Category Archives: Uncategorized

Local Artists and a Sale on Vintage Mexican Jewelry

Beetle Rings by Monica-Hui-Hekman
Beetle Rings by Monica-Hui-Hekman

Here is an article about an upcoming show of jewelry artists in Barrio Logan area at Glashaus art space, 1815-B Main St.”… six designers’ work will be on full display at the West Window Jewelry Exhibition on Saturday, Nov. 12, from 6 to 10 p.m.”  I found Alex Garcia’s work on his Facebook page to be particularly interesting and thought provoking.

One King’s Lane, a shopping site, is featuring Mexican Modern Jewelry, a mix of vintage Taxco and Art Deco one-of-a-kind pieces.  I saw this bracelet and was instantly smitten.  In my metal smithing class, we are working on hollow forms.  This bracelet is a series of hollow forms that have been riveted together, but how?

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mex

I’m not sure if this bracelet is a hollow form, but I would love to own that baby.

 

The Wow of a Statement Necklace

Statement Necklace by Tory Burch
Statement Necklace by Tory Burch

There are so many things I love about this necklace.  The first thing is the lovely patina on the paddle-like pieces on the neck piece and the dangle with the stone and of course, the stone, I love the stone.  What about the use of the mixed metals…wonderful.  Movement…the unusual way the the dangle is attached to the neck piece is so simple, but interesting to the eye and is a hinge-like mechanism (which is something I just learned to do) and the ring on the dangle also lets it move more. And what about those brass ball-balls? (a shout out to Wendy and Beyonce)

Below are photos of three fabulous necklaces that Joanna Gollberg brought to Metals Week.  Wow, what a difference a professional photographer makes when taking pictures of jewelry!  I took these pictures in class because it was OK with Joanna and because they just inspired me. They are way more gorgeous in person.

A Joanna Gollberg necklace
A Joanna Gollberg necklace …simple and bold.
Another Joanna Gollberg necklace
Another Joanna Gollberg necklace.  This one is amazing.  If I just had one of these globes on a necklace…

 

And one more JG necklace
And one more JG necklace.

Now I need to go to my studio and come up with my own statement necklace, but what will my statement necklace say, maybe it will just say…”meh”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspiration From the Weekly Hike

Ha, well, maybe not so weekly this summer.  My hiking partner and I have both been traveling and I have been ill on occasion, always because of my lungs, now I have pneumonia and probably I won’t hike again this Wednesday, but I really miss the hike and the renewal I feel each time I do it.  Even though this is a hot time of the year, the mornings have been cool and cloudy and would have made great hiking weather.

Someone took the time to build a lovely little cairn. They also took the time to fill the little trail with lots of rocks and sticks and logs...so bike riders can't take the trail anymore? Not sure.
Someone took the time to build a lovely little cairn. They also took the time to fill the little trail with lots of rocks and sticks and logs…so bike riders can’t take the trail anymore? Not sure.
The spiritual tree.
The spiritual part of the hike.
A hillside of wild lilac in bloom.
A hillside of wild lilac in bloom.
More lilac on the trail.
More lilac on the trail.
One of my favorite trees that we pass.
One of my favorite trees that we pass.

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I love the little tableau of rocks and leaves that this moth has landed among. Had he landed a few inches over, he would have been completely camouflaged.
I love the little tableau of rocks and leaves that this moth has landed among. Had he landed a few inches over, he would have been completely camouflaged.
I even find inspiration in the vegetation that is sending it's puffy seeds into the air, helped by the breeze.
I even find inspiration in the vegetation that is sending it’s puffy seeds into the air, helped by the breeze.
Early morning walk with the sun shining through the trees
Early morning walk with the sun shining through the trees

Metals Week in Idyllwild 2016

Art is everywhere on campus and it makes the experience of learning there even better.
Art is everywhere on campus and it makes the experience of learning there even better.

This year, I took a class from Joanna Gollberg called Soldering Big and Little and in the class we used only the small Smith Torch, which was acetylene/oxygen, a torch that burns hot and allows you to focus on one area of a piece rather than heating the whole piece like is done with an atmospheric torch.  Joanna was extremely generous with her information and very patient with all of her students and the result was some fabulous work that was done by her students.

In class, I got to sit by my friend Wendy, who moved to San Francisco and I don’t get to see her very much anymore and I miss her very much.  It was great the way she called me a “skank ho”, just like the old days in class when she still lived in San Diego.  Oh, how I miss her. ( I don’t have a “grandma” name really, even though I don’t mind being just “Grandma”, but my daughter suggested “Grandma Skank Ho”, what do you think?)

I really missed my friend, Tracy,  because she didn’t go to Metals Week this year, she went to a wedding instead. I always stayed with her in years past, but this year  I stayed by myself and some nights, I didn’t sleep that well because of that.  If Tracy had been there I wouldn’t have been scared because I know that had someone broken in, she would have pelted them with all of the shoes that she would have brought with her and the intruder would have been incapacitated under the pile.

