Friday, November 27, 2015

Elements & Artifacts Yuletide/Winter Collection is here!

The Elements & Artifacts Yuletide/Winter collection is live!


I am pleased to be ending the year's jewelry creations on this note in spite of the wrist injury that consumed most of my year. As always, I enjoy the introspection and quiet of winter when held in contrast to the decadence and festivity of the season. I love the cool, icy, dark hues but I also love the rich, vibrant, bright jewel tones that remind me of December. With the recent 10-year Etsy anniversary, I sought to revisit some old favorites while working with the interplay between light and dark, warmth and coldness, simplicity and decadence.


Thank you all for another wonderful, if strange, year! I truly appreciate your support and love! Have a wonderfully magical holiday season!

During the holiday season, use the coupon code EAFREESHIP when you check out for free shipping on any order!


Sunday, November 22, 2015

10 Years

Ten years of anything is worth noting, and I'm both humbled and a little in awe to find that today marks exactly 10 years of jewelry sales as part of my creative freelance business.

The jewelry business came about almost by accident, starting as a hobby that drew interest from an ever-widening circle of friends and family until I realized I had passed from hobby territory into "paying taxes are required" territory. I took it and ran with it and, in the process of developing my Etsy store, I learned just how well my fine art and design background complemented the jewelry design, and how marketing my jewelry and doing concept research for jewelry pieces in turn strengthened my approach to my art and design projects. I learned macro photography for better jewelry photos and then used that for better print/product graphic designs. I pulled from past training in color theory and printmaking to drum up new ways of making jewelry.

It's been a wonderful, chaotic, and magical journey. My tools, metal, and beads have traveled with me as I've lived in three cities and four homes across two states. Despite how scary it is, I've learned to barter at gem faires, sell at craft tables, and host jewelry trunk shows on road trips. I've had the opportunity to have jewelry on The Vampire Diaries and have even done locket designs for Neil Gaiman's short stories via Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab.

Despite all the work that has gone into this business, I still feel like a bit of an imposter at times because art is hard to define and often overlooked as a valid career. I also love what I do so much that even the hardest, longest work days are still rewarding and fun in some way which means it doesn't always feel like work.


The breadth of Elements & Artifacts sunk in when I did a touch of math, though. If I divide ten years by the number of items I've sold on Etsy, it means I've sold 1.25 items every single day for a decade, not counting in-person sales, gifts, or local craft shows. I've sold to customers across the US as well as in Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, Belgium, Norway, New Zealand, Singapore, Germany, Israel, The Netherlands, France, Italy, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Denmark, South Korea, Brazil, Sweden, Greece, Finland, Ireland, Malaysia, and Taiwan.

In the spirit of both nostalgia and gratitude, I will share a few of my behind-the-scenes photos from over the years, starting with my overloaded jewelry design book full of sketches, concepts, and random doodles. Here's to ten years, and hopefully many more regardless of future paths I take.










Friday, October 23, 2015

On Printmaking

Even though my wrist-induced jewelry lull this year has finally given way to the return of new jewelry creations this month—at a slower pace for now, but with forward progress nevertheless—I found myself on a small diversion: printmaking!

It has been between 13-15 years since I've regularly done printmaking even though I've carried some of its techniques into my jewelry. I practically lived in that studio at PNCA, spending long hours in dirty aprons smeared with ink and rice paste and lint from the rag paper I loved to use on my block prints.

Below is my little oak tree, the concept of which I chose at random after a few fits of indecision when I was given no direction but only asked to provide an example for an elementary (mixed age level) printmaking class.

What I loved: Dusting off my U-gouge and V-gouge carving tools, getting fresh battleship linoleum blocks that were smooth and soft as butter, tearing up sheets of Arches archival papers again, and rolling out different inks to give each print its own look and feel.

What I didn't love: Working without a bench hook, which meant that I stabbed myself twice with a 2mm U-gouge when I slipped. Super glue to the rescue!

The photos below show a partial progression from carving to inking to the first round of prints. There will be a second leaf plate added to develop the top of the tree. In the same day, I also transitioned to soldering and metalwork for new pendants that should be ready and in the shop just in time for Christmas shopping. That made two sessions since I set a roll of paper towels on fire with my torch flame, so I count it as a good day on several levels!








Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Elements & Artifacts' Anniversary Celebration!

I’m excited to announce my new collection of work, not just because September has always been a pinnacle month for Elements & Artifacts in terms of the autumn/Halloween mindset, the size of my creative output, and the anniversary celebration swag…but because of what it took to get this collection in particular ready.


You see, in March I sprained my wrist in a random maple syrup bottle incident and, although I carried about the next few days as normal, it slowly dawned on me that something wasn’t quite right with my left (dominant) wrist. There was evidence of a ligament/wrist sprain, bruising on the median nerve, and a volar cyst. Instead of self-resolving with a little rest and TLC, it degraded into worsening nerve pain, swelling, and symptoms consistent with some random combination of Guyon’s canal, ulnar neuritis, and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I am finally seeing small improvements in my condition…six months, three specialists and two physical therapists later.

