Monday, February 23, 2009

Twigs Earrings...

These are very simple earrings that match the Twigs bracelet... but I think I will make them again and add a round, crystal bead. Perhaps they need a little bit of weight!

Friday, February 20, 2009


I don't know if it's strange or not to name my jewelry pieces, but it is one way to identify them.  The other day someone was talking about my botanical pendants, and I just wasn't sure which pieces until we agreed they were the "Botanical Ingots".

So, I am beginning to make chains.  My goal is to come up with 10 original designs - including variations on a theme.  Here is my first one named "Twigs".  The pieces inside the rings have quite a bit of movement, and look like they should simply slide out.  But because of how they are connected to each other, they can't... a bit of an optical illusion.  I guess this bracelet will be worn for beauty and interest, not necessarily for comfort.  It reminds me of wearing my coral twig necklaces...a definite commitment to form and color, not necessarily comfort!  My next chain will be a variation on this theme, without so much poke!  I am presently working with sterling wire, so I will need to figure out how to end the twigs... until I experiment with fine silver wire. I will be putting this on my website, with matching earrings.

Friday, February 13, 2009


I am interested in making chains.  The problems with chains - the challenges of making chains - have to do with how they move and function in space.  It is sometimes difficult for me to design a three dimensional object... to visualize how it will move.  An additional variable is how something will drape and lay on the body.

For now, as I sketch and make aesthetic decisions, I am thinking of links as components.  Each component can be a link, or a series of  links.  I'm thinking that if the components work well and move well together, then multiples of them will also work.  That is how I am approaching this problem - challenge. 

My challenge will be to design and make chains that are comfortable and beautiful...that have a flow of movement, are strong, and have good proportions - either as necklaces or bracelets.  I am thinking of botanical themes... 

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Well Worth the While

After learning how to hand engrave precious metal, I quickly discovered that the optimal surface to cut is flat in both directions.  I learned how to cut on the curve and a curve heading both directions, but it was stressful beyond words.  Thus, the seven-sided ring was born, providing seven opportunities to practice layout and improve cutting skills.

I made this ring by first carving a cylindrical wax and then filing seven even sides flat.  After casting, each side was treated as a window pane, with a deep frame cut around each rectangle.  One side shows my monogram, and stylized flowers (there's that botanical theme!) fill the remaining six sides.

Only two additional 14k gold rings like this one were made - one for my Mother - with her monogram and flower choices for each pane, and one for my Mother's best friend.  She chose for her monogram cursive/feminine letters, and her husband's monogram, with more masculine block letters. Her flower choices were symbolic and personal.

When we greet each other over the holidays she reminds me that she wears her ring every day.

The time that I put into these pieces was extensive.  The satisfaction of making something that is beautiful and meaningful, and will be handed down to daughters' daughters is immense... well worth the while.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Two Queens

When I was young, my parents decided that we should travel instead of buying life insurance.  It was a gamble, but one that provided us with lasting memories and some world knowledge.... and, a life-long love of traveling.

When I was eight we sailed to England on the Queen Elizabeth and sailed home on the Queen Mary.  I still remember swimming in the saltwater pool (for the cabin class travelers), the cinema theatre, and the ability to try new food without fear of being stuck with my selection.  Shuffle board, deck chairs, and getting seasick were also part of this experience.  My experiences of traveling to all corners of Great Britain are another story.  Priceless!

When Annie and I visited California last year, we had the chance to tour the Queen Mary in Long Beach.  What a cool experience remembering times I had on board 47 years ago!  The beautiful Art Deco touches were still there. 

While on board in 1963, I purchased enamel pins of the Queens, which at that time probably cost about $2.50.  While they may be more valuable now, I would never give them up because of the memories they hold.  Why does one pin face one direction and the other face the opposite direction?  One traveled to England, the other traveled home.