Saturday, January 31, 2009

Everyday Items Used In Unexpected Ways

An unusually creative fence...

I was inspired by this clever use of something readily available in Aruba...cactus.

I thought this fence was a terrific example of utilizing what you have in an unusual way.

I think that this idea applies to included.

Sometimes utilizing items you already have can be challenging but when you really start to use your can be so inspiring. Especially when they are pieces or components you might be sick of looking at.

Look around your supplies and try to think of new, unexpected combinations and you might be surprisingly fueled creatively. Remember...there is no "right or wrong" in art!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Spring Anytime - Relic Necklace

A lasting impression of nature...

This pendant was from a collection I created called "Relic".

I took actual impressions of items found in nature and hand sculpted Jewelry pieces from them in fine silver.

The collection includes earrings and pendants...some of which are available in my Etsy shop.

This particular shape was a favorite. Hung from a simple silk cord it reminds me of spring and the beauty of New England.

Knowing that we are supposed to be getting another snow storm here this week I welcome a little reminder of what's just around the corner.

I like how a piece of art or jewelry can create a mood or spark a memory. I think, during the long winter months, it helps to have a little peek of spring.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Creative Jewelry Packaging

I like to put a little thought into how I package my handmade jewelry.

I think it makes it fun for your customer to have a little treat or gift to open.

These tin boxes are perfect for small a pair of earrings, a bracelet or a small necklace wound in a coil. The window makes it possible for your customers to see the item - which is great for storage and display. The tin is simple and won't distract from your creation.

I purchased a large container of these at my Art and Crafts store in the wedding crafts section and was even able to use a 40% off coupon. I think there were 24 tins in the container.

Wad up a little colored tissue or clear cellophane to set your items in or cut out a card that fits your box so that you can mount your pieces on...and you are all set.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Button Toggels

Jewelry findings from the fabric store...

It is really easy to find interesting and unusual buttons nowadays.
At the fabric shop, antiques store, vintage boutique or even in your own closet.

Attached the right way, buttons can make great jewelry closures.

I really like long shaped buttons with the larger loop on the back - like the ones pictured above. I think they look pretty and fit well through a looped end.

Available in almost any finish or material you can think of, buttons make affordable, creative findings for all of your jewelry creations.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Jewerly Findings - All Buttoned Up

Buttons too pretty for clothes...

Sometimes they can get lost in the shuffle but vintage or new...these buttons are an example of finds that can easily be adapted to jewelry designs.

One option is to use them as they are...feeding wire or cord through and using them like beads.

Another option is to use them like toggles.
(Watch for tomorrows post for an example of buttons I have used as toggles.)

And yet another idea is to use them as an anchor to suspend other pendants or charms from.

If they have interesting patterns you can press them into clay to create custom or coordinating components....the list goes on and on...

A Bowl of Beads

Pretty to look at...

I use these little silver lined, glass beads A LOT...For ending my jewelry pieces, for accents, bead separators, etc...

I like to have them easily accessible so that I am not having to open a container every time I want to use them.

I find having some small bowls on a tray...filled with the beads I use frequently...really works efficiently.

I prefer to use plain white or clear glass containers so that it doesn't distract from the beads or findings.They sell for a few dollars at most housewares stores, come in every size imaginable and are readily available.

While waiting to be used, I think they look pretty and inspiring.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lucky Art - Milagros from the Heart

This is a little treasure that my husband and I picked up during a magical trip to Santa Fe.
Made by a local looks simple but when you really look close and see how all of the charms (Milagros) fit can see the thought that went into creating it.

In Spanish, the word milagro literally means miracle or surprise and the religious folk charms are traditionally used for healing purposes.
I think that this is an example of how you can use surplus jewelry supplies for other purposes.
Maybe those extra charms or lone earring can find new life as a decorative object or home accessory. Used as a focal point or just an embellishment...beads and charms can transform ordinary objects.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Art & Soul

”Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.” .

- Picasso

Friday, January 23, 2009

Vegas, Baby - An Inspiring Destination

You never know where you will find inspiration.

On a recent trip to Las Vegas I was reminded about how much creative inspiration can be found in that special city...not generally what it's known for.

I grew up there and now as an adult it is so obvious what a huge influence the fantasy and drama of Vegas had on me both creatively and artistically.
My love of color, being drawn towards over scale, over the top design and of course my need for sparkle and glitter.

I think it's easy to forget that each person has such different life experiences and that they can be expressed through their art or craft. That each is important and valuable...but different.

On this trip, being surrounded by all of that "theater" made me want to rush home and create ANYTHING!

I am sure some day soon there will be photos of Las Vegas inspired creations here!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Having a Blog - My "Why"

I have always struggled with the concept of narrowing my focus. There are just too many things that interest me creatively and way too many mediums I enjoy working with.

When I sat down today to write a blog entry I felt a little I asked myself "Why do you have a blog?".

