Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Seven Tips From an Instagram Novice

As an artist striving to secure an online presence I dove head-first into a number of social media platforms, initially Facebook, this blog, and Pinterest, all with moderately successful results. It wasn't until a year ago that I tackled Instagram. Now, one year later, I am blown away. Hands down, I would place Instagram at the forefront of all social media platforms for visual artists.


I have received a number of requests to share my "secrets of success" on Instagram. Keep in mind, there are many Instagram accounts with tens of thousands of followers. My following count is minimal in comparison, 16.6K as of today. Not only that, but I've only been doing this for a year. I have no secrets. I'm certain I'm not doing everything I could be doing, and I don't have all of the Insta-lingo down. So, I'll just give you pointers on what I have done that seems to be working.

Seven Tips from an Instagram Novice


1. Identify your brand and stick with it. Your brand could be paintings, wildlife photography, outdoor recreation, selfies (for those of you pursuing modeling careers šŸ˜‰), mushroom collecting, woodworking, etc. Once identified, don't stray far from what you have identified as your brand.

2. Post one image each day, if possible. Don't post more than one image. Save there rest for later. If you can't post every day, choose times that seem to gain most interest (Monday nights, for instance).

3. Post quality photographs. It's not just content that draws the eye but photo composition.
  • Some intriguing art posts I've seen are by Sarah Pike Pottery and RivuletPaper. They combine their art with images of true life, and their lives interweave beautifully with their work. Their posts tell a story.


4. Engage with your audience. This can be done in a number of ways:
  • When you post your photograph, add text that shares your story. You don't have to be too wordy, but give people a "behind the scenes glimpse".
  • Respond to your audiences' comments.
  • Visit your new followers' pages and leave thoughtful comments.
  • When your audience offers suggestions (i.e. to post videos of your process), follow through if you can. Let them know you are considering their input.

5. Follow other accounts that pertain to your brand. Engage with them through (thoughtful) comments. Don't just leave a comment that says "cool work." Honestly? Personally, I breeze over comments like that. If someone leaves a comment that means something or causes me to pause, I click on their profile and check out their photo stream.

I have chosen to follow several silversmiths as well as botanical artists. Since I support Outdoor Project through 1% For the Planet, it makes sense that I follow their page as well. People who check out your page also check out who you follow. In addition, Instagram suggests accounts to follow based on your interests.

6. Give your audience a clear understanding about what you do. Is your work hand fabricated? Do your paintings look like photographs (and can easily be overlooked because they're so precise)? What is it that separates your work from the rest of the world? Whatever that is, make it obvious.
  • Take/share videos of your process. Don't edit out imperfections. Your mistakes show how challenging your work can be, and your audience will appreciate knowing there's a human being behind your account. They want to establish a connection with you.
  • Take photographs that show your process. For instance, place your hand or a tube of paint in the picture to show that it's a painting or illustration, or position the painting in front of the view it depicts. Inky Leaves is a botanical artist who does this with her work which helps her followers see the incredible scale of her work.

7. Finally, what's up with those darn #hashtags? It took me a while to figure them out, and my conclusion was this (you're welcome to comment and correct me if I'm way off base): hashtags are used as an online searching tool. If you type "#nicoleringgold" into the Google search engine, you'll come up with about 1,300 results, some of which are my Instagram posts because I consistently use #nicoleringgold to tag my work.

I think of hashtagging as a two-way street. One purpose is to send a message, a shout out about who you are, what it is you're trying to convey. The other purpose is to draw your audience toward you, beckon them to check out your message. Therefore, you should ask yourself two questions:

  • What message am I trying to convey (i.e. what is my brand)?
  • Who is my target audience?

What message am I trying to convey (i.e. what is my brand)? I will speak for myself. I am an artist. I am a silversmith. I create one-of-a-kind botanical jewelry. My work is hand fabricated. My work is not cast and cannot be replicated. With this in mind, key hashtags include (but are not limited to): #botanicaljewelry, #handfabricatedjewelry, #natureinspiredjewelry, #silversmith, #metalwork, #inspiredbynature, and of course #nicoleringgold.

Who is my target audience? Given that I create botanical jewelry, I want to draw in gardeners, herbalists, outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, as well as botanical-themed boutiques possibly interested in selling my work. So, key hashtags include (but are not limited to): #gardener, #herbalist, #naturelover, #plantboutique, #inspiredbymountains, and so forth.

.....................

That's it.

