Thursday, October 21, 2010

Body of Work...Bodies as ARTWORK!

A few months ago I met an amazing artist at a local show--Georgette Pressler. Georgette is a professional body painter. This is an area of art that I really knew nothing about. What I now know is that this genre of alternative art is a highly competitive phenomenon!

Georgette works under the name Devious Body Art and her work is stunning, amazing, risque, and utterly beautiful. Since meeting her I have had the pleasure of watching her work at art galleries, shows and events all over town. I am always left speachless by what she creates. Please, visit her website and take a look at her virtual portfolio. She's available for private events, art shows, music festivals, you name it!

Oh, and did I mention that she is drop-dead gorgeous and unbelievabley nice? Yeah, I know, go ahead and kill yourself now.

Here's a few teaser photos of her work....

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

And Now for Something COMPLETELY Different...

I don't know where to begin.  I discovered this artist, Hirotoshi Itoh, while searching the 'Net for another artist.  What can I say?  This is GENIOUS!  I come from a family of rock-hounds.  I've spent countless summers on the shores of Northern Michigan, licking rocks in search of prized Petosky stones.  This artist is a huge hit with the science crowd, who appreciate his "tongue in rock" refreneces to fossils and all that is hidden inside ancient stone.  I just love it!  Take a look at his works, you'll never look at a rock the same!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Altered Inspiration

I posted the other day about altered art and how it inspires me.  I've been spending some time drooling over some really great artwork, Keith E. Lo Bue of Australia (I already posted about him...) and another wonder-jeweler, Kristin Diener.  Check out her website and be prepared to pick your jaw up off the ground!  Kristin creates stunning assemblage jewelry on a grand scale, and that is putting it mildly.  I especially like her use of vintage and antique eyeglass lenses, still in frame, as cabochons.  What a GREAT idea.  This mixed media, altered art movement is really....well...moving!

At the same time, I am also creating my own series of altered works, inspired by these and other artists, for an upcomming show I will be in called "Theatre of the Absurd - Beauty in Uncommon Forms".  This show is all about mixed media, unusual art.  I'm having a blast.  I have always incorporated found objects such as bone, feathers and fur into my designs, but after seeing what some of these phenomenal artists are up to, I am looking at things entirely differently.  I consider these new "explorations" absolutely infantile--first attempts--but I do enjoy the results so far.  I've included photos here of two new designs.  One is a tiny masonite box shrine called "Southern Girl".  I used a vintage photo, tiny air bromeliads from my back yard, a sea urchin and various gems and charms to create the main "soul" of the piece.  I used an antique porcelain doll body--head above, body below, to finish and give 3-D "body" dimension to the woman pictured.  The piece is about 6 inches tall.  I plan a series of these...I'll post more pics as I go. 

Next is a pretty elaborate piece for me, inspired by Lo Bue, called "When the Baby Comes".  I began with two tiny lidded tins--one an inch round, one a little over an inch rectangle.  I used the tins lids and bottoms as separate items, separate bezels if you will.  In the central round, deep bezel are layers of images and objects including vintage photographs, text transparencies, mica, porcupine quills, watch parts, and paper text.  Below, the rectangular box holds a aged bronze baby, door image, mica, watch parts and leather.   The rest of the necklace is made from the tin lids, which I filled with images and objects front and back--the entire necklace is totally reversable.  I used a key as a link and a tiny key as accent.  The result is pretty damned cool if I say so myself and fun to wear because most of the elements spin individually and are double-sided so you can wear this multiple ways.

I think I am attracted to art like this because most pieces tell a rather detailed story, and I love a good story.  I like jewelry that has meaning as well as beauty.  So, here I go, off on another new artistic journey.  Wish me well on my travels!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dive Down the Rabbit Hole...

Okay, strap yourselves in and get ready to blow your mind with some FREAKY, CRAZY, GORGEOUS stuff. I just discovered Keith E. Lo Bue and he is my new PERSONAL HERO. Please, please take some time to sip a goblet of absinthe and browse his web site. He takes mixed media art and jewelry design to an entirely unheard of level. What he does with spoons...Holy Moly!!! Whether you are a fan of "steampunk" art or not, you simply can't deny the man's unholy talent. I'm green with envy....and FILLED with inspiration. So, take off your rose-colored glasses (unless the frames are made from animal bones) and prepare to be AMAZED.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


So, I've been crazy with my torch these days. My super-cool micro-torch. First, I began working with heating copper to add color to the metal. You can create a forest of fall colors simply by applying heat to copper. I've also discovered what happens when you heat sterling silver. It's called "reticulation" and you get amazing texture in the metal. Gorgeous. Both of these techniques are perfect for me because I am the most impatient person on Earth, and you can get amazing results very quickly. Believe me, if I can do this YOU CAN DO THIS!

