Friday, August 15, 2014

The Simple Things

I'm finding myself kind of lost lately when I sit down to create. The spark is gone and I'm asking myself what the point is.
I'm slipping into envy, feeling jealous of those artists whose work is in such high demand that just the comment, "Shop Update!" sends fans running to their laptops and mobile devices.
 
It's ridiculous, I know.
I know my work is unique and I pour hand and heart into each piece, but it's a more simple body of work that reflects a more simple life.
 
I don't live my life on the knife edge of a cliff in Norway tending to my sheep and running with wolves while riding wild horses bareback in a handmade linen dress woven from vintage quilts found in the basements of orphanages turned military hospitals turned boarding schools.
You'll never find photos of me cuddling squirrels and whistling to robins that perch lovingly on my snow white shoulder while my daughter (with perfectly curled hair), spins with reindeer in a dress made from Spanish lace recovered from a bridal boutique destroyed during the Spanish civil war.
 
Nope.
You're far more likely to find me tending to my ever-increasing pile of laundry and running after a 16 month old while trying to brew coffee and make sure the pancakes don't burn all while wearing a pair of soffe shorts purchased a decade ago with a t-shirt that says "Go Chargers!".
I do find myself cuddling animals, but mostly those of the stuffed variety and I do whistle, but only to my husband and mostly when a rogue cockroach comes crawling out from under my kitchen cabinets. My daughter does spin, but we try to discourage it as most of the time it results in injury when she goes flying into a piece of furniture.
 
Don't get me wrong, some of my favorite parts of my day and my life are the morning cup of coffee and perfectly cooked eggs purchased from the farmer's market; walking around the front yard while Rosa points to the most mundane things and babbles and smiles like she's found hidden treasure; rocking her to sleep in a quite room; trips to the library, even if I only get kids books; evening walks around the neighborhood with my mom and sisters pointing to kitties and doggies and the occasional bird; and finally, crawling into bed feeling a sense of accomplishment knowing that those that I love and who love me are tucked into bed and sleeping safely and soundly.
 
My jewelry reflects these parts of my life.
The little birdies from my neighborhood found their way into these bangles. I created a double-sided charm using two different colors of laminate and then added a bead for a bit of jingle.
This one features a punchy orange on one side and bright red lacquer on the other.

This one is the soft lavender on one side with this perfectly royal purple on the other.
Simple.
 

Also, this gigantic bird slider on this thick and chunky leather strap.
It's giant.
I love it.
It's practically chirping at me right now.
 

Four birds in crazy-you'll-never-see-in-nature colors.
Rosa would go nutso if she saw these beauties perched on our power lines.
 
 
I also made this perfectly perfect Variscite ring, but I'm not gonna drop it in the shop because even though the bezel is PERFECT (after like an hour of polishing), the band ended up a bit wonky, so it's not up to my selling standards. (Oh...darn.)
 
 

I also made this weird spinner ring. I'm calling it the Road Trip ring.
I made a copper "road", complete with lines and bumps and a STOP sign, and then added a luggage-laden station wagon a la Lampoon's.
 


The best part?
It's a SPINNER ring.
Did you catch that?
The car spins, ahem...drives around the ring, ahem...road!
Aaah!
I love it.
The only problem?
It's gigantic.
Like, waaaay to big even for my thumb. It's like a size 11 or something crazy, I haven't even measured the size it's so crazy big.
 

I have no idea why I made it so big, but I did.
So, for now, it's sitting on my workbench like a piece of art. (Because it is!)
 

The birdies are all in the shop along with another silver ring that I finished about a week ago.
Thanks for stopping by.
 
It's 11:00 pm here and my pet peacock just informed me that it's time for bed. That said, I'm going to go to bed, looking forward to turning down the sheets of my farmhouse bed made from reclaimed wood salvaged from the deck of wrecked Mississippi Riverboats dredged from the bottom of the Mississippi river basin.
 
Au revoir. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Thinking aloud in copper

I'm still here.
I know it seems like I've fallen off the face of the planet, but I haven't.
Time is a rare commodity.
I just don't have enough of it and definitely not enough to spend it here waxing poetic about creativity and my muse and the challenges of artistry.
Nope.
More often than not the day is dirty diapers, dirty laundry, dirty dishes, but a clean and happy baby who is enjoying growing up as much as I'm enjoying watching the process (I just wish she'd stop bumping her head and watch where she's going!)
 
