Saturday, December 29, 2012

It's Complicated....

Today's creation.  Okay, this is a complicated design. I wanted to make something that speaks to my frame of mind recently, which has been rather dark. This ring is called "Poisonous Thoughts", and is created using a tiny porcelain doll head under a glass dome. A black flower blooms from the head, accented with a highly toxic seed from a vine that grows on our property. My intent was to visualize capturing and containing my black thoughts--essentially imprisoning them, but allowing me to see them so I will remember not to let these thoughts and emotions overwhelm me. Whew...and you thought I just made pretty jewelry...

Friday, December 28, 2012

Embarrassment of Riches...

I must say, I was feeling pretty down in the dumps these past weeks.  The holidays and hideous world events sort of sucked the life out of me.  Then, I wake up to wonderful virtual support.  First, a great comment on my blog, then, I find a favorite ring design of mine featured in Jewelry Making Daily, AND today MaryAnn Carroll featured my designs using her GORGEOUS enamel copper discs in her blog, Love My Art Jewelry.  If that isn't enough, this cold full moon is just overwhelming.  Thank you all so much.  I feel ready to sit down and create something to show my appreciation...something related to this moon, perhaps.  I'll keep you posted....

Great Way to Start the Day...

Woke up this morning to find one of my rings featured on the Jewelry Making Daily blog! My Party Hat Ring, created here for Nunn Designs, features a gorgeous ornate adjustable ring blank in gold by Nunn, layered with lots of colors and textures in brass, aluminum, enamel and more. Topped off with a lovely purple enamel dangle. This ring is super-fun and easy to make. Check out the step-by-step instructions on the blog, and make one for yourself! A party for your hand….and who doesn’t like a good party?!?!

Holidays, Get Thee Behind Me!

I know that the holidays are a time for family, food, giving, receiving, and fellowship. They are also a time for stress and chaos, so I am glad to be on the other side of Christmas. Especially this year, so full of tragedy and pain for so many. I’m not sure our country will be able to truly celebrate this season for a long, long time.
So, we reflect, stiffen our spines, and move on. Searching for beauty in the madness, we must somehow energize our souls and replenish our spirits as best we can. Art, in it’s infinite forms, has always been a tonic to sooth my battered psych. A way to refresh my mind and bring inspiration when none seems possible. Art, and the ability to express myself through it, has saved my sanity on more than one occasion.
Yet, this time, this time we live in, weighs so heavily on me now. I am struggling to find the spark, to put my hands and heart to work again. The furious flurry of creative activity leading up to Christmas was exhilarating and joyous for me. From my hands I created thoughtful, beautiful gifts, and found myself exploring new designs and mediums with ease and inspiration. Not so now, and I am having a really tough time re-starting my “engine”.
I have commitments and deadlines and promises to keep. I have been so lucky and blessed to be chosen to continue as part of Becky Nunn’s 2013 Nunn Design Innovation Team. I have projects that will be published in the coming year, something that has never happened for me before working with Becky. I am so thankful (and a bit terrified!).
My goal is to try to begin as fresh as I can. Today, I attack my workspace to simply clear it and organize. If that is all I accomplish today, that’s fine. I hope that each day I will be a little clearer, hopefully a little lighter in spirit. I will not push, or stress myself right now, no matter how I long for that feeling—that magic when time blurs, hours fly, and suddenly you hold in your hands something entirely new and beautiful. It will come, I hope, soon.
I would like to hear from other artists…how you deal with times like this, when it seems impossible to see beyond the chaos. Please share, and I wish you all the very best in this coming year. Peace for us all….

Friday, June 15, 2012

In the News...

Just a quick note and a link to an article that just came out about me in our local newspaper, The Palm Beach Post.  I am a member of a cooperative gallery in Lake Worth (Clay Glass Metal Stone), as well as a new member of the Palm Beach Cultural Council.  I have been showing my sculptural works in the Council Gallery (Uniquely Palm Beach), and they featured me as part of a series showcasing artists in the retail Gallery housed within the Council's brand new home in the Montgomery Building, also in Lake Worth.  I was so flattered, and actually can stand the photo taken, so it was a win all around!!  Thanks to Laura Tingle and Nichole Hickey of PBCC, and thanks to Randall Lieberman and Damon Higgins of the Post.  I hope this and future artist profiles will bring a new audience to this great little gallery featuring 50+ local artists!!  If you are in the Lake Worth area, please stop by for a visit.  The retail Gallery is full to bursting with amazing art, and the exhibits are breathtaking as well.  Definately worth your time!  Be sure to stop by CGMS Gallery as well, right next door to the Council!!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Lost Tutorial...Image Transfer

Hello all!  I've been getting some emails and requests for my image transfer tutorial, that at one time lived on this blog, but then the Internet ate it.  So, I've found it, and republished it here.  You can also find it at ArtChix Studio, a wonderful website full of fantastic image collage sheets, ITS solution, and about a billion other things you will HAVE TO BUY (including a new line of ADORABLE miniature wood cuts perfect for mixed mediapalooza). 