I'm going to describe the two processes here so you guys can all run out to Home Depot and buy yourself a micro-torch (they start around $20.00) and create something amazing. This is perfect for those of you (ahem, that includes me...) that have ever been terrified to work with fire and metal. I have never been what you could call "handy" and always figured I'd burn my house down if I ever tried to work with a torch. But, I have conquered my fear and now have not one, not two, but THREE different micro-torches at my bench. Propane is now my friend.

So, take notes - here's the deal: I get all my metal discs, which is what I mostly use for rings, from Etsy . My favorite seller of metal discs and supplies is Hodgepodgerie. I use a variety of disc sizes, great for layering, etc. To really see the colors and textures in copper and silver you don't want to go much smaller than half inch. You'll also need a fire-block upon which to heat the metal and a steel bench block to hammer/shape/texture your metal. All these items are INEXPENSIVE and available on Etsy! Be sure to have safety glasses, a tall cup of water and pliers on hand to handle the hot metal.

Creating Color on Copper with Heat
First, shape your copper disc. If you want a cup, use a dapping block to curve the metal. You may want to simply hammer all over the surface--that's one of my favorite textures. You need to do your hammering, cutting, shaping prior to heating. Drill any hole you need for a pendant, ring layer, etc. NOTE: You cannot solder this after heating--you'll totally ruin your colors!

Next, clean your copper. I use a medium grit sanding sponge and really give both sides of the metal a good sanding. Then I rinse the copper in water and dry. Try not to handle the metal too much, you have oil in your skin sticks to the metal and will affect how the colors come up.

Place the copper on your ceramic fire block. Turn on your torch and hit the copper with a nice even flame, circulating around the metal to heat evenly. You will see the color change almost immediately. Play with this, move your torch closer to and farther away from your disc to see what colors appear. You'll get orange, red, blue and deep purple. The really great thing is that if you hate what you see, simply place your flame a bit closer and the colors will disappear! Once you have a color pattern you like, pick the metal up with PLIERS (it's screaming hot) and quench by dropping the metal in your cup of water. Remove from the cup and gently dry. If you don't like the result, you can always sand the surface clean again and start over. IT'S SO SIMPLE!!!

You need to seal the metal when you are completely done to keep the colors true. You can use a variety of sealants, I prefer a matte or gloss metal spray from Sculpt Nouveau. These sprays are specifically designed to seal metals like copper. You can also use automotive clear coat, available at any auto supply store (like Auto Depot). These are also specifically designed to seal metal. Two coats should do, make sure to let completely dry between coats.

THAT'S IT!! Here's a ring I made using heat-treated copper. Note: This doesn't work on brass. Brass just turns a yucky pink or black in flame.

Now, on to silver...

Reticulating Silver with Heat

This process is similar, but very different from working with copper. You can't shape your silver prior to reticulating. Heating the silver like this sometimes shrinks the metal, so you should actually start with a disc slightly larger than what you plan to end up with. It's very hard to reticulate small pieces of silver, they simply shrink away under heat, so start big. Remember, you can always cut and shape the piece when you are done.

