19 December 2009


These beautiful lampwork glass beads came from an artist I met at the Tucson gem shows last February, who was there with her family and spent some time sharing her art with me. The focal bead, which measures 1 inch (22 mm) by .75 inch (17 mm), evokes a stormy ocean and has exquisite color and texture. In the bracelet above I combined it with four fancy rondelles from the same artist, along with some cultured pearls, Swarovski crystals, and sterling silver spacers. The earrings at right use two more beads from that set along with a cascade of Swarovski crystals and sterling silver findings. I love the swirls in these beads... evocative of a winter storm like the Nor'Easter currently charging up the East Coast... We get our share of stormy weather here in New Mexico, and I do sometimes miss some things about my former home back east, but the heavy winter storms... nope, don't miss them at all. I will, however, be forever grateful to the huge Nor'Easter of March 1993 that dumped over a foot and a half of snow and then ice over the Mid-Atlantic Coast, because that's what finally drove me out west, away from it all....

17 December 2009

Soaring Hearts

Birds and hearts... my favorite combination. These beautifully detailed solid brass swallows have been given an antique patina and bear tiny glass hearts on their flight home for the night. The earrings measure just over an inch and a half total; the solid brass earwires are similarly antiqued. I also found these brass swallows in a turquoise-blue patina (at left), with a finish coat atop the patina to seal it. These earrings will be in my Etsy shop by tonight, along with some other sweet little brass birds with various patina finishes. I haven't yet learned the fine art of patina, except for my occasional experiments with Liver of Sulfur to blacken silver; it's another one of those "someday I'll have the time to..." things, I suppose. Now that I'm on a month-long break from school, I'm not only making jewelry at a frenzied pace but am also about to finally dive back into my mosaic work. I have six unfinished projects (more than I've finished, in fact) and about 479 ideas for new ones, maybe 10 of which will see the light of day in the next few months. I do finally have a good workspace for mosaics... as long as I don't invite anyone over for dinner (or they don't mind eating in the living room).... But really, which is more important, creating or eating? ;-)

08 December 2009

On the Second Day of Christmas...

My two turtle doves made it into someone else's imagination! Gee, I feel almost famous.... Many thanks to Karen for featuring my earrings on her blog and for letting me know. Her art is wonderful; check it out and show her some love!

03 December 2009


More birds: owls! I don't usually do "adorable" but these owls are kind of cool, too, and since it's "bird season" around here I thought I'd keep adding to my selection of avian jewelry. These little porcelain owls measure about 3/4 inch (18 mm); the pink ones are accented with brass and Swarovski crystal, the green ones with sterling silver.

I'm now on the hunt for cranes; late autum marks the return of the Sandhill Cranes to the nearby Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge, and I'd like to commemorate that in some jewelry pieces. I've seen some sterling silver origami-style crane beads that would work beautifully... so stay tuned; I'm feeling creative again!

18 November 2009


Last week I mentioned that I've been struggling with earrings lately... well, no more! These beautiful birds I found on Etsy were just the inspiration I needed to replenish my earring stock. I could have just put them on headpins, attached them to earwires, and been done, but we can always do better, can't we? I made two other pairs of the pale blue bird earrings, one with a cascade of pale blue crystals, the other with stars and crystals. The doves at left come in simple (shown here) and with sacred-spiral links, like those shown in the photo of bluebird earrings above. More pictures to come, and all will be available soon in my Etsy shop.

14 November 2009

Smithsonite Necklaces, Part 2: A Kelly Treasure {Sold!}

What to do with that beautiful piece of Smithsonite gifted to me a few months ago by friends Dean and Conne? I wirewrapped it, as reported earlier, and finally decided to put the pendant on a simple necklace of apatite, seed pearls, Swarovski crystals, and Thai silver. That's it -- no multistrand opulence, just a single mixed strand of similar colors and textures, because the Smithsonite itself is the focus, and I seem to be in a minimalist mood lately. I kept trying to add in more, such as a strand of the seed pearls and some larger, fancier Balinese silver beads, but it didn't seem to work. So, although I might try again later, this is it for now, and when my current brain-busting quarter of coursework is over I hope to make a few more of these freeform Smithsonite wirewraps. Kelly Smithsonite is a storied treasure around here, and specimens like this one, with the exquisite quartz crystallization in the center, are pretty rare. I'm fortunate to have a few fascinating pieces to work with and hope I'm doing them some justice in my work.

