Mine All Mine!

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Life has been challenging lately.  A few weeks ago you would have found me in the dentist’s chair as he ground away at two molars that had been suffering the effects of ancient fillings and fissures that might have given way with work and therefore required crowning.

Oh Misery!!!!

Well, the worst was yet to come.  Complications arose during the next week that slowed healing and ended up making my blood pressure go wonky.  Yikes!  Anyway, a visit to my doctor helped turn it all around and now I am pulling my life back together.  Last week I calmed and comforted myself with working in the studio again.  The splinter of creek shale is now a finished talisman.  Not content to stop with one piece, earrings quickly took form as my hands crafted the ideas gathering in my head.  I love how the pieces turned out, and it does bring me closer to my childhood at a time when I innocently followed my joy as I played in mountain streams and forests.  A delicious bonus is that shale is a smooth and slightly porous stone that can be used for the application of aromatherapy.  A few drops of essential oil are absorbed and hold a healing scent.

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Shale is grounding and said to align the root chakra, and remove old hurts and defensive walls.  It is also useful for finding a way to respond positively to new situations.  To  support and amplify shale’s healing energy, a chunky bit of green peridot got caged to dangle vine-like beside it.  Peridot was worn and jealously guarded by the pharaohs in ancient Egypt and is even mentioned in the Bible.  It can help tonify and protect the body, while balancing, detoxifying and cleansing negative emotions.  Pyrite nuggets give the talisman substance and help attract and manifest good luck.  Copper is highly recognized for its physical healing and grounding properties.

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A Case for the Existence of Elves

When it comes to creating jewelry, I still work pretty slowly.  With so much to learn yet about tools, techniques, materials, etc., etc., it could take me years to get to where I would like to be.  In addition, you wouldn’t believe all the bits and pieces that I drop because my fingers are so durn fumbly, … and the worst part is that I can search for several minutes, with bright light, seeing/knowing the general places these things go, and yet they are nowhere to be found.  Apparently however, this is a common phenomenon for jewelry creators all over the world.  I read about it daily.  Thing is, there must be little ornery elves that cause us to drop these little bits and as soon as they hit the floor, the elves grab them up and cause them to disappear.  I am convinced of this as there should rightfully be a pile of metal and beads and glittering rocks and semi-precious gemstones about ankle high in the studio.

4592d-folktalesfrommanylands_elfpg24_sepia_artistichenAt times these annoying creatures even are so bold as to pilfer pieces that I am working on!  I have found that if I don’t watch carefully, I can put a piece down right on the bench in front of me, and if I am distracted for a moment, the piece will be snatched away.  This happens more often than I care to say.  I have also come to believe that they work with the dastardly devious Palmetto Bug, aka: cockroach, to make their getaways.  The cockroach is famed far and wide for it’s ability to soar off out of reach and dart quickly away into unknown hiding places.

Eventually though, days or weeks later, these ornery elves do tire of their plunder and leave it in some spot where I can’t miss it. This in itself is absolute proof of their existence.

Perhaps it would be wise of me to make chocolate cakes and leave crumbs about for them to gobble up and get fat.  At least that way they will be slowed down and I can catch the little buggers before they can carry out their dastardly deeds!

Roots

DSCN3954Roots of my beginnings mean a lot to me.  I choose to be selective about all those memories, and single out a place that was frozen in time for nearly one hundred years.  Deep in the “Endless Mountains” (also known as the Appalacians) of Pennsylvania, my father’s family has been the keepers for a simple cabin poised by a small creek named Indian Camp Run.  My childhood was filled with what I refer to as the “Grandpa Grundy” stories my father used to tell.  Although I have no idea who Grandpa Grundy was, or where or when I first heard the name, this always referred to tales of life in the long ago  in a different time when there were only a few automobiles, no modern appliances or even indoor plumbing, no social media, and probably set during the Great Depression.  My father, being a Boy Scout leader in his youth, took it upon himself to educate my sister and I on the wonders of Nature for a few weeks every summer.  Rambling through the hills and into and along the creeks (we called them “cricks”…that’s Pittsburgese dialect).  We turned over stones and caught crayfish if we were fast enough to spot them before they skittered away with the current in a cloud of fine silt.  We hunted for soft-skinned miniature orange salamanders with black polka-dot spots and made houses for them in shoe boxes.  We sampled wild mint, tea-berry leaves and mouthfuls of delicious fresh raspberries and blueberries, green apples, and hazelnuts and walnuts.  We gathered huge bouquets of wildflowers that were everywhere in vases around the cabin.  We learned to love the sound of rain on a tin roof and rummaging through ancient trunks filled with strange clothing and old photographs.  After we were tucked into bed, we watched fireflies twinkle around us in the dark of the sleeping loft.  …And the world was perfect then.20160811_110842

And now …well, lets say that I am continually seeking ways to regain that sense of the serenity of nature in my life and to remind myself of that perfection through my jewelry pieces.  This pendant made from a worn splinter of shale is one I saved from a trip back to the mountains a few years ago.  I plucked it out of the crick because I thought it was interesting, and now I need the memory to come alive again so its on the bench.  I enfolded it in a copper bezel with rippling edges like the water and creek-bed that formed it.  …A work in progress.

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Bohemian & Natural!

 

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Recently I am super-charged  with the idea of showing off the beauty of a stone in it’s natural, raw state.  Where crystals and sparkly stones are concerned I have the wonderment of a child and a fascination that it could possibly grow out of the earth and be so special.

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This bracelet in copper and silver-plated mixed metals evolved from just three components held together.  The metals wanted to swirl like roots around them, capturing and holding them securely as roots do.

Heavily hand-forged chain links and barrel beads of copper combine with the ancient and earthy. Quartz crystals and clusters, a fossilized ammonite, and the raw glitzy sparkle of small mica stones are wrapped together and ornamentally solder secured.

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Letting the Wild Out

…That part of us that is wild and free and loves to explore.  Follow it and you will go interesting places.  That is what happened with this pendant.  Fascination with a glass cabochon and thinking along K.I.S.S. lines led me to create this piece.  I love the way the pearls, silvery metal and shiny glass play together.  The raw, pink rhodachrosite gives it a grounding in nature and adds a pop of color.

Just Like Fine Wine

For two weeks I would walk into the studio and diddle with picking up this and that and make no headway at all.  Finally, I decided I had far too many bits and pieces that had been around for ages …perhaps had been given to me …maybe I didn’t even like them very much …but kept them around “because.”  It occurred to me that in my state of mind,and after so much time away, it would take a few hours to get my metal focus and kick start the creative process.  It also seemed that any piece I might work on was not likely to be something I was pleased with.  In fact, I spent a day trying to solder pieces, etc., and felt like my skills had been slipping.  …Talk about frustration and despair!  The following morning, I came across a wonderful video by Ira Glass.  I had seen it before, but this video ought to be on the “watch this” list every time I start thinking my artsy creations are crappy.  The man gives a wonderful perspective for beginning creatives at any level.  His message is basically: our taste is better than our skill and it takes lots of practice, but improvement will come, and it may take years to get to our goal …so be patient and keep on going.

20160127_174409 (2)So, I looked at projects that had been left to languish.  This wrap bracelet was well under way, had character and was ready to start right up where I left off.  It was actually meant to be a close duplicate of another I made for myself.  However, skills and creativity do increase, and I found that I was going far beyond my first project and getting my “wild” on.  Links were more creative and I launched my efforts with more speed and felt sure of the direction I was heading in.  This piece sold in the first few hours it was in the store, and for a higher value than I have received in the past.  Now, I am finding this is happening more frequently.

 

 

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