Bird's Nest

Bird's Nest
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Fancy Dancers
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Biwapearls

Biwapearls
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My Favorite Earring Design of 2016




That my mother ended up with these earrings is no accident...I believe I have been designing jewelry that would appeal to her for the last 12 years.

When I was a little kid, I knew one way to my mother's heart was via archeology and anything old. The patina of a thing was like candy to her...and it rubbed off on me.

I remember one Christmas when I was about five years old and excited to 'make' my mother's gift. I couldn't buy anything...so handmade was a necessity growing up.

I found some pictures of Holly Hobby in a magazine, and cut them out.  I pasted them on some blocks of wood that I found in the garage. I then tried to 'patina' my creations with ink, dirt and some strange variation of other ingredients readily available to a five year old on a mission that included saran wrap, too. I am sure it was horribly executed, but there was a feeling that I was trying for that I am pretty sure I've been exploring my entire creative life.

These earrings were challenging. I had to solder the brass bar on to the top of a disc that I had distorted with sandpaper and my chasing hammer.  But I loved the end result and must say that these were my personal favorites of the year.

My mother came up to visit this summer and as soon as she saw them, I knew they were hers. They look fantastic with her striking gray hair and they fall elegantly down her neck. She tells me she always gets comments on them when she wears them, and that makes me happy--as she has also shared with me that as she has gotten older, that she feels like she disappears when in groups of people.

I know that feeling of disappearing...I've heard so many mature women remark upon the fact that they often feel invisible when socializing, and maybe that is why bright colors and striking jewelry become more important as the years add up.

I am currently in the process of growing out the hair color on my own tresses and embracing the silver...this upcoming year I turn 50. I have no interest in looking like someone in her 30's or even 40's...I just want to look like me. The me that I am now...without having to cover things up or fuss over what is...

50 comes with a certain patina that I have earned by living well...and I'm excited about this next stage in my life.

That, along with something purple and red, and a kick ass pair of long earrings should do the trick...hope you have a great New Year!






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One of a Kind (OOAK) Designs




I have added a new category on my shop page for One of a Kind designs...

I have a combination of OOAK and Made to Order in my shop.  These three designs are from a few years ago when I was living in Arkansas. I am moving in a different direction these days, but thought I would start adding some vintage designs and those that I don't intend to make more than one of...

From a purely creative perspective, I love making one-off designs and then riffing from there. Sometimes a design works for Made to Orders, but then, some don't. I may get a parcel of stones that I can't find again, or just an inspired tickle from a conversation or movie..whatever it may be, that I feel inclined to translate into a piece of wearable art.

These three designs are ready to ship...and you can find them on my shop page.

XO!
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5 Key Benefits of a Part-Time Job


Once something has outlived its usefulness in one area of life, its purpose for being in existence is no longer the same. The leaf that captures a stream of sunlight, and then transfers its energy to the tree, serves one purpose in the spring and summer, and another completely different one through the fall and winter.  Guy Finley

I interviewed for and accepted a part-time position at a locally owned Health and Wellness store here in Roanoke last week. So my life has changed quite a bit in a short amount of time!

Why? Why after 13 years of working for myself did I decide to work for someone else?

I thought I would break down 5 key benefits for this decision here and why I thought it was time to grow myself in a new direction.

Energy

Stagnation is dangerous long term. It kills creativity, harms the body and stifles the soul. 

I was beginning to feel blocked in many areas of my life and the effects of this was showing up in my body as stiffness, aches and pains as well as anxiety for not using my life-force energy in a consistently productive way. 

In many ways, I felt like a dried up old leaf...unable to capture energy anymore.


Last year, when I operated my studio in the Arts District in Asheville, I noticed that I had almost unlimited energy when I was around other people, interacting with the public and having novel experiences daily. 

Over the last year in our new home, I have experienced long periods of stagnation. I enjoy having my studio in my home, but it was increasingly more difficult to go downstairs and make jewelry because I wasn't 'energized' or motivated to come up with new designs in the same way I was when I lived in Asheville.

Since our move, I'm not around other creative people daily to become inspired by a new painting or sparked by a new conversation anymore, and I was spending too much time on the internet trying to find that inspiration. 

For me, inspiration comes from my life. And my life up to this point was becoming monotonous. I needed more people interaction and a great way to grow that area of life is by getting a part-time job. 

Beginner's Mind

The amount of energy that is available when you are open, curious and excited to learn something new spills over into the stagnant areas of your life where you are rigidly attached to the way you do things. 

I believe the young have more energy because they are open to new experiences and their minds are like a blank canvas, ripe with potentiality. 