I had a flicker of worry because I didn't have an immediate answer.
I worried that my blog is too "all over the place" and that I don't have a specific target audience.

After being still for a little while I realized that this blog is about, the artist.

"Me, the artist" IS "all over the place" so it actually makes sense that my blog would be too!

The entries are simply snippets of my artistic endeavours, useful tips that I have discovered or adapted over the years and anything else that speaks to me.

That's it...


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

An Interesting Earring Photo

I needed a photo of these earrings and I tried something new.

I used some clear acetate and punched holes with a straight pin. I suspended the acetate from clips to raise it up. After having to wait for the earring to stop swinging back and forth this is the picture that I took.

I liked how the earrings looked like they were floating...and the graphic shadows below were an added treat.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Godess of Strength Necklace

Hand sculpted, this inspirational sterling silver necklace features three unique charms with a powerful message.

Dignity, Empowerment and Respect.

It includes three sterling silver pendants hanging from an 18” sterling silver ball chain.

Each pendant has two distinct sides...on one side the words Dignity, Empowerment and Respect are hand carved. On the flip side of each is a different hand crafted texture.

I package each set in
a small, hand sewn colorful felt pouch and tie it with an organza ribbon.

This piece will be available in my Etsy shop.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Natures Beauty

Flowers... are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty out-values all the utilities of the world.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Keeping it Simple for Jewelry Home Shows

Sometimes it is tempting to think you need to make a huge spread for a home jewelry show.

I have found the more simple you keep it the better. Some cookies, fruit...maybe some cheese and crackers. That's enough. Nothing that needs to be cut, served or that is too messy. Just a snack...a little treat.

To avoid accidents, it is also a good idea to keep refreshments and food away from your displays...preferably in another room.

People are there to see your work and I have found too much food can be distracting and most of the time is a waste.

Also, be sure not to have chocolate or anything too greasy...or you will be cleaning your jewelry all night!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Vintage Jewelry Display Idea

This was a vintage metal shelf unit I found in a local antique shop.

I think it might have been used as a book shelf in a previous life.

I used small clips to hang light necklaces that are attached to clear backing. It made it easy for my customers to access them and saved valuable table display space.

I have also hung my necklaces directly on it. It holds a ton of merchandise and can be packed at home.

I have since be able to use it for other things too...holding supplies in my studio, displaying my boxed jewelry and storage.

More recently I found another stand similar to this and was able to attach a french message board to the front to display necklaces and bracelets with u-pins.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Keeping it Simple - Stone and Glass Necklace

I found these stunning vintage glass beads and wasn't sure what to do with them.

They had a slight green cast and floating bubbles inside. They were substantial in size and layered perfectly next to each other.

I had this chocolate glass pendant and thought they worked well together. The facets on the focal piece sparkled when the light hit them setting off the luminescent quality of the vintage glass.

This piece is sold but it was another example in my attempt to simplify my designs. Just two element...simple but sweet.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

- Thomas Edison

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Unsual Jewelry Materials - From a Hardware Store?

Plastic tubing and some exotic yarns were my inspiration for a series of jewelry designs I created recently.

By filling some plumbers tube with a selection of beautiful, variegated yarns it transformed an industrial material into an elegant, and interesting jewelry finding.

The tube remains flexible and conforms to your wrist or neck and the yarn is encased and protected. Some silver beads and a pretty focal piece finish the look.

You never know what you can transform into jewelry!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Decorative Painting - Before & After Trompe L'oeil Shelf

These are before and after pictures of a job I did in Arizona for a client of mine.

Most homes in Arizona have all kinds of odd cut-outs for display. The problem can be if they are two narrow to really display anything...and sometimes my clients wanted something a little more interesting than a framed picture.

For this alcove I painted trompe l'oeil shelves filled with Majolica decorative items as my client has a Majolica collection. It was fun to research Majolica and to incorporate their designs into my small mural.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Unusual Jewelry Findings - From a Belt?

When looking for pieces for interesting pendants, I like to keep my mind open.

This is a necklace that I made a few years ago.

It features a focal pieces that was actually rescued from an old belt. The belt had several detailed, stone studded metal disks linked together. This is one of those links. By adding some new metal jewelry findings I was able to convert the belt link into what I think is an special pendant.

I liked how the stones in the pendant coordinated with the beautiful vintage glass beads and echoed the round shape.

You never know where you can find unusual pieces to incorporate into your jewelry designs...keep your mind open!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Playing with Wire - Sun & Moon Earrings

While playing around with wire one day I created these fun earrings.

I wanted to make earrings that are larger and have a bigger impact but that would still be light and easy to wear. The small stars dangle and sparkle when they catch the light.

By using non-tarnish, silver plate wire for the main part of the design I am able to keep the cost down while still providing a quality product.

