Saturday, March 24, 2012

2012 Summer Show Schedule

Here's my (hopefully) final 2012 Summer show schedule:

July 5/6 Artisans' Guild of Cape Cod
Eastham Windmill Green, Route 6 and Samoset Road
Eastham, MA

August 14/15/16 Society of Cape Cod Craftsmen
Under the Big Tent at Drummer Boy Park, Route 6A
Brewster, MA

August 18/19 42nd Annual CraftFest Cotuit (Booth #20)
Village Green
Cotuit, MA

September 1/2 Artisans' Guild of Cape Cod
Whelden Library, Route 149
West Barnstable Village, MA

Please stop by and say hi if you're on the Cape this summer!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dollhouse playtime!

Every so often the lure of the small beckons me back to my fascination with miniatures.  When I saw that the toy company Brinca Dada was introducing a new contemporary beach house with an ingenious design that hinges along the back, allowing it to open and close like a clamshell, I quickly put my name on the preorder list.  Since my new Bennett House arrived, I have been scouring the 'net in search of appropriately-scaled (1:18) furniture and accessories with which to fill it.  Still a work in progress, and with the help of Elf Miniatures of the U.K. and Lundby of Sweden furniture, it's coming along nicely.
The kitchen furniture and appliances were completely custom-built by Elf Miniatures.  Some of the accessories -- especially those in the wall unit -- were made by Lundby.
The uppermost level of the house contains a light, bright bathroom completely furnished in contemporary Lundby of Sweden in remarkable detail.  Next to the bathroom is an open deck with a bamboo floor where the man of the house, who has just taken a dip in the pool, is grilling steaks and corn on the cob on the barbecue grill.  :)
Here's the office, also courtesy of Elf Miniatures.  It clearly needs further accessorizing ... and the warmth of some potted plants.  Guess I've got some work ahead of me here.
Every contemporary beach house deserves a Porsche Carrera convertible in its garage.  I found this die-cast 1:18 scale beauty -- complete with opening doors and hood -- in an antique shop.  Serendipity!  The man of the house is in the process of packing his beach gear in the back seat for a trip to the shore.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

New Work (at last!)

With the 2011 summer show schedule in full swing, I finally mustered the courage to open a new package of silver and take the plunge.  With silver prices again going through the roof, I've become increasingly reluctant to risk making a wrong turn and having something turn out badly; I'd much rather mess up a bronze or copper piece!  But silver has my heart and I couldn't stay away.  Hopefully, the risk was worth it -- here's my new Sediment necklace.

The round cabochon is carnelian, and the inverted triangle is red lace agate ... one of my favorites for sheer drama and movement.  Accented with fine silver seashells, oxidized with just the tiniest hint of red to make the cabs pop, mounted on a handmade necklace of sterling silver wire-wrapped matching lampwork beads encased in clear glass with my own hand-hammered and forged sterling silver spiral clasp.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Final Summer/Fall Show Schedule

Here's our confirmed show schedule for the Summer/Fall season!

July 16/17:          Cape Cod Fine Arts Festival, Village Green, Main
                          Street, Hyannis, MA

 August 9-11:       Society of Cape Cod Craftsmen
                           Drummer Boy Park, Route 6A, Brewster, MA

August 19-21:      40th Annual Festival of the Arts
                           Chase Park, Chatham, MA

Sept. 3/4:            Artisans’ Guild of Cape Cod
                           Indoors and outdoors (we'll be indoors)
                           at the Whelden Library, Route 49
                           West Barnstable, MA

Busy creating lots of new and wonderful items for show season!  In addition to silver and glass, I've been crafting lots of lovely new pieces in enamel over copper, copper combined with silver, and bronze ... all very affordable.  Come by and say hi!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

New work, new affiliations, new shows ...

I've no lack of excuses for my long absence!  There are so many of them:  We just returned to Cape Cod from wintering in Florida, where I spent a nice chunk of time volunteering at the Humane Society Naples.  There I assisted in socializing timid felines to give them a better chance of being adopted and made some new friends along the way.  I also had the great pleasure of reuniting with my best friend from my early teen years after more than a forty-year separation -- we had an absolutely joyous and tremendously emotional reunion and have gotten together several times since. I also saw for the first time in several decades a dear friend from my early childhood; our mothers were longtime friends too!  We put the finishing decorating touches on our new condo; I enjoyed my first-ever airboat ride on the Everglades; and I also spent lots of time walking along the beach, collecting beautiful shells and brainstorming ideas for new jewelry pieces, some of which you see pictured here.

With the dramatic increase in silver prices comes a necessary and serious reconsideration of the materials I use in my work.  In the coming months you'll see more jewelry designs from me that employ the beauty and durability of bronze and copper, for example, and more glass and enamel work with less emphasis on silver ... although I don't see myself giving it up silver entirely.

Some other wonderful things are happening as well.  I recently juried in as a brand new member of the Society of Cape Cod Craftsmen and very much look forward to participating in their annual show in August.  More details below!