I know very little about supplementation and the new ways to support our body's ability to heal via herbs, vitamins and amino acids.  It is exciting to just be open again, eager to learn and be in a state of absorption. I have created space in my life to be filled up with information and stories from others about living an optimal life physically. 

At 49, I was beginning to feel the effects of rigidity via the habitual ways of moving through my life and determined it was primarily because I wasn't learning anything new.

Mental rigidity leads to physical stiffness...

Closed and compact is being replaced with openness and expansion. 

As I am transitioning through this change, I am more aware of where my body has risen to the challenge of moving around a store and being on my feet for a shift and where it hasn't!  I am building physical stamina again...and that feels great!

Time Management Skills

Since I haven't punched a timecard in years, I noticed that my time management skills were becoming compromised over time. Especially having a studio in my home! Now that I have a schedule again where I am responsible for showing up outside of my own business, I have already noticed that my time management as it pertains to my jewelry production is greatly improved. 

Over the weekend, I was able to design and produce $1000 retail in jewelry for an account in Asheville. My focus and creativity was on fire, and I believe that is because I had small window of time to complete something. 

Hard deadlines are motivating...and it gave me a concrete reason to respond to applying my energy in a certain direction. The result was invigorating and satisfying. 

For me, I find that I can get more done when time is in short supply, and innovation comes easier. 


New Friendships

As an adult, it can become more difficult to find and develop new friendships that will be long-lasting. Joining groups is one way to do it, but most groups only meet weekly or monthly. With a job, you are able to forge friendships with co-workers faster because of all the time you spend together while on the clock, and character can be determined quickly. 

During my interview, I mentioned that a big reason that I wanted to work for this company was that I was looking for something that I thought would be fun, in an environment where the employees felt a passion for being there instead of just punching in and out to get the bills paid.

I also have a personal interest in wellness because I believe that our times are calling for all of us to become more self aware, and responsible for our own health and wellbeing.  The old belief that someone else has authority over our bodies and health are giving way...thankfully.  

I shopped in this store before I considered finding a part-time gig and was impressed with how happy the employees seemed to be...and engaged with those that entered their professional environment.

I actively searched for a work environment that appealed to my sense of being of service to others, valued education and knowledge and that would offer a fun way to make productive use of my particular skill set. 

And that leads me to my final benefit....

A New Application of Acquired Skills

Over the years, I studied and received a B.A. Degree in Technical Writing, taken a course in online marketing and business development via Marie Forleo's B-School and have explored and worked with many website design services. 

I love to write...I love working on websites and am excited by the possibilities of the internet for connecting to others. 

I have designed and developed quite a few websites for other artists and small business owners. Many, many hours have been spent in Wordpress and Squarespace over the years learning what these platforms can and can't do. 

I will never be a high production jeweler. I don't have any interest in hiring others to do my design work, either.  There is only so far I can scale my business...but I have acquired many skills in pursuit of my passion for making metal jewelry. 

I don't want my skills to whither away like the winter leaf...I want to repurpose what I know how to do to benefit more people than what I can do through my jewelry.  


There was a lot of thought going into making this decision...and I believed that when the right opportunity came into my life; I would feel it strongly. I love how adding a part-time job to my life has already benefitted the quality of my life, and I believe, in the long run, will also be of benefit to others, too. 

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Cultivating Right Timing in Your Life

The Chrysalis and Wings...2016 by Stacie Florer.


Active waiting...how often does this show up in your life?

As a butterfly waits for its wings, while in the chrysalis stage, it is in an active stage of waiting. Or a pregnant mama, as she readies her environment for the arrival of her baby, she enters into a state of active waiting.

Waiting isn't necessarily 'doing nothing'. For things to transition from one state to another requires active waiting, and it can be a difficult rhythm to adjust to, especially from a creative point of view.

Our culture tells us to 'get out there and make something happen', but this often leads to stress and frustration if the timing isn't right.

I have a Dogwood tree in my backyard. This fall, the tree produced loads of beautiful, red berries. I watched the birds flitting to and fro on the branches, but they never touched those luscious looking red berries. They appeared ripe to me...but I admit I don't know much about Dogwood berries...

Then one day, I looked outside and heard a bunch of birds chattering. I mean, it was loud enough for me to respond to it with a quick walk to the window. My full tree of red berries was being devoured by a group of Robins. In an hour, they had stripped that tree of all those berries.

How did they know that TODAY was the day to eat those berries? What impulse did they follow that led them to decide Today is the Day the Dogwood Berries Get Eaten in their little birdie brains?

