March 25, 2015

SNAG pin-swap brooch: Polymer, colored pencil,
copper, nickel scatter pin
After a long hiatus from blog updates, I'm going to try and challenge myself to post more regularly. To be honest, it's hard to think about sitting down and writing when I get home from work — where I'm sitting down and writing most of the day. Most days, my head is so fried by the time I get home that I do what I can to turn it off a bit. And, given the choice between sitting in front of the computer for even longer or hopping into the studio, I more often choose the studio. And, come on, none of you would blame me for that!

Given that my last post was back in 2013, I've got a bit of catching up to do. Actually, instead of catching up on what I have done, I'm going to use this as a forum in which to show/talk about/explain what I am doing. And it might not always be pretty. You've been warned! I've struggled for a while with staying in the moment rather than focusing on the past, and I hope this blog will help me keep my eye on the present.

But before I dive into what's currently going on in my work/jewelry world, I want to mention a bit about what I've been fighting against (or for) since 2013. The past couple of years have been a whirlwind of heartbreaking events, including the deaths of both my grandfather and younger brother (who knows, I may write more about them later), and it's been a constant struggle for me to just get through the day, much less create major concept-driven work. Although I've been consistently making and working in the studio, it hasn't been easy. Nor has it been all that satisfying, if I'm being truly honest with myself.  I have not had to deal with death often in my life, and trying to handle two in a single year has proven to be something more difficult than I could ever imagine. I know I need to create to feel sane. To get my hands dirty. To fully focus my attention on something physical. To distract myself. And the tactic of (sometimes) dragging myself to the studio and just working has been a great therapy. Maybe it's like the gym...getting ready and walking out the door is the hardest part, but once you're there, you feel great. My life since 2013 has been a struggle in trying to maintain  some semblance of normalcy, but at the same time realizing how important it is to focus on the present and not dwell on the past or what may or may not happen. Am I succeeding at this? Definitely not. But am I trying? Absolutely. And making jewelry is a big part of that.

SNAG pin-swap brooch: Polymer, colored pencil, copper,
nickel scatter pin
But now, back to the present! One thing I'm working on right now is a series of polymer and copper brooches exclusively for the SNAG pin swap. I'm heading to SNAG in a couple of months (it's in Boston this year) to represent Art Jewelry magazine, as I did last year, but this time I'm bringing pins. At every conference is a pin swap on the first night. Folks make as many pins as they want to trade, and everyone gathers to chat, drink, eat, and trade brooches. This year, I'm not making very many pins, so I am going to be selective in my swaps. So if you want to trade, let me know! These are a few of the pins I've made so far. They're each about 1 1/2 in. tall, give or take a bit. The central portion is gray (or a pastel color) polymer colored with Prismacolor colored pencils. The pencil is sealed, and then I tab-set the polymer in a hand-sawn, filed, sanded, and patinated copper backplate with a nickel scatter pin on the back. Each piece is signed and dated.

I'm really looking forward to SNAG this year...it's become a reunion of sorts for friends I've known for many, many years and friends I've only met (or "met" online). For one crazy week it's like the outside world disappears and all there is to think about is makers, metal, everything non-metal, jewelry, craft, networking, friendship development, deep discussions of the field over drinks, spur-of-the-moment excursions and dinners, laughter, excitement, and more. And this year, I'm bringing pins!







P.S. Thanks to Anne Havel for putting the bug in my ear and spurring me on to get going on the pins. Can't wait to trade with you!







August 25, 2013

New polymer and sterling silver jewelry series: Droplets

 
Well, it's been on hell of a year, so far. Yes, we're closing in on fall as I write this, but for me, I'm finally feeling like I'm getting back in to the creative swing. A death in the family at the beginning of the year put me in a zombie-like daze for quite a while, but I'm finally getting to the point where I feel like I can create new work, rather than just regurgitating the same things I've done before. What's coming out of me now is work that is more wearable/sellable/affordable/quick to make, yet still related to my larger-scale pieces in material, color, and attention to detail.
 
