Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My First Exhibit as a Jewelry Artist

I have always considered myself to be a creative person. From a young age I made messes that you would not believe. It was only in my late 20's that I started recognizing my messes as art, and claiming the title of artist. I'm used to getting recognition for my poetry and photography, but I was shocked and delighted when a local artist group asked me to participate in an art show for my jewelry. It was just the boost I needed after feeling a little like I had "sold out" in order to sell my work. This presents an amazing opportunity to create some unique pieces that let me play. It also is a wonderful chance to be in the company of other local artists and be inspired by their work. I can't wait for the show. I will post some of the pieces that I'm planning to exhibit soon.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fun with Trash

I have been meaning to post some pics of the products of my recent upcycle obsession. I have truly fallen for bottle caps and soda cans in a way I never thought I would. I was lucky enough to meet a very friendly bartender who was willing to save bottle caps for me for the small price of a necklace. My friends have also pitched in on the effort, and now I have more bottle caps, soda cans, and tabs than a girl could ever have imagined. Here are some of the fruits of this new labor of love. I hope to have an upcycle blog about all the great websites I referenced to get to this point. And there is a giveaway in the works :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

When It Stopped Being About Love

I've just finished reading La Bella Joya's wonderful post on the amateur phase of jewelry making. It really got me to thinking about where I am with my jewelry and where I want to be. I don't remember when I picked up my first set of pliers and mangled some sterling silver wire into a pendant, I just remember that the feeling was heaven. I haven't looked back since. It went from gemstones, glass, and wire, to seed beads, to soda cans, and who knows where it will lead. And yes, that feeling that you get when people say "You made that?!" is still very much with me. The only trouble is that "How much?" has been added on to it. Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled to have a client base that wants to buy my work. It makes it a whole lot easier to keep myself in bead supplies now that they little gems are paying for themselves. That said, I've just spent the past 2 weeks preparing for a big sale that I have two more weeks to prep for, and I'm exhausted. Mainly, I'm tired of making what feels like the same pair of earrings over and over again. While I would love to be spending my time cutting up soda cans and experimenting with bottle caps, I have a deadline to meet. And what would be the point of making a whole lot of earrings that haven't been "tested", meaning simply that I don't know if people would actually buy them. Well, the point would be that this is very much where my free spirit artsy soul wants to play right now. So, where do I draw the line between supplying and creating. I wish I had an answer. I could not be more grateful to the amazing people who have purchased my jewelry, and I want them to keep coming back. I also want time to play! How do I manage the 2? Any suggestions?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Friday's Gem

I totally forgot to post this on Friday! Here goes :)

It feels like it has been way too long since I've done one of these. This week's gem is:


This beautiful stone has appeared and reappeared on my table for weeks now. Maybe it is the soothing aqua color, or perhaps it is my closer proximity to the ocean. Whatever the case may be, this little seafoamed colored wonder is in heavy rotation right now. Amazonite is a feldspar. It is found in many places around the world. It is light green or light blue green in color. It usually appears slightly mottled, and has some white striations. The stone is said to be a hope stone. It is also said to enhance the throat chakra's vibration and to encourage creativity.


I absolutely love energy spirals. I was thrilled to get 10 spiral focal beads in my bead order last week. I have really enjoyed playing with colors and shapes as I've made spiral earrings.

I've got 4 more of these fantastic little spirals to work with. I can't wait to see what comes up.

I'm still waiting on Nauruan sandal beads. Unfortunately, my dear landlady's husband has a case of gout. I'm hoping that he will have a speedy recovery. Until then, I'll be longingly staring at my little beaded sandal.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What they do with beads in Nauru

My landlady is an absolute joy to be around. She is funny, thoughtful, and incredibly caring. Recently my friend L and I took her to get her ears pierced. I promised her that I would make a pair of fabulous earrings as soon as she graduated from her starter set. Last night I took her those earrings, and she oooed and aaahed and then handed them back to me.

She won't be able to take her starter set out until Saturday, and she was afraid that if she kept the earrings she would be tempted to try to wear them. What a compliment! As us ladies where doing jewelry talk, her husband came over and eyed a bracelet that I was wearing. He told me that his mother had beads. I thought this was an odd thing to say, but I asked him if his mom did bead work. He told me that she did, but that she was dead now, and he wanted to give all her beads to me. I was floored. I also immediately accepted his offer. It turns out that his dear mom was a fabulous beader. My landlady brought over a purse and a sandal (!) that she made. The beads that she used are round plastic beads from Nauru, which is a small island in Melanesia. I can't wait to get these little things on my beading table! And I'm going to be ambitious. Bead sandals, here I come!

A Flurry

These past few weeks have been a flurry of bead activity. In just a matter of days I have begun a color study, ordered new and fabulous beads, made loads of earrings, discovered how to bead a sandal Marshallese-Nauruan style, and taken on a bead apprentice. I will be sharing pictures and insights with you over the next coming days. I hope that in the meantime we will all get the chance to happily bead away :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Taking a little break but hope to be back soon...

Ahoi hoi all in bead land,

I know I just started this blog, so I haven't really earned my vacation hours. However, I just moved to a new country, started a new job, and lost a very good friend. I am, in a word, pooped. But I promise I will be back soon soon with new gemstones to share, and hopefully some new bead projects to share. Until then, I hope you are all wonderful and beading away.


Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday's Gem

Ahoi hoi out there in bead land. This Friday's gem is going to be pretty short. I have just completed a move half-way around the world, and can honestly say I'm beat. I've been living in a hotel out of suitcases for the past three days, and my stones are a bit scattered. I won't leave you hanging completely though. The stone for today is


Ok, why sodalite? Well, years ago when I first started working with gems, a friend told me that sodalite is a travel stone. Since that day, I've carried a piece with me at all times to ensure safe travels from point a to b. So, in honor of my recent trip, I invite you all to go out and pick up a piece of this beautiful blue stone. Maybe it will lead you to discover somewhere new.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday's Gem

It's another beautiful Friday morning. This Friday's gem is (drum roll please):


This man-made stone also goes by the name monk stone. It comes in brown, dark blue, and a very rare dark green color. I have to admit that I've chosen goldstone this week for slightly selfish reasons. A while back, when I first discovered the stone, I was told that it is a memory stone. It will hold the energy of anyone who touches it with intention. I don't often gravitate to goldstone, but this week, as I'm preparing to move away from a place that has become home, I have felt comfort when wearing my goldstone jewelry.

Goldstone has a tendency to stand out because it is so sparkly, so you may not find yourself using it a lot. It does, however, come in many interesting shapes and lots of different sizes. So when you do decide to get your sparkle on, or maybe create a memory peace for someone who is going away, give goldstone a try.

If you know and love goldstone, have tips on how to use it, or have a goldstone experience, please share it here.

Happy Friday!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday's Gem

I LOVE working with gemstones, so I've decided to dedicate Fridays to these fabulous rocks. Gemstones add dimension to any bead piece. They add dimension in color, shape, weight, and feeling. The stone I'll showcase this Friday is the beautiful, yet unassuming,


This calming stone can range in color from a deep honey to a milky yellow. It is a calcite. It is said to have calming properties, and to encourage meditative states. I can honestly say that the experiences I have had working with aragonite have been very calming and meditative. This may be because I find beading calming, but I won't discount the energy of the stone! Aragonite originates from Molina de Aragon, in Guadalajara, Spain. It can also be found in Slovakia and the US. It forms naturally in caves as stalactites. It also forms naturally in the ocean, often on mollusk shells.

If you haven't work with Aragonite before, it's worth a try. It is a wonderful neutral tone. It presents a great balance for more vibrant colors. Because of its varied color range, and the milky striated nature of the stone, it also works well by itself.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Book Is Available

This post is totally un-bead-related, but I had to share. A book of my poems is now available on! Please check out the link, and help support me in this endeavor. Thanks!

Entering Into the Huichol Landscape

I live in Isla Mujeres, Mexico, a colorful place full of bead artisans. Much of what has inspired the new turn in my beading has come from the wonderful artisans I have met on Isla. It was Playa del Carmen, however, that introduced me to Huichol. On a long trip that ended up in Dangriga, Belize, a friend of mine and I stopped in Playa del Carmen for a night. We walked up and down Avenida Quinta, peeking into the high fashion shops that Playa is known for. In this swath of wispy fabrics and scantily-clad models, there is a colorful oasis of artisan work.

I wish I could tell you the name of the shop, but it has since slipped my mind. What I do remember, is that it was my introduction to the Huichol Indians of Mexico, and their amazing jewelry, waxed thread, and waxed bead pieces. I was in love, and could think of nothing else but learning this amazing art. I bought a book about the Huichol, and one necklace from the store.

I studied that necklace and my huichol book for months until I unlocked the pattern. The Huichol consider their art to be a meditative path to enlightenment. Often while travelling this path, peyote is used to heighten the senses. The peyote cactus is prominent in many of the Huichol designs.

I can honestly say, that after creating my first Huichol piece, I felt that I had lifted a veil. My beads made more sense to me. The Huichol also believe that the art you create is manifest into the world at the completion of the project. I like the idea that the flowers and mandala patterns in my pieces are now manifest in our natural world. Here are some of the pieces that I was graced with in this process. Enjoy, and please comment. Have you had a Huichol experience? Or a moment when beading helped you work through something bigger?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Results of my latest beading challenge

I, like many artistic types, get burned out at times. It's very easy to do when you labor over a piece and see it collecting dust on a shelf. The market is full of amazing artisans, which is a beautiful thing. It can also make you feel like one in a crowd though. Trying to kick myself out of that feeling, I challenged myself to make a new piece every two days. Crazy! I know. That challenge was to end on July 31, but I think I'm gonna call it quits at the end of this week. It was fun, but a bit intense. Here are the results of the madness:

Clockwise from left: Red Rose, Sun and Surf Cuff, Get Funky Necklace in Red and Turquoise, Huichol Poppy Earrings, Gold Head Band.

Please comment on the pieces. And please share any challenges that you've participated in. Did it help to kick start things for you, or was it just a pain?

Welcome to my love affair

I don't remember when I first fell for beads, but it's been the longest standing relationship I've had. I've done polymer clay, paper beads, wooden beads, gemstones, and seed beads. I've worked with wired, thread, and even fishing line. I'm always picking up new ways to bead in my travels, from pandanus braiding to the frenzy of huichol seed beading. I hope to showcase what I'm up to in the word of beads, tips, new techniques, and interesting articles. As far as I'm concerned, the world is a more colorful place because of beading. Welcome to my bead love affair.