Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Weekend recovery . . .

Four solid days of holiday shows.  Four straight.  I am totally zapped of energy and it's taken until Tuesday morning for me to feel halfway lucid.

Great fun, beautiful location, wonderful friends and a totally super way to start the Holidays.

The first one Wednesday was a one night Patron's Party Holiday Open House at The Sheldon Gallery on the campus of the University of Nebraska and it was elegant and low key.  Such fun to see the people who are responsible for the Gallery's existence and the Sheldon was beautiful.  Huge arching windows and travertine floors in the entry hall - it was lovely.

The three-day show is the one I organize along with my friend Jan, that is a fundraiser for The People's Health Center of Lincoln and we had a cool yule location for our artists this year - atrium space where the old Russell Stover Candy Factory used to be with exposed brick walls and open to the fourth floor and skylights.  We had a good crowd for the Patron's Party Thursday and Friday's Gallery Walk in the middle of the Haymarket area was crowded!  We are happy to have raised substantial monies for the People's Health Center in spite of the nasty weather that descended on us Saturday morning.  

Five inches of freezing rain and snow.

The way it ended Saturday.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Looking for Elvis, or elves, or any help at all, please . . .

True.  I've been away from the blogosphere for months now but trying to juggle so much just gives me fits.  My muse has wandered through occasionally; however, not with any constancy so I have to wrestle her to the ground whenever she strolls casually through.  So much has been on my bench.  So much.

Project: a ring of jade given to me by a friend last summer who wanted a necklace for her tweenage granddaughter.  It was to be my choice of design and when I took one look at the ring, it spoke to me.  (Well, my muse but dammit, she's been so busy lately.)  It needed to be youthful so I gave it a scalloped bezel and it needed to be current so I gave it a peace sign and it needed some texture for contrast so I hammered it.  (Okay I melted it once.  Just once.  Things don't always go as I want.)

My dear friend also gave me a little bag of rings and old earrings to play with and I found these moonstone cabs to be so lovely and a great size for a pair of dark and swingy earrings.  I set the moonstone in scalloped bezel and built a scalloped wall around the circle of silver.  Darkened a bit with silverblack and buffed on the edges to give it some life, I drilled out the backside of the stone's bezel so the light shone through.  I think I may work this design a few more times.  (Please love it!)

Special orders went out late last week for aquamarine sets and I used up all of the chunky aquamarine I had left for this hefty necklace, save for a few pieces that turned into earrings.

Next week : one big three day charity show that I am the organizer for along with a friend who I feel does even more than I do to prepare for the artists and the benefit evening.  It will be a wonderful Thursday, Friday and Saturday but I'm seriously looking forward to Sunday the 4th.  Also to go out in one week is work for an Omaha Gallery and there is a two day show at The Sheldon Gallery on the University of Nebraska campus Wednesday and Thursday just prior to the three day event.  Oh, did I mention that there is a four hour show at a local business on the 8th?  No?  Oh yes.

Help me Elves.  Or help me Elvis, either one.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Dragonfly wings . . .

Montana Agate - Dragonfly Wing
Since my first post last week mentioning Rachel's real dragonfly pendant, I've been itching to get another necklace made from the beautiful Montana Agate on my bench.  I have a handful of little palm-sized slabs that I saved from the 'dollar bin' at a gem and mineral show and I've been cutting and polishing whenever I get an hour to play - not often enough.

Lately, I've been in the midst of working a batch of things for the local galleries and have felt rather 'production-ish' from time to time so I took a couple of hours last night to set this slice of 'dragonfly wing'.

Set with an open back, this is yet another stone and pendant that just glows.  

I'm so pleased with it.  Delicate and substantial at once - nothing showy or ostentatious but simple and clean-lined.  Not only is it a divine stone and setting, I've scratched the itch to create a thing of beauty.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Zinnia Zen.spiration . . .

Now that the weather is cooling a bit and things aren't struggling to survive - yes, even the heat loving zinnia struggled to catch a breath in August - the buds are prolific on the zinnia and marigold and even the daylilies are sending up a scape or two.  In fact, there are a few daylilies that are sprouting new growth on the scapes and I couldn't be more tickled!  Quick and easy new plants without coaxing seedlings!

The buds on the zinnias are things I'd never contemplated but as I was deadheading and saving seed heads for next year (yikes!  I'm already thinking 'next year'!?!), these buds reminded me of eyeliner (I know, my brain goes in funny directions) and how precise the edges are.  Nature doesn't get terribly sloppy but seems to have a sense of purpose and direction and a reason for doing what it does.  There's a protection in the tightness of the bud and a slow unfolding in a uniform manner.
Nature unfolding as it should

The rhythm of the scallops inspire me to move my metalwork in a softer, more rhythmic direction - somehow in metalwork, we anticipate a hard edge and softening the edges is the unexpected.  

Softening, protecting and unfolding.  Words for the day.  

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dragonfly wings . . .

