Monday, February 28, 2011

Sneak Peek! Bezels and Beekeepers

I'm >thisclose< to being completely ready to release my next jewelry collection! As a diversion from the focused work of preparing an update, I am going share some sneak peeks.

Last October and November I began to focus on creating soldered bezel settings for pendants. I posted a preview then of an early practice piece called Light and Dark. Since then I've gradually infused my work with more and more bezels; this update holds some that I'm very excited about! Here are sneak peeks at just a few.

The first is a continuation of my Beekeeper series, a beloved concept that I have reinterpreted enough times over the years that I've lost count of how many I've done. Each time one design sells from my shop, I create a new one.

This setting was a true labor of love, built entirely from scratch and many hours of work. The backplate is a fine silver asymmetrical honeycomb with a light window in the back to allow the light to pass through the stone. I soldered a textured ring onto the back to serve as a bail. At one point I even found myself using a diamond file to re-shape the cabochon because I wanted the corners to be more rounded. I also had to custom shape the bezel wire because the height of the cabochon was not uniform; having a bezel that is too high in some places would mean that it would buckle and pucker rather than lay flat against the stone.

This project was intensive, injurious, and a lot of work. However, the entire time I was working on it I was inspired, excited, and almost reverent. I've poured a lot of myself into my work over the years, but if nothing else, this one is a work of art.

The stone is simbircite, a rare find that I stumbled upon while searching for honey-like cabochons. It is mixed with a natural vein of onyx that is lined by pyrite. The entire piece is truly one of a kind.

This bezel setting was modeled after the backplate stencil that I created for Light and Dark last November, with blue fire rainbow moonstone and scalloped bezel wire.

This last one is the first non-round/oval cabochon I have set, which presented a challenge with bezel-pushing the wire at the top point as well as having a varying height on the cabochon. My favorite part? Playing with sterling gallery wire for the bezel. :)

I will post another sneak peek with some of my upcoming wire wrapped creations, many of which were a fun exploration into past designs of mine. While there are many new designs, a good portion of them are reinterpretations of past designs and/or involved taking two of my designs and smooshing them together to create a third, new design. The results have been very exciting to me!

Keep an eye on my FB Fan Page this week, for a special offer code will be listed there shortly before the update goes live! Are you ready for an early spring? I am! :D

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lemon Scented Sticky Bat

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab has just released Neil Gaiman's Lemon Scented Sticky Bat perfume oil blend to benefit the CBLDF!

I created the label art with sepia ink, bristol, and Adobe Illustrator:

From Neil Gaiman's blog:
"...last week Maddy woke me up early in the morning.

"Daddy," she said, "There's a bat on the kitchen window."

"Grumphle," I said and went back to sleep.

Soon, she woke me up again. "I did a drawing of the bat on the kitchen window," she said, and showed me her drawing. For a five year old she's a very good artist. It was a schematic of the kitchen windows, showing a bat on one of the windows.

"Very nice dear," I said. Then I went back to sleep.

When I went downstairs...

We have, instead of dangling fly papers, transparent strips of gluey clear plastic, about six inches long and an inch high, stuck to the windows on the ground floor. When they accumulate enough flies, you peel them off the window and throw them away.

There was a bat stuck to one. He was facing out into the room. "I think he's dead," said my assistant Lorraine.

I peeled the plastic off the window. The bat hissed at me.

"Nope," I said. "He's fine. Just stuck."

The question then became, how does one get a bat (skin and fur) off a fly-strip. Luckily, I bethought me of the Bram Stoker award. After the door had fallen off (see earler in this topic) I had bought some citrus solvent to take the old glue to reglue the door on.

So I dripped citrus solvent onto the grumpy bat, edging him off the plastic with a twig, until a lemon-scented sticky bat crawled onto a newspaper. Which I put on the top of a high woodpile, and watched the bat crawl into the logs. With any luck he was as right as rain the following night..."

The blend sounds delightful with the following scent description: Sticky-sweet iced lemon sugar!

Click here to purchase.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

On Inspiration

I read such an amazing array of daily blogs, articles, and Etsy Team discussions that it is little wonder when I stumble upon something noteworthy. The things I read cover every nook and cranny aspect of being an artist and creator who is selling their work. They run the gamut from inspiring to informational.

Today a friend shared her thoughts on two related blog posts about personal style and finding your own voice, which is something that every artist seeks. I found them very inspiring and relevant. I have included some quotes below along with links to the full blog posts.

15 Painted Cups - Finding Your Own Voice, And How Not To Be A Douche says:

"...but I think everyone still falls prey to being entranced by the work of other artists sometimes. Now, I'm not saying I'm going to stop obsessively trolling my Google reader list and Twitter for delicious new ceramic art to drool over. I'm not going to stop experimenting with techniques I'm inspired to try either. But I feel secure in knowing that my work is influenced by my own experiences, passions, and memories, and no one elses, and that is what makes it mine. When I'm in the studio, I draw from so many things in my life besides ceramic art to inform what I make, and no one is going to have the exact same interests that I do. I may still be working on a style that's completely my own, but I know I'll get there if I just keep making."

"I look at a lot of other ceramic artists work, and I definitely get inspired by it. I like to think I get inspired without feeling the need to outright steal anyone's style or designs, though I may dabble in a technique just to try it out and add something new to my repertoire. Even then, I still feel a little nervous trying something someone else is doing, because I want to be sure I can make it my own."

Additionally, Kristen Kieffer writes about Signature Style and says:

"I honestly think if an artist sets out with style as the goal rather than as a byproduct of making what he enjoys based on what inspires him, he will fail. (Though I’m sure there are artists who receive recognition this way, I don’t think they are happy, respected artists.)

Style is the amazing culmination of everything an artist has experienced, loves and is, manifested in an object."

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I Dreamt of an Ocean Voyage

Isn't everything gorgeous? This Treasury is called I Dreamt of an Ocean Voyage and is by the CCCOE Team.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


This time of year was once celebrated by the ancient Romans as the festival of Februalia, named after the god Februus as a time of purification and renewal for the coming year. Its celebration was often wrapped into the celebration of Imbolc, Candlemas, and even Lupercalia.

This necklace is actually a revisit of Sugar Plum Fairy from last November because I finally got my hands on more mystic topaz!

The days I spent with you were the only days I ever truly existed. A love letter has been imprinted into fine silver:


It is officially February 1st, which means the Secret Admirer contest has come to an end. I used to select the winning entry and an email has been sent off with the news. We wouldn't want the recipient to be able to track down her secret admirer by announcing it here, now would we?

Thank you so much to all who participated! Until next time... :)