Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Memorial Jewelry: A Collaboration with Merry Coor of Ash Beads

For the past year or so I've been collaborating with local glass artist Merry Coor on pendants and rings that expand her stunning collection of memorial jewelry.

The glass cabochons are created with cremation ashes swirling throughout resulting in pieces that call to mind crashing waves and rotating galaxies, each one as unique and beautiful as the loved one remembered. When the cabochons are complete Merry hands them off to me and I create the sterling silver settings.

It has been an honor to to be a part of their creation, to help bring some small comfort to those who have experienced loss. As I work on each piece I try to focus on those that are important in my own life, to challenge myself to be a bit more present, to remember those who have passed, and to contemplate the great cycle of which we are all part.

To learn more about these unique memorial pieces visit the Ash Beads website.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Stargazing: New work from the Orbital Collection

“I know that I am mortal by nature, and ephemeral; but when I trace at my pleasure the windings to and fro of the heavenly bodies I no longer touch the earth with my feet: I stand in the presence of Zeus himself and take my fill of ambrosia” 

― PtolemyPtolemy's Almagest

I love this quote. It completely captures how I feel gazing up at the night sky, thinking about the vast universe, how small I am, how incomprehensible it is, yet at the same time how powerful the mind is that we seek to understand, that we are part of it. Amazing. 

I was recently asked how I choose my stones and regrettably, my answer focused on the buying aspects: attending gem fairs, visits to the jewelry district, scouring the local rock shops. What I wish I had focused on was how the stones I choose fit into my work.  

Each of my collections focuses on a few specific stones that I attempt to connect to the themes of my work. When I'm creating something for the Orbital Collection, like these ocean jasper pieces, I'm aiming to find stones that resemble galaxies, nebula, and gaseous planets. 

With other Orbital pieces, like these lapis and pyrite pendants, I'm looking to evoke the night sky, at times obstructed by whispy clouds and at others clear and crisp the first twinkling stars showing themselves. 

Labradorite, prehnite, or moonstone make their appearance as I'm imagining shards of freezing comets rushing past foreign landscapes or the glow of the moon as its reflection dances on water.

So the next time someone asks how I choose my stones I think I might tell them that I'm looking for the feeling that lives somewhere between discovery and imagination. 

Thanks for reading! 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

How It's Made: The Seaside Collection

The Seaside Collection is inspired by long summer days spent at the beach. I'm happy to share a bit of my process from design to finished piece. 

Much of my work begins with the stone. In this case sea fossils, beach pottery, sea glass, shells, and accent cabochons in colors that mimic cool waters, warm sand, and vibrant sunsets. 

The stones are then grouped and I begin to layout a sketch around them adding additional elements and textures. 

The designs of any additional sterling silver elements are then transferred to sheet metal, hand cut, filed, textured, and sanded. 

A final layout is done atop the sterling silver back plate to make sure I'm happy with the design. At this point elements may be moved around or swapped out until I'm happy with the layout. 

After all the elements are soldered together another round of sawing, filing, sanding, and texturing takes place and then any connecting elements, bails, ring bands, and signature plates are soldered to the piece. 

Chains are soldered onto the pendants and everybody takes a dip in the patina. 

After the patina is removed from any raised surfaces the pieces really begin to come to life. Finally, the stones are set and each piece is waxed to preserve the patina. 

You can take a look at all of the finished pieces here or check out the available Seaside pieces in my Etsy shop

Thanks for reading!