Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just want to wish my readers in the US a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday!

I'm so thankful for everything I have especially my 2 daughters who are arriving shortly from Chicago!  I've been busy preparing the house and baking for the big feast.  This year I made fresh apple pie (apples from NC State Farmers Market) and cherry pie (my favorite) to go along with my signature sweet potato casserole (taters also from the farmers market).

Sweet Potato Casserole 1

Sweet Potato Casserole 2

And I also wanted to thank all those who came out to the recent Durham Art Walk Holiday Market.  You are very much appreciated when you help support your local artists and community!   My part to the community was in having a small door prize drawing - with one lucky person winning one of my beautiful lamp work glass bead pendant.  The bead is one of those that I made during my first lamp work class that I took recently at William Holland.

I hope the lucky winner, Amanda G. of Durham, truly loves it!

Lamp work Glass Bead and sterling silver

BTW, one of my favorite lamp work glass bead went to a fine home!  I created it during my last class at the NCSU Crafts Center.
Owl Eyes!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

JAR 2011

Jewelry Artist Retreat (JAR 2011) starts tomorrow!  See photos from JAR2010.

This will be my 2nd year and am looking forward to spending an exciting week with a group of wonderfully skilled artists!  We are from NY, PA, VA, MD, IL and NC.

We come together with a flow of ideas, encouraging words, sharing, and having fun doing what we all love - making jewelry!

The garage will be full of sounds - pounding hammers of all sizes and shapes, saws cutting through metal, rasps of files smoothing edges, hissing of hot metal dropped into water, continuous rumbling of steel shot in tumblers ... along with rock and roll background music. 

It's also about food galore, including chocolates and wine.  This year, my contribution is fresh apple pies made with fruit from the NC state farmers market.  I just hope they are as tasty as they look.

Stay tuned for tons of photos!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

* * * Birthday and End of Summer Sale * * *

This month is my milestone birthday month! 
To celebrate I am offering a
Birthday and End of Summer Coupon Code Sale 
on select items in my ArtFire shop.

Sale is good from Monday, September 26
Friday, September 30.
The items are located 
in the Birthday and End of Summer Sale section - 

Use coupon code BDEOS20 and get 20% off the listed price.

Happy Shopping!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

New Venue (to me) for Glass Bead Making!

Since I took my first class in lamp work glass bead making at William Holland, I wanted continue this art closer to home.  I discovered the NCSU Crafts Center at their recent Open House and was blown away with the facility - they had so many studios, pottery, lapidary, glass, photography, wood working, fiber!

One of the torches in the glass studio

Pottery studio

Fiber studio - floor looms

Lapidary studio

I was lucky to get a spot in the fall semester class since they open the classes to NCSU students first and then the public has a shot at any open slots.  Classes are small, usually 6 to 8 students per session.  I am now in the 6 week session for beginners - yes, I took a class earlier but wanted to get a different perspective from another instructor.  I am learning so much in addition to the actual making of glass beads, especially with glass types, torches, and kilns.

Here are a few of my finished bead sets.
Practicing swirls to create beach focal

Adding twistie stringers on base

Practice on dot control

More twisties with mutliple colors encased in clear glass

More practice with stringer control and swirls

It is SO great to have such fantastic venues available to practice your art!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

New Skill - Lampwork Glass Beads



I keep taking classes and workshops to enhance or update my jewelry making skills.  The latest course I took was in a totally new area - making beautiful beads, melting glass rods with a torch!  I took a week long class at William Holland School of Lapidary.  My friends in the Jewelry Artists Retreat (JAR) group turned me on to this great learning resource.

Lampwork beads may soon be my newest passion!

Check out more photos of my first beads on my Facebook photo album.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Classes, Workshops Galore!

I am on a fast-track to expand my metal fabrication skills.  If you follow me on Facebook, you may have noticed that I am like the energizer bunny - getting more and more techniques under my belt!  I am so thankful that I have so many local resources available to me!

This year I made a point to do fewer arts and crafts shows to focus on learning and to find out what technique or techniques are a good fit.  It's been a year and half since I took my first class in metal fabrication at Pullen Arts Center in Raleigh.

My first fabricated pendant

Back of pendant

My first pair of earrings

Since then I have learned:

  • how to use of the torch, solder, sawing, filing, and bezel setting with Megan Clark at Pullen Arts
  • how to use the hydraulic press to create dimensional forms with Betty McKim - made a locket with rivets
  • how to embellishment metals with Kathryn Osgood - etching on brass to make embossing plates to transfer designs to metal and using keum boo to add a pop of gold to silver
  • about various casting techniques (broom stick, water, rock salt, cuttlebone) from a group of wonderful women at the Jewelry Artists Retreat (JAR) @ Lake Gaston, NC
  • how to flush set faceted stones, again with Megan Clark
  • how to make rings with tim lazure - completed 2 rings that I really, really love
  • how to add alternate colors on metal with Kathryn Osgood - including patinas and colored resin
  • how to tube set a faceted stone and fold form copper at a spring mini-retreat in the NC mountains with Debora (member of JAR) and Kimberly
  • how to chase & repousse on copper and silver with the Italian artist Davide Bigazzi, Menlo Park, CA
  • how to fuse enameling to copper with Julie Brooks
Next week I will be at William Holland School of Lapidary to learn how to make lampwork glass beads.  It was actually my 3rd choice since my 1st (Silver II: Forging) and 2nd (Enameling) choices were at maximum!  Four other members of JAR will be there, too - we are going to have a blast!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Awesome Makers Faire:NC - June 18, 2011, Raleigh

Several members of the Triangle Jewelry Makers (TJM) and I participated in this Makers Faire.  

