Category Archives: Artist

Some of My Favorite Things

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collage

From an Old House-Joseph Cornell

I love to make jewelry but it wasn’t my first love. I studied drawing and painting as an undergraduate. I attended grad school believing I would continue that path. In graduate school a huge part of the curriculum are Critique Classes in which artists of all genres are mixed together. We “show” our pieces several times during the semester and are showered with compliments or beaten to pulp with criticism. (I was the beneficiary of the latter.) It was in these classes that I discovered my affinity for tactile items and a fascination with 3 dimensional objects. I was very fortunate to find two professors who encouraged me to move in that direction.

I miss my studio. Most of my jewelry making is on the floor of my living room. Jewelry is wonderful because it doesn’t take a lot of space and you can easily put it all away when you are finished. Jewelry does give me the satisfaction of creating. I am thankful for that.

sculpture

Monogram – Robert Rauschenburg


Flag painting

Three Flags-Jasper Johnes

In the mean time, I collect objects that inspire me or remind me of long past memories. I paint on little pieces of wood and I gather wooden containers. Cigar boxes, ornate cabinets, wine boxes, anything that can hold other objects of my affection. I haven’t figured out how to make it all work together, but I know I will.
Joseph Cornell’s work had a profound influence on me as well as the work of Robert Rauschenburg and Jasper Johns. I will never forget the day I went to Houston to “just see art” and realized that there was a Robert Rauschenburg Retrospective going on at galleries all over the city. It was a religious experience! Seeing all of the work I loved and adored up close, I felt like I could smell the paint.

I will never forget that all consuming sense of being an artist and what I would be driven to do for the rest of my life .
Here are some of my favorite things.

frames, paintings

Frames, Cabinet and small paintings.

boxes

Boxes and things I’ve collected to use.

Copper Is The New Black

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Copper is my new black. Everything I’ve created recently involves using copper chain, wire, and findings. Usually I’m inspired by a theme or an object. Hearts, birds, watches and buttons have been a few of the items that have driven me to create. I can honestly say that a metal has never been at the center of my creative forces. This is part of growing and evolving as an artist.

leather rose necklace

Leather Rose Necklace

The rose necklace was a labor of love. I found the leather rose at a garage sale. It was stuck all by itself on a matching leather braided cord. It looked so sad and I knew I could give it new life. I struggled creating the pendent. I used leather cord to attach the rose to the wooden bead. The next hurdle was creating the leather bail and using the copper wire to hold it in place. I’m thrilled with the way it turned out. I have various types of copper chain but ultimately, the simple look of the beaded copper chain won. I think it places all the focus on the best part of the necklace, the leather rose.

The cluster ring came about because I wanted to use copper wire to make a ring. My “go tos” are usually silver and brass. I used neutral colored wooden beads (another first for me – I like high contrast). I love the sense of calm and balance the ring has and I also love that only two materials were used to make it, wood and copper.

wood and copper ring

Wood and Copper Ring

chandelier style earring

Chandelier Style Earring

The green beaded earrings were the first project I created with the copper earring wires. I had one copper chandelier earring that I was given at a garage sale because there was no match…I love it when that happens but that’s another blog…I simply cut the chandelier and freed the beautiful vintage green beads and attached them to the earring wire. I adore the simple look and the contrast of the copper with the emerald green beads.
vintage green beaded earrings

Vintage Green Beaded Earrings

celtic cross earrings

Celtic Cross Earrings

The Celtic cross earrings were a little more thought out. I found the Celtic metal charms at Bead It! and knew they would make a great pair. I continued to hunt for something else with copper and I found the awesome black beads with copper on them. At the time I didn’t plan to put the two together. I completed the earrings, the beads were on the table right next to me and I decided to add them.

I’ll be posting the pieces on etsy soon. If you have interest in any them or want more details, please send me a comment. Who knew copper could be so inspiring?

One Shell of a Necklace

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collection of shell buttons

Collection of Shell Buttons

A friend gave me a small baggie of vintage Mother of Pearl and Shell buttons that she loves to make her a necklace. The first thing I noticed when she handed them to me was the weight. It was so heavy. Buttons are made out of plastic now and are virtually weightless. I was intrigued.