I figure it has something to do with recognizing that TODAY those berries were at their optimum nutritional capacity for the birds to convert to flying energy. Animals are so attuned to their environment, to the 'tells' of when to use energy for action, or when to conserve it.

Nature is all about the right timing. Animals have a built in time-keeper that alerts them to the right time to eat, sleep, mate and reproduce themselves. We have the same time-keeper within us, when we slow down and stop 'doing' things that we compulsively do because we are not aware of the right timing of action for ourselves.

I was talking to a friend the other day about their habit of offering unsolicited advice and the frustration and anger they feel when 'no one listens to me' enters into their mind.

In my life, I am beginning to recognize and understand about the right timing to give wisdom and knowledge away to another so that it can offer the most help in moving that information along the human chain of understanding.

 It's really simple...the right timing is when someone ASKS you for it.

When they ask, the framework of a mutually satisfying exchange of information has been built, and that energy of that particular flavor of information is in its optimal state to be 'digested' by the one that receives it.

Maybe the Dogwood tree sends out some sort of 'Eat my berries' signal out into its environment when its ready for its berry seeds to be 'deposited' further afield by those flocks of fast moving birds. I don't know exactly what the mechanism is...but I sure enjoyed watching the effects of it this fall.

I see so much online in the creative community about taking flight, getting your wings and so forth...but remember that it takes time to grow those wings, too.

And nothing fosters disappointment more than trying to fly with unfurled wings.

How did I start to recognize my particular tells when it comes to right timing?

I started with understanding the concept of trust first, and what I trust, and what I don't.

I discovered that I had a belief about NOT trusting in life that had to be worked on in depth. It took about a year of active waiting to start cultivating this level of trust. I had to start with faith first...and life taught me to trust it. This last year has been an amazing incubation period for me as a result.

Then I moved towards understanding where in my life impatience and compulsive action-taking seems to show up the most.

I also started asking myself what are the usual results when I 'jump the gun' in whatever area I have the most frustration and anger around.

I started there...and discovered that when I try and force something to fit into my contrived schedule, I experienced the most frustration.

Our immediate environment is always communicating to us about right timing. If you are cooking and forget to set the timer for a batch of cookies, your nose will tell you when to take them out of the oven. Usually, the first whiff of cookie goodness you get is a tell that the timing is forthcoming to take them out of the oven, right?

Or when I'm hungry...I am starting to only eat when I am in response to what my body wants. Sometimes I don't want to eat until 10pm! Normally, one would be conditioned to think that this is a terrible time to eat...but why fight what my body is telling me it needs? I experimented with this a few months ago, and I felt great. When I started eating again around the prescribed 'breakfast, lunch and dinner times", I started having digestive issues again.

As I was writing this, my dog, Sadie, started jumping on my leg, letting me know it's her time to go pee. So, I stopped and responded to her own right timing. As it is especially cold outside right now, I didn't have to wait for her to smell around stuff for 10 minutes before she finds just the right place to scent mark. We were in out and in in mere minutes!  And while I was out there, life showed me again to trust it, because it gave me an idea about how to edit this post.

So, for me, this idea of right timing is about cultivating trust in life itself. Its about deciding to go with the flow, as my mother-in-law says, instead of forcing the flow.  

There is a divine sense of inner peace and tranquility that occurs when I trust in life's rhythms and ignore the often strong temptation to act with impulsivity and impatience.

I am part of life itself...and life has its own timing as far as where my energy is best spent.

But it requires active waiting...and patience, with a dose of will power to NOT act before its time.

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What to look for in post earrings



Have you ever considered how to buy post earrings when shopping for them?

One of the neat things about purchasing earrings from someone who handcrafts them are the options available to you with regard to post size and placement.

Standard, commercial posts that you can buy in a department store will most likely measure about 3/8 of an inch long.

That is great if you have standard ear lobes…but not everyone is made the same, are they?

My ear lobes are pretty fleshy. When I made post earrings for myself, I use 1/2 inch posts instead of the 3/8 inch that are standard. I need that extra length for a comfortable fit. I don’t like the butterfly nut to be at the edge of the outside of the post.

In jewelry, a mm or 1/8 of an inch can make a big, big difference in comfort or fit.

For your butterfly ear nuts, you can adjust the size of them (the tightness or looseness) by slightly adjusting the two "wings". I usually use a small pair of pliers to do this. When I send out my post earrings,  I make sure that the ear nuts fit snugly, but not so tight that you might bend the post when you put them on or take them off.

Another thing to consider when buying post earrings is where is the best place for the post to be soldered to on the back of the earring?

