Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Notes From the Road...

Today started off dark and early. I had to catch my plane at La Guardia Airport. I made it there with plenty of time. I wouldn't say that I'm a cocky flier... I just fly so much that I know to wear shoes that are easy to take off, pack things as light and easily manageable as possible, and to follow the safety rules. I was a little surprised when they started to ransack my Hawaiian shoulder bag. I mean, they dumped it out and riffled through all of the contents. I thought that it was the big bag of change that I carry with me in case emergencies where only quarters or dimes will do, but it turned out that my fork, knife, spoon combination tool was tucked into one of the bottom folds of the bag and I had missed it when I was cleaning it out. It's a shame, because I always like a fork, knife, and spoon handy in case a tasty treat is discovered along the way.

The flight seemed long. It wasn't long at all really, but it just felt that way. I slept through most of it, but still... I felt achy and confined. When I got off the plane, my situation didn't improve. It was like a wall of heat and humidity struck me and I could feel the tell-tale signs that a migraine was in the works.

I got pretty nasty sick and ended up crawling into bed to rest up awhile. Luckily I didn't puke in front of my dad. (I made it to the bathroom just in time.) It's a shame that I had to recover in the dark room because I didn't get a chance to talk with my mom and dad as much as I would have liked to. After I rested up though, we did have dinner together and talked while we installed the car radio. It's strange being back, even if it's only for a night. In a way, it's like coming full circle. I left Florida for New York and now I'm leaving New York. I'm going somewhere else, but it feels only right that I should come back here before I start the new leg of my adventures.

Tomorrow, I'll wake up super early so that I can meet up with Anne Choi and Lynn at the gallery and hopefully grab some tea or something. I'm praying that the drive up is a smooth one and that the road conditions are nice. I'm still a relatively new driver and really would like to avoid any surprises on the road.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Moving has been my reality lately. In my sleep I see boxes and packing tape. Luckily I've had lots of help and the transition hasn't been as hard as it could have been. A big THANK YOU goes out to all of you who helped!

In a few hours, I board a plane to take me to Florida to pick up my car from my parents' house. Then it's on to Georgia to visit Anne Choi and crew and check out Monica Cook's new show at Marcia Wood Gallery. Then it's on to Asheville to visit with Cynthia, Greg and Azalea. Cynthia and I are going to have some kind of creative crafty challenge while I'm there for the day. I'll also finally get to see the finished copy of Enchanted Adornments. I've seen it in all its stages, except for the final version. (Unless you count the time Cynthia flipped through the pages on Skype.) So it'll be exciting. After Asheville, I head back to Brooklyn for the last of my possessions and then it's on my way to my new home. A few hours rest and then I'll be in Pittsburgh for the Bead Mercantile show. Come out and join me if you can! Anyone in Pittsburgh doing anything fun for Halloween? I'd love to take part. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, but I so rarely get to celebrate it or do anything fun.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Beaded Links...

Does a simple design equal a "Zen" experience? Lisa would love to hear your thoughts on when simple designs are able to make an impact.

After posting a new jewelry book review for a very cool mixed media book, Tammy is looking ahead to other reviews coming up very soon.

You're heard of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants? Well, this Sisterhood shares bracelets.

Barbes gets tangled up with Chain Style book review.

Carmi decided to finally use her bead stash from Paris.

Cindy's got some new findings from Ornamentea. What's she going to make with them?

The inspiration for Melanie's Machinery of Nature necklace comes from science, Steampunk, and nature.

Jean struggles through the creative process while bezeling some unusual crystal shapes.

Little beaded flowers are addictive to make, and before you know it, you've got enough for a complete necklace!

Check out Katie's ideas on making your old beads new again – and make some affordable gifts along the way!

Better get on board, Lorelei is having the last of the Enchanted Adornments giveaways. Leave a comment to play!

Jean has a little BOO power going on for her in this handmade Halloween bracelet!

Melissa shows off metal clay goodies from Rings & Things.

Andrew revisits a bracelet design and creates six others.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

One Redux and Six New Designs...