 
These earrings are part my new "Droplet" series. These little babies are a ton of fun to make, and even more fun to wear! The droplets are hand-sculpted and textured polymer with acrylic paint rubbed into the texture. Take a look at the following pictures for a sneak peek into my process.



These are the shavings and swarf left after texturing the polymer bits.

Now they're textured, but still naked.
 
Now they've been given a coat of acrylic to bring out the texture,
and they're ready for a good sanding and buffing.
 
This is my little pile of goodies waiting to be made into earrings.

Finished Droplets!

 


December 9, 2012




Currently Untitled. Back.  Brooch. Sterling silver, copper,
polymer, wool. 2012.






Currently Untitled. Brooch. Sterling silver, copper,
polymer, wool. 2012.

Currently Untitled. Back.  Brooch. Sterling silver, copper,
polymer, wool. 2012.





Picture
"Diatom Series: Unsettle" Brooch. Sterling silver, copper, 
polymer, handmade wool felt, colored pencil. 2012.





"Nubs." Necklace. Sterling silver, brass,
copper, polymer, sterling silver chain,
sterling silver toggle. 2012.




























"Specimen Series: Specimen II." Sterling silver,
copper, polymer, colored pencil. 2012.

March 22, 2012

Back to the studio

Welcome!
Now that I've settled into my new job as Associate Editor of Art Jewelry magazine (jumping head-first into the publishing world with no prior publishing experience has a steep learning curve!), I've taken some time to get back into the studio. I can't have my torches at my home studio—landlords don't particularly care for compressed gas—which presents a problem, but it's forced me to re-evaluate how I create, and has lead to the production of a couple new lines of production work. Unfortunately, I have been lax in taking photos of the work I've produced...I promise I've been staying busy, I just can't prove it. :)

Brandon and I have become involved with Random Twigs, a local gallery/retail store/working art studio in our downtown area. During the spring, summer, and fall, there are monthly Art Crawls—and the first one of the season was earlier this month. Twigs hosted a poster show, so I decided to make CMYK-themed jewelry to fit in with the theme. I've recently revisited my polymer stash, and came up with some fun stacked-disk polymer pieces! I've also begun working with steel wire, and a few cast paper pieces that have been stashed away for quite some time.

Polymer disks in progress


Cast paper earrings
CMYK pieces in progress

CMYK: Stacked polymer





































































I've also begun another collaborative piece with Jillian Palone—actually, it's been a while since we traded, so be on the lookout for final photos soon!

From Jill

From me





























Another project that I've been working on for a while now is a series of commissioned paintings/drawings based on the biblical book of Psalms for a booklet my step-dad is putting together. It's been fun putting away my saw and files for a while and picking up a paintbrush...here's a sneak peek!

Sprout





















Sparrow

October 2, 2011

New Job, New Jewelry


I have been hired as the new Associate Editor for Art Jewelry magazine!

The past few months have been a whirlwind of activity for me, but now I am finally settled in a cozy little town near Milwaukee, WI. A few months ago, I heard of the position available at Art Jewelry and decided to give it a shot and apply. Less than 3 weeks after submitting my application materials, I was offered the position, and started getting ready to move! Brandon and I have uprooted ourselves from St. Louis and are starting our new lives up north! If you are not familiar with the magazine, check out our website.

Though I have been very busy since we moved, I've still found a little time to work in my studio. I recently sent a shipment of new (and older) work back to Edwardsville for ArtEAST. These pieces and many more will be on exhibit at Main St. Art Gallery in Edwardsville, IL October 7 - October 29.  The ArtEAST tour is Saturday, October 15 (9-5) and Sunday October 16 (11-5). I won't be there, but stop by if you are in the area to see my pieces and many other talented artists! Here is a sampling of what will be there: Enjoy!