If a woman has stretched piercings, placing the post on the very top of a fairly substantial pair of post earrings may not be that attractive. If the post is soldered too high, the earring will sag down, highlighting the fact that the piercing is stretched. Nobody wants to highlight any part of their body that is sagging!! Especially around their face!

No, a better placement would be to solder it closer to the middle, which allows the top portion of the earring to cover up the stretched out piercing. For many woman, as we age, skin starts to drift down and get looser (ok, I'm talking sagging here!). Especially ear piercings if we survived the huge earrings in the 80′s that were so popular!

When communicating what you want in a pair of earrings, it helps me to know what your particular issue is. I like to problem solve so you can feel comfortable knowing your earrings are going to complement your features and not detract from them.

If you have multiple piercings on one ear, you can buy a mixed pair of earring studs from me too...just let me know what you are interested in doing, and I'll get you fixed up! I have a friend that has around 6 piercings in one ear, and I use the 3/8 " post size for those. 


If you are considering purchasing a pair of Post Earrings from me and want to discuss fabrication further before you order, email me! stacie(at)stacieflorer.com
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Living In My Garden

Beauty surrounds us, but usually we need to be walking in a garden to know it.” rumi


I had to move to a garden to know it.

When we bought this house, I stood in the backyard and just breathed deep. I felt like I hadn't had a proper deep breath in decades. I told Shayne that this house was ours...I could breathe here.  And over the last year, I have been rediscovering what it feels like to be in sync with my environment -- to breathe deep every day, and to notice all the beauty and life that surrounds us.

I've entered a new phase in my professional and private life. I'm all about integration these days. It's about living slow and deliberative. It's about noticing and responding to the vast changes that occur minute by minute in this life. 

I'm into cycles...and embracing them in their time. 

My jewelry is about capturing the feelings and impressions of my life now...I want more pretty. I want more softness. When its time for hard edges, I will embrace them too...this winter there will be more hard edges but for now, I am relishing the soft lines and fuzzy features of my home yard. Of my private park..my sanctuary. 

I made my debut appearance in Roanoke last weekend where I showcased this new phase of noticing and translating into wearable art jewelry. I had a great time, meeting lots of new people and noticing all of the beauty around me in the form of faces and smiles and laughter. 

I have a lunch date tomorrow with a new friend, with more promises of get togethers and social activities for the future. 

I have neighbors that I adore...I now have teenager friends that I attend their school functions and am excited to watch them grow in their own creative endeavors. It's a wonderful new phase of my life...community. Belonging. Growing while rooted. It was time. 

And its time for me to show back up here, too. I took a year off. It was needed and I am so appreciative to have been able to do it. To just be for a while. Not having an agenda. I struggled with it until I felt like 'doing' again...I've been immersed in my Human Design work over the last year and am looking forward to becoming more involved with this system of self-awareness moving forward. 


Life is good...and sweet. 
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The Story Behind my Double Disc Vine Earrings



 Double Disc Vine Earrings, 2016 

Every once in a while, I make a pair of earrings that I love so much, that I keep them, and wear them all of the time.

The Double Disc earrings were such a pair this year.

After I've worn them for a while, I wait until someone comments on them while I am out and about doing my thing and I gift them. 

I gifted this pair this Fall to a delightful woman I met while I was on retreat in the North Carolina mountains.

I was sitting in a rocking chair getting my bearings when I first arrived, and this very petite woman approached me and introduced herself. She reminded me of a small sparrow...everything about her was delicate and feminine, and her voice was like a song. 

After we got our introductions over with, she noticed these earrings and wanted to know where I got them. 

This comment led to my sharing with her that I was the one that made them and every time I saw her for the next few days, she would always comment on them with whomever was around at the time of our interaction.

On our last night of the retreat, I decided she was going to be the new owners of these earrings and as I looked around the dining room to gift them, I ran into her husband and he told me she had just retired to their room for the night, and that I should go knock on their door. 

He gave me their room number and up the stairs I went. 

I knocked and her singsong voice trilled out, "Come on in!" and I did, and she didn't have a stitch of clothing on. 

She didn't miss a beat...she said, "Oh hi Stacie!" and she started laughing and said she thought I was her husband. 

I quickly thrust out my gift and told her how much I had enjoyed her comments about them and that the earrings were hers..and she walked over and hugged me, still bare, and put them on right then and there. 

All she had on were my earrings and her obvious joy about them. 

I thought that was pretty awesome, and the next morning I overheard her telling her friends about the gift and the unusual way in which she received it and they all laughed...and turned to me and gave me a thumb's up.

