Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Making Strides...

Against Breast Cancer... OK, here's my once per year plug ...

As a 2.5 year survivor, I'd like to remind everyone that breast cancer is still out there, it's serious and it needs to be stopped! The American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk is being held here in Bellevue, WA this coming Sunday, Oct 4th. Last year I walked, this year I'm going to be a volunteer "route marshal" during the walk but I'm still committed to raising funds for the cause! If you're so inclined, you can help me raise funds by going to this official site and donating here.

During my treatment, I received help from so many sources; family, friends, complete strangers, doctors, nurses, a whole host of other medical professionals, and from resources provided by the American Cancer Society. Now it's my turn to help out and give back. I am so blessed to be able to give back, but I'm still a long way from meeting my goal of $1000.-
If you're over 40, please don't forget to schedule your annual mammogram. Do it today, because someone loves you.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Finally, some new jewelry in my etsy shop!

I've neglected my etsy shop for far too long. I've been busy this summer learning to solder and making many new items. They've been sitting on my shelf while I've admired them, but now it's time to let them go out into the world! So, I've taken photos and listed 11 new items this weekend and will list several more through the coming week. Be sure to check out my new listings in my etsy shop.
I'm taking another weekly metalsmithing class this fall at Pratt Fine Art Center in Seattle. I find it's all less overwhelming this class. Maybe I'm catching on! Of course it helps that I have a terrific teacher for this class, Susanne Lechler Osborn. She's so willing to share everything she knows and explains it so well. One of the nice perks of taking classes at Pratt is that I can go there every Friday for open studio time and work on whatever I need to do. I've done a lot of soldering during those Friday sessions!
I've also been rearranging the home office and a guest bedroom space to make one of the rooms exclusively for my jewelry workshop! I have a new jeweler's bench all set up in a sunny, 3 window corner of the room. I am surprised at how much space my jewelry equipment takes up! I have a computer/business area, a photo area, my jewelers bench, supplies, books and supply catalogs.... I still need some things for the room to make it really comfortable for me, such as new lighting and an additional chair. Here is a photo of my favorite corner. Yes, yes, it's already a mess. I'm making some riveted pendant and earring sets that need to be done tomorrow! I'd better get back to work :)
Wishing you a fun, creative week!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


One of the wonderful things about creating any form of art is that it's always an evolving route of discovery. You start out with a plan. Sometimes it's a well drawn out design on paper, sometimes it's just a vague idea; you know, a feeling or an image that needs to evolve as you go. This pendant had a plan in the beginning, but messed up solders, starting over, ornamentation that just didn't feel quite right and then finally, fresh ideas that changed everything as I went along the path of creating this piece. It's aptly called "Discovery".
Another thing I discovered along the way an is an appreciation of the unique quality of the stone itself. I've had it for months now and have set it aside many times, waiting for inspiration, but I never really looked at it or held it in my hands for any length of time. It has layers and layers of embedded colors, ranging from ocean blues, turquoise, grays and rust. Most of my jewelry thus far has been made entirely of metals. I haven't included stones very often, but now that I've learned some new techniques, I find I'm working with and designing things around my stones to highlight their beauty and unique qualities. I'm discovering just how different each stone is and that different stones make you feel something. It may be a calmness, a sense of being grounded to the earth, a sense of excitement... I get to know each stone as I work with it and hold it, forming a frame around it to showcase it. I can honestly say I'm discovering so many exciting things while I create jewelry. And it's not about the jewelry.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The importance of knowing when you're done.

Today's photo shows 2 new pieces I've made recently. While I'm moving up on the learning curve with my soldering and bezel settings, I'm still very much a newbie and things don't always turn out as perfectly as I'd like them to be. While I'm reasonably pleased with the green Chrysocolla Chalcedony ring, the ring shank turned out to be about 1/4 size too big for my hand (it's a 6.5). So, if you're a 6.5 ring size, speak up soon!

The purple/pink pendant stone, which I purchased while vacationing in Victoria, BC this summer, is a pink star ruby and a member of the labradorite family. I just fell in love with it because of its' unique color and depth. I had planned to set it with some ornamentation on the sides, but that didn't work out as I wanted, so I cut the ornamentation off and decided to just keep the setting simple and plain. That's always a good, last resort. After many hours of setting, pushing and burnishing the bezel, the stone was a still little loose in the setting. I had given up and decided it was good enough to just keep for myself and not worry about making it perfect. I'd chalk it up to a learning experience. But tonight as I shot the photo, the perfectionist crept up inside of me and forced me to pick up my pusher and burnisher tools. I've just spent the past hour trying to tighten it up. And I was successful at tightening the stone. Big mistake. You see, bezel wire is very thin fine silver and the more you push and stretch it to curve over the top of the stone, the thinner it gets. Well, I made it so thin that part of it chipped off where it meets the stone. Now the bezel is ragged and the stone is loose again. It's a lost cause. Tomorrow, I will probably just cut the setting apart, remove the stone and start all over again. I should have quit while I was ahead.

Meanwhile, I'm working on another pendant that I'm also having trouble with. While trying to solder a wire to the back of the pendant, I managed to solder the wire not only to the pendant back, but to my third hand as well. I had to cut the wire apart from the third hand and cut the wire off of the back of the pendant, too. Lot's of sanding later, I'm afraid it's going to end up being another pendant just for me.

My motto for this weekend is "Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again." I have to keep reminding myself that I'm having fun. Even as I make mistakes, I am learning.

I hope you're having a wonderful, creative holiday this weekend!