It was a revelation of sorts.  

My darling friend Rachel 'Two Dog Pond' dropped by last week to take a look at my torch and haul off my wrought iron outdoor bench and table (okay, you didn't really need that information) and she had on the most interesting and lovely necklace that I'd seen in a while.  She had found a dragonfly wing down by the pond (yes, there really is a pond) and sandwiched it between two pieces of glass, worked her magic by soldering it between the glass pieces and made a pendant.  My comment to her was that it looked so much like the Montana Agate that I've been working with that I begged her to let me copy it.  So here you have the first in a series of Dragonfly Wings.

My first pendant is not set with an open back - rather, it's been pierced with two cattails that are only visible from the front when held to the light.  Still, I like having hidden elements in my jewelry so that when one comments on the piece, it opens a conversation to show them the back and start a little info sharing about the jewelry.  Maybe it's just me - I can talk to anyone and don't always need an excuse.

I digress.  This is a nice, simple pendant and I'm absolutely itching to dig deeper into the pile of Montana Agate and recreate the Dragonfly Wings in stone.  Lovely.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Stinking Water Plume Agate . . .

Weird name
And a new leaf is turned - I'm finally getting my etsy shop back up and running.  I've ignored it for a long time and now that Summer is drawing down, I am bound and determined to get my new work listed.  

Gorgeous stone
I also will be listing the stones I've cut and polished and generally just thinning the herd.  Why?  Well, I attended the auction for my friend, Roger Pabian, who passed away this Spring.  A world-class published author and authority on agates, Captain Agate's house was full to the brim with agates in all shapes and sizes, in slabs, rough and polished stones.  

Roger taught me lapidary and I believe that's why I'm so picky about my cabs and how they are finished.  One scratch and it's all the way back to the beginning wheels for me.

His auction showed me just how much a person can accumulate - and I mean that in a nice way - and how little a person can actually use on their own no matter their intent.  Now that I've polished and loved on these little stones, it's time for someone to create something of beauty with each one.  I'll never get to them all.

I'll look at them this way : I don't own any of these stones.  I'm only the caretaker and when I've enjoyed them and taken pride in their beauty, it will be time for them to move on to the next caretaker.  Just promise me that if you buy one, you'll send me pictures of your finished product.  And then you'll be the new caretaker.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Weekend inspiration . . .

Montana Agate : can you see the circling hawk as she is being dive-bombed by the sparrow?
I've said this before but it keeps coming up in my day-to-day - I am easily distracted and working on it should truly be Priority One.  As if I've been forced, I've spent the last few days at my lapidary bench, dusting and cleaning cobwebs and finally finishing a big project (at least big for me) since I have had a few slabs on my 'promise list' for almost a year now.  I cleaned up the workspace, turned on the radio and hunkered down for trimmin' and cabbin' and I didn't come up until it was over.  And now I find myself renewed and inspired once again to get back to what I truly love - lapidary and metalwork.

Here are the pieces of Montana Agate that have been staring at me for months on end, taunting me to start/finish them for Christine.  Plugged in to the Genie, I saw them through yesterday morning and off they went Priority Mail to Michigan.  I do hope she loves them but it's more important personally that they really did inspire me to stay at the bench just a little longer and I turned out four more gorgeous cabs that have me itching to get back into the metalshop tomorrow.  Sunday - an entire day at my metalwork.  Itching.

For the last several months I've been distracted by enamels and don't get me wrong here, I've thoroughly enjoyed learning and experimenting with them but I think I've been focusing too much on enamels alone and not how I might incorporate that into my 'true' work.  The work that gives me satisfaction and huge pride.  As I progress through the stone and metalwork, I hope to find a way to blend all of this newness into beautiful pieces of adornment.

Nebraska through and through
Take a look at these two lovely pieces of unnamed jasper that I cut and trimmed yesterday and tell me you don't see lovely scenes in both.  The shield shaped one clearly has a tornado reaching for the prairie and you can see the horizon spread out ahead of you - the Nebraska Sandhills.
Praire cloudburst
The smaller lozenge of a jasper cab is another prairie landscape, this time a summer rainshower as the sunshine on the right gives way to the isolated cloudburst.  (I do wish the picture was better but I'm trying to not be distracted by learning photography, I guess.  *wistful smile*)

Maybe another time I'll figure out why I'm so distracted by other projects and things and stuff ('Oh look . . . a kitty . . . ') but for now, I'm feeling more at ease with my direction once again.  Lord, keep my nose pointed forward.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Copperlicious . . .

I'm seriously hooked on copper right now.  Maybe it's the way it accents the stones I've been working with or maybe it's the warmth of the metal.  Either way, it's been fun to make my own bezel strips with copper flashing and use up some of the copper wire I've had leftover from the building of our house.  (I just couldn't resist following the electrician around and picking up pieces of coated wire.  He thought I was nuts).