First, clean your silver. Again, I use a medium sanding sponge, give both sides a good sanding, then rinse and dry. Place the disc on your ceramic fire-block and turn on your torch. Heat the metal evenly with the flame, moving the flame around the surface. What you are actually doing is heating the surface of the silver almost to its melting point. The silver usually turns dark first, keep moving the flame around, DON'T STOP. Don't leave your flame stationary either--if you point it too long in one spot you can burn a hole in the silver! The surface will begin to get really shiny and glow a bit red--you're getting close! When the silver is shiny everywhere it will actually go liquid on the surface--you will see the surface begin to "boil" in teeny-tiny bubbles. That's when the reticulation is beginning! Keep that flame moving and all sorts of things may happen. Bubbles may form that lift the metal in places, ridges and valleys may form. Bumps and lumps will appear everywhere depending on how you move your flame, etc. At this point stop, turn off your torch and quench the silver by picking it up WITH PLIERS and dropping it in your cup of water. When you take it out it will be an ugly, flat grey/black. That is the impurities in the silver coming to the surface. You have two choices here. You can "pickle" the metal chemically using a crock-pot (again, search this on Etsy--all questions will be answered) or you can do like I do (ever the impatient girl) and go at the silver with your sanding sponge. The black will come right off. Sand, rinse, sand, rinse, etc. till you can really see what you have. If you want more texture simply set the silver back on your fire-block, turn on your torch and get busy. Each time you quench, sand, and rinse, the silver it will heat easier and reticulate even quicker. You can do this several times till you get the effect you want. When I am totally done, I sand, clean and buff the silver with a dremel tool. Tarnex, yes, good old fashioned Tarnex, works really well as a final, super fast cleaning agent. Now you can shape the metal VERY CAREFULLY if you wish. Reticulating silver makes it brittle, so if you want to curve it be careful, hammer very lightly. You may find that the edges are especially brittle, bits may even break off, but that's part of the beauty of the effect--simply file your edges smooth.

Here is an example of a ring I just made with reticulated silver fused with sterling silver shot, set with an amethyst. YUMMY!!!!

Now it's your turn! Get online, get some tools, then start creating. I'd love to see what you make. Send me some photos and I'll post them here. If you have any questions about the processes described here, please contact me! Have fun playing with FIRE!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I've Gone to the Dogs...

The cooperative gallery I work with, Clay Glass Metal Stone Gallery in Lake Worth, FL, is hosting an event next Friday (the 20th) called Dog DaZe. We're supporting Elite Greyhound Adoptions and the gallery will be filled with guests, their dogs, and art inspired by our furry friends. I created this necklace especially for the event, and will be donating 100% of the sale to Elite. It features a vintage, sterling silver dog-head whistle that is just gorgeous. It's fully functional, and removable. This piece is called "And We Danced" and comes with an original short story I wrote inspired by the whistle. The necklace also features a gorgeous lampwork glass pendant bead, a vintage optic lens, and a silver framed moth wing behind acrylic. I hope it sells, and that we can raise some funds for Elite, a wonderful organization that finds homes for retired racing greyhounds. If you're in the neighborhood, please stop by! Also, if the necklace does not sell on the 20th I will be listing it in my Etsy shop, so check back!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New Artist Shout-Out!

I just discovered Melanie Moertel and her FANTASTIC lampwork beads. She is just amazing and completely original in her designs! I could go on, but it would be a lot simpler and quicker for you to just go to her website immdeiately and drool all over your keyboard. I can't wait for her Etsy shop to open in September, so I can SNATCH one (or two, or three...) of her beads for myself. The only problem will be choosing...I know I'll want ALL OF THEM.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

"Spill, Baby, Spill"

I live in South Florida, on the east coast. Since the day the DWH blew up I have been completely overwhelmed by the mind-boggling ecological disaster unfolding in the Gulf. This piece was created with this in mind. It's called "Spill, Baby, Spill" and I made it using an antique 3-inch porcelain doll body splattered with black paint. A tiny, sterling silver dolphin, colored black with patina is trying to escape the doll's head. I really like the result. Will be showing this in an upcoming art show in Sept called "Raging Art".

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Sweet as Sugar!

I don't usually blog about food, in fact, I never have. BUT, I stumbled upon this amazing shop on Etsy called SugarRobot. They make and sell edible sugar butterflies, leaves, and other lovely items. So original and beautiful! These are made from wafer paper--a mixture of potato starch, vegetable oil and water. The inks are edible and the images are printed on a food safe printer. Doesen't this look delicious??? I may have to order these--maybe decorate some cookies or brownies with them. I just love this idea!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Florida Craftsmen

I've been so busy with my "real life" that I have had no time to vacation in cyber space lately. But, I wanted to share some exciting news, so here I am. Last week I got an email from the director of the Florida Craftsmen Gallery in St. Pete. They are a non-profit, member organization that represents Florida artists. They want me to join the Gallery! They have asked for 10 pieces--I am so excited. The Gallery is really lovely, they have a great contract and are totally professional. I am flattered and terrified at the same time. I'm trying to put together 10 pieces that reflect my work, I figured five rings and five necklaces....still, very intimidating! Have to put this together today and ship tomorrow if I can. Wish me luck!!!

