Wednesday
Nov182009

Worth the wait

some sparklies I ordered a month ago finally arrived from Thailand today — lemon quartz, which will end up in a pair of earrings.

Thursday
Nov122009

Workin' my fingers to the bone

Almost literally. I work some days and nights until my hands ache so much I have to stop. Sawing, carving, sanding, filing. 
These are labor-intensive, demanding tasks. I realized that the permanent dark spots that appeared on a couple of my fingers a few years ago are because I actually tattooed myself by accidental stabbing with a needle file — penetrating so deeply into the skin that a permanent deposit of file gunk was left behind. An occupational hazard. I am very careful now. I protect my fingers with special wrap tape (called "alligator skin") or latex/nylon gloves, and I pay more attention to how I'm holding tools and such.

There are a couple more pieces of equipment on the horizon, like one of these (belt and disc sanding machine):

that will speed certain tasks and make them safer in the process, but the truth is, the majority of my pieces require a special touch that can only happen by hand finishing. It is very time consuming and arduous, but I can literally feel every step of the way and that makes a difference.

Machines are good for certain things, but sometimes the slow route is the best.

Friday
Oct232009

Out of all the pieces you've created, which one means the most to you and why (i.e., technical achievement, most beautiful, personal/emotional significance, etc.)

I have been looking at ancient jewelry for a while. I've always been inspired by some of the beautiful work I've seen that was created hundreds or thousands of years ago by artists with fewer conveniences, or made using tools more crude than I've ever handled. I have found examples of breath-taking pieces made by people in some of the oldest human civilizations recorded. 

This new collection I'm working on will mean the most to me, as previous accomplishments did in their time, as an important step in my evolution as an artist. 

Here are what my fellow artists had to say on the topic:

Angela Baduel-Crispin

Andes Cruz

Tonya Davidson

Lorrene Davis

Tamra Gentry

Lora Hart

Vickie Hallmark

Elaine Luther

Friday
Sep252009

Motivation

"Motivation — what’s inspiring to you about designing and working with jewelry? What excites you enough to create a new item?"

Two words: sparkly. shiny.

I love making beautiful things, and seeing them adorn and be enjoyed by people. My love of shiny metals and sparkling or colorful gem material constantly kindles the desire to create new works. The inspiration is already there, all around me: colors, surfaces and shapes in history, nature, architecture, animals, machinery. 

What motivates me to actually sit down and begin working on a new design, is the feeling that I’ve spent enough time thinking through the details about how a piece should be executed — how I should construct it, how parts will fit together, exactly what materials will be used — and whether or not I have what I need on hand in order to make it happen. 

The real excitement occurs when a piece is complete. The desired result motivates the beginning of the creation. 

What motivates other jewelry artists? Find out what these have to say:

Angela Baduel-Crispin

Tonya Davidson

Lorrene Davis

Tamra Gentry

Lora Hart

Elaine Luther

Friday
May222009

Who Was Your Most Influential Teacher or Artist?

Ladies and gentlemen, it's time once again for our monthly carnival o' blogs...

My most influential teacher was back in high school, which is where I took my first metalsmithing class. Mr. Anderson taught me the basics that I've faithfully put to use for more than two decades. He was influential in that I would otherwise have had little interest in metal work, as at the time I was more interested in painting and photography. His encouragement and sense of humor made trying a completely new medium less daunting. His high standards taught me that "good enough" when it came to care, precision and even safety was not good enough — that cutting corners was to be avoided, period. He always pushed his students to produce the great work he knew was within them, and he pushed me to challenge myself when it came to design, rather than take the simple or easy route that would result in a "lesser" piece.

Since after that time I have been primarily self-taught, it was an easy choice to say this man most influenced my jewelry. 

See what my fellow blogging jewelry artists have to say about their influences:

Tonya Davidson
Lorrene Davis
Tamra Gentry
Lora Hart
Tod Pardon