Kickin' Winter Blues

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Cold and cloudy, northern PA winters inevitably make me feel like hibernating, hence the double sweater combo above. Fortunately, between a bit of traveling and some very special projects, I have resisted the urge to curl up in blankets and snore the day away, unlike my cats.

Every January I count on the East Carolina University Metals Symposium to kick my winter blues.  With inspiring lectures, demos, and exhibitions, this year was no exception.  And of course, I love having the opportunity to meet and reconnect with incredible thinkers, makers, and craftspeople.  Highlights included a thoughtful artist talk by Lauren Tickle, a pin back workshop by Marissa Saneholtz, the Smitten Forum 2015 exhibition, and chatting with both Mr. Chris Hentz and Mr. Leslie LePere.

Being in North Carolina, I decided to hop on over to Asheville to see my good friend, Jo Anna Hickman, who is currently a craft fellow at Warren Wilson College.  The whipping wind of an impending snow storm kept me from exploring Asheville, but I was able to preview the craft fellows' exhibition.  I was especially delighted by the felted dress forms and mixed media Miniature Collection of Jess Self.

After a week on the road, I was ready to get back to the bench, and I had a few projects lined up!  On the docket were two custom pendants and a brooch.  I still have one pendant pending, but for now I'm happy to share what happened with that empty setting pictured above.  If you've read my post, Old Experiments, New Thoughts, you know that I am exploring empty settings and thinking about the question, "Is this seat taken?"  Although that seat was, in fact, spoken for, I had to photograph the piece before setting the enamel.  I decided to wear the brooch, on a whim, and snap a shot.  It has turned out to be one of my favorite images, and I wonder if it is because this piece now only exists as an image. . .  In any case, here is the actual, finished piece, a donation to Contemporary Craft for their annual benefit auction, Out of Hand!


Here's to this piece melting someone's heart and finding a home in a lover of the handmade!


Old Experiments, New Thoughts


This little piece has me so excited!  In my last post I wrote about looking for a community of makers and craftspeople.  While visiting Contemporary Craft for Mindful, I expressed this want to a few people who were able to point me in the direction of metalsmiths who teach or make at SCC's studio.  I was happy to accept an invitation to attend a meeting of the very newly formed Allegheny Metals Club.  The particular meeting I was able to attend was a pinswap; how could I resist?!  A swap like this is a great way to meet people in my field, introduce myself and the work I make, and is the best way for me to make something (relatively) quickly.  Another jump-start project was in order!  I had some ideas swirling around in my brain that I hadn't yet gotten out on paper, let alone in metal.


Those ideas started forming a few months ago when I was given a small gold ring to use for scrap because of a broken prong and missing stone.  There was something about the empty oval setting and the three remaining prongs that I found very intriguing.  I began to think about empty spaces within a jewelry context, their ambiguity, and their potential.  Is there a part missing, or is that space a placeholder?  Could the space eventually be filled, and for how long will it remain empty?  When paired with another element, I imagine these questions as a conversation, and I especially think of the question, "Is this seat taken?"

What could I pair with an empty seat to evoke the questions I had in my mind?  When I started looking through potential objects, I came across some experimental enameled tiles I made a few years ago.  Although the experiments, silver knots embedded in opaque enamel, never evolved past their sample-like nature, I never completely forgot them.  When I considered the questions I was asking, the enameled knot samples mirrored by an empty setting fit the bill.

The things that have me so excited are a handful of never-would-haves.  I never would have come to this composition when I first made the enamels, which in itself feels like an accomplishment that has been a long time coming.  There's a feeling I wanted expressed, but it needed a few years to be realized a bit more accurately.  I am satisfied with this in part because I never would have used that setting for anything, and the decision to do that comes from thoughts and questions spurred by the little gold ring.  Finally, I never would have parted so easily with something I felt so good about.  However, I was making quickly and with the intention not to keep; I didn't have the opportunity to become attached, as I so often do with my work.  The makings of successful endeavors on all fronts, I think!



What Are You Thinking?


What Are You Thinking? is an upcoming show featuring UMass Dartmouth Artisanry alumni.   Anything goes, from a sketch, to a piece in process, to a finished work, as long as it is 6 x 6"!

Bench Shot

My brain has been occupied with a few things as of late, but this show is coming to the forefront as it is very quickly approaching!  Here are a few different things I am thinking about: Wobbly hollow formed rings, hole-y enameled domes, and...


a new place to work!  I found a small desk, but it was about ten days before I took out that Plano tackle box holding all of the essentials.  In simply setting out a few of my most basic tools, I felt a deep sense of joy and satisfaction.  With a few modifications, this little desk will be a great place to use those lovely tools and to finish the thoughts started earlier this summer!  Be sure to check back soon!