut on opening day, 4.december.2009. Not only am I excited to have been chosen to be in the show amongst 170 other artists, I am also pleased to have opportunity to volunteer at Craftland during the month of December. So many others are volunteering too and I can't wait to meet these fellow artisans who share a passion for their work and love of Craftland

This is their glitter filled banner outside the shop. I believe the store just keeps getting better and better with every trip I make there.

With the flower baskets of summer long gone, wreaths are taking over. I was happy to catch the street lamps lit as well as the white lights which light up the street year round. This is always a festive destination!

In return for my jewelry I left armed with these sweet postcards to pass out about town to advertise our show. One of the masterminds behind Craftland,  Jen Corace, designs all of the media pertaining to the shop. Delicate posters in the store fronts, shimmery banners and these heart-warming cards. To see more of her work click on her name above and click here to see her blog, and click here to see Jen and partner in crime Deb Dormandy working together, showing off each other's strengths. To see the amazing bookbinding of Deb click on her full name. 

I hope to see many faces at Craftland so take a peek at their site to see the dates and times for some extra special events like: the Opening Party, Meet the Artist Night, Girls Rock! RI Party, Buy Art reception, and which day of the week you will be able to get free coffee from White Electric Coffee, a lovely indie cafe in Providence.

18 November 2009

inspiration for enameling

Lately I have only jewelry making on the mind. With a large inventory due by the week's end at Craftland all I can think about is my jewelry that needs to be made and delivered there. I have designed some new earrings which are to be enameled and I have been trying to decide on which colors I will use. If left to my own preferences they will all be chartreuse and robin's egg blue. So, it was time to pay more attention to my surroundings on my walks in the city. Through the screen of my iPhone I have captured some colors that will push me out of my comfort zone, or maybe lead me to a new place of comfort. 

I have been thinking of my approach to applying color. Will I just use one color? Or more than two? Will the colors blend or be definitive lines? My attraction to this leaf tells me that there will be more than one color and they will blend, seamlessly. 

And, maybe I can step away from using bold colors all of the time. Time to mix things up a bit and use muted tones too. Seems like a lovely idea to me.

I vow to use a variety of muted tones. Not only will there be reds and oranges but golden yellows. Do I dare sneak brown in too? 

I can't let my true nature escape me, however, there will be some earrings where the boldness of color will just jump out at you. If I made everything the same it would be so very boring wouldn't it? Besides, it wouldn't be made in the spirit of all that is handmade if they were all the same, now would it?

Definitely blurry lines. Blended colors, just like autumn will soon be in our memories. A haze of hues, some muted and some bright, but all lovely.

29 October 2009

slightly glowing trivets & molten glass = luscious color...

....and oh, so much fun in the studio....

After a long hiatus (from blogging & metalworking) I have found myself enameling again. And am I ever smitten with it. Using a piping hot kiln to create vibrant colors on fine silver is an exciting process. Could you possibly think of a better accent for a design based on line and shape? I simply can not.

For those of you who haven't enameled before you may be curious as to what tools are used, so that is where I will start. They don't make for a pretty picture so those folks who enamel are going to have to wait for the good stuff. The good stuff being my finished piece.

Here are the sifters which the dry enamel is placed in. The sifter is filled so when you tap the handle a generous amount will cover your piece to be enameled. Brushes are also handy to have nearby for removing enamel which has lost it's way. I also use a brush to apply the gum agar which is like an adhesive. It is applied before the enamel creating a sticky surface that will hold the enamel versus naked metal which the enamel would slide off of. 

I enamel on old magazine pages. They are nice and smooth so the excess enamel easily runs off the page and back into your enamel packet for future enameling adventures. I find some of the pages inspiring as the colors are bold and you come across the occasional advertisement which strikes a chord.

My domed discs are carefully arranged on my handmade props. They are now ready for that piping hot kiln I was talking about. And when I take a peek into the kiln and see that the trivet is a dull red, I know that the enamel will have taken on a glassy sheen.

