A Growth Mindset

I decided to make peace with the month of May and the dreaded and intense garden tending work that takes me away from my studio time.  I've decided to embrace May fully and just step up and declare it garden tending month.  It is now what I do in May.  Meeting a challenge is always about the way you frame your thinking.  On the first day of June as I return to the studio, I know all that tending is worth it.  I hope my studio muse will agree.

Fairy Bench

Fairy Bench

The romance of Wisteria, Peonies and Roses

The romance of Wisteria, Peonies and Roses

The deck sanctuary

The deck sanctuary

Lotus Love

Lotus Love

Sarracenia

Sarracenia

Gardening for Art and Soul

May garden clean up time is a big job that takes me away from studio time.  The shot below is of the west quarter of our yard and it is a very slow work in progress.  As much as gardening feels like a sacrifice of studio time, I do it with joy because the garden feeds my soul as a sanctuary, it provides me with the flora I use in my jewelry collages, and it pleases "The Invisibles" that I feel so closely in my creative life.  One of my favorite philosophers, John O'Donohue writes that, "Soul is the natural shelter around your life" and quotes Blaise Pascal that in difficult times, beauty will save us in the end.  My greatest happiness and desire is to create little shelters of soulful beauty.  

The West Garden Spring 2017

The West Garden Spring 2017

This is also my biggest challenge, because the rest of my "slow work in progress garden" is complete chaos...because, then, there are all the other projects that need tending as well....Maybe I just need to acknowledge that my life is about tending and creating and let go of any notion that there will be completion.  Maybe soulful shelters of beauty can be a slow work in progress.

One of my jewelry collages

One of my jewelry collages

Appreciating the Professionals

Like so many artists, putting my work out into the world is not as intuitive or easy as the making.  My designs are not very traditional and I struggle a bit describing what I do.  What I tend to express is otherworldly, ancient and symbol rich.  It is imbued with my love of the sciences, the sea, the forest. It's bold, yet feminine.  I'm so pleased with how the professional photographer, Doreen Wynja, has captured the feeling of what I want to say.    All of these pieces and more will be going into my Etsy store over the next few weeks.  Doreen's beautiful work can be found here:   http://eyeofthelady.com

Bold, Symbolic Jewelry for Strong Women

Resin collage of organics and paper with strung pearls and stones

Resin collage of organics and paper with strung pearls and stones

Turquoise Wrap Necklace with stones and silver

Turquoise Wrap Necklace with stones and silver

Symbols Necklace, enamel work and sterling

Symbols Necklace, enamel work and sterling

Textured sterling and Aquamarine

Textured sterling and Aquamarine

Enamel work with agate and fluorite 

Enamel work with agate and fluorite 

Trunk Show!

My last show of the year will be next weekend, November 5th as I participate in the Stormy Weather Festival in Cannon Beach.  Along with Sally O'Neill and other artists, I'll have a Trunk Show at the Haystack Gallery.  I've been busy in the studio dreaming and making.  Here a a few one of a kind pieces I'm bringing to the Trunk Show.

One of my Gary Wilson stones; crazy lace agate necklace in process.  I think my 1,000 year old Tibetan glass trade wind beads, labradorite and 24k infused Czech glass bead will play well together.

One of my Gary Wilson stones; crazy lace agate necklace in process.  I think my 1,000 year old Tibetan glass trade wind beads, labradorite and 24k infused Czech glass bead will play well together.

Earrings inspired by my last visit to the Ancient Etruscan exhibit at the museum.  I've paired my textured, oceanic silver with long strands of garnet and pearl beads ending in garnet drops.  Long earrings work so well with long hair.  These just dust the shoulder with a bit of sparkle.

Earrings inspired by my last visit to the Ancient Etruscan exhibit at the museum.  I've paired my textured, oceanic silver with long strands of garnet and pearl beads ending in garnet drops.  Long earrings work so well with long hair.  These just dust the shoulder with a bit of sparkle.

A few of my enameled elements with a beautiful color quality lapis and turquoise beads hand knotted on silk cord.

A few of my enameled elements with a beautiful color quality lapis and turquoise beads hand knotted on silk cord.

More oceanic fused and reticulated silver with amethyst and ochre glass beads.

More oceanic fused and reticulated silver with amethyst and ochre glass beads.

Come see me at Open Studios of Beavercreek

On October 7th through the 9th I'll be joined at studio #2 with 3 other artists who work in pottery, stained glass and the literary arts. Take a break for a colorful fall drive through the beautiful countryside to view 11 studios and the work of 26 artists.  My work will be located at 18882 S. Forest Grove Loop in Oregon City but for a full list and map of all the participating artists and details click: http://openstudiosofbeavercreek.weebly.com

Color Lust

I've found myself using more and more color in my work lately.  Usually my colors are complex but subtle.  Lately, I'm drawn to colors full of energy.  Maybe this is a reflection of pushing to step outside my introverted self to engage with people and the happenings around me a bit more.  There have been so many deeply satisfying and heartfelt connections with others this summer from choosing to be brave in this way.