I do steal a couple of hours here and there to create and I selfishly hoard the time at the bench.
My head is full of ideas and the ones that don't make it to the bench are inevitably relegated to my sketchbook.
 
But, these? These little beauties?
They made it from heart to head to hands.
 
They are the tiniest Big Dippers.
 
 
Hand-cut rounds of copper, drilled precisely to form the constellation and then soldered to open copper discs.

 
It seems so simple, but I wanted to push the idea further. Could I capture, not just the idea of starshine, but the actual thing?
Could I make these glow like the constellation in the night sky? Co-opt its beauty to hang around my neck?

 
Why yes, I think I can.
 
That's why they are domed. Slipped over my phone flashlight and the dome blocks all the light except just the glow that sneaks through the holes of the constellation.
 
There she is. The Big Dipper in all her glory, the backbone of Ursa Major around my neck.
 
 
It might be the simplest of designs, the least complex of fabrication projects, but I can't get over the secret that this tiny pendant holds. An entire constellation in the palm of my hand.
 
They are here for you lovers of light, you connoisseurs of constellations, you amateur astronomers and aspiring astronauts.
 
Another secret? I actually made four, but you can't have the fourth one. It's for me!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A pound of feathers

 This entire collection was a test of my patience. 
The rivets were a bit difficult as they kept wanting to warp and slide and move around. 

I think I might have found a way to get them to stay in place and do what I command. 
It is currently one of my favorite designs. 
A lovely mix of metal and laminate and fulfills my need for gigantic chunky jewelry and my need to hammer on some copper while keeping the recycled laminate at the forefront of what I'm making.



 I've been thinking a lot about why I've been using feathers so much lately. It really has to do with some heaviness of heart that I struggled with this winter, but here's what I wrote in the listings: 

I've been using feathers and birds a lot lately in my work. I like the idea of something that floats above the forces of gravity. The wind filling the wings and taking the bird high above mountains, trees, the weight of this world. It's a weight we all feel and though we can't sprout wings to lift ourselves above it, we can be reminded to take our minds and hearts above those trees and above those mountains, to find the thing that lifts us up and defies the forces of gravity that pull us down.


 That's a feeling that's very real to me and I think all of us find a sense of awe and grandeur when we see an eagle or hawk so high above what we would consider the earthly domain. 

I think it says something about the power of flight that even DaVinci drafted flying machines and wanted to be above the tree line long before anyone had an idea that it could be done.


I haven't worn them all at once yet. (Though really, what's stopping me?) But I did make a couple in some colors that are just for me. ( I'll be sure and Instagram those later!) 

In the meantime, all of these can be found in the shop

Monday, July 7, 2014

Statehood

Little known fact:
I'm from Alabama.
Or maybe you did know that.
Either way, I've spent the majority of my life living right around that top rivet you see in the photo below.
 

We only moved to my current home a mere 9 nine years ago (wow, has it been that long?)
I remember spending part of a semester in the 9th grade studying Alabama history.
It was actually very interesting. We took a journal and filled it out with the state's important information, learned a bit about the state govt. and studied famous Alabamians. (There have been a few, Helen Keller is my personal favorite)
 
I was homeschooled at the time so we also had the chance to travel a bit and visit some of the famous landmarks. I think it really helped me to have an appreciation for the place I lived and the people who lived there.
 

I'm slowly becoming more familiar with my current home and the summers are a wonderful opportunity to do so. My hometown has been around since the late 1700's and we still have buildings standing in this city that date back to before the Declaration of Independence.
 
I've enjoyed reading about the history of this place but also of Raleigh and Charlotte, and the islands that make up the outer banks.
Heard of Roanoke Island?
I'm sure you've come across the name Blackbeard?
North Carolina has a fascinating history.
 

 
I say this to say that I know your state does too, heck maybe even your town.
It's warm and sunny outside and now is the perfect time to play tourist in your own neighborhood.
Where do you live?
What makes it unique?
Who lived there first and why did they arrive?
 
