Thursday, January 31, 2013

To Good Homes

My Etsy Holiday Sale runs through the end of today and I must give a huge thanks to everyone who purchased something since it started back in November. What a great response! It's been fun to fill your orders and ship my work around the U.S. and even to a few very faraway places like England, Australia, and Canada. It's also been wonderful to see the response to my new collection, "History Repeats." Once I ship all my Valentines's Day gallery orders next week, I will pick up where I left off by adding a few more pieces to that group. But for now, there are lots of great pieces to choose from in my shop both from my collections and some one-of-a-kinds.

So thanks...thanks for supporting me through purchasing and by telling your friends, selecting pieces for your Etsy Treasuries, and liking things on Facebook! You are awesome.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ache, A Work-in-Progress

the finished installation, "Ache"

My participation in "Off the Wall" at the ECU Metals Symposium couldn't have come at a better time. I've been moving an idea around in my mind for some new autobiographical one-of-a-kind work. I'm not going to detail the concept yet as I'm still figuring it out, but in the meantime here are a few pictures of the piece I made for the show as well as the statement. I used the opportunity to begin the process of working out the idea and also documenting where I am at right now.

The wall before I started...I marked the space with blue tape, then began hanging a collection of items, moving them around, adding and subtracting until it felt complete. I did not photograph every move because I felt it would take away from the process.

detail of drawing on a photocopy of a Victorian bustle

"I see my work as more than just jewelry, I see it as objects that tell the story of my artistic process. I work through ideas and problems and learn about the meaning of my work by collecting, arranging, and processing tangible visual cues, works-in-progress, and finished pieces. I like to place these things in a specific arrangement on a wall in my studio. These pieces from a paper doily to a maquette to a partially made brooch to a complete necklace is evidence that can be studied. Hanging these items on the wall allows me to process the collection every time I walk by it both consciously and subconsciously. Through deliberate and unintentional analysis I am able to recognize patterns, discover visual definitions, self-edit, and develop new ideas. This differs from off the wall study simply because the perspective is physically different. When the work and its accompanying inspirations are grouped together on a wall they create a visual map and further establish the basis for a visual dialogue as they are seen as a whole. I can see how they relate to one another far easier than if they are separate and laying on a table."

the show postcard

Participating artists were asked to create a piece for the wall under the confines of a 2' x 4' space. My piece includes several one-hour exercises I made in the spring, a paper doily, some free-writing, a few chains, a button, a brass teardrop, a drawing on a photocopy, a piece of patterned metal, and some twisted steel wire. Once the piece was done, I took photos and made a diagram so the arrangement could be easily duplicated during the install. You can see more pictures including ones from the opening and the other works here.

Thanks to Tara Locklear and Bob Ebendorf for inviting me! 

Thanks for reading.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Hmm, Very Interesting Part 2...My Belgian Favorites

Lone Wolf by Dzia 

As you know I spent three months in Belgium and had an amazing time, everything was my favorite... While I was there I lived in Antwerp and visited Brussels, Gent, Brugge, Knokke, Roeselare, and Genk. Here are some favorites of my favorites that you can see online:

Daniel Von Wienberger video. It's entirely in Flemish but you will definitely get the idea regardless of language. He's an incredible artist/jeweler and I love this video. 

Nevin Arig is a new Belgian friend and her website and work is beautiful.

Richard Deacon

I discovered Richard Deacon when I saw one of his sculptures in the lobby of a bank in Antwerp. I couldn't find any information on the piece so I did this crazy Google search when I got home and was able to identify him. This made me feel very smart. In addition to his sculptures I really like his 2D work.

Absolutely, hands-down one of my favorite places in Belgium, in Gent to be exact: Verzameld Werk, more than just an art gallery...

Belgium has some incredible graffiti and street art and you can see it, too, at Street Art Belgium. The top photo is one I took of my favorite piece in the Antwerp. It's by Dzia

I spent a day on the North Sea beach with Karin in Knokke and saw my first Arne Quinze sculpture. 

Before getting to the beach, we stopped in Roeselare to visit Creme de la Crema, a wonderful jewelry gallery, studio, and coffee lab.