You might recall the above bracelet from a previous entry last week. I didn't like how one of the components transitioned into the rest of the piece. So, I restrung the bracelet, with I think a more cohesive look that's easier to wear. Sheila calls this piece, "The Power of Three Bracelet" and I think the name is apt. It's got a magical feel and uses sets of threes as design elements. The new variation switches out the Green Girl Studios Magic Rock with three Small Eye Rocks and I've added more Swarovski crystal pearls from Fusion Beads. The bronze clasp from Saki Silver, the coated crystal nuggets from J&M Gems 'n' Things, and the recycled glass beads from Bronwen Heilman of GhostCow are all the same.

The above piece should really be photographed being worn. It's got so much movement and wears almost like a second skin. The base of the bracelet structure is chain and it drapes beautifully. I adore pink and copper color combinations. I used the copper chain from Ornamentea with a shibuichi clasp from my family at Green Girl Studios and a shibuichi bumpy link from Saki Silver for the main structure. I embellished the bracelet with lampwork beads from Patti Cahill and Kelley Wenzel. I also used Swarovski crystals from Artbeads.com, opalescent Czech glass from Raven's Journey, vintage Czech glass from Pudgy Beads, and rose quartz from Bead Trust.

I love how whimsical the above bracelet is. I think that the rustic ceramic bird bead from Off Center Productions goes perfectly with the polymer egg from HumbleBeads. Those both go great with the shibuichi toggle and silver spacers from Saki Silver and the fluorite, kyanite, and tumbled agate beads from Bead Trust.

One of my favorite bracelets I whipped up this session was this bracelet. It's really rich with textures and materials. The large ceramic focal in the center is from Lisa Peters. She was set up next to me at a show and was a laugh riot! I like fun neighbors. Not only was she incredibly funny and nice, but she make some really nice ceramic work as well. I've also got ceramic pieces from Keith O'Connor, polymer from Klew, lampwork glass from Maureen of Pumpkinhill Beads, Czech glass leaves and garnets from Bead Trust, vintage sequins from Gail Crosman Moore, wooden beads from J&M Gems 'n' Things, Swarovski crystal pearls from Fusion Beads, Vintaj Natural Brass from Jamie Hogsett, faceted freshwater pearls from Talisman Associates Inc., and a bronze clasp to bring it all together from Saki Silver. I also used copper headpins from E2SSupplies on Etsy.

Here's a close-up of the bracelet. I really like how everything goes together – rich, warm, earthy tones punched up with a little bit of glittery gold.

Believe or not, I'm not asymmetrical all the time – at least not in my jewelry design. The above piece is evidence that sometimes I do indeed make symmetrical pieces. I love the simplicity and sweetness of this bracelet. I used a fine pewter "You Are Special" pendant and a silver toggle from my family at Green Girl Studios with Peruvian opals from Bead Trust, white coral and freshwater pearls from Talisman Associates, and ceramic rounds from Keith O'Connor.

Sometimes we come full circle in our designs. I made the above piece and realized that it looked very much like a bracelet version of a necklace I did back in January. Elaine Ray featured it on her blog HERE. What can I say, I like the color combination and I like how the Elaine Ray ceramic lentil looks with the Pam Wynn polymer round. I did substitute out the Elaine Ray raspberry rounds for ceramic rounds from Keith O'Connor. I think they go well with the tumbled agate and rose quartz from Bead Trust, Czech glass from Raven's Journey, and the shibuichi toggle from my family at Green Girl Studios.

Just by looking at this piece, one might think that I had gone over to the seed bead side and learned how to do a tubular herringbone stitch. They'd be wrong though. I used stacked bronze-colored daisy spacers from Talisman Associates Inc. to achieve this effect. I paired it with a shibuichi bird clasp from my family at Green Girl Studios, Swarovski crystal pearls from Fusion Beads, recycled glass beads (made from a Skyy Vodka Bottle) from Bronwen Heilman, and a polymer focal bead from Pam Wynn.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Seeded and Soiled...

