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...