It’s Been a Long Time!

As 2016 is drawing to a close, I realize that, while I did not manage to make it the year that my shop became successful, I DID manage to hone my skills and determine exactly what it is that I want to accomplish with my art. I have turned my jewelry design in a brand new direction and have settled in to metal smithing.

I have thus far, been working predominantly in copper. The colors I can achieve are really amazing but I have a very long way to go before I can say that I actually have any control over the outcome.

When I started, I was more interested in the shapes I could form and had not realized the full potential of the copper. I will be working more towards fold forming and color combined in one piece, There is still A LOT to learn,

My shop will go back into full sale mode beginning next year. I also have three other shops under my thumb: one for my illustrations, one for my personal journey and one for the extra supplies I have lying around that I no longer need. So busy is going to be my new name! Stay tuned!


Rock Hounding

We recently purchased our first travel trailer. I am not exactly sure how it happened. If you ask me, I will tell you that I just woke up one morning and decided that we needed one. I am sure it was more complicated than that, but I know that from the time the idea struck me until we were backing it into our driveway only about two weeks had passed.  I have a congenital condition that makes is impossible to sleep on the ground any more and perhaps I was just really missing camping. What ever it was, we are now the proud owners of a Jayco, Baja Edition trailer.Travel Trailer

The Baja Edition just means that it has extra clearance and truck tires; perfect for going off road. Maybe the idea started when my father sent us back to Oregon last year with boxes of mineral specimens that he and my mother had collected over the years. She is a geologist and he is a geophysicist, so I grew up with a deep curiosity surrounding all things “rock”. My husband introduced me to Oregon Sunstone a few years ago and we had always wanted to go and find some ourselves but hotel rooms are scarce in the middle of BLM land.

I am positive that my parents involvement with rocks is what has spurred my desire to make jewelry. Many moons ago, I was sure I would grow up to be a gemologist but life does not always dish out what you want. We had already done a day trip collecting Thunder Eggs which, for those of you who are unfamiliar, are volcanic burps that harden before they hit the ground and thus are very round. Over time, the centers turn to various forms of quartz. Geodes are relatively well known as are picture agate, but the ones we have here are mostly iron infused jasper. That is another story.

Our first trip with the trailer was to Glass Butte, Oregon where we picked up a tidy collection of obsidian. That is also another story as I have not managed to sort through those rocks yet.

So, I will show you pictures of our second trailer trip and third rock collecting excursion. This trip we went to Congleton Hollow.

Congleton Hollow

We chose this camp site because we could watch both the sunrise and the sunset. The goal of this trip was to find limb casts. Limb casts are not the same as petrified wood. They are formed when a volcano erupts sending hot ash into the air. This ash lands on the trees and quickly hardens into a cement like substance. Because it is hot, it also sets the tree on fire burning it away. What is left, is a hole in the shape of a tree. Over millennia, mineral laden water percolates through the castings, leaving behind, well, minerals which fill the castings. Then, over MORE time, the freezing and thawing of the ground, pushes these limb casts towards the surface where folks like us can wander around and, with hope, find them.

At first, we had NO idea what to look for, so we wandered around rather aimlessly, but then they started to reveal themselves and our eyes adjusted to focus better on our goal.

Limb Casts

So here they are. Most are agate, all are some form of quartz. I have yet to wash them and see how pretty they really are. The green is from copper, which you see everywhere there.

Now I need to turn one into a necklace.

Making and Making More

I promised my two youngest nieces that I would make each of them a new sweater for Christmas. That, of course never happened. So, instead, They each got a hat and an IOU. Now I am frantically trying to get two sweaters done before the intended recipients outgrow them or summer arrives. The problem is, that I make everything without a pattern, so my ideas have a way of growing and growing to the point where I feel like I have bitten off more than I can chew, sometimes. Here is the youngest niece’s sweater….12654262_1118210181545667_6805026182586991575_n

The only problem is that it STILL isn’t finished. After this photo, I decided to add an under layer of yellow to the bottom hem and the when I had it all washed and pressed, I realized that I had moved the hem a full 2 inches off on one side. My husband said to send it any way but I can’t….so…….snip….snip…….sigh.

