Spring Collection

My Etsy shop is currently updated to include my new Spring collection pieces.  Just in time for Mother’s Day!

Feel free to share with friends and family.  My next show is May 21-22, 2016 at the Canton Festival of the Arts, Canton, GA.  Come and see me!




Why I love doing Shows

I haven’t been on my blog lately as I’ve been busy preparing for all my Fall shows.  Not only that, but because of some medical issues, I have to have bed rest for at least half a day.  So, I’ve picked up my crochet needle and now I’ve made about 50 hats, 4 scarfs, 10 fingerless gloves and so on.  My new line is called “ThreadHeads” and I’ll premier these items on October 5 at a local show.  Just love keeping busy!

But I digress . . .why do I love shows so much?  I have taught many new artists about the show circuit and what it requires to run your business on the circuit.  Many artists do not do shows because of all the hard work, weather issues, or just not having enough help.  I have found that instead of galleries, retails stores and such, my work sells best at the show–and that is because I am actually interacting with clients and since my work is unique (no reproductions), I am able to see the person I made the piece for.  It is a joyful and wonderful moment when a piece of jewelry created and designed by my hand speaks to someone I have never met and it is perfect for them.  This happens all the time.  Not only does make shows fun for me, but I also love being around people.  When you work on your own and by yourself, sometimes that become hard to process and feel like your are creating pieces that will really make statements.  But, when I open up for a show, I am validated by all the happy comments and the “wows” and the “ahhs” and the general consensus that my work truly stands out.  That means I’ve made my mark in this industry.

And yet another reason, is that I get to meet some wonderful people on the circuit–mostly the artists who are my neighbors.  I am always praying that connections are made not only through my jewelry sales but also with the people I work with.  Some neighbors are just not happy people and complain about so much.  Yet most of the folks I know are so down-to-earth and truly creative in their own right with beautiful art.  I love when I can trade for pieces (especially for pottery) and I love bringing more of the handmade art into my home.  Not only do we support each other in our work, but we grow our local economy.  I only buy gifts from artists.  I only trade with artists.  Even on days when the sales are slow and the show seems to be a break-even or even just a marketing show, I still love what I do.  My desire to reach out and share my joy motivates me to keep on trucking through my chronic pain issues and my physical weaknesses.  And, when I do hit a low spot in my thinking and concern, God certainly validates to me that He is in control and that my work is important.  Jewelry is a personal expression.  It is something that allows us to tell the world who we are and what makes us happy just by wearing it.  And when it gets noticed, then we are able to not only smile but to also reach out to others.  It is the ripple in the pond effect.  And that is powerful enough for me to keep on liking my shows.

One day, I hope to become a promoter and run a show that artists will find viable and fun.  In our current economy we have much to watch out for, especially for promoters who don’t follow up and through on their promises and only wish to sell the “real estate” of the booth space.  Hopefully, the more shows you do and the more you talk to other artists, you’ll find the right shows for your product.  It is a learning experience even for veterans like me.  I still hit the shows that don’t work for me, but I meet lots of great people.  And again, in the economy, every show is now a gamble because we can no longer rely on the consistency of the buying public–especially for the arts, which is basically not a need for most people.

I hope to give shout-outs to artists I meet along the way and I’d like to start with this one–Roger Clark–a man who is a retired pastor and now preaches behind his potter’s wheel–impressive and exciting to hear what he does and to see his beautiful work . . . http://www.inthepottershand.org

Here’s my piece from Roger’s collection this last weekend:


Working with Organics

I’ve shared a little about how I do my leaves and flowers, but thought I would share my success in the studio from this morning.  One of my absolute favorite techniques is working with the metal clay and pasting it to a consistency that works for whatever organic I am using.  There are many things to consider . . so here’s what I did today:


First step is to find those treasures in nature.  I picked a couple of small branches from my apple tree (crab apple, I believe) and put them in water immediately.  You want your organic piece to be as fresh as possible.  If you are driving along, bring some paper towels and plastic bags for things you find.  You can wet the towel in the bag and keep the flower or plant going till you get home.  I often do this on my travels to and from shows.  I’ve picked up moss, cotton bloom, cotton leaves, acorns, pine cones and such.

leaves 1

Next, you want to pick the best of the bunch you are working with.  For this round, I was looking for the smaller baby leaves to use for earrings and rings.  Then I picked a couple of larger leaves for pendants.  As I’ve said before, spring is the best time to pick flowers and leaves.  They are new, strong and fresh.  You want leaves that are strong and I like keeping the stem to use as my holder as I paste the leaf.

leaves 0

I begin with a light coat of really watered down paste so I can see what the leave will do.  Some leaves are just not cooperative–those that have VERY high finish/glossy (like magnolias) or leaves with lots of fuzzy surfaces.  This leave always does well as it has a nice textures with lots of vein structure.  Work with the natural folds of the leaf as you continue the layers, because as the leaves dry, they will begin to curl–you can work with some curl, but if it curls too much you risk cracking the paste as it drys.

leaves 2

I ended up putting about 4-5 layers on these this morning.  I used my cup warmer and put my paper plate right on it to speed up the drying process so I could do more layers.  The quicker you begin the layers, while fresh, the better the results.  Paper plates are GREAT and are easily moveable in the studio space.

dogwood on warmer  IMG_0840  IMG_0845

Back to work on my dogwoods for last week.  I decided to put on a few more layers and dried them on the warmer.  Then I began my hand torch work.  I’ve actually did a video of this and will post it later this weekend so you can actually see the action.  It is important to keep things safe, so I put my firebrick on my tile which is then on a pottery turn wheel so I can move the whole thing easily while torching.  I use a small, hand butane torch.

IMG_0846  IMG_0850  IMG_0849

After firing, let it cool and then test it against glass to make sure the silver is solid.  You’ll hear that lovely “ding” sound and all is good!  I use a medium and small steel brush to gently brush away ashes, flecks and the white from the pasting–you’ll reveal the silver when you do this.  Some folks like to leave use this technique for a matte finish, which is fine.  But I like working with glossy finishes and for me, tumbling the silver gives it strength and you can be sure all the paste and ashes are gone.  I also love the dogwood flowers, because if you’ll look closely at the third picture above, you’ll see the honeycomb like texture of the burned out seed pods.  Cool!


They are now all getting a bath in some steel shot, burnishing fluid and water in a my heavy duty tumbler.  I am going to let this tumble for most of the day and then we’ll see what happens next!  Look for my video in my next post!