Shop Ra, a concept store so gorgeous I want to live there.

Mater Dolorosa by Simon Marimion

While I Brugge, I spent several hours pouring over an incredible collection of Flemish Art at the Groeninge Museum. It includes six centuries of art and this painting (see above) that stopped me in my tracks. This link will take you to an online collection.

Para-Production by Ni Haifeng, 2012 at Manifesta 9

Manifesta 9. I almost didn't go because I had laundry to do. Good thing I changed my mind--it's one of the best contemporary art exhibitions I've been to. 

A favorite Belgian blog, I Love Belgium.

An American friend told me about the clothing of Walter Van Beirendonck and I found a beautiful shop that had some pieces in stock. The designs, fabrics and tailoring are exquisite.

During a trip to Brussels I got to see the biannual "Flower Carpet," thousands of flowers arranged to look like a rug. Impressive up close and from above.

On my last day in Belgium, my dear friends, Karin and Rene, took me to Doel because they thought it would be perfect thing to do on my last day and they knew I would love it. And I did. It's a ghost town covered in graffiti. This link tells the story of the village and includes lots of pictures of derelict buildings. You can see my graffiti pictures here. 

And finally, and of course, my gallery, Beyond Fashionwhere I spent many hours. (Be sure to click on the orange button to see a 360 degree view and my show!)

Thanks for reading.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Guest Star #110...Begoña Prats

I've been following today's Guest Star, Begoña Prats, for some time now and the other day she posted a picture on Facebook that really caught my attention. I loved the pieces and I loved the image and that's when I knew I wanted to write about her for today's post (see top picture). Each necklace has its own identity but when grouped together they become a graphic composition. I am drawn to work presented in this way and I am always interested in how work is arranged visually. 

I read a translation of Begoña's process and it seems she begins with found materials or objects and works intuitively to create something new. I can also relate to this because I often work this way. Her pieces are strong on form with details that add dimension, visual stopping points, and in between places that add curiosity. The addition of thoughtful, eye-pleasing color draws more attention to the forms and materials. 

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hmm, Very Interesting...My Favorites 2012

This is the third installment of my annual favorites list, my collection of jewelry and art websites, online articles, and other interesting bits that I discovered in 2012. As I said last year, I love sharing this kind of stuff...if you have a favorite you think I might like, please email me the link ( or leave it here as a comment. 

Above, Jointed Jewels by Alissia Melka-Teichroew/byAMT. 

Grids, distress, unusual use of enamel...the work of Michael Rybicki:

Attention grabbing, graphic, brightly colored textile jewelry by Fern Elizabeth:

The work and the site of Peta Kruger is so, so good...I love how big the images are, the pieces feel monumental and you can see all the detail:

The jewelry collection at the Victoria and Albert is astounding and brought me to tears. I went twice while I was in London and I will go every time I go back to that city just to be in the presence of all that history. The Hidden Treasures interactive feature on the website allows you to take a closer look at selected pieces form the collection and read the history behind it. 

I haven't included music before but feel compelled to tell you about Japandroids, my favorite band discovery of 2012. I saw them live in December and felt like I was 22 again. This song is my favorite:

In the last year and a half I've acquired a number of tattoos and I'm saving up for one by Becca of Jayne Doe in Essex, England. I don't think I'll see her until 2014, though. Full sleeves by 40...not a lot of time, but an excellent goal.

Two wikipedia articles on memory and observation that I used as a starting point when I began my work for my solo show, "Observation/Translation."

Incredible aerial views of Dutch flower fields:

My aunt sent me this link to the awesome mixed-media embroidery by Lauren DiCioccio:

Sadly his website no longer exits, but you can still see Tristram Lansdowne's fantastic paintings here

This is just odd and creepy and wonderful--The spirit photographs of William Hope: A set on Flickr of supposed ghosts from the early 1900's:

And, since I spent so much time in Belgium, I will post my list of favorite Belgian links on Monday. Stay tuned...

See the 2011 list here and the 2010 list here. 

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

So How Has It Changed?

