Saturday, October 31, 2009

Spooks and Goblins

Happy Halloween!

The skullies I made this month have found homes, I hope they (and their owners!) are having a fun and safe All Saint's Eve celebration.

And I hope you and your family do, too!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Feelings on the Sleeve

Last weekend I made this resin word charm, it has the word "HEARTFELT" inside and behind it are script writing and a floral design. I think the flowers are lilies or hollyhocks.

The heart-shaped pewter was cast to go along with it, to frame it and make it very ornamental.

Someone recently emailed me a very nice message, and the last few words were to let me know that the kind words were all "heartfelt" - and it made me think of making a sweet pendant to capture that thought, that feeling.

Of feeling something profoundly. From the heart, with depth. Heartfelt. Encompassing.

The heart shaped resin is highly domed, the pewter has a copper-bronze tone finish to it.

It's sweet and feminine, and although it's generous in size, still lightweight.

Like the generous heart that inspired it - large and light, like all my on-line friends and supporters. Light as feathers, sweet as summer blossoms.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Anchored in the Past

The pewter intrigues me. Learning to cast it and make shapes for use in the designs is something I've wanted for a long time.

I'm still learning how to do things with it. What works, and what doesn't.

Different finishes that work with it, how to make things look aged and worn. That faux vintage, faux-tique look I enjoy.

Bright finishes, darkened finishes.

These two charms were cast in the same mold, they look similar.

One has a shiny, polished pewter finish.

The other has a darkened, pitted worn look.

I don't always know when I cast them which one will work best. And I do like both. The piece signals which one it should have.


I put a few things on SALE in both Etsy shops, if you've had your eye on something you might pop over and see if your favorite has had a reduction, before the end of the month and the FREE SHIPPING in US and Canada gets past you!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Honoring History

I watched a long documentary about the history of WWII recently.

That may be what has me thinking about these particular designs and styles.

When the pewter is polished, it has such a beautiful brilliant shine.

I have been thinking about history, our parts in it, and what each generation faces.

Some things as old as time.

Others brand new, a learning time.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Artifacts of the City of Lights

I've been making some Paris-inspired items lately. See the words in the oval charm, "PARIS CHAMPS ELYSEES" and the name and address of an old hotel, who knows if it's still there? "HOTEL AVENIDA" might just be dusty history...

Travel items interest me. I wish I could transport myself to a french flea market, to find little tidbits and goodies.

With an unlimited expense account, of course!

I make some things thinking that they might be like actual antiques and mementos that could be found on a search of a Paris flea market.

Things with the Eiffel Tower, without doubt.

Hotel advertising emblems.

Since I can't go in person, I send my imagination.

No jet lag, no ticket, no passport. Just an imaginary stroll through foggy, misty streets.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Some of you may remember, a few years back I took a memorable trip to Scotland with friends. Excellent!

I did spend the end of the trip in Glasgow, before the airplane trip back to the midwest.

I enjoyed the ornate, decorative look to things, and the way the architecture looks back to very vintage times.

Simple and luxurious.

I promised myself when I came back that I'd try to continue some of the activities from the trip.

A cocktail in the evening.

Dinner by candlelight in small glass tea light holders.

A sip of tea in the afternoons.

Sometimes I remember, sometimes I get too busy and I forget or postpone them.

Travel broadens. It changes things.

How to think about the speed of life, the things that are important.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday School Flashback

Remembering childhood days, it came back to me when I found this piece of spiritual art that reminds me of the images in church classes on Sunday mornings.

The faded image, with sweet colors and a special kind of vintage look.

I made this focal bead with the idea in mind that it would make a lovely bracelet, but it also could be used for a choker. Or as something totally unrelated to jewelry, like the jewel on the cover of a hand bound book or family photo album.

The resin covering the vintage image took on a sparkling effect as it cured. I don't always know when it will do it, but it seems just right for this particular image.

It's subtle and sweet, a trip back to old times and days gone by.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Crosses and Writing From History

I have a book I brought back from the trip to Ireland. It's all about the Book of Kells.

I was able to see actual pages of the real thing, when visiting the library of Trinity College.

So I made a few small cross shapes, with writing that looks like a medieval script.

The other side has a linear drawing, and some have writing from the Book of Kells.

I like celtic designs, and things that look ancient. Usually I make just one at a time, but I decided to make four.

In different colors.

Might be fun for holiday ornaments, or to make a bookmark for a special book. Starting to think about the holidays, are you?

I am. I feel pressured already - I'm behind!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Lovers of Art Medallion

I have some older hardback books, the kind with a cloth cover and fancy gold lettering on the front. One has images of stylized flowers on it.

I wanted this medallion to look like it was cut from the cover of one of those old books.

It wasn't, I made it from scratch. I really don't like to take them apart, even if they're in bad shape. I think they're special just as they are found.

This medallion has the words "Should be Read by" and then a list, including "Students and all Lovers of Art" - I thought the lettering and decoration was very historic and vintage looking.

The back has french script, the word "London" is very visible. Like the cover interior of an old book.

It has a hole at each corner and one at the bottom. Maybe for attaching to a collage with brads, or for jump rings. It might be attached to ribbon and used as a special bookmark, or could be good looking as a handbag ornament. Or definitely wearable, if you enjoy very vintage looking items.

At any rate, it reminds me of old books in a library shelf, a little musty and with a font that's not common any more. But interesting because of its unique style.

P.S. - If you are interested in a shot at winning one of my resin word charms, you still have time today to post a reply at the Art Bead Scene blog on my Studio Saturday post from last week ... but today is the last chance before the winner is announced!


My maternal grandmother had old books around the house when I was growing up, they had the hardback covered in cloth bindings. The paper in them wasn't high cotton content and they had yellowed and the pages were brittle. I remember Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys.

I have an idea to make some journals with handmade covers. If I can't sleep (and I've been up again since 3:00 am today, wish that would ease up some) I get up and work on a few things before I have to leave the house for the regular day.

My fingers are crossed that I won't have to go into the office on the weekend ... so I can go in the studio for a good long session.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I'm making these little house shapes, with windows cut into them.

On the reverse is a map design.

In case directions are needed, on the way home.

I was thinking for key chains. House Keys. Get it?

My bad puns.

But they could be worn as jewelry. Click your heels together, say "There's no place like home" and wish yourself away.

The leaves are beginning to turn color, the sky has been misty and foggy this week. I feel a little foggy because of scheduling, deadlines and projects at the day job. Insommnia has settled in too, guess it's time to cut off the caffeine for a few days, take the dog for a long walk.

The yellow, red and orange trees are inspiring. This time of year is like the grand finale from summer, before the greys and snows of winter settle in for the long cold season.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Special Necklace of Spirit

It takes me a while to put finished jewelry together. I feel it's a little of a luxury for me to spend time that way, instead of making components.

On Sunday I spent a few hours putting this necklace together. I had made three pewter components and I wanted to put them together.

Once I got started, I thought it would be fun to make a really special necklace.

The icon medallion is used at the clasp, with glass beads and a dangle. To make the closure kind of fun.

I had some silver chain with a dark patina, to use in combination with the main focal.

The beads in the dangle from the main focal use several beads of carved bone that were brought to me by someone I knew years ago. I haven't used them, they felt too special. But this piece called for them.

One is a carved elephant design. The other looks like a floral, or a crossed circle.

The dangle bead is a crown with fleur de lys, with a picasso finished bright red glass heart bead for the dangle.

I wanted it to feel like something from an ancient culture, maybe Tibetan or ancient Egyptian Coptic.

There are dark and light, red and coppertoned elements.

It hangs in a sort of diamond shape, with the center dangle being the longest of the three.

I really like how it turned out. I am thinking of putting a word or phrase on the top pewter piece, if something comes to me that tells the whole story of the necklace. It has a lot of movement and interesting areas to fiddle with fingers, texture for the eye and feeling for the skin.

And it has a tiny bit of a gothic, romantic feeling to it also. As though it was found in a castle in Transylvania.

Fun to make, fun to wear. I won't let myself feel guilty for spending the time making it - otherwise it wouldn't exist as it does now. And that's something special.

From my thoughts, through my hands, to reality.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rose is a Rose by Any name

Roses are my birth flower.

My birthday is mid-summer, right before Flag Day.

I like to raise miniature rose bushes, I used to have a pink and a red in the herb garden by the Gulf Coast.

I haven't had any miniature roses for a couple of summers now. Next spring I need to be sure to get at least one. A good time to find them is February near Valentine's day holiday.

This brooch pin has a floral rose on it and the word "ROSE" in the resin charm.

To keep flowers on the mind when the cold weather returns.

It has a beautiful vintage style frame around it with a coppery-bronze patina on it.

It's a lovely oversized brooch pin, but versatile because it can have a chain attached to the two decorative loops on the top to make it a necklace, to wear around the neck.

Or pin to a coat lapel or scarf.

To keep roses in bloom, when the snows start to fly.


Do you ever feel scared, frightened in this economy? I do sometimes. I always do my best at the job, but it's easy to wonder sometimes. I hear stories, I see things that happen to other people.

It's a mental struggle, staying on track. Focused on what needs me.
Questioning myself, decisions made that still have long shadows.

Wondering what's the next chapter in this book of life. You know?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Come On Over, The Door's Open

I'm late getting to this, thanks for waiting up for me.

The Random Number Generator picked the number 6 - That's Joanna!

Use the link on the left sidebar, Joanna, to send me your contact information in email, and thanks to everyone who played along. Your ideas are a bit intimidating, but all together inspiring too.

Gotta go finish some more projects around the house ...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Make Art

I made a resin and pewter focal with four loops, two on each side. I'm experimenting with how to add the loops and construct the focals. Immediately I thought of making a bracelet with it.

The words inside, "MAKE ART," are a reminder and a wish.

See the costume pearls and the carved bone beads? I dyed them to create those colors, that's why each bead and pearl has a slightly different intensity and a very vintage rose color.

This bracelet is easy to wear, it slips on with stretchy cord and hugs nicely to the wrist.

I can even wear it on the right-hand side arm! The one that makes the millions of mouse clicks all day ...


I got up early this morning and did two more loads of laundry (yes, I'm still catching up!) and did housework (dusting, vacuuming, you know the kind of thing) and baked bannana-nut muffies in the muffie pan.

Now I'm headed to the studio to get paint all over my hands, put on my safety goggles and maybe make some fine silver charms to put into the kiln.

I have to make myself do the maintenance stuff first - if I get lost in the 'ZONE' downstairs in the studio, it seems to go from noon to midnight in no time. Where did the day go.... ?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Family Tree, Leaf and Stem Giveaway

I promised a giveaway for the folks who gave me ideas about what I might like to teach, to think about preparing a class. It seems crazy at the moment with the time shortage to even think about teaching.

People ask me, though. Someone I admire asked me about Art and Soul, and I had to say that I wasn't ready or prepared. It made me feel good, though.

Maybe one of these days I could think about a big event like that. Right now I'm just thinking about something in my own studio, my messy creativity place.

This is a substantial element, with an old-time photo of two fellows sitting together and the word "FAMILY" on the front, and a small pewter leaf at the bottom. One of the fellows is smiling, and the other looks very serious. It makes me wonder if they were brothers, or somehow related. They sort of look alike a bit. I was thinking of a family tree. That's why the crest at the top, like a family banner or heraldic emblem.

It could be put on top of a keepsake box as an ornament, or used as a decoration on the holiday wreath or tree. I can see it on the front of a handmade book, the back is plain so nothing would be covered up if it is used that way.

It has a wire loop at the top and bottom. If I was attaching it to a piece of jewelry, I'd use them with some heavy chain, and maybe something interesting for a dangle on the bottom. You might have an even better idea.

On Monday, I'll do a random number generator for this Family Tree focal bead to see who will win it. So if you have any great ideas for classes, go to the earlier post and let me know. I've left it open.

I hope you like this piece - it's sort of my idea of a collage unit, and for the first time I combined the polymer clay, resin and the cast pewter all together.

Today is my turn at Studio Saturdays on the Art Bead Scene Blog - if you post a reply to the question that's posed, you may win a little resin word charm.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Double Cross

I enjoy the look of spiritual icons, and nautical emblems. They seem to have a secret history they could tell.

The books I'm reading, the movies I happen to watch (when I have two hours of sitting time for a movie, that is) have a definite impact on what I create.

I have several items in polymer clay, ready for me to start adding the color and polishing. But I haven't had time to sit down with them yet.

The fun is in letting the color palatte shape itself, the paints and brushes guiding themselves. Like these crosses, mounted on oval backgrounds.

Until at some point, the eye says - "that's it - stop" and it's time to leave well enough alone.

Folks have asked about that, how to know when a piece is "done" and it's time to stop.

I'm not sure what the answer to that question might be, but I do know that I can tell when I went too far. When I didn't stop in time.

Sometimes I start over, and other times I let the piece go and be what it has become. It might become a background, just providing an element of support or hints of a story, not the first thing the eye sees, but still needed.

With the cast pewter as the main element and character, right up front.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Novels, Compasses, Charts and Stories of Seas

When I have a few minutes, I'm reading another book translated from spanish by the Spanish author Arturo Pérez-Reverte. This one is titled "The Nautical Chart" and it has aspects of many things that interest me.

And apparently, affect what I create.

The book was published in 2000, with the english translation in 2001. It's a good translation, and the parts that should still be in spanish have been kept that way.

It has suspense and mystery, sailing and navigation. A bit of a mix of "The Maltese Falcon" and "Treasure Island" with a tiny bit of "Moby Dick" mixed in for fun.

I didn't know it had been made into a movie, and may not try to get it to watch. The reviews from the NY Metro and the Observer of the book are good, but some reviews of the movie not as great. That happens sometimes.

So out of that atmosphere I've been inspired to make these items that look like compass designs. And some of the crosses have maps in the background, like a sailor's keepsake.

I haven't finished the book yet, but it deals with auctions, nautical museums, sunken ships, treasure hunting and locating mystery items on maps and charts. Right up my alley. I hope the ending is good. It's so annoying when you're enjoying a read, and the end lets you down, as though it wasn't quite finished but the author stopped writing at the wrong spot.

So far I can recommend it. I can't give away the ending, I haven't gotten there myself yet; if those subjects interest you, check it out.