the Shaman

What is a Shaman?

Hi everyone, I want to talk a little mysticism today.  So I want to delve into a discussion of what exactly is a shaman.

Webster defines a shaman as a priest or priestess who uses magic for the purpose of curing the sick, divining the hidden, and controlling events.  

I’m pretty sure when you hear the word “shamanism,” you might picture feather headdresses, buffalo hides, medicine wheels and dream-catchers—all images associated with Native American cultures. But contrary to popular opinion, a “shaman” is not an Indian medicine man, and “shamanism” is not a Native American religion. In fact, many Native Americans find the terms “shaman” and “shamanism” offensive. The word “shaman” actually originates among the natives of Siberia, where it describes a specialized type of holy person. The shamans of Siberia interact with deities and spirits not only with prayer, ritual and offerings, but also through direct contact with the spirits themselves.

Wow, I’m glad to research this as I didn’t know that.

I was using the word shaman to indicate a symbol used by a medicine man or healer in the Native American culture.  In fact there are several symbols used in Native American spirituality. but calling them shaman is not correct. 

Kachina

A Kachina is a spirit being in western Pueblo beliefs. Kachinas are believed to reside with the tribe for half of each year. They will allow themselves to be seen by a community if its men properly perform a traditional ritual while wearing kachina masks and other regalia. The spirit-being depicted on the mask is thought to be actually present with or within the performer, temporarily transforming him.  

Kachinas are also depicted in small, heavily ornamented carved-wood dolls, which are traditionally made by the men of a tribe and presented to girls (boys receive bows and arrows). These wooden dolls are used to teach the identities of the kachinas and the symbolism of their regalia. The identity of the spirit is depicted not by the form of the doll’s body, which is usually simple and flat, but primarily by the applied color and elaborate feather, leather, and, occasionally, fabric ornamentation of its mask.

There are many types of kachinas – for instance bean kachina is used for making crops grow.  And buffalo kachina assures that there will be plentiful food in the winter.

A Kachina in my work

Awhile back I made this piece which I love to wear on special occasions.  I am glad to know that it would be considered a Kachina.  I have designated it blue sky kachina.  Wear it and all your days will have blue skys.

First I made the pendant.

Then the necklace

shaman kachina

carnelian and turquoise….

I designed it so you can wear it with or without the pendant

the pendant will slide on the necklace

 

kachina shaman

kachina shaman

I consider this a prototype…  

definitely more kachinas to come


So the rebranding is progressing

new wesite

new shop

stay tuned  for September

and if you want I’ll keep you posted

 

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creating the desert in glass and metal

 

Ochre – I love this color

ochre

I love this color.  I call it ochre or mustard.

And I really consider this color to be a neutral at times.

So do you love it or hate it?

Both of my children are blond and blue eyed – so it’s not on their favorite color list.

 

What is ochre?

Ochre is a natural earth pigment containing hydrated iron oxide, which ranges in color from yellow to deep orange or brown. It is also the name of the colors produced by this pigment.  A variant of ochre containing a large amount of hematite, or dehydrated iron oxide, has a reddish tint known as “red ochre”.  Wow, I just wrote a blog about my love of hematite and now I find that ochre and hematite are related.  

To top it off another one of my favorite things is rock art…  and guess what.  The predominant colors used in rock art and cave art are black(from charcoal, soot, or manganese oxide), yellow ochre (limonite), red ochre (hematite or baked limonite), and white (kaolin clay, burnt shells, powdered gypsum, or powdered calcium carbonate).

Roussillion, France

ochre

 

The ochre of the Luberon fascinates.  Proudly perched on a hilltop, Roussillon overlooks the first quarries carved out over two centuries ago. The red of the cliff faces certainly explains the attraction of this village which is the only one located in the heart itself of the ochre deposits.

These natural pigments have been used since prehistoric times. Then in 1780, Jean Etienne Astier from the village of Roussillon discovered that, after processing, ochre became an inalterable and non-toxic dye.  He became the first ochre extractor in France.  The pigment is used in the making of stucco for the Provençal houses, because it is heat and sun resistant.

I visited Provence a few years back and we visited the quarrys at Roussillion.  I even bought some powdered ochre.

me in the ochre quarry

 

Ochre and jewelry making

I use ochre in my art jewelry fabrication when I solder.  By applying a paste of ochre to solder joins it acts as an inhibitor and prevents solder flowing onto places you do not want the solder.  Great stuff.

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creating the desert in glass and metal

Hematite – a stone I love to wear

hematite - photo of cabochons for art jewelry

Designing with Hematite

Aren’t those stones just fantastic?

I love wearing hematite.  The color is fantastic….  not quite black more a steel gray.  I also like to patina my silver to a dark gray so making these stones pop is going to present me with a little problem I have to solve.

I could use a gold bezel and I have ordered some.  Of course that is going to make the price of the piece significantly higher even though gold prices have gone down a little.  A foot of gold bezel wire just cost me $85.00.  But I will figure it all out…. that’s half of the fun.

About Hematite

Hematite is an iron oxide mineral (not a crystal) with a very unique look that is hard to confuse with any other stone. The name hematite comes from the latin word “blood stone”, because when it’s found naturally and broken open, it has a layer of rust on the inside.

