Saturday, August 28, 2010

My Grandma's Necklace

I was recently asked to name a favorite piece of jewelry. My first thought was my wedding ring...then I thought of some favorite pieces by other jewelry artists, and then I thought of this beautiful locket given to me by my grandmother. It is engraved with her initial A and was given to her by her godmother when she was born exactly 89 years ago; today is my grandma's birthday. I adore this tiny locket because it's lovely and because she gave it to me and it is part of her history. In looking at the construction of this piece, I think it was designed to open but it is now firmly stuck together. I've never wanted to disturb it too much or risk damage by trying to force it open.

My grandma is an inspiration to me. An artist herself, a painter, she's always encouraged my creativity. She also told me more than once to follow my heart and in fact once made me promise to do so. It has turned out to be good advice.

Her words inspired my "follow your heart" necklace, and I think of her locket whenever I create a monogrammed necklace.

Happy birthday, Grandma.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

What I'd like to create

It's time for the Handmade Division's Talk About. Each month members blog about a given topic. This month, our topic question is: "What would you like to create, that you don't have the skills or technology to do currently?

I would like to learn glassblowing and create hand blown glass pieces. Several years ago Mark and I took a hot glass workshop at the Indianapolis Art Center. It was an exciting, fast-paced class in which we became familiar with the glass, tools, equipment and furnaces. We made paperweights. Mine is pictured above (not so impressive, but fun to make). Glassblowing has interested me for such a long time and I'd like to learn more. I already enjoy working with fire.

I've created this Etsy treasury of some fantastic glass work:

Please check out other Handmade Division members' blogs to see what they would like to create:

Andes Cruz:
Jewelry by Natsuko:
Beth Cyr:
ArtJewel Designs
Abhaya Fibers
nova of sweden
Bella-Bijou Jewellery
Pink Crow Studio:
Sand Fibers:
Alice Istanbul:
Thomasin Durgin:
Moxie & Oliver:
Tosca Teran
Delias Thompson

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Embracing My Mistakes

In my studio, I have a "work in progress" drawer containing not only partially finished pieces in progress but also work that didn't turn out quite as I envisioned, pieces I'm reluctant to abandon. This drawer turns out to be an inspirational place for me. It is much-visited in the course of a day, and sometimes I'll have a flash of an idea, a sudden vision of how a mistake might be transformed. Often these pieces turn out to be favorites.

One piece recently languished in the drawer for a couple of months. I intended it to be like the piece above, but I had made the rim too narrow. The piece then seemed a bit too delicate. I thought about soldering it to a solid circle of silver, but it wasn't quite what I wanted; I preferred the delicate openwork. One day I spotted it in the drawer and thought, "what if I made it convex?" I gave it a try and the necklace below was the result. I loved it!

The etched Always Necklace below was a happy accident. I started out making a Forever and Always Ring, but something odd happened during the etching process and when I pulled it out of the etching bath, it had this amazing, organic texture surrounding the "always" that I hadn't actually intended. It reminded me of rough, weathered wood. Because the rustic texture was not consistent across the entire piece and it would no longer work as a ring, it went in the drawer for a couple of weeks. When I looked at it again, It occurred to me to cut the "forever" off and use the "always" for a necklace. I was thrilled with the result. The piece sold immediately.

The Always piece has inspired other textured work, such as the edge of my Luna Moth Necklace:

My third example is an ordering mistake. I accidentally ordered chain that was too substantial, and when I received the spool I knew this chain would overwhelm the delicate pieces for which I had intended it. It occurred to me that it would be lovely for a bracelet. Below is the result. (I was tempted to keep this bracelet for myself!)

While it would be fantastic if all my work turned out exactly as I intended, I do rather enjoy the challenge of a piece gone awry; puzzling out a good solution is immensely satisfying.