I rarely get to see my friend, Monica Cook. It has been years since I last saw her. The last time was randomly on a chilly subway platform. I spotted her from another car and got out to tap her on the shoulder even though it wasn't my stop and I was running late. Her friend, a woman I recognized from her paintings, was isolated on the other side of the turnstile, the shadowy lines of wrought iron painted on her face. It was a surreal exchange that somehow embodied the otherworldly quality of her paintings at the time.

I recently found out that Monica has a new show opening in Atlanta at the Marcia Wood Gallery. The show opens October 22nd and will run till November 28th. It is entitled, "Seeded and Soiled." The new paintings are a decadent collision of figures and food – exploring the fine line of seductive beauty and aversion. Her luxuriously rendered figures are dripping with sweat and sweets, glistening with sugar and seafood.

Looking at these paintings is like seeing her again after all these many years.

Monday, October 19, 2009


One of my favorite artists making work right now is the very talented Iviva Olenick. I have admired and appreciated her work since I first saw it during a summer residency a few years back. I always get a thrill of checking out her blog and seeing what she's making. Her work resonates with me. It speaks to me, sticks to my ribs, and makes my heart ache sweetly. I find I carry the work around with me long after the initial moment of seeing it.
That's why, when I saw THIS POST, I beamed with pride. She translated a few lines from an email I wrote to her into a true work of art. I am utterly flattered by this gesture.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Beaded Links...

Do you have a distinctive style or do you go where the wind blows you? Lisa would love to hear about your design process.

Fall is in the air, at least in some areas of the world, so it is time to think about making fall jewelry.

ABS shares a motherlode of giveaways for October.

Barbe gets a mini piece of art from Artbeads.com.

Carmi makes some resin filled embellishments quickly!

There's a new addition to the Heartz n Skullz Family. Come check out the new Skully Bowz!

Melanie heats things up with some fire inspired crystal and porcelain beads in her newest necklace from her ArtBeads crystal week.

Jean reviews Ellsworth's wonderful new book, Beading – The Creative Spirit.

Cyndi shares the instructions for a special necklace that she made for a friend called, "The Fourth Day of Creation."

Lampwork glass beads always end up in Lorelei's work, and she passes on links to one of her favorites!

Jean is wowed by the plethora of activities a beader can find this weekend, both online at Earthenwood Studio and also at the super great classic, Soft Flex Glass Art and Bead Festival in New York!

Melissa shares her new work, "Natural Selection", that placed Second in the Necklace category of the Bead Arts Award 2009.

See what Andrew whipped up when he sat down in the studio after a dry spell.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sale Spotter: Earthenwood Studio...

I feel a little like the ceramic Earthenwood Studio pendant shown to the left. Yep, I feel just like the "spooky", highly-caffinated robot. I probably look like him too!

Melanie is running a Buy One Get One Free sale this week in her Etsy shop. She has made it very tempting and ever so easy to pick up this Halloween-themed fellow and one of his friends too! CLICK HERE for more details and to check out the shop.

In Print...

One of the things that I love about Stringing magazine is that it's a true designer's magazine. It's created by and for jewelry designers of all levels. Even if you're not into duplicating pieces bead by bead, each issue is packed with hundreds of points of inspiration which are guaranteed to amuse, intrigue, and delight! The Best of Stringing super-sized issue brings back some favorite golden oldies with a smattering of fresh new designs. I was lucky enough to have some of my older designs featured with a brand new one in this special collector's edition.

Also on shelves is the latest Fall issue of Stringing. It too is filled with tons of unique and interesting designs... AND there's a sneak peek at Cynthia's new book, Enchanted Adornments: Creating Mixed Media Jewelry with Metal Clay, Wire, Resin & More.

Make sure to snag both copies before supplies run out!


I just found out that the Interweave Store just added one of my projects to their current selection of designs. The project they added is called, "Sylvan Hollow." It originally appeared in the Fall 2006 issue of Stringing magazine. I remember that I created the piece to pay homage to a quiet, woodland getaway I used to escape to when the world became a little too much. CLICK HERE to check it out.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Four More New Designs...

With all the preparations of the move, traveling and house guests, I really haven't had a chance to sit down and make new designs. I finally stole a few moments to myself and whipped up the designs featured below.

