Monthly Archives: May 2012

Back in the Studio Saddle!

I have been out of the studio since I left for Beverly Hills, until today. After the Beverly Hills show, my son was being promoted from the 8th grade and my wonderful parents were in town. It was a really great week. As my children get older, I’m reminded that I’m getting old. I’ve been working in jewelry since my oldest was in uterus— I was pregnant and on bed rest when I discovered beads. Yes. Beads. It is an excellent gateway drug into the world of creating your own jewelry. First come beads, then small wire loops and earrings. Then classes. Take classes anywhere and everywhere you can. It stretches your mind and helps stave off the build up of plaque in the brain (my theory, not tested in a double blind study). Next thing you know, you have a concurrent career in, let’s say defense, and Art Jewelry. And then, you take the plunge and are a Jeweler full time. But not a diamonds in a gold band kind of jeweler– a jeweler who challenges what adornment is, uses different materials and techniques– maybe you’re even a jeweler with a world class engineering degree from the United States Naval Academy. Of course, you know I’m talking about me. And my degree is also in English, and a minor in Russian. Wow. Such a use for Russian on the art festival circuit!!

Anyway, I was out of the studio for over a week. I always approach my work bench with a combination of excitement and dread. I am not exactly tidy– I’m a pile-er in my studio. So whenever I am gone, I have to sift through what I WAS working on and decide what I AM working on now. That’s the dread. It’s hard to say goodbye to what I was excited about two weeks ago; if I’m not completely done, it gets moved into another “to come back to pile”. My worktable(s) are like the sandstone and limestone layers of the Arizona and Utah deserts, each one revealing some design point along my creative timeline. The excitement comes because after hundreds of miles behind the wheel, after interacting with other artists, after having time AWAY from production and creative work– I always have so many ideas on what I’m going to be working on NOW. Or what I will be working on if I can only clear a little spot to get some fresh supplies out. I’d like to add that I don’t take my Mom and Dad into my studio; it’s appalling and messy and my creative mess shames me just a little bit, but I’m committed to my process nonetheless. I also rarely make my bed–GASP!! I just pull the sheets up and call it done, no more quarters bouncing or 6 inch folds for me!! I am in complete military rebellion.

Yesterday, I sketched and made a list. I was anticipatory, but gave myself one extra day to let the mental design cream rise to the top. This morning I picked a design from my sketches and started on it before 7am (as soon as I cleared my soldering station from the tiny tourmaline’s I was wiring onto gold swirls before Beverly Hills). I’m in a swirls phase, so I can tell you today was about soldered swirls, which I then shaped into circles, squares and upside down triangles (my husband calls these shields, it’s always about warfare with boys, isn’t it?).  I will be rolling out to SLC with swirls, woven, soldered and hammered- circles, triangles, and squares.  Ain’t geometry grand? It’s good to be a nerd and it’s good to be back in the studio.

p.s. I tried taking photos to post, but I am so inept that I deleted them in horror at my own lack of photographic talent. I’ll have to take out my light cube to post some sneak peaks. Maybe this weekend…

Those Who Have Gone Before…

Memorial Day. My youngest asked what the difference between Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day was at dinner a few nights ago. I explained that on Veteran’s Day we honor those who served our country and lived to tell the tale, while Memorial Day honors our fallen– those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. I am lucky to be a Veteran. I am luckier still to be able to honor members of all the Armed Services by being HERE in the NOW.

I often wonder how I got “off track” from serving my country in the Navy to becoming a roaming-gypsy-festival-artist.  Yet, in a way, I have seen more of THIS great big, beautiful, green, brown, forested, coastal, prairie, desert filled country since I became a gambling, rambling artist than I ever did while I served my country. In those times I saw the ocean. A lot of ocean. I saw foreign ports and drank Johnny Walker Red in Poland, Vodka in Sweden and dark, chewy beer in Denmark. But now, now, I see MY country. I meet heros at every show, the hard working people of America looking to express a bit of their soul in the art they put in their homes and the art they put on their bodies.

Thank you America. You have shared your soul with me throughout the countless miles and under the white roof of my not-the-best-canopy. I listen to your stories. You listen to mine. We are alive to tell them. Together we make the fabric of our great nation. We would not be able to share and engage in the most amazing democracy yet to march along history’s swift moving river of time but for the greatest sacrifice of all– the lives of the men and women who have fallen in battle. For us. For you. For me. Remember our fallen, don’t forget them.

And please don’t drink and drive.

Potty Post- What????

Hello all!  Some readers may find this category of posts too far down the sh#$%er for them, and while I apologize for possibly offending the delicate sensitivities of some of you, I feel compelled to explore the dirty, nasty side of Art Festivals- Port-a-Potties.  I salute the logisticians and organizers who have to put other people’s poop and pee on their radar. Some Festivals get it right, and some fall straight down an open hole. Every region has their own style of port-a-potty, from air conditioned trailers to sad corners, wide doored, ground level, to narrow, step ups. This is the world of portable potties on the Art Festival circuit. Read on at your own risk.

Imagine this- you have driven anywhere from 500 miles to 1500 miles (longer even).  Your bladder is loaded with Vitamin Water Zero, Gatorade, Water and a sneaky Diet Cherry Coke. (Please don’t post comments in support of Cherry Coke Zero, I get enough of that at home.)  You have slammed more and more coffee more and more often as the sweet, endless miles of highway have rolled under the tires. You set up, sometimes in the dark, sometimes in the middle of a 90 degree day, and sometimes in the rain.  Ok. So you is really me. I drink that, drive that and have to pee and poop that. Everything that goes in must come out somewhere, somehow at sometime. At festivals, it comes out in port-a-potties.

