Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Chinese Wall in The Bob Marshall Wilderness...

My new awesome pendant for the wilderness foundation Art Auction...this is the first piece I have ever put in an art showing, let alone an auction....Excited? YES!

I have had the pleasure of spending time in one of the most awesome areas of wilderness in the West, the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. It is literally out my back door, and many of my friends work in "the bob" seasonally. Jesse and I did a 7 day backpacking trip into the heart of the bob, the chinese wall...It's a limestone wall 15 miles long and a little less than 2,000 feet shear drop down. It was always one of those places that I just had to experience. It runs like a backbone through the heart of wild montana. The most amazing parts of this country are hidden gems that can only be accessed by foot or pack-mule, and the Bob is no exception. We hiked almost 70 miles in 7 days, and barely saw a soul. There's so much peace to be found on a long walk.

So this year I am dedicating and donating this pendant to the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation. A silent auction will fuel this non-profit for the next season, and I am so happy to be a part of it this year.

Click this link to check out more about this awesome not-for-profit....

I pierced out some abstract-y beargrass and paired it with a montana agate I scored from merlin (i just love that guy) and a quote from John Muir.

The Mountains are calling and I must go. -John Muir

John Muir has some other lovely quotes I think will have to go on another few pieces.....

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.-JM

God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools. -JM

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”

“Keep close to Nature's heart...and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean."

Friday, October 29, 2010

"Ive never met a stone I don't like." -Merlin the Lapidary guy

I have befriended a lapidary guy! Here's some treasures from Merlin's stash (oh yeah, you bet his name is merlin, and he sells stones for a living). He comes to the college every fall, and I try to catch him every time, he cuts the most beautiful stuff, and it can be kind of hard to find quality stuff in this neck of the woods. His specialty are montana agates, and they are absolutely gorgeous. I stopped by his very small garage shop on my way from missoula one day, this man has piles and piles and PILES of rocks....some are big, some are cut, some are green-grey, others black as night. Some are buried under the past 6 months of the local newspaper.... the man has rocks coming out of his ears. This guy is great, not your swanky rock dealer that is for sure. And I got a hug from him this time, because "we're friends now, and friends get hugs".

I could stand in front of these stones all day, lusting after each and every one.
He told me "you can't eat 'em Erin"....oh how true. But they are just so pretty!

These are jade pieces. They came from a slab some dear friends brought back with them from New Zealand a few years ago...Merlin cut them for me, and they are just awesome. The little square one I think is my favorite.

Looking forward to playing in the studio today with my new treasures from Merlin!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I love etsy. I just love it. I can sit and browse handmade stuff for days. Click this link and get lost in the midst of some very talented crafters...

There's a part of etsy that is really's called alchemy. So from what I get out of it, a project can be bid on, and you can request things be made by a certain seller. Really cool. Which brings me to this ring I made today. A gal found a ring I had made at Fawn Boutique in Kalispell (thank you again Lynde!) and fell in love with it....but as rings go, it's always hard to find the perfect ring in the right size. So I was contacted in the etsy style, and made the same-ish ring in the right size. So thank you etsy, and thank you michele, for finding me and my calla lilly ring! A very good excuse to get back into the studio groove today.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

When the bee balm is frosty, you know its time for the garden to start coming down....

Fall for me is all about the harvest. I have an awesome garden that i share with Jesse's Dad...I guess it's the family garden, everyone gets a little produce, helps out a little, and thank goodness, cuz the garden is too much damn work for just one person! There is still nothing much better than a good day in the dirt, even as a young adult, I love the dirt just as much as I did when I was little. It's almost the more dirty I am, the happier I am.
There's a LOT that needs to happen this fall, And the frost is surely approaching! I have been canning like a mad woman...I have so much produce this fall it is a little daunting. Jesse helped me dig up the remainder of potatoes, I covered carrots with straw this week, and have been putting stuff in the freezer for the long montana winter. SO needles to say, the studio time has been a little lacking...i got stuff to do, and it's all got to happen before it dumps snow on us!
Jamie, my hired hand, when its nice out and we have brought coffee with us! And all the potatoes we could find.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I had the pleasure of visiting the historic Izaak Walton Inn in Essex, MT this weekend for an arts and crafts fair...had my stuff set up and met some great folks. Here's some good shots of the quirky old building. This used to be a boarding house for the train folks back in the day, and this place has got a lot of history in it. A lot of dusty, funny, cool, weird, old stuff.

The selling jewels part of the weekend was a bit of a flop, but I met some great folks, learned a lot about venue, advertising and how IMPORTANT that is, and really just feeling out a venue that might or might not work...there's a craft world out there for everybody, you just have to figure out where you belong.

