Wednesday, April 30, 2008

For Stevie

Just one more picture from my trip to Asilomar. This is my sweet sister, Stevie, who was kind enough to take me all around the Peninsula and to Carmel to show me some of her favorite places. I had not downloaded all of my vacation pictures when I blogged about my trip to Art & Soul. I meant to include this one. Thank you, Stevie, for a wonderful day! It was the best!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Refashioned Jewelry

Back in February I went to the Sourcing at MAGIC show in Las Vegas with my friend and boss, Valerie. We spent half a day at the POOL show, the show that features the up-and-coming designers. The POOL show is my favorite because the designers are so open to sharing their vision for their products and designs, and the stuff is innovative and cool. The show has an indie vibe to it - very big on earth-friendly substrates and packaging, yet very design savvy. Anyway, there was a jewelry vendor there that Valerie and I flipped for - Angel Court. Each of the pieces is one-of-a-kind, made from vintage and antique treasures of the past. It so happens they were selling from their booth and V and I can't resist cool jewelry. So we picked a few pieces we couldn't live without. One of the pieces I just had to have was a bracelet made from a vintage Victorian shoe buckle and brass chains (left). It's fabulous! I get ooohs and ahhhs whenever I wear it. Valerie chose a necklace with a cluster of eclectic charms - a revolver, a poker chip, an old key. I loved the idea of refashioning jewelry, giving new life to old to old pieces. Then in March I am flipping through Country Living magazine and I see a whole spread of vintage inspired jewelry. Beautiful necklaces and bracelets made from multiple brass chains of various sizes and lengths, old beads, velvet flowers, vintage pins, old keys. Wow! I was inspired. I decided to head to Old Town Clovis and rummage through the antique shops for costume and vintage jewelry. I found Victorian shoe buckles and old keys. I bought some brass chain at a local bead store. I even used some junky chain I had from an old necklace. Being a jewelry maker I had some tools and findings at home to complete the look of my vintage refashioned jewelry (a bracelet I made, right). It makes me happy to see that I made something beautiful while at the same time recycling a bit of the past. So dig in to your old jewelry and make something trendy and "new."

Monday, April 21, 2008

Art & Soul Retreat

Last week I attended Art & Soul at Asilomar on the Monterey Peninsula in California for a three-day creative retreat. The retreat started on Sunday evening and ended Thursday morning. The all-day classes were Monday through Wednesday. I signed up last November so that I would be assured of getting the workshops I wanted to take. These workshops have been known to fill up fast, sometimes within minutes, so I was eager to get signed up as soon as the registration began. It was hard to choose, but I ended up registering for three jewelry-making classes. Before I knew it it was April and I was ready to go. I had ordered all my class supplies, I had my PT Cruiser checked over, I had a suitcase stuffed with clothes just in case the weather changed - which it did, and I was psyched to be staying alone in a rustic cabin setting with no children, no husband, no dog, and no TV. Gasp! That meant I could do whatever I wanted! I haven't done that for a long time. So I played loud music in my car on the way there. At night I read my book in bed for as long as I wanted.

I drove around the edge of the peninsula, stopping now and then to just stare at the awesome beauty of the windy sea. There are deer that wander along the lush landscape, some that came right up under my large windows in my cabin room in the early mornings. One of my classes was cancelled so I spent an entire day with my sister, Stevie, who lives in Pacific Grove. She took me to all of her favorite places. One of them was a lagoon in Carmel, with its calm water slightly separated by a stretch of sand from the blustery waves of the aquamarine Pacific ocean. We ate seafood on the wharf while laughing and sharing and enjoying the moments of togetherness.
In between all this I took two jewelry classes. The first one was using Precious Metal Clay to make free-form bezels to be filled with images and resin. I made two things in that class and am still working on creating a finished necklace. The other class was "Junk Drawer Metalsmithing" with Stephanie Lee. I got to play with fire (torch) and metal - cutting, soldering, stamping, etching - and came away with a fabulous finished piece. I decided my necklace would be a tribute to my much-needed escape to the sea. I came home completely inspired to integrate into my jewelry-making all that I had learned. Of course, real life resumed within two hours of my getting home on Thursday morning. My children's school called to tell me both boys had fevers and needed to be picked up. We spent the day together watching movies, taking medicine and getting caught up on the five days of their life I had missed.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


I remember when I was a child going to the Big Fresno Fair (was it called that, even waaaay back then?) with my mom and siblings. Once when I was about 7-years-old my mom had an artist at the fair make a silhouette of each of us kids. You know, black paper cut out in the shape of a profile and glued down to a white background. I didn't think that the silhouette looked like me at all. Anyway, silhouettes have come a long way since those days. I have seen silhouettes trending up over the past couple of years, so this is no news flash. Urban Outfitters has wall decal silhouettes in all kinds of styles. I like the black chandelier, myself. has some fabulous silhouette imagery on their new line of bike helmets. But a particular artist caught my eye last week when I was in my bi-weekly trend group. In fact, it was my friend, Ceramic Diva , who turned in a report on rehabilitated dishware that made me get all excited about silhouettes again. Brooklyn-based designer Sarah Cihat gives a second life to garage sale and thrift store ceramics by reglazing them and making them into artful dishes you want to hang on your funkiest wall. I know I do . . .


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