Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Ocean Inspiration and the Seaside Collection

 I always look forward to time I can get out to the beach and recharge for a bit. The weather here in Northern California isn't always super cooperative, but even a foggy afternoon can be incredibly beautiful.

Trinidad, Ca
 There is always something to discover along the shore line or in the tide-pools.

Trinidad Tide-pools
Incredibly, you will often find yourself on a long open stretch without another person in sight. The perfect environment for introspection.

 And occasionally the Pacific will bring up something that it's been working on for a very long time.

Samoa Beach, Ca
 When I'm back at the bench, I take all that ocean inspiration and use it to create one of a kind pieces that I hope bring a little bit of seaside charm into everyday life.

Seaside Pendants in Progress

You can check out the available pieces from the Seaside Collection over in my Etsy shop

Thanks for reading! 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

How to Wear it: Layering Necklaces

Unless you've been living off the grid for some time, you probably know that layering necklaces are pretty popular these days. I'm more of a one piece at a time kind of gal, but I can definitely see the appeal. Who doesn't want to wear all of their favorite pieces at the same time? I mean that's what we did as children right? When we were more able to be ourselves, from our refusal to eat what we deemed yucky, to our vibrant fashion sense, we put it all out there. We layered those necklaces, and if you were anything like me, you may or may not have uttered "I pity the fool" at the same time. The best part about layering necklaces is that just like stacking rings there really are no rules, so the possibilities are endless!

A few necklace layering tips:

Vary their lengths. You don't want any of the pieces covered by another. That would kind of defeat the purpose.

Maybe don't go overboard. This isn't a hard and fast rule, you are of course free to layer as many pieces as you like, but I think the look is most successful with two to 5 pieces max.  A caveat here would be layering up a bunch of different chains or beaded necklaces to mimic one big statement piece. Whatever you decide, have fun! 
Mix it up. While layering pieces that have the same size, metal, and finish - say dainty high polished silver pieces - looks great, so does mixing metals, sizes and finishes. Try heavily oxidized silver pieces with high polished gold, or several thin chains with a longer and larger pendant. Again, you make the rules, so mix and match to your hearts delight.

It's not always a good idea to wear necklaces. It's safety time again! Keep in mind what you'll be doing before you slip on that necklace. While a single thin necklace with a safety link might break if it becomes tangled in machinery or on a tree branch (hey, you could be out there climbing trees, it's fun) a large grouping of necklaces is less likely to give, which could result in a nasty situation. In fact, it's best to remove all jewelry when operating machinery, doing any heavy lifting (rings), or when in situations where tangling could be a problem.

OK enough of the safety 101. Get to layering!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 12, 2017

How to Wear it: Stacking Rings

Stacking rings are so versatile and fun. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and metals so it's pretty easy to create a collection for any style. What's better is that they mix and match so well that the possibilities are really endless.

A few stacking ring tips:

The more you stack the larger the size you'll need. If you wear a size 7 a few thin stacking rings in a size seven will likely fit fine. However, if you plan on stacking more than three thin bands or adding some wider bands to the mix chances are you will need to increase the size as you increase the width/number of bands. As far as I know there is not an exact rule of thumb for this increase, but plan on adding 1/4 to 1/2 size for rings that measure more than 4mm wide when stacked together and continue to increase the size as necessary. If you are a multi finger ring wearer (say that 10 times real fast!) you can experiment across the sizes you already own. Otherwise, it's best to sized by a jeweler before purchasing.

Solitaire rings might spin on your finger. Stacking rings with larger stones or decorative elements that are wider than their band will often spin on your finger when worn alone, especially if your knuckles are wider than where the ring will lay on the finger. Luckily, stacking them with other bands often alleviates this problem or at least makes it less noticeable.

There are no rules. There is no right or wrong way to stack rings. Well, maybe try to avoid so many rings that your finger wont bend, but then again, if you don't need to bend your finger...

It's not always a good idea to wear rings. You've probably already heard that you shouldn't wash your hands with your rings on. I ignore this rule most of the time, but if you have sensitive skin it's a good idea to take them off so soap isn't trapped underneath them. It's also not a great idea to wear rings when you're operating any type of rotating machinery, actually, it's a terrible idea, so don't do it. Heavy lifting/gripping is also out for ring wearers. Finally, pay attention to salt intake, dehydration, and weight gain all of which can lead to painful and anxiety inducing experiences if a ring becomes stuck on a swelling finger.

OK enough of the safety 101. Get to stacking!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

How It's Made: Tools of the Trade

I recently hung out at Belle Starr in Eureka for Arts Alive, an art event on the first Saturday of every month here in Eureka, and took along this awesome little collection of hand tools to do some show and tell about my process. People loved it. I gotta say, I'm a little in love with the display myself. It's been weeks and I've still not returned these tools to the studio. Granted, I have duplicates of some of them, but that file is my go to file, so... I may need to buy a new file. Anyway, since there was so much interest in person I thought it would be fun to do a quick show and tell here about the tools I use most often. 

Starting at the left we have the jewelers saw. Arguably the most important tool I own. After a pattern has been transferred it's often the first tool to touch sheet metal and the result can be dramatic, moving from an open canvas to a refined form as seen here with these floral elements from the Botanical Collection 

Next in line is the file. The one pictured above is a barrette file and only has teeth on one side. It's edges come to a point allowing me to really get into tight corners without affecting the adjacent sides. Files of several shapes and sizes are used to refine a form, smoothing its edges, and creating more dimension through beveling. These ocean creatures from the Seaside Collection have been stamped, cut out, and filed.  

To the right of the file is a chasing hammer. The flat face of this hammer is used to strike other tools, like center punches that are used to create divots for drilling holes, or texturing tools that are used to add detail. The opposite end of this hammer can also be used to add texture. In the image below I used the chasing hammer with a line stamp to add detail to an Orbital cuff

The hammer at the far right is a forming hammer. I use it along with a steel block, anvil, or stake to change the overall shape of a piece resulting in forms that are more 3 dimensional in nature. It can also be used to add texture to a piece as seen in the hammered and formed brass earrings below. 

These are just a few of the many tools I use on a daily basis and I have to say... I love my job!

Thanks for reading!