My friend, Amanda, asked me that the other day in reference to my business and my ten years. I will begin my answer by saying it's the same and completely different. My ultimate goal has always been to be able to make work every day and this remains true, for the most part. I'm not able to make work every day now because my business is no longer just about making jewelry. It's also about teaching, lecturing, and lots of marketing. A better way of describing my ultimate goal now is to keep making jewelry, which I definitely have done and continue to do. 

When I started my business in 2002 I just wanted to make great jewelry. I started selling it in a few places and the number grew over time. Then I wanted to sell it in as many places as I could and support myself. I also wanted to be in shows, get published, and make a career for myself. I worked a day-job and made jewelry in the evenings and on the weekends. I applied to everything and got rejected from a lot. I took classes when I could and went to symposiums, guild meetings, and gallery openings. I read Metalsmith magazine and bought books. And, I made work every day. 

I still do (or try to do) all of those things today along with additional related work as I mentioned above. I also communicate with my audience as much as I can in the form of near daily blogging and Facebook posts, I volunteer for SNAG on the Exhibitions Committee, I mentor, and I write for books on occasion. My new goals are to travel for my work every year, do more residencies, and to curate more exhibitions.

My business is also different because my work is different and my work has changed because I know myself better as an artist. I recognize and understand my inspirations and my process, while my skills are more refined. This all means my ideas are stronger and I can execute them more easily. I make one-of-a-kind pieces more often and I am dedicated to maintaining this when years ago I had to sacrifice it. (At that time I was so busy building my business there simply wasn't time to make anything else besides my collections.) Now I realize and embrace that fact that my production work serves to support my one-of-a-kind pieces and I know there is a way to do both. Today my work is more personal, focusing on memory, and is more than just formal.

The images you see here are examples of some of the one-of-a-kind jewelry I've made since 2002. I think it's obvious to me how the work is different from pieces I made more recently, but there are subtle similarities as well.

So now ten years later I make the best jewelry I can as much as I can while complementing my studio practice with other worthwhile, related pursuits. They feed each other and they balance each other. I feel pretty fortunate to have my business the way it is now and look forward to seeing how it changes in the future.

Thanks for reading

Tuesday, January 22, 2013



I've been back in the U.S. for just over three months, about the same amount of time I was abroad. My life in Europe feels incredibly far away, almost like it happened years ago, but it also feels like yesterday. I haven't devoted a post to any final thoughts on my experience overseas and since I've been doing a lot of looking-back lately, I realize now is a great time to do just this. 

My 90 days in Belgium were life-changing, as I hoped they would be. The experience far exceeded every expectation I had. It was as wonderful as I imagined and even more wonderful than I ever thought it could be. It was also exactly as challenging and hard as I thought it would be, although these moments were rare. I loved every single minute of amazement and difficulty. Traveling alone is probably the greatest thing I have ever done--experiencing things for the first time and being alone while relying on myself to find my way was incredible. I felt more like myself during this time and the entire experience makes me feel like I can do anything now. 

One of the best unexpected things that happened was the relationship that developed between my gallerists at Beyond Fashion, Karin and Rene and their family, and me. Before I left the U.S., I thought they would be welcoming and helpful, but I did not think they would extend their generosity in the way that they did. They invited me to spend time with them and helped me find what I needed. We became close and I left Belgium with dear friends and a sense of family. 

When it comes to the work I made, I did not know what to expect. I deliberately went to Belgium without a lot of tools and only a small piece of sheet silver and my leftover 18 gauge sterling wire. I tried to not think about what I would make until I was there and made no plans for the body of work I would produce. I just knew I wanted to find my ideas in my new surroundings. I spent the first few weeks getting settled into my new home, gathering more tools and materials, and collecting images from walking and exploring. In a short period of time I had sketches, short writings, and hundreds and hundreds of images all focused on my observations. It was then that realized this is where the work would come from. It was so simple and made so much sense. Next I started looking at all of this information and considered how I could translate it into jewelry. I began making the work in a simultaneously controlled and spontaneous way, choosing one piece to work on every day and leaving the studio with a finished piece about eight hours later. Focusing on one idea a day, gave me the structure and routine I needed, it helped me maintain a clear mind, and also allowed room for an idea to take form intuitively. By late August my show was complete.
my gallerist and me after my lecture

