Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Sterlings

Thursday morning in the shop I've some things in sterling to show you, and some copper earrings to reveal to you tomorrow:
I am so excited about all of these pieces!

Back in February I took a hammer-forming class
in Pasadena, and I finally got around to using some of the techniques I picked up,
plus a few texturing ideas I'd had floating around the brain -
I am thrilled with the results!

Nooks, crannies, delicate forming and sweet Kingman Turquoise stone...
it reminds me of the seed pod casings strewn about my neighborhood;

something born, something revealed, possibility reigning.

Pretty sure this baby is a 6.25, will know for sure by Thursday, obviously!

Um, yes.

I just cannot even tell you how much work, love, sweat and silver there is in this piece,

How perfect and deep the maidenhair impression turned out:

the Agua Nueva looking quite like a Divine exclamation point
the hand-strung carved white stone beads....

You can even see the spores!
This one is a whopper: heavy, textured, rich
the stone pendant has a scalloped pierced back
and the way this looks on the body is
and ethereal
like a very kind, compassionate queen.

lastly for the sterling pieces I made a tiny maidenhair pendant,
sterling silver
and 18k gold dot.

a sweet companion for a lovely neck.

Thursday morning, these pieces will find their way into




Sunday, May 29, 2011

Coral Antler Ring

I've been in the studio today for the better part of the afternoon,
continuing to prepare for a shop update
that should take place this coming Thursday morning.

I started this piece when I came home this week, a little self-protection ring
made from coral I picked off of the beach in Hawaii
and a copper flower:

a coral antler.

Hammer-raised flower
hammered band
copper ruby on the inside
bright shining orange on the outside

Size 7.5

Weirder, wilder and more wonderful than anything that's ever come out of my studio:
I can hardly take it off my own hand
to take its picture.

The neat thing about this piece is that the copper on the inside will age with its own patina, completely different than the patina on the outside:

it's kind of like a little terrarium down there!


Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Palest Peachy Pink

Delicate as a ballerina
for the lining of the Foxes in Love
Extra Large Hobo Bag.


Friday, May 27, 2011

On Weight

Let's hang out in our sweats this afternoon and talk frankly!
I'll go first:

Growing up and all through my adolescence and even until about... 27, I'd say, I was the kind of creature who could ingest anything and look exactly the same.

The only exception was my freshman year of college when I discovered the unlimited food lines in my college cafeteria, but even that classic 15 disappeared with the quickness of a
youthful oath.

When I was 28 and the metabolism slowed, I simply amped up the exercise, stubbornly clinging to the idea that I was entitled to eat anything I wanted, and as much of it as I chose, dammit!
And so it went
the accident in December.

The inability to sweat out the cupcakes made for a sad time,
and when sad times hit I know I find solace in Trader Joe's Macaroni and Cheese
in vanilla cake
and ice cream
and brie...

The problem with the sadness is that I never felt full, no matter how much I ate.

Thank goodness I have a career I can pour myself into with wild abandon
and a husband who loves me tender no matter where the scale points


three weeks ago when I simply couldn't fit into anything non-cotton-lycra in my closet
it didn't sit well with me.

I began the process of seeing what I could do about this whole shebang.
I still felt fashionable and pretty and all of those things, but not completely comfortable, physically
and sometimes emotionally.

Aside from low-impact exercises
and reading the blogs of women whose stories I so admire

I began doing something so simple, so amazingly simple it's profound:

I stop eating when I am full.

Ta daaaaa!

5 pounds are gone, 10 to go and I will be back in my comfort zone and in my Sevens
again with ease.

It's really funny how much guilt there is about not cleaning your plate:
if you've ever been a child
if you've ever eaten mostly Ramen for your hungry twenties
certainly if you've ever not known where your next meal would come from

this is a hard concept


with full clarity I know it might be the most powerful tool in my arsenal right now
aside from the limited consumption of things like pasta and cake

and that makes me feel

in a very different way.

What is your relationship with food and weight?
I look forward to our dialogue in the comment section!


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Preview of Coming Bagtractions

Please forgive my loopy self: I've been shut in the studio all day with a leather swivel knife and
a ton of ideas:

A few things stuck while others wait in the wings to be realized...

There shall be a big bag (not to be confused with the extra large Hobo bag)
with seagulls in love,
coveting a beautiful bezel set piece of Eclipse Stone

On the back there will be an oval inlay of a beautiful sunset,
watercolor and pale perfection.


there shall be a spring clutch, peony and bee-style


with an inlay of my signature bird skull on the back side with a few sewn medallions of
rebirth symbols

I am so excited.

I have to go back in and continue the work of it all.

The seagull bag will have black leather and be lined in a rich golden yellow suede

and the clutch will be lined in rose colored suede -

days like this make my heart sing.

I should mention I will take reserves on these bags, should they resonate with your heart:
send me a
to set one aside:
I'll mark them as reserved here should they be claimed!