11 November 2009

More Seasonal

This is more like it... a seasonal offering of one of my wirewrapped pendants of that cool nameless jasper from Mama's Minerals, with russet and green rainbow jasper teardrops, faceted Tsavorite garnet rondelles, pearls, and lots of Balinese silver. My "Fire and Rain" necklace sold recently (no, I didn't end up keeping it; my bluebird necklace has supplanted it), so I used the third of these jasper pendants (at right; can you tell I love making this style?) for a similar necklace that I'll post once I get a picture. I pulled out the wire loops at the bottom for a more freeform look and attached drops of wirewrapped crystal quartz briolettes to them... yum. This piece has a nice little pocket of crystallization on the left side that doesn't show up well here but works well with the crystal quartz accents.
I seem to be in necklace mode lately, which generally means my creativity is in full swing... though I've been struggling lately with earrings. How strange, that something so simple can elude me sometimes. I could just copy my current designs or follow some of my bazillion "recipes" in my beading books and magazines, but that's too... pedestrian. Not to sound like a snob; I just like coming up with my own ideas, which are surely derivative but still feel more authentic.

02 November 2009

Last Flower of Autumn {sold!}

We had our first frost on Sept. 23, almost a month early, but my little patch of wildflowers just outside the "studio" (the dining room, re-purposed) survived and even seemed to intensify in color. Last week, the first snowfall (4 inches) and the two-day hard freeze that followed finally did them in. Here's my tribute of sorts, in multicolored tourmaline -- all natural, by the way; tourmaline comes in a rainbow of colors, some quite rare -- and another of the lovely Hill Tribes sterling silver pendants I brought home from Tucson at the end of last winter. This pendant measures just over 3/4 inch (18 mm), and the necklace is a choker-length 17 inches with a handmade (by me!) sterling hook-and-eye clasp. The cultured pearls really are just separators for the sections of pink and green, the most common tourmaline colors. Green tourmaline (Elbaite) is the most common; pink tourmaline, also called rubellite, is colored by manganese traces in the aluminum borosilicate base.

I made two more necklaces yesterday and have two on the workbench that I'd like to finish today. It's such a thrill to get that creative energy back, and just in time for holiday sales. It's also great timing since I would like to offer two or three "handmade for the holidays" jewelry-making classes at New Moon Gallery in the next six weeks or so. Stay tuned...

31 October 2009

Spring Fever??

Okay, so it's springtime in the southern hemisphere, right? I picked up several of these beautifully detailed Hill Tribes flower pendants in Tucson last February and never had time to do anything with them; suddenly inspiration hits and I have four flower necklaces done, with four more half-done on the workbench (I'm out of crimps and clasps). And... it's the last day of October. Maybe it's not me but my jewelry mojo that's in a time warp; whatever it is, I'll go with it because I love creating beautiful things. More pics to come.

30 October 2009

Love This

Hearts and garnets seem a natural combination, and I especially love these faceted garnets because the faceting shows off their fiery color. This nicely textured Hill Tribes pendant of sterling-plus silver (97% silver) is from Thailand, as are the smaller hammered heart beads further up, and I added in some cultured pearls, Swarovski crystal bicones, and sterling silver. As usual I kind of want to keep this, but I can always make another one... I've made a total of seven new necklaces in the past week and will post pics as time permits. This one is the only autumn/winter one in the bunch; the rest are all airy peridot and apatite and tourmaline with flower pendants... maybe this week's SNOW tripped off an early bout of spring fever. Well, it's springtime down under, in the southern hemisphere....

22 October 2009

Bluebird of Happiness

I moved my jewelry (and mosaic) studio back home, since this is where I spend most of my time these days, and my jewelry mojo finally seems to have found its way back home, too. Today I felt compelled to take a break from my very busy coursework schedule to do something with these exquisite kyanite spears I got a while back, and they seemed a natural fit for this sweet bird gifted to me last year by my dear friend Conne. Along with the kyanite I used Thai silver, Swarovski crystals, and cultured pearls, and I added two crystal quartz briolettes to the bird charm set. Matching earrings will come soon, when I have money to order more earwires.

