Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mordor, Middle Earth, and being a nerd

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken:
The crownless again shall be king.

~J.R.R. Tolkein.

Just wrapped up this ring, in casting class.

Stone-in-place casting is kinda scary, the possibility

of messing up is pretty huge.

Cross your fingers kind of project.

I am pretty excited that this ring made it in the kiln....

I can't help but think about the Lord of the Rings trilogy when I think about this ring. It just LOOKS like it came from the depths of Mordor, out of some high fantasy world of Tolkein. I guess even wikipedia says "Tolkeinesque" is a real word. It belongs on an elvin finger, or some woodland creature. Green Tourmaline is also called Verdelite, which, to me, sounds much more Elvin anyways.....

For a bit of background: I am a big 'ol LTR nerd. I don't speak or write Elvin, but I know plenty of folks who do....In high school, I ran with the "magic cards in the cafeteria" crowd, ate a lot of my lunches in the Art Department, or the Band room, and periodically recieved notes from friends in calligraphy, and sometimes, Elvin. Yup. I read all the books, camped out at the movie theatre when the trilogy came out, and probably even wore some LTR attire whilst enjoying the movie on the big screen. I can do a mean impression of golam/smiegel, I had nightmares about The Eye of Sauron for weeks after the movie came out, and I was secretly in love with Elija Wood....He played such a good Hobbit.

But here's my rebuttal.

We are all nerds.

Big ones.

The sooner you fess up, the better off you are.

(Mordor Ring just listed in Etsy-Land today)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sand Casting and Springtime

In Class there is this wonderful stuff we have been playing with,

It's called Delft Clay.

And I love it.

Really, it's a fancy type of sand-casting....dutch-imported sand with some sort of oil or something in it that makes it squishy and not dry out over time. I never really expected to get into the casting this semester as much as I have, and have been enjoying the exposure to all sorts of different ways to cast. This one, I think, is my favorite.

Sand-Casting is pretty simple, archaic stuff. It's as old as metalsmithing itself, and if you have a torch and this kit from Rio, you can do it in any tiny don't need fancy burnout kilns, it's instant gratification, and it's a great way to burn up all that scrap you'd rather not send in....(it really hurts to take a 15% cut when you send all your metal away to "cash-in", and I know that's normal and maybe even a good deal, but it hurts just the same. I like to keep my hard-earned money, thanks.)
I scrounged up this adorable little antique button and this seashell to make a casting from, and they really turned out lovely. The detail you can get with the delft clay is simply awesome, and like I said, It's instant gratification.....didn't turn out the first time? just quench it and do it again, re-using all your mess-ups for a good cast. Fast, fun, and pretty simple.

Here's what I created with the cute little rose button....

three little rose-buds for the spring thaw ahead.....

Flush Settings.
New Territory for me.

one in fiery red Garnet

One in a teal Montana Sapphire

One in a little larger Golden Citrine.

(Love these pictures. Flower Bud knuckle-busters.)

just listed in the shop today.
Happy Thaw everyone.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

quit your day job, 6 months in....

SO I have been meaning to post this awhile back.
(and this funny "process" shot at school)

March is my 6th month in self-employment.
Quit my day-job back in September...
and that feels like ages ago.

And I am flabbergasted it's snuck up on me like that.

I mean, here we are, what is today? the 21st!!
AND it's 6 months in.


I haven't posted much about this subject. Self Employment, I am learning....... is such a gray area, a double-edged sword....your best friend and your worst enemy.....and really, I am very new at it all. I guess what I am saying is that now, more than ever.....I can feel the push and pull of what running a business is like, solely on it's own, without a side-job to compensate.

Sometimes I really miss a 2-week paycheck. and a jar full of cash tips at the end of a shift. What an amazing concept, to be paid for your time, in a 2-week allotment, every two weeks, for every hour of time put in. Novel, really. And I am realizing this is not the way of running your own business. There are sacrifices, and days you work 12 hours, and days you work in your pajamas and slippers, and days you don't leave the computer screen, even though your brain is aching for a day of metal, or your body is crying for a day of skiing.

There are days you are successful, and productive. There are days you forget to eat lunch, and it's way past dinnertime. There are days where it is a glorious thing to be your own boss, because "damn, I can do anything I want to today!" and then there is that realization that no one is going to tell you what to do, that there is no list of to-do's unless YOU, of course, made that list already. There are days you just want to go back to bed, and start again the next day. And the cool thing is, you can do that if you want.
You know you SHOULDN'T, but it's at least an option.

Then, there is this realization: If I don't make anything today, and If I don't sell anything today, I might just have to go find myself some part-time work to fill in the blanks....
Right back to where I was 6 months ago.

BUT this threat I have learned to live with.
and learned to turn into a motivator.
Fire under my ass, my mom would call it.

And....really...... it sure beats the hell out of a day-job.

I love it.


"Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow"

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Can you believe it?!

oh man, I am still kind of in shock.

Overnight project with my wizard computer friend.....and voila! A website is born.

we went with because believe it or not, is actually already's an asian face cream, really.

And I am slowly poking my way around Adobe illustrator (very new to me) but I am getting the hang of it. There's so much to learn on a computer it's nuts. So I hope to have some fresh images and updated look here in the next week. I am so excited to get this "look" down I have been having in my head for so long, now it is slowly becoming a reality : )

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Peridot and Mary Oliver for Springtime

---Peridot Leaf Pendant---

---Peridot Leaf Dangles---

----Pebbles and Peridot Dangle Earrings----

---Pebbles and Peridot Circle Pendant---


New to the shop!


I can smell spring today....It's coming. The snow keeps falling, but there's a different smell to it. You know what I mean...... an infusion of springtime. More water or something. And it makes me crazy, that smell. I get all excited about spring. I love spring. I really really love spring. I think it's the dirt. and the gardening. and the puddles. Or just the length of winter here in Montana, it can extend into June some years, so any hint of green and sunshine is a glorious thing. really.


so I'll leave you with miss Mary Oliver, she is my favorite...

Such Singing in the Wild Branches (2003)

It was spring
and finally I heard him
among the first leaves—
then I saw him clutching the limb

in an island of shade
with his red-brown feathers
all trim and neat for the new year.
First, I stood still

and thought of nothing.
Then I began to listen.
Then I was filled with gladness—
and that's when it happened,

when I seemed to float,
to be, myself, a wing or a tree—
and I began to understand
what the bird was saying,

and the sands in the glass
for a pure white moment
while gravity sprinkled upward

like rain, rising,
and in fact
it became difficult to tell just what it was that was singing—
it was the thrush for sure, but it seemed

not a single thrush, but himself, and all his brothers,
and also the trees around them,
as well as the gliding, long-tailed clouds
in the perfectly blue sky— all, all of them

were singing.
And, of course, yes, so it seemed,
so was I.
Such soft and solemn and perfect music doesn't last

for more than a few moments.
It's one of those magical places wise people
like to talk about.
One of the things they say about it, that is true,

is that, once you've been there,
you're there forever.
Listen, everyone has a chance.
Is it spring, is it morning?

Are there trees near you,
and does your own soul need comforting?
Quick, then— open the door and fly on your heavy feet; the song
may already be drifting away.

— Mary Oliver, "Such Singing in the Wild Branches"
Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays,
Beacon Press, Boston, 2003