I hope the tutorial works for you--image transfer is so fun.  Explore texture with this--burn the edges of your paper first, sand bits away when finished, go nuts.  I'd love to see what you create--feel free to share images of your finished works with me and I'll post them here!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Artist Shout Out - Desert Talismans

Okay, let me start by saying that this artist makes me positively GREEN with creative ENVY.  I love everything she does and have stalked (I mean "followed") her on Etsy for years.  Dawn Wilson-Enoch of Desert Talismans creates stunning jewelry using native stones, leathers, found objects and cast silver and bronze.  She makes her own molds for casting from natural materials (like thousand year old trees and stones) and has such a deep love for her native New Mexico landscape--totally reflected in her work.  She has inspired me so much--I know you will feel the same.  Take a peek at her Etsy shop and prepare to be amazed.  So glad I discovered her, and so worth sharing.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

This and That....

I'm fiddling with the layout of the blog (obviously).  I've changed it a gazillion times in the past few days and still haven't really hit on a look I'm in love with.  Layouts are important to us "Artsy" types, and I can't seem to get this one quite right.  The cookie-cutter templates that come with Blogger aren't doing it for me, and creating my own is frustrating me to DEATH!  I'm trying to tie the blog to the overall look of my website (, hence the stripes.  The skull image is from my house.  One of my favorite skulls--a horse skull that I coated with copper paint and patina.  I'm going to leave this for a bit...see if it "grows" on me.

I have been happily busy lately, both with my work at the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation and with my jewelry designing.  RSCF is in full baby mode, with young marmosets and antelope everywhere.  Not so good for the parrots this year--we had such a mild winter that the birds never got the "trigger" to breed that changing seasons provide.  No cold weather, just too warm all year.  So, we have NO FERTILE EGGS this year, for the first time in over 8 years.  In a way this is a good thing--our colony of red-browed Amazon parrots (the rarest Brazillian Amazon parrot) is at capacity and we are in the midst of creating a new program with organizations in Brazil and the United States to better manage the species in captivity.  In reality, we need this year's freedom to move animals and build new enclosures without handfeeding babies every 90 minutes.

And, selfishly, this works for me 'cause for the first time in FOREVER I can work in my studio more!  I've been obsessed with geodes and druzy lately, creating rings, bracelets and pendants using druzy, geodes and agate slices.  I get them from my favorite supply website, Objects and Elements.  The mini-geodes are so cool, great for rings.  I've also fallen in love with leather again, working with a great leather buckle cuff by Tandy.  The agate slices look fantastic set on leather, I hold them in place with disks of metal (brass, copper, aluminum, silver).  Simple, and shows the stone so nicely!!!  All cold-connected with micro screws.  I am cold-connecting everything these days--I'm going to have to re-aquaint myself with my torch soon so I don't forget how it works!  I did solder the little bronze baby to the setting for the carnelian druzy ring, so I'm not completely helpless yet...

I've been really blessed to work with some wonderful galleries and designers this year.  Lady Sibylla in Blue Ridge, GA is fantastic, run by super-woman Mary LeRoy.  She's been so supportive of my work, gobbling up all my new designs.  Plum Gallery in St. Augustine, run by the lovely Karen Sheridan, is also showcasing my work with great success.  I thank both for supporting me!!  Between these two and my local galleries, Clay Glass Metal Stone Gallery (with Joyce Brown at the helm), and the Palm Beach Cultural Council Gallery (where I show my sculptural, non-jewelry works) I am happy to say I am well represented all around!!! 

AND, I'm working with Nunn Design as part of their 2012 Innovation Team.  Becky Nunn has been beyond generous and supportive.  I was just featured in their blog, showcasing two of my ring designs using Nunn's ornate ring blanks.  Yes, I am a busy gal and I love it!!!  I must say that my art keeps me sane.  I know many of my artist friends say the same, but I really feel that if I did not have this outlet in my life I would go crazy.  So much tragedy and sadness in the world today...expressing myself artistically gives me peace and joy, and recharges my brain every day.  That, and working and living with some of the planet's most amazing animals keeps me grounded.  I am thankful, to say the least....

