Monday, January 31, 2011

Circular Thinking

Three rounds, and a heart. Very old-fashioned.

One ivory.
One ebony.
One cream.
One red.
This is what I came up with in my studio session on Sunday. 

And the hand-crocheted lace, to keep it sweet.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Rainy Sunday

It's been very warm here in Cenral Louisiana, and rainy. I'm enjoying the mild temperatures, and I like the sound of the rain on the roof.

This week the hot water heater decided to act up. Home ownership means never lacking a to-do list, right?

Fortunately, it was a simple plumbing pipe fix, and we were back in hot water, in a good way.

I'm relocating some of the jewelry assembly tools to the office in the house, instead of the studio.

I'm thinking that I'm more likely after a week at the regular 9-to-5 to sit in my fuzzy slippers and comfy clothes here at home and make a few pairs of earrings, a bracelet or a necklace, than I seem to be willing to get in the car and go to the studio to do it.
It's an experiment, like relocating the photography setup.

So I put some beads, jewelry pliers and a bench block in a box, and today I'm going to set up a jewelry assembly area here at the house. I gathered up a whole bunch of pewter components I've been wanting to play with, too.

There are still lots of messy, noisy, wet and dusty things that need to stay at the studio.
I don't want all that in my living area.
But hey, how much trouble can I make with some jewelry tools and beads?

Fortunately, my hubby is okay with the idea. He says he likes having me around.
Can you imagine that?

I'll give this a try, and see how it goes. I have a lot of ideas for necklaces, like the one in the photo, that I've been wanting to assemble. Now I can do it in the comfort of my own home!
Sounds silly, but I'm actually excited.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Photo Setup

I'm playing around with how I do my photography of the components. I had the tripod, camera and lights at the house, in front of a window in the studio.

But that means I'm away from the computer, where I do the uploads.
The computer is at the house.

So, if the photos didn't quite work, it's a trip in the car with the camera back to the studio.

A little inconvenient.

On Sunday, I decided to try an experiment.
I set up the photography table at the house next to the computer.

It used to be that way in Saint Louis, down in the basement studio.
That way, if the photos weren't quite right, it was easy to just roll my desk chair back over to the camera tripod setup and shoot again.

I'm not sure the lights are quite right just yet.
That's always the trickiest part.

This pewter charm has a black portrait inset in the center it's hard to get the details on the black background.

I'll have to mess with it some more.

But at least this way, re-shooting won't cause such a delay.
Shoot, upload, test.
Repeat as needed.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


My beautiful grandbaby and I had our first "sleepover" at my house on Friday night.

She is the most energetic, excited, curious being I have ever met.

I need stronger vitamins.

We had fun playing, cooking and visiting. 
I'm in recovery, now that she's gone home.

When was the last time you got to play with silly putty and play-dough, hmmmm??

Friday, January 21, 2011

Giveaway Friday News

Remember the giveaway?
The winner is

Go to the left sidebar and send me an email with your contact info, I'll send you one of my headpins to play with!

I only had 5 takers on that one, I must have sneaked it in under the radar.
But for those five who submitted ideas, if you purchase from the shop before February 1, and put "HEADPINPOST" in the Notes at checkout, you'll get FREE SHIPPING and 10% off your entire order. 

Those were some good ideas you posted, thanks!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cleopatra Was Here

In the batch of rescued buttons that I took molds from for re-casting, there was one that had a profile on it that reminded me of ancient Rome.

Granted, I have a vivid imagination sometimes.

I cast it in pewter, and immediately it struck my fancy.  The pewter emblem is very small and dainty, but distinctive.
I wish I had a fancy phrase in latin to put here!
I took one of my expandable ring forms and made a ring out of it, it fits my pinkie finger without being expanded. But it will enlarge to fit a bigger finger.

When I look at it, it reminds me of ancient Pompeii.

Very worn around the edges, a little pitted. 

Like it was unearthed from an excavation by an archeologist.

These are the fanciful things I think of when I'm casting and putting patina on pewter. How to make it look old and very rare.

Did I make it?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Time Bottle

Remember the post around the holidays, when I showed my polymer clay snowmen bottles?

I have a box of bottles like that, and I was thinking about how they could be hung like a pendant.

On Saturday I took some time in the studio and started to play with one of them.

I made a collar out of wire around the empty glass bottle, and used my solder to solidify it around the neck of the bottle.

Then I made some loops, trying to make it look very old like an antique tonic bottle from long ago, so that chain or a wire wrap can be added to the loops to make it wearable.

