Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Things I've learned

I've started making most of my rings with this open shank style that is super sturdy and comfortable to wear, and I thought I'd share with you how to make it!
1. You'll need double half-round wire that you can purchase at Rio Grande. Any gauge will do. Measure and cut a length of wire at least a half size LARGER than the ring you're creating.
2. Use your miter jig to flush up the ends.

3. Measure out a 10mm length from the exact center (find the center and measure 5mm to the left and right) and mark it off. Saw from each end of the wire until you reach the middle, leaving the 10mm section intact.

4. Separate the end pieces by pulling them apart evenly spaced and then form your band around a ring mandrel.

5. Bring the ends together until they meet and solder them shut. After you've soldered and pickled, slide the ring back onto the mandrel and shape it. If it measures too large, pull the two rings apart until you're shank measures the size you need it to.

Monday, April 11, 2016


I'll make this sound professional:
In an effort to recoup some of the cost of my metalsmithing, and also to fund my further study of said craft, I have decided to offer some of my previously loved and gathered jewelry making supplies over at my other shop: www.labellajoyasupply.etsy.com.

Okay, now what's really going on:
I'm a junkie.
With a problem.
I call it Agate and sometimes Jasper, but we both know what it is and what it's doing to me, and like most junkies, I'm selling everything short of my own mudda to fuel the habit.
NO, really....

Head on over there and pick something up: 

Oh, and for a limited time, every purchase over there will include a free gift (because we're all junkies aren't we?) 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Planting Seeds

I've recently found myself with a student.
It wasn't intentional, I didn't advertise, it was more like, I've got a husband who has a friend who has a friend and one thing led to another and here I am with an opportunity like no other.
It's been so good for me.
She's determined and wants to learn and also has a completely different style from my own which means she's challenging me as much as I'm challenging her and to top it off we get along really well.

Those were kind of the thoughts that were working through my head as I worked on this piece. It's as much about the work as it is the passing on of the knowledge.

This last one is particularly poignant. I've taken dried grass seeds and preserved them in resin.

It's a reminder to me that you never know what seeds are going to grow and sometimes you never even know when you're planting a seed to begin with.
It's truly a humbling thought.
I'm glad that I've been given the opportunity to teach again. It was one of my favorite parts of what I did when I was beading.
I believe the sharing of knowledge is so important and something that we should always work toward.

Saturday, February 13, 2016


About a year after I started making jewelry, Ice Resin became really big.
Everybody was resinating everything and there were entire mags dedicated to the wonders of the smelly stuff.
I too went through a bit of a resin kick, and got to re-visit it this week when my sister's boyfriend commissioned me to make a ring to commemorate her time spent abroad.
This is what I came up with.
It's a collage of images cut from a couple of Costa Rican bills that he brought back when we he visited this Christmas.
This time around, my skill set has increased dramatically and I was able to build the body of the ring, along with the collage.

The back says "Pura Vida", Costa Rica's slogan which more or less reads, "The Good Life" in English.
I haven't done resin in a while, and I'm not going to lie, it was fun.

These were my older attempts at resin work, and yes, they are miniscule. Each little collage only measures about 1" square.

This was the one he saw her wear that he wanted me to copy.
It's actually a miniature Amsterdam, made from paper cuts.
Who knew I'd ever visit that again?!

Monday, November 30, 2015

A paperback...

Has it really been over two months since my fingers tip-tapped over a keyboard instead of swiping a cell screen? I haven't forgotten I assure you.
I can pinpoint the culprit.
I know it's not intentional, it's just become habit, the phone travels with me...studio, house, car. It's easy to snap and go.

But, even though I try to write the story on a phone screen and copy and paste the true meaning, it doesn't seem as big or as important as it does here with these giant words and even bigger pictures.

There are also the stories.
I've relegated the meaning behind my pieces to listing descriptions and stopped keeping them here as a kind of journal of the journey.
I've actually started reading more, real, actual books and I've re-awakened a love of history that has always been deep in my bones.

