Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tribal Bells....

I have an entire huge strand of bells from the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria.  I'm using them to make necklaces just in time fo the holidays.... Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells!!

This started out as a drawer pull.  I picked up the master in Tucson.  This one is made from bronze and hammered for a dappled texture.

The writing on this pendant is from a tablet in the Louvre.  I hand drew the tablet from a photo that I took and etched a copper sheet that I use for texture in the bronze clay.  I started cutting windows out....I have no idea why...but it reminds me of the windows in a high rise building.  It has both an ancient and modern look.

This bad boy is an Aja Vaz cool .  I have 2 more....I think I need to make one of these for me!!!

Close-up of the necklace.  It has bronze pieces, turquoise (which is actually the brown bead), Roman glass, Dogon glass donuts from Mali, some teeny-tiny ceramic beads and a wood bead inlaid with silver and copper spirals.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

More work...with beads

There is something that feels so right about putting beads in with my bronze work.  I've said it's like coming home to me since I started stringing beads.  THEY...COMPLETE....ME....sniff....sniff. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Order Out of Chaos

My workbench turns into such chaos when I'm working.  I was thinking that I needed a bunch of small containers to hold all the little pieces parts and then I remembered I had something that would work.  I was cleaning out an empty lab a few months back and found these tiny petri dishes.  They were headed for the dumpster so I brought some home.  I knew I would find a use for them.

A few pieces that came out of the studio this week.

And what bench would be complete without some phallic beads?


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Steal Like an Artist

A while ago I stumbled on Austin Kleon's blog and a post called How to Steal Like an Artist.  A number of his points resonated with me. Nothing is original.  What we create is a distillation of the things we have been exposed to, the things that we are drawn to and the things that we collect.

When looking for inspiration, grab that thing that sets you on fire...that thing that Jim Jarmusch refered to as "speaking directly to your soul" and run with it.  Or as Twyla Tharp put it...."run like hell".  Use it, refine it, revise it, riff on it until you are sick of it and then move on to your next inspiration.

Austin recently gave a talk at The Economist's Human Potential Summit.  I thought I would share it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New Lickables....Beads That Is.....

I mentioned before that I'm throwing non-metal beads into the mix when I'm designing.  And with all the beads that I have in the house you would think that I could find some that would work.  But my beads are all sparkly and shiny and colorful.  My current work is matte and earthy. 

So I blew out of work and rushed to my FAVORITE bead store....Bead Paradise ... before they closed.  I picked up some new lickables.  Ruth showed me some fantastic strands of rare antique brass beads from the Ivory Coast. The were so amazing.  I would have licked them but she probably would have thrown me out of the store...LOL.  Unfortunately, I will have to love them from afar since they were way out of my price range...for now.  I borrowed a picture from her.  Here is one of the strands.  You can see more on her website under Baulle Metal Beads.

So I bought a stash of very earthy beads to design with.....

and a few metal beads as well....I have no's just sad...

These babies are bronze and awesome!!!

I've been in the studio for about 2 weeks straight.  I took a break the last two nights.  With this new stash I will be back into the studio for another couple weeks and should be ready for my November show. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Is it true you are DEAD??

Sometimes I just love spam e-mail.  I got this one today....

Re: Payment Notification:

We are writhing to know if it's true that you are DEAD. Because we received a notification from one Mr. Bob Chantler of USA stating that you are DEAD and that you have giving him the right to claim your US$ 5.5M funds. He stated you died on a CAR accident last week. He has been calling us regarding this issue, but we cannot proceed with him until we confirmed this by not hearing from you after 3 working days. Be advised that we have made all arrangements for you to receive your funds of US$ 5.5M without anymore stress, and without any further delays.

Kindly reconfirm the below information’s if you are not dead and also get back to this Office for immediate delivery of your fund at your home address.

1. Your house address
2. Your Full name
3. Phone Number,
4. Age
5. Male/Female
6. Occupation
7) A copy of your ID

All we need to confirm now is your been DEAD or still Alive. Because this Man messaged brought shock to our minds. And we just can't proceed with him until we confirmed if this is a reality OR not but if it happened we did not hear from you after 3 days, and then we say: MAY YOUR SOUL REST IN PERFECT PEACE"

YOU'R JOY AND SUCCESS REMAINS OUR GOAL. May the peace of the Lord be with you wherever you may be now?

Yours faithfully,
Rev Father Augustan Goodluck.

I never answer these but I couldn't resist this one.  I answered....

YES, I am DEAD.  Now let me Rest In Peace!!

New Shows, New Work

I've just listed two shows that I have coming up.  In November I will be at the By Hand Show at the IX center and in December I'm at the Last Minute Market.  So I've been busy designing pieces.  Every night after work I'm in the studio.  All weekend long I am in the studio. 

Mostly I'm designing the finished pieces but every now and then I hop over to the metal clay bench to make a few extra accent beads.  The kiln is firing right now with pieces parts. 

I'm really liking the things I'm designing right now...that's sounds funny.  For about a week I was blocked....artistically speaking.  I sat in the studio and just stared at things.  But then it started to flow.  I had to pull all the beads down off the wall and start mixing and matching.  The pieces are really coming together nicely.

Here are a few pieces from this week.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


You've heard me talk about the Bead and Button Show before.  I've been going to it for the last 8-9 years.  I've learned a lot of what I know from classes at this show.  I have friends around the country that I've met here....including my best friend Cris Leonard.  With Cris and I it was practically love at first sight.  We are so in tuned that the joke at the show is we are connected by an invisible umbilical cord.  Going back to the show every year is a wonderful combination of learning new things and catching up with old friends.

The June 2012 show will be a whole new experience.  Cris and I will be TEACHERS!!!  We submitted three classes and they have scheduled us in for FOUR.  They want us to teach one of them twice.  The show draws 14,000 people from all 50 states and 40 different countries.  It is the premiere show for this industry.  I'm stunned, giddy, honored, excited, speechless (well...maybe not speechless).  Cris called me on Friday to let me know and we were both screaming on the phone. 

It's going to be fun...because if there is anything that Cris and I are...when we are's FUN.  The classes are great.  We will teach students the basics...sawing, riveting, drilling, etching, texturing, patinas, and more.  Below are the pics for our classes.  Come join us.  Have some fun and learn a lot!!


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Full Circle

When I started making jewelry, I created beaded necklaces...seed beads, Czech glass, silver daisy spacers.  My signature style was three-stranded necklaces.  They were verrrry symmetrical. 

I moved on to making bracelets and necklaces with lampwork beads.  I still have a number of pieces that I want to put up on Etsy.  And I have a ton of lampwork beads I still need to do something with. 

When I started working with bronze metal clay, I felt like I had really found my voice.  Over the past three years it has evolved little by little.  This weekend it felt like I came fill circle.  When I go to the bead store I'm still drawn by the beads and recently I picked up a few strands and they ended up in this piece.

And this piece.....where I mixed up the beads with chain and bronze accent pieces. 


How You Doing??