So color is happening and my favorite is this one full of symbolic images in enamels, silver and resin.  It speaks of energy, alive and flowing, evoking our deeper wisdom.

Wisdom Flowing

Wisdom Flowing

More color with enamels, Afghan Lapis and Turquoise. This one may be calling on that bravery that exists in us to move us towards our greatest good.

Stronger Together

Stronger Together

More color exploration with handmade papers and dried flowers from my garden encased in sterling and resin.  Sometimes we just need to have fun.

Captured Summer

Captured Summer

Finding Balance Within Imbalance

The Oregon City Fair is over and I have such good feelings about my experience with this venue.  It was a well organized fair in a beautiful park setting in the middle of one of our main cultural sites.  I met so many very interesting people, including a soulful woman who likes to wear earrings that don't match.  I do to, but she has some kind of strong clarity about how she feels when she wears earrings in this way.  I imagine it is like finding balance within all the parts of our lives that seek to throw our balance.  She requested a custom pair just for her.  I made two so she could choose.  The other pair will be in my Etsy store soon, which you can access by clicking on the link below.

Balance Within Imbalance Earrings with one of my Raven Beads

Balance Within Imbalance Earrings with one of my Raven Beads

I love the opportunity to meet people and share stories about the pieces I've created.

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Finding Balance

Working as a studio jeweler these days requires you to spend a lot of time on your business outside of creating in the studio.  I haven't found a balance yet that feels satisfying, but experimenting with my new camera to learn how to take better pictures is really fun.  Amazing what a good camera can do compared to my old point and shoot.  Some new works photographed with my new camera.

Kyanite and Reticulated Silver Necklace

Kyanite and Reticulated Silver Necklace

Reticulated Sterling Hoops and Turquoise Earrings

Reticulated Sterling Hoops and Turquoise Earrings

Petrified Palm and Sterling Earrings

Petrified Palm and Sterling Earrings

Reticulated Silver Botanical with Raven's Beak, Carnelian and Labradorite 

Reticulated Silver Botanical with Raven's Beak, Carnelian and Labradorite 

In The Lab

I've given myself the luxury of disconnecting just a bit from the noise and lists of responsibilities to return to the blissful land of scientific exploration.  I'm experimenting with metal reticulation.  What happens to the properties of silver when you heat it to the edge of changing it's form from a solid to a liquid?  How does that change occur in different gauges or thicknesses and shapes of metal? What happens when you do some forming before or after reticulation? What changes in the colors of the metal if it is patinated and then tumbled?  Here are some of the products of my first explorations.  The textures that result allow some control but are still unpredictable, kind of like watercolor or the glazes on pottery.  So much fun.

Silver reticulation on a copper hollow form

Silver reticulation on a copper hollow form

silver reticulation brooch

silver reticulation brooch

Silver reticulation on fabricated wire with patina

Silver reticulation on fabricated wire with patina

The Soul of Handmade

A machine could likely make something similar in less than an hour.  It took me four days and in the four days, this shimmering sheet of sterling is imbued with the organic marks and soulful energies of the maker.  You can feel it when you are near an object that has been made by the heart and hand of a maker.  You can feel the life in it.  That's the difference. 

Tucked away in a little box I've saved these beautiful sunset pink rhodochrosite stalactite slices waiting for them to call to me.  How do I describe this...they come to my mind a pull me in.  Textures, lines, shapes, colors swirl around them and begin to settle into form.  Sometimes a story will give them a form that carries them into into a place and time that want's to be remembered. 

These rhodochrosites, with their cosmic circles of pinks, creams and amber, their organic, craggy quartz edges, settled so fittingly into my winged series.  So a day or so is spent in relationship with the stone, thinking about it, listening, responding as this swirling and settling into form takes place.  I draw it out, erase, redraw, fine tune, until the shape "feels" just right.   Another day or so in planning and preparing the materials.  I can't just leave a piece of metal in it's flat, milled, shiny form.  I have to bring out it's organic texture so I hunt around for bits and send it through my rolling mill.  The first run of imprinting a handmade paper wasn't enough, so I sent the sterling sheet through again with some fringes cut off a scrape of vintage material.

Final drawing, first texture selection

Final drawing, first texture selection

Second texture selection adding the cutting of fringes then running it through the mill again

Second texture selection adding the cutting of fringes then running it through the mill again

Sawing and piercing out the shapes in the textured sterling

Sawing and piercing out the shapes in the textured sterling

Spirit Wings with Rhodochrosite Stalactite Slices

Spirit Wings with Rhodochrosite Stalactite Slices

The finished earrings after assembling, adding a patina and finish sanding and polish.  I like to leave my pieces more organic and soft than hard and shiny.  I strive for a well finished piece that still reveals the imprint of the maker.

