Monday, August 30, 2010

A dose of bunny

Seriously cute.

Earrings update

I've been neglecting my jewelry shop quite a bit this Summer so I'm trying to get it back in shape. I've been focused on orders and shows and keeping that inventory up and in the process my poor little shop has suffered. And, I just noticed that I am 10 sales away from reaching 1,500! So that is pretty cool. :)

I have some new designs to show you. First up is this pretty pair of hoops (above). This stylized floral design has been a favorite of mine all summer. It takes glaze so nicely and looks great in nearly every color (especially this vibrant Delft blue!).

This is the only pair I have made in this new, fabulous design thus far. They are Art Nouveau to the core with their swirling frame and modern pods. It's such a beautiful design (and would make a great inspiration for a tattoo, I think...).

I call this pair Stepped Deco. For obvious reasons.

This is a fun pair of one-offs. They have a real splashy, Pollocky kind of flair to them.

This design has become my Summer show best seller, and one of my personal favorites as well. It's so striking. Who would have guessed that the original antique button that I made the mold from was a black glass mourning button? He was meant to be seen in color! He's a party animal!

Anyhoo... All of these little pretties can be found in the shop. Thanks for stopping by. :)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Scrap happy

I ran out of sterling sheet last week and I've been going a bit crazy without it. Other supplies are taking precedence at the moment so until I am able to order more I have to make due with what I have. And what I have is little bits and pieces of scraps... as you can see very well from this rather scrap happy ring that I made with them.

It's a little funky, I know, but I used the opportunity to learn some new soldering techniques that I hadn't tried yet. I also beat the hell out of it with different textures, which was a lot of fun since I really like to go after things with a hammer now and then. The experience also renewed my desire (need) for this set of hammers.

So now I am really really out of silver. I don't think I can even do anything with the little scraps I have left at this point. Unless.... I just got an idea as I typed those words... I'll get back to you on that...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A big block of chocolate!

Here is the block of chocolate that I ate today. Yum. It was good!
OK, it's not chocolate, it's clay. And though it looks good enough to eat, let me tell you... I hate this clay. It's groggy and sandy and grainy and when I slice through it with a knife it sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. I'm a porcelain gal through and through. Smooth, creamy, white porcelain - so silky I could spread it on a bagel and eat it. But... I've had this bag of clay for a few years now so I decided to channel my inner Lisa Peters and see what I could do with it. I didn't do much, let me tell you. I made some pieces, but I am leaning heavily towards the garbage can with them. I'll see how they clean up and then I'll decide if they will see the light of day. I have a hard time being earthy, I admit it.

I spent the whole day in the studio and it was wonderful. All the ideas I have had brewing for a while came to fruition and I am very pleased with the outcome (aside from the groggy clay bits). And just to clarify a few things - I am not closing the Extra shop for good. I am just getting rid of everything I have made thus far and starting over completely. I will never make any of those old pieces again - I am starting fresh and new. The goal will be to have new pieces every time I update the shop. No repeats, no replications. I may do variations of certain pieces but for the most part they will be new and unique each and every time. This will serve several purposes. 1. It will be a personal challenge to see if I can come up with new pieces every month. 2. I won't get bored and want to commit bead-rage murders. 3. It will make EVERYONE'S work more unique. Since there will only be a limited number of pieces in each style available only that many people will be able to make jewelry with those components. I quite like that idea! Don't you?
Anyway, today was devoted to making new pieces for YOU! And I made some real humdingers, if I do say so myself. Tomorrow will be all about me and jewelry, my true love.

I will leave you with the above photo to ponder. It's a picture of a fresh plaster wedging table that we poured last week at the studio. It was quite a mess, let me tell you, with some real Lucy and Ethel moments. Once we were done we discussed how long we need to keep the students from using the table since it will take a while for the plaster to fully cure. I left before a time-frame was established and came in today to see this sign taped across the table. "Do not use for a very long time." Nothing like being specific. For some reason, this really cracks me up. :)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Done and ALMOST done!

This is it, folks! The last of the components are now in the Extra shop. I extended the close of the shop until Wednesday, September 1st (which is so right around the corner it's freaking me out).

