Saturday, December 24, 2011


Merry Christmas to all of you!  I wish you all the most excellent and happy holidays and a wonderful year to come.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I like the winter solstice.  I always have, since learning about it in school as a kid.  I've always thought there was something magical about the longest night of the year.  After this night the sun begins its slow ascent and the days become longer until the snow melts and the wheel of the year brings us back to spring.  In ancient times Midwinter, as some call the solstice, marked the return of the sun, the giver of life.  Such a hopeful and magical thing to think on.  Who couldn't use a little magic in their lives?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Browse 2012 Bead and Button classes HERE!

 The Bead and Button Show website is now open for browsing the classes in June!  You can't sign up until January10th, but you can register and browse and prepare your plan of attack.  There are more than 600 classes this year, and happily for me, 4 of those classes will be taught by myself and my good friend Gail Lannum.  The variety of classes available is staggering.  Whether you're into metal, glass, seed beads, or things I haven't even thought of, there's bound to be a class for you.  Take some time to check out the site, I promise you wont be disappointed.  

Monday, December 12, 2011

Copper and Bronze Mehndi Pendant.

Bronze and Copper Vine Shield Pendant

Bronze Prong Set Ammonite Pendant

Bronze and Copper Desert Flower Pendant

Large Mehndi Shield Pendant

Bunches of new things in the Etsy store today.  I have lots of new work, but getting it photographed and getting descriptions written always challenges me.  I'd rather just make stuff.  Time to put the big girl pants on though and get some of this stuff done!  I'm working on a lot of new things right now, including a tool and supply store on Etsy.  I want to make it easy for my students (and others, of course!) to find the tools that we most commonly use in my classes.  I'm pretty excited about this.  I'll post here when it's up and running.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


It's been a very hard couple of years for my family. Still, I am thankful. I'm thankful for all of the people in my life who I love and count on. I'm thankful that I've had such loving relationships with my parents, and I wish with all of my heart that they were here. I'm grateful that I was lucky enough to have them as my parents. I'm thankful for my sisters and Paul and his family and all of our friends scattered near and far. I'm thankful for my sweet cats. I'm thankful that I live where I do and that I get to make jewelry as my job. I hope all of you have lots to be thankful for too. Happy Thanksgiving all!

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Bronze and copper with brass rivets

German silver and brass.

Jasper, copper and fine silver.

Rivets on a very old Illinois Central engine (in Independence, Iowa)

Rivets from the South end of the Golden Gate Bridge

Lots happening here. Working on new jewelry. I'm on a riveting kick lately. Probably due to the fact that I've had rivets on the brain since Gail and I submitted our Bead and Button classes. There will be a lot of riveting happening in Milwaukee. I swear the other night I dreamed of rivets. Aircraft, bridges, robots, you get the picture. I really enjoy soldering and I'm actually quite good at it. It's a satisfying part of my tool box. Having said that, I like the look of a rivet. Rivets make it clear to the observer what's going on here. They make sure that you understand how a piece was constructed and more importantly that it was constructed by human hands. I never realized how much I employ rivets in my own work until I started to think about it. I spend a lot of time thinking about weird things.

Friday, November 11, 2011


Thank you for your service. All of the freedom that the rest of us enjoy is because of you.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Trunk Show

I'll be taking part in Bead Haven's fall open house and trunk show this weekend. If you are local (eastern Iowa), I'd love to see you there. I have lots of new things to share! Bead Haven will have discounts and treats and I'll be doing a couple of riveting demos on Saturday. The show is Friday (tomorrow) from 4-7 pm and Saturday from 10-5. I hope to see you there!

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Some examples of our acid etched, riveted pendant.

More examples.

Still more examples from our all day class.

Riveted Keepsake Pendant.

