Last autumn a good friend, who is also a maker, ask me to make her a necklace just slightly different from my usual pieces. We worked together to make a necklace perfect for her. We brainstormed a new shape, that of a petal, and went with a new, simpler chain. While we were at it we made the chain longer, this bigger pendant needs to be shown off! This joint venture reminded me how much I love exploring my craft and executing a new challenge. It really is the start of something new, maybe many things new!
Two new pieces have hit the shop. Both are inspired by two adventures which turned out to be more awe inspiring than I ever thought possible. One was a backpacking trip which led me to watching my second sunrise in my life. The other was a run where I set out on a route to watch the sunset but was more enchanted by a full moon rising, so I changed courses to chase it.
Here is the long version to my story of watching the sunrise at 4315' above sea level. It was one of those moments in which you wish time would stop because you know that you will never see this work of art again. The moment, the colors, the feeling, everything, will never be the same as it was that morning. That feeling was absorbed into my being and I wanted to find a way to share it. I made this necklace with one brass sun nestled between two pieces of silver. One is textured to represent the undercast the sun rose from, the other is tough in texture, like the rocks I sat on to witness the new day rising before me.
One day a few weeks ago I was having this day where nothing on my jeweler's bench was going smoothly. Maybe the solder wasn't flowing, or enamels were cracking, I can't recall. I can recall looking at my pup and telling her, I am going to go for a run and will come back a better person. There couldn't have been truer words. I changed quickly, knowing the sun was going to set soon and I decided to run over a bridge hoping to watch the sun set behind the city on one side or over the water on the other -either was fine as I have no sense of direction (yeah, I get lost often). As I was driving towards the bridge I saw the full moon rising above the town on the other side of the river, so I chased it. I ditched my route to make the most of chasing the moon, in doing so I ran thoughtlessly, focused on the moon, I didn't hear the music blaring through my ear buds, but I did hear that I had run a mile and a half and decided to turn around in the shadow of the moon and watch the sky change as the sun set on my way back to the car. Catching my breathe I walked back towards the water for one last glimpse of the moon and how it reflected in the ripples of the river. I got to thinking how moonrises are different, we don't see new moons rise, some moonrises are golden, like the sun and others are white, like a big round star, these thoughts inspired the necklace. About 15 minutes later I realized I set a new personal best for myself, running the fastest three miles I have ever run. I set this record effortlessly, with a smile, feeling renewed and ready for a new day at the jeweler's bench. Like I told my pup, I'll come back a better person.
Click on the images above to see these necklaces in my shop. My hope is you can relate them to an adventure that changed your day, week, or forever impacted your life.
p.s. I read this article and it has helped me realize that adventures can be had right outside your door. I've been making my runs an adventure and using them as a way to explore my surroundings. I have a new appreciation for the neiborhoods I consider home.
Maybe you do or don't know this about me, I consider myself a hiker. I may not have a bunch of miles or mountains under my belt and may have just started less than a year ago but after hiking the tallest peak in the New England, then bagging the peak next door, I declared myself a hiker. There are 48 mountains in New Hampshire which are 4000' or higher and so far I have tramped over 21 of them. Each one is different, but all of them embrace me, nurture me and inspire me. I see the details others may pass by, the tiniest alpine flowers, berries, lichen, moss... I take pictures so I can take these memories with me, researching the names of what I met on the trail getting to know the mountains better and better with each hike. As I look over these pictures I see colors I want to use in my jewelry. Forms, shapes and textures I want to explore in metal. These adventures force me to explore in my studio. Here is a look at one of my first explorations (well, the first one to make it to my website, that is)...
When you are on a trail the colors you see are overwhelming. You can try but you can't ever fully capture nature's beauty. When I first saw black and neon green lichen creeping across a grey rock I was in awe that these colors happened in nature. I saw the rocky grey landscape as a canvass for things to grow over, blend with, become one with. I reflected on my jewelry and how I had taken a similar approach. Grey enamel and sheets of silver had become my canvasses in which I explored colors and textures. I knew one day I would stray from my go to palette and try as best I could to capture nature in glass and metal.
There are more of these designs on my bench, not yet completed, completed designs are not yet photographed, and some designs are in my head or sketchbook (aren't they the same?). Just as with my city dweller collection, I am slowly creating a summit this way collection which grows and evolves with my adventures and I hope you love it just as much as you loved the designs influenced by my city living.
Thank you for buying these shiny objects made with love, made with my own two hands with a side of blood, sweat, dirt and tears.