So here is the deal. Buy my stuff. :)
No, really, everything you see in the shop will never be in the shop again, so if you fancy a piece or two you better snatch it up now.

I have received many, many wonderful and encouraging comments and emails regarding my decision to run things a little differently and for that I thank each and every one of you. I can be a bit of drama queen when it comes to my craft, but the bottom line is that I have to love what I make. And what I make has to support me. Those two things are not always the best of friends and the drama queen sometimes beats the queen who brings home the bacon over the head with a brick now and then. I'm sedating them both with sangria at the moment so they are getting along just swimmingly. :)

Tomorrow will be a day in the pottery studio, all day, and I cannot wait! I am going in refreshed and recharged and with the cleaning out of my Extra shop I feel like a huge weight has been lifted and I can think freely and clearly now for the first time in a while. (This is possibly the sangria talking, but let's just go with it.) I can't wait to show you what I come up with!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Oh my stars!

My favorite purchase at Bead Fest was patterned brass and copper sheet metal that we found in the Metalliferous booth. I bought a bunch and now I wish I had purchased more because I absolutely love the stuff. I had this ring in mind the second I saw the brass with stars on it and I am pretty please with the way it came out - pretty much just as I had imagined.

I love how sterling silver looks when paired with other metals so I gave this ring a nice chunky band and fine silver bezel to compliment the warm brass. A dark, grungy patina helped to pull the whole piece together and really bring out the star pattern. Oh, and I can't forget to give a little credit to the cute little piece of porcelain I made in yummy mottled cobalt blue. He (yes, he) looks oh so galaxy which is why I used the star patterned brass in the fist place.

I had a lot of fun making this ring and I learned a few new things. Since my journey into metalsmithing is completely self-taught I am learning as I go, often times simply pushing ahead purely based on intuition. This is such a satisfying way to work though I am sure there are much easier ways to do some of the things I am attempting. Thankfully there are no master metalsmiths watching over my shoulder as I work. They would surely get a good laugh out of it.:)
This ring can be found in the shop. :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Show and tell

I don't want to bore you too much by showing you every little thing I acquired at Bead Fest (I can't imagine it's too terribly exciting), so I will stick to some of my favorites and spare you all of the tools, chemicals and whatnot.

I had gone to the show with a list of things that I truly needed; supplies that I am out of. And guess what? Not one of the things on my list was there. Not a one. Soooooo, I quickly made the switch from needs to wants (very heroic, I must say). Up first is this gorgeous pair of enameled pieces from C-Koop Beads (above). They are long and luscious and I'm going to simply plop them on a pair of ear wires and call it a day. Instant earrings for ME!

I had the hardest time at the Lillypilly Designs booth trying to pick out something. They have so many beautiful designs, my head nearly exploded. I finally settled on this set which, again, I will place on ear wires and have instant earrings. Again.... for ME!

Both of these pieces are from Green Girl Studios. This has been the Summer of the Bat at my house so I when I saw this little bat bead I just had to have it. Apparently bats like me since they feel the need to visit me often in my home/shower/bedroom. Oh, and how I love them! I've gotten quite good at scooping them up with a butterfly net in mid flight. I feel like I'm playing some freaky, witchy form of lacrosse, but I must say, I'm pretty damn good at it. The bat whisperer. That's me.
Anyhoo, aren't these beads awesome? Yes, they are. And they are both going to be made into pendants...wait for it... for ME!

This cute little pair of ceramic beads marks the last of my "for ME" purchases. The little bird is by Diane Hawkey and the leaf is by Melanie Brooks of Earthenwood Studios. I had a really good time getting to know these two ladies so I wanted to create a piece for myself that would use both of their beads. I have some ideas mulling around for a necklace.... I'll be sure to share it with you all when it's done.

Here are some gorgeous cabs. Not too sure what I am going to do with them yet, but I had to have them.

And what would the Bead Fest be without the purchase of beads! It's a little funny, since I don't actually use many beads in my work, but that doesn't stop me from buying them. I am drawn to them like a fly to a glass of Merlot and I really had to restrain myself.

For some reason I could not get enough of these gold and green strands of some type of jasper. I think I am longing for Autumn. And candy corn. :)

Another pretty assortment of various stones.

