Shiny goodness!

I’m a true believer that it’s the little things that make life such a rich, joyful experience.  I had one of those little “squeal” moments just yesterday when I reviewed a video I shot at Wal-Mart HQ teaching their quality control team all about mangos.  The video included a mango cutting demo, which involved an extended close-up of my hands.  Now, I won’t say my hands are ugly, but they are not the elegant, graceful appendages I’ve always wished for.  And because I work with my hands creating my art, my nails are not neatly manicured and polished.  Let’s just say I’m pretty hard on my hands.  I was prepared to turn away when the video went to that close up.

Instead of being bummed out, I was overjoyed to see how pretty my new Tana Acton ring is on camera!  I found the ring at Topaz Gallery in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta.  I wear this ring everyday.  It’s a beautiful wire-wrap sculpture with tiny gold beads that move freely, so the ring looks different every time I glance at it.

This piece of jewelry has brought me such pleasure and so many compliments since the day I purchased it as a “happy birthday to me” present.  It makes me happy to think that people are out there wearing my jewelry and thinking lovely thoughts about it.  I hope my jewelry is creating the kind of joy  in my customers’ lives as this Tana Acton ring is creating in mine.

The photo below shows a collection of Tana’s kinetic rings.  Love!

June 9, 2012

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Full Circle

I took my first metal clay class with Pam East at the John C. Campbell Folk School in 2009.  The first day of the week-long class was the very first time I touched metal clay, and I was HOOKED.  It was such a great way to start and that fundamentals class gave me the confidence to build my skills and try new things on my own.  Pam was a generous and patient teacher and I knew I would study with her again.

Enamel on Fine Silver Pendant by Pam East

This weekend I get that chance when I travel to Atlanta for a two-day class in Pam’s home teaching studio.  The class is champleve enamel on fine silver. On day one we create a pendant that’s suitable for the enamel technique.  On day two we add the enamel and learn how to create color gradients.  Pam literally wrote the book on enameling on metal clay, so I’m confident that I’ll learn a great deal.  I’m also looking forward to spending time with Pam again.  Bonus!

I promise to take photos and blog about the workshop.  Stay tuned!

January 26, 2011

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Going Back to School

…and I’m so very excited!  I’ll be attending a week-long “Introduction to ArtClay Silver” class at the John C. Campbell Folk School.  This amazing school, located in far-western North Carolina was founded in 1925.  It offers classes in all sorts of arts and crafts, including metalsmithing, blacksmithing, painting, photography, quilting, glasswork and much more.  Students live on campus, mostly in dormitory-style rooms.  As part of my adventure, I’ll be staying in my tent at the on-campus campgroud.  There’s nothing like sleeping in a tent!

The class will teach me the basics of working with metal clay, which is a medium I’ve been researching for nearly a year.  I’ve had to hold myself back from diving into metal clay work, so I could maintain my focus on polymer clay production.  But, the time is right – I can feel it in my bones.  My instructor for the week will be Pam East, a master instructor for ArtClay Silver, one of the two companies that produce metal clay.  I’m honored to be learning from such a well-respected artist.  This gorgeous bamboo pendent is an example of Pam’s work.

I’ll be back in a future post with more information about metal clay.  I’m sure you’re all wondering how metal can be clay or clay can be metal.  Stay tuned for the answers to those and many other questions!

May 11, 2009

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A Family of Dragons

Last spring I created dragon wall hangings for my two nieces and my nephew for their birthdays.  I wanted to make them something special, that they would enjoy for many years, and I think these little dragons fit the bill perfectly.   Aren’t they cute?  Please click on the thumbnails for a closer view.

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Each dragon is roughly 6″ across and they are all carrying beads (secret treasure) in their dragon wings.  The tan and blue creature on the top belongs to Andrew.  I worked hard to make him more masculine, including the bamboo skewer and braided leather hanger.  Next up is the pink creation for Caroline, and below that the purple character is for Elisabeth.  Both of the girl dragons are a bit sweeter and are mounted on delicate wire and bead hangers.

I started making dragons after meeting polymer clay artist Christi Friesen at the Cabin Fever Clay Festival in Maryland.  Christi’s specialty is fun sculpture and she is well known for her dragons.  You can check out some of Christi’s work at  Christi is unusual in the polymer clay world in that she encourages people to learn from her and to copy her style, asking only the they give her credit.  So, if you travel around the web looking for polymer clay dragons, you’ll find loads that look almost like they could have been made by Christi herself.

I learned so much from spending just a short time with Christi.  Without her guidance, I would not be making these little guys with such finesse.  But not being a fan of copying anyone’s work, I have developed some ways to make my dragons unique.  One of my specialties is the tiny leaf cane that you’ll see on lots of my pendants and vases.  I discovered that these work really well as feather-like “scales” on the dragons wings.  I think it sets my dragons apart, and if nothing else, it makes me smile.

October 12, 2008

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