Acid Etching 101

I had some wonderful news last week. I, along with my wonderful friend Gail Lannum, will be teaching 4 classes at the Bead and Button Show in June. We submitted 3 classes which they accepted and at the moment at least, they'd like us to teach one of them twice! I am so excited and honored. I've always considered this show the best in the country. I've been attending the show for a number of years and have been in awe of how well such a gigantic event is run. I have taken many classes there myself from phenomenal teachers miraculously gathered in one place for a whole week. I'm excited and humbled to be included in their company. We'll be teaching a cute riveted pendant with a silver bail, an acid-etched, riveted, fabricated pendant and a basic acid etching class. We're excited about our classes because we feel that all three offer a lot of solid metalworking skills in one package. Students will learn basic fabrication, hammered textures, acid etching, riveting, bail construction, chemical and heat patinas, wire wrapping, etc. Gail and I are great friends (we met at the Bead and Button Show!) and we always have such a great time together and I think our classes, while very educational will be a whole lot of laughs too. I hope perspective students will be as excited as we are! I will be posting more information about the classes as I get it.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Steve Jobs

The world lost an icon today, one who I will personally miss very much. He was part visionary, part Svengali (minus the evil), part salesman. He was brilliant and seemed to revel in what he was doing. He made the world a better place. The world is poorer for his passing, but his legacy will live on.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Part of my display at Brucemore.

Tomatoes ready for winter. Sunshine in a jar.

Dan from Chiminey Cricket fixing my chimney.

My girls know how to live. I'm trying to learn to be more like them.

Getting ready for Brucemore. What an excellent show this one is. Beautiful place, lovely people.

More new things.

And more.

Bronze ammonites with copper prong settings.

Add Image
Bronze shields with handmade bronze chain, bronze nuggets and ancient Roman glass beads

Lots going on here. The last part of summer was full with deadlines for class submissions, a big show at Brucemore, making things for the big show, canning tomatoes from my garden (I should have been weeding, but during the hot spell we had I decided to go another way and try the jungle look. I believe I have succeeded), chimney repairs and trying to live without worries and angst like my cats do (I need to work harder on this one).
Autumn is almost here. Apples, football, another show (this time at my favorite place, Bead Haven), cool nights, football, planting bulbs, hot chocolate, planning new classes, and sitting in the sun watching the leaves turn. Life is good.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Acid Etched Copper And Bronze.

Acid Etched Copper and Faux Bone Pendants from class. From the top clockwise is mine, Alice's, Pam's, Bonnie's, and Julie's.

Some bronze pieces of mine waiting to be assembled.

Forged Copper and Bronze Cuff

My blogging has been spotty of late, actually non-existant. Sorry about that. I'll try to do better. Lots of stuff going on. Classes are happening and things are being made. I had a very nice all day class at Bead Haven recently involving acid etching, riveting and Faux Bone. If you haven't tried Faux Bone, give it a go. It's fun stuff. It's the invention of Robert Dancik (an artist and teacher himself). It's plastic (I know, but it's very cool, trust me!) PVC actually. I remember being in a class of his once and I believe he said that it's a type of PVC that is used for making containers for caustic chemicals (yikes! fumes!), which makes it pretty indestructible. It's also really easy to work with and it mimics other materials, like bone and ivory very well. We had fun working with it. I've been luck enough to have had a class with both Robert and a class with Richard Salley where we worked with it, and it's a material that I hope to work more with in the future.
We've been having classes at Bead Haven with bronze clay and acid etching too. We'll be doing more of that and lots of other things too as fall unfolds so please come in and join us. I've been working on bunches of new things myself. I have a show this Saturday at Brucemore, a National Trust property (more on this later) so I've been working hard to get lots of new things ready for that. I'll have lots of mixed metal bracelets and bangles, etched and riveted pendants, gemstone and leather wrapped bracelets, and some bezel set silver rings and pendants. Man, are my hands tired!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Trying to get things done is not easy with my little helper around.