You would think that all of this would spur me to write more, but it doesn't, I find instead the words in the stroke of a saw.
It's a problem, really, because I'm so wrapped up in the story behind the pieces that I can't accept the failure to sell as just the passing over of a monetary expenditure and instead interpret it as the rejection of what I see as my life's memoir.

What's the magic?
Why is one story better than the other?
What happens when you see stories that overlap and can't understand why everyone doesn't realize they're reading the same thing, and calling it by different names?
Is wanting to be different even worth it?

I feel like a paperback at the library.
Stuck in those little spinning merry-go-round shelves while the real books get jackets and bookends and, well...dusted.
I feel dusty and my head hurts from spinning.

Keep writing, I say to myself...
You may be a paperback, but they're lightweight and easy to carry,
and isn't that what you want to be anyway?
Oh, and also, the hardcovers don't get to be you, until they've sold a million copies...

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Reaching Higher

Have I ever actually told you that I'm most comfortable making rings, or did you just figure it out by looking through my shop which makes it look like I've pretty much only got fingers and no neck?
My inspiration always takes the form of rings for whatever reason. I get an idea, I see a picture and my head finds a way to wrap the idea into a circle and my hands obey without thinking.
I'm wanting to change that, to become an artist who doesn't just think in terms of the finger, but who sees a larger picture, who can use silver and stone to paint a portrait around your neck....or even your wrist. I feel lopsided always making rings, like the old V8 commercials where everyone is always leaning.
These pieces have so much meaning to me, not only because I feel like I'm growing in my craft, but because I feel like I'm taking my inspiration and working it out in a larger more meaningful way.
This one is called The Thing with Feathers. Inspired by the Emily Dickinson poem and my attempt to capture the wings of hope in silver.  It features Carico Lake Turquoise on braided leather. I must say, the stories to these pieces are long and meaningful, and I won't rewrite them here, I've poured it out, each of them in the listing on my website, but it's been so long since I've stopped by and I come by here to talk about growth.

 This piece is reversible. That was important to me, I want my work to have layers of meaning, but also depth of material. This one was inspired by home, the forest around me, the ground beneath me. The malachite juxtaposed against the Montana agate, the depth of color.
This little piece sports the most amazing piece of Ocean Jasper I've ever nabbed.
The color on this one is deep and those little green spots have just a bit of druzy sparkle.
It was inspired by my Bring Down the Moon series.

I am however, most proud of these. The first set of bangles I've ever created. Inspired by the Resurrection Fern that grows around these parts on the live oaks. It's such a beautiful story of a plant that refuses to give in, coming back again and again despite the odds.
These tested my patience and my skills, demanding a whole new set up at my soldering station and patience the likes of which I've never had to tap into before.

These have the most beautiful clink and clank and was well worth the literal hours of frustration and work and re-work.

These are all currently available in my shop, www.labellajoya.com, and I invite you to stop and read the story that goes with each. My heart goes into my work and I hope it comes back out when you see it. Fall is coming, and I'm looking forward to feeling it and living it and enjoying every minute with my family and seeing what kind of inspiration it brings.
I hope you're reading this and enjoying the place you're in as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the years, I couldn't build this without you.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Rock and a Hard Place

These little rings were inspired by difficulty, by the frustrating push and pull of life.
We call it stuck between a rock and a hard place. It's a place we don't want to be and that often times feels impossible to get out of.
This was the heart behind this design.
The rock, a tiny bit of turquoise and the hard place a ball of silver.
Taking something ugly and making it precious.

My current batch has sold out, but I'm offering a whole new batch Made to Order in your size and choice of stone. They range from $35 - $45 depending on the stone you choose. I'm offering these on Instagram as well (follow me @labellajoya), but if you don't have IG, please visit my website and contact me through the contact page to reserve (scroll to the bottom of the website). I'll create the listings as the reserves come in.

Have a wonderful week, bellas, and remember, "...deep roots are not reached by the frost."