Featuring celestial vintage charms and sterling silver ear wires, these earrings will be available in my Etsy shop soon.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Keep it Simple - Bracelet Design

Sometimes I can get caught up in using too many materials in my designs...
the bracelet below was a departure for me.

This was part of a series of ultra simple jewelry I made in which I used very few materials.

A pretty, sparkly Swarvoski crystal is the centerpiece of this simple bracelet and is framed by thin, chocolate brown, leather laces.

I ended up enjoying the simplicity of these pieces and expanded the design into earrings and necklaces too.

The design isn't something I would normally do but I made one for myself and find I reach to wear it a lot!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Trunk Show Jewelry Display - Paper Moon Stationery

I have done several trunk shows at this eclectic stationery and gift shop in Cranston, Rhode Island.

This was a display from a show I did last year.

My display is a mix of antique store finds and more traditional jewelry display items.

On my travels, I pick up things that I think will work to show off my jewelry or interesting pieces I can easily convert to display items.

I like to have a little height to my show display to make best use of valuable table space. I find lazy susans really helpful in maximizing my space and they help make jewelry easily accessible to customers.

Most of my display items are convertible and can be combined in a variety of ways depending on the available set up at a show or festival.

By purchasing items I like and that appeal to me, I find they always "work" together. As my jewelry style evolves, my versatile displays can grow with me and adapt to my current needs.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Handpainted Stairs - Stars Before and After

This was part of an ongoing job I did for a favorite client of mine in Rhode Island.

These stairs were right inside the entry and compared to the rest of their house, were a little plain.

With a southwest/western theme for the home, we decided to wash the steps with color and age them to look worn and old.

Then I hand cut star stencils and added them to the design.
Below is the "after" picture.

I think they they look like they have been there for a long time and that the painting adds interest but still blends in. It connected the two areas and unified the overall look of their home.

With some polyurethane, in a matte finish, they will be protected and withstand years of wear.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Clam Shell Earrings - Bali Silver Findings

Sometimes more is more…

Combining some interesting findings can create an interesting pair of earrings.

I think these two different patterned sterling silver bead caps work well together framing a cobalt blue, faceted vintage bead. Even though they are completely different patterns the circles echo each other and I think work well together.

The oxidized finish really highlights the texture of these detailed bead caps and the small dangling flower adds some movement.

I like how they look kind of hard and industrial but still delicate.

These earrings (and others) are available in my Etsy shop…

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Unusual Handmade Pendant Bails - Little Off Center

I wanted something a little different to suspend this small handcrafted silver disk from. While playing around with some silver wire, this is what emerged.

Another “happy accident”, I think this asymmetrical bail complements the simple pendant and shows off the texture and design.

For me, I prefer to just work with the materials and see what happens. Sometimes it produces something good and sometimes I have to begin again. Generally trying to plan small details like this (on paper) doesn't work for me.
I like to see what occurs naturally.
This new piece (and many more) will be listed in my Etsy shop soon.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Handmade Jewelry Made From Ribbon

A useless scrap of ribbon?
Maybe not…

With a few readily available jewelry findings you can make use of those small scraps of ribbon, too pretty to discard.

For these earrings I used a clamp type ribbon end (available at most large art and craft stores) to finish the raw edges of a small loop of graphic black and white ribbon. The clamp findings are available in a variety of widths and sizes to fit many types of ribbon. I add a small amount of glue to secure the ribbon and to prevent fraying.

Embellished with semiprecious stones, Swarovski crystals and vintage beads these interesting earrings are lightweight and very easy to wear.

These and more will be avaiable in my Etsy shop.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Our Snow Dionsaur

An example of our winter handi-work from a few years ago.

No ordinary snowman for us...
This was our Snow Dinosaur.

It was almost as tall as me and I think the green food coloring finished it off nicely.

Ahhh...what will we do this year? A Snow Pokemon perhaps?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Jewelry - Thiking Outside the Box

This was a necklace I made a few years ago...

It featured vintage chain and a variety of beads...but for the focal piece I actually recycled a gold bamboo shaped bracelet.
I wanted something bold and I really liked the texture of this bracelet.

Sometimes using components in unexpected ways or not as they are originally intended can make for a more interesting finished design. Poke around and see what you might already have that can be reused or blended into a new style.

It gives materials new life and stretches your imagination!

Friday, January 2, 2009

The birth of a Custom Jewelry Design - Giraffe

"Giraffe" was really the only direction I had for this custom jewelry order.
I did know I wanted to design something simple and graphic. These were my initial idea sketches and below is the finished piece.
Not too far from my starting point which illustrates what I generally first gut feelings are usually the right direction to go.
My client uses these charms as inspirational tokens both in silver and gold. They hang from a key ring or a stick pin and are mounted on a custom printed gift card.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Beginnings - Craft Your Future

There will come a time when you believe everything is finished.

That will be the beginning.
Happy New Year...