Backdrop

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For the past two weeks, I’ve been posting photos of my latest jewelry creations.

I wondered if any of you had noticed the backdrop?

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Did you guess right?

I found this crate of children’s blocks in a dumpster behind a kids consignment shop.

Yes. I was digging through a dumpster.

No. I have nothing else to say about that ;)

When I looked in the crate, these weren’t modern-day made-in-China building blocks.  Instantly, I could tell these were made by hand.  Each piece was not perfect.  You could tell which blocks were cut from the same piece of wood.  But my favorite attribute was the color/paint/patina.  These blocks have a wax finish, so as they have been played with and toppled about, they have gotten even prettier with age.

I mention this , because it’s darn hard to make jewelry photos look interesting.  I was hunting around the house for dishes and boxes.  I pulled out some fabric to try to create an interesting backdrop, but they were all boring.

Then I remembered the crate out in the garage. Blocks.

Blocks?  Could I?  Should I?  Hmm… they are just the right size for jewelry.  I can build with them which will allow my pictures to have visual depth.  This might just work…

Scroll back through my last few posts and take a closer look at the backgrounds.  Then look at the photo in this post where I scale back and you see the jewelry on my table in a pile of blocks.

I think I got some pretty cool effects.  All it took was thinking outside the box and a little dumpster diving.

You might want to try it.  Just sayin… :)

 

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I Have my Evil Eye on You

I blame my morbid curiosity for the Illuminati on my children.  I don’t know why it has infiltrated the 5th grade, but the kids flash each other triangular hand signs and point out the countless eyes, pyramids and triangles throughout our daily lives.  Free Mason architecture is all throughout New England which just fuels their imagination. My son is always taking his magnifying glass to money and even our family photos have the four cousins creating a pyramid.  Each time the kids yell out “Illuminati Confirmed!”  They believe man.  They get it.  The world really is a conspiracy!  

Boy oh boy.  Lately, I almost want to go there and believe it with them.  Secret societies.  Big brother watching with it’s electric eye.  Those with power and wealth trying to keep “the man” down.  When one is feeling helpless, there is comfort in explanations, alternative fact/fake news or not :)

The flip side of the eye motif is the Evil Eye.  Many cultures have adorn themselves and their homes with eyes to watch over them, protect them and ward off evil.  Again, superstitious or not, it brings people comfort.

Myself, I think of it like that college anthropology major.  I’m simply fascinated by relics and humans attachment to them.  I love to study people. I love to study things.

My observation:  thousands of years ago until now, humans haven’t changed much.  We all seek comfort from the fears of the unknown.

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Walk Like an Egyptian

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Is anyone else obsessed with all things ancient Egyptian or is it just me?

I can remember in sixth grade when it was finally time to start studying Mesopotamia.  Everything was fascinating. The architecture, papyrus drawings, science, culture, they had it all.  Why did they always seem like they may have had it better?  How did they get their entire civilization to work towards common goals? And because of this, look what they manifested.

My grandmother’s formal silver tea set had eagle talons, a Sphinx bodice and ancient hieroglyphic patterns on it.  It was the most exotic thing I had ever seen.  How did my grandmother wind up with this archeologist-inspired tea set?  Well I’d later learn about Tutmania.  In the 1920’s King Tut’s tomb was discovered.  The first undisturbed burial chamber ever (most had been plundered over centuries).  The jewelry, pottery, artwork and sarcophagus were remarkable.  Soon clothing around the world showed ancient Egyptian influence as well as jewelry, architecture, artwork and literature. Many art-deco pieces look like objects taken straight from the tomb.  This is how my grandmother’s tea set came to be.

When I got to college I would take every Mesopotamian class I could find.  In fact I wanted to be an archeologist until enough people talked me out of it.  apparently my chances of digging in Egypt were pretty slim and digging in dirt is not all that it entails?  Alas…I put my curiosities aside and worked towards other things.  Now I occasionally watch Indiana Jones to continue the fantasy as well as running into some weird pharaoh stones in the jewelry mills.

To me, they’re a reminder that I’m not alone. There have been generations before me equally fascinated by Egypt.  Fascinated enough to adorn themselves in cultural images reflecting thousands of years of culture before them.We are the recipients of all of the knowledge and accomplishments of those that came before us.

