Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Every time traveler worth his salt has a trusty mode of transportation. In this case it is a winged chair with Einstein's famous formula (E=mc2) and tempus fugit (time flies) etched on the back rests. It takes the knowledge of Einstein's formula to make time travel even feasible and it takes the hope and imagination of time flies to actually make the chair lift off. With any luck this time traveler will be off on a new adventure soon.

Monday, January 28, 2008


This is the suitcase that belongs to THE TIME TRAVELER...there have been many destinations. Can you imagine witnessing pyramids being built in Egypt... being in India for the birth of Buddha....and on the way back to present time zipping into Seattle for the World's Fair. I think we can all relate to THE TIME TRAVELER. Who hasn't wished they could have one more conversation with someone from the past...just one more moment...to be able to ask one more question.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Over the next several days the subject of my posts will be the anatomy of a box...well, not any box, but one of my boxes. I've talked about these narrative art boxes, schemed and dreamed about them for well over a year now. Of course I am influenced and find inspiration from the work of Joseph Cornell and, more recently, Mariko Kusumoto. Her box-like sculptures are Asian influenced and beautifully crafted and can be found at Mobilia Gallery in Massachusetts.

The idea of the box was my solution to being able to flesh out a story. I think I am a story teller at heart and while my jewelry has given me a canvas for storytelling, there is not always enough surface area to pull it off. With the ability to etch surfaces both inside and outside of the box, I now have plenty of room to tell the whole story, always being careful, of course, to leave some things for the imagination of the viewer.

For me it all begins with an image...although a word or a phrase is sometimes the trigger. I've mentioned in a past post how much I enjoy working with vintage imagery. There is something so visceral about those old images and the life led...a life I will never know anything about. I feel compelled somehow to create a life for them...to put their face back out into the world so they won't be forgotten.

The etching process that I do requires very high contrast images...a lot of vintage images just aren't. I spend quite a bit of photo shop time getting the images ready to etch. Many are faded or slightly out of focus and most are stilted in a way. The subject had to hold perfectly still for long periods of time in order to capture their image on film. To find a good vintage photo of a subject actually doing something is rare. I'm always looking for interesting hand positions and for how that can help my story along. I was lucky with the above image...with his right hand resting on the table (to steady himself for the photo) I have a perfect fist just waiting to hold something. In this case it will be a suitcase because this young man is THE TIME TRAVELER. Check back over the next several days and see his transformation and story evolve.

Friday, January 25, 2008


I have always loved oak leaves... the shape...the varieties of shapes...a symbol of the strength and elegance of the tree they come from. Where I grew up in Arkansas the oak trees were on the property long before I existed and with any luck, will be there long after I am gone. Those trees held our forts and tree houses...were friends when we just needed to get away and have a quiet moment alone...and today shade the cemetery plot just down the road where some of my family rests. Those trees are as woven into my DNA as any other genetic material.

This bracelet is photo-etched, 16 gauge sterling silver and depicts oak leaves being blown in the wind. The Robert Frost quote says, "LISTEN! THE WIND IS RISING AND THE AIR IS WILD WITH LEAVES." It is 1 inch wide and can be made in any length to fit any wrist.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


If you've been reading this blog at all I think it is probably clear that I really like fish. For years I collected fish pins (this was way before I even thought about being a jeweler.) I loved the fishes that Gabrielle Gould (a jeweler from Saint Augustine, FL) used to make. One was called RED HEADED BOTTOM FEEDER...with a name like that I couldn't resist. It was one of my favorite pins ever until I lost it. I still think about that little silver fish with it's red head and spiral wire for a back fin.

It took me a while to realize that I can make my own fish pins now. Over the next five days I will be posting a new fish each day. This is a migration of sorts of photo-etched sterling silver finned ones. I don't know where this migration is heading but I know I want to follow.

This checkerboard fish pin is 3 inches long and 1 inch tall.

This fish with scales is 3 inches long and 1 inch tall.

This little hatchet fish is 2.25 inches long and 1.25 inches tall.

This fish with dots is 3 inches long and 1 inch tall.

And finally, this little fish with dashes is 2.25 inches long and 1.25 inches tall.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I've been noticing some harbingers of spring even though it is mid January. Just yesterday I was telling a friend that the birds were singing up a storm just outside the window... and a few brave little souls were bathing in the puddles in my driveway... and a bit later I noticed a pair of chickadees checking out my birdhouse for occupancy...and there is a different quality in the light ...and I can just feel it in my bones. I welcome spring and will be on the lookout for the very first tender shoots of green to nose their way through the earth reminding me where the bulbs are planted. And that fresh, baby, tender green color that will soon halo all the bare branches...green...spring...I think it is no accident that these two words rhyme. They are each like long lost sisters finally reunited...arms encircling each other. I'm trying to be in the present moment but it is difficult not to be looking ahead. I can hardly wait!!!

This ROBIN PIN is photo-etched sterling silver that measures 2.25 inches long and 1.25 inches high. The nest is oxidized copper wire. I often wear this robin pin on my jacket as a reminder to myself and others that spring is just around the corner!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


For the last couple of days I've been stymied by technology. I've been trying to learn about my fancy digital camera beyond shooting in automatic mode. That means learning about white balance...bracketing...exposure compensation...the difference between matrix metering and spot metering...etc...etc....it's been enough to give me a headache. I've had to walk away from this project several times. It all started because I bought a light tent for shooting my work. Jewelry is so reflective and can be difficult to photograph. With a light tent the light source is dissipated so there are no reflections or hot spots. Today I've been dealing with the reflection of my camera lens showing as a perfectly round black circle right in the middle of the piece of jewelry. It's taken more than just a little photoshop to clean these images up but I am mostly pleased with the results.