An apple green glassy sheen in this case. These domes will become earrings which are a compositional study of color, shape and line.

I had also used some mica to enamel on and it didn't behave. The mica stuck to my piece, causing me to take my discs over to the flex shaft bench and use some abrasive wheels to remove the flakes of mica. Seems that my handmade props worked best for this situation. After the grinding I need to fill the spaces with some enamel so I used the wet packing method. You can see my teensy spatula and palate which make wet packing easy.

Back into the piping hot kiln, this time on my props. I don't think I knew what shape these earrings were going to take, even at this point. 

Out came lots of pliers and wooden rods. I played around with these tools and some silver wire with the end balled up and this is what came out of it....
 tendril earrings

I promise they can be worn, easily, and you will never lose them while they are on. They are really fun earrings. I can't wait for them to make their debut at Craftland's holiday sale. They have some family members too which need a little more work. I will share them as soon as they have cooled. 

P.S. this post has been updated. Click on the photo if you are interested in buying them from my shop!

05 October 2009

autumn flowers captured on a Providence stroll

I have been lucky enough to come across some beautiful buds still rich in color while on my daily walks with my four legged lady. I love the colors that autumn brings but I can do without the crispness and shorter days. For now I will just have to embrace what is still blooming. I have a sneaky feeling that these forms and colors are going to be brought back to life in my studio this winter as I delve into some new enamel work. 

Part of the attraction to brown eyed susan's is the vibrant yellow shooting up as dull golden leaves fall to the ground. The best part is the plethora of blooms creating a blanket of tuscan yellow.

Here is to the hope that there will still be weeks of walks full of blooms in my future.

I couldn't have gotten luckier with this picture. While I was trying to get my iPhone's camera to focus on this cosmo my lovely lady tugged at her leash causing me to move and not get the original picture. After getting her to sit and stay I went back to discover a bee busy at work. So, I am glad my lady can't always sit perfectly still. I would never have gotten this shot. Have you ever seen such a striking cosmo? Love the stark contrast of deep purple and white.

About a two and a half minute walk from home is India. This restaurant is a feast for the eyes. The gardens are lovely, the fountains are dreamy to listen to, I always smile as I walk by everything is alive with color. And the sky was such a pretty backdrop for this potted beauty.

This tree amazes me. I believe the random bends and twists of this composition will certainly show up in my designs once I get myself settled at the bench to prepare for the upcoming holidays.

I thought a close up of this sunflower would be the composition of choice. Capturing the one stray petal, like a piece of hair stuck in your eyelashes with the rest of the petals looking like a wild mane. But I stepped back....

...and realized that there was personality in the gesture of the flower's leaves. I can't decide which one I prefer. Can you?

make a wish

fill your cheeks up with air and blow.....

may your wishes come true.

enjoy the sun today!

30 September 2009

out of the woods and into the city

Sorry I have been absent from blogging, I have missed it so very much but life took over as it often can. Callie and I have left the woods and moved to the city. Well, as big as a city can get in my tiny state! This is something I have always wanted to do. As far as Callie, the berner, goes, well I wasn't sure if she felt the same way I did until the first night in the apartment came along. This night was also the first night she went for a walk on a leash in quite some time, normally this woodsy gal was let outside to explore on her own. It has become evident that she too is smitten with the city after just a few evening and morning outings. So far, the tail has not gone down, not an inch. This means complete happiness in the world of Callie. 

This morning I decided the time has come to document some of our adventures. I was inspired by the colors of fall.

Callie is also fond of the leaves, even more so than I am. I miss her being a fifteen pound puppy and tunneling through the leaves with such excitement as she popped up somewhere else to look up at me, do a little dance and jump back in for more.

My lady fancies herself a mountain goat. She is most excited when invited up on a wall or bench and her new favorite....a fountain, located in the center of the park. She always walks gracefully along the edge with the tail wagging full speed.