I loved that my earrings provided a means to connect to this self-assured and wonderfully warm woman while I was in an environment where I knew no one and was about 20 years younger than the vast majority of participants. 

I learned so much about grace in action from her...and am thrilled she now owns them, as well as the memory of our interactions together. 







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What is Soul to Substance?



Why do I make jewelry? To align my desires and beliefs about living a meaningful life with my business goals of producing personal adornment infused with meaning and intention.  

The vehicle that I have chosen to use to explore this amazing journey between an idea and a real, 3-D object is via my jewelry. I want all parts of the process, from thinking about it--to making it-- to offering it for sale-- to teaching it to be a singular experience for both myself and the future owner of my efforts and ideas in metal.

Soul to Substance was a name that was given to me during a contemplative and solo walk in the woods when Shayne and I were traveling around the United States a couple of years ago. We decided to spend a few months in Arkansas, where we both grew up, and we found a vacation house to rent in Hot Springs Village. It was in the summer, which is a beautiful time to be in Arkansas, although its really hot. 

There was a trail nearby, called the Mourning Dove Trail, that I liked to walk with Sadie daily. It is a special, special place for me.  I was out walking the trail by myself, stopped by a small creek and experienced one of those moments where you have such clear and sudden insight into a BIG idea that it throws you back for a moment in its stunning simplicity and meaning. 

After Sadie and I left the creek, as I was walking, it occurred to me that the clothes I had on my body, the shoes and socks on my feet and the glasses on my face all began as an idea in someone else's mind. 

We are literally surrounded by ideas by way of anything and everything that has every been crafted, manufactured or built. I like to tell my nieces that if you want to be a mind reader, then read a book. That is nothing but ideas and thoughts from someone you might want to learn from and be inspired from...and the miracle of the printing press! To be able to spread ideas in word form with complete sentences for those lucky enough to be able to read changed our world!

But as I was wandering about on that trail, I realized that our world is based on this principle in that everything starts out as something that can't be seen, touched, smelled or tasted. It begins in the soul. 

That wispy barely there seed of something starts in our souls, turns into an idea and our  purpose is to practice bringing our ideas and our ideals into the world, into the physical. 

Or as my friend Cindy said to me so beautifully and astutely a few days ago regarding why we artists feel so compelled to make things, it's about the  "challenge of working through an idea and having it turn in to a real, dimensional object."

But even if you are not an artist in the traditional sense of the word, you do create daily. 

Your ideas about your life show up in your physical environment. What you choose to surround yourself with, what you choose to watch on television, listen to on your radio or iPod...you are constantly creating your reality based on other people's ideas, as well as your own. 

This was another big, fat Aha! moment for me. I have the power to choose the ideas that I want to live with...all the way down to something as simple as the type of toothpaste I decide to brush my teeth with each day.

This seemingly simple realization changed my outlook on just about everything in regard to how Shayne and I want to live the rest of our lives. Shayne has had a dream about building a small house whereby everything about it and in it has a specific purpose. He wants to build it with his own hands. He wants to infuse his ideas about simple living into a physical structure for us to live in when we are not traveling around so much. 

(Update: We bought a house instead! But we are 're-working it' with our own hands!)

We are both moving down the pathway of being mindful about what comes into our home in the way of products that we use, art that we purchase, furniture that we sit or sleep on...we want and are in the process of clearing out any 'things' that we feel were made or manufactured with the idea of subtracting from the quality of the moments we have left on earth.

I have two favorite pairs of pants that I wear all of the time. I bought them at the Saturday Market in Eugene, Oregon 10 years ago. They are handmade. I met the woman that makes them, and she was at the time a single woman, raising the sweetest, chubbiest child I have had the pleasure of meeting. 

Her child was always with her, and as I talked to this maker of pants, she told me that she made her own clothes using hemp because it would last forever, getting softer with time and washings; it was very durable and easy to work with and she wanted some pants that had an elastic waistband to grow and shrink with time as our bodies naturally do. Every pair was infused with love for her child, as this was the means that she was able to house and feed them both. 

When I wear them, I briefly think about her intentions for making them, and it makes me feel good knowing that I choose to clothe myself with the energy and essence of this amazingly earthy and industrious mother. And the pants have lasted through hiking and fishing trips, infused with memories of being with friends and family doing some of the things that I love spending my time doing. And she was right about the elastic waistband...I can continue to wear them whatever size my belly is at whatever time in life I happen to be in, as I happen to have a stomach that really does expand an inch when I eat ANYTHING.


That is what Soul to Substance is about for me.