Hematite is probably the most common stone used to balance and calm people. This is because hematite is very grounding, and helps to keep the mind focused on the moment. This stone is considered to be closely related to the root chakra.

Since hematite is such a powerful grounding energy, it’s great to use when things are overwhelming or you feel like you can’t think straight.

Specular Hematite

The photo above is some Specular hematite that I have purchased over the years.  Specular Hematite crystal is also called Specularite and is a beautiful variety of hematite that has a rich metallic luster on a sparkling silvery polished surface. Specular Hematite stone encourages you to to release judgement about whether you are spiritual or not. It reminds you to pursue your dreams.  It can help you release self-recrimination about your spiritual growth and self worth.

Right now I have six rings and one pendant in process using these 7 stones.  Part of the new collection which will be unveiled in September.  I know that seems really far off.  But I am rebranding at the same time as I work on this collection…  so I’m updating my website, building a new online store for a better customer experience.  And then there is all the other stuff that needs to get ordered… new business cards, packaging, and more.  Plus some holiday time over the summer…..  So September is really not that far away.  Whew I’ve got a lot to do.

Thanks for looking.  The rings will be made in various sizes, so if you see a particular stone now and want a certain size ring let me know.

creating the desert in glass and metal

 

Chain – an essential for jewelry

Chains for my art jewlery

Everybody has chains in their jewelry armory.  You can wear them alone…  layer them… add a pendant.  They really are essential.

And there are thousands of commercial chain styles out there.  

Sometimes I buy chain by the foot to put with handmade pieces of my art jewelry.  I then add my own clasp or I segment it with handmade lampworked beads.  Buying commercial chain helps to keep the cost down of the piece of jewelry I am fabricating.

But sometimes a piece of art jewelry I make screams to have a special handmade chain; and for the last couple of days I have been hand making one for a pendant.  It is time consuming.

Cut the wire
Form the jump rings
Saw the jump rings (tedious)
Solder the jumprings
Make the clasp
Put it all together
Tumble it in shot for 8 hours (I don’t like to polish chain on a machine as it can be dangerous)

Here is a chain I am working on now.  Had to stop to order more wire…..  (It hasn’t been tumbled yet.)

chain

But I love the end result.

creating the desert in glass and metal

Organic Metal – Highly Textured Metal for my Art Jewelry

Textured Metal 

So I have said this before.  I love textured metal.  One of the most beautiful textures is simply striking metal with a hammer.  

But I like to experiment. 

So today I worked on a more organic look for my metal.  I modified some sheet metal by fusing wire to it and then rolling the fused metal in my rolling mill.  It took me about two hours to produce a piece of metal 2 inches by 3 inches.  I think this piece will be used in a bracelet.

textured metal for art jewelry

Right now I left the design slightly raised.  I think I may want to give it a few more passes in the rolling mill which will flatten the design even more.  So this is definitely just a work in progress..   More later

creating the desert in glass and metal

Art Jewelry Pendant with a Lampworked Bead and a Sapphire

An Art Jewelry Pendant – what I made in the studio this week

I was lucky to spend some time in the studio this week.  First I made some lampworked beads.

art jewelry dot beads

I really love these beads.  They look like prong set stones all around the disk.  

Then I fabricated some silver settings – one for the glass bead and one for a sapphire slice

art jewelry - wip

I made the setting for the sapphire slice so it would fit into the hole of the glass bead – which would be set on it’s side.

The glass bead was set into a sterling silver back that I had soldered some wire that would become prongs to hold the glass bead in place.  

All finished….art jewelry pendant

art jewelry pendant

Signed!

art jewelry pendant back

Another fun week in the studio.

I would also like to wish everyone a Happy Easter weekend.

 

 

creating the desert in glass and metal

Giving Back – Art Jewelry for the Humane Society

I love creating my beads and art jewelry.  I’m really not sure what my day would be like if I couldn’t do something creative.  So to give back to the community I have several organizations that I support.  Today I want to talk about the Humane Society of Southern Arizona.

Art Jewelry for the Humane Society

My husband and I started to volunteer for the Humane Society here in Tucson last year.  We have taken several classes on dog handling and dog walking, so every Saturday morning we get up early to help walk the dogs.  It’s a no kill shelter so the animals stay until they find their forever homes.  And it’s really nice to see what a great job this shelter does both taking care of the animals while they are there as well as finding the right home for the dogs and cats.  I am proud to be a part of this organization.

So I was happy to see that they will be having a big fund raiser on April 22nd called “Putting on the Dog”.  Music, food, auctions  – a fun event to support the Humane Society.  So I thought I would donate a special piece of art jewelry to support the cause.

art jewelry - giving back

This pendant necklace just got dropped off.  I made the bead based on a book I have by Claudia Trimbur Pagel.  She shows how to make several beads and one of them is a “dog bead”.

It felt good to make and even better to give to the Humane Society.  I hope it finds a forever home on April 22nd.

creating the desert in glass and metal

REST IN PEACE

Homer

Homer

2003 – 2017

I miss you

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

 

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