Friday, June 27, 2008

Koi Pond Bag, Piece by Piece

This bag has a bright future: its components are taking their shape and creating themselves, insinauting their young lives into my thoughts and making me a little obsessed, which is kind of the measure of how things turn out.
Oh, sleepless nights, here I come!!!

Trading UP

Creme Brulee torch, out.
Smith Little Torch Propane/Oxygen tank -- IN!!!
Well, as of Monday. It was not very hard to justify, given my recent assesment of my goals and seeing silver as so much a part of my newer ideas, so I finally had a good excuse: my creme brule torch ceased its lighting, making for all gas, no flame. I sat there, with projects on the brain and remembered a class I had taken where I got to use the Little torch, and it was precise, with a neat and delicious little flame. It heated what I wished it would heat, instead of bathing the whole project inadvertantly.
Yes, this was quite an expense: I made the mistake of opting for three day instead of ground via UPS, and so what was a 520 torch became a 600 dollar torch -- these things we cannot forsee.
What I DO forsee are many happy hours in the workshop, and many happy customers with more choices in front of them.
In this time of ups and downs for my shop ( I had my best week ever in May, but then silence set in, and sales have been good yet incosistent ) it felt rather risky and exciting to invest in something like this.
My sister, a kick-ass hairstylist, has a pair of 400 dollar scissors. We pay, truly, for what we get.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Koi Clutch

My very first inlay, a night sky inside of a koi clutch, to illustrate the phrase stamped on the back: "Peace Lies Within". When this little one goes my heart will feel its absence, truly.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Epic Fail

We were like lovers: in between restocking the 'koi pond' of my shop and taking care of ten million odds and ends I was dreaming up this sweet confection of a sun rising out of a blue leather sea surrounded by sterling, perfectly bezel set and lovely in every way. We danced around for weeks this way.
In my mind it was perfect:
In its actual creation, a nightmare. Nothing worked the way it should. I melted the metal. A cremem Brulee torch, I learned, does not happily solder bezel wire to a large and thick piece of sterling. The end result is Frankensteinian in nature, but strangely enough -- lovely. It looks as though someone with a big heart made it: someone who wished they could pull something out of the clouds and into the earth. Yes there are tremendous mistakes: gaps in the places the bezel should have met the base piece, problems with the bezel wire being waaay too tall and hence bunching and sagging its way around the leather oval it houses.
It's the dream of it that makes it beautiful to me, the courage it takes ( I am constantly awed by all creative types due to this ) to try to make something. The heartache you try so hard not to feel when it comes out as something only a mother could love.
Well this mother loves her wayward creation. It may not sit around my neck as planned, but perhaps it will hang from my rearview mirror: a little Sunny, Rising as it were, over a sterling world.
Pictures tomorrow, my friends.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Music music music..... so much music and friendship and laughter and hijinks this last week and some change -- and now?

Back to work!!! yay!!!! Pinch me: I get to do what I love either way :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The World's Happiest Hand

On the middle finger: a ring made with love by The Noisy Plume ( ), my ferociously feminine desert-dwelling friend, a phenom with all things silver. This is a ring that bounces between fingers and is only taken off for sleep.

On the ring finger: a gorgeous piece made by Christina Bjenning of Esmeralda Designs ( ), with a sun on the back, and sometimes on the front depending on my mood and how obvious I want my soul to be. There are shy days, too :) Since I just received this today I have a lifetime to try out each way :)

I feel so luxurious and lucky today: what have I done to deserve such goodness in my life????

Allison ( or Sunny )

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Out of It

Got a cold travelling home last night, a combination of the sick man behind me and the intense cologne right behind, methinks. At least I have good bedmates.

As I improve today, I have been catching up on my letter-writing, with sterlized pens, of course :) Only I would be so concerned about that. You see, upon my return I discovered a package from my favorite purveyor of cards: papermenagerie. ( )
They look vintage and precious and I have used them for everything from Valentines to thank you cards. Angela, the creatrix of the line, also happens to be an excellent human being. I highly recommend her store.

Included in this picture are a postcard for Roisin the Great and a letter for The Plume. May the USPS wind carry them safely across the miles!!!

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Sorry for the lack of posts: the silence may continue for a few weeks -- last week I deliberately made a bunch of koi and a big bag, thinking certainly that it would take weeks to sell them: they all sold within days/hours -- which leaves my shop lacking in anything newer BECAUSE I am tracking my new album!!!!!!!

This last week has been dedicated to rough tracks, as will next week, and then next Friday, Saturday, Sunday and the following Tuesday I will be in Redlands, CA having the most amazing musicians help me fill in the tasty parts.
I feel so lucky. Dave Tran, Matt Wyckoff, Matthew Coleman, Mr. Mustard ( Chad Villareal ) and Phil Mielke are all adding their unique and skillful musical stamp to my songs. I am bursting with happiness over it all - the result for my shop? Crickets.
I shall not be listing.
I shall likely not be selling all that much as a result. I have made peace with this.
This week and next I am a musician first, leathercrafter second. It's been a while since that has been the balance of things, and I have missed that feeling.

I am thinking in notes and rests, harmonies and hooks.
My native tongue!!!!

A ( or S )

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Realization of a Big, Big Hope

Back before last year I always dreamed of boulder opals in leather. Set in somehow, and I had no idea how I would ever make it happen. It's one of those moments today where I simply look back and wonder how all the little moments happened: the collection of learning and wanting and wishing and realizing: it's a huge feeling.

And oddly enough, I know there will be a moment of fallout: sometimes when you realize a long-held goal, there is a moment of emptiness, one which I normally respond to with fear and some tears. May this time be different, may I simply rest and relax and take time to smell the jacaranda trees. Not that they smell, but you know what I mean, surely.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Mama's Got a Brand New Bag

Can I speak frankly to you? I am in love with this bag. She came to me in a vision: something gorgeous to show the world on one side ( the bees and flowers ) and then on the side you hug close to your body, a reminder word ('explore!')

and something evocative of delight (ladybugs!): something to constantly remind you to smile every time you need to reach for something. Having a secret of sorts next to you, gliding with you as you meet your world person by person, place by place.

I bought this thick black grament leather: so unbelievably substantial and yet still buttery soft and flexible, and I knew it had to be included. And rivets: rivers and rivers of double cap rivets in brass...and rings and antique and resist and hours and hours of tooling and construction.......and here it is. Done.

Making bags is like this overwhelming storm that takes over: so much to be done, so many pieces to put together - the tooling part is the most familiar, and that can take a week or two of stealing moments to apply textures and cut and bevel, etc, and then once all the pieces have been tooled and colored it is time to rivet. For a few days my workshop is in turmoil and disarray, and then finally and as if by magic it is done and normalcy returns. I put away the prodigious amount of tools that need to be used to put it all together, clean up the million tiny circles of leather punches while applying rivets, sweep scraps and fluff kicked off the leather by dremel sanding... and then I am done.

And the world gets too silent and still to bear.

Back to the shop :)