I'm still on the fence about the above bracelet design. I think the color and feel are spot on, but I'm not sure about the Green Girl Studios Magic Rock just yet. I think I either need to add two beads flanking the pewter for a softer transition, or substitute the Magic Rock for a few Small Eye Rocks. Otherwise I think the bronze toggle from Saki Silver, the coated crystals from J&M Gem 'n' Things, the rum and vodka bottle beads from Bronwen Heilman of GhostCow, and the Swarovski crystalized pearls from Fusion Beads go awesome together.

This is a fun piece! I had a good time wire-wrapping and creating an interesting "pin-wheel" effect. I embellished PMC chain that I made myself with vintage German glass from Talisman Associates, green quartz, clear quartz, aventurine, chalcedony, and tourmaline from Bead Trust, and a Tahitian pearl from Pearl Concepts.

Above is a detail shot of the focal. What I love about this piece that the picture doesn't capture is the incredible amount of movement and energy this piece has. When I originally started working on this necklace, I didn't separate the dangles with wire and there was just TOO much energy and not enough focus and clarity. I separated out the jumble and created, I think, a more dynamic piece.

I remember when "asymmetrical" was a dirty word in jewelry design. I mean, there were some designers working with asymmetry, but for the most part, everything was neat, even, and symmetrical. The most you'd really see that was asymmetrical would be a lariat. Nowadays it seems like the concept of asymmetrical design is more mainstream. I think this is really exciting, as it opens up the field wider for different creative, visual problem-solving. The above piece is really funky and fun! I've used a combination of rubies from Bead Trust, ruby quartz from Omega Gems, seed beads from Jane's Fiber and Beads, chain from Ornamentea, borosilicate glass from Bobby Rhodes of Family Glass, vintage Czech glass from Pudgy Beads, Swarovski crystals from Fusion Beads, tumbled red glass from Anima Designs, and delicious faceted pearls from Talisman Associates.

Here's another bracelet that I whipped up. The focal on this pretty piece is a Botanical Series lampwork glass blossom from Lisa Kan. It's accentuated by glass discs from Cindy Gimbrone, bronze daisy spacers from Talisman Associates, Swarovski crystals and crystalized pearls from Fusion Beads, chain from Ornamentea, and a bronze toggle from Saki Silver. I love the "Asian vibe" of this bracelet.

All in all, I think I had a successful sit down. I made a couple of new earring designs as well, but I need to figure out how to shoot them. Normally I have them up on my house plant, but with the recent weather changes, my house plant is looking a little less enthusiastic than it usually does.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


The blog has received a facelift and I think is much brighter, lighter, and optimistic-looking. Honestly, it was hard for me to break away from the old look. I've maintained the same black background since the beginning of this blog and there's a comfort in familiarity. (And I am a creature of comforts... albeit small ones.) But lately I've felt restless and a need for change, a need to expand my horizons and broaden my outlook. Perhaps the little changes on my blog are reflective of my current state of transition in life? I don't know. In any event, I hope that everyone likes the new modifications and bares with me as the blog is updated and continues to develop.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Rocket Ship Days...

Some days are what I like to call, "Rocket Ship Days." You just want to pack everything up, or at least the important things, climb into your rocket ship, blast off, and never look back. The only comfort is solitude and what a sweet comfort that is.

I've been on an emotional roller-coaster lately. Lots of highs... lots of lows. I know the only salve is quiet time to reflect, readjust, and reenergize.

The thing that triggered this whole downward spiral was such a stupid thing. We were out going to the Frick, exploring the Brooklyn Flea under the Brooklyn Bridge and looking around the Farmers' Market... that's when one of my guests made a nasty comment. I could understand if the comment was constructive or offered solution or alternative, but it was just basically bitching to bitch. A flip switched in my head and I was awash with annoyance. I did, after all, have other things that I could be doing rather than showing someone around who is clearly not having a good time and is not pleased with how I'm showing them around. The person tried to blame their poor behavior on low blood sugar, but who gets low blood sugar after eating a sticky almond pastry? I struggled with myself and what I felt obligated to do to be a good host and be as hospitable as possible, but it was a losing battle and I finally just said, "You guys can do whatever you want. I'm going home to take a nap. I'm cranky." Maybe it's my fault for being too sensitive or expecting guests to conduct themselves in a certain way or that I'm too self-policing... all I know is that it put me in a rank mood.