This is my favorite strand of stones EVER! I think I had a small stroke when I saw this strand hanging on the wall. They are titanium-coated labradorite and they are SPECTACULAR!

It's pretty difficult to capture their beauty in a photo, but you get the idea. They are worn and faded looking while still having the flashing brilliance of labradorite. They are perfect and all I can do is stare at them like a creepy bead stalker with lust in my heart. Thankfully, they don't mind.

So that's my show and tell. Hope you enjoyed it. Now I have to actually make something with all of this stuff. Time to get to work!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Best weekend ever!

I spent the weekend down in Philadelphia at Bead Fest with this crazy group of wacky bead/jewelry makers.
Lorelei, Me, Kerry
Cass & Kelley

Kelley and Cass flew up from Georgia and bunked with me and Lori for several days. It really sucked having to bring them back to the airport - we had such a good time with them. Lori and I discussed kidnapping them but we couldn't figure out how to get away with it.

Here is Diane Hawkey and Melanie Brooks, two ladies of the clay. We had the pleasure of having dinner with them two nights in a row. What a blast! We laughed, we drank, we ate, we told ghost stories...

On the last day we were lucky enough to spend about five minutes with Mary Jane. She was about to start a class with Susan Lenart Kazmer so we didn't have much time, but I am so glad we had even just those few moments.

It was wonderful to spend some time with all of these wonderful, inspiring women. I wish I could capture them all and hide them away in my attic so that we could play all the time.

Tomorrow I will show you some of the goodies I found at the show. :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Secret Garden

I made this ring last night.

It is an Art Nouveau inspired beauty.

And there are matching earrings!

Both can be found in the shop. :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Big Extra Shop changes in the works!

OK, so here's the deal...

Alllllll of this stuffy was put in the Extra shop last night. I will do another big huge update in a few days with more lovely things. Then........
I will close the shop.

Yes, you read that correctly. The shop will be closed on Wednesday, August 25th. But fear not! It won't be closed forever! But, all of the pieces you see before you now will never EVER be available EVER again.

I am doing a clean sweep. None of these designs will be repeated - I will be making all new pieces. There may be some variations on things I already make but nothing will ever be exactly the same. AND, I won't be taking any special orders (sorry). This is the way I am going to be able to keep making components without losing my mind. It might seem strange to you that making components was, in fact, making me lose my mind, but it was.

Anyhoo.... now is the time to snatch up some pieces, especially since there is STORE WIDE FREE SHIPPING on everything. This includes international shipping!

Shop. Shop. Shop. :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Glaze, will you marry me?

Last week I made about 200+ "stones" all for the purpose of setting them in silver. I focused on shape and color. Simple shapes, extraordinary color. Many years ago I started to make porcelain jewelry as a way to wear glaze. My love of glaze hovers somewhere between obsessive and scary - if glaze were a person I would stalk it 24/7. I'm almost that freaky about shapes. Simple shapes can be so dynamic and can cause the viewer to say things like "Huh, I am so drawn to this piece but I don't know why. The shapes are so simple and yet I am blown away by all these complex feelings I have welling up inside me."

Really. You've never said that to yourself? Anyway.... these are my two latest rings. Both feature gorgeous glazed pieces of porcelain in simple shapes, framed by simple shapes. Simple enough.
(scroll to the bottom of this post for some fun ring facts!)




Fun ring facts! (or, answers to the most commonly asked questions)
  • All of my new rings are one of a kind pieces. Though I may make other rings in similar styles at some point I will not be making any exact copies. That way, when you purchase a ring from me you can feel extra special in the knowledge that you have something that no one else has, and never will. (And I won't lose my joy of creating by making the same things over and over and over...)
  • At this time I cannot take any special orders for rings. The reason behind this is simply because I am just not that experienced in making them. I can't seem to get sizes just right - I start out to make a size 7 and end up with an 8 - and I just don't want the pressure of having to please someone other than myself. (selfish. me.)
  • I cannot resize my rings. They are what they are. If you see a ring that you like and it is too big or too small perhaps you could look into finger transplants (which I hear are HUGELY popular in certain parts of southern Europe;). No, really, I am trying to make rings in a variety of sizes so hopefully at some point there will be one in your size that will warm the cockles of your heart. :)
So that's all for now. I will be putting both rings in the shop momentarily, and hopefully some other pretty things as well.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Scribbling for a good cause

I posted a few work in progress photos of this necklace a little while ago, and here is the finished piece. It is composed of steel wire, sterling silver and my own hand-carved porcelain beads. I really enjoyed combining the matte, cool steel with the shiny sterling, and tossing a few of my beads in the mix. It has that scribbly feel that I developed a love for when I made my Bead Soup piece, though even more so. I love the almost manic vibe it has going on.