Somehow I failed to get pictures of everyone’s work before it got sent over to the exhibition of work display.

My work
My work
Wendy's work
Wendy’s work…not a great picture, but the little box just below Wendy’s name is exquisite.
Donna always does interesting work and each one is different from the other.
Donna always does interesting work and each one is different from the other.
I love the huge stone she captured in prongs and set on a ring.
I love the huge quartz she captured in prongs and set on a ring.
Everyone is concentrating on getting their work done.
Everyone is concentrating on getting their work done.

 

More art from the campus:

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Who doesn’t love a cairn?

 

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The last day when we display all of our work that we made during the week:

Find Wendy
Find Wendy

The other teachers that were teaching at Metals Week were Tom McCarthy: Blacksmithing Techniques for the Jeweler; Elise Preiss: Melt It…Cast It…Wear It; THE Victoria Lansford: High Relief Eastern Repousse and Chasing; and Sara Doremus (at the very least, check out her Kinetic Jewelry): The Stories We Tell, The Jewelry We Make.

I have been working with my little Smith Torch since I got home from Idyllwild and I love it.  Deb Jemmott helped me get it up and running and figured out some issues that I was having because my little torch is propane/oxygen instead of acetylene/oxygen.  My torch burns a little cooler, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t melted some things, it’s plenty hot for me.  I also like that there is no black soot from the propane like there is with the acetylene, trade-offs.

 

 

A Little Calderesque

Earrings by Annie Costello Brown
Earrings by Annie Costello Brown

I love the idea of how these earrings go together with the little jump rings. You can read more about her here at Honestly WTF.  There are photos of her studio in the story about her at In The Make and I always love see other artist’s studios.  It gives you an insight into how they work and the fertile ground in which they create.

Earrings by Annie Costello Brown
More earrings by Annie Costello Brown

The subtle texture of the earrings above brings me in and just three simple shapes create these earrings.  It is the brass and the hammer texture that remind me of Calder’s jewelry.

 

2015 Is Over, But It Brought Some Blessings And Joy

Photo by Leigh Campbell of my daughter's wedding in our yard
Photo by Leigh Campbell
Photo of my daughter and son-in-law’s wedding in our yard-2015

My husband and I worked hard to bring our three acres of wild into a place that would be a tamed setting for a wedding and we did it.  The planning of the wedding was fun, stressful and enlightening and worth it because we got to meet and enjoy family from both sides and from two cultures. And even though the wedding was for family and friends of the bride and groom it still grew to 100 people, but somehow it remained a very sweet and intimate ceremony and celebration.

To close out the year we got a much anticipated little one, baby Stella.

Baby Stella
Baby Stella

I was putting off writing this post because I knew it would come off sounding like a Christmas letter and it did, but oh well…

Couture According to Iris Van Herpen

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Here is an article from the Washington Post about the designer and artist, Iris Van Herpen. Of course, her clothing isn’t meant for the every day woman, as most haute couture isn’t, and her clothing isn’t practical either.  Her work is more about decorating the female body while using unusual materials and…”to realize concepts that don’t look like clothes at all. Or, at least, not the way in which “clothes” are defined.”  One of the tools that uses while designing clothing is a 3-D printer as can be seen in the skeleton-like “dress” above.  The reason she uses a 3-D printer is because…

“With 3-D printing, she could build prototypes of designs in a single season, when doing it by hand could easily have taken three or more years to complete. “Sometimes, a 3-D-printed dress has a structure we were never able to do by hand. But because of the process of [computer] file-making, we understand the structure, and we are able to do it by hand afterward.”  That is why I find her work so interesting, because sometimes you have a design in your head, but it is hard to translate on paper.  Her work inspires me to keep designing jewelry in new and different ways, while using materials that I might not have thought of before.

 

I filled up my cup with more inspiration when I hiked with my friend, Karen, this morning on Daley Ranch.  The morning was crisp and cool when we started out, but we soon heated up as we did our climb.  It is alway so peaceful up there and I always feel so much better when I finish.

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Using patterns that shadows created on the path. A photography assignment.
Using patterns that shadows created on the path. A photography assignment.

 

 

Recognizing Art…It’s Called Unart (unintentional art)

 

Photo by Babycakes Romero
Unart2 – Photo by Babycakes Romero

This is inspirational to me because this is not only a photograph, but it is also a recognition that the photographer could make his own art by using his eye and his camera to frame an interesting composition.  Here are the artist’s own words

I took these photographs during renovations at Notting Hill Gate tube station. Years and years worth of posters that had been endlessly glued over one another had been ripped off to make way for a gleaming new surface.

I will go back and read his website some more because it looks like he is not only a photographer, but also blogs and makes films.

