Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I did a beginning bronze clay class at Bead Haven last week. With the holiday, I only got around to firing the students pieces yesterday. I tumbled them afterward to preserve the patina and now they're ready to go. In the class we made silicone molds of antique buttons and used rubber stamps to use as textures. Pam went free form with her heart and she used letter stamps to make her I.D. bracelet part. They did a great job and thankfully the kiln gods were with us and we got wonderful colors!

Saturday, December 25, 2010


"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!"
- A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

Friday, December 24, 2010


Miss Sophie wishing you a Merry Christmas.

All of the Christmas jewelry work is done. I wish I could say my workspace was spic and span, but I'll get to that. I'll have to, as I can never start again with it all in a mess. My head is full of new ideas that I hope I can execute in the new year. I have new techniques I want to learn, shows to sell my wares at, new things to teach, the gem shows in Tucson to drool over and spend too much at (and I never regret my purchases!) all in just the next few months. Ah, but not today. Nothing left to do today but to be merry and dream of sugar plums (whatever the heck those are!).

Saturday, December 18, 2010


A while back my friend Gail posted the above sign (the first one) on her blog. I can't remember if this is a card she got or bought or if it's a sign on her studio wall. It well could be. Such great words to live by. So much of it is very relevant to my life. I love the lines about life being about the people that you meet and what you create with them. It makes me think about the great friends I've met and made in the jewelry world. I am so inspired by all of them and I hope they are a little inspired by me too. We are far flung, but we are still a tribe of our own making and I'm amazed by the strength of these friendships with people that I see so infrequently. What an amazing thing to find in this big world!
Remembering Gail's sign made me want to share the sign that's been on the wall of my workspace for as long as I remember. If there were ever truer or more important words regarding creativity, I don't think I've heard them. I believe we can be whoever we want to be creatively speaking. There aren't any rules except to be who you want. I've noticed that when students struggle, it's not learning technique that they grapple with most often. Usually, it's fear of their own creativity that can stand in their way. When we're kids, we don't think twice about creativity, we just make stuff. We color trees purple and the sky orange. It's not until we grow up that we learn the "rules" and are taught about the right and wrongs of creativity. We lose the ability to give ourselves permission to color outside the lines. We learn to think the things we make are irrelevant or bad. I think this is a shame. This isn't to say that I don't teach and hold fast to there being a right and wrong way to do certain techniques. There are inherently correct ways to form, etch, heat, join, and color metal. It's important to learn the "right" way to do things so that you can be successful and safe. After that, the sky's the limit.
Humans are creative by our nature. Trying is never a failure.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Chaco Spiral.

Big pile o' bronze charms.

My bronze clay clay that was scheduled to happen at Bead Haven tonight was cancelled due to a snow storm (it is Iowa after all!). Bummer. The upside is that there were still a couple of spots left, so if any of you were interested and didn't get signed up, the class will be happening December 22nd. Call Bead Haven if you're interested.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


The Bronze Clay for next week's class arrived today!

We'll be doing simple mold making in this class, to get acquainted with the different and sometimes difficult properties of bronze clay. I made these charms from a clay model that I made, then made a silicone mold from the model.

Wednesday, December 15th at Bead Haven. I'll be leading a class in mold making with Bronze Clay. It will be a simple beginning class on the medium, so not much experience will be needed. Bronze clay is somewhat different to use than Silver clay, and in my opinion more difficult. Once you get past these differences it's fun and really beautiful and I thought it was time we delved into it at Bead Haven. We'll be making two part silicone molds from antique buttons as well as rolling out simple charms and pendants if you wish. I have several buttons for us to use, but feel free to bring one of your own if you have one. We'll be discussing the clays properties and how it's fired and finished. I expect it to be fun and informative and I'd love to see you there.
Please call Bead Haven in Cedar Rapids, Iowa at 319-247-2323.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


A group shot of our texture plates. Mine's in the middle and is my take on West African mud cloth.

Julie's zebra-inspired plate.

Alice's plate really suggests flowing water to me.

Bonnie's plate uses negative space really well.

Pam's spike-a-lishous heart texture!

Margaret's plate will look great fabricated into a piece of jewelry (which is what she's planning to do).

Tonight at Bead Haven, I led a class where we acid-etched a textured plate from a piece of 18 gauge copper. The plate creates a low-relief texture that is very similar to a tear away sheet, commonly used for adding texture to metal clay. I love the look that tear away sheets achieve, but I find that they don't really last too long. These etched plates are much more permanent and are so fun to make. Of course, they can also be sawed up and fabricated into jewelry pieces too. I can't wait to see what these ladies make with theirs.