We explored much of the park this morning and I think my girl knew we were on our way home. Seems she decided this bush would make for some good camouflage in the hopes that I would leave her in the park for a longer adventure. Who am I kidding? As much as she likes to explore, she loves to be by my side even more.

I like to take the long way home. The street which runs parallel to mine has some lovely houses with gorgeous gardens. Still green and in bloom. 

Oh, how I love Zinnias! Unless I planted these in the woods we lived in I would never find them on a jaunt around the old neighborhood. The city is full of surprises.....

...like these lovely steps. Leading the way through a well gardened front yard and onward to a cozy home.

Me and my mountain girl will be happy here.

22 September 2009

another open market, another giveaway

I guess I am addicted. After my first giveaway at an open market I decided it was so much fun that I had to have another one. The best part about the giveaway is when I receive a reply to my email telling the lucky person that they won. 

"NO WAY!! I'm so excited! Thank you." says Betty, aka #12.

So, last time it seemed that my giveaway was lost on my display so I went out and bought some picture frames to try and draw more attention to this fun game. And it worked more than double the amount of people signed up!

Presenting the earrings which were up for grabs....
Small leaf earrings with dancing pearls.

I thought this was really a cute little set up. Who wouldn't want to play?

I just had to share another picture of the earrings, with some more detail. They are oh so elegant! And I love the movement of the pearl.

When Betty opens her package from the post she will discover this pretty package all tied up with a bow.

Speaking of giveaways, you still have time to click on over to Kind Over Matter to enter my giveaway there. There are two things to choose from Go and play!

21 September 2009

couture under a tent in a parking lot....a true story

So long ago, back in the steaming hot days of August I strolled into a tent at an open market in Boston and found couture. Once I entered Collier Couture's tent it didn't seem like I was in a parking lot any longer. I was now in a boutique surrounded by the loveliest of dresses and elegantly attired dress forms. It occurred to me that I was about to be attending a wedding and was in need of a dress and I was about to find myself a handmade one at that. 

This is the first dress to catch my eye as this dress form was just outside Deena's tent. And the cut is so irresistible. So, I had to peak inside.

I just love that this is more than the typical black and white dress. The pink highlights in the flowers adds so much life without taking away from the classic form and colors of this dress. A touch of fun! 

Between the pockets and the color I am completely smitten with this dress. I think it screams fun night out with the ladies.

Again, a seemingly classic dress. Spaghetti straps, high waist, but wait, in animal print and still maintaining class. Deena is quite a talented gal. She can really pull off mixing the classical cut with daring fabrics. 

Here is the dress that I nearly left with, Deena was cheering me on to buy it. It is her favorite and I can see why, it is so pretty. The bow seems to wrap up all of the fabric into a lovely little package for one to wear. For me, this dress defines my comfort zone. It is a style that I am automatically drawn to which is why I didn't choose this one. In the boutique of Collier Couture I found unusual cuts, ones that I wouldn't find in stores and really, sometimes a girl needs to step out of her comfort zone and be daring. Even if it is just daring for her. 

So, I opted for a silver dress with pockets. I guess I am just deeply in love with silver, I work with it all day and decided that it was what I wanted to wear above all else to my dear friend's wedding. And for the fidgeter in me, the pockets are perfect. What is a jeweler supposed to do with her hands when she can't bring along a torch or at the very lest some pliers? Place them in pockets. And aren't they such a lovely detail? (And Deena, I am sorry the dress is wrinkled. The photo was taken after the event and I had been sitting in a car for some time.)

Can you tell that I love this dress? And I was lucky enough to come across the shoes in Quincy Market the week earlier after a jaunt to my favorite Wagamama. For a girl without a plan I think the whole outfit came together. Now I just need another event to wear this too. It is so comfortable and adorable. So, any up for throwing a party? Or maybe I will just wear it one day and make my own celebration.