I have had the kyanite and the bird for quite a while now and realized today that I've been saving them for... what? It occurs to me that I do that with life in general: I'll take that risk, go out, wear the beautiful scarf or those kick-ass boots or that wonderful necklace someday, on a "special occasion." Why do I not ever seem to consider now special enough? Now is what I have -- now is all I have. So today, now, I created something beautiful instead of "saving" it for some later time that may never come. It's a start. In fact, kyanite was a good choice for this new focus: this stone is thought to bring tranquility, enhance communication, and support meditation and clarity of mind and words. Consider me clarified...

05 September 2009


Dad's surgery went very well; he is recovering at home and should be well on his way to a "new normal" in the next two or so weeks... just in time for Mom's surgery on the 15th, after which she enters a clinical trial that will, God willing, do the job.

Notice the birdlike image in the large glass bead above? I've had lots of bird dreams and "signs" lately; in many spiritual traditions, birds carry our prayers to the gods. So this is my new favorite bracelet....

14 August 2009

Stone + Fiber = Cool

I've been dabbling at Kumihimo (a traditional Japanese fiber art) for about six months now and love how it looks with stone. For this cord I used some exquisite hand-dyed silk that I found at the 2007 Albuquerque Fiber Arts Fiesta to make a 12-strand braid that perfectly matches this amazing chrysocolla stone given to me by Dean and Conne of Two Cranes. I have five or six other braids finished but have been kind of stumped about how to finish the ends for jewelry. The piece above shows one way: attach a button (this one is from Sara and David of Creekmore Durham Glass, from whom I also obtained the lovely pendant at right) and make a loop on the other end. I could also try more formal, finished end caps, but they can be expensive and so far I haven't found them entirely reliable. So, more exploration on that issue.

In other crafty news, the grouting of the cross piece in the last post did not go well; the very dark grout just muddied the whole piece. So I have to decide whether to scrape out the grout, or at least the top layer of it, and try a much lighter color. *Sigh.* I guess it's all part of the learning process. Maybe my bout this week with strep throat threw off my color judgment... or just tired me out.

And in other general news, my dear friend Evelyn is now on hospice care at home and will probably leave us soon. I know she's lived a full life and has had some peace in these past few years, but it's still way too soon. I love you, Evelyn, and will come say Goodbye today or tomorrow. Also, my father is in the hospital because he needs bypass surgery, which will happen next Monday or Tuesday; this was quite unexpected (for me, anyway); he has always been healthy. AND... my mom needs another round of chemotherapy; her cancer is back. DAMN. So I may not be updating here for a while.

12 August 2009

Sacre Coeur!

This piece is now ready for grouting, after I glue back on three pieces that popped off during cleaning. (Is Versa-Flex less effective in a dry climate, or am I mixing it wrong, or what? Oh, and I just realized this pic shows two of the three loose pieces misplaced.) I think I'll use dark gray grout with shimmery black acrylic paint for a darker and slightly lustrous tint, and I'll probably re-paint the frame, too, probably a shimmery navy blue. I work the gallery tomorrow and will be able to grout this and a few other pieces, because THE KIDS ARE BACK IN SCHOOL!!! And both kids are now on full-day schedules, which gives me more daylight time for my own schoolwork and a bit more leeway for projects like this one.

08 August 2009

August Flight {sold!}

I've been fancying this chain-with-danglies style lately, and even though summer is still in full swing I find myself trending toward autumn colors already. This necklace could be seen as a continuation of the mosaic dragonfly keyholder I showed a few weeks back; in fact that piece would make a perfect little holder for this necklace. I used sterling chain; a Hill Tribes Thai silver leaf and large dragonfly bead; and faceted citrine, smoky quartz, carnelian, jasper, and Hessonite and Tsavorite garnets, and then oxidized the whole thing for a darker, richer color that, to me, evokes the lengthening shadows of late summer.

In the studio this week: earrings, a few blue fluorite pieces to match the exquisite Smithsonite pendant Dean faceted for me last month, and... mosaics!!! I did prep work today for some serious mortaring tomorrow... only got four small gashes on my hands from the glass, and then I remembered I'd brought my nitrile gardening gloves after all. I also figured out a great technique for pseudo-tumbling glass to remove the worst razor edges: cut the pieces, then throw a bunch in a lidded jar with water and sand, and shake by hand for five to ten minutes. I've prepped the surfaces and glass for five pieces and hope to finish mortaring them tomorrow... grouting can happen when the kids START SCHOOL ON WEDNESDAY!!! Yippee!!!

