Saturday, October 30, 2010


The sun was shining earlier today, so I was very optimistic about my chances of getting some good photos taken. I have an ongoing struggle with getting the whole lighting thing to work for me. Usually when I do get a good photo, it's as if something magical happened in spite of my methodical approach and bracketing of my settings.
This picture has survived, but probably only because it was not as bad as most of the others.

This necklace was made with small, faceted beads of iolite along with pearls, crystals and sterling chain, rings and wire. The sterling piece used as a pendant is actually an old clasp that had broken. It was so lovely that I filed off the broken portion and hand wrapped a sterling wire connection to make it useful once again.

This is another one of my long necklaces that can be worn as a single length or doubled up.

And here is my professional photography staging area. The necklace is oh so carefully arranged on my plastic cutting board which is sitting atop the small metal table that makes it's home next to our front door. I set up in my driveway since I thought this was the place where the lighting appeared to be ideal. Maybe it would have been ideal if I knew what I was doing.
The glasses? Yes, I'm at that point in life where I need them I need them off...oh, I need them back, no I don't. How annoying!
After my less than stellar photographic results, I drove over to The Camera Shop where I bought my camera and begged for help. Helpful Guy Behind the Counter showed me some features that I didn't even know I had (yes, I read the manual) and may help me get better results.
Who knew?!
Next sunny day I am so ready to get some halfway decent pictures.

Friday, October 29, 2010


I started my morning with the goal of photographing new jewelry pieces, but was frustrated with cloudy skies and poor lighting.

This is the only image that I found to be acceptable- a necklace of black coral sticks, yellow turquoise, faceted carnelian with bronze and brass spacers. I made this necklace last night with materials that I have had in my studio for several years. It's easy to fall in love with and favor the new gemstones that were recently purchased, so I forced myself to use some of my older stock. Other photography efforts were awful and fell victim to the delete button. With my morning plans somewhat derailed, I chose to visit Chanticleer before it closes for the season.

Chanticleer, French for rooster, is an absolute gem of a garden around a 20 minute drive from my home. I don't think I will ever tire of visiting Chanticleer.

If you are interested invisiting Chanticleer, hurry! The garden closes for the season on October 31 and will not open again until
March 31, 2011.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

From the Workbench Part II

Back in September, I was in the midst of several projects and had this piece of etched copper that I had cut out to use as the back of a pin.

I frequently start out on a project with a particular goal in mind and end up going in a different direction as I did with this lovely copper oval. My globe-trotting friend recently gave me some leftover coins from this year's total eclipse trip. She also gave me some beautiful cabochons that had been laying about in her studio for far too long. I think that the stone is a type of jasper, and some of the cabochons had a wonderful pattern that, to me, suggested a landscape. The most beautiful in the group was perfectly sized to my piece of copper- new project.

I made a fine silver bezel, and after a couple of frustrating failures, soldered it to the etched side of my piece of copper.

I saw cut a slightly larger piece of brass and patterned the edge with a chisel. This will become a 'frame' for the bezel set cabochon.

The back side of the textured 'frame' has a delicate floral pattern which I oxidized in order to highlight the details.
The plan is to rivet the two layers together, but I'm still debating whether this should become a pendant or a pin.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Holiday 2010

Oh happy day! I found out that I was juried into the Main Line Art Center Holiday Show and received my postcards today. Oh my....I'm one of twenty jewelry designers in the show!
The show will run from December 1 through December 12. If you're in the area, it is always a great show!

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Candy Store Comes to Town

I let myself loose in the candy store, otherwise known as the International Gem & Jewelry Show, which was in town this past weekend. I like to get my precious and semi-precious stones from some of the vendors who travel from India to take part in this show.

I came home with such a gorgeous bounty of beads- amethyst, aquamarine, blue topaz, carnelian, citrine, garnet, iolite and more.

I spent last night restringing all of the beads, putting them on thin fishing line with a loop on one end. I am a visual person and work best when I can actually see my inventory. I tried in the past to keep my beads in small containers but ended up spending too much time hunting for different items. I now keep most beads in full view, hanging in my work area. Restringing new beads is tedious, but worth the effort.
With the exception of a couple of large pieces of jasper, all of the beads that I bought are faceted. A premium price is paid for the faceting due to the work involved, and I pay that premium because of the way the facets capture and reflect light.

