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, 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. 


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 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 different as night and day.


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. 

Studio Supplies

Studio Supplies

I wanted to give you the comprehensive list of tools and supplies I use in my own studio.  I need to let you know that I receive nothing from any of these recommendations. I use them because I like them and they work.

Please read over this list as you will see most of it during our class, and I want you to be familiar with the terminology and what I use them for.

Where I purchase tools and supplies online:  Best place to buy sheet metal and wire (cheapest); they also have some good deals on calibrated small cabochons and bezel cups Best place to buy tools and chemical supplies; they have everything, but shop around for prices as they tend to be more expensive. Great online resource for metal blanks and anything metal related..have to browse their website to see what I mean! Fantastic customer service...bought one of my Gentec torches from them too. Blazer GB2001 Butane Torch (this is the one I use) and purchase the butane that they recommend.

Safety Considerations:

Safety Glasses: Use them! Metal in the eye is not something you want to deal with! I specifically use them when sanding, filing, using my flex shaft or cutting/sawing metal. 

Face Mask: I use the cheap white safety masks you can get at any hardware store. I use when sanding or using my flex shaft. 

Plastic Gloves: Use when mixing pickle solution or Liver of Sulphur solution: Always pour water into your pickle pot before you add the pickle solution. I use a small crock pot you can get from Wal-mart for 10 bucks, and keep on warm.

Apron: Use to protect your clothes. 

Baking Soda: Keep a bowl of baking soda next to pickle pot to neutralize your workpiece after you have used the pickle solution for fire scale. Then rinse off in water. Make sure not to dip your copper tongs in the baking soda and then put in pickle pot. The baking soda will cause a neutralizing effect in your pickle and will start to fizz.

Propane/Oxygen Tanks: Always turn your gas on first to light (gas is propane!) and then add oxygen to get to desired flame. When turning off, turn off Oxygen first, then turn off gas. When finishing up for the day, turn off the gas to the lines, then bleed your lines. Get in this habit now!

Checking for gas leaks: I use soapy water with a Q-Tip and run this around the edge of the canister after I have hooked up the gas and oxygen. If you have bubbles coming out  when you have hooked up your torch, you need to continue tightening until no more bubbles are escaping. 

Ventilation: You want to work in a well ventilated work area, especially when soldering. I use a filtering system that sucks the air away from me as I solder. For your particular set-up, I would refer to Tim McCreight’s book on safety and ventilation. 

 Above all, use common sense! If something makes you nervous, attack it with knowledge and always err on the side of caution!

 Supplies That I Use:

Steel Bench Block/Anvil: Needed for chasing and texturing metal

Block Pillow: Helps with noise reduction

Chasing Hammer: Look for a hammer with a convex head (slight bulge out). I use the chasing hammer for most applications in metalworking. Primarily used to chase and texturize metal, work harden.

Rawhide Hammer: Strengthens dead soft metal, straightens metal wire, will not mar metal.

Brass Hammer: I primarily use to stamp metal

Riveting Hammer: I use this in riveting, especially when making my own tube or wire rivets.

 : Various kinds of textures for metal

Needle Files: Different applications for de-burring metal, shaping metal, rounding off ear wire ends, notching metal

Big files: These are the files you can get at any hardware store. I use them to help shape and smooth metal.

Pliers: I have a huge assortment, but use my small and large needle nose for making jump rings, chain nose pliers for holding wire to make loops. I have a set of Lindstrom’s that are made superbly. I try and purchase German made pliers as they seem to be made the best.

Tent Stake: Great mandrel for using to round off the back of ear wires.

Vise: I use to hold my riveting tool, to hold wire if I want to twist it with a drill.

Bracelet Forming Pliers with Nylon Tips

Flush Cutters: Essential for flush cutting wire, and I also use them to flush cut bezel wire too.

Bezel Rollers and burnishers: Remember to go in the opposite fashion- top, bottom and left then right.

Hole Punch: I really like the 1.25 size; the Eurotool brand has replaceable tips.

Ring Mandrel: Essential for making rings and hoops.

Tent Stake/Knitting needles/Sharpie Pens: Great mandrels for making the round portion of ear wires.

Vise: I use to  hold my riveting tool, to hold wire if I want to twist it with a drill.

Bead Reamer: I use it to ream out the middle of pearls.

Jewelry Saw: I use #2 blades for most everything

Cup Burrs: Assorted sizes…use mostly to round off the end of the 20 gauge wire for ear wires. I use a 1.2mm usually for ear wires.

Tube cutter: I prefer this over sawing copper tubing. You can find at any hardware store.

Flex Shaft: I use this with sanding bands, split shank mandrel with sandpaper and for drilling holes. I prefer a foot pedal for the control.

Metal Shears

Bench Shear: cutting straight lines in sheet metal

Disc cutter

Dapping Set

Lortone Tumbler: Single barrel and I use stainless steel mixed jewelry shot. Don’t get the steel because it will rust and get on your jewelry.

0000 Steel Wool: use it for taking off the patina on metal

Steel Ruler

Sand Paper

Soldering Tools

I use easy and medium solder for most jobs. Easy has a lower melting point then medium, and medium is lower then hard. If you are soldering 3 different things to a piece of metal, then the order is Hard, Medium and Easy, since you don’t want to remelt the solder job you just performed.

Soldering Pick: I prefer pick soldering

Copper Tongs: Use with pickle pot: MUST BE COPPER! Anything other then copper will contaminate your pickle.

Charcoal Brick

Soldering Tripod

Flux Applicator

Annealing pan with gravel

Fine Tweezers

3rd Hand

Torches: Blazer for easy annealing and soldering jobs, Gentec Mixed gas Oxy/Pro for my stirrup connectors.

Fire Brick

Tiles and Flashing from the hardware store (roofing supply) I use these to form a fireproof barrier between my workstation and soldering area


Flux: I use Rio Grande’s Flux, sometimes paste, but depends on the job

Pickle: I use Rio Grande’s Pickle…this gets the firescale and flux off of metal. I also use it sometimes to clean metal before I solder if I don’t sand.

Liver of Sulphur Gel

Tips and Reminders:

When buying calibrated stones, like the 5mm we will have in class, buy the 5mm bezel cups
Use tape and sharpies
Use hot water, not boiling for the liver of sulphur
When filling up your pickle pot, put water in first, then add the pickle. Not the other way around! You don’t want to get splashed with pickle solution.
 Ball up the solder and place it on the seam when soldering bezels…with ball solder you get a better solder seam because of the 45 degree angle.
You don’t have to use tools to texturize! Try sandpaper, concrete, metal screen

Have fun, play and don’t judge your work too much…