03 August 2009

Some Like It Hot

Ah, Sonora Sunrise. This Two Cranes pendant is almost all cuprite and has wonderful color texture thanks to the flecks of chrysocolla and even some green malachite. I don't usually hang out in the orange-red range of the color spectrum but had the two small Sassy Silkies on hand and just went from there, adding in dyed pearls in several shades along with carnelian (of course), smoky quartz, brass dragonflies and Celtic knots, and a winding strand of tiny size 15 Delicas. This piece spent four months in Albuquerque at my friend Paula's gallery, but I kept thinking about it and just had to bring it home to my own gallery. August is here, and it's time to heat things up -- I have another red Sonora Sunrise pendant in the works (my very own lapidary work this time!), so I'm pulling out the red and orange again to see what happens....

29 July 2009

Another Lapidary Day

Wednesday is now lapidary day, I hereby declare, at least until I finish some of the pieces I started last year. Here are six of the seven pieces that I finished today. From left to right: two pieces of Gaspeite (I may have to keep the bottom one; it is SO beautiful and even has some crystal quartz running through it); Nacozari (Mexico) turquoise (top) and No. 8 turquoise (bottom); and Kingman turquoise (top; I may also keep this piece!) and Bacamite (bottom). I also finished a small Lepidolite pendant, but girl child ran away with it... I guess that one stays here, too. Next week I hope to finish two chrysoprase pieces, a green aventurine drop, the fossil coral repair/reshape, and the red Sonora Sunrise pendant. They need a few extra steps and will totally be worth it.

One Small Step

We have had some intense electrical storms the past two days -- this afternoon I got to drive the kids up the mountain through a totally cool 360-degree lightning show -- so I wisely kept the computer off and have been occupying my time with various mosaic-related tasks and experiments. Basic tasks (power tools again - RAWR): drill holes through Hardibacker for hangers, and sand edges for a more finished look. But my most pressing task is to figure out how to make my own word tiles. The Sculpey tiles I made a few weeks ago worked okay but were fairly labor-intensive and probably are not durable enough for outdoor or heavy use. I'll save that technique for ceramics or Precious Metal Clay, which will be kiln-fired and thus truly durable.

So here's my current, affordable and time-efficient idea: print (or hand-write, for a really personal look) some words on paper, glue the paper to the back of a clear glass tile or shard with a clear-drying clue, shellac the paper side (once completely dry) to make it waterproof, and use the tile as I would any other glass fragment in my mosaic. Seems way too simple to really work, doesn't it? Well, I'll put these rough trials to the test later this week. The cool part is that I can make any words I want, on any paper I want, any time I want, essentially for free. Come to think of it, this technique might also work for photos, pressed flowers and leaves, fabric scraps, bugs...

My other main experiment tonight: making hand-wrought copper hooks for my key holders. I used 12-gauge copper wire from my dad's workbench (I'll replace it, I promise) and my metal hammer and bench block. This was a definite success; pictures at 11 (tomorrow, if my lapidary day doesn't wear me out). (What a life, huh?)

26 July 2009

Mosaics for Home Decor: Keyholders (in progress)

I now have an amazing selection of stained glass to work with and can finally *make* mosaics! These two pieces will be keyholders (they're finished except for key hooks, which I might make myself out of copper), and I think I'll do the same for the other small pieces I have in progress. All use Creekmore-Durham glass/copper focal pieces and stained glass; I'm trying to figure out whether and how to frame them simply so that they look a bit more finished. I started the heart piece (at right) today and hope to finish the background and grouting this week. For the really small glass pieces I used Superglue instead of Versa-Flex, and it worked well when I "drew" the spiral pattern in glue right on the Hardibacker and then laid on the pieces. How shall I grout this piece? I'm considering using the dark blue I got for the New Moon sign; it will blend in the blue background and really make the heart and spiral pop. Or should I use alabaster for a totally different look? We shall see.

22 July 2009

A Lapidary Day

I spent a good part of the day at the Two Cranes lapidary workshop today, where I expanded my skillset to include use of the lapidary saw and diamond-bit drill. I guess if I can use a table saw (YEAH I rock... but my 68-year-old mom who taught me rocks even more), a lapidary saw isn't much of a stretch, and in fact it was quite simple. Then I moved to the grinding wheels for shaping the pieces I'd cut; the hardness of the gemstones I was working with (pictured above; I'll detail them in a moment) varied quite widely, so some needed a good bit of time on the roughest wheel whereas others just needed a quick zip there to take off edges before moving to the next two wheels.

