Thursday, January 31, 2008


These are some one of a kind pieces by me and Lisa Blackwell. She makes the gorgeous pmc boxes (intricately detailed on the sides and backs) and I fill them with clay and paint. The smallest (mushroom bezel) is 3/4" from top of bail to bottom-its tiny. I nearly went blind carving it. Now I'm completely smitten by their cuteness and don't want to sell them. Typical of me. They need to be encased in resin, to protect them, but this is like putting something in water, it flattens the space and diffuses the light, which can be cool, but lessens the depth. I'm thinking of floating a thin sheet of mica over the next batch. I'm so tired and so determined to finish 5 more tonight. I like a good challenge.

Monday, January 28, 2008

woodland charms

Ok, here are some new masters that just came out of a mold. I will only have a handfull for Tucson, so get there early! They are small, about an inch tall, including the bail. I love them. I think I'll make an acorn to go with this series. I lost a piece in the last casting that bummed me out big time- a clasp that took two days to carve, lost! I loved it so much, it was a bird toggle flying on a round disc (with a hole) with clouds carved on it. That was a sucky casting, lots of masters didn't make it. Thats the trouble with this stuff, there are no guarantees, no matter how experianced. So we just carve more and learn from our mistakes. I feel really behind, kind of bogged down and tired. I know its just nerves- this always happens, I go into robot mode and work my butt off to combat the stress. Or, I look on the internet at lineolated parrakeets and wonder which one looks like we are made for each other. I'm not in the habit of replacing a pet right after it dies, I'm usually in a bitter sort of mood, like my heart can't take losing another, but I feel different right now. Like I need to nurture or be surrounded by life. I feel like I'm in a transitional state, like something is going to change and I'm only half aware of it. I thought it might be a shift to making finished jewelry into a business but I think I'm actually not doing it because I'm actually growing away from that idea. I generally follow my intuition to lead me and have learned to do so after a long time of doing what I thought was expected of me. I love what we do, but deep down I'm a storyteller, its part of what I do- everything I've made has a story and I think its this part that needs to be tended. Maybe writing down these 'histories' or actually finishing my story and stop being such a sissy would stop this sneaking feeling that something I need to do isn't done. Like now, for instance, 12 portraits in bezels down, and only 9 to go. I will finish them after I look at more birds.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I made this little bead last night, its inspired by the kokeshi dolls of Japan. Kokeshi were usually made from wood and laquer paint and were for children to play with. This one is about an inch tall and will be cast in pewter. I'm going to stay up and make a snail charm to go with my mushrooms. I have this fantasy that I'm going to start making my silver pieces into finished jewelry and having 'collections' and be in galleries. Although appealing, and not terribly difficult, I don't I have the energy. Maybe if I had an assistant, to string the designs, then I could do it. I am the slowest stringer, ever. I'll just contemplate it some more, maybe add it to my things to do list. Well, the work is going good, we've been casting like crazy and buffing till dawn.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Sunday, January 20, 2008

new pieces

Silver master, 1 1/4" the back is engraved with "Let the beauty of what you love be what you do. -Rumi" all time fave quote.

This highly detailed bead is 3/4" tall (or small, I should say) and is made of polymer. I dearly hope this one survives the molding process and makes it into production for pewter.

This little silver charm (1")didn't turn out, the backside got all melty looking so it won't go into production. It was lots of fun to make so I made three more mushrooms, they are in the kiln now.

This polymer master (1 5/8") says "Bathe in all the tides of nature, in all her streams and oceans at all seasons. -Thoreau" one of my favorite quotes.
Back to work, its a frenzied mad house around here, most wouldn't believe the hours we've been keeping! It will all be worth it when we get to Tucson. It always feels like I'm saying that like its Oz or someplace equally sort of is.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Pika and Kiwi