Be consistent. Be real. Be intentional. Let the passion for what you do shine through your photographs. Once you do, people will come.

I hope this helps! Again, I'm just a novice. I'm sure there are many more beneficial tips out there. Feel free to leave comments with your input or thoughts.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A Gallery of (Relatively) New Work

My business took off in leaps and bounds in August of 2016 when my Instagram followers hit 5,000. The growth was mind boggling.

Due to the consistency in high sales, I have been able to make significant changes to my business as I head into 2017. I expanded my studio space, purchased additional equipment, and will offer workshops almost every month going forward. I have also committed to partnering with 1% For The Planet and am a proud supporter of Outdoor Project.

I've contemplated my success. How did it happen? I've narrowed it down to 3 things:
1. I have an unusual product.
2. My marketing is consistent (one image each day).
3. People seem to like my photographs.


On December 7, 2015 I embarked on a self-inflicted challenge, to create 30 botanical pieces, attempting to mimic plants by hand fabricating them in silver. Very few artists actually hand fabricate botanicals. Most are cast or dipped, so my work was unusual, and entirely one of a kind.


Once I joined Instagram my goal was to post one photo almost every day. That meant I needed a picture-worthy post. That meant I needed to complete, or have in progress, a unique piece that would draw attention. I am typically quite driven, but this particular goal helped me stay on task.


Finally, when I snooped about Instagram it became apparent that the more successful accounts posted vivid, interesting images. Sure, all of the hashtags were helpful, but crisp, quality images were critical. I am fortunate to have a studio inside a greenhouse with ample natural light, and the concrete floor offers an excellent neutral backdrop. I don't use any fancy camera, just my cell phone, but that seems to do the trick. Content and composition became an interesting and fun game.










I feel a huge sense of gratitude for my followers. I also love the Instagram platform, an ingenious way for visual artists to share their portfolios. Thanks to both, my business has benefited and I am able to share my skill with others and donate to a worthy cause.


Here's to another successful year as we head into 2017!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Intermediate Silversmithing Intensive

Registration is now open! This workshop is full.


Course Description:


What? Intermediate Silversmithing Intensive
When? May 22-26
Where? Twisp, WA in my personal studio

This workshop is a 5-day intensive for intermediate silversmiths. We will work for 7 hours each day with a one-hour break for lunch.

If you already have a handle on basic techniques such as sawing, soldering, and finishing, this intensive will empower you to use these tools in a more personal and creative way. Over five concentrated days you’ll hone your existing skills, add new ones, and grow more comfortable and confident in your ability to realize your own designs.

During this workshop students will design and create shadow boxes. Students will also learn how to make a series of hand fabricated chains and joints that will offer unique kinetic touches to their work.

Further details of the workshop:

  • The cost of the workshop will include
  • 5 days of training and interaction
    • 1 3x3" sheet of 24 gauge sterling silver
    • 1 3 ft 16 gauge sterling silver wire
    • 1 3 ft wire of 18 gauge sterling silver
    • 6" of bezel wire
    • 2" of silver tubing
    • silver solder
  • Should you require additional materials, please be sure to bring them with you to the workshop.
  • Should you choose to set a stone inside your shadow box, please bring the stone with you.
  • You may work on more than one piece if you have completed the first before the end of the 5-day course.
  • All tools and equipment are included.
  • My studio space is well ventilated. However, I encourage you to bring your own eye/mouth/finger protection. See below for a description of my studio.
  • Meals are not included.

Course Prerequisites include:
Experience working with a propane/O2 torch system.
Experience soldering with silver. This technique will be learned in Silversmithing Basics.
Experience working with a jeweler's hand saw.


To Register


The cost for this 5-day intensive is $425.

To register, send an email with your intent to participate to: ringgoldnic@gmail(dot)com. I will respond with a Paypal invoice. If you prefer you may send a check (I will provide my address when I receive your email of intent). Once I have received your payment, your space will be confirmed.

This workshop is first come, first serve. Space is limited.

Cancellation Policy:
  • 10% of fee is considered non-refundable in cases of withdrawal for all students within 30 days of the workshop.
  • Course fee is non-refundable within 30 days of the workshop unless I am able to fill the student's spot, in which case #1 above still applies.
  • If I cancel a class then 100% of your fee will be reimbursed.

Upcoming Workshops:
June 16-18 - Intermediate 3-day Intensive. Registration will open March 1.
July 17-21 - Silversmithing Basics Intensive (this course is for beginners).