I made this piece as a donation to a fund raiser for the Andrew Geller Architectural Archive Preservation event to be hosted by the wonderful folks at the East Hampton, NY branch of Design Within Reach. Andrew Geller is my grandfather, so this project is close to my heart. I donated several pieces of jewelry and there will be paintings by my mother, grandmother and grandfather also up for silent auction. If you happen to be in the Hamptons this weekend be sure to pop in. Unfortunately, I have a show and can't be there myself, which really bums me out.

This week's Self Portrait Thursday is dedicated to my grandfather. I'm wearing a t-shirt with an image of his iconic Pearlroth House, standing in front of a 1974 calender with his Elkin House, which is my favorite. My Papa rocks! :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ring-O-Matic

I've been spitting out rings like a Pez dispenser the past few days. Well, maybe not that quickly, but I've been working right along, learning and trying to improve. I've been digging through my vast piles of porcelain, picking out ring-worthy pieces. I have a hoard of pieces that I have been gathering for years with the idea of combining them with silver one day. And, of course, I have been working away making new pieces just for this endeavor. At this rate I will have enough pieces to to set in silver for the next 100 years. I probably already do.

I call this ring Down the Rabbit Hole. It's big and bold and has magical powers such as being able to hypnotize small children and house pets.
I have a thing for spirals.

This is my popular Pin Cushion design in periwinkle purple. This time I oxidized the silver which I think looks quite fetching on this particular ring. There is a nice contrast of dark to shiny going on, thanks to some extra tumbling action and a little steel wool.


This puppy is my biggest ring thus far. I glazed the porcelain piece several months ago and knew I needed to see it set in silver. It's the kind of piece that makes people ask "what kind of stone is this?" (A question I am asked a zillion times at every show even though they are looking at a sign that says Handmade PORCELAIN Jewelry. Ugh.) You can tell them that it's a very rare stone that comes from the rolling hills of upstate NY and is mined directly out of this strange girl's studio by a gang of house rabbits equipped with tiny hammers. (Really? Yes. Really.)

I will be listing this pile of pretties in my shop today along with some other lovely things. :)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The case of the hopping glaze

We did a firing in the gas kiln at the studio this past week. It was a real humdinger - lots of outstanding color was achieved, as you can see by these gorgeous tumblers above. This trio show the three main glaze combinations that I have been working with for the past three or four firings. They have been pretty consistent until this last firing when strange things happened and there were some casualties. I'm pretty bummed about it, especially since this work is a collaboration and I am the one responsible for the glazing and making sure they do NOT get stuck to the kiln shelves... dang.

This tumbler came out so freaking gorgeous that I was forced to keep it. I really didn't have a choice in the matter. I'm drinking my seltzer out of it right now. :)

I also had to keep this one.
Again, I was helpless. It had to be done.

There were lots of little bowls in this batch. It's almost a shame to put anything in them when the inside is so lovely.

See those pretty purple dots? I like to call them "little bastards." This is a fairly new glaze that I have been testing for a while now and thus far it had been very, very reliable and consistent. It didn't move, it didn't drip, it didn't crawl - it seemed like a dream glaze, especially for my purposes. In this firing, however, the little bastards decided to pick up camp and relocate themselves toward the bottom of the pots causing some (thankfully not all) to become one with the kiln shelves. This pile shown above came out just fine but you can see how far the dots moved - I placed them at the rim of the bowls, right at the top, but they ended up half way down. The really strange thing is that they didn't run or drip, they didn't crawl and leave a bare spot on the pot - there is no indication that they were ever placed at the rim of the bowl in the first place. This is weird and has me totally perplexed. If any potters out there have any insights into The Case of the Hopping Glaze please enlighten me so that I can prevent it from happening again. :)