Lots going on around here. I'm amazed by how fast the summer is flying by. The garden is humming along. The tomato plants are about 9 feet high (I kid you not!) and I will need a ladder to pick them. I guess they like the heat wave we've been having (I'm glad someone does). I'll get some photos sometime this week. I've been doing a bunch of new work which I'll tell you about later. I wish I had a clone. If I did, I'd probably not like how she did things and I'd end up doing it myself anyway. : )

Sunday, July 3, 2011


A Spider Web Jasper Cabochon set into a sterling silver bezel.

The back of the bezel with my little hallmark tag soldered onto it.

A fossil coral ring that I made in Joe Silvera's class at the Bead and Button Show. The cabochon is from Gary Wilson.

A Lapis Lazuli cabochon set into a sterling bezel with a sterling ring shank. I love how the pyrite makes this stone look like sparkly stars in a night sky.

A bronze pendant with faceted Lapis rondelles . I was going for a somewhat Moroccan flair.

A hammered sun shield pendant with carved bronze beads, bronze chain and Roman glass beads from Bead Paradise.

I haven't blogged much since I got back from Bead and Button. I came back with a lot of fresh ideas, like I always do. Some of that is the inspiration found in being surrounded by a bunch of wildly creative people for a whole week. Some of the ideas come from the show it's self. When you walk through the show, it's hard not to be inspired by the shear volume of exotic materials available there. A lot of it of course, are the great classes that one can take there. I took another class from Joe Silvera. It was a bezel setting class. I have already made bezels before, but I really needed a bit more hand holding I guess, given the price of silver to get me to a place where I felt comfortable. Since coming home I seem to have hit my stride and it seems almost easy now. Thanks to Joe and his wife Anat (Anat helps out a lot in class, she's very talented in her own right). Joe is an awesome instructor with a new soldering book and DVD. Check them out here. I took some other classes with Richard Salley, one of the kings of assemblege, found object art. His work is really cool and I love how he thinks outside of the box. I'll post some pictures of what we did in his classes later on. It was fun, lots of acids and scorching plastic and nasty things like that, all of the stuff I love! Lets just say I'll never look at a Starbucks Frappuccino lid in the same way ever again. Check out Richard's website here.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


An ammonite fossil and many spectacular cabs by the amazing lapidarist, Gary Wilson.

Masses of round and rondelle-shaped stones for wrapped leather bracelets. Lapis, Red Creek Jasper, Chrysoprase, Jade, Rain Forest Jasper, And a couple others that have escaped my memory at the moment.

Lapis nuggets, carved tubes, coin shapes, and malachite nuggets from one of my very favorite vendors, Abe from Afghan Tribal Arts (He's a terrible flirt!)

Amazing finds from Bead Paradise located in Oberlin, Ohio. I first learned of them from my awesome friend Gail. The owners, Ruth and Ibrema are so knowledgeable and always have such unique things. This both is one of my three must stops and is hard for me (and Gail too,I think) to control myself in! Shells, Roman glass, recycled bottle beads from West Africa, and a really special vintage Czech glass bead.

A huge drilled ammonite pendant (350-400 million years old from Morocco) from Gary Wilson.

A close up of 2000 year old Roman glass beads. I love these.

Beautiful disc lampwork by Angi Graham

A beautiful metal amulet from Hands of the Hills, I think. I'm not sure because it was a sweet gift from my sweet friend, Gail.

Another amulet from Gail.

It's been weeks since Bead and Button, and I still hadn't shared my loot with you all. This is only part of what I got. I got a few tools and odds and ends and an awesome burnishing tool by Bob Burkett that was a gift from my friend Anne (a fellow tool fiend). I'll share my other stuff and some close ups of some of the Gary Wilson cabs in another post. It was such a great time. So many laughs, great food, great classes (thank you Joe and Anat Silvera and Richard Salley!). It was fantastic spending time with all of my far-flung friends. We spent every evening after dinner in the Hyatt bar laughing. I think the poor staff there was happy to see us go. The Bead and Button attendees must be way rowdier that most of the conventions that they have at the Frontier Airlines Center. Only 334 days until Bead and Button 2012 and I can't wait!