Thursday, May 14, 2015

May Round Up: A Port Folio of Jewelry

This has been an intense month in my studio as I prepare for the ACRE show in Las Vegas. I pushed my silversmithing skills in directions I didn't anticipate. I worked hard to create a relatively comprehensive port folio of my work, and only a few times per week did I veer away from my goal to tackle one of my frequent must-do-immediately-or-I-might-freak-out inspirations (which I generally have at least once daily). The month has been extraordinarily beautiful, including a quick side trip with a friend to Agate Beach to collect rocks, huge steps forward in our garden (installing irrigation and raised beds), lots of snuggle time with my husband and daughter, a few hikes thrown in to keep myself sane, and stunning, sunny days.

So then, here's a round up of this month's work.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Releasing Ladybugs

Tess released millions of ladybugs in the greenhouse today. As I worked in my studio I stepped gingerly, trying not to squish any of the itty bitty beetles. Each time I spotted a tiny red dot, I placed my finger next to it to let it crawl onto my hand and then blew it gently into the plants.

Fly away, Ladybug. Go eat aphids.

Did you know that, over its life span, a ladybug can eat up to 5,000 aphids?

One of the most intriguing natural phenomenons I’ve seen is a hibernation of ladybugs. On top of a mountain, tucked within a rock outcropping, countless ladybugs. They covered an entire face of an enormous cracked boulder. I later learned that, as days grow shorter and temperatures fall, ladybugs seek shelter in protected locations. Thousands of ladybugs may gather in the same location, taking advantage of the collective warmth of a colony.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Silversmithing Diversion: Watering Can Inspired Jewelry

Here is a sneak preview of a new line of work going into an exhibit at Confluence about artists who use fire to create art.

I've pondered this exhibit for some time. I asked myself if I should make something that is easily identifiable as my work like a piece with river rocks or a totem animals. I decided to take a little diversion, to create a line of work to push my boundaries, challenge my silversmithing skills, and (maybe) surprise viewers.

These sculptural geometric pieces are unusual for me. They are made with sterling silver and 14K gold, inspired by watering cans.

If you're in town, I hope to see you at the Confluence show opening on June 6, 4-8pm.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Ring Display DIY: Tutorial

I have a jewelry show quickly approaching. It's my first wholesale show and I'm beginning to feel stressed. My task list is long: produce inventory, design and construct my booth set up and display, buy spot lighting, create line sheets, posters, labels with pricing. None of that includes travel arrangements, lodging, food, expenses, and so forth.

I've done significant research, trying to land on an affordable yet unique booth display. I cannot throw thousands of dollars into one show without knowing if it'll be a success, and most booths cost thousands of dollars EACH TIME. With one-of-a-kind jewelry and my first stab at this wholesale effort, how can I predict what and how much I can sell?

One thing I think is for certain: my booth must mimic my jewelry. It's earthy yet sophisticated. Minimalist and comfortable. Enticing in the most natural, raw kind of way.

Huh? How do you I do that?

Spring forward to yesterday.

As I was searching the trail for arnica (early as it might seem, our season has arrived too soon with less moisture and warmer temperatures), I came across a pile of downed birch trees. I grabbed a large, heavy branch and threw it over my shoulder. When I finally reached the trailhead my shoulder was bruised and tender, but...

Birch Tree Ring Display Tutorial

Materials Needed:

Birch tree branch
Concrete mix (and water, according to directions on the concrete package)
Toilet paper or paper towel rolls
Hand saw
A piece of cardboard


With your hand saw, cut the birch tree branch into 5-7" pieces.

Again with your handsaw, cut the toilet paper or paper towel roll into 2-4" cylinders. Try to keep your cuts as straight as possible.

3. According to the concrete package directions, mix the concrete with water. When it's ready, pour it into the cardboard cylinders. Strategically place the pre-cut birch branches. Let sit until dry, overnight.

Peel away the toilet paper/paper towel roll. The concrete may not be totally dry, so let it sit for another 24 hours. You may decide to sand the concrete down, but I prefer the rustic look.

That's it. Easy, huh? It's also really cheap. Now all I need to do is come up with my booth design...

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Natural Rock Drilled Plugs Mosaic

Generally when I hollow out or drill holes in river rocks I will use the plugs for earrings or throw them in my gravel garden path. But this particular handful of stones was so colorful that the plugs were, in themselves, tiny gemstones. I pondered what I might do with them. A mosaic? Did I have enough of them? For a pendant - yes.

So, I made the frame with sterling silver. I then soldered tubes onto the frame so that I could string a chain through the pendant. I thought the piece would have enough of its own presence without adding one of my handmade chains.

Then, I used EZ600 to glue each plug into the frame, and waited until the glue was dry.

Once the glue was dry I mixed and added the grout, just like a mosaic. In a couple of days I'll brush the tiny mosaic with tile sealer.

Et voila. C'est tout.

What do you think?

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