So, what I worked on today, from left: a repair on an agate pillar whose top had broken off; next row (top to bottom): a stunning red piece of Sonora Sunrise, and a piece of fossil coral that had lost an edge and needed reshaping to a single-hole pendant; next row: lepidolite, Calico Lake onyx (the tiny piece, much more interesting than this lame camera-phone pic shows), and Bacamite (the big piece on the bottom, a chrysocolla-cuprite blend from the local Kelly mine area); and green aventurine (the hardest to grind). (The stone way on the right is a piece of turquoise in matrix that keeps breaking apart as I work it, so I'll let that one go.) The next step on these will be sanding, to remove scratches and prepare for final polish. I have eight or so other stones at the sanding/polishing stage also and hope to finish everything in two weeks (finding a full day for anything is nearly impossible, but this is SO worth it!). I love how meditative lapidary is, and of course Conne and Dean are wonderful company.

Tomorrow: mosaics! A local friend *gave* me a huge load of glass left over from her stained glass work, which she has given up due to chronic illness. Thank you so much, Aleta; you have no idea (well, you probably do!) how much it means for me to be able to jump into this new venture with both feet. So a New Moon Gallery sign will surely begin taking shape this weekend... all these wonderful things in my life. I am SO grateful.

18 July 2009

Smithsonite Necklaces (Part 1)

Here's the Smithsonite I mentioned earlier, done up freeform into another woven-bail pendant (28-gauge on 24-gauge sterling wire). Sorry for the less-than-optimal photo; I took it at home in poor lighting because I just had to share this tonight. Dean (of Two Cranes) generously gifted this to me recently, perhaps because my eyes bugged out when I saw the amazing crystallization in the piece's center. These calcite crystals often grow in, on, or around Smithsonite, sometimes forming rosettes such as that in this piece (not very well shown here). I'll put this 1.5-inch pendant (yes, it's small) on a necklace of apatite, seed pearls, and small Thai silver cornerless cubes, perhaps with some multi-strand sections but otherwise fairly simple.

Dean has been bargaining for Smithsonite from Magdalena's old-timers, who now seem inclined to pull out at least a few samples from their "back-room collections" that most people never see. Smithsonite is a source of pride, secrecy, and family lore around here; generations-old specimens from the nearby Kelly mine comprise an important part of the mineralogical collection and are sometimes called "copper smithsonite" because their turquoise-blue coloration comes from, yes, copper. Other forms are purple, yellow, pink, or green depending on the minerals that "contaminate" the zinc carbonate (ZnCO3) base. The piece at right (another gift from Dean) shows this gemstone's globular formation that typically grows as a sort of crust on base rock. On this piece, which makes me think of a rain cloud, I'll do a different kind of freeform wirewrap, perhaps with small crystal quartz briolettes to evoke, what else, rain.

16 July 2009


I do so enjoy making these earrings: cut wire, file ends, shape, HAMMER, adjust shape. I hammer out in back of the gallery, and as an experiment I left my metal bench block in the sun for a few hours to see how the sterling silver would hammer on a hot versus a cold block. I loved the results; the hammering went more quickly and the surface was a bit smoother, though I'm still going for a somewhat "roughed-up" look. Friend and gallery associate Nicole has a pair like these that inspired me; I went with a thinner-gauge wire (18-gauge instead of 12- or 14-gauge) so these would fit in more ears and be lighter. So that's all for now. Tomorrow, however, I will show a diminutive but fascinating piece of Smithsonite that I'm wirewrapping into a pendant. Not just any wirewrapping...

14 July 2009

 I've made two more of these nameless-jasper (the "African turquoise" I wrote of a while back) pendants with the sterling silver basket-weave bail and like how they turned out. I kept them simple -- no crystal quartz briolettes this time -- and am thinking of putting them on simple necklaces of mixed-size glass beads with some combination of bronzite, smoky quartz, and jade accents. On the second piece (at left) I might unwrap the bottom swirls a bit to loosen up the look; I like how the first one came out. It's all about experimentation, which is a good bit of the fun in making anything. For these woven bails I used 22-gauge and 28-gauge sterling wire, which is a good combination but does require a fair-sized hole through the focal bead. I'm also trying a spine of 24-gauge wire in a new, entirely different sort of piece and it's working well... more on that one in a few days.

