Jewelry From My Best Friend’s Garden

E_GB_pendant_lg_p_1I love jewelry that’s beautiful and also tells a story.  These pieces are formed from green bean leaves from my best friend’s garden, so my connection to them is mighty strong.  Grab a cup of tea and let me tell you the story.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I traveled to North Carolina in June to attend a week-long Introduction to ArtClay Silver class at the John C. Campbell Folk School, also known as summer camp for crafty adults.  Well, any trip to that part of the country makes my heart swell, because I get to visit my sister and her family in Georgia, my mother-in-law in Asheville, and my best friends who moved to Honea Path, South Carolina.  Ted and Kristen and their two small children moved from Orlando to this tiny town near Greenville to be closer to Ted’s large and tight-knit family, and to re-gain the quality of life that a small southern town can offer.  I’ve missed them terribly since they departed in 2006.

E_GB_earrings_5This visit was the first time we’ve seen Ted and Kristen since they settled into their new home last fall.  Kristen has a green thumb and a love of fresh produce that had her outside planting a garden as soon as the winter frosts had passed.  By the time we arrived in June, her little patch of paradise was well on its way to producing a bounty of fresh homegrown food.

In my class at the Folk School, we learned how to use 2-part silicone molding compound to create molds and impressions of just about anything that has a texture.  One of our projects included impressing a leaf in the compound and using the resulting mold to make fine silver leaves.  Suddenly, I was on high alert for leaves with interesting shapes or deep textures. Just as we were all packed up and reluctantly leaving our friends, I looked down and noticed the leaves on Kristen’s green bean plants.  Wow – what incredible deep veining they had!  I dug out my molding compound, mixed a small batch and impressed 3 sizes of green bean leaves.

E_GB_pendant_med_p_1The fine silver leaves made from these molds are just fabulous and people really seem to be attracted to them.  Furthermore, when I share the story of my friend, her garden and how much I miss her, the connection is extended to include everyone who hears it.

These are available on request, and will be listed in my store when I get that set up.  The smallest leaf is used for earrings.  The medium and large sizes are pendants.  They can be shiny – just tumbled and polished, or I can add a patina treatment to highlight the texture and add color to each piece.  Let me know what you think!

Check out Green Bean Series set in my Flickr Photostream for more photos of the collection and a shot of the original mold.

August 12, 2009

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A Dragon Just For Valerie

Vals_Dragon_2Vals_DragonMy friend Valerie has been so supportive of my art that I call her my cheerleader.  It started when she ordered custom fan and light pulls for every room in her home.  Then, she allowed me to set up a small display in her salon.  Before long she was playing middle-man for custom orders coming in from her clients.  If I’m ever doubting my talent (and what artist doesn’t), all I need to do is walk into Valerie’s place with recent samples of my work.  Everyone needs a Valerie – or 10 – in their life!

Vals_Dragon_4She has always been a big fan of my dragons, and was particularly enchanted with their expressions.  So, when she requested a black and white dragon with a rainbow crystal, I knew this one would be really special.  This little dragon will surely be very happy and well cared for in Valerie’s possession.

As always, click on any image to see the larger version on Flickr.  Enjoy!

August 9, 2009

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Beachscape Set

Beachscape_setMy adventure in metal clay continues with this custom order set.  You know, dear readers, that I find custom orders to be both exhilarating and stressful.  There’s so much pressure to get it right and satisfy both myself and my patron.  I’m learning with each project that I’m much more demanding than my customers (so far), and I’m trying to be a bit more gentle and forgiving with myself without lowering my standards.

In the creation of these pieces, I was able to sharpen my skills in layering, attaching bails, setting stones in syringe clay, carving dry clay, and using syringe clay to enhance a texture.  I had struggled with setting stones in my introductory class, and I feel so much more comfortable with the technique now, after completing this assignment.

Beachscape_pendant_angleI did a similar piece in my class at Folk School and you can see the original piece here (on the top row near the center). It so happened that two people wanted that piece at the same time, along with matching earrings.  I was happy to oblige by creating a second pendant and two pairs of earrings.  All of these pieces were inspired by the landscape tutorials in Hadar Jacobson’s awesome book, The Handbook of Metal Clay:  Textures and Forms.

August 6, 2009

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