 

Drawings by Day

I joined one of those “100 drawings in 100 days” groups on Facebook. It was not until after I joined that I realized that most of the assignments were a bit juvenile and not something I would waste my time drawing. “Draw your favorite Pokemon” comes to mind…..I also was soon to discover that other than the moderator, I was the only other artist who took the bait. No thank you. I am, however, going ahead with the idea and using the list I was given as a template. So, drum foll please, the first assignment was to draw yourself….oh hell….no one like this one, but I guess it is best to get it over with. Here ya go.

10301940_10208795525628252_2664771367409869270_nIt got cropped kinda funny. I had to upload it from my phone to Facebook and then to my Chromebook, so you get what you get. The next drawing will be of my favorite animal!!!

Clean up and New Postings.

Happy New Year!!! Now that my shop is “up and running”, it is time to start clearing out old inventory and posting the new things that I am working on. Many of my older pieces will inevitably be scrapped as my skill level keeps improving and the materials I chose are of better quality. Some, like this bracelet, however, will be added to my shop and priced for what I hope is a quick sale.Turquoise chip bracelet

I have been working hard on solving some of the engineering issues for hanging raw crystals from used bullet casings. I had an “ah-ha!” moment the other day and now am buzzing right along. Those will be posted at a later date.

In the meantime, I am trying to create birthstone chain necklaces for each month of the year. So far, I have garnet for January complete and in the shop. Amethyst is almost finished as well.

Garnet chain necklace

This really is THE year that I hope to get this albatross up and flying, even if we don’t manage a great deal of altitude. Stay tuned!!

Happy New Year 2016

It is finally here. 2016 is the year that I crank everything into high gear and make my shop what I have always wanted it to be; successful!

I have set up my jewelry studio and am hard at work creating new pieces that will be posted to my Etsy shop at the beginning of the new year. I have made several new pieces that have been given as gifts this Christmas, just to make sure I am “up to snuff”. It is amazing how quickly your hands loose the dexterity needed to work with such tiny pieces, but it is equally amazing how quickly you can regain the skills.

Turquoise and fire agate

This turquoise and fire agate necklace is for a friend of mine who is going through a divorce. Her birthday is in December (turquoise) and she said she was oddly drawn to orange recently, so what better than a fire agate!

Quartz and brass triangle

Thus far, most of my work is simply compiling things from around my shop. I am not doing a lot of fabrication…..yet.

 

Brass and blue agate earrings

Copper and natural blue agate. I enjoy working with complimentary colors like blue and orange but hope to get to some contrasting combinations like blue and yellow.

Tribal bead and lemon quartz

Slowly Getting Ready to Get Back to Work

I have not been posting much content recently for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that I currently do not have a studio. We moved out to central Oregon permanently at the beginning of 2015. It took us several months to finally get my entire shop and my husbands wood shop packed up and moved. In fact, there are still odds and ends needing to be collected from our old house, which is going on the market this week.

In the meantime, I have been making do on our big front porch, piled up in yarn on our sofa and using an old card table in the laundry room as a place for the messier affairs. Most of my supplies are tucked up in an attic over our garage and I spend far too much time up there contorting myself to see what might be in a tote or digging through various boxes. It is not an ideal way to feed the creative monster and in fact, my productivity at least jewelry wise has all but screeched to a halt.

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We do not have the funds to build a full studio yet and with winter fast approaching in a very cold climate, we have simply run out of time to set a foundation this year. So, my husband is enclosing our back porch to give me a space that is out of the house but still small enough to heat economically.  The full studio will have a wood stove when it is built. This porch has a window that we can open to let the house heat (also wood stove) in….or is it out? Worst case scenario, we have a small electric heater for additional “oomph”.