12 July 2009

Sold! (Wow!)

Yesterday was a great day at the gallery for all three of us; Conne sold a beautiful turquoise necklace and some other pieces, Nicole sold lots of tie-dyes, and I sold a necklace AND a mosaic along with several pairs of earrings. A local woman bought this mosaic -- I finished this and another one (my second and third pieces, officially) on Thursday evening and, despite feeling shy about them, went ahead and put them up for sale. Many thanks to Sara Creekmore and David Durham for the beautiful glass; I have many more pieces like these and will put them to good use soon. I figured out a pretty cool process for making letter tiles without a kiln: I formed some Sculpey "boards" and gave them a wood texture by rolling a small twig over them, baked them, then carved the words into them with a Dremel. I used acrylic paint, which took a bit of a beating during grouting but was easy to touch up. Eventually I do want to do letter/word tiles in ceramic or precious metal clay, but this will work for now. A kiln is a long way off, logistically speaking; books for school and clothes for the kids do need to come first, for now.

Now that I've sold this piece, of course, I have a space to fill in my gallery. Ah, gee, that's too bad... ;-)

05 July 2009

"She Gathers Rain"

Okay, I'll be brave and show this: my first mosaic ever, made in Laura Robbins' Placitas, NM studio on May 16 of this year. My critique: the composition isn't great (I was rushed to finish it, and am definitely a novice), but it's an interesting start AND (most importantly) was just a blast to make. It was a good day for me overall -- a sort of rebalancing since May 16 now marks my college graduation (Penn 1988, summa cum laude thankyouverymuch), marriage anniversary (1998; it lasted 9.5 years, most of them very rough), and huge divorce case setback (2008; my relocation bid to take a GREAT job back in Philly was denied, leaving me with no income prospects beyond, say, Walmart). This day evened the score, so to speak.

The theme is actually an old one for me; the song "She Gathers Rain" by Collective Soul came out in 1995 just as I was breaking up with my then-boyfriend... now ex-husband... and the themes of cleansing and starting anew apply so much more now than they did then. (If I'd known then what I know now...) Rain imagery comes out often in my jewelry and takes up a good third of my mosaic sketchbook, so I consciously chose this theme for my first mosaic. I haven't finished any mosaics since then (materials shortage; bills come first, dangit), but I have several in progress. In fact, I am about to start shaping gemstone scraps for a "personal mandala" mosaic that also includes some beautiful glass pieces generously given to me by Sara Creekmore and David Durham, who live just up the mountain. This image shows the glass pieces (mortared into place on the Hardibacker), a sketch of what's to come (rain, water, reeds; kind of a circle of water thing), and the "fringe" of copper and glass beads. That last part... well, what did you expect?

04 July 2009

My next (ad)venture

... will be something along these lines:

I've had the idea to create gemstone mosaics for a while; the lightbulb went on above my head one day early this year while rooting through some of Dean and Conne's gemstone scraps for lapidary possibilities. I am getting pretty good at working stone, and I love mosaics... now I just need to find the time to put these two obsessions together. The ideas have been no problem; I've already filled up half of a notebook with sketches and notes. I also now have the Hardibacker, Versabond, and grout waiting down at my studio. I've started picking out turquoise and other scraps from a 5-gallon bucket Dean brought me one day, and am even marking some (Sharpies work well for this) for shaping at the lapidary wheels as I "sketch" out a pattern on an 8-by-8 inch piece of Hardibacker.

This, I know, will be very, very cool. I can't wait to get started, and to start posting pictures of the process.

28 June 2009

Fire and Rain {sold!}

My latest jewelry creation is often my new favorite, and I may need to spirit this necklace away into my permanent collection. The focal piece is a 20-cm jasper stone that reminds me of a waterfall or rain against a fiery sunset, hence the piece's name. I made a modified basketweave bail using a "spine" of 22-gauge sterling wire wrapped with 28-gauge sterling wire, and on the three ends of the "spine" I then added five wirewrapped crystal quartz briolettes. The necklace is a simple composition of dyed pearls, Thai silver cornerless cubes, and more of the briolettes.