So the best part of the weekend was Jan. She's this older gal I set up next to this weekend. She is a quilter, and a damn good one. Her home is up waaaaay in the boonies, off one of the bigger mountain passes in montana, Marias pass. SHe lives with her husband and maincoon cat, and sews her little heart out. There's no cell phone service, no grocery store, no gas station, no mall or movie to run to when things get quiet and slow...and I have a feeling it is all pretty quiet and slow. Her attention to detail, and meticulous craftsmanship is jaw-dropping.
I have realized a lot about craft this weekend. Not all of it is glamorous, not all of it is about the trend of the week, but ALL of it is about heart. About putting yourself into something you make, and knowing that someone out there will appreciate what you do, sometimes be BLOWN AWAY by what your craft is...It's not about getting into galleries, or filling the pages of American Craft with the latest and craziest schemes. There's stuff for all creative hearts out there, meticulous stuff (like this quilt that jan made that just floors me, or the teeeeeny seed bead bracelets she makes and that are just gorgeous and NOT my cup of tea at all) there's fun stuff, like toy trains and trucks, there's funky stuff (there was a lady upstairs selling beaded horseshoes...whaaaat? and they are actually pretty cool) and there's the "old lady stuff" and you know what i mean. BUT the idea is there's something for everybody....I didn't sell much this weekend, but I met some great people who are the heart of craft....Screw the fancy galleries. GO to a craft fair to see the beating heart of America.

So here's more great pictures of the weekend. A success in itself : )

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Here's some bracelets I have made...I just love mixed media! I stumbled upon this silk strand material in Fort Collins, CO this spring while visiting family. It is such gorgeous stuff ! I love that it all landed in my lap, I had already had the name "Rag and Stone" , so it seemed fitting to have pieces with semi-precious stones and really pretty "rags" - slightly serendipitous. I will definitely be making more of these, they are just fun to put together.... I posted some pics of the trip this spring too...just for fun. I drove thru wyoming and to steamboat to see friends, and got to be in my best friends wedding, went for a long drive by myself. Roadtrips are good for the soul.

Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind. ~Seneca

Monday, October 11, 2010

I am soooo excited about this piece! THis is just the cutest little piece of turquoise, and I love how this turned out. I can't tell you how giddy I have been getting back to my desk, having the time to work this fall has been an amazing breath of fresh air....And there's more to come. The cloudy and cool weather is a great time to be inside, creating fun stuff...

I love turquoise. I love the color, the surprising subtlety of brown and black, and sometimes red. I love that some of it is almost a white colored blue, some a really dark and deep teal. My beef with turquoise JEWELRY on the other it goes. My first blog rant.
I can't say I HATE traditional turquoise jewelry, stuff with casted feathers, and textured wires, cutouts of coyotes, and side portraits of indians looking into the far distance...But I can say that I really don't like a lot of it. I feel like it all looks the same, everything looks like it will eventually end up in a pawn shop window, or down in the dregs of somebody's jewelry box. A LOT OF IT looks like it belongs in the Loaf n' Jug convenience store, alongside the wolf tee-shirts, and lighters that have pictures of cowboy boots on them. This style of jewelry has become the iconic western souvenir, unfortunately ESPECIALLY in Montana. It's sad, because there are a lot of contemporary artists who have brought the navajo and southwest style out of the dark ages, and have put a little of themselves into their pieces....It's time western jewelry does the same! There's nothing more sad to me than jewelry being made to fit a niche, instead of the artist making it putting their own flair to the memento they are creating. STOP the SOULESS KNOCKOFF TURQUOISE NICHE! Turquoise can be contemporary, playful, new, and just plain ol' need to decorate it with haphazard cliche themes folks.

So big shout out to the artists out there who are making jewelry with their own eyes, their own flair, and the confidence to make what they like!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

So I have been very busy in life...maybe not so much in the jewelry department....

I just came home from a much-needed dose of city life...
Seattle is a beautiful city, with lots of art and crazy art life all around. Cities are always so good to visit, a reminder that not everything is small, not everything is quiet, and EVERYTHING is considered ART....a gentle nudge in the right direction.

While I was visiting a great old friend, I got to roam around the museum with a guy I met at the hostel, poor dude...he had no idea I am just about THE WORST person to go to an art museum with, I feel bad for not warning him earlier....I can stand in front of a painting for waaaaay too long and forget anyone else is even in the building. I scribble little notes on all my receipts from the trip, run back and forth between rooms, and generally annoy any company I keep due to my scribbling and time-obliviousness. There's something so cool about art museums that is very understated, I absolutely love that Jackson Pollock, Byzantine jesus paintings, egyptian bracelets, and classical portraits from the 1500's are all under the same roof, all part of a very silent and quirky show.

Scribbling #1: a quote from Agnes Martin 1973 (i forget what her art looked like, but i remember something about her move from NYC to Santa Fe, NM...interestingly enough escaped the city and ventured into arid desert)

The adventurous state of mind is a high house
To enjoy life, the adventurous state of mind must be grasped and maintained
The essential feature of adventure is that it is a going forward into unknown territory
The joy of adventure is unaccountable
This is the attractiveness of art work. It is aventurous, strenuous, and joyful.

-Agnes Martin, 1973

Scribbling #2: from the african art jewelry case, a casted ring with a peanut on the top of it...

and this is all i wrote: plant peanuts, not corn.
i remember this is something about peanuts coming back every year, where corn you plant every year, referring to long love, long life.

Scribbles or no, these are some of the great things i love about the city. Reminders that we are human, and why we are complex humans.

I did finish two rings today that have been works in progress for some time, and it is good to have them beautifully together...instead of bitty pieces just waiting patiently... And its fall here in Montana, my favorite season.