With the extra wire, I made two very small loops and joined them to each other on the back side, like a linked chain.

It reminds me of a patent medicine bottle, or something from an herbalists shop or apothecary.

I don't know what might go inside. A snippet of a map, a love letter? Some dyed costume pearls, or gold flakes in resin? Sand from a special beach, with a seashell?

I think I'll list this one in the Etsy shop. Maybe one of you would like to play with it., and make it part of a special story you're telling in jewelry.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Saints of Football

During the holidays, I used some of the cast pewter medallions to make key chains.

This one is for a friend to give to her son.

I took the tag with the medieval lettering on it, with a symbolic icon on it, and added a fleur de lys dangle.

The idea is the Saint for the Saints. Around here, where I'm living now in central Louisiana, the fleur de lys has a very definite symbolism. 

Involving the football team. Who may need extra help this year. Thus the divine intervention.

I wanted to make some gifts that were more masculine, using the cast pewter emblems.
or as they say around here,

Monday, January 17, 2011


In the months since I packed up the studio and relocated, I have not been working in glass as much as I used to.

For the simple reason that I haven't unpacked all the tools for it.

I need to cut and fuse some glass, to make some faux gems.

But I had this one left over from another session, so I finally made it into a connector piece.

I don't know if you're this way, too, but for me it's "out of sight, out of mind" and I forget about things.

I need to go root around in all the boxes in the studio.

Who knows what else I'll find that inspires me! It's like Christmas every day.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Headings, Finials and Giveaway Hearts

Many months ago, I made some headpins, really fancy ones.
Then I didn't make any for a long time.

On Saturday, I looked at my molds and thought, I need to make some more headpins.

I need some myself, for some crystal drops that I want to wire wrap and give a really fancy look.

This Finial headpin has a hole at the top, so it can be added to a chain or wire wrapped bead link, and a briolette or lampwork bead can be put onto the wire at the bottom and wrapped to make a really special finish for it.

The wire is really long, to give plenty of room for wire wrapping, but can easily be cut to shorten if necessary.

I got the top finial really thin but sturdy, so it's light but durable. Love that new belt sander, Yes I Do!

This is another little heart headpin I made on Saturday. It has a cute floral folksy design on it, and a long, long wire tail.

I can see these used with a lovely lampwork bead on top and wire wrapped to make a dangle. I put both of them in the Etsy shop, if you want to play with them in your designs, too. There's also one that looks like the top of a spoon, and one that has an antique key design. Very fun!

If you have suggestions on how you'd use them, post comments here, there will be a giveaway later this week!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Series #3 of "Ask Me, Who Knows"

There are some folks who just grab you, the first instant you're exposed to them. My online friend LeAnn Weih at Summers Pottery is like that.

The more I learn about her, the more amazing she is to me. She does pottery, of course, and makes the most wonderful beads and clay ornaments. Like me, she enjoys combining the things she does together, to blend the multiple media to each other. I admire her, can't you tell?

But she also works in metal of all sorts. She's exceptionally talented, and her work has a warm, folk art feeling to it that I love. 

Besides the fact that she lives in Texas, and I'm a native Texan myself, I feel an affinity for her. 

So when she asked me this question on my blog post a while back, about what people are curious about me and wanted to know, I had to give it lots of thought:

"Lynn, I know you started out as a potter and in other mediums like weaving and fibre as well. Because I started out in a similar way with larger scale work (pottery), I would love to know how and when you made the jump to the small scale of jewelry and components."

It's a kind of long answer, as I've lived a few years and made a few changes along the way! I hope you're interested ....

I studied pottery for several years, intending to be a production potter. Then life happened, as it does to everyone! I had a family started, and with a small baby it was increasingly hard to work in clay. But I craved making things with my hands. I'd always been interested in fiber art, so I switched gears and became a production weaver. The yarn waits for you to return from taking care of children and household much more easily than the wet clay, and doesn't dry out and crack! 

I was a production weaver for several years, making wearables and clothing. I did a lot of dyeing of the yarns, and I spun my own custom yarns. A bit distant from what I'm doing now, but it figures into the progression. I still use my dyeing experience to dye the costume pearls, and I do have lots of hand dyed silk cords that I can use in the jewelry. 

I believe everything ties together somehow,
down the road.

After some years and seasons of doing the wearables, traveling to do several wholesale shows and retail art shows each year, I got weary of the grind. Being on the road is tough, as most of you know! I stopped doing the shows in 1986, after a life change that made me a single mom, and put the life of a creative behind me for a time. The show equipment was heavy, the solo travel was a challenge. For many years I just made things for myself, and for family and friends.

In 1999 I relocated from Texas to Missouri, and made a resolution to begin to be actively creative again. I was ready for a change, something new, without any old history to it. I sold the looms (there were three of them, quite huge, taking up lots of room in the house) to students in the Weaving Department at the Kansas City Art Institute, and learned stained glass from a neighbor.

From Wool to Glass
From Warm to Cool
From Soft to Hard

I knew I didn't want to make windows or lampshades, but I did enjoy the 3-D work, so I made kaleidoscopes and boxes. I learned to cut and solder glass and copper foil. 

Gradually, the pieces got smaller and smaller, and turned into jewelry pendants. It led me to an interest in fusing the glass in a kiln to create faux gems. I took a class in silver metal clay, bought a kiln, and the jewelry started to take over.

Maybe, if I had thought to make beads in ceramic all those years ago, I'd still be a potter, and working in jewelry. But I'm happy I'm doing what I'm doing now. 

I still fancy that I'll bring the fiber part back into the jewelry, to bring all my past creative experiences together.

Why jewelry?
I love wearing it!
Friends enjoy getting it as a gift.
It's small, light and easy to pack and ship - the logistics work for me.
People enjoy adorning themselves.

It's fun!

And I get to meet and mingle with jewelry designers.

And lovely friends, like LeAnn Weih.

and YOU!

Thank you, LeAnn, for your great question, I hope you hung in with me on this story. At my age, any question about my history takes a while to tell, I'm afraid ...There's a bit of it back there!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Remembrance and Reflection

Tomorrow is my day to do the post for Studio Saturday at the Art Bead Scene Blog. I was wondering what I would write about, what's new in the studio.

I found myself reflecting on things that are currently in the news, and how each of us is connected, in so many ways, to others that we may not even know personally.

So I hope you'll drop by the Art Bead Scene blog tomorrow, read the post, and add your comments and tell your thoughts and stories with mine.

It's a new year, yet in so many ways, it's a lot like years past.

I'm hoping somehow things will be better than in years gone by.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Heart Treasury

Down here in the southlands, we're in the deep freeze.
No snow here, at least not yet. But the lows are dipping down, with a dome of cold air hovering over.

This Etsy Treasury has one of my Love Letter Heart charms in it. It's called "Dark Heart" and is very mysterious and moody. 
On Tuesdays and Thursdays every week, my daughter and grandbaby carpool with me into town. One day I drive, the other day my daughter drives.
We take the granddaughter to school, and play her music on the CD player.
Do you know all the words to "The Wheels on the Bus" like I do?

On Sunday I went to the studio for the first time in a week or so. The holidays really take up some time, don't they? I'm always happy when they come, and also happy when they leave.

I guess I should be making plans for the Valentine holiday. I'll start soon. 
In the meantime, if you need a Love Letter Heart, I have those now.
Just in case.
Hey! I just noticed that today is
that doesn't happen every year, huh?

Friday, January 7, 2011

January Challenge at ABS

There's a new Challenge going on over at Art Bead Scene! I just love the colors in this month's inspiration picture. 
You'll find all the info here, if you want to join in the fun. I can imagine lots of ways to capture the spirit of this picture, so it'll be fun to see what you all come up with, too.
Do you make New Year's Resolutions?

Now that the holidays are past, I really want to get back into creativity mode.
I think the best way is to have a sort of schedule or plan.
So that I maximize the use of the limited amount of "open" time I find myself with now.

I have lots of ideas for things I want to do and try this year.
It's also good to keep things flexible, so it's fun and not a chore.

I was thinking of some sort of bead swap or round robin project, to keep things interesting, and give a goal.  If any of you are interested in playing along, or have ideas you've been mulling, post here and let's come up with a 
New Year Swap Design Inspiration!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Rounding the Bend

These are four new designs from the button replicas I've been casting. They are various sizes and designs, but all extremely beautiful, like tiny sculptures.

This one reminds me of a pair of thistles, like the stylized designs I saw in Scotland.

This one has buds, flowers and leaves, swirling around inside the lovely round frame, they resemble tulips in the spring to me.

There are large, medium and small sizes, just like the actual buttons. some are very detailed, I'm so happy with the molds and the results I'm getting.

Sometime this year these will be part of another collaboration magazine article with Deryn Mentock. These are her buttons, and they have quite a story to tell.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying just looking at them. And I have some ideas about how to combine them with some fiber patterns I'm working on. When I get everything together, I'll show them, too.