I'd never seen this stone before; after some Googling I learned it is sometimes called "African turquoise", although it is unrelated to turquoise in any way except appearance and is usually found in Australia or North America, not Africa. It's not a common find, unfortunately; two weeks after purchasing a strand of these at Mama's Minerals I returned to find the whole hank gone, with no more on the way. I have maybe a dozen more of these beads (at left is a bracelet I made with [real] Mexican turquoise rounds to enhance the blues) and will probably make several more of these pendants. This one, though, seems most special; although I currently have it for sale in my new gallery, I might need to wear it home one day.

22 June 2009

Summer eye candy {sold!}

More treasures from February's Tucson trip have made their way into the showcase: cane glass! Lots of it, in summer brights, hand-wired onto sterling silver with Swarovski crystal and finished with a sterling sun clasp. I had never quite known what to do with cane glass until I added them, sparingly, into the bracelets posted earlier; this time I didn't stop at a few but just kept going, and going... I haven't counted but figure I have a few dozen on this bracelet. This piece is not exactly sophisticated. Like summer, it is bold (almost overbearing, yes) and unabashedly colorful, and looking at it makes me smile.

29 April 2009


Just a simple bracelet in turquoise and sterling silver; it's all I have time for these days. I've had these beads for a few years and like how they came together here; maybe it's all about re-learning how to fly, be free, reach for the stars... Or maybe sometimes a bracelet is just a bracelet.

19 April 2009

Spake the Raven: When in doubt, go rockhounding

Spring fever has driven me to distraction (not a good thing as I try to get a good start on three new courses) and so, possessed of a stunning spring day and a restless dog, I decided to hoof it a few miles up the mountain to the old mining town of Kelly. This mineral-rich area is one of Magdalena's (few) tourist attractions, and both the remains of the town and the man-made hills and valleys of weird rocks dredged from deep in the mountain are actually quite interesting in the rugged, silent, do-with-it-as-you-will way that so characterizes this area. Arguably the world's finest Smithsonite came from here, and although I'm sure the area has long been picked clean by hikers you never know what a hard rain might uncover. And so we keep coming back up the mountain.

 I found some very pretty rocks, large and small; I use most of them to add some interest to my gardens, which are also rugged and spare not by design but by necessity. A few are tinged with what appears to be chrysocolla (which has more intense coloration than turquoise and is relatively common in this area); many more are a mix of quartz and other minerals, like this strangely compelling specimen. Next trip up, I need to put a backpack on Lucy the dog so I can bring more pretty rocks home. (Don't worry about her; at 94 pounds she can handle it, I'm sure.)

04 April 2009

O Spring... {sold!}

I had so much fun in Tucson... and found some wonderful components, of course. This bracelet uses a few lampwork glass garden beads I picked up at the Best Beads show along with a sterling clasp and unusual Thai silver bead caps from Ands Silver, my neighbor at the Renaissance Bead Show. Tucson in early February is a blessed respite from Magdalena's not-so-southwestern winter weather, and I was so pleased to make the pilgrimage with two great friends. I'll be back next year, paid or not, if only to feel a warm breeze and find more beautiful stuff and talk to more great people, especially the glass artists.

29 March 2009

Welcome back, jewelry mojo

Spring fever is hitting hard this year... and just how does this differ from any other year? Well, this spring I have a lot less time to "play," so when my most recent quarter of coursework ended (I'm charging full-time through a graduate counseling program) I was happy to cut loose from my 50-hour workweeks and spend more time again at my jewelry workbench. My current obsession: bracelets.

These pieces mix things up a bit: amethyst (a perennial favorite), pearls, cane glass, fluorite, and sterling. This and the one below add in some Sassy Silkies from jewelry/fiber artist Kristal Wick. My friend Conne gave me a few of these, and like so many things that intrigue but also baffle me I simply set them in view, but out of the way of works in progress (usually a chaotic scene), to ponder. Essentially, I look at them every now and then, which seems to allow them to work their way into my imagination over time. Then one day I find myself pulling them down and making two or three or even five pieces in a similar style. Indeed, in addition to these three bracelets I made three in labradorite with some grey silkies that I'd gotten along with the purple ones.

This batch of bracelets will debut in Albuquerque, at my friend Paula's wonderful gallery that is currently at Central and University but will soon be moving downtown. Thank you, Paula, for asking to show some of my jewelry in your amazing gallery. I wish you much success and continue to be inspired by your artistic and personal journey.