Monday, May 31, 2010

New Imagings...

I call this ring "Kiddie Pool"

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Morgane Got Married!

A few months ago, I was approached on my Etsy site by a wonderful young woman named Morgane. She was plannig her wedding and had chosen ME to design her wedding ring! GASP! I have never done this before, and was both petrified and honored to be a part of such a momentous occasion! She really liked my bird's nest ring, so I made one for her with tiny sterling silver "eggs" in the golden nest. Perfect! Well......not so fast. She was in Mexico, and I have never shipped to Mexico. I figured three weeks in advance would be plenty of time....I WAS WRONG! I shipped the ring and assumed all was well until poor Morgane started contacting me as the wedding was suddenly days away and NO RING! Needless to say I was ill with panic. My first wedding ring and it might miss the wedding! On top of that, the wedding was to be held in FRANCE, and Morgane was getting ready to LEAVE WITH NO RING! I must say I was beside myself. Anyway, on the day she was to leave for France I had all but given up hope, when the ring arrived 2 hours prior to her flight!!! Talk about a close call! I don't know about Morgane, but I nearly wept with relief!

So, Morgane is married (to a handsome young man I might add) and the ring is on her finger. Thank you, Morgane, for choosing me and for sharing these photos from your big day. I wish you both nothing but happiness wherever your nest may be!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Reticulating Silver

First, it was etching. I love etching. I am etching everything I can get my hands on and hope to some day afford an electronic etch system for silver. For now, I etch brass and copper like no tomorrow.

THEN, I discovered reticulating silver. WOW! This is really fun, and really simple. I've seen reticulated silver before, and figured it was created through some incredibly difficult process that was far beyond my skill-set. WRONG. The look of rugged peaks, valleys, bumps and lumps I love so much are created with heat, and patience. With my little butane torch I can easily heat stering silver discs and sheet to red, then, with steady, even heat, start the reticulation process. You can see the bubbles begin to form on the nearly molten surface, then you have to stop, and clean the silver either by pickling or by hand with patina prep or whatever else you like to use to clean silver. This removes all the impurities that are in the silver, which come to the surface when heated. Then, back under the torch. Keep your flame even over the surface, don't focus the flame in one spot or you might burn right through the silver. Do this several times until you get the pattern or look that you like, cleaning between each torch session. The silver will deform, so start with a piece larger than what you want to end up with. I love the deformed look, and usually leave it at that. When you are happy with the results, clean thouroughly, and burnish either by hand or with a wire brush wheel/dremel. Be sure to look at both sides, sometimes the bottom side turns out even more interesting than the top! From here you can hammer (be a bit careful here, reticulating makes the silver somewhat brittle), cut, and patina to your heart's content. COOL!

Pictured here is a ring I made combining etched brass with reticulated silver and a baroque freshwater pearl. I just love the ancient, organic look!!! More to come....

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Art Rocks!

My friend Jill Elisofon-- fantastic jewelry designer and bestest friend--and I will be in a funky-cool art and jewelry show in May. The show is called Art Rocks and wil be held May 15th at the Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach. If you are around, you HAVE TO COME BY! The show will feature 45 booths of wearable, touchable, edible, ORIGINAL art. This will be fun!!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

And Now for Something COMPLETELY Different...

I've been obsessively etching copper and brass for days--I get that way with a new idea or toy. So, I decided to pull myself out of that and refresh myself in a completely different direction for a project I hope to be a part of.

I heard about a call for artists to participate in a "Steampunk Inspiration" book to be published next year. I've been fooling around with assemblage jewelry for a while now, and have really enjoyed creating funky necklaces using antique German doll bodies. These porcelain figures are hollow, and make great pendants! I've created four so far, and this is the latest, my Raven God. The "wings" are made from hammered sterling silver wire and silver tubes. I inserted black turkey feathers into the tubes. It's multi-functional as well. The pewter raven head-piece is another necklace, the chain fits inside the doll body. Below is an adjustable sterling silver ring with guinea and turkey feathers suspended by a sterling silver hook. You can wear the whole thing when you need the DRAMA, or wear the smaller necklace and ring seperately. I used a sterling silver neck wire for this so it could be hung on a wall when not being worn. This is definately meant to be displayed! I submitted photos of this guy along with some other assemblage work. Hope I get in!!!

I still have three or four doll bodies left...I'm thinking of creating a botanical piece next....I'll keep you posted!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I'm all Etchy...

Been experimenting with etching and LOVE IT! Made two new locket pendants over the past couple of days, plus a ring, plus some earrings...basically etching anything and everything copper and brass. Here are a couple images of the lockets--one features a great collage image of a finch, the other a picture taken of my Mother when she was a girl. One of my favorite photos. More images to come--what do you think???

Just for Fun - Etsy can really rock sometimes. I love having a shop there, and am constantly inspired and surprised by the artists I discover. This "Mom and Dad" artist duo was featured on Etsy's home page and I really love the work! I'm not a huge "doll" or "figure" collector, but these creations are just weired enough to make me want one! Take a look at Cart Before the Horse!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Cool Artist Alert!

My super-hip niece, Laura, sent me a link on Facebook a while back to a super-cool artist website. French artist Maissa Toulet creates "cabinets of curiosities", 3-D assemblages containing...well...everything! Totally cool, unbelievably unique, these dioramas are amazing. Please take some time here, you'll be compelled to look at each creation--full of detail and amazing botanical elements. Love this!!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Too Cool!!!

Just found this on Etsy. What a wonderful idea (get it, lightbulb...idea???). Anyway, I wish I had thought of it! Take a look and visit this shop!

Wouldn't this be a great project for Earth Day? Hmmmm....wonder if I have any old light bulbs like this anywhere.

Want to Come Up and See My Etchings?

I've been wanting to experiment with etching metals for quite some time. Recently, I came across a great blog post at Alternative Designs explaining how to etch brass and copper with ferric chloride. I'm very intrigued...planning to give this a try. Ferric chloride has to be disposed of properly when you are finished using it...luckily I have a great recycling center within 5 miles of my house. I'll let you know what happens.

I'd love to hear from you if you etch...what is your preferred method? Contact me and I'll post your advice and sources here!

Hummingbird image etched in copper.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New Work...

I've been busy lately working on new designs. I was part of a great art show last week for the conservation organization I work for, the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation. We hold a nature-inspired art show every year. This was the fourth year for the show, and we get better each time! Great artists, lovely venue (a private studio behind a friend's house). We had a ball and shared some wonderful art. The images below are of a few of my new designs created for the show. More to come!

Also, I had the wonderful good fortune to meet Bernie Berlin yesterday while updating my gallery display at Clay Glass Metal Stone Gallery in Lake Worth. Bernie is a fantastic mixed media artist--get to Amazon to purchase her book, "Artist Trading Card Workshop". Totally cool. Her eye for color and design is FANTASTIC. Bernie raises money through her art to support the rescue and placement of unwanted dogs and cats. Visit her at A Place To Bark, her animal rescue organization. So nice to run into never know who you're going to meet on any given day. Art is such a unifying force and the force was definately with me yesterday!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cernunnos - God of the Forest Assemblage Necklace

I found these amazing antique porcelain doll bodies, they are from ArtChix Studios. They are hollow, and perfect for assemblage work. This is my newest design using the last of my doll bodies. Back to ArtChix--I hope they have more!

I created Cernunnos, a mythical God of the Forest, Protector of the Hunt. I wanted this piece to be an example of wearable art--I designed it to be displayed when not being worn. It is also my first multi-functional piece. The headdress, created from feathers and silver-over-copper antlers set in a silver cone, is a removable pendant that can be worn alone. The sterling silver ball chain is attached and fits inside the doll body with ease. Around his neck are silk fibers and a "necklace" made from a gorgeous rubilite garnet and fine brass wire. I hand-made as much of the componants as possible--the sterling silver "branch" arms, the brass "branch" and copper leaves are all made by me. I also included a removable hand-made sterling silver antler ring attached below the doll body, held in place with a sterling silver "T" bar. A manufactured brass leaf accents here. The entire piece is connected to 18-inches of antiqued brass chain with a hammered brass "S" closure. I even made the bamboo stand for display.

So, you can wear this complete as a truly amazing statement piece, or separately for every day. I especially like the ring--it's adjustable and really fun to wear.

