Yucca Leaf – inspiration for the fall 2017 collection

yucca leaf

Yuccas have long sword-shaped leaves with pointed tips. The leaves are often about 1 to 3 feet in length. Numerous yucca leaves grow in a rosette formation from a thick base.  

 I tell you this because I used the yucca leaf as the inspiration for many pieces in the Fall 2017 Harmony Collection.  I am showing you a photo of a yucca necklace with a handmade glass cabochon.  

yucca leaf necklace

This yucca necklace is a series of links in sterling silver cold connected together to form a collar necklace.  It is lightweight, and very easy to wear.  This yucca necklace has a lampworked cabochon from the Desert Bloom series.

The necklace can be found here

new tag

Desert Willow – inspiration for my art jewelry

desert willow

I think this photo is a Desert willow tree.  For a long time I thought this tree was an ironwood tree.  But I spent some time on google today and have decided it’s a Desert Willow.  Anyway….  these trees have been blooming around Tucson now for quite awhile.  The bloom looks tropical and exotic – almost like an orchid.  So what does this have to do with my art jewelry??  Well, there is a necklace in my shop in this Saturday’s sale that was influenced by this bloom.

Desert willow bloom as inspiration for a necklace

The stone is a faceted pink sapphire.  

 

 

Here’s the direct link – click on shop the sale now

shop the sale now link button

 

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

Music in the studio

Listening to Music in the Studio

I like to listen to music when I am working in my studio even though while I am making glass beads the ventilation system tends to drown it out. So one day I decided not to turn the ventilation on because I wanted to hear the music…. not a good thing! but that’s another story…  Then a dear friend said ear buds….  duh.  Now I am always immersed in music while I create

music

Anyway, while in Sante Fe last year I had the opportunity to hear someone play a Native American flute and I was hooked.

The history of this flute is vague, but it’s main appeal to me is the soulful, haunting, and emotional sound. I found an artist that I particularly like; and I think his music has really inspired a lot of my new designs which I will be showing you all over the next few months. Check out Scott August and his music.  Let me know what you think.

creating the desert in glass and metal

Four Corners – a new series

New Project – Four Corners

I am currently starting to work on a new series – the Four Corners – so I thought I would take you along on the journey from beginning to end.  So first is the inspiration.  Something pops into my mind that I want to explore.  This time its the Four Corners.  The Four Corners is a region of the United States consisting of the southwestern corner of Colorado, southeastern corner of Utah, northeastern corner of Arizona, and northwestern corner of New Mexico.  It is the only location in the United States where four states meet. Most of the Four Corners region belongs to semi-autonomous Native American nations, the largest of which is the Navajo Nation, followed by Hopi, Ute, and Zuni tribal reserves and nations. The Four Corners region is part of a larger region known as the Colorado Plateau and is mostly rural, rugged, and arid. In addition to the monument, commonly visited areas within Four Corners include Monument Valley, Mesa Verde National Park, Chaco Canyon, and Canyon de Chelly National Monument. The most populous city in the Four Corners region is Farmington, New Mexico, followed by Durango, Colorado.

Four Corners

I decided that the first piece of jewelry I wanted to create is a ring.  I also decided that I wanted this ring design to be adjustable because they are easier for clients to purchase than a fixed size ring.  I plan to wear this ring on my middle finger which I know its a size 7 – ish so the ring shank has to be about 58mm.  The ring would not have much of an opening for a size 7 but could be adjusted wider up to maybe an 8.5 where there would be a little space in the band where it met on the backside of the finger.  Then I decided I wanted this ring to be one piece instead of a shank and a top.  In order to get a template I like to design in Adobe Illustrator.  By no means am I an expert on this software, but I can get some simple designs sketched this way and then they are easily printed off so I can reproduce the design without having to start drawing from scratch.

four corners design

I then print the design and cut the shape out and try it on to make sure it is what I had in mind.

