Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Excitement is a brewing! I applied & got into my first major wholesale show. I have less than 20 days to get everything made, packed up & ready to go before we hit the road for Las Vegas! I am thrilled, excited, nervous, anxious all at the same time. It is a little daunting to try to prepare for a show of this size. My wonderful little craft shows are great but just a teeny shadow to what I need to do to prepare for ACRE. I want to do well & write TONS of orders however, I am walking into the unknown...

I have too many ideas flowing through my creative veins at the moment & need to focus. I am not so good at the focus. I like to flit around from idea to idea. Things have been coming together a little better & I am finally finishing new pieces.

I have many more hours at the bench to go before I feel prepared for the show. Numerous hours at the computer trying to figure out layout of the booth & lighting. The route there & back to plan, what shoes to bring. Thankfully, I like to keep busy. My brain doesn't like to turn off & currently it doesn't have time to shut down. Working hard to be prepared, wishing hard for a successful show. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I have addictions that are bad for me... Thin crust pizza, french fries, soft caramels, Chicago style hot dogs, Newcastle beer, high heeled shoes, television, vanilla lattes. There is more, but no need to totally embarrass myself. I find that these things bring me comfort, moments of happiness, a sense of peace. Luckily, one addiction that I have doesn't have detrimental effects to my health is gemstones. I love them in all types, shapes, qualities & colors. Faceted, cabochons, beads, rough, name it, I love 'em!

Over the years I've collected & sold thousands of gemstone treasures. I currently have over 5000 loose stones in my inventory. I always seem to make room for more. Just like shoes, you can always squeeze one more pair into the collection. They inspire me to create. They reveal new ideas & designs just by being beautiful. They call to me. I covet them, I desire them, I need them.

I like to visit them in their little packages. These visits help me remember what inspired me to possess them. Find that spark that bought a sparkle to my eye the first time I laid eyes on them. They motivate me to explore new techniques & processes. Gemstones are an addiction I don't ever want to be cured.

Gemstones are the "soul" of my process in creating jewelry. The metal speaks to me too, but differently. Gemstones tell me the story, make my jewelry have personality. Addicted? Yes, but it's a good addiction. Yeah, my accountant may disagree but they are assets to my creative soul. I need my assets.

Recent finds that feed my addiction are found here from fellow metalsmith & Etsy seller, Barney & over here.

I can make room for this one, can't I?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday Explorations in Metalsmithing

My fellow metalsmiths, Tracey & Margarita along with myself have taken on exploring new or revisited metalsmithing techniques twice a month. One of the first things we decided to tackle was etching. We had all etched before but had not done it in awhile. We started with copper etching. We tried different methods of "resist"on the copper. The resists varyied from Sharpie markers, finger nail polish, & laser toner based transfers. We all came out with some interesting effects that we found were mostly successful.

Tracey & I decided to take it a step further & explore etching on sterling silver. Stronger acid & more dangerous. Eeek! This time around I used asphaltum as the resist on my silver. It held up pretty good after a very short etch time. The longer the etching the more it under cut into the edges of my designs. I find that using asphaltum is is much easier to carve out the area you want etched than to carve out around the area. Meaning carving the positive versus the negative space. It just how my brain works.

I have always admired the decorative patterns of Gustav Klimt. In particular, I have been drawn to his "Tree of Life" painting.

One of my silver etchings is a simplified homage to his tree. I finally got around to making it into a piece of jewelry. I wanted a gemstone to give the piece some color & some interesting visual dimension. I chose a natural Australian boulder opal. This one had an earthy, root feel to it. I thought it worked perfectly. Here's the finished result:

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I recently completed a custom wedding set based on one of my bands but with modifications. The client wanted to add diamonds to a 2mm wide band. I nodded politely & said "no problem." I remember being taught how to flush set stones but MUCH larger ones. I didn't even have all the proper tools yet. I ordered three extra stones just in case I lost, broke or chipped one (or two.) The mans version was easy. 6mm by 2mm hand hammered, brushed & oxidized, done. Her band was simple but I decided to make three. One for practice, one for potential mistakes, one for real. Of course, I used all three.

It is always a wonder that if you plan for it, you almost make your own destiny. The first one was fine just one diamond got set a little lower than I wanted. I salvaged the first one for my shop with some minor adjustments. The second one I broke a drill bit in it. Not much fun to get out but not impossible to do (usually.) I decided to go ahead with the third one to save time. It came out great! I didn't even loose one of those tiny teeny diamonds. I think I might incorporate them into my regular line. The diamond band is just so darn cute!