The opening reception and preceding lecture were wonderful. I was very happy with the work and was surrounded by friends.
Karen Vanmol, Ria Lins, and Linda Savineau at the opening reception

I am giving a presentation at the Yuma Symposium in February about my trip and solo show and I can't wait to share my experience with others. I had such an amazing time and just want to talk about it. I also want to honor it. When I got back to the U.S. I had to compartmentalize the experience in order to get back to real life. Before I knew it, it was almost like it had never happened. I am not comfortable with this. I don't want to just put it away with other memories and not acknowledge how awesome it was and do so in a big way. A presentation at a conference is perfect. I will publish the lecture texture here and create a set on Flickr after I return from Yuma in late February. 

I am sure those 90 days will continue to inform my work for years to come.
one of my favorite things I saw: 
Our Lady of Sorrows at Carolus Borromeus

I took over 5000 (!) pictures and put the best ones on Flickr. Please take a look if you haven't yet.

I know I've said this already, but I'm counting the days until I get on that plane again. Today marks 75 days to go. 

Thanks for reading. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Now THAT was Good! ECU Metals Symposium (2013 Edition)

 Growing by Avery Lucas

I returned very late last night from Greenville, NC and the ECU Metals Symposium: Making Marks. This was my third year attending and as per usual I left feeling excited and inspired. Day one highlights included an excellent key-note lecture by Keith Lewis and a great workshop led by Jillian Moore. Keith's lecture detailed the inspiration and making of just one piece (this was fascinating!) and Jillian discussed and demonstrated how she makes her work with different kinds of resin, foam, and paint. Day two began with a wonderful lecture by Alison Baxter, an artist and the program director at West Dean College in England. She talked about the school and its programs, and got me thinking I might like to have a residency there one day. The afternoon lectures by Rachel Timmins and Jim Cotter couldn't have been more different but were equally as interesting and personal. I also observed several workshops throughout the day including enameling on steel with Jennifer Wells, making a toy with Gary Schott, and spray painting with Loring Taoka.

Jillan Moore and workshop participants
Loring Taoka talking about and using spray paint

There were lots of complementary exhibitions, too. When I first arrived Friday evening I went to "Caffeine and Saw-Blades" and the "ECU Enamels Exhibition." Then "Off the Wall" which included my work opened Saturday night. This show featured work made for the wall with
parameters--each piece occupied a 2' x 4' space. (I'll talk more about this soon!) On Sunday I took a walk with friends to the Greenville Museum of Art to see "Tongue-in-Cheek," a exhibition about mockery and materials. And, I can't forget to mention the annual student show and my favorite piece by Avery Lucas, a beautifully chased and repoussed anatomical heart. (See top picture.)

two wine stoppers by my Belgian-friend, Linda Savineau, at "Tongue-in-Cheek"
"Off the Wall" opening

The biggest things I walked away with this year are the personal connections and high-quality conversations with dear friends and new friends. I realize more and more each time I attend a function like this how special it is to be in this field. There are many truly unique and wonderful people all around me, people who are incredibly intelligent and creative, generous with their knowledge and experience, so warm and kind, and not-to-mention hilarious and super-fun. I am very proud to be a part of this field and look forward to seeing my friends and colleagues again soon.

Thanks to Angela Bubash and Zac Lopez, my road-trip much fun once again!

More pics on Flickr.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Guest Star #109...Sofia Calderwood

So who was I looking at in jewelry and metalsmithing ten years ago? In addition to Susie Ganch, Lori Talcott, and Biba Schutz, I loved the work of Sofia Calderwood. I remember reading about her in Metalsmith and wrote a paper about her for my History of Body Adornment class while I was in school. I even got to talk with her about her work at that time. That was an exciting moment for me. Sofia's work combines traditional metalsmithing techniques and unconventional materials. I remember being drawn to her clever use of earplugs and chenille and even tried using fiber in my own work. I also liked the tiny scale of her hollowforms and her attention to detail, like graduated chain links and hammer marks.

Thanks for reading.