Friday, August 28, 2009


The view out of the front of our hotel.

Seals lounging on Moonstone Beach.

More seals (these are for you Karen!).

Big Sur, on the way back to San Francisco.

Fog blowing over the top of the Point Sur Light Station.

I thought I'd post a few more pictures of our trip. We got home tonight. I was not quite ready to come home, but now that I am, I'm content. It's always good to be home. We missed Sophie a lot and she was very happy to see us too.
So, back to work for both of us, but I think I'll let my mind drift away to Moonstone Beach every now and then.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


The road to Paso Robles.

Moonstone Beach in Cambria.

A Harbor Seal on Moonstone Beach.

Abner and Me.

Abner guards the garden.

The last couple of days have been great. We haven't done a whole lot. Yesterday we drove through the hills of the Paso Robles area and tasted some wine. We drove over to Buellton and ate at the Hitching Post restaurant, which was featured in the movie Sideways. That was fun. Today we wandered around the shops in Cambria. There is a shop called the Garden Shed that I like a lot. It has plants and garden ornaments, which is nice, but the thing I really like about it is the resident cat, whose name is Abner. Abner is an enormous peachy colored, long-haired boy who presides over the store and the garden. He's very friendly and likes to be carried around on your shoulder while you shop. I wish I could take him home. I don't think Sophie would be too happy with me though.
We spent much of the day sitting on the beach. Paul read a book and I looked for moonstones. I found a nice handful. The moonstones on Moonstone Beach are actually chalcedony and not the true feldspar type. They're really pretty and I've picked up many of them over the years. I wonder if I could get a job picking up moonstones on the beach?

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Looks like a great studio space doesn't it?

The Bixby Bridge at Big Sur.

Another bridge, whose name I didn't catch. Oh yeah, Paul too.

Big Sur.

Sunset in Cambria.

We started the day in Monterey. We didn't stick around this time to do anything there. There's lots to do there, but we've been there several times before, though a trip to the Aquarium was tempting. We got on the road and stopped in Carmel at a little roadside coffee place that we've stopped at before to pick up supplies. Right next door is a building with a sculpture garden that used to house an art gallery. When we were here the last time, a year and a half ago, it was out of business and for lease. I told Paul then that it'd be a perfect space for a metals studio and a retail jewelry gallery. We sat outside of the coffee place and joked about how we'd have to rob a bank to afford the rent. Well, I think I must not have been far off as it's still for lease after all this time. So, are there any of my wonderful metal or glass artist friends out there who want to form an artist's coop with me? It's nice to dream anyway. I really should call to see how much it is, just for fun or the shock value.
From there, we drove down one of my favorite stretches of the Pacific Coast Highway from Carmel through Big Sur and to the Central Coast town of Cambria. If you've never done this, please try to do it someday. But don't tell anyone else about it please. Let's keep it our little secret! This is a good time of year to go as there aren't too many other people on the road. We drove over several of the 33 beautiful arched bridges on the PCH and stopped at too many vista points to count. We stopped at one of our favorite lunch stop off points, the Lucia Lodge on the Big Sur coast. We drove past the Piedras Blancas Point lighthouse and the Hearst Castle (a must see spectacle!). We ended the day in Cambria, one of my favorite places ever. Cambria is a sweet little town with not a lot to do but with some cute shops and plenty of wonderful places to eat and a beautiful stretch of beach to sit and stare westward for hours from. What more do you need?

Saturday, August 22, 2009


The Pigeon Point Lighthouse.

Harbor seals soaking up the sun.

A close up of the cutest one, who posed a lot like my kitty Sophie does. Her belly reminds me of Sophie too.

The idea of living with the threat of tsunamis fascinates me. I guess we all have something, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes or tsunamis. Clearly, I watch too much Discovery Channel. I don't think the poor guy in the sign is gonna make it.

Our stop for the night, Monterey Bay.

We flew into San Francisco this afternoon and drove south until we got onto the Pacific Coast Highway. We drove through Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz and past acres and acres of artichoke farms and strawberry fields near towns like Watsonville and Salinas. We stopped at the Pigeon Point lighthouse about 60 miles north of Monterey. The light station there was built in 1872. The lighthouse was built taller than they usually are (115 feet) and can be seen 17 miles out to sea because this stretch of coast was particularly treacherous to passing ships. In 2001 a piece of the iron belt that encircles the lighthouse rusted through and broke off leaving the structure vulnerable to collapse. An earthquake or bad windstorm could spell the end for the building which houses a thousand piece Fresnel Lens that when it was built was state of the art. The light still functions and steers ships away from the rocky coast on foggy nights. We stopped here a couple of years ago and I'm sorry to say that not much seemed to have changed. I know that California has a budget crisis like every other state, but I think it would be a shame to let such an important part of California history go without a fight. Read more here.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Big Sur California.

I'm heading out for a little vacation in California next week. I'll try to blog while I'm gone. I'm sure I'll have compelling stories to tell about sand, pebbles, and beach glass.


Julie's golden leaves. I wonder what beautiful, beaded concoction she'll use them in?

I really liked Bonnie's selective use of the gold.

The patina Gods were smiling on David the other night!