four corners template

I have decided that I am going to add wire embellishments along the shank and from top to bottom which will define the four quadrants.  And I drew in 4 dots where I am contemplating adding 4 stones using a gypsy setting.  I have done a gypsy setting only a few times and not in awhile so this will be a little challenge for me.  Also forming this syle ring takes a little patience and strength.  But it will be fun.

four corners

Yep… just what I wanted..

creating the desert in glass and metal

Mesquite Pods

mesquite pods

Mesquite Pods

Mesquite trees have long been used by native people of the southwest for food, medicine, beverages, glue, hair dye, firewood, construction material, and furniture making.  Mesquite beans are usually harvested after they turn hard and golden. Both the pods and the seeds (which are very tough) are ground into meal. The native people sprinkled the ground meal with a little water to form small, round cakes. Later, slices of dried cake were fried like mush, used to thicken stews, or eaten raw. The meal is also used as flour to make flat bread. Mesquite meal is gluten free.  The pods of mesquite beans are very sweet and the sweetness comes from fructose which doesn’t require insulin to be metabolized. You can chew on a pod to test its sweetness.

My dog loves to eat them.

My driveway is full of them.

So what do mesquite pods have to do with jewelry?

Mesquite Pod Earrings

I have always wanted to capture the essence of the mesquite pod in an earring.  For these earrings I decided to use hammered sterling silver (to emulate the texture of the bark) and tiny semi precious gemstones to mimic the curve of the pod as it hangs on the tree.  I’ve used sunstone here, but also turquoise, spinel, hematite, moonstone, ruby and more.

mesquite pods                                    mesquite pods

 

 

mesquite pods

mesquite pods

mesquite pods

They will be available in my shop on October 30

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creating the desert in glass and metal

Sometimes is lasts in love

But sometimes it hurts instead

…Adele

 

Desert Blooms Bead – Mesa Series Necklace

Blooms in the Desert

bloom

bloom

bloom

I love the desert blooms

They are opulent

and sometimes ephemeral….  living for just a few hours

Desert Blooms in glass

bloom

So one of my favorite beads to make is one I call the “Desert Bloom Bead” and it is captured forever in glass

So the Mesa Series Necklaces had to have one with a Desert Bloom bead

bloom

bloom

bloom

bloom

The sterling silver chain is long

and slips over your head

Available in my shop October 30

creating the desert in glass and metal

quote23

The Mesa Series

Mesa Series

Mesa Series

I etched some sterling silver with a hand drawn design inspired by the mesas of Arizona.  I then cut the silver into various shaped pendants sometimes put together with brass rivets.  Each one is hallmarked.  I added a lampworked bead and created some necklaces.  The Mesa Series

A mesa is an area of high land with a flat top and two or more steep, cliff like sides.

Mesa

These pendants will be in my shop on October 30th

creating the desert in glass and metal

Colored Pencils on Metal – earrings

Coloring on Metal

So if you have been following this blog you have seen a few of the pieces I made in a class with Deb Karash where I learned to color metal with pencils.  Very cool!

The class was 4 days so I was able to complete several projects.  Of course I had to make a pair of earrings.

colored pencils on metal earrings

colored pencil earringscolored pencil earrings

And naturally I made a pendant to match… stay tuned

Bittersweet

I have been attending the Bead and Button Show since it’s first year in Milwaukee.  In fact I was a vendor off and on for years….  selling my lampworked beads.  For the past several years I was lucky to meet up with 3 great “beader” friends.  We got adjoining rooms and had a blast taking classes, dining at great restaurants, and staying up late just talking.

But this year was a bittersweet year.

One friend couldn’t make it because she is taking care of a sick husband.

I did meet my friend from Chicago.

We were having a great time until a slip and a fall caused her to break her arm.

Back to Chicago for her….  where it’s taken her the whole summer to mend.

And at the time I was unaware of what life had in store for me.

creating the desert in glass and metal