Monthly Archives: January 2013

Beach Glass Hearts

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You already know that I live on Lake Erie and that collecting items from the beach is a favorite pastime . I collect driftwood, rocks, beach glass, pottery chips and other treasures (See Lake Erie in my back yard).
Over the years of collecting beach glass, I have seen all shapes and sizes. Probably the most unique shape I’ve seen is a heart. As I sort through my large collection of beach glass, I’m amazed by the number of hearts that I have.
I have used them for Valentine’s Day jewelry pieces, as well in other pieces. One of my favorite pieces ever is the cobalt blue heart I found that I bezeled onto a heart-shaped back. It has been sold, but I miss it. I miss it because I know a piece of beach glass of that shape and color will never come my way again.

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Special Hammer

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I love old hammers. I buy them at flea markets and house sales. I love the smoothness of the handle. I love the heft in my hand. The nicks and scratches produce some terrific textures. One of my favorites has a flat round head with a pattern on it that resembles alligator skin!

Recently, my uncle was here for a visit. He is a retired wood shop teacher. I don’t think they teach these shops these days. I was talking about my jewelry fabrication and took him down to my workshop. I loved showing off my many tools, including my hammers, and I think he was impressed. He was examining them and then asked if I would like one that has been in the family for generations.

My great-grandfather imigrated from Scotland where he worked as a cabinet-maker. It was his hammer. My grandfather continued the tradition of working as a cabinet-maker. My uncle inherited this hammer and was offering it to me.
It came in the mail a few weeks later and I was thrilled to be the newest owner. I owned a piece of history, passed down for 4 generations.

For the attached photos, I posed the hammer on an old wooden trunk. I knew that story. When my same great-grandfather immigrated to the US, he brought his tool chest. It is fitted inside to hold a multitude of tools. My dad had kept it all these years and I admired it often. When my dad died, I inherited the tool chest. You would think it was the most valuable part of his estate and it was to me.

So I have my newly acquired hammed posed on top of the tool chest. Everything has come around again to be in my hands-my great-grandfather’s hammer and his tool chest together again.


Application Roadblock

Nope, I still can’t walk. I started Physical Therapy yesterday. PT exercises are designed, I’m convinced, to make a strong person buckle, or make you cry.

What’s really killing me now are the show applications. They are out now for all of the big, juried shows that I like to do. Most are due sometime in February. The primary goal, before filling out the application, is to make a few dynamite new pieces to submit.

As mentioned before, my workshop is in my basement and I have no way to get down there!! So, I try to remain calm and make myself cry with those rigorous exercises.


Upside-Downside. Which is Better?

DSCN6105I believe that you can definitely learn from mistakes. And weird coinstances. And plain dumb luck. Some great jewelry designs come from these situations.

Recently I cut a template for a pair of earrings, textured and oxidized them and added handcrafted ear wires. They looked a lot like little baskets and were named ‘Tisket, a Tasket’.

Only a few days later, they lay on the tablewhere I hastily had placed them, now waiting to be photogaphed. Almost immediately I saw another pair of earrings. They would be cut from the same template, and assembled upside down from my original design. I had some pale pink trade beads for the bottom.

So which is your favorite?


Experiments in Fiber

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Felted Circle Ring.5

Experiments in fiber is the name of one of my newer collections. Over the last couple of years, I have developed a burgeoning interest in felting. When I felt, I use the traditional wet felting method. This involves laying out fine tufts of wool, wetting them down with soap and water and rolling until your shoulders ache. My upper body workouts at Balllys have served me well. The result is a dense layer of felt, a little like a thicker version of what is available commercially. The magic comes from choosing the colors and textures of wool and seeing the final product. It never quite comes out as you planned, but that is part of what makes wet felting so cool. Unlimited fibers are available. Besides wool, I have felted, silk and other fibers, each with its own characteristics. Scarves are the first items I created. Simple scarves, cobweb scarves, lattice scarves and ruffled edge scarves. Currently I also make felted jewelry, hats, purses and a few home accessories.


Roadblock to Blogging

I sell my jewelry through the internet and in galleries, but my very favorite venue are the several Art & Craft shows I do each year. My show “season” runs from May until December. They are a great marketing tool, as they direct customers to future shows and to my website. But, the main reason I love them is the interaction with people. I get to see long time customers and make new ones. Customers have the opportunity to handle and try on pieces of jewelry. Whenever possible, I explain the process and materials that went into the creation of the piece. Typically when show season ends, I go into “catch-your-breath” mode. This is my time to make more jewelry pieces, tend to websites and complete to paperwork. This year, I also plannned to start and develope a blog.

My last show was December 15, a particularly busy one. The plan was to get up the next morning and get to work. However, the next morning when I woke up, I could not walk! I have never experienced the amount of pain I was experiencing. A week later, one ER visit, one dr visit, I still had no answers. The final diagnoses was a Staph infection of my knee, a serious condition. Surgery was Christmas Eve morning and four days later. A mystery; the doctors have absolutely no idea how this could have happened. Bottom line, I still can’t walk and only marginally with a walker.

The punch line is that my jewelry workshop is in the basement. Of course. I do not know when I will be able to reach my workshop. I’m going crazy, sitting here in a recliner. My life line to the outside world is my laptop. I want to blog, but I cannot access any of my recent work, creating something of a roadblock. Hope to be up and about soon.


Metalsmithing Poodle

This blog has morphed into an observation and reflection of life as an artist. I am a Denver based metalsmith who works in a call center by day, sells jewelry by night, and fills the rest of the waking hours practicing parkour. I am the founder of Purple Poodle Designs and I am the events coordinator for the Colorado Metalsmithing Association.

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