Thursday, August 28

Must be Almost Harvest Time

... because a walk to pick up the newspaper brings a bull moose in sight!

After reviewing last year's photos of a yearling in our yard and the information on this web site, I think he's the same guy who left his Mom last year after she showed him our neighbor's orchard.

Fortunately my neighbor gave us a head's up that there was a bull moose in the area so I was scanning the area as I walked this morning.  I saw him on the side of the road not too far away so ran and got my husband and camera to get these shots.

Last year the game warden told us he and his Mom would leave after all the fruit was gone.  They did after several weeks.  I'm wondering if this guy came early to stake his claim and if he'll keep others away or at least welcome his Mom back.

Now our dogs will have to be taken out on leash to avoid any encounters.  My Moose is no match for this moose.

Tuesday, August 12

Kiss the Frogs - Third's a Charm

Last summer when I pulled beads for jewelry ideas I had 3 muffin cups with frog beads.  That was a ratio that surprised even me!  

I have no idea how I ended up with so many, but their adorableness got to me as did their counterparts' current fate in the real world.  They each have their own personality, but they each became a unique whimsical creation!

Leap of Faith (left)
It's a Frog's Life (upper right) SOLD
Frogger (bottom right)

Frogger is my latest and quite possibly my last frog necklace.  Never say never, right?

Frogger - tunic length artisan necklace
Bottom lampwork bead with frogs - Meital
Raku ceramic connector bead - Lisa Peters 

Take a leap of faith every once in awhile.  Otherwise you'll never know what you've been missing.

Sunday, August 10

American Beauty - Royston Turquoise Cabochon becomes Wearable

I think other jewelers must feel the same as I do right now.  I'm in love with my latest piece.  Yep, it's my favorite.  I am fickle so the next one I create may push this one aside, but I think it's going to be awhile. 

Last April I drew the pendant concept.

Royston Turquoise
(natural from Nevada)

When I started working on it I decided to go with the original shape, but make some adjustments.

Turns out designing the pendant was the easy part.  I had the toughest time deciding what to use as the necklace part.  I originally thought I'd create a chain, but that would've added to the expense of the pendant by quite a bit.  It being American turquoise from the Royston mines in Nevada was already going to make it special.

I had some very cool chain that wasn't sterling silver... also thought about all leather.

I slept on it.  Then my muse spoke to me and wow was she ever right!

American Beauty
Royston Turquoise, Sterling Silver, leather

I love how the leather picks up the brown in the turquoise matrix and also adds a feminine touch.

I almost forced it the previous afternoon to finish it and am so glad I stopped myself.

Listen to your heart, your gut, your muse... whatever you call your inner voice.  That's when the magic happens. 

Monday, July 21

Kelp Forest of Monterey Bay Inspires Silver and Chrysocolla Pendant

Kelp Forest, Monterey Bay
photo by Fred Hsu
(photographer has given free use of this photo)

I am extremely lucky to live beside the Monterey Bay in California.  It is home to one of the largest kelp forests in the world and much life, including my favorite animal:  the sea otter.  Kelp forests are recognized as one of the most productive and dynamic ecosystems of the world.

When I was sketching designs for some new stones I'd purchased this past spring I was immediately struck by how this Bluebird Chrysocolla cabochon looked like a kelp forest.

After posting the drawing on Instagram a friend responded that this better be the first one I create after getting my metals studio back up and running.  Well, it wasn't the first, but it was the second!  Perhaps setting a marquis cut stone was not the best idea for getting back to my bench, but the whole process was meditative and reinforced patience.

Kelp Forest
Sterling Silver
Bluebird Chrysocolla from a mine in Arizona that's been
closed since the 1980s.
The lapidarist purchased the rough from an old estate collection.

The result also gives me confidence to go running back to my stone storage and find my next victim!

Friday, July 11

Adrift - Ocean Inspired Necklace - with a little help from my friends

My latest one of a kind necklace brings up images of mermaids and weddings by the sea.

I was inspired to create this necklace by both the sea anemone shell in its perfect symmetry and the lampwork bead by Canyon Echoes.

Creating it required fire and fumes though and I've been waiting for my garage studio to be completed before pulling those tools out of boxes.  However, I just couldn't wait any longer.

Sea Anemone shell
Canyon Echoes lampwork
Sonoran Beads Boro droplets
Argentium sterling silver frame
Sterling Silver, Resin

This necklace took a small village to come to fruition though.  The village of helpful teachers out on the web that is.  I thought I'd share their generosity of knowledge with you, too!

A month or so ago I posed a question on Facebook about how to reinforce the sea anemone shell.  I knew I wanted to fill the space in the back a bit, but safe materials were just not coming to mind.  Diane Hyde came to the rescue.  She suggested paper clay and in my mind it was like "Of course!"  That was something I actually already had!  I added a layer of resin over the dried paper clay and shell to really give it a protective shell, so to speak.

For more great ideas from Diane for using found objects and such check out her latest book Break the Rules:

One of my favorite books this year has been Behind the Brooch by Lorena Angulo.   The idea is that no plane should go unfinished in a piece of jewelry.  The brooch is special, because its back will only be seen by the wearer so it becomes a place to add a surprise or secret message for the wearer.

I thought this anemone shell was the perfect place to hide a surprise for the wearer, too.  I've talked about the Starfish Wasting Disease that's decimating the population of sea stars along the west coast before.  I decided to place a tiny preserved starfish in a tidepool filled with resin sea water inside the pretty frame on the reverse as another reminder of how delicate our ecosystems are becoming.

Finally, to create the setting for the shell I remembered watching a free video, posted on Beaducation, by Joe Silvera, one of my favorite silver teachers in the Bay Area, where he used these types of pronged frames to set found objects or stones that are best shown off outside a bezel.  By simply following the steps I was successful!


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