Lodging, directions and information about the Methow Valley


Lodging:

I can work with you and the others in the group to secure affordable lodging. Let me know if you would like assistance. Otherwise, following are several links to arrange lodging.
Central Reservations - A local source for lodging at Inns, Hotels, B&B's, vacation rentals, condos, cabins, and more.
Lodging within walking distance to my studio:
Twisp River Suites - river front lodging in downtown Twisp, close to shopping and my studio
Methow Suites B&B - Wonderfully cozy, close to downtown Twisp, and the owners are some of the warmest people you will find in the Valley.
RV Camping

Directions:
Here's a map to Twisp, Washington.
The closest airports are Twisp, Wenatchee, and Seattle, WA.

Information about the Methow Valley:

May is an incredible time of year in the Methow. I highly suggest you take time before and after the workshop to explore the trails by foot, or even in your car.


Below are some useful links to learn about this stunningly picturesque area.
Winthrop, WA Chamber of Commerce
Methow Trails - access to miles and miles of nordic ski and summer hiking/biking trails.
Twisp, WA Chamber of Commerce
Loup Loup Ski Bowl - our local alpine ski area (my husband and I are ski patrollers there)
Winter Fun Where The Olympians Train - Sunset Magazine feature
Hiking Guide - WA Trails Association
Old Schoolhouse Brewery - an old schoolhouse in downtown Winthrop with great food and live music

The Studio

My silversmithing studio is situated inside the greenhouse at Yard Food, owned by the fabulous Tess Hoke. When you arrive, take time to visit the quaint shop in front of the building and walk through the plant nursery. Seek Tess' advice on how to grow successful garlic or, if she isn't present at the time of your visit, sign up for her online classes.

The photo below was taken before I expanded to include space for workshops. My studio can accommodate up to 5 students - 3 torches, 2 flex shafts, 4 adjustable rolling stools (and additional seating). There is an open floor plan and bright, natural light. It is well ventilated and heated for all seasons. It is wheelchair accessible.

Given that it is a greenhouse, you may expect a friendly spider to drop in while you're working. Nibble on greens growing in the garden bed. Making messes and loud noises are welcome.


The Instructor


After taking 2 years of silversmithing courses at Wittenberg University, I set jewelry fabrication aside to head to West Africa with the Peace Corps, acquire a masters degree, and pursue a career in non profit management. In 2010 I decided to try my hand at making jewelry once again.

For two years I made most of my jewelry using an antique drill press. I sold my jewelry locally and online. After saving funds made through sales, I invested in soldering and polishing equipment, reacquainted myself with soldering techniques I had not practiced in 20 years, and quickly produced an extensive, exclusive portfolio.

Much of what I know was self-taught. In December of 2015 I embarked on a self-inflicted challenge, to create 30 botanical pieces in silver. Long after completing the challenge and drastically improving my skills as a silversmith, I would like to share with others what I learned. These workshops will provide a venue for me to do so.


Hand fabricated jewelry by Nicole Ringgold

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Project-Specific Workshop

Registration is now open! This workshop is now full!

Course Description:


What? Project-Specific Workshop
When? April 24-28
Where? Twisp, WA in my personal studio.


This workshop is a 5-day intensive for intermediate silversmiths. We will work for 7 hours each day with a one-hour break for lunch.

If you already have a handle on basic techniques such as sawing, soldering, and finishing, this intensive will empower you to use these tools in a more personal and creative way. Over five concentrated days you’ll hone your existing skills, add new ones, and grow more comfortable and confident in your ability to fabricate your own designs. This course will allow students to tackle a specific project of their own design, overcome obstacles, and increase confidence.


Further details of the workshop:

  • The cost of the workshop will include 5 days of training and interaction, 1 3x3" sheet of 24 gauge sterling silver, one 4 ft 16 gauge sterling silver wire, another 4 ft wire of 18 gauge sterling silver, and silver solder.
  • Should you require additional materials, please be sure to bring them with you to the workshop.
  • For your specific project, you may choose to focus on bezel setting, a botanical, texturing, soldering, or other techniques. Should you choose to set a stone, please bring the stone with you as well as the bezel wire. If you choose a botanical, bring the plant or images of the plant with you. Note, I often use 22 gauge silver sheets for botanicals, so I encourage you to bring a 3x3" sheet with you (a 24 gauge sheet is included in the price).
  • You may work on more than one piece if you have completed the first before the end of the 5-day course.
  • All tools and equipment are included.
  • My studio space is well ventilated. However, I encourage you to bring your own eye/mouth/finger protection. See below for a description of my studio.
  • Meals are not included.