I've got more states to make, North Carolina is definitely on my bench, and I've even got one of my favorite countries to work up. I think too often we get a bit of tunnel vision and get so focused on what's trendy and glamorous that we forget to enjoy what's unique about where we are.
 
I hope you'll take some time this week to live in your own home, to research the history and beauty that make up the place where you lay your head, and learn a little bit about where you are, even if it's not where you were born. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Revamping

I've been in a funk the past couple of days.
Not a lot of fresh inspiration.
Which is weird considering I have a full sketchbook full of ideas and some Pinterest boards to help me out.
I've also been working through the Etsy Seller Seminar which helped me tremendously to sit down and revamp my shop and give it a fresh read.
 
I sat down and worked through my About page and profile, making them reflect the things I'm more interested in now and not so much then.
I've also decided to offer my pendants all put together.
 
I've put them on slim 24" copper chain that hangs long and is perfect for layering.
To reflect that change I've taken some new photos.



I'm still offering just the pendants of course if you'd like something to use in your own jewelry creations and taking advantage of Etsy's 'variations' feature which allows me to price differently if you buy the pendant alone or on chain.
 
 
I like the double-holed pendants with the jump rings, but for the single pendants, I'm not such a fan.
I'm thinking about hanging them on ball chain. That's how I've been wearing my feathers and butterflies as of late. They're so lightweight that they really can be worn on just about anything.
 
 
I did purchase some silver and copper yesterday and have some plans to make some rings and maybe some more pendants with copper backings that have a bit more weight to them.
 
I'd also like to make some more bracelet sliders. I really, really like wearing the ones that I've made so far.
Baby hasn't been napping in the afternoons lately...what? Never heard of a 15-month-old eschewing naps.
Anyway, what do you do when you're stuck? How do you find new inspiration? It's got to be new-mom friendly. (I can't exactly hop a plane to the far reaches...)
 
I hope you're enjoying your summer. It's been lovely around here. Hot, hot, hot, but so wonderful in the evenings and we've been walking and riding bikes just before dark to take advantage of the coolness. Have a lovely weekend, folks. Happy Fourth if you're American, and if you're not, I hope the fourth is a lovely day for you regardless! 

Monday, June 9, 2014

New New New Pendants!!

I promised y'all an update this weekend, and it proved to be more difficult to get that done, but it's up today! This is really just a hodge podge of inspiration and ideas and creativity. I just kinda went with the creative muse on these pieces and made what I wanted to.
Here are the new pieces:
 
First up, are some bracelet or necklace banners in copper with laminate backgrounds in some fun phrases:
HAPPY
(Yes, it's a nod to Pharrell and my one-year-old's current favorite song!)
This one has two holes, I see it more as a necklace bar with some fun dangles or maybe a pendant connected below it.
 

GROW
We've been working on a small garden this year and while the zucchinis and squash need a bit more love, the peppers have taken off! Very appropriate for the season, I think.
These next two have one hole, but I could easily modify them if you want, just convo me!
 

CREATE
 

This one, is listed at a discount. For some reason, the copper plaque just didn't follow the curve of the laminate.
I don't know if I stamped on the back, or what, but it's not up to par, so I've listed it at a discount..
 

Now, on to these.
I LOVE the way these turned out. Two cut triangles of laminate, riveted to one hammered and patinated triangle of copper with double holes for hanging. This first one is a bit smaller.
 

This second one is definitely larger and I've added a bit of copper detailing at the top. These were a bit more time consuming, but they look awesome. I've slightly rounded the edges so that they won't snag on clothes when worn.
Super chunky and very textural.

A bracelet bar with the word sawn from the laminate.
I've got a couple more of these in the works.
 

Another sparrow in some more earthy tones. These have been pretty popular and I must admit they are really lovely to wear just attached to thin chain.
 

I also listed this little guy Made To Order. He's been pretty popular on my last two updates and I've got the samples to make two or three more, so get him while he's still around!

 
All of these cuties are in my shop and I do have a couple more to list that I will probably try to add this afternoon if I'm able.
 
All of these are in the shop!
Also, if you have an idea for a custom piece you'd like me to work on, please feel free to contact me! I'd love to create something special for you!
 
Have a great week all!