It was strange coming home after such a long trip in Florida, the air here is so crisp, the colors muted. It was also so quiet, my two lovebirds that I'd had for years (Pika about 4, Kiwi 8 ) had died while I was away - the news left me sad and deflated. I'd grown so attached to them and their silly ways, Kiwi chirping in time with Tom Petty and Pika's beak blushing when Kiwi would kiss her. I miss them, they had kept me company for a long time. So I've been a little self indulgent these past several days, spoiling my remaining bird, a powder blue parrotlet that goes by Mochi, Mochika and Chica Baby and drawing pictures of Pika and Kiwi. Today I finally got down to business and started carving new pieces for the Big Show in Tucson. Its a couple weeks away and we are behind schedule, I'm past freaking out and have adopted a dazed shock to go with my sadness. Not good. I'm staying up all night to see how many of my designs I can carve till dawn. We shall see.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Beach Baby

My girl loves the beach, so much so that she can hardly contain her excitement. I think its infectious. I could spend hours staring out over the water, especially on days when its cool and you need a blanket. I always feel relaxed and happy, like coming home. Maybe its my islander heritage. Anyway, shorelines revive and inspire me -the magic of a 'between' place, betwixt land and water, somewhat like dusk, the gloaming so mysterious and lovely. We will be leaving the warmth of Florida on Monday, to return to our haven in the mountains (which posesses its own magical quality).

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Blue Springs

Me and Sheila posing.

A really big slider.

Mama and baby manatees.

Manatee and gator.

Sweet girl Azalea.

Manatee about to be released into the spring.

Baby girl.
We spent a lovely day at Blue Springs, observing all the local wildlife. There were 55 manatees counted and 2 gators, loads of fish and turtles, not to mention all manner of birds. We got lucky and arrived in time to watch a manatee being released into the spring, which was really amazing to see the gentle creature up close. Today made up for the many times we've come and seen nothing at all. The park/spring has a house from the 1800's on it (which is now a museum) and one can't help but imagine living during that time. What must it have been like to live in such a beautiful place? What must have those folks thought of all the hundreds of manatees swimming through there? I think I would like to have a house there, with so many critters around.
The show was a lot of fun, but it wore me out! Good thing I have a few more days before the next show in Clearwater. I'm making new things for that show, so come by if your in the area and say 'hi'.
I've resisted the temptation to go shopping (since I'm making an effort to simplify) even though there are so many new shops open. I never noticed how much consumerism is ingrained in my way of life. I shop when bored, when I think I need new shoes (I have more pairs than I can count) when I try to boost the economy. It was actually hard to resist the new Ikea that just opened here. I tell myself to save up for nice, artisan made goods. Those will be more satisfying to look at everyday. Ok, I'm going to sit outside and watch the birds.

Friday, January 04, 2008

New Etsy Find

Look what I found! This is a reverse carved Lucite bangle from gpaulstudios I love it. I got my sis one as well. I love anything with sea life and this is so detailed. I have to say, shopping on Etsy is so easy and also addictive. That, and its good to support small businesses that hand craft their wares in the states, rather than mass produced poo from china. Not that I don't buy it, too, its just good to consume less. I read this article in Selvedge magazine about how our culture is so hooked on instant gratification and unwilling to save up for things (like beautiful art, or handmade pots, etc.) because its so easy to buy cheaply made things and have more. I think of how everything used to be handmade, how you had to make your own clothes and gifts and food....and I'm glad I don't have to, yet it is bewitching. I'm going to make an effort to support this movement toward simplification and see what happens.

In Ft. Lauderdale

Just arrived to one of the most swank hotels ever, The Doubletree Galleria, there's a plasma flat screen on the wall and numi teas on the tray, a massage shower and an enormous bed with my name on it. I need this bit of relaxation, after a weeks worth of being knock -down sick with some strange throat virus. I hate my lymph nodes, always swelling and giving me problems. Anyway, I'm fully recovered and ready to show off our goods tommorow at the Cypress Creek Sheraton for Jane's Bead Mercantile Show. Which is always a pleasure, I love visiting my long time customers who have shown up since the very beginning. Its like a sign that I'm doing something right, when folks show such support. Well, I'm off to watch the BBc version of Pride and Prejudice (which I like quite a bit-further enhancing my dorky image).