This weekend, I was at the Beverly Hills Art Fair, a lovely show spread across a park along 4 blocks of Santa Monica Blvd abutting Rodeo Drive.  The road behind the park boasts homes of beauty, size and price. These brave neighbors put up with three days of set-up, show and break down. Brave souls, they are. The port-a-lets were delicately shielded from the lovely homes with canvased lattice work. Each block had a series of 10ish, although I did not have a chance to sneak down to the beer garden and see if they had more staged where the real drinking was going on. I was worried. How can the Honey Truck get to the potties if they are so walled off from the street?

The middle of day one saw the port-a-potties in standard state. I don’t understand why we all can’t just be neat and tidy. In an effort to avoid GERMS, folks make a little fiberglass haven into a Ganges River Banks experience. I go in armed with paper towels, Lysol spray and my own wad of TP. I’ve got pockets for a reason. I have added Clorox wipes this year. And I use them. I generously sterilize everything that touches anything in the little blue house of #1’s and #2’s. I’m not shy. If one is too gross, I move onto the next one. I need a place to start from, something I can work with. I will look behind every door to find an acceptable one, line be damned.  BH also had the foot pump hand washing stations and adequate trash barrels for the paper towels. Bravo!!  There was water, soap, and paper towels for the duration of the show. The trash was emptied regularly and there were no blowing paper towels in the area. Encore! Encore!  The park staff from the Greystone House is to be commended.

I was worried day two, but I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. Thank you Beverly Hills for shielding your homeowners from the unfortunate sight of the port-a-potties AND having the Honey Truck come.  Thank you for not letting the canvased lattice work stop the sh#$%t work from progressing!!  My only “Huh” for the port-a-let logistics is this– why put them directly behind ANY artist booth? I might have had a coronary if my booth was right in front of the the stand of sh#$%tters for two days. Folks do not need an audience getting in and out of those. Sometimes it is good to separate some types of work from other types of work. 

It is good to have the inaugural Potty Post a positive review. Let the Beverly Hills waste management program be so noted as a success!

Just one question– where were they recycling bins? I brought my bottles back to Pasadena for recycling rather than throw them out.

West Palm Beach, FL Classes!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the ladies out there working the mornings, noons and nights.  I admire your life long commitment to raising children up to be productive members of society. I applaud your efforts to teach them to put the toilet seat down (boys in my house), do their own laundry, and gasp– put their own dishes in the sink. Hopefully someday they will be off the payroll more than they are on and maybe even have an appreciation for all the cookie baking, classroom volunteering and near daily arguments about why homework IS important. Ok. So this may all be a bit more about MY motherly existence, but I hope a few of you are smiling out there.

If you’d like to reward yourself for all of your hard work both on and off the battlefield we call parenting, consider taking a class in my technique! Below you will find a link to Beads Gone Wild & Crystal Creations shop in West Palm Beach, FL. October 19th-21st I will be there teaching my technique to the creative hearts who would like to become more intimate with wire. It is NEVER too early to calendar block and claim a few hours or days for yourself!

Each day is $125 or you can book into all three days for only $300. I promise that you will learn so much about wire and jewelry making. We will conquer not only weaving/twining, but how to make your own clasps and earwires. Why pay suppliers when you can make your own? Glenda and I have lined up three home run classes. Day one is an introduction to simple woven shapes. Geometry is not just a class in high school! Day two will see us conquering a soldered setting fossilized turtle shell cuff– but without the soldering. I’ll bring the settings pre-done and we will focus on pattern and finessing technique. Of course, I’ll talk about the construction portion and we can walk through the design process. Day three is going to be free form collars. You bring the focals! Glenda and her staff will have the wire available for purchase and I bring the know how. Woven collars are the perfect way to set off lamp work focals in a new and fascinating way, or special nuggets or faceted gems you might have of the larger variety. Click away and sign up before too long!

Store Location
Woodhaven Plaza
4058 Forest Hill Blvd.
West Palm Beach
FL 33406
t: (561) 649-9909

I hope to see you there! Comment or email if you have any questions– let the learning begin!!

Beverly Hills and Rodeo Dr Here I Come!

I’m not a real girlie-girl. As a child I played more with my Breyer Horses than my Barbies (both of these toys are trademarked and owned by other folks, I’m not trying to steal the rights to these toys, just mention them fondly in my blog). I had a Barbie Jeep and Horse trailer that saw a ton of action in hauling horses. I don’t know if Barbie or her friends ever drove it. Shopping for me involves a list, a planned time frame and a maximum of three stops. There is normally wine at the end of the day to compensate for the trials and tribulations of parking lots, cashiers and the outflow of cash. Back in the day, I found my prom dress in the first 10 minutes and then wanted to get out of the mall. Anyway. I’m not a girlie-girl. But I have to say I am tickled pink to be participating in the Beverly Hills Art Show (formerly known as the Art Affair in the Gardens, but as of a press release–voila–new name).  When I looked up my location (#143) and saw it was right of Rodeo Drive, I giggled. Of course, I pronounced it incorrectly at first. In my head I was thinking Tucson Rodeo, cowboys (yummy), cattle and beer (also yummy). Then I thought, “hey stupid– it’s Ro-Day-Oh Drive”. That’s when the giggling started. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I once sat second seat in a helicopter, stood the mid-watch as a US Navy Cruiser steamed across the Atlantic and smashed Vodka glasses with some Soviets turned Russians at a fancy event in Stockholm, but Rodeo Drive. I mean, can’t a not-so-girlie-girl be a little star struck?

If you are in, around, or close to Beverly Hills and would like some funky, authentic jewelry, PLEASE stop by May 19th or May 20th. I accept Visa, MC, Discover and AMEX (celebrate!) and I’m certain you will find a few things not yet in any Rodeo Drive boutiques.