Another great discovery about Collier Couture is the website. I will give you a little sample before you click on the link. There is the most classy and yet adorable clothes hanger juxtaposed on the name of the company and it sways ever so slightly. But that is just the beginning. After the home page you discover the dresses which Deena has designed and crafted. And she reminds us "everyday is a fashion show and the world is your runway." So no special occasion necessary, just take a peak at the lovely dresses and make your own event to wear it to. If you are looking for something timeless and unique you will not be disappointed. 

19 September 2009

adornments for the wedding of two dear friends

After so many years together my two former college room mates decided to finally get married. Really, I have been waiting for this day for some time. I have seen them grow into an amazing couple and the engagement has just made them even more amazing. 

When they started to get into the planning stages I received a call from the soon to be groom, asking me if I will make some jewelry to adorn the ladies of the wedding. I was so excited to take part in their celebration by doing something that I love for two people I adore so you know I essentially yelled yes into the phone.

A few months go by and they come over for a cookout. We talk about the wedding, see fabric swatches of the dresses and discuss flowers. So, out come the beads and away we go trying to match and compliment the dresses and bouquets. We are settled on carnelian, just yummy for this autumn wedding and all of the ladies get a vine necklace with these luscious stones. Then I am asked if I can make the maid of honor a pair of earrings. Again, I am most excited. I love making earrings. But I am not pleased with the maid of honor wearing just any pair of earrings. I let the couple know that I need to think about a design. It needs to be special. 

I decided that I wanted to try and capture part of the design that is embroidered on her fern colored dress so I request some pictures. I am delighted to open this email. Making earrings with a leaf design. Can it get any better?

I grabbed a sketch book and a pencil and tried some different designs, trying to capture the flow and grace of the embroidery while making it my own.

So, I came up with all of these designs and emailed the sketches to the soon to be bride. We agree, the two below are the best. And doesn't the carnelian look like a drop of color that an autumn leaf may turn? 

Out come the pliers for some bending and shaping. I try so hard to make the drawings to scale so I always have a form to rely on.

Now the fun begins. Setting up to solder, which means FIRE.

Now it is time for the second leaf to take shape.

Soldering is underway and the second earring is started. I try so hard to keep them identical but I am reminded that nature isn't always perfect in shape and size. I accept the imperfections that I am sure only I notice and realize that had I found this discrepancy in nature, I would embrace it.

Where would I be without a flex shaft? I clean up the rough edges and messy solder with my sanding discs. They are dreamy to work with, but I still need to improve my soldering skills. 

Another dreamy device, radial wheels. The firescale is getting whisked away. Don't you just love seeing the silver color we love oh so much start shining through?

After tumbling over night I assemble these two lovely pair of earrings. I am quite pleased. I have never worked on a piece using only thin wire (20 gauge) and this is the first time I have ever wrapped beads. Really, how is it that I have a bachelor's degree in metals and never wrapped a single bead? I had to buy a book to learn! 

I made them five necklaces for the five ladies and I just couldn't remember who had what for colors, some varied from creamy white to luscious oranges. The necklaces have already been boxed up, tied tight with a green ribbon and handed over to the lovely couple. So, I made one pair with a darker orange stone and one with a creamier stone and I will leave it up to the soon to be wed to decide which pair will best match their maiden's necklace. 

You may be wondering why I would make two pairs of earrings just to be certain they will match a necklace? I decided that it didn't seem fair that my gift to this lovely couple was jewelry for everyone in their wedding but themselves. So, I made the extra pair for the bride. A little keepsake. A detail of her special day which otherwise may have been forgotten. A reminder that she chose lovely dresses with beautiful embroidery for her ladies. Maybe these earrings are taken out of their box to celebrate anniversaries? Other special occasions? I am lucky to be a part of these celebrations also! What about the groom to be you ask? Well, he just gets and extra tight hug in the receiving line because I know he wants his new bride to have the beautiful things in life and is content enough just to be able to share all that is beautiful with her. Forever.

thanks for reading!