My Summer/Fall 2011 show schedule is still being formulated, but here's a list of the shows I can confirm I'll be participating in:

August 9-11            59th Annual Society of Cape Cod Craftsmen
                              Drummer Boy Park, Route 6A
                              Brewster, MA

August 19-21          40th Festival of the Arts
                              Chase Park
                              Chatham, MA

September 3-4       Artisans' Guild of Cape Cod
                             Whelden Library, Route 149
                             West Barnstable, MA

If you're planning to be on the Cape on a timetable that happens to coincide with my show schedule, please plan to stop by and say hello -- I'd love to meet you!                                   

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Expecting the unexpected ...

I sometimes wonder how other jewelry designers work.  Do they have a firm plan in mind?  Do they sketch out their ideas in pencil with an eraser at the ready?  Do they visualize the finished product right from the outset?

I know I don't.  Usually I don't have a clue.  I begin with a very general idea or inspiration, and it might be anything.  For this project, it began with a tiny, pretty ocean jasper cabochon.  The circle.  An orb. 

Okay, so far so good -- I had a name for the piece.  Then what?  The rounded triangle shape of the piece reminded me of those wonderful '50's retro coffee tables, and that led me to think about something asymmetrical yet not.  So I began building a necklace around that idea, and with each step came an unexpected change.  I rolled individual balls of silver and lined them up in ways that pleased my eye.  I fired the piece and photographed it, wondering (agonizing!) over whether or not I should oxidize it. 

I decided that yes, I needed to, in order to emphasize the texture of the piece.

Once that was done, I began to visualize how I would integrate the focal piece into a finished necklace.  Keep it simple and attach it to a silver chain?  Perhaps add a few glass beads that might echo the depth of the ocean for accent?  I ran to my supply closet and began going through all the wonderful glass beads in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes that I protectively hoard until just the right project comes along.  Finally, I find some tiny boro beads meant to be used as spacers that are just the right colors and size to complement -- but not overwhelm -- my focal.  Hours are spent bending and shaping sterling silver wire; making connections; forming a necklace.  Carefully crafting a sterling silver spiral clasp to complete the circle.  Oxidizing the sterling wire and lovingly polishing it back up, by hand.  Admiring it, and marveling at the wonder of having made this myself, with my own two hands.

And thinking that by now, I should know myself well enough to know to expect the unexpected when I sit down at the workbench to create.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

What's on my workbench ... more Art Nouveau

I guess eventual crossover from my years as a botanical miniaturist was inevitable.  My latest piece in progress is a fine silver pendant with a bezel-set Willow Creek jasper cabochon in shades of subtle pink, pale green, a hint of gray and a little ivory.  The bail is hidden on the back.  The feature that's especially unique in this piece is it's the first that includes my own tiny hand-sculpted roses!  I've never attempted that kind of sculptural feature before, and I like the effect.  I think I may be doing more of this!

The assortment of beads surrounding the pendant are candidates for a matching necklace.  I'm thinking possibly of a triple strand of coordinating beads culminating in silver cones and a toggle clasp.  The beads shown are rhodochrosite, soocho jade and impression jasper ... but the jury is still out.  I don't want to overwhelm a delicate-looking pendant with disproportionate beads.  Perhaps tomorrow I'll take the pendant with me while I shop for some tiny pale green or pink pearls ...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Insane kiln patina!

On my first firing of FastFire BronzClay, I used Magic Carbon as my firing medium inside Cool Tools' wonderful new firing foil, which was designed to be folded origami-style into a box and lid and replaces the old stainless steel covered pans that many metal clay artisans have been using and which flake terribly, leaving the inside of our kilns a black, sooty mess.  I was thrilled with the firing foil and the completely successful sintering of all my pieces.  However, I was less than impressed with the bronze color that resulted.  It was a little too cool for my taste; I prefer my bronze to have a richer, warmer tone.

So ... in the hope that re-firing my pieces by replacing all the Magic Carbon with the traditional Activated Coconut Carbon might result in warmer colors, I was flabbergasted (in a good way!) to pull these pieces out of the hot carbon and watch these absolutely insane colors develop.  My solid bronze bangle now looks like an ancient, rusted relic pulled from a sunken galleon.  And my little bronze hearts -- some of which will become earrings; some charms; and one a pendant -- are similarly beautiful ... although none can come close to the amazing colors of my bangle.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

And now for something completely different ...

First things first:  Happy New Year, all!  Wishing you a healthy, joyous and peaceful 2011!

Recently I've gone back to re-visit bronze and to change things up, I've done a small series of pieces with more of an Art Nouveau vibe ... just for fun.  (I hate being predictable, don't you??).

So, while things are still in the experimental stage and pieces are going into -- and out of -- the kiln, I thought I'd throw out a teaser and sneak preview of this new series, which will include earrings, charms and a big honking bangle bracelet.  More to follow, including details on the process for those of you who dabble.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


We've had several consecutive days of extremely cold weather and a day of amazingly high winds that churned up the Gulf to the point that this is what I found along the beach this morning, on the first sunny and relatively warm day we've had in a week:  Literally millions of conchs -- almost all live -- during low tide.  I've never seen anything like it!

They are so active that their little feet are paddling like mad, and I could hear, over the roar of the surf, their shells clicking as they bumped into one another.

I crouched and scooped up several conch shells that were face down in the sand to check for inhabitants and literally, without exception, every one was alive and kicking.

Let's hope that high tide brings them safely back into the Gulf without numerous casualties.