I want to live from my Soul and see what Substance comes from that. This is what my jewelry is about as well. I still don't have words to try and explain why I am compelled to put so much texture on my work, or why I feel such a strong urge to make my jewelry the way I do. I am still figuring that out, working out what it all means for me. I have understood my jewelry on a soul level...but I am gradually getting to where I can talk about the feelings that emerge as I bring it out of my Soul into Substance. 

It is ever evolving, but I do feel like I am getting closer.  I dream of an art retreat someday called Soul to Substance where those of us that are interested in exploring this idea more can gather and see what ideas we can birth into this world. I see Soul to Substance as a big umbrella idea...many things can fit under it!
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Using Space as a Design Element in Jewelry



Space...(cue in the theme music from Star Trek here). 

For me, in my current evolution as a jewelry designer, space may be my own final frontier. How to use it in such a way that it becomes, as Art Smith says, 'tangible'. 

In this post, I wanted to share with you how the above quote that I read from Art Smith's Oral History affected me deeply regarding this journey into the Modernist's mindset. 

It never occurred to me to consider space as a tangible element in design. Never. I've always known on a deep level that I love the look and feel of the modernist movement's explorations into architecture and art...but I don't think I knew what that one thing, space, had to do with it. 

I am really showing my ignorance here, I know. But for some reason, it just never occurred to me to think about space as a tangible thing. 

I am sure I have been exposed to this essential modernist concept about space many times...but it clicked hard within me when I read this oral history regarding how Art Smith thought of it as tangible. 

And by the way...consider reading the linked and supremely fascinating interview with Art Smith. Wow! All kinds of things to resonate with as a designer!

As you can plainly see in the above photograph of the first three designs...I added space as a design element in the #2 and #3, and I now I can't imagine not using this free material going forward.

That one insight about space and using it in the design of jewelry just altered my consciousness in a profound and exciting way. I can't wait to see what happens next with tomorrow's explorations!

Turning this inward, how can I use 'space' in a tangible way in other areas of my life? In my thoughts? In my actions? In my home environment design? Outside under my trees?

Space is the silence between the notes that makes the tune, right? 


I will be adding #3 to my Etsy shop tonight! I am calling them Wind Dancers...


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The Modernist Influence of Jeweler Art Smith


“A piece of jewelry is in a sense an object that is not complete in itself. Jewelry is a ‘what is it?’ until you relate it to the body. The body is a component in design just as air and space are. Like line, form, and color, the body is a material to work with. It is one of the basic inspirations in creating form."
I am reigniting my passion for making jewelry again after a year off. I wanted to share with you my thoughts about this small series I made this summer and why I was inspired to make these earrings. 



I made the horseshoe and then bent one of the 'legs' and it offered a little different twist on this widely used element in wire jewelry fabrication. Starting last year, I became much more interested in fabricating earrings that have dimension from all directions. This little turn of the leg allows for something interesting to look at from the side view when wearing them. 

I toned down my love of stamping and texture on these..went for straight lines instead of a random sampling of my available tools. A simple horizontal line seemed to balance the long vertical length of this design nicely...and offers up a subtle distinction. Equilibrium is important for me right now, as I am learning to balance my own life and how I live it. 

I have been using sandpaper a lot in my work since I left Asheville last year. The disc was punched out of my disc cutter, but I don't like the sharpness that just cutting it out offers. I wanted something geometric, but soft. 


TIP: Take a disc of sheet metal and sandwich it between two pieces of fine grit sandpaper and strike it many times with a chasing hammer. It lightly textures both sides and distorts the hard edges of the disc. I like the sandpaper that has the rubbery backing on it...it works great!

The coin pearls that I pinned to the disc further accentuate the round form, but a natural round form. Organic yet structured...I'm not especially fond of geometric forms that are hard and cold. I still want soft and feminine...and I am consciously contemplating what femininity means to me, now, as a woman past childbearing age. 

There is a new softness to my features I've noticed, and a squishy-ness or a feeling of soft focus when I look at my changing facial structure.  My eyes water more...blurring my makeup when I desire to wear it. That squishy-ness is exemplified with those round coin pearls and the slightly miss-happen discs. 

The color of the pearls reflect this love of diffused light that I search out in my photography and what I am discovering about my desire for lamplight and candlelight in my home environment. Soft...gentle light that caresses and creates more intimacy. That is important to me now...and is reflected in these earrings. 

When I was a little girl, there was a softness that my grandmother had that I loved. She had soft skin, and fuzzy features that were blurred by life's experiences. Her face, her lines and her warmth were a haven for me. No hard edges.