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wings and Water


When travel looms bright on my horizon, I like to finish a project and wait until I get home to reveal it.

Depending on the level of obsession I have about a piece, it can make me feel like I am howling at the moon, mid-day on a Sunday.

This process teaches me patience, tempers my desire to get on a bullhorn and shout from the tallest hill "I did it! I dreamt it and made it!!",
and it gives me something to look forward to when I get home.

To use the word excited seems pale when I think about this necklace...
I began making it when I was having a tough day
and cut by cut, feather by feather I could feel wind gathering under my sadness
and lifting my heart
to higher ground:

it was heavenly from the start.

This necklace sings a song of redemption and grace,
a nearly religious hymn to all things earthy, sensual and divine...

It is comprised of sterling and fine silvers, copper, real turquoise, thread, veggie tanned tooling leather and elk hide in a warm mustard yellow, soft side against your heart.

And yes, like so many pieces that have stunned me with their finished beauty, I cried when I gazed upon its form.

I am not going to list this piece in the shop straightaway: I want to give me readers first dibs:
I feel it belongs to a specific woman whose face is still a mystery to me.

What I do know is that she loves wings, has strong faith in something bigger than
all this earthly claptrap and knows the pathway to her own bliss.

If you are she,



Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pinkies Up!

My hair is wet
my house in a state of lady-less-ness
(tufts of fur in corners, studio plants calling for water like desert soldiers)


I am here, and full of the warmth and humidity of Florida!

I thought today of those silly t-shirts from my childhood that said things like "I went to _________ and all I got was this lousy t-shirt"....
(do they still make things like that?)


because I took nary a single picture of a single beautiful thing
I chuckle to myself and think,
"I went to Florida and all I got was this lousy state of bliss!"

I sang The Lord's Prayer as my girlfriend Chris got married to her incredible husband Daniel
stayed up late
talked for hours on end to my sister-friend Amy Mc
made a lot of new friends
spent time with my Uncle (a delightful rascal)
his wife (amazing)
my cousin, his beautiful wife and their boys
(devout Christians passionate about their wonderful missionary work)
felt my very chest would puff out from my heart growing three sizes too big
wondered at the Spanish Moss

In the airport last night I was approached by a beautiful reader who held up her hand and showed me her dainty, elegant size 3-5 fingers!

It reminded me that I need to remember the wee of finger and the delicate of size
as well as the middle of finger (not to be confused with the actual middle finger)
and the generous of digit.

I am going to go peruse
THIS cookbook
go to Whole Foods
and make something fantastic.

I'll meander back to the studio later this week after I come back to California body AND soul
to make some beautiful pieces.

I missed you all: won't you tell me what you've been up to this past week?


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Phase II

I fear no scissors!!!


Leather Shop Update!!

The Leather Shop is getting a much needed refill before I go to Florida...

It's been forlornly koi-less for weeks now:

I cannot help but smile when I look at these pictures: pure color therapy!

And heaven knows a wing with quartz and gaspeite is never a bad thing around these parts!!

The Metal Shop will see three beautiful rings
pop in as well
sometime in the late morning:

be on the lookout!

Happy Tuesday,

Monday, May 16, 2011

Olive Commons

If you've been following my blog or my jewelry-making over the last few years,
you'll know that I have a deep affection for china-painted

I remove the old (normally about a century old!) porcelain brooch from the brass c-clamp, clean it gently (the old-timey numbers on the back are such a great part that I don't get a chance to show - they're from the maker of the porcelain blank, and the script is so loop-de-loop and special)

and set it in sterling and fine silver.

When I first began this process, I would get rather weepy over these pieces:
I wondered over the maker, thought about how they would feel knowing that their work would
sing again,
a more modern song, surely....

I wonder what they looked like, what they talked about as they painted with friends
or if they were alone with the phonograph
like I am in my studio with my country radio...

Mostly, the painters are completely anonymous, and their work is not original, per se, but created from the fashionable templates of the day:
water lilies
gold at the edges
arts and crafts designs

There is a woman whose work stands out to me with such clarity it's nearly astounding:

Olive Commons.

She began painting her little cameonas (as she called them) when she and her husband moved to Florida.
They depicted scenes of a rural south, swamps and oceans and

Pretty soon, she was running quite an operation as the popularity of these little things grew:
the one in my palm above is 5/8 of an inch wide by 3/4 of an inch tall. Details
beyond compare.

Olive Commons was a small-business owner and a trailblazer:
before I was lucky enough to find her work on eBay, I bought a decal-imitation brooch that was made around the time of her heyday -
a company developed a line that was meant to look like her pieces, just like they do today when a small artist gets popular now!

I have been taking china-painting classes on Tuesday mornings:

me and a quartet of women over 55 and a man who loves to give me a hard time, to whose bait I rise and give him a good "what for!" as the ladies say.

