Archives for March 2017

Art Jewelry Inspiration – Spring Blooms in the Desert

desert inspiration - designer art jewelry

Desert Inspiration – Spring Cactus Blooms

Everything seems to be blooming a little earlier this year here in Tucson probably because we have had lots of rain.  So my art jewelry inspiration in the form of cactus blooms is just beginning.  This hedgehog plant with it’s majestic magenta blooms just started blooming in my yard.  Hedgehogs are the first cactus to bloom every spring.  And like many other cactus flowers, these blooms are really short lived – lasting for only a day or two.  Luckily the plant has many blooms that seem to take turns showing off so I can enjoy them for about a week.  

I really need to try to create this color in glass.  But I have found that difficult.  There is one glass that comes close called rubino but it is difficult to work in the flame and sometimes you end up with a nasty scum on the glass.  Did you know that glass is “colored” by adding minerals and metals.  Some of which are not too healthy to breathe while working in the flame.  Pink and red glass gets it color by adding gold metals.  So it’s really expensive too.

Another technique I have used to get this color is to fume 24K gold onto clear glass.  You end up with a vibrant pink color with a metallic sheen.  Thank goodness for my ventilation system in the studio as breathing gold fumes can lead to heavy metal poisoning.  I also wear a respirator.

creating the desert in glass and metal


I’m out in the studio creating art jewelry

creating - art jewelry

A Work in Progress – creating jewelry

So last week I showed you the disk beads I made and many of you emailed me to ask what I was going to make.  

I chose one disk bead and started creating a piece of art jewelry around it

The design is sketched (I’m keeping that secret for the moment)

Other elements ~

a large sterling silver disk

some glass headpins on copper wire that I made yesterday

later today I will research the closure I plan to use – and I might just fabricate it in copper before I make it in silver

I like to make my mistakes in cheaper material; plus I will learn if I need to make any adjustments in the design

Tomorrow I will begin fabrication in the studio

If the final piece makes me happy I will make 2 more quickly with the other 2 disk beads

Studio Atmosphere

I like to listen to music while I work.

Recently I bought a new album and I plan on listening to it tomorrow…  

Of course its not a record album but digital music on my ipad….

creating and listening to music

It’s DION – I remember him like this

creating and listening to music

Oh it’s gonna be a great day

creating the desert in glass and metal


Lampworked Disk Bead

What I love about lampworking glass beads ~ besides being mesmerized by the flame ~ is that I can sit down and make any shape bead that I want and any color bead.  Possibilities are overwhelming.  I have been lampworking for 21 years – omg – that means that some beads I still have are of drinking age…

Shapes for my designer jewelry

A popular shape for a lampworked bead is a disk bead.  Sometimes a disk bead is made by carefully wrapping the hot glass in a single thin coil without melting the coils in.  And sometimes the coils are melted in for a nice smooth disk bead.  And of course my disk beads take on a more organic shape.  I used to find these shaped beads a little challenging to use in my jewelry designs.  Sometimes with this type of bead it is best to showcase the “side” of the bead.  But I have now designed several designer jewelry pieces around this shape.

Recently, I found this drawing somewhere on the internetdisk drawing

So I immediately went out to the studio and made some disk beads.

disk beads for designer jewelry

Jewelry next………………………..

creating the desert in glass and metal

Tuesday Ta Da

Just a Sneak Peak

I’m developing a new line incorporating my lampworked glass beads, metal, and desert inspiration.  I talked about a hollow bead last week where I had ground off one side.  To me it is reminiscent of a pod especially those prickly pear pods.  So here is a sneak peak of the finished piece……

ta da


And the inspiration…………..

ta da inspiration

creating the desert in glass and metal

Just me talking about using a hollow lampworked bead in a new jewelry design – what do you think?

First of all

Happy St Patrick’s Day

I’m still working on my new line of jewelry

so here is a video talking about one of my hollow beads that will be used in a new design



Always like to hear what you think

creating the desert in glass and metal

A Necklace for Every Day

necklaceI was out in the studio today – hammering textures. And forming some etched copper. I left with a new necklace.


creating the desert in glass and metal

Nestled in a pod


A pod is really a dried fruit containing many seeds.  

The pod protects the seeds as they mature.  

And eventually the seeds will leave the pod and make new plants.

I called these earrings “nestled in a pod”.  

Lovely labradorite.

creating the desert in glass and metal


Lampworked Beads This Week

I haven’t been at the torch much in the last month as I have been concentrating on rebranding my business.  But I sat down last weekend  to make a few hollow lampworked beads for my new line of jewelry that I am in the process of designing.  I picked a black glass from Murano that does some interesting things in the torch.  And I applied some stringer designs that I love.  Here is the result….

lampworked beads


My inspiration of course comes from the desert as well as semi-precious stones.  

I saw this wonderful petrified wood at the gem shows this year.  I would have loved to buy it…

lampworked bead inspiration

I also love the semi-precious stone labradorite.  Labradorite is a feldspar and is famous for a phenomenon known as “labradorescence.” Labradorescence is not a display of colors reflected from the surface of a specimen. Instead, light enters the stone, strikes a twinning surface within the stone, and reflects from it.

lampworked bead inspiration

So my new line will rely on labradorite, sterling silver, 22K gold and variations of the lampworked beads pictured above.  Sketches are happening now and some samples will be produced soon…   can’t wait to unveil it!

creating the desert in glass and metal

Totally Handmade


Totally Handmade – what does that mean?

  • sketch the necklace – about a half hour
  • make the lampworked beads – about 2 hours
  • anneal the lampworked beads – 24 hours
  • clean the lampworked beads – 10 min
  • create a template for the silver links – 30 min
  • use template to saw the silver links – 1 hour
  • refine the silver links, and polish – 1.5 hours
  • fabricate the jumprings – 30 min
  • wire the beads – 1 hour
  • fabricate the clasp – 20 min
  • solder the clasp – 10 min
  • clean all of the silver components – 15 min
  • patina the silver components – 15 min
  • wire wrap semi-precious stones to one link – 15 min
  • connect the necklace  15 min
  • photograph the piece 30 min

It’s a lot of work; but I LOVE doing it.