I had a substitute teacher in the second grade that I adored, and I would search out ways to be closer to her because she had the same qualities of my grandmother. As I approach the age my grandmother was when I was born, I am starting to notice my own softness in a way that is novel.



I am more emotional now...about the little things. Water has become so important to me in many ways. Baths instead of showers most nights...a lingering in water that has become a daily craving. To be held tenderly by my warm bath water helps to soothe and comfort areas of my body that are used much more than before I became a homeowner with a big yard. 


Watering of my newly planted herbs...and filing my vases with water for fresh flowers. Drinking water in my big blue glass bottles...to hydrate myself and keep me soft, to cushion me when I fall. Tears that flow freely...releasing what needs to be released as my situation changes daily with myself and those that I love. 

The pearls are about that too--the softness that forms from what comes from mild irritations of aging.  Pearls are from filtering creatures that live in the water.  My God...how many times have we used our bodies to filter out the sorrows that move through our lives as we continue to grow in experiences?

So yes, Art Smith, the body is a component of the design. Just like space...which is what I will discuss in my next post. 

Here are the first two earrings in my series...can you see what happened in the next pair that is derived from the first? Space is a component in design, too. As Art Smith describes, it is plentiful and free to use as a material in your design work.

“A piece of jewelry is in a sense an object that is not complete in itself. Jewelry is a ‘what is it?’ until you relate it to the body. The body is a component in design just as air and space are. Like line, form, and color, the body is a material to work with. It is one of the basic inspirations in creating form.
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May Showers and Flowers!


Just imagine becoming the way you used to be as a very young child, before you understood the meaning of any word, before opinions took over your mind. The real you is loving, joyful, and free. The real you is just like a flower, just like the wind, just like the ocean, just like the sun. Don Miguel Ruiz




The clover in our back yard is in full bloom, and just like when I was a child, I find myself picking the flowers and twisting the stems...and fighting the bees for a fresh whiff. 

I have so enjoyed my yard this Spring, although in the last week, it has turned into a delicious rain forest from all of the water we have received.

My home studio is really coming along. It takes time to see what wants to be where...and frankly, I haven't worked enough to really know where things will ultimately end up. But I am slowly figuring out how to use my space. 

During this period, I had a commissioned ring from a customer I met last year during the Divine Love conference I was a vender at, and I was so happy with how it turned out. 

My customer is a big fan of a book series by Kathleen McGowan. The book, The Expected One, described a ring that the heroine is given at the beginning of the book... a cosmology ring that is in hammered copper with 9 planets surrounding the sun. There is a small illustration of it in the book, and I used that as a template for the actual design of the ring. I used a sterling silver ring band instead of copper so it wouldn't turn her finger green. I love how it turned out.



I made some new earrings for my mother for her first trip out of the country. My brother and she left last week for Scotland, and she wanted some fresh and pretty earrings to wear on her trip. I had posted these earrings on my Instagram feed and she adored the Rose Quartz and wanted her new pair to incorporate these beautiful daggers, too. 

Sterling Silver Rose Quartz Daggers Long Pinned (2016)

So, I found two more similar to those above, and fashioned her these...they have a commercial ear wire on them, as she didn't want fish hooks since they could fall out easier since she will be wearing warm clothes and a rain jacket. I designed these with her in mind...her passion for plants and I used my curved hinge because it is just so feminine. She was pleased with them, and I am begging my brother to take a photo of her in Scotland wearing them. 

Mother's Day Pink Quartz Earrings (2016)

This is the first pair I've made with a hole and the curved hinge...and I will be making more as I adapt this design going forward. As you can see, I am beginning to incorporate a lot more stamps into my work. I have purchased an entire collection of fauna stamps that I am really itching to see what I can do with. 

I am pretty sure this new direction is coming from my love affair with all the nature that I am surrounded by!

Sterling Silver Dagger Necklaces (2016)

The necklaces above are a new design concept that I came up with to showcase these beautiful daggers that I found at my local bead store. She happens to be going out of business and I am able to get wholesale pricing on the daggers. 

I really love where this new design can go, and I have been wearing one of them that I kept out of my latest shipment to Blue Skies in Chattanooga. I especially adore the way these feel on...they are lightweight and the metal and stone just have a nice feel when you run your fingers down them together. I am also using my new stamp to mark these babies with!

Sterling Silver Discs with Colorful Beads (2016)


These lightweight and fun discs are a simply summer design to brighten up rainy summer days! These are getting shipped to Reciprocity in Asheville, but I wanted to show them to you because I am really feeling the need to revisit my bead collection and start incorporating more color into my work. I have so many beads...and it will take me a lifetime to use them all! Ah...a bead addict I was before I started banging metal!