Course Prerequisites include:

  1. Experience working with a propane/O2 torch system.
  2. Experience soldering with silver. This technique will be learned in Silversmithing Basics.
  3. Experience working with a jeweler's hand saw.

To Register

The cost for this 5-day intensive is $400.

To register, send an email with your intent to participate to: ringgoldnic@gmail(dot)com. I will respond with a Paypal invoice. If you prefer you may send a check (I will provide my address when I receive your email of intent). Once I have received your payment, your space will be confirmed.

This workshop is first come, first serve. Space is limited.


Cancellation Policy:

  • 10% of fee is considered non-refundable in cases of withdrawal for all students within 30 days of the workshop.
  • Course fee is non-refundable within 30 days of the workshop unless I am able to fill the student's spot, in which case #1 above still applies.
  • If I cancel a class then 100% of your fee will be reimbursed.

Save the date for these upcoming workshops in 2017:
May 22-26 - Intermediate 5-day Intensive. Registration will open Dec. 5.
June 16-18 - Intermediate 3-day Intensive. Registration will open March 1.
July 17-21 - Silversmithing Basics Intensive (this course is for beginners).
Sept 11-15 - Project-Specific Workshop (for intermediate silversmiths)


Lodging, directions and information about the Methow Valley


Lodging:I can work with you and the others in the group to secure affordable lodging. Let me know if you would like assistance. Otherwise, following are several links to arrange lodging.
Central Reservations - A local source for lodging at Inns, Hotels, B&B's, vacation rentals, condos, cabins, and more.
Lodging within walking distance to my studio:
Twisp River Suites - river front lodging in downtown Twisp, close to shopping and my studio
Methow Suites B&B - Wonderfully cozy, close to downtown Twisp, and the owners are some of the warmest people you will find in the Valley.
RV Camping

Directions:
Here's a map to Twisp, Washington.
The closest airports are Twisp, Wenatchee, and Seattle, WA.

Information about the Methow Valley:
Below are some useful links to learn about this stunningly picturesque area.
Winthrop, WA Chamber of Commerce
Methow Trails - access to miles and miles of nordic ski and summer hiking/biking trails.
Twisp, WA Chamber of Commerce
Loup Loup Ski Bowl - our local alpine ski area (my husband and I are ski patrollers there)
Winter Fun Where The Olympians Train - Sunset Magazine feature
Hiking Guide - WA Trails Association
Old Schoolhouse Brewery - an old schoolhouse in downtown Winthrop with great food and live music

The Studio


My silversmithing studio is situated inside the greenhouse at Yard Food, owned by the fabulous Tess Hoke. When you arrive, take time to visit the quaint shop in front of the building and walk through the plant nursery. Seek Tess' advice on how to grow successful garlic or, if she isn't present at the time of your visit, sign up for her online classes.

The photo below was taken before I expanded to include space for workshops. My studio can accommodate up to 5 students - 3 torches, 2 flex shafts, 4 adjustable rolling stools (and additional seating). There is an open floor plan and bright, natural light. It is well ventilated and heated for all seasons. It is wheelchair accessible.

Given that it is a greenhouse, you may expect a friendly spider to drop in while you're working. Nibble on greens growing in the garden bed. Making messes and loud noises are welcome.


The Instructor

After taking 2 years of silversmithing courses at Wittenberg University, I set jewelry fabrication aside to head to West Africa with the Peace Corps, acquire a masters degree, and pursue a career in non profit management. In 2010 I decided to try my hand at making jewelry once again.

For two years I made most of my jewelry using an antique drill press. I sold my jewelry locally and online. After saving funds made through sales, I invested in soldering and polishing equipment, reacquainted myself with soldering techniques I had not practiced in 20 years, and quickly produced an extensive, exclusive portfolio.

Much of what I know was self-taught. In December of 2015 I embarked on a self-inflicted challenge, to create 30 botanical pieces in silver. Long after completing the challenge and drastically improving my skills as a silversmith, I would like to share with others what I learned. These workshops will provide a venue for me to do so.


Monday, October 31, 2016

Silversmithing Basics Intensive

Registration is now open! This class is full. Check below for my upcoming class schedule.