This is the QUEEN OF HEARTS POD. It is photo-etched sterling silver...measures approximately 1 inch in diameter and 1/2 inches in depth...and hangs on an 18 inch sterling silver snake chain. The backside has a checkerboard pattern that mimics the bodice of her gown.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


I am drawn to pods...mostly seed pods...with their hollow interior full of hope for the future.

This sterling silver pod is my stylized version of the seed pod. It is photo-etched and is approximately 1 inch in diameter and 1/2 inch in depth. The doorway into the pod is stitched part way closed with copper wire...reminding us to be patient and that in time, the gift inside will reveal itself. The pod hangs by an 18 inch snake chain. On the backside there is a textural pattern of dashes...this pattern was found on the inside of a security envelope. The oak leaf motif is in remembrance of my mom and of the tall wise oak trees that watch over our family home in Arkansas.

Thursday, January 10, 2008



Recently my art group discussed the subject of time management. I think most people have issues with time management in one form or another but I think for artists, it can be a real struggle. We are often self employed so we have to be good self starters. We have to wear so many hats...designer, craftsman, photographer, accountant, marketing genius, errand girl, secretary, research developer and computer wizard. It is so easy to veer off the intention for the day and at the end of the day realize that nothing much got accomplished. Throw in hauling some firewood or a quick run to the grocery store so you can have crackers with your soup and a perfectly good work day can be nibbled to death.

My particular challenge is that I tend to be an all-or-nothing kind of person. I like to have a goal...work really really hard to achieve that goal...and then slack. After the slack, it takes a lot to get the momentum moving again. I have committed to my art group to try the slow but steady approach for the next month. I am actually going to keep a record... clock in and out so I can make sure I get my work hours in and be accountable to the group. We have each made a commitment to work on the areas where we are lacking. I'll let you know in a month if I have turned my work habits around...in the meantime...have a productive day!!!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


This vine heart pin is photo-etched sterling silver and is 1.5 inches tall by 1.75 inches wide. It is also available as a neckpiece with a snake chain. This is the kind of pin that you just let live on your favorite sweater or jean jacket. The small window allows one to look within...a window to the soul.

Monday, January 7, 2008


A couple of years ago my friend, Lin, ( you can see her wonderful paintings by clicking on her link on the right column) and her daughter, Krista, took a trip to Washington, DC. It was a gift from Krista to her mom knowing how much Lin would enjoy all the art galleries, and in the process they would get to spend some quality time together. As a surprise, Lin asked me to make matching vine bracelets as a memory of the trip. When Krista got home, her young son, Noah, loved playing with the bracelet and handled it whenever he could. Just before this past Christmas, Lin talked to me about the possibility of making a bracelet for Noah..now 5 years old. We talked about different imagery...his name on the bracelet...fish...animal tracks...boy stuff. Krista assured us that it needed to be just like hers...so with some creative shipping, the bracelet arrived in Wyoming just in time to get under the tree. It was a little tricky to make...so small...the blank was only 4 inches long...and my mandrel was a bit too large for hammering it around. When I finished it and held it in the palm of my hand, there was something precious about that small size. A few days ago Krista sent me this photo.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


1. A new friend who feels like someone you have known for a very long time coming to visit for the first time.
2. A day of wind and rain slanted sideways...but it just doesn't matter.
3. A ride in a 1952 Dodge pick-up.
4. A relaxed hearty breakfast at Sweet Laurettes.
5. Popping in and out of the downtown galleries.
6. Hanging out in front of a woodstove...talking...talking...talking.
7. Sharing art books...stories...vintage photos...hopes...and dreams.
8. Joining another dear friend and art soul for a gallery opening.
9. Selling a piece at the opening.
10. Being in the company of many artists.
Combine all of the above and stir together gently. Add liberal pinches of laughter...and finally bake with warm hugs. Now that's a sweet day even if you've given up sugar for new years.

Saturday, January 5, 2008


Last night I was part of a group show at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts called WHODUNIT. The plan was that each artist would create a piece of art on an 8"x8" canvas and sign the back instead of the front...a little mystery was afoot as people tried to figure out which artist created which piece. All the works were priced at $350 with the proceeds going to assist the elderly in art programs. Over 100 artist participated in all mediums. I'm happy to report that my piece sold on the opening night.

I titled this piece REMEMBERING THE NIGHT GARDEN because poppies are the flower of remembrance. I was especially pleased with how the beetles that walk around the edge turned out. All the metal is photo-etched. The beetles and houses are nickel...the poppies are red brass...the roofs are copper... and the stars are sterling silver.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


A fresh clean calendar...no scribbles in the margins...new beginnings. I think Kim, rug weaver extraordinaire and my sweet friend, said it best when she recently wrote..."time to think about what to focus on with all the possibilities that one feels in January...while there is still breathing room for dreaming before the constant pressure that seems to come with show season and yards full of growing things".

That seems to be how it is...it all seems possible right now. Art show applications are appearing in the mailbox...which shows to apply to...which shows do I have the best chance of getting in....which shows are worth the $30-$45 application fee. As the months tick by the pressure starts to build...replace inventory that sold at Christmas in all the galleries...create new work before spring...continually seek balance between work and a walk on the beach...now the grass is starting to grow exponentially and the tractor won't start...the cherry tomatoes I bought at the farmer's market are shriveling in their too small plastic pots (no time to plant them properly)...a crazy 17 hour day trying to finish those last pieces before loading the car leaving for a show......anyway, you get the picture. The truth is that I wouldn't change a thing...this is my life and I love it!!! So this January I'm going to dream about all the possibilities.