Are you shopping for bug jewelry?  Here are some bug fashion jewelry finds.  I am loving this beetle broach:

Beetle brooch, $24 at theevolutionstore.com
Beetle brooch, $24 at theevolutionstore.com

This year I am not going to be able to go to MetalsWeek in Idyllwild  because it runs from June 14-June 18.  I am both sad and excited, sad because I am not going, but also excited because my beautiful daughter is getting married in my yard on June 20, so there was just no way I could go. My Little Torch and my rectifier are going to Idyllwild with Deb though.  My friend Tracy is taking April Woods’ class Electroforming for Jewelry and of course, Tracy wants to do her stuff in silver (because she always starts in silver), but it can only be done with copper (I think) and if you want it in silver, it must be electroplated. I think if I were going this year, I probably would have taken Joanna Gollberg’s class, Let’s Solder It!.  OMG…I love her stuff:

Brooch by Joanna Gollberg
Brooch by Joanna Gollberg

I think my friend, Wendy, will be taking Joanna’s class.  My friends Donna and Patty are taking Tom McCarthy‘s class: Pearl Opportunities, which will be worth it I am told just because he is such a fabulous instructor.

OK, let’s see, Metals Week is five days long so Tracy will be taking anywhere from 10-15 pairs of shoes because, well, you just never know when you will need a certain shoe for Idyllwild and then she will bring a few days worth of clothes too.  I will miss rooming with Tracy this year and coming home to a different appetizer and some fun alcoholic drink everyday and somehow there is always a song that emerges from our time there becomes the anthem of our week.   Here is Tracy shutting her suitcase this year when we went to the Gem and Mineral Show in Tucson this year.

Tracy trying to shut her suitcase.
Tracy trying to shut her suitcase.

I made a decision almost thirty years ago to get pregnant and now I have to live with those consequences and sacrifice a week in Idyllwild to have my daughter’s wedding at our house.  I am actually really excited about the wedding and my husband and son and I have worked our butts off to get ready for it.  I hope to post at least one reveal before the wedding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspiration…the turn of a screw (or bolt)

I love how subtle bends and curves convey so much emotion and feeling.

Go look at some more images of bolt poetry.  I found looking at the images of this artist and blacksmith, Tobbe Malm, to be extremely inspiring because I have worked previously with steel (which is way different than silver or copper, and so much harder for me) and because his works are sculptures made from everyday found objects.  I would so love to bring emotional and sculptural qualities to my own work, I want my work to be more 3-dimensional.

First wildflowers of the season on Daley Ranch.
First wildflowers of the season on Daley Ranch.

I am so happy to be hiking again on Daley Ranch.  I haven’t been hiking for about 6 weeks now, but tomorrow I will be hiking first thing in the morning with a bunch of girlfriends.   My regular hiking partner, Karen, has been away on a trip with her husband to Nepal in order to mark off an item on their bucket list which was to hike up to base camp (and spend the night) on Mt. Everest.  Yep, that’s right, I chose a hiking partner with higher aspirations than Burnt Mountain on Daley Ranch.  Last year she and her husband took off in May to hike Machu Pichu.  I can’t wait to hear all about her adventures next week on our regular appointed hiking date.

And finally (I’ve been waiting), Alabama Shakes has new music dropping on April 21, 2015.  I fell for them two years ago with their first CD called Boys & Girls.  I listened to Boys & Girls while out in my studio making jewelry and it took me a few times through to really, really love their sound, but eventually, I came to love or like every song on the CD.  My husband and I saw them in a funky little club in Dallas two years ago and Brittany was an electric dynamo.

Alabama Shakes headliner

 

Their new CD is called Sound & Color and it is supposed to be more experimental and psychedelic than their previous release.  I hope that it will be one of those CDs, like the last one, that will continue to grow on me the more I listen to it.  Here’s a couple of tracks that Rolling Stone posted when Alabama Shakes appeared on SNL in March.

 

 

I got stuck…I got lost…

I haven’t posted anything since June.  I know, it’s been a long time, but like I said, I got stuck.  I haven’t been producing much new work, but I have been transitioning my work space from my garage to a room in my house.  It was way too hot to work in my space in the garage over the summer and through October, but now the weather has changed, I am moving in the right direction again.

Below are two pieces of jewelry that I finished over the summer.  It is really frustrating for me to try and photograph these pieces and try a post them for you to see because the photos do not show the real beauty of either stone, the first stone is kyanite and the second stone is opal.

Kyanite trapped with prongs.
Kyanite trapped with prongs.

 

A juicy piece of opal
A juicy piece of opal
The hard to catch shimmer and color of the opal up close.
The “hard to capture” shimmer and color of the opal up close.

Below is a piece I made in my metalsmithing class.  Deb Jemmott was teaching us unusual stone settings and I learned so much from that class. Really, I am still learning because I am still trying to finish all of the settings that she demonstrated in class.

A "pinch" setting, which was a class exercise.  Pearls with reticulated silver.
A “pinch” setting, which was a class exercise. Pearls with reticulated silver.

Ugh, I haven’t been hiking either.  My hiking partner suffered a horrible and debilitating injury to her foot.  She did hike Machu Pichu earlier in the summer and ignored her injury, but when she got back she was put in a cast and well, we haven’t been hiking for a long time.  I miss walking and talking to her on a regular basis.  Now that she is out of a cast, we are set to go hiking again. Yay!