Course Description:


What? Silversmithing Basics Intensive
When? March 13-17
Where? Twisp, WA in my personal studio.

This workshop is a 5-day intensive for beginning silversmiths. We will work for 7 hours each day with a one-hour break for lunch.

Designed for beginners and those needing a refresher, this five-day course will introduce students to the fundamentals of metalworking. Through demonstrations, individualized instruction, and plenty of practice, you will develop basic skills in sawing, filing, soldering, riveting, texturing, and polishing as well as in the safe use of tools and studio chemicals.


Further details of the workshop:

  • The cost of the workshop will include 5 days of training and interaction, 1 3x3" sheet of 24 gauge copper, 1 3x3" sheet of 24 gauge sterling silver, one 2 ft 16 gauge sterling silver wire, another 2 ft wire of 21 gauge sterling silver, and silver solder.
  • Should you require additional materials, please be sure to bring them with you to the workshop. You will find everything you need at Rio Grande.
  • If you would like to learn bezel setting, you will need to bring your own bezel wire. I am happy to discuss with you which wire to purchase should you need guidance.
  • All tools and equipment are included.
  • My studio space is well ventilated. However, I encourage you to bring your own eye/mouth/finger protection. For those students with long hair, be sure to tie it back when working with the torch. See below for a description of my studio.
  • Meals are not included.

Course Prerequisites include:
No previous experience is required.

To Register


The cost for this 5-day intensive is $400.

To register, send an email with your intent to participate to: ringgoldnic@gmail(dot)com. I will respond with a Paypal invoice. If you prefer you may send a check (I will provide my address when I receive your email of intent). Once I have received your payment, your space will be confirmed.

This workshop is first come, first serve. Space is limited.


Cancellation Policy:


  1. 10% of fee is considered non-refundable in cases of withdrawal for all students within 30 days of the workshop.
  2. Course fee is non-refundable within 30 days of the workshop unless I am able to fill the student's spot, in which case #1 above still applies.
  3. If I cancel a class then 100% of your fee will be reimbursed.

Save the date for these upcoming workshops in 2017:
April 24-28 - Project-Specific Workshop (for intermediate students). Registration will open Dec. 1.
May 22-26 - Intermediate 5-day Intensive. Registration will open Dec. 5.
June 16-18 - Intermediate 3-day Intensive
July 17-21 - Silversmithing Basics Intensive (this course is for beginners)


Lodging, directions and information about the Methow Valley


Lodging:
I can work with you and the others in the group to secure affordable lodging. Let me know if you would like assistance. Otherwise, following are several links to arrange lodging.
Central Reservations - A local source for lodging at Inns, Hotels, B&B's, vacation rentals, condos, cabins, and more.
Lodging within walking distance to my studio:
Twisp River Suites - river front lodging in downtown Twisp, close to shopping and my studio
Methow Suites B&B - Wonderfully cozy, close to downtown Twisp, and the owners are some of the warmest people you will find in the Valley.
RV Camping

Directions:
Here's a map to Twisp, Washington.
The closest airports are Twisp, Wenatchee, and Seattle, WA.

Information about the Methow Valley:
Below are some useful links to learn about this stunningly picturesque area.
Winthrop, WA Chamber of Commerce
Methow Trails - access to miles and miles of nordic ski and summer hiking/biking trails.
Twisp, WA Chamber of Commerce
Loup Loup Ski Bowl - our local alpine ski area (my husband and I are ski patrollers there)
Winter Fun Where The Olympians Train - Sunset Magazine feature
Hiking Guide - WA Trails Association
Old Schoolhouse Brewery - an old schoolhouse in downtown Winthrop with great food and live music

The Studio
My silversmithing studio is situated inside the greenhouse at Yard Food, owned by the fabulous Tess Hoke. When you arrive, take time to visit the quaint shop in front of the building and walk through the plant nursery. Seek Tess' advice on how to grow successful garlic or, if she isn't present at the time of your visit, sign up for her online classes.

The photo below was taken before I expanded to include space for workshops. My studio can accommodate up to 5 students - 3 torches, 2 flex shafts, 4 adjustable rolling stools (and additional seating). There is an open floor plan and bright, natural light. It is well ventilated and heated for all seasons. It is wheelchair accessible.

Given that it is a greenhouse, you may expect a friendly spider to drop in while you're working. Nibble on greens growing in the garden bed. Making messes and loud noises are welcome.