The Deepening of Winter

The cozy, introspective slow down of winter is here.  December was such a flurry of incidents, activity and celebration that I have been away from the studio for an unsettling amount of time.  Now I can return.  Studio time is not only the making but also the conversation with the cosmos, the invisibles, the tandem energies of the layered realities the are the juice of creativity. 

Tree Amulets Decorating the Inside

Tree Amulets Decorating the Inside

Of course the garden always evokes, whether good or ill.

Some pics from the morning garden walk:

Winter Flame Heather

Winter Flame Heather


Winter bark from my favorite tree, Stewartia

Winter bark from my favorite tree, Stewartia

The Mexican Orange always provides bright light on grey winter days.  The beautiful winter form of a willow Roger grew from a stick in my birthday bouquet and few years ago frames it.

The Mexican Orange always provides bright light on grey winter days.  The beautiful winter form of a willow Roger grew from a stick in my birthday bouquet and few years ago frames it.

Snow Drops!

Snow Drops!

Winter rain drops glisten.  Oregon sunshine!

Winter rain drops glisten.  Oregon sunshine!

Fall Settles in and Shows us the Beauty of the Late Stages of Life

The fall transition has come on so quickly.  Such a hot dry summer brought out the beautiful colors and bounty of life fully ripened.  Now the rains begin and outside chores slow down enough for me to experiment with my new inspiration; Tree Amulets, for holding wishes, prayers, intentions remembrances.  They have proven to be very labor intensive, challenging but so satisfying.  I hope to make several different kinds that will carry wishes, hopes, dreams, and intentions inside the capsules and charms.

Fall Sunrise

Fall Sunrise

Pomegranates!  I didn't know we could grow fully ripe pomegranates in Oregon.

Pomegranates!  I didn't know we could grow fully ripe pomegranates in Oregon.

Our little pomegranate tree in the lower right corner.  It was in a pot for many years and I thought it was done but Roger, who rescues everything, talked me into planting it in the garden.  It was very appreciative that he didn't give up on it.  And of course, lush fall colors.  Leaves are most beautiful at the elder stage of their lives...

Our little pomegranate tree in the lower right corner.  It was in a pot for many years and I thought it was done but Roger, who rescues everything, talked me into planting it in the garden.  It was very appreciative that he didn't give up on it.  And of course, lush fall colors.  Leaves are most beautiful at the elder stage of their lives...

Pods

Why is it that there are some shapes that please us so much to hold in our minds eye,  we find ourself returning to time and again.  Pods are one of my favorites.  I always respond with great pleasure to anything in a pod shape.  What is it in my cell's memory that seeks this form?  Is it a biological response to a symbol of potential, of growth, of new beginnings, of endless possibilities?

In my studio, I find myself revisiting this form time and again like a child’s request for a favorite story to be read each night as if it were new with each telling.

Sterling and fire patinated bronze pods

Sterling and fire patinated bronze pods

Resin pods

Resin pods

Pod shapes in bronze and enameled copper

Pod shapes in bronze and enameled copper

Various pods inspired by my Oregon landscape; mixed metals, shells and stones

Various pods inspired by my Oregon landscape; mixed metals, shells and stones

Fluted pod ring in sterling with black pearl

Fluted pod ring in sterling with black pearl

Wings

A friend requested a commission to give as a gift.  It was to involve the theme of angels and aquamarine.  I begin my process by spending a couple of days thinking about angels, what  lies beneath this symbol and how we respond to the idea of angels. All human cultures have some kind of symbol for freedom, for the spirit that leaves the boundaries of earth and joins the heavens or cosmos.  Wings of some kind symbolize the unique, whole and boundless spirit that all beings possess.  So I begin sketches with the beauty of this idea and thoughts of the person to whom the gift is being made.

 

A variety of directions I might go with this theme.

A variety of directions I might go with this theme.

Making these sketches reminded me of a picture that resonated strongly with me, of a pictograph from Wild Horse Canyon, Utah.  It was of a winged creature with a very long tail that depicted a shaman with his feet on the ground and his head in the worlds beyond. Sometimes I feel that way, grounded but with my mind traveling in a different world, operating in a separate reality, especially when I am creating.  So I sidetracked and made a piece inspired by that pictograph and what it represents for me.  It gave me a chance to experiment with the sketches and textures in bronze before I move to the commissioned piece.  When it's finished, I'll put up more pics before adding it to  my shop.

Shaman Spirit Wings

Shaman Spirit Wings