So, I climbed into my rocket ship, which was actually my bed and slept it off. I had all kinds of dreams, crazy and bizarre, and I feel as though a poison has been flushed from my system. It wasn't a cure-all, for sure, but I do feel better and a little more clear. Perhaps this means the rocket ship is coming in for a landing?

Friday, October 09, 2009

Thank You...

I just wanted to thank everyone for their heartfelt messages sent during this past week of radio silence and all the emails I received today about my windy post. It really does make my heart swell. Leaving isn't easy, but I'm looking forward to this most excellent adventure. So... THANK YOU!


I woke up a few days ago and saw the light gleaming in the leaves of a tree outside my apartment. The wind was blowing fiercely – whipping and thrashing the branches and I thought about that saying, "What doesn't bend breaks."

This past week has been filled with lessons in bending and flexibility. Preparations for the move are under way and just trying to get everything done that needs to get done has been a little overwhelming. Deadlines. Post office. Packing. Errands. Paperwork. Things are moving along... slow and steady.

I've been having a hard time keeping a regular routine, but hopefully I'll get back into some of my normal activities. Later tonight is the Farewell to New York party. I'm looking forward to celebrating my time in the City and the people I've come to love.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Good Times...

Sheila came in a few nights ago. She'll be here for a month taking art classes. One of my best friends, Jenni, came in the day after for a weekend in New York. We've been running around the City and Brooklyn non-stop! I'll post about our adventures after I get back from Long Island. If you're in the area, drop by the Long Island Bead Festival at the Marriott Islandia. It's a one-day-only show and promises to be a lot of FUN! That's this Sunday, October 4th from 10AM to 5PM! CLICK HERE for more information about the venue.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with a picture of Jenni and Sheila in Union Square enjoying fresh hot apple cider from the Green Market.

Oh, Hawaii...

Few places have captured me so completely as Hawaii does. Perhaps it's my island heritage on my mother's side? Maybe it's just because it's paradise? Either way, I am in love with the place.

I was in Hawaii for a short amount of time, so I had to make use of every moment. It was also strange, because it was the first time I had been to Hawaii without my family. Part of me felt a profound sense of freedom and liberation, and the other part of me missed them terribly. It was nice to be able to pick a point on a map and go; see a mountaintop and go; to go without worry or calculation, but just the desire and curiosity. For instance, on my birthday I wanted to watch the sunrise on the eastern side of the island. I hiked to the top of Makapu'u and soaked in the breath-taking display of sea, sky, and sun.

Along the hike to the top of Makapu'u, I found all kinds of treasures – from remnant ruins of old military outposts, to small textured cones. It was fun to climb up. I wasn't satisfied with the paved trail though and had to explore the old beaten paths.

At the top of those points, I found evidence of old occupation, ghostly concrete and steel sticking up from the earth.

I also found interesting new plant life. I was surprised with how desert the flora was. For instance, this fleshly cactus blossom I found that was coated with the lightest sprinkling of fuzz.

The views were stunning! Above is a shot of Diamond Head Crater. Our last trip, we hiked to the top. It was daunting hike. From this vantage point, the topmost crater ridge seems like a little hill. Only my experience nagged me at the back of my mind, reminding me that this was no little hill!

At the top of Makapu'u, near the old military outposts, now crumbling concrete structures, alters to old gods could be found. Twisting in the wind, shreds of an offering twirl. It made me wonder how long ago was tribute last left.

I climbed down from the high point and near the lighthouse to take the picture above. Even on the crumbling hillside, I found evidence of someone else before. Names and dates were scribbled in concrete or on cactus leaf. I understood it. I understood the profound sense of being rooted, of being connected and apart of a space and wanting to capture that moment and shout out that you were there, you were in that place.