The Instructor
After taking 2 years of silversmithing courses at Wittenberg University, I set jewelry fabrication aside to head to West Africa with the Peace Corps, acquire a masters degree, and pursue a career in non profit management. In 2010 I decided to try my hand at making jewelry once again.

For two years I made most of my jewelry using an antique drill press. I sold my jewelry locally and online. After saving funds made through sales, I invested in soldering and polishing equipment, reacquainted myself with soldering techniques I had not practiced in 20 years, and quickly produced an extensive, exclusive portfolio.

Much of what I know was self-taught. In December of 2015 I embarked on a self-inflicted challenge, to create 30 botanical pieces in silver. Long after completing the challenge and drastically improving my skills as a silversmith, I would like to share with others what I learned. These workshops will provide a venue for me to do so.


SaveSave
SaveSave

Monday, October 10, 2016

Roasted Sunflower Seeds (In Shells): Recipe

This year I grew Tarahumara sunflowers. Each breathtaking, robust golden stalk produces an enormous head filled with delicious, edible white shelled seeds. This huge sunflower produces a primary, large (8-10” diameter) single flower head and stands up to 15' tall. Seeds are white and are delicious when roasted. This sunflower variety is named for the Tarahumara indigenous people of northwestern Mexico.



If you grow your own giant sunflowers and want to harvest the seeds to roast, watch for when their necks begin to bend and the petals dry around the center. Another good clue is when birds and other critters begin to feast on them.


To harvest, cut the flower head from the stalk.


Gently rub the flowers from the seeds into your compost or garden beds.


Then, from the outside working inward, massage the face of the sunflower to dislodge the seeds.



As you approach the middle of the flower, test the seed pods to be sure they actually have seeds inside. To do so, pinch the pods. If they pop, they're empty.

Once you have removed all of the viable seeds from the sunflower head, you're ready to tackle the easy directions below to roast your own.

____________________

Roasted Sunflower Seeds (In Shells)


These directions are for salted, roasted sunflower seeds. If you don't want them salted, simply rinse them off and roast them. Without being lodged with water, they will roast more quickly at 400°F, a mere few minutes.

Ingredients
1 cup raw in-shell sunflower seeds
2 1/2 Tbsp kosher salt, or 2 Tbsp table salt
1 quart water
JalapeƱo powder, optional (I make my own with dehydrated JalapeƱo and kosher salt)

Directions

1. Place sunflower seeds, salt, and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 20 minutes.


2. Drain the water from the seeds and spread them out in a single layer on a cookie tray. Place in the oven at 400°F. Roast for 15 minutes, periodically turning them so that they roast on both sides. Optional: sprinkle the JalapeƱo powder over the top of the seeds before placing them in the oven to roast.


3. Continue to check the seeds every few minutes until they are dry enough and roasted to your satisfaction.


Enjoy!SaveSave

Friday, October 7, 2016

Concord Grape Vine with a Cluster of Grapes

I decided to submit a botanical piece to the Saul Bell Design Award. The mission of the award falls right in line with why I set out to make botanical jewelry: "The Saul Bell Design Award is a chance for jewelers to reach for greater heights of skill and knowledge. To conceive and execute a career-defining design. To break free from constraints, expectations and precedents. To accept the challenge of a lifetime—and to be recognized around the world for excellence in jewelry design."

Looking at past winners, I realized I couldn't just submit a botanical piece already created. I needed to use this as a challenge to take my silversmithing to new heights, again. I contemplated making a willow branch or aspen branch necklace, leaves "fluttering". But then, while on a gorgeous sub-alpine hike, it came to me. I would make a grape vine complete with a cluster of grapes.

I started with the stem...

I added a (hollow) grape...


Grape by grape, and one leaf at a time...


"The piece must be the entrant's original design. Artistic integrity is of the utmost importance to Rio Grande, the Saul Bell Design Award and the jewelers that both institutions serve. As an SBDA entrant, your commitment to artistic integrity shows respect for your own work and for the work of other jewelers. SBDA contestants are proud of the tremendous skill and imagination that they have put into their original designs, and they are honored to have these pieces rigorously judged against the work of their peers. Work that derives or copies its central ideas from another artist's work is not considered an "original design" and has no place in the SBDA."








I completed the piece today. Seventeen grapes and a raisin, 5 leaves, 54 hours, a few curse words, several audiobooks, and plenty sighs of gratitude... and it's finished. I am ready to send in my submission.

Wish me luck (thank you)!
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