This summer is shaping up to be a HOT one, south Florida is at it's soggy best.  I plan to do a bit of traveling--counting the days till I can get back to my favorite city St. Augustine, and also plan to visit my family in Michigan for a wedding and to possibly teach a cold connecting class in Traverse City.  I hope all my friends out there in cyber-space are creating and living your lives to the very best.  Remember to take a deep breath and walk outside today.  Smell the green, and marvel at this amazing planet we get to call "home".  Take care....see you soon!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Nunn Designs - Kid in a Candy Store!!!

I've posted before about how excited I am to be a part of Nunn Designs Innovation Team for 2012.  The team is made up of some really amazing, talente jewelry designers and artists, and I am so happy to be included with these folks!  Since January, we have all been playing with Rebecca Nunn's wonderful line of jewelry componants and I am having a ball.  We've been a bit secretive, and haven't been able to share many of the completed designs.  That is becuase Becky shows our designs to potential jewelry and art magazine editors in hopes of promoting our work.  How cool is that????  Well, I have been given the "green light" to talk about some of the designs I have created so far.  I have said it before, and I'll say it again, I am so pleased with the quality of Nunn componants!  The bezels, chains, ring blanks, and charms are so well designed and well made.  I especially love the variety of styles and finishes...bright silver, pewter, brass, antique brass and more, all equally lovely.  The pendant shown below was created using resin, a Patera bezel pendant  heart, round bezel charm, collage sheets, fern and spiral connectors with Nunn's great chain in copper and brass.  The bracelet was made with silver chain, bezel charms, resin, collage sheets and charms. 

These initial designs were created when I was familiarizing myself with the products.  Since then, I have gone totally crazy and integrated the products with "my" style (in effect beating them up, drilling, and generally torturing them) with GREAT results.  More photos to come.

I played with resins, transfer sheets, collages and more--all availalble through Nunn.  I find that the Patera bezels, tags and pendants are really fun.  Great to stamp, drill, etc.  The layered, raised tags really are super cool, can't wait to work with them.  The bracelet blanks are also wonderful, I just created a resin set bracelet I'd love to share....maybe next time.  Anyway, the line is affordable, gorgeous, and great for mixed media freaks like me.

AND, you can find wonderful tutorials and how-to videos on the Nunn site, so go there and get inspired!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Pinching Pennies Leads to Inspiration!

I don't need to tell you how crazy the precious metals market is right now.  The cost of silver and gold is CRAZY, more volitle than a roller-coaster ride, and no where near as fun.  I made the decision to forgoe precious metals a long time ago, to save my pocket book and my soul.  Mining for gold is one step from slavery--costing human life as well as the almighty dollar.  I am not interested, and will not support this.  EVER.

So, lucky for me I love working with reclaimed materials and metals like copper, brass and nickel silver.  A personal favorite bezel material for me is copper and brass tube.  Comes in all sorts of sizes, available at most hardware stores and is extremely cost effective.  Plus the possibliities are ENDLESS with how you can patina, age, color and work these metals!  Nickel silver is also a wonderful sterling alternative--polishes, solders and behaves just like the "real" stuff.  All are available in wire, sheet, tube, and pre-cut shapes of all sizes and gauges.

The sticking point is that many folks are allergic to nickel and also have skin types that may react poorly to copper and brass.  Since jewelry is mostly worn close to the skin (especially bracelets, rings and pendants), this can be a real problem for designers.  Well, I have some suggestions I'd like to share.

First, let's talk about a new love of mine--aluminum.  I've recently begun working with aluminum wire and I love it.  Lightweight, hypoallergenic and looks just like silver.  It's great for accents and ring shanks--hammers fantastically and is great for drilling.  Because it is so soft I don't suggest using it in any really structural way, but for cold-connected accents, bagles, and rings it's great!  You can't solder aluminum to anything but aluminum, and even then it's tricky.  You have to use specific aluminum solders (also available at most home improvement stores), but it just doesn't like to be soldered!  So, for cold connection fools like me, that's not a problem.  I do love my micro-screws and rivets.  The image here is of a boulder opal pendant and brass cuff bracelet accented with aluminum.  Looks just like sterling, right??????  I just ordered some aluminum sheet and cuff blanks on Etsy...I'll let you know what I think when I get it.  Aluminum is now also available in wire, sheet and shapes of all sizes and gauges.  Google it!