These earrings were made with soldered sterling rings that were reshaped and/or textured. I used my rolling mill to shape the oval rings. Three passes, with increased pressure each time, got the desired shape. Aquamarine and quartz crystal beads were wrapped with sterling wire.
Small garnet beads wrapped with sterling wire were used in this pair. The texturing on both pairs of earrings was done with steel stamps.

I have a small collection of steel stamps that I sometimes use when I want to add a pattern or texture to a piece. Old screwdrivers and chisels that I find at thrift stores are also great for adding texture.

And, completely unrelated...........the week got off to a beautiful start.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Workshop Part II

I ran another one day riveting workshop at the Wallingford Community Art Center this past weekend and had such a fun afternoon!
I filled my traveling bags with tools, pre-cut metal, beads, wire, chain.....all the items necessary to unleash creativity.

Each student got a small vial with their rivets, sterling earwires, clasps and jump rings.

It's so interesting to see how a group of students takes the same information and the same available collection of materials to come up with wonderfully individual pieces that express their personalities. This pair of earrings were made of oxidized copper and patinated brass and have a beautiful organic quality.

Another student made a pair of earrings using some of the same oxidized copper paired up with brass washers. Absolutely beautiful!
The other five students made equally beautiful earrings and pendants which I did take pictures of- all blurry! Sorry. I will do better with my photography next time when you all hopefully return for my wire wrapping workshop!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Outdoor Festival

I was in a recent outdoor fine arts & crafts festival sponsored by our local community arts center. Doing any show that leaves you at the mercy of Mother Nature requires a certain amount of planning and preparation in addition to the creation and presentation of inventory. I thought I was in pretty good shape until two days before the event. That's when the cavalcade of calamities began.
It all began with me pulling out my tent structure from the garage on Thursday. I thought I was so on top of everything- setting the tent up in my yard to make sure that I was completly prepared. All was in good order until I went to put the tent away and a critical compenent broke. Yikes! It was 8:00pm two days before the festival! Stupid tent!!!
I fratically began calling anyone I knew who might have a tent that I could borrow. Not surprisingly, it was not a long list of people but by Friday morning I was able to find a solution. My fabulous jewelry teacher from Main Line Art Center, Dawn told me to come on over and pick up her tent. Whew....crisis resolved!!
So....I arranged to pick up the tent with enough time to get back home to meet my son's bus for afternoon drop-off. Being on a somewhat busy street, I did the safe thing and put my flashers on while getting the tent and various accessories. All loaded up and completely relieved, I got in my car, and my 5 day old battery is dead. Oh no.......this definitely did not work with my tightly scheduled plan. Dawn was also on a tight schedule and had to leave for work, so I started to walk in the 92 degree heat to the nearest service station. The young man there said he'd love to help me, but he had no jumper cables. Really?!! Wouldn't that be like a house painter having no paint brushes? I suspect that if I were 20 years younger, jumper cables would have appeared, but, oh well.....I continued walking.
Several blocks later and another service station where the man said he was the only one working and couldn't leave. Arghhhh! It was at this point that I began to get a bit frantic about the time. Several more blocks and another service station where I found my hero of the day. This kind, kind man drove me back to my car, jumped the battery and tested the alternator. I thanked him profusely and gave him a big tip.
I got home 10 minutes before my son's bus.

Thank goodness I had this tent for the 2 day festival. Saturday was hot and windy. Sunday was cool and rainy. Not ideal conditions when you're hoping for a successful weekend.

I did work some new items into my display like the small printer's drawer found at the local thrift shop. The compartments are perfect for holding pieces of card mounted jewelry.

My refurbished, old window made it's debut.

I found it amusing that one item getting plenty of attention was the hand-held mirror that I keep available for functional reasons. People kept asking how much it cost and were disappointed when told it was not for sale. One woman picked up the mirror and said, "This ought to be in movies!" I chose to not respond to that curious comment.
Next hot/cool/rainy/windy festival, I just might sell that
could-be-famous mirror!