I open the baggie and spread them across my rug. Most buttons were round, but there were oval, rectangle, and square ones.

odd shaped buttons

Odd Shaped Buttons

I also found these beautiful moon shaped buttons that I loved. I had no clue how I would use them on a necklace. I found a heart shaped button. I knew I had to use this one. I’m a sucker for hearts! Another interesting detail to these vintage buttons is the carving. Some were smooth, but the majority of them have intricate carvings on the front of the buttons. It’s strange to think that buttons contributed to the overall aesthetic of a piece of clothing. Nowadays buttons serve almost completely as utilitarian items that close the ends of fabric.
carved buttons

Carved Buttons

close up shell button necklace

Shell Button Necklace Close-Up

I pulled several buttons out that I thought I could work with to make the necklace. The large one with all the holes around would be perfect for the central part of the necklace. I knew I could hang other buttons and charms from it. I built the necklace from there and added a dragon fly charm. I remembered that my friend has a delicate tattoo around her wrist of elephants. I removed the dragon fly and added an Indian brass elephant…PERFECT!

Next, what type of chain do I use? I thought about a beaded chain but it just seemed to ordinary. I found an old brass chain with little flat metal charms attached. This could be it. I loved the metal charms but I feared it would take away from the beautiful center piece I had created. I removed them all but kept one to add to the end of the necklace. I also added a couple of inches of larger old brass chain. Now she has the option to wear the necklace long or as a choker.

LIGHTBULB GOES OFF! The little metal charms hanging off the base chain gave me the idea to attach a few of the moon buttons in a similar way. I arranged them a few times to make sure that the length of the necklace would feature the moon buttons as well as the centerpiece independent of the length she chose to wear the necklace. shellnecklace1

This is my favorite necklace to date. It’s always special when you don’t have to struggle to make something work. Struggle can be good and teaches you. It’s the magic of creating. Your mind directing your hands in a seamless way. That’s what drives an artist. I also made some earrings from two matching buttons. I couldn’t help myself 🙂 Thanks TJ for the experience.

shell button earrings

Shell Button Earrings

If you love something, let it go…

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If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it’s yours forever. If it doesn’t, it was never meant to be.

Remember me? I used to create jewelry and blog on a consistent bases. I went on a detour in the middle of the 2012 and it lasted until the end of the year. I took classes and passed my exam to become a licensed real estate sales person. It was a wonderful trip, (for the most part) but I miss creating. The love of making jewelry and writing about it came back and it’s mine forever. When I lose my way, there’s one sure way to find it.

I visited my favorite bead shop, Bead It! and bought a few things that caught my eye. I’m on a copper kick right now so along with the copper earring wires and headpins, I had to have these little copper hearts

copper hearts

Little copper hearts with the word April

as well as the copper Celtic crosses.
copper celtic crosses

Copper Celtic crosses

black beads copper bails

Black beads with copper and copper bails

I LOVE the black beads with copper on them.

Isabelle wanted a key! I have a collection of keys but she wanted to pick one out for herself and have me make a necklace for her. You will see the finished piece!

silver key

Isabelle’s silver key

I also picked up these beautiful red wooden discs with carvings and a little silver turtle.

red wood discs

Red Wooden Discs

I adore turtles.
silver turtle

Little Silver Turtle

Of course the day wouldn’t be complete without stopping my one of my favorite thrift stores. I am a bad jewelry maker because all I’ve ever looked for there jewelry wise is pieces to take apart and reuse. I find myself at the back of the store and lo and behold, they have a craft section…I got this pile of buttons for $2.99!!!

pile of buttons

Pile of Buttons

At Bead It! buttons are $5 bucks for a 2×3 inch zip bag. I LOVE the color and size of the buttons I got. I’m overfilled with ideas. I even created a new Pinterest page for Beautiful Buttons.

So the word on the street is, I’mm Baaack! Thank you everyone for all your support along the way.

Brace Yourself

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Close-up of Peasant bracelet

Life has changed dramatically. I left my permanent job, I’m working with my spouse in real estate, I’m studying to become an agent, and I have more time to work on jewelry. The last part I’m really excited about. It’s been chaotic since I left my job. I still haven’t worked out my routine and I must have a routine. I want next week to have more structure…I know, an artist who wants structure.

With a little more creative time on my hands, I’ve made 2 bracelets and I’m delighted with the outcome. Two principals of design, movement and scale have been the focus of my pieces. Bracelets seem to be the prefect art form for my experiments. They are always moving around the wrist. I’ve found that by using more than one type of chain, I can achieve more motion, play with the scale, and I get the added benefits of dimension and texture.

Close-up of Rouge bracelet

Rouge is typical of my style but with a twist. It’s monochromatic and small and it jingles. I found the bells at BEAD IT! and I had no idea what I would do what them. They just caught my eye. I used three types of brass chain for the base of the bracelet. I added red glass hearts, glass squares, brass colored glass hears and red crystals in groups of 3’s along with the bells. I love the rich, lush color of the bracelet and the added bonus is that it makes a beautiful sound.

