Delaware Bound

At the end of April, I left off with news of a job opportunity, but no details.  My friends, I am happy to report I have accepted a position as a gallery assistant at Heidi Lowe Gallery in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware!  For those of you who have visited, you know that Heidi's is an art jewelry oasis.  And for those of you who have visited again and again, you know there is always something new and exciting waiting for you in that tiny white house.  With the busiest season quickly approaching, I hit the ground running at the beginning of May and won't soon be stopping.  If you are in the area, be sure to stop by and say hello; I would love to meet you!



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!


Creative Community: A Need

This past weekend I had the very wonderful experience of seeing my sister read poems from her collection, MAMMAL ROOM.  It was an adventure, driving to Brooklyn and finding the funky little bar/bookshop, but I had my trusty navigator and fabulous friend, Monica, to help me out! Monica and I were fascinated by Kristen and the two other poets reading that night because, as visual artists, the poetry world was one we had not yet discovered.  It makes me happy to know there are these little pockets of poets and writers, a small community of creative people who make events like Triptych Readings happen!  It makes me happy to know that happens outside of the craft world. As part of my adventure to the big city, Monica took me to Brooklyn Metal Works, where she has a dedicated bench for making her jewels.  Right now, though, she is preparing new work for an upcoming show at the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston.  We happily pushed cast parts and pieces around the table as we brainstormed and problem solved.  It was a bit like grad school again, only way more fun and with a better doughnut shop near by.

Seeing my sister read, spending time with Monica in the studio, and of course my visit to Contemporary Craft a few weeks ago has me longing for a creative community.  I did not realize how important that type of community is to me as a maker and artist because, until recently, I had not been without one.  I enjoy the energy and buzz of a studio; it encourages me to make.  I enjoy attending artist lectures and gallery openings; they encourage me to explore, read, and think critically.  And I enjoy speaking about and exhibiting my own work; it encourages me to connect with people I may not have otherwise.  Each of those points may only be scratching the surface of a larger issue for me because it is less about enjoying these aspects of community and more about needing them.  With that realization, finding a new community is something I am working toward.

In the mean time, I've been feeling like I needed to get my hands working on something new without my brain getting in the way.  A jump start project, RJM (Radical Jewelry Makeover) style, was in order!  I recombined components of a broken bracelet to create miniature pendants in gold with oxidized silver chains.  It was a good project for me: necklaces (or, not brooches), multiples (or, not just one piece), salable (or, not emotionally attached).  This may be expanded upon...but that is another post for another time.

RJM Style Jump Start

If there is one thing I know for sure, it feels good to make, and I'm going to keep on doing it!