The continuity of humanity is amazing. It leads to other questions.  What will be our legacy to humanity?  Gulp.

When they dig us up and ask the questions, I hope we rose to our capabilities.

Actually, I pray.

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Creepy Crawlies

This post is devoted to all the strange animal findings I collected this trip.

A crab.  A deer head with antlers?  Owls & birds.  But my favorites are the insects.  Probably because I’m an avid gardener.  All the creepy crawlies are my friends.  Boy, do I miss them. Weird right?  I love digging in the earth. smelling it. Watching every inch of my yard teaming with life.  Our fence has carpenter bees boring throughout.  I know, I know, I’m supposed to get them exterminated, but it is amazing how they go into the hole and a couple of minutes later you can actually see them push the saw dust out.  If they were attacking my house, that would be one thing, but the fence is like a science channel show.  I love science channel shows! Here’s another one: I still remember watercolor painting outdoors sometime back and a baby praying mantis the size of a popcorn kernel was hanging out on my painting.  For at least two hours this tiny thing was running back and forth on the paper.  I couldn’t kill it.  I didn’t want to swat it away because how often does a praying mantis hang out on ones painting?  So I just worked around it.  Kind of laughing.  Totally amused.

Oh and birds.  The birds. Yeah, birds are my other FAVORITE.  I’m a little obsessed.  I nearly run myself off the road staring up at the hawks and blackbirds that seem to be in the sky every time I drive.  I guess I probably shouldn’t admit that one :)

In a nut shell, I love nature.  I love color. I definitely love sparkle.  Creating jewelry with the occasional grasshopper. Totally awesome!

 

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Flower Power

Flowers are so cliché.

I know, I know, but I just can’t help it!

I love them. They are such a wonderful way to use color and pattern. These pendants are jam-packed with rhinestones. Many of them vintage. When the stones get old they have this distressed patina to them which I actually like.  It reminds me of playing in my grandmother’s junk jewelry drawer when I was little. Everything seemed so fancy and sparkly in there. Most of her pieces were from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.  It’s a fond memory and clearly influences my jewelry work.

I just got the postcard for the show I’m in this weekend. It’s a cute card.

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It looks a little 1950’s inspired itself!

Switching Hats

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I was invited to show my jewelry at the Deblois Gallery in Newport during their upcoming show Anything Goes! March 3-25th.

The only catch is that I didn’t have anything left.  It has been well over a year since I made any new jewelry.   But…But… I am ONLY PAINTING this year right??? World don’t you hear me??? … Yeah, I couldn’t resist. I said yes and took a couple of weeks off from painting.

I went to Providence and dug through my favorite mills and came out with the coolest beads, rhinestones and cabachons to create mosaics with.  I had a women tell me this week she didn’t know what a cabachon was.  So, in case you didn’t know – rhinestones are cut and faceted and cabachons are smooth and round.  However, when I’m in the mills talking, it seems anything that isn’t cut and faceted gets labeled a cabachon.  I found cats, pharaohs and dragonfly glass stones and they all got called cabachons.  So loosely,  -cabachons are the little glass, crystal and stone pieces I put in my jewelry.

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I hope these photos give you an idea of what I mean by “digging around”.  Every single tiny cardboard box is filled with a different jewelry component.  Up to the ceiling and down at least 18 aisles. It takes hours and hours to sift through, but you come out with jewelry components no one has seen in 50 years.

In the upcoming days I will share some of the mosaic pendants I’ve created.  I wish I could convey just how much they sparkle, but cameras just can’t capture it!

I had a lot of fun and feel pretty good about just how funky this new line of work turned out.  After many years, I finally feel like I have something polished and unique to offer.

That feels pretty good.

Hi Neighbor!

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In garbage picking the other day (totally normal!), I stumbled on a Narragansett Beer bottle cap.

Hmm… I am selling my wares off the Narragansett sea wall and these bottle caps have ‘Gansett  written on them… hmmm…what can I make out of these???

