Friday, February 27, 2009

Golden eggs in a copper nest... a pin

I was going to write about the jewelry sets for the Stephenson Elementary School Auction, but the chickens are squawking so loudly at the squirrels, I thought the nest was more appropriate.

Before making my first nest, I researched through all my books- French-Inspired Jewelry especially, and issues of Belle Armoire Jewelry. I found mine took much more wire than recommended. I've also mixed metals - 18 gauge copper and 20 g. gold-tone craft wire. The dyed fresh-water pearls are from Bodacious Beads, wired on with 26 g. copper, and the pinback is wired on with the ends of the nest wire.

I love how the metal nest is all interconnected... its weight... the shine of the copper which will patina over time... the mix of metals - always one of my favorites.

The kids still remember all the real birds' nest we found when we took the Christmas lights out of the huge pine tree near our driveway in New York. Ethan was four and Aeryn was only two. We "rescued" - as in knocked them out with the lights - 4 nests and saved them for the whole summer until we moved, then we returned them into the woods. The circle of life must continue... feed the soil, into the tree, its twigs and branches the materials and support of a new nest.

These metal nests brought this memory back for them so clearly. If I ever doubted the power of jewelry, this would prove its value - of connections, of history, of memories, of families. All of the objects made by our hands are imbued with so much power far beyond their beauty or function.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dreaming of spring...

Snow on the ground this morning, winter keeps trying to sneak back in but spring is coming. My viburnum is almost ready to bloom and when that happens I will be outside puttering in the garden: talking to the chickens, moving around piles of leaves, picking up sticks.

I'm waiting for a sunny-ish day to take some new photos, it's no fun taking pics in the rain and cold. I've completed a few new necklaces: tiger-eye and copper is almost done. I love soldering! It sounds silly, but using cools tools and techniques makes me really happy. Not that plain beading or straight stitching aren't fun too, but those tools, those tools, those glorious tools.

Hey, check out ArtFire. Super cool new handmade selling site! Only one item on there by me, but I think I'm going to like it better than etsy.

That's all for now!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Wire-wrapped jewelry

This is a necklace I made for my sister, Cynthia. The bead idea is from Deryn Mentock's article in Belle Armoire Jewelry. LOVE that magazine. I like the contrast of the the heavy gauge steel wire with the very delicate 32 gauge twisted wire necklace. Delicate and strong together. I've used a variety of faceted gemstone beads, I think they're quartz, and two pearl disks, which must be dyed, because I don't think pearls are naturally deep pink. The lampwork bead was purchased, it has a neat stripe that reminds me of mint candies. Yummy. Hurray for the bench block, my new best friend.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The usual Frustrations

I need to take photos for Etsy. I have very little confidence in my photography abilities, so I tend to put this off. I am also stumped on my Somerset Studio submission for "Sisterhood." I love working on the themes but I get discouraged and can't finish on time. And the project I started I now wanted to go in a new direction with - it feels too "scrapbooky" and it would make a fabulous jewelry holder.

here is a project that is complete and feels somewhat finished and successful, especially since it is a reworking of an earlier piece. my own recycling, yay!
This necklace is for my mom. I am going to send it to her this week. I have no idea if she'll like it at all. Hope so.

My constant studio companion, Momo, is bugging me!!!! At this exact moment she is on my bead mat, instead of the keyboard. Off to fight the losing cat battle.

Friday, February 6, 2009

. . . dusty old things and shiny new things

This is Amanda, say hello to Amanda. She belonged to my Mom and I've had her for many years. At the moment she is living on my nightstand in her "Spooky" bridal gown. It's not really spooky, but that's what I dressed her in for Halloween. Amanda only changes outfits a few times a year. She's easy on the laundry, unlike Ethan, Aeryn, Dylan, me, the cats, the rags from the Art Lit room.This is my old, sad computer. I could post several more photos of its many misfortunes but it's cruel to taunt it. 2 year olds and laptops - NOT perfect together. So now I can type and load pics onto a shiny new-to-me computer. I feel like I have finally got a chance to be part of the blogging world. Woo hoo!

This is my driveway a few afternoons ago. It was warm enough, all the neighborhood kids were playing war, it was so loud "Retreat, retreat!" I was working on some jewelry, not yet having to think about dinner. Life is busy and crazy and purty darn good right now.