Amazonite SS Daggers with Curved Hinge (2016)


I am revisiting in a big way the curved hinge that I started using before I moved here to Roanoke. I wanted a different hinge than the horseshoe one that I have been making for years and years. 

I love how this design looks great from all angles. Many of my customers have very short hair, and I wanted to make some earrings that look great from behind as well as full frontal. This hinge is a wonderful way to showcase more daggers and points, as well as discs too, as shown below. 

SS Discs with Curved Hinge (2016)


These little beauties were shipped to Chattanooga and my social media feeds gave this design a big thumbs up! These are stamped on both sides of the disc, and are just great everyday earrings. I will definitely be making more of these as time goes on!

I have so many new ideas floating around my head, and I am so ready to start creating them. Now that my neck is better and my studio is actually put together, I will be showing up here more, too. 

I also got some great news about a tutorial that was featured last year in Step By Step Wire Jewelry magazine...the Nautilus Earrings are now available in an E-book!




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Gaining New Perspectives

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.  —Steve Jobs

I'm often asked how I come up with new designs and I identify with a certain feeling of guilt that I really don't know how I do it. 

I am wired in such a way that I try to make sense of all the stories I find myself in throughout my day...the day I made these Eyeglass earrings I was focused on looking back to a moment in my life, when I was around 12 or so, when I was fitted with contact lenses for the first time. 

I ditched my glasses so that I could have peripheral vision again. 

Perspective Sterling Silver and Brass Earrings (2016)


My early childhood is rich in memories of being in nature because of my penchant for trying to see my world from every perspective I had access to. 

I clearly remember spending hours on the ground in our backyard, imagining life from the perspective of what I used to call the Roly Poly, or the Pill bug. These little creatures would transform into a ball when disturbed, and I was a master at disturbing them. 

I was gifted with time as a child to do...nothing structured.  

Lots of time spent outdoors, investigating the world as it presented itself to me afforded me the freedom to 'see' life from all angles. I climbed trees and learned on a cellular level what it means to take the 'higher perspective'.

It's timeless up there. I was able to see both sides of an outcome in real time.

My cat, Sylvester, was an expert hunter. One afternoon, sitting in my favorite tree, I watched him stalk a field mouse.

I could see Sylvester deliberately stay out of the mouse's line of sight while watching the mouse do its little mouse things.

I could see from this perspective of height the trajectory of both Sylvester's actions and the ultimate fate of the mouse. 

The mouse never saw it coming. He never had a chance, really...my cat understood his limited perspective and took advantage of it to secure a fresh meal. 

Learning how to see your life from a higher perspective allows you to perceive and 'see' your own blind spots.  

You 'see' your life from all angles and aren't as likely to get pounced upon by someone or something that takes advantage of your blind spots. 

But to live all of the time from the higher perspective means you don't get to engage in the drama of life. 

And learning in real time happens on earth, not in the heavens.

So before I was able to master climbing trees without falling out of them, I spent a lot time on the ground. 

Literally. 

We had a back porch and the Roly Polies were prolific. I would spend hours on my stomach, stretched out, looking at the world via the perspective of those little balls of buggy life. 

I learned how to focus by doing that.

It was consuming.

Their way of sensing the world is via vibration and touch. I don't even know if they have eyes...but they continually bump into things and if the vibe is wrong, they roll up in a protective, shell-encased ball.  

While they are rolled up, they are moved by outside forces...in this case, it was me. I would flick them to and fro, playing with them as if they were marbles. 

Roly Poly bugs are reactive. I learned that if we are reactive all of the time, rolling into a protective ball at the slightest provocation, that life will flick us to and fro.

Direction is left to fate, or the wind, or the playful flick of a 5 year-old child with nothing but time on her hands. 

Two different perspectives...as different as night and day.

Duality.

The game we are here to play, I believe, is all about the gray. The play of light and shadow. 

All the angles in between heaven and earth are our playground, our learning environment.

Real creativity is the ability to continuously shift our outer/inner sight from earth to heaven.

All those perspectives have something important to teach us and how we mix and mingle them on a daily basis is what living creatively is all about to my thinking. 

I like where we live because I see kids outside, sometimes doing nothing but watching the world like I did as a child. 

If we want to instill more creativity in children, they need unstructured time to play with shifting their sight. They need the natural world to teach them how to 'see'. 

Schools and day care centers and the like can't teach this seeing.

Nothing structured can.


It requires one to leave behind the ways of encasing and enclosing an experience and instead, allowing an exchange to happen that is right for the individual being to occur in the natural world. 
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