Rouge, charm bracelet

I created Peasant from a kooky vintage belt that I found at a garage sale. I love the wooden rings and I added turquoise, vintage brass buttons and green glass beads that I acquired from a vintage pair of chandelier earrings. The bracelet is large but very light weight because of the wooden rings. Honestly, this one is out of my wheelhouse but a divine example of texture and scale. I’ve learned that I don’t have to make beautiful pieces I would wear, I have to make beautiful pieces.

Peasant, charm bracelet

I believe you have to challenge yourself and get out of your creative pigeon hole. You always learn from it, and brace yourself, you could create something that you didn’t know existed within your realm. I’ll leave you with this.

I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it. — Pablo Picasso

Focus

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Focal Swap Clasp

Focus, a condition in which something can be clearly apprehended or perceived. I for one tend to get easily distracted with all that I have going on, work, family, and house chores. Lately, my days have been a blurry haze of the daily grind that is my life.

This changed with my family suffering a surprising loss this past week. Loss makes you realize how short life is and that you have to make the most of every day you have on this earth. In my funk of the last month or so, this poignant moment gave me clarity. I gave notice at my job and registered for real estate classes. I decided to pay more attention to my creative endeavors. This is what makes me feel alive and gives me a purpose.

The red beads with the clasp, brass button and a brass dragonfly charm

I was fortunate enough to sign up for a Vocal Focal Swap. I felt like this would energize and motivate me to create. My swap partner Bonnie, sent me this beautiful clasp created by Melinda Orr. I’ve never really created pieces in which the clasp is the focal point of a necklace so this was an excellent challenge for me. I journeyed to Bead It! one of my favorite local bead shops and found some beautiful red beads.

I had some ideas for my necklace, but I wasn’t excited about any of them. I played with chain and beads and nothing sparked my imagination. I put it all away for a while and decided to marinate on my plan for the clasp. I tried to work on it last week but it seemed selfish to think about anything other than my family and the loss of a loved one.

Finally, the time came to shut down the “stuff” that has clouded my mind for weeks and concentrate on jewelry and completing my swap. Emphasizing the clasp was tough but it changed the way I approach creating and assembling a necklace. It forced me to get out of my design box and ultimately, motivated me to work, even when life is chaotic.

Contemplation, the finished necklace

There are aspects in life over which you have no control. We are human and death seems to be the one thing that makes us contemplate our existence and focus on what is important. My pondering has led me to appreciate life, celebrate my creativity and keep the focus.

Where the heck is Tarkington Prairie?

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Hoot, glass owls on copperI’ve lived in Texas all my life and honestly I’ve never thought too much about it. I guess when you live in a state that still has the right to succeed from the union, tortilla chips created in the shape of Texas and is ultimately famous for the show Dallas and oil wells, you just learn to accept the things that go along with living here.

Living in Houston or Austin, is a world apart from living in a small town in Texas. I grew up in Houston the majority of my elementary life. We moved to Tarkington Prairie at the beginning of my 5th grade year. To say I hated it, would be a lie. Moving from the metropolis of Houston to a tiny spot in East Texas that doesn’t exist as a town, wasn’t that bad. I had a lot of time to learn about myself and experience many animals, reptiles and amphibians. We lived on 10 acres with a variety of barns, outbuildings and fenced plots. The best part of it was that the land behind ours was owned by Champion paper company. It wasn’t fenced and it was kept clear of brush. Huge pine trees wrapped around low water creeks was my playground.

Life is a little harder in the country. If the power goes out, you have no water, because you get water from the well that is electric. The other thing about the country, you experience life and death first hand. From watching a baby calf born to smashing a snake with a shovel, everyday reminds you that life is awesome and fragile at the same time.

Steer, charm necklace

What does all of this have to do with the art I’m creating now? I began working with things I was naturally drawn to and like all artists, pondering why these seemingly disparate objects belong together and make sense in your head as well as visually. Sometimes art starts with a memory, sometimes art brings back a memory. Either way, we understand ourselves a little better and it drives us to create.

Chicken, charm necklace

Most of the new pieces came from my second home in Tarkington Prairie. Once ashamed of living there, I can now laugh at the crazy celebrations such as Dairy Day and anointing a Dairy Day Queen to lead the parade of pick-up trucks down the main street of Cleveland, Texas. I can relish the time I spent with cows, horses, pigs, chickens and ducks and the complete freedom I experienced while trekking through the woods behind our house.

Texas is my home and will always be my home. I live in Austin now and I adore it. I do miss seeing loose cows in the road, rabbits running across your path and the occasional jump from seeing a snake. I’ve just learned how to enjoy those memories and let them inspire me in a whole new way.

Austin, charm necklace within watch

For those of you who are curious, here is Tarkington Prairie