It's quite a delightful scene, with chocolate chip cookies and coffee,
me and the conservative republican china painters of San Jose.

I love every minute (though I resist the urge the defend my beloved POTUS because seriously, what good would it do? I am not going to change well-entrenched opinions!)

Now that I am learning the art, I hope someday to introduce my own pieces into my work

for now, I troll the internets,
searching for the good old stuff that abounds in the right places.

I've still never found anything quite like the tiny art of Olive Commons, and I doubt I ever will:
she was a wonderful artist and an inspiration to me.


Sunday, May 15, 2011


It's the malachite of my dreams: chatoyant to a fever pitch
filled in the underside with cave-like chrysocolla....

beyond collector, this is once-in-a-lifetime stuff.

The band is engraved with a heart sprouting vines
and the bezel has been delicately hammered,
like a southern belle on her second glass of wine:
scratch that, southern belles I've known on their second glass of wine are

Forget I even mentioned the comparison:
It's simply beautiful.

Yes M'am.

Size 7.25, can be hammered up to a 7.5.

Copper flower with a bubble of natural, unpolished hematite as its center...
sterling dew drops
wide sterling band

for the wee of finger: 5.25

Gloriously feminine!!

And here is the holding bowl I've been working on for what feels like a year:
beautifully circular, organically so
with a stunning slice of chrysoprase in the center
soft edged rectangle.

This bowl is for holding your dreams:
that green just sings of possibility, doesn't it?

The sterling poking through the copper into the other side, into the open air is for the power of those wishes
the fierceness of your intention:

like a tiny punch through doubt and despair:
heaven knows we all get those moments, no matter where we are in our journey toward the wanted thing/project/career/partner....

Size 7 even

Oh my, it's a powerhouse!

All three pieces are absolutely available for a hold in the
and if no one claims them in the next few days,
you will see them there,
available and beautiful
on Tuesday.

If one of them belongs to you, hold on to your hat and send me a convo
so I can mark it reserved.

Have a wonderful night!

A Sunday Love Affair

So, I promise myself every once in a while that I won't be in the studio on the weekends, and for good reason:

it's nice to take time off
I need a balance in my life between social and 'work'
(I put it in quotes because I love it so much, it feels like hobby stuff, even when it gets hectic: there is too much fun in the discoveries I experience to call it work, but it is, so there's that...)
The big wide world should be explored...

it's rainy all weekend

and Anthony is taking me on a date tonight (!)
We lingered long over morning coffee yesterday laughing and talking and saying sweet things to each other...


I am leaving for Orlando, Florida (singing at a wedding, seeing tremendous friends and my family!) for a week on Thursday morning and these ideas won't rest
better put,
won't allow me to rest.

So here I am, in heaven.

Schmilly pops in for a kiss every few hours, and to look at what's got me in a tizzy today:
he appreciates my situation,
knows my heart about it
and understands.

Thank goodness!

There are fins and wings and big hobo bags with foxes in love...

Choosing the suede lining, perhaps a lovely pale lavender?

There's a brilliantly messy metal bench
(leather must be clean at all times, so this messiness is only a luxury of metals...
the leather bench gets the white glove treatment.)

my fine succulent friends....

New design elements like fiddly bits for the nervous ring-wearer (this holding bowl is crazy amazing: a circle this time!)

Lavender leaves ready for rolling...

And flowers springing out of metal...

Pierced sterling medallions with maidenhair ferns

From which a prized agua nueva agate will hang....

in short, I am in love.

I am in love on a Sunday
with more things than I can list,
but these are a few.

Off to kiss the Schmill (who I love the mostest),

Friday, May 13, 2011

Ah So.....

Sunday, May 15 Post Script:
I find myself pinching my own cheek over your incredible response to my update of the metal shop.
How I ever got so blessed is beyond me:
thank you for your support.

Now more than ever, what is being made in my studio is born of a feeling so big I cannot seem to slow to flow: I hope you sense it when you un-loop your bakery twine and fold back the layers of red-heart tissue paper...
there it is, love in metal, love in leather.

Thank you.


One of my sister-girlfriends Terra is here staying with us for the last few days:
thank goodness we're both working ladies and she understands
my work schedule when an update is imminent...

She spent the day in meetings, I in the studio with my camera and
lots of pliers.

Everything is made.
and precious to me beyond belief!

Everything is in its proper place:


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Oh, Friday!!!

First pressing: a leaf, lightly...
Second pressing, a seagull feather from Mendocino County...
14k gold rivet

Hammered -top - textured bezel

California Grass layered over sea plants rich with organic matter...

Hammered California Grass with asymmetrical portals (one will feature a branch of vintage coral)

This plant grows underfoot in the Redwood Forests.... wish I knew the name: do you??

Maidenhair and chrysoprase with a branch of coral waiting to be hung....

Delicate Beauties awaiting their finishing touches....

Just had to share!!

I will be updating the Metal Shop on Friday Evening!