What started as a typically upbeat mindset faltered as the weeks turned into months with no improvement, which meant that returning to my usual pace of creative output was getting further pushed out to an undetermined point in the future. I tried shifting into art/illustration projects, but it was just as difficult for me to do as the metalwork.

During those first few painful months, I ruminated on my schooling and the momentum-driven 13-year development of my creative freelance business. What did this long break mean? Would I regain my momentum? Would I have to rebuild my clientele? Should I go back to school on an earlier timeline than anticipated? Re-learn a language I once knew well? I navel-gazed. I walked endless paths around my neighborhood. I pushed through dance classes despite the nerve pain. I laughed and cried. I had an identity crisis, which makes sense when my work is defined not by the medium but by my creative introspection and output: 35+ years of creating, halted by my wrist even for lazily meandering through a project to fill my time as a casual hobby. Who am I without art? How do I slough off the stresses of daily life without creative output, when that is my typical grounding point? Frustration and boredom set in. I languished.

And then? I picked my ass up and dusted myself off and realized that, no matter what life throws at me, I always eventually bounce. Resilience is my superpower! So here I am against several odds with a September collection ready to celebrate nearly 10 YEARS ON ETSY, with 7 of those years officially doing business as Elements & Artifacts. The existence of this collection is a triumph despite the fact that my wrist is not completely better, and despite the fact that I don’t know how much longer it will take. It is a product of works that were in varying stages of completion at the time of my injury plus a slow, careful, painstaking perseverance to finish those items while leaning heavily on the use of my non-dominant, uninjured hand.
The last of the human freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances. —Viktor Frankl

I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of you for your patience and for your new and continued presence. Thank you for your excitement, referrals, feedback, comments, and support over the years. Every single thing means so much to me and enables me to shape and grow this offbeat combination of intensely creative art, jewelry, and design work. 

Here is a list of things that kept me sane this summer:
  • My husband and daughter and all the joy, love, and chaos they bring.
  • A few lovely friends, who served as a sounding board and/or a fun social distraction at certain points over the past few months. 
  • Copious amounts of bad and not-so-bad TV.
  • Contemporary dance classes.
  • Walking, especially at dusk.
  • Sitting on the porch on languid summer nights. 
  • Brushing up on a language I once knew well.
  • The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer.
  • Dozens of TED Talks.
  • Everything BrenĂ© Brown has ever written.


Now for the goods! What are we celebrating? Elements & Artifacts officially turns 7 this month and the existence of concept jewelry (alongside my design and art work) will officially hit 10 YEARS next month!

To celebrate, I will be sending out swag, swag, and more swag! While supplies last, all September orders will arrive with a random selection of a custom line of luxury glycerin tablet soaps from PaintboxSoapworks. She has created a gorgeously synaesthetic cluster of scented gemstone soaps in garnet, ruby, emerald, sapphire, amber, amethyst, and moonstone.



While supplies last, you will also receive a random selection of gourmet caramels from Botanical Sweets & Treats of the Pacific Northwest. Featured flavors are caramel apple, vanilla bean, and sea salt.

 


I will also be sending out a random assortment of swag E&A stickers, pins, Elements & Artifacts pens, and mini reusable Sunshine Polishing Cloths to shine and polish your jewelry!

Domestic orders over $100 placed in September will receive a free upgrade to a Priority Mail flat rate box.



Everything will go live at elementandartifacts.com on Wednesday, September 9 at 1:00pm Pacific.



Thank you again for all your love and support! Happy September; it’s almost autumn!  

Monday, March 16, 2015

E&A Spring Botanical Garden!

I'm excited to preview the next collection at E&A! This one focuses on simple yet elegant metalwork designs, cast sterling blossoms and leaves, and wire work. I've revisited a few old spring favorites and have added in the four Guardians of the Sky and a smattering of botanicals. 


The new collection will go live at elementsandartifacts.com on Wednesday, March 18th at 10am Pacific!










Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Muses, Love Spirits, and More!

The first new creations of 2015 are now available at Elements & Artifacts! Enjoy! :)





Stay tuned for spring news! For some reason, I've had spring-like design ideas coming to me in small bursts for several months and I've sketched all of them in my design book! I can't wait to get started on them. :)


Monday, January 26, 2015

New Year, New Creations!

Happy January! I'm excited to release the first set of E&A creations for 2015! I ended up taking a longer holiday break than usual due to a dance injury, so while this update isn't quite as huge as usual, it has a lot of new designs made with a fresh perspective!

The new work will be posted at Elements & Artifacts on Wednesday, January 28th at 2:00pm PT! Muses, myths, and love spirits, among others, are in the mix. Here's a preview of what's coming: