Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Book Review: 500 Silver Jewelry Designs

To start with....this is a gorgeous book...just like all the 500's.  My only disappointment is that there are no pieces made with metal clay....at least none that could be readily identified as such...which is a shame because there are many metal clay artists that I think belong in a book like this.  But this is a collection of "top studio artists" and it has a decidely modern art flavor to it. 

The pieces run the spectrum from very wearable to those that I couldn't figure out what they were let alone how you would wear it....the  '"l'art pour l'art'' pieces....like a silver spinal cord, a ring that takes two hands to wear, a silver wire mohawk.  

Like modern art, there are pieces that I really like and others that make me sit and scratch my head.  But I find it's the head-scratchers that I keep coming back to...the ones that challenge my views on what makes something a piece of art and what makes it a piece of jewelry.  I like having this book in my library for that reason alone.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


I mean really....BUMMER.  I know it was cracked and tried to patch it before firing but it split apart anyway.  It was turning out to be a really cool bracelet.  Oh well....back to the drawing board and this time I need to be a little more careful. But I'm having fun experimenting with bracelets. 

Here are a few other pieces from this weekend.

We were at the art museum on Friday to view the Japanese and Koren exhibit, "The Lure of Painted Poetry" and for a taste testing of saki.  This was a favorite for both Lou and I (and the saki was good too!!)

They also had an exhibit of items from South Africa, "The Art of Daily Life: Portable Objects from Southeast Africa".  This was more to my liking.

Vessel with Lid



Today we were at Mom's for Easter Dinner.  Nice to get the family together but it was too short.  Everyone had  other dinners and family gatherings to go to.  You just have to catch time together when you can. 

The weekend is over much too quickly....DAMN.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Little Windows

I love to cut holes in things and recently I started cutting little windows into the pieces I've been making.  Windows I can string things across, windows with a glimpse into an unknown world, windows just because.  

The languages and images are all from pictures I took in the Louvre. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

New Colors from the Kiln

Gordon has teased me that I have magic laundry room carbon for my bronze...but I always wonder if leaving the carbon in a bowl in the laundry room might have something to do with the colors I'm getting and the fact that I'm still using the same batch of carbon for two years now. 

Before I loaded my stainless steel pan last night I noticed something gooey on the edge.  Some liquid laundry detergent had dripped on the pan.  I wiped it off but wondered if it would have any effect on the color.  I don't know if it did, but this time I got greens/yellows when I was getting blues/purples.  It's a mystery....I never really know what I'm going to get.....it's Forest Gump carbon. 

Here are the pieces straight out of the kiln.  There is a little blue and purple but mostly it was green and yellow.

And polished up....


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Book Review: Vintage Jewelry Design

I love this book. It covers jewelry trends from the 1890’s to the modern day by decade. It’s a time capsule with pictures on every page interspersed with explanations of the trends and features on the designers who influenced them. And this isn’t just jewelry that only the rich could afford….although there is good amount of that.  This book also features jewelry from major designers, design houses and costume jewelry...or jewelry for the masses. Some of the jewelry featured will bring back memories of what was inside both your mother’s jewelry box and your own.

From the belle epoque era in Paris.  Caroline Otero was a famous courtesan and amassed a fortune in jewels from her lovers....you go girl!!

Pendant by Josef Hoffmann links Art Noveau with Art Deco, 1910

Actress Kay Francis layers in pearls, 1935

Fulco di Verdura. 62 rubies, 232 diamonds

Fulco di Verdura and Coco Chanel, 1930's

Irene Dunne in diamonds, 1935.  She was so pretty.

1940's costume jewelry.  Don't we all still dress up like this and lay around waiting for our man to come home :)

An awesome Calder, 1940's

I started recognizing my mother’s jewelry in the section on the 50’s with a picture of the iconic Jackie Kennedy and her pearls. When I was very young, JFK was elected into office and it seemed the whole world was focused on him. Jackie set the trend for fashion in the US and her pearls took center stage. I remember watching my mother dress up for parties and her style seemed to emulate Jackie’s. I thought she was every bit as glamorous as Jackie. Every time I see a picture of young Jackie, I think of my mom at that time.

The 60’s also hit home with aurora borealis rhinestone jewelry. Mom had earrings and broaches that I was fascinated with. They were colorful and sparkly. To this day anything colorful and sparkly will stop me in my tracks. One of my favorite saying is…”I was going to conquer the world but got distracted by something sparkly”.

Gorgeous rhinestone jewelry by William DeLizza and Harold Elster, 1960's

By the mid to late 60’s the innocent world that I lived in changed with the Vietnam war. College students were rioting and Pop Art became popular. Jewelry followed the Pop Art movement with mod plastic and futuristic jewelry. Hippie jewelry was also popular. That is when I got my start into making jewelry. I would buy seed beads and string long strands of “love beads”.

Paco Rabanne, dress from plastic squares, 1967

Hippie Chic body jewelry by Adrien Mann, 1969

The 70’s are when I started buying my own jewelry. Remember Sarah Coventry jewelry?? I do. I was also a fan of turquoise. I had a fascination for American Indian's and Cher being part Cherokee influenced that trend. I still love turquoise.

The 80’s brought on Madonna and layers upon layers of belts, necklaces, and bracelets. TV shows like Dallas and Dynasty had women is glitzy jewelry. Remember Joan Collins, Linda Evans, Linda Grey and Victoria Principal walking around in big furs and even bigger jewelry.

Yves Saint Laurent, 1980's

It’s a fun look at jewelry over the decades and is an easy, interesting read.  Plus there is a great jewelry glossary at the end of the book defining jewelry terms.

All photos reprinted with permission of Vintage Jewelry Design, by Caroline Cox, copyright 2011 Lark Crafts. 

Spur of the Moment Shopping Spree

Thursday and Friday were so bad that I decided I needed to pamper myself.  And what better than a trip to my favorite bead store....Bead Paradise.  I pampered myself big time...LOL.  I had been looking at their website and fell in love with way too much stuff.  And as I got a large refund from the IRS I decided to put it back into supplies.  So I took a road trip to Oberlin. 

Here are some of my goodies.

 Hebron beads.  Made from the 12th Century to around the 1880s in Hebron, near Jerusalem, using salts of the Dead Sea as their alkali.


 Nickel Silver and Brass Beads

Tiny brass heishi from Nepal and charms

More brass.  Very phallic.

 Vintage Czech glass beads.

Bezel set quartz from Nepal.  These are so cool. Old and scuffed up.  They are gorgeous.

 Glass beads from Cambodia

Roman glass

Old silver pendant from India, circa 1890-1920’s, depicting the Brahmanical triad  of Hindu gods: Lord Brahma the first, with Vishnu being the second and Shiva, the thirdCirca 1890-1920

Rajasthani hero/horseman that was deified and is considered a village protectorate.  Circa 1900.

A horse buckle from India

 The next three pics are the from the same strand.  Chin/Burmese bronze bells, beads, and heishi circa 1950's

Ruth has a amazing amount of items on her website so if you want to pick up some things for yourself and don't live close enough to go to her store...you can buy on-line.  If you do live close enough...go there.  It's such a great store.  Great clothes, accessories, and obviously fabulous beads.  This is one of those places that I'd like to be locked inside overnight.  Then I could spend hours checking everything out.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Shiny Bits....

Work wasn't much better today than yesterday.  The only saving grace is that it's Friday and I have two whole days to decompress.  Not enough but it will have to do.

I polished up the pieces that I fired this week.