Now, back to the nickel, brass, copper dilema.  Brass and copper, no matter what you do to them, will change color over time.  Even if you patina them, polish them and seal with the world's best metal sealant, they will still color change if worn on skin over time.  These metals react to heat, and body heat is enough to change them eventually.  I don't have a problem with this, since I think the aging of these metals is gorgeous.  Blues, greens, purples, amazing.  Sealing them with acrylics will slow this down, but nothing is permanant and I tell my clients this up front.  But what about the allergy issue??? What about  the client who's skin turns green at the touch of brass or copper???  Well, I have a couple tricks that have worked extremely well for me.

Number one--transparency films.  I back my copper, brass and nickel rings and cuffs with transparency film, resin set in place with Ice Resin.  You can get wonderful transparencies all over the web, I get mine from ArtChix Studios.  This adds another design element to your ring or cuff, giving the inside of the band a whole new look!  Text is great can personalize this in so many ways, and when finished the metal never touches the skin.  I also coat the entire thing with 4 coats of metal sealer as well.  You an also use resin set papers and fabric (silk and tissue paper are really cool).  Go nuts!

Next--back pendants with found objects.  Buttons, pictures, watch faces, transparencies, fabric, polymer clay, images behind mica, whatever you can think of!  Again, you have a whole new element to add to the overall design.  I make the backs of my pendants as interesting as the front!  Clock and watch faces are my go-to (many are porcelain...nice).  I rivet or microscrew them in place first thing, then work on the front design.  The goal is a protective barrier between the metal and skin.  Mica is really fun, over dried flowers, paper, feathers, whatever!!!  Set in place with resins or cold connections. 

So, don't be intimidated by "base" metals and convince your clients of the same.  With a little creativity and time, you can create some amazing jewelry that has layers (litterally) of design.  If you give this a try, please let me know what you think!  And, as always, I love to see pictures of your work!  Have fun!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Made the TEAM and a Bunch of Other News...

Wow, is it 2012 already? IS IT FEBRUARY ALREADY?!?!? Time has flown and I've been woefully lax in posting here. If you don't already know, I also post quite a bit on Facebook, so mosey on over there and "Like" me!  Thanks!

Now, for the news.  Most recently I participated in the sixth annual Wild Things Art Show benefiting the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation.  What a great night!!!  This show is so special.  Artists from all around the country come and offer works inspired by nature.  The show is held at a good friend's home, in her studio that is a converted barn.  I've included a slideshow here of images from the night.  What a blast.  Live art demos, body painting, food, drink and best of all, INCREDIBLE ART. of all kinds.  Some of my favorite artists were there, including Anthony Burks, Melinda Moore, Donatella Linari and Norman Gitzen.  The highlight of the night for me was when New York Times bestselling author Tami Hoag purchased one of my newest and HUGEST designs called "Dreams to Desire" (pictured here).  This necklace is one of my favorites ever, a collaboration with the uber-talented Staci Louise.  I'm so thrilled!!  The event raised a nice bit of money for RSCF, all in support of wildlife conservation.  We will be posting a smaller, online version of the show so you all can have a chance to buy gorgeous art and support RSCF as well.  I'll keep you posted!!!  By the way, I always donate 25% of my Etsy sales to this wonderful organization, so please, visit my shop and BUY SOMETHING....thanks :)

Next, I have to tell you how excited I am to be chosen by Nunn Design to join their 2012 Innovation Team.  That means that every month I get to play with Nunn's wonderful line of jewelry supplies, creating whatever I feel!  I can't show you the work yet, but I can tell you that I am very impressed with the quality of Nunn's componants.  I am especially in love with their chain.  Comes in so many styles and finishes!  Weighty and really top-notch.  I definately suggest you immediately go there and purchase some.  You won't be dissapointed.  Great value as well!  AND, they have endless bezels in tons of shapes, forms and design.  Perfect for resins, big stones, and all the crazy bits and pieces I love to work with.  When I got my first "goodie" box I felt like a kid a Christmas!  As soon as I can I'll share images with you.  Check out the site, but set aside some time to do so, they have so much to see!

What's next?  Well, 2012 will be a great year for us all, right??  I'm showing a new line of work at a new Gallery in Lake Worth run by the Cultural Council.  No jewelry (gasp), instead, I am focusing on a new series of mixed media relequaries and totem boxes.  The series is called "Fly" and features antique doll parts along with lots of other weirdness.  Flight is such a magical thing, and birds are a big focus in my life.  So, these boxes will be on display only in this Gallery (for now).  Here are a few images....I'd love to hear what you think of them!  This year I hope to expand this series and work with more non-jewelry designs.  Have no fear, I'm making jewelry, but want to flex other design muscles as well.

Whew, that's a quick update...I'll try to post more often, I swear!