Art imitating life
Shapes, line and color catch my eye. These nasturtium leaves amaze me. Each one has a slightly different curve, ripple or fold creating different outlines. These forms influenced my jewelry making and inspired my nasturtium collection. Each piece of silver is altered from the perfect circle it starts in. I apply transparent enamels and capture a moment of color on my handmade leaves and make them into earrings or a necklace for others to adorn themselves with.
Finally, I feel like I am making it. Making my jewelry, making more profit than ever (well, there wasn't really ever profit, just sustaining), making my life happen the way I want to. I would say making it on my own but I have a little help which I am beyond grateful for. Making it with help in many forms, the most important is the group of loved ones always cheering me on erasing my doubts and insecurities. Making it to boutiques and shops I had thought I would only dream of having my jewelry in. Making it in a wholesale world where people have sought my work out and chosen it to be a part of their curated collection. Making it to more and more places and to more and more shoppers and collectors that this girl from little old Fall River could have ever dreamed.
Last year I decided to get a little tattoo on my right wrist, my dominant arm, the one I hammer with, sand with, finish jewelry with, use pliers and hold a torch with. This little tattoo was to remind me that no matter where you came from or where you called home, a cardboard box, a studio, a place you share with a loved one, no matter what your background, support system or financial situation was if you worked toward your goals tirelessly your dreams will come true. It was a reminder to use what brought you down to make yourself stronger. To triumph over adversity, believe in yourself, to seek guidance and support through friends and family and to prove to those who doubted you just how wrong they were. It reminded me to set goals, lofty goals, realistic goals, embrace your passions and push forward in doing what you love. It was a reminder to take criticism with a grain of salt or as fuel to build a stronger fire and determination within yourself. It also serves as a reminder that life is short, fragile and unpredictable and to make everyday your best day and keep on doing what you love. This little tattoo also reminds me that art needn't be grand, small works can stand for larger ideas. What matters most is loving your process and finding the right audience which embraces your aesthetic as much as you do. Whatever gave me the guts to walk into that tattoo parlor one May afternoon on a whim and ask for a crude crown also gave me the guts to tell anyone who thought I should grow up and get a real job to keep their opinions to themselves. Have I ever looked at my pale wrist with deep black lines and thought, damn that was dumb? Hell yeah. But those thoughts are fleeting, they are moments of doubt when words of discouragement creep in. Those moments make me pause and bring up the feelings of the girl who walked into a tattoo parlor looking for a symbol of change, strength and the 'F#*!, I got this attitude' and rolled up her shirt sleeve, stuck her arm out and thought, 'huh, that didn't hurt' as she floated back to her car. Every day I get stronger, more confident and my I got this attitude takes up more space in my life.
Thank you for making my dreams seem within reach. Cheerleaders, family, friends, my wagging pups and those who tell me I can't, you all set the fire that gets me going. Hugs and love to you all.
ps: if you wouldn't mind I will start sharing other parts of my life away from my bench which have set me in the direction of realizing I am capable of much, much more than I ever dreamed possible. Coming soon...
I am wildly excited to announce my earrings will be available at The Harvard Museum of Natural History.
I am honored to be in the same building as the glass flowers shown above. These flowers have influenced me since I first saw them fifteen years ago. I can not think of a more perfect place for my enamel work nor could I have imagined my work could possibly end up here. I am grateful and excited and don't know what could really top this.
I take a lot of process photos. Maybe it's because I love metalsmithing tools. Or because I find it awesome that shiny objects are born of fires, loud hammers, dirty pieces of sandpaper, whirring flex shafts and this solution we call pickle. Once metal shines we protect it, deam is precious and wear it with caution.
Seeing as jewelry is a huge part of my life, just as much as making it is, I strive to create work which is subtle and easily worn. Size, shape, textures and finishes are taken into account when I consider the wear and tear these shiny objects endure. I guess that's how my designs ended up so simple yet rich in subtle details. If I can wear my work while hammering, soldering and sanding then I can be pretty certain you will find my designs perfect for every day too. My finger prints may get worn away but my jewelry will remain timeless.
As always a huge thank you to all of my customers who keep me doing what I love, creating piles of silver dust. Without you my itty bitty designs wouldn't continue grow to become collections.
I spent a few snowy days in my studio whipping up designs which had piled up in my sketchbook. Here's the newest addition to my itty bitty collection....
Everyone seems to be looking for signs of spring, longer, sunnier days, flowers, weekend getaways. Until then...
wear adorn yourself with vibrant colors. Sea foam and marigold are top on my list of favorites.
A sparkly new addition for those winter blues...
bring the party to wherever you are. let's disco!