A great crowd turned out for this amazing showcase of different crafts, from fiber craft (spinning, knitting, quilting, t-shirt modifications), robotics, wood craft (laser cut wood structures, walking sticks, hand etched wood ornaments) to jewelry making.

It was a great opportunity for our group to showcase our differing skills in jewelry making and to just show "how" hand made jewelry is made.  We provided demo sessions on wire work, chainmaille and metalsmith techniques.  

Jen, who is the founding member, demonstrated how to make wire rings and showcased her latest book featuring her steampunk jewelry.  Jill does great chainmaille - rings, bracelets, necklaces.  Jennifer made bird's nest components and Becky did a fabulous session on making a bangle with silk and copper.

I was kept busy all day with showing and discussing metalsmith techniques - sawing/piercing, filing, metal forming with the doming block, use of the flex shaft with drill bits, deburring, and polishing, etc.  Advocating safety issues - wearing safety glasses and dust mask and keeping fingers out of the way of the flex shaft drill bits and burrs (use of the ring holder).  One man closely examined the wooden holder on how simply it was made (maybe he was tinkering with making one himself?).

Saturday, May 28, 2011

***** ArtFire *****

After 2 years on Etsy, I decided to do a 30-day trial on ArtFire (also in part after I read a blog posting from a fellow jewelry artist).  Check it out and let me know what you think -

So far, I do appreciate the various tools made available to sellers making it easy to migrate from Etsy - the items uploader, the option to showcase artisan work in the Bio section, and the ability to list sales in the Gallery section made on other venues, not just from ArtFire or Etsy.

Here's to a continuing relationship with ArtFire.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Peak Fest, Saturday, May 7, 2011

If you are in the Apex, NC, area this coming Saturday (May 7), be sure to come out and enjoy a gorgeous day at the 31st annual Peak Fest.  There will be lots of activities for the whole family - music, food and amazing creations by local artists (check the list for this year's participating artists)!

I will be at booth spot 48A (see map).  In addition to my new copper and resin jewelry, wire and mixed metal jewelry,  I will have more of my best selling glass tile pendants and earrings created with vintage international postage stamps!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

NEW Copper and Resin Jewelry

Just wanted to share with you what I have been working on lately...

A few months ago I took a 2-day workshop at the Pullen Arts Center where I learned how to add color to metal.  We experimented with various coloring effects using ingredients commonly found in the home: ammonia, vinegar, salt and rice.  Other coloring techniques included epoxy resin, artists chalk and colored pencils.

My favorite technique was the colored epoxy resin.  So much so that I documented the process on Facebook on how I created my newly completed pieces - see my FB album.

I started with plain round copper washers from the hardware store (Harbor Freight) and added 2-ton weld epoxy colored with artist chalk.  And here are the results:

These pieces will be available for purchase at my next arts and crafts show - May 7, Peak Fest in Apex.  If you are in the area, come by and see my new line of jewelry!  I will be in booth 48A.  Come out and support your local artisans!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

First Online Auction!

First Garden on FB
is holding it's first online auction and runs through this Friday morning - included are a pair of my dusty rose pearl and sterling earrings.

Items are in the "First auction" album under Pictures. To place a bid comment under the picture w/ the bid amount. You will need to Like the First Garden page to participate. Whoever has the highest bid at the end will win that item.

Please pass on to your friends and family! Enjoy and happy bidding!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fabric Collection and Creations!

When I began quilting, I started with small pieces of fabrics -
fat quarters (18"x21") and fat eights (9"x21"),
not really know what I wanted to make
plus not having a lot of extra cash to spend on my new "hobby".

But as years went by and I became more expert in quilting,
I became a
Fabric-a-holic with a capital F!

I collected fabrics from different countries and,
of course, I couldn't just buy a small piece of found fabric,
I had to have at least a yard, more like 3 yards or more!

Yes, I made quilts for both of my daughters
and for myself;
quilts on walls, quilts on beds, and quilts hanging on bannisters.

I now have a new calling "metalsmithing"
and am now divesting of my remaining fabric collection.

So the question in my mind was - what to do with it?
What good are small amounts of fabric?
Are they worth keeping or should they be trashed?

That is what was in my mind when I started "cleaning house" early last year.

Small items come to mind that require tiny amounts of fabrics -
quilted table runners, ipod covers, tote bags, or retro fashions such as bathing suits.

I love it when past customers send me a note
to let me know how they used the fabric purchased.
Now I want to share several items made by a recent customer - LIONSART.
She makes beautiful fabric key fobs.

Here are 3 that she made from my fabrics -
I am happy that my fabric remnants are being put to good use:

Friday, February 4, 2011

Something Different!

I recently came across some very beautiful postage stamps from Japan - vintage circa "showa period" from 1926-1989.

Since paper doesn't play well with flames (no torches), slump glass tiles came to mind. This is completely outside my usual metal work jewelry but I wanted to preserve several of these as jewelry pieces. They are now listed in my Etsy jewelry shop as part of my Geisha series (a few have already been sold or spoken for).

So what do you think???

Rectangle Pendants

Square Pendants and Earrings