This is the second piece going to Lil Fish Lisa for her niece who found the Lake Superior agates on her trip to Lisa's this summer.  I pierced the Loon on the Lake on the back of the piece as the loon is the State Bird of Minnesota - and you thought it was the mosquito.

Lovely mementos.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Back to the bench . . .

I dusted the cobwebs off the Genie and the trim saw yesterday and became inspired all over again - reminded of how much fun it is to take a little nugget of red rock and coax a lovely little polished cabochon out of it.  It is indescribably rewarding to make a piece of jewelry that I have taken from rough rock through to the finished product, set it and admire it.  Better yet, have others admire it.

This time, my friend Lisa sent me two little nuggets of Lake Superior Agate that her niece had found on her visit to Lisa's home in Minnesota this summer.  She wanted them set as a keepsake to remind her of her trip.
I sliced, polished and set the first one completely in copper and I must say - I really like the way this bracelet turned out.  From beginning to end, completely handmade.  I made the bezel strip from 26ga sheet copper flashing and the raised edge from copper wire left from an electrical project in my drafting room and a length of copper wire chain.  A little carnelian dangles from the end where the hook holds it all together.
I am well pleased with myself.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I swore I wouldn't do this . . .


Okay, I had another basal cell carcinoma removed from my jawline last week.  Yep, the exact spot where another one was removed three yeas ago.  The first one was just a small dark spot on my left cheek on the surface but when he got in there and started digging around, it was the size of a silver dollar under the surface.  Out it came.

Three years later it gets a little lumpy and back I go for another look/see.  Yep, there that little cancer is once again so in we go and 2.5 hours later I'm minus a piece from my cheek about the size of your little finger.  Lovely.  Still, I'm enormously grateful to my darling plastic surgeon/oral surgeon for his 'pickiness' in making me the nicest scar possible.  Stitches out Thursday =-)

And now for something completely different :: Lake Superior Agates.  They're always a surprise and yes, I'm dusting off the lapidary equipment and getting back to some cutting and polishing.  Those of you to whom I've been promising cabs for far, far too long - here they come.  This time I mean it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Before they're gone for another year . .

Bright Sunset
Abstract Art
Bertie Ferris

Calypso Coral

Cimarron Knight
Fairy Tale Pink

Lavender Greeting

Baby Talk

Sugar Candy


Friday, July 22, 2011

Friends . . .

I can't let this pass without a heartfelt, grateful 'thank you' to my dear friend Lisa who sent this lovely care package earlier this week.  And what a week to send a boxful of wonderful - I really needed that.

I am so in love with this brooch that I can hardly wait to wear it with my Fall jacket where it will be the perfect accent.  The scene is exactly 'Nebraska' where the fields of wheat have just been cut in the last two weeks.  Gorgeous scenes in each one of her creations - I want them all!

The jelly is to die for, made from yellow sorrel which I remember chewing on when I was just a kid.  The little yellow flowers have a lemony tang but the jellies have more of a flowery, summer sweetness.  I'll be lucky to get another taste since my husband found it on the counter next to the toaster!

Wonderful friends I have.

Thank you, dear Lisa.  I'm so lucky.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sweet Chicory Blue . . .

Here in Nebraska we can always count on something blooming from the Spring through Fall, weed or cultivated planting, and one of those perennial weeds is chicory.  Sweet blue chicory, the color is a perfect match for the clear summer sky and the blossom is simple and daisy-like.  Small and so lovely, I created this pendant with the chicory in mind.  

I already had the beautiful bit of Holley Blue Agate in my stash and I knew that it would be perfect for my donation to The Lux Gallery for a fundraiser in September.   I wanted a simple setting yet something with a little surprise.  This is what I came up with - straightforward box bezel with a balled-end bail on top, the actual bail a pinned flower, all handforged.  Nothing premade.  

For the surprise, I pierced the backside and sawed two little chicory flowers which show through the glow of the stone if held up to the light.  A 'Show and Tell' necklace as this will never be apparent when being worn, of course.  Our secret.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Daylilies and such stuff of summer . . .

Hot.  I'm trying hard not to complain about the excessive heat we have experienced the last few weeks.  It's not snow and ice and I'm not wearing three layers of socks and I'm not constantly tugging my coat out of the car door so I'm a happy girl.  Hot but happy.

Summer means daylily blooms and I anticipate this time of year for such a long time, daydreaming in January of all of the beautiful blooms and lush greenery.  I'm posting a stream of lusciousness and letting the photos speak for themselves.

Welcome to our home.

The Hippie Entrance

Sugar Candy
Marse Connell

Mary Todd

Tropic Tangerine
Bright Sunset

Hot Toddy

Blackberry Candy
Double Daffy

Laddie Boy

American Indian

Siloam David Kirchoff

Unnamed seedling from a dear old friend in Rye, Colorado
I'm calling it Friends to the End
Who are you again?

Mauna Loa

Rocket City

Real Wind

Double Daffy

Fires of Fuji
Old Fashioned Orange