So I made a few necklaces and a bracelet to try out tonight.  Let’s see if anyone finds these cool or wonders why I strung some garbage on a chain and tried to sell it ;)

Getting More Sparkly

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Oh man, I just love these pendants I am making.  I am very much into vintage everything, so these get me very excited.  It’s like a little antique you can wear every day!  Because they are vintage glass, they are translucent and sparkle which I just can’t capture via camera.  Either way, I’m plugging away at my collection and I hope there are people out there that find them as special as I do!

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This week I’ve also been working on some cell phone holders.  The idea stems from at least 4 devices on my counter at all times.  Does any other household have this problem?  I am creating little 8×10″ pockets to attach by the outlets and hopefully get my counters back! I’m making some to sell at the holiday shows too… Again, we’ll see if my choices resonate with holiday shoppers this winter…

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On a final note, I dragged my loving mother 3 hours away to Bennington, Vermont to see the Milton Avery exhibit.  The Bennington Art Museum has an exhibition of his work until November.  I am obsessed with Milton Avery.  I adore his loose impressionistic arrangements and his killer use of color.  In fact, I believe the museum called it his “dissociative” use of color.  Meaning he makes trees that are blue even though humans associate green with trees.  To me, creating these amazing color compositions, takes what could sometimes be considered a very boring landscape and transforms them into something magical.  Mark my words, you will see an intense inspiration of Milton Avery in my painting this upcoming January.  I have been quietly studying what direction I want to go with my painting and this genre feels just right.

OK. off to make mosaic jewelry…I haven’t shown you pictures of that yet…but I am creating up a storm.  Feels Great!

 

 

Let the Jewelry Wild Rumpus Begin!

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I just started committing to holiday shows. This means jewelry-making for the fall is official!

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I have scoured the old Providence mills for over ten years and own WAAAY TOO MANY jewelry components.  I used to make jewelry for small gift shops along the New England coast as well as The Boston Museum of Fine Arts gift shop.

 Just recently a fellow  jeweler passed away and she wanted to make sure someone would put her materials to good use. I was entrusted with her belongings which was enough to say OK I WILL MAKE JEWELRY ONE MORE TIME!!! 

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I’m trying very hard not to buy any more supplies, but it’s hard, I have purchased a few more things… just a few!

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I figured my autumn pottery session should be devoted to jewelry vessels for my holiday booths as well.  These jewelry trays have a small bowl for rings and earrings.

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However, my pottery instructor says they make her crave sushi!  Hey that can’t be entirely bad. They’ll be multi-purpose!

I have oh so many ideas for both jewelry and vessels… you’ll have to stay tuned to watch the progression.

 I BETTER GET CRANKING!!!

SCRATCHING THAT CREATIVE ITCH

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If I’m being honest, I’d have to say organizing, creating print media, picture framing and the overall creation of the 365 Art shows is driving me crazy!

All of the administrative work has kept me from creating.  I haven’t picked up a paint brush since December.  I don’t even want to count how many days have passed.

One thing that has kept my creative urges in check is the pottery studio.

Especially the first few weeks of January when my 365 challenge ended.  I had no idea what to do or where to be.  I found myself wandering over to the pottery studio, where I’d poke and prod clay, still not knowing what to do.  Somehow the physical manipulation of the wet cold clay, the cutting, molding, stamping allowed my mind to drift and not worry about what needed to be done. I guess one could call it “coming back to earth”.

From this time of “just being”, came many jewelry pieces.  First I worked in the studio creating the pendants, next I glazed them and soon the project found its way home.  I’d select some beads here, string a pendant there. The simple act of creating this jewelry gave me an outlet, a ritual, even a purpose when I was feeling lost.

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I am thankful for my pottery muse.  I needed this to keep my hands busy and my mind at peace.  Luckily The Guild where I take pottery is having a pottery show next week.  I will bring my wares there in hopes of finding interested patrons.

You’ve probably heard this before from many an artist, but it’s worth saying again.  For those who need to create daily, just to be able to breathe freely, it’s generally never about amassing their creations.  It is like the Buddhist monks who spend a week designing mandalas in the sand only to sweep them away when finished.  I have this incredible urge to make things, to use my hands and to work with color.  If I don’t, I begin to feel like I am going to explode.

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I certainly miss painting, but alas I have “grown up” work to do.  Until I get back to my art studio time, I will have to derive pleasure from the small creative processes that make my heart sing.

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