For me though, I found more pleasure in finding a unique view... of a flower on the side of a treacherous hill, with disintegrating ash and sliding rock over a deadly drop. That flower will have probably opened and closed and lived and died with only one person having ever seen it in person. The above photo is of that flower, in an attempt to help share that fleeting moment destined to be lost in time and be washed away in the ephemeral nature of things.

After hiking around Makapu'u, I went to our secret spot to collect beach glass. It didn't seem like much had changed from the last time we were here. Sometimes I'd find something in a tide-pool and call out to Cynthia and Azalea to come and look, only realizing after I said their names that they were thousands of miles away. I could have spent hours combing the shore, pocketing treasures. I had a healthy handful before I succumbed to the heat and made my way back to the car for a drink and off to Kailua.

I laid out on the beach and this is what I saw when I looked up. It was such a peaceful and relaxing stretch of time. Around me were families and locals, enjoying the breezy beach and sunny weather. It seemed as though I was suspended in paradise. I didn't mind one bit.

Usually Cynthia and I talk about what treasures we could find at an antique store in Hawaii if we ever found one. This trip, I wanted to locate one. Luckily this one was right down the road, less than a mile away from where I was laying out. Ali'i Antique's in Kailua was a treasure trove of things! It was amazing to see the stacks of antiques, piled so high that it didn't just encompass the entirety of one storefront, but TWO! I found some cute owls and saw lots of beautiful carvings and vintage goodies. I would have bought more had I figured out a way to get it all back home without having to pay too high for shipping.

Another of the places we talk about going to is the Bishop Museum. This time I finally made my way out there. The drive from Kailua to the museum on H3, at the base of the emerald green mountains was AMAZING!

The Bishop museum had a wide selection of things to see – science, art, sports. For instance, in one of the science buildings, they did a demonstration of what a lava pour looks like. It was pretty intense watching them pour out the molten rock mixed with borax.

The museum also boasted a new exhibit of animatronic dinosaurs and fossils. It was really creepy to be caught off guard walking down a path and then hearing something roar at you!

One of my favorite parts of the museum is where they feature a full-sized hut with a giant whale model strung up overhead, while cultural folklore and bits and pieces of Hawaiian artifacts flank the central display. The Bishop Museum was a great stop to soak in lots of culture and history.

When I finished up at the museum, I headed over to the Ward Warehouse to start setup of the show. I made some progress, but called it an evening when my friends, Candice Wakumoto and her husband Paul came by to pick me up for dinner. They took me to a fabulous Vietnamese restaurant. I LOVE their iced coffee – strong, sweet and creamy! They showed me the ropes and ordered a feast of delicious offerings. I was in foodie paradise! It was nice to spend my birthday with friends.

The rest of my time in Hawaii flew by! I would wake up early and head out to the beach before the show. I'd get my traveling kit out and make some jewelry while soaking up a little sun and relaxing. It was a nice conversation starter and I met several curious tourists and locals.

Sipping iced coffee, making things, and sitting on the beach... what a wonderful way to start the day. I could start every day like that, listening to the surf, watching waves and people, and breathing in the fresh salty air.

One of the days a parade route went by the Ward Warehouse. I was there early, from sitting on the beach and watched the colorful outfits and interesting floats. With all the smiles and friendly waves, I realized that my love of Hawaii wasn't just in the island itself, the art, or the food... but in the people. Everyone was so nice. It is such a change from New York, where everyone is hardwired on their paths and insulted in their bubbles. Everyone in Hawaii is so friendly, warm, and welcoming.

As I climbed Makapu'u, I was greeted by several friendly faces, all smiling. Even at the most remote and quiet places, I would come across a stranger full of greeting. Along the tide-pools and the beaches, "Good morning!" and "Hello!" In the shops and stores, only the best customer service, always interested in where I was from and what brought me to the island. In the museum, laughing children full of curiosity, and helpful and informative staff, ready to explain an exhibit or elaborate the cultural significances. Even at the show, the sweetest neighbors who saw to it that you never went without food or drink or a bathroom break. (Hello Rene and Calvin! Hello Jamie and Jason! Hello Kim! Hello Lillypilly!) The customers were also sweet, full of enthusiasm and eager to learn, make