Last week I taught a Keum Boo class at Bead Haven. I've been wanting to post the pictures of the work everyone did, but I haven't been feeling too well and hadn't gotten around to it. I'm feeling better now, so here they are. I had never taught this technique before, so I wasn't sure how it would go. It's a technique that I really like, so I was hoping the students would too. It went really well. Julie used the cutest little fondant cutter to make her leaves. David and Bonnie both used the gold judiciously to highlight the texture of their pieces. Both got really beautiful rainbow patinas too. We're doing the class again on September 15th if you'd like to give gold a try!

Monday, August 17, 2009


Nothing says party like Homer Simpson in his underpants!

Today my blog is a year old. I can't believe that it's been a year already. I've tried to post regularly (sorry about this week, I'm feeling under the weather). I've really enjoyed it. Thanks to everyone who reads it and comments or lurks or whatever, for letting me get it all out of my system!

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Karen Elmquist's Pod Vessels.

This is Karen's amazing necklace made from many of her wonderful lamp work beads. It wasn't part of the show, but I had to include it because it because it's just so darn cool!

Every year at the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee, there is an exhibit called Bead Dreams. Bead Dreams is a juried competition sponsored by Bead and Button magazine. This year, my friend Karen Elmquist's beautiful and unique Pod Vessels were accepted into the show. This was great for Karen, as she is one of the sweetest and most humble people I know. Not to mention talented! Usually, Bead and Button has a special issue dedicated to the competition. This year, I suppose due to economic constraints, they have created an online version of the special issue. It's free to subscribers and $5.95 for non-subscribers. If you're in the mood for some great inspiration go have a look see here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


These are some examples of the Keum Boo technique in my own work. Photos by Jonathan Sabin.

I will be teaching a Keum Boo class at Bead Haven on Thursday. In case you've never heard of this technique before, it's a method of fusing gold to silver. Keum boo in Korean translates literally as 'attached gold'. It is a very ancient technique that originated in Korea (probably other places at the same time as well) that takes advantage of silver and gold's similar atomic structure. Gold is layered on either fine silver or copper depleted sterling (in the case of my class, we'll be using fine silver PMC pieces that we'll make). When heat and pressure are applied the gold is permanently bonded on a molecular level to the silver. It's a relatively cost effective way to add gold to your work, plus it's a lot of fun too. The results are beautiful and immediate. Come join us if you can.

Monday, August 10, 2009


My new bench from Rio Grande.

My studio. Deceptively clean!

I finally got my new jeweler's bench the other day and Paul put it together for me over the weekend. I'm so excited! I've been waiting for it for a long time. I'm always interested in how other people arrange their work spaces. Of course, the arrangement depends on the kind of work you're doing and how much space you have. I'm lucky enough to have plenty of space (if there is such a thing!) but I'm little limited due to the pitch of the walls because it used to be an attic. It's taken me a while to get the space how I like and how it works best for me. I intend to use the new bench mostly for soldering so I can keep my propane/oxygen torch set up all the time. It will also be great for filing, forging, and sawing as it has slots built in for a bench pin and mandrels. I have a lab table that I've been using for everything that I do. Now I can use that just for metal clay, assembly, resin and other things where I need to spread out as well as classes that I teach in the studio. I have a small table behind my lab table where I will keep my tumbler and can do patinas and other finishing tasks. Next to that, directly behind my chair is a mechanics type tool chest where I keep most of my tools. This is great, but from now on I'll be keeping most of the hammers and other tools that I use most in a holder that hangs off of the side of the bench. This will really free up space in the tool chest, which is bursting at the seams. I think the new bench will sit next to the tool chest at an angle. This way I can reach almost everything I need from my chair. I have kind of a tool triangle now! As long as it's not like the Bermuda triangle and I disappear! I already sort of do that anyway.

Friday, August 7, 2009


Cris, pleez to turn back on the sun?

Pretty drops of water on my plants.

Doesn't my new tree look good? I like the sunflower below the tree that sprouted from my bird feeder. I didn't have the heart to pull it. I'll probably be sorry when there are sunflowers growing everywhere next spring!

It was rainy today, in fact we had some pretty strong thunderstorms move through this morning. I think it's so pretty outside after a rain don't you? Sophie, however was unimpressed and wanted me to turn the sun back on. She gets her wish this weekend as the temperatures will be close to 100 degrees. Yikes. I hope the air conditioning holds out.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Here's a cute little Calla Lily pendant that I will be teaching at Bead Haven in September. It's about 2 inches long and maybe 1/2 inch wide. It's a cute little project that I think should be a lot of fun. Wanna come pick flowers with me?


Jamie's first resin pieces came out very well. She's too much like me though, she spent a long time getting them just right.

A close up of Jamie's ring.

I think this is my favorite of Jamie's.

Jamie's bottle caps.

Some of the thing's that I made.

More of my resin.

Last Friday my sister Jamie took a day off from work and came over to make things with me in my studio. This is a rare occurrence because Jamie has a hard and stressful job. She's really good at it, but she works way too hard. She has a grown up job, unlike me! We planned to work in the morning and have lunch and then go shopping. We ended up working all day and we didn't even stop for lunch. She spent a lot of time figuring out what she was going to embed in the resin. She picked out some pretty papers and over painted them with acrylic paints and a little sparkly glue. I think they came out great. I hope she'll come again soon. Maybe next time we'll do some acid etching.