It was a labor of love to make this--I can't wait to wear it out!!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New SlideShow Program...

Just discovered a great slideshow program online called Slide. Quick, easy, FREE and you can share almost anywhere. So, I created this--some of my recent and past work. Give it a try!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

More Experimenting...

Another package arrived from Objects and love getting those! Their new line of handmade brass charms are so cool. Very ancient in appearance, so many to choose from! Can't wait to begin working with them. I did immediately pounce on the faux bone I ordered. In case you haven't heard, this stuff is really fun to work with. It's basically PVC in sheet form. You can cut, saw, heat, bend, scratch, and carve with ease. Age it with anything from shoe polish to glaze, buff it up, and you have the look of ancient bone. Robert Dancik is the genius behind this, and he is aslo a fantastic jewelry designer. Take a peek at his site and get inspired...Don't miss his tutorial on YouTube!

So, here are two new designs using some of the great stuff from O and E. The bracelet is made from a 7-inch brass bangle topped with layers of brass, faux bone, copper, sterling silver and a Michigan beach stone. I textured and aged/patina'd all the metals myself. This piece is cold-connected--held together with brass screws and nuts. The ring is a layered design using sterling silver that I impressed with a woodgrain pattern then colored with patina to bring out the design, topped with sterling silver, a text transparancey sheet, a cup of plexiglass, a copper washer, a brass bezel and sterling silver bead (again, held together with a brass screw and nut). Love them!

More to come soon....

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sunday--It was a Good Day!

Yesterday (Sunday) was a nicely productive day for me in the studio. My head was chock-full of inspiration from visiting my favorite artist's websites and blogs, and I was ready to try some new techniques and designs. I created four rings, each very different in style and appearance. One incorporates a vintage photograph and loose gemstones under a clear mineral crystal dome, one features a super-cool antique signet stone I found at a funky antique fair, the third features a hand-carved 800 year old bead from Africa, and the last is a huge stack of mixed metals hammered and heat treated with oil pastels. WHEW! Three of the rings are cold-connected, no soldering involved, and use my favorite copper and brass tube bezels in one way or another. I connected the elements using rivets and brass screws. How cool is that???

I'm most excited about working with oil pastels on metal (thank you again, Susan Lenart Kazmer). I had no idea you could work the colors into the metals (with or without patina), heat it with a torch or heat gun, then seal. The possibilities are endless, and I plan to do much, much more with this. I'll keep you posted...

In the meantime, here are a couple photos of the results. What do you think?????

All of these designs are available in my Etsy shop...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Amazing Artist...

Okay, so I'm cruising through Susan Lenart Kazmer's webiste--a constant source of inspiration--and I see they now have a Zine (online magazine). Wonderful stuff, you MUST take some time here. Anyway, while browsing through previous posts and images I discovered Richard Salley, my new FAVORITE ARTIST OF ALL TIME. His work is absolutely inspired. What he does with found objects, metals, wire, heat and patina will take your breath away. His tutorial for a locket pendant created from a rusted automotive flange has me digging through my husband's workshop for similar design elements. AND, he offers an online tutorial to create that very locket!! Please, please visit his site and prepare to pick your jaw up off the ground. I've included a couple images of his work here to whet your appetite...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Bye-Bye 2009....THANK HEAVENS!

Excuse me if I slam the door on 2009...not the best of times for so many of us. I now turn my attention to 2010, with the hopes that the year is prosperous and PEACEFUL for all. I've been out of my studio for a while, holiday madness put the brakes on my creativity outside of the kitchen (I cooked me up a storm this season!). The holidays brought me a few culinary firsts--my first brined, organic turkey for Thanksgiving (DELICIOUS), my first "fancy dinner" with friends (tucked fresh allspice leaves into each folded napkin--cloth napkins--at the table), and my first attempt to make homemade beer bread (eh, could take it or leave it). All in all, fun and EXHAUSTING.

Now, it's time to get creating in the studio! I'm still struggling with my conscience, debating how to create meaningful art and jewelry that doesn't take advantage of the planet's designs this year will be different--I can feel it.

I would love to hear from other artists out there who are "creating with conciousness" so to speak. How do you express yourself artistically? Please, send me your stories or images to share. We all need inspiration, right? I hope 2010 inspires us all to create with intent, share with heart, and celebrate the natural wonders all around us.

Happy New Year!