I misplaced my glasses. I have this really really bad habit of misplacing all sorts of things. I’m pretty sure I have ADHD, and get distracted easily and leave things all over the house all day long. I think I have lost everything at least once. Shoes are all over in my house because keeping them on my feet is just not an option. Glasses are the same …off and on depending on what i am doing and what room I am in. I bet I have at least 8 p[airs of the cheapos. This time, I really messed up and vow I will do better from now on. Really. …Can there be anything more devastating than not being able to see as well as we’d like? Barely able to do anything in the studio was painful and lasted over two weeks until I managed to find an old pair of drugstore readers that I was using just before the prescription glasses, so once again I was able to see and create. …Just in time to get going with the Christmas gift list too!
Being able to see again, in just the past three days I have been very busy. I finished two more pair of earrings, and moving ahead with three necklaces! Woo-hoo!
The first one on the right is a pendant featuring a cluster of citrine quartz. So far, the pendant with the rainbow moonstone and opal in the center is my favorite. I love anything with a rainbow of beautiful colors in it. The pendant on the right is a clear quartz cluster that is so fragile and tiny that it needed protection …like a cage. I found a fabulous tutorial by Cathy Spivey Mendola called Cage Your Trinkets and Treasures. It’s excellent and a lot of fun.
How did this sneak up on me? We are quickly moving toward the holidays and I feel so unprepared. …Almost freaking out, but not quite, as I have been thinking of to-do lists and wondering where I will find time for doing my usual Santa thing.
Although it has been ages since my last post here, I have been in the studio. My passion for purple turned out this pendant. Dyed agate beads and pearls play with a quartz chip featuring milky quartz as well as amethyst.
Lately, work has assembly style. Since I hand-forge most of what I use in my jewelry, it takes time. I work slowly with a lot of thought and trying out options. That’s art. …Making bits and pieces work together in a pleasing, unexpected way is a tunnel-focused mission. …And then there was the day when I was intently cutting small strips of sheet copper and the scissors suddenly jumped and I ended up cutting my finger instead. That was a minor gorey adventure and I’ll spare details. It has just taken a few weeks for my finger to begin to feel normal again. This has resulted in a shift from my usual work and has involved less manipulative wire bending (debatable) and more earring making. It is redundant, but I have enjoyed it, and figure that the redundancy helps with skill building, although that might be arguable too.
Peridot in its raw nugget form has a wonderful luster. It’s my opinion that that the combination of copper and silver set it off in a way that is far more intriguing than a single metal can.
Carved bone beads have a primitive personality that base metals marry well with, and are like little glyphs that remind us of our beginnings
Anyway, with holidays ahead, I felt in a blingy mood and dressed these up for celebrating. For me, leftover chain equates with enticing shoulder-brusher earrings…
They will be fabulous with low-neckline party dresses.
…And these seemed like Christmas tree ornaments with their shiny silver, glitzy balls and druzy beads, gemstone beads, flashy rainbow Svaroraski crystals sparkling away with each movement, the softer shimmer of pearls, and gleaming copper accents.
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.
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.
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.
Roots 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.
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.
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.
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.
So! I am trying to get this whole WordPress thing. WP is just challenging my little gray cells and I am wishing I had a whole lot of chocolate right this very minute. …Everything is better with chocolate. But really, I’d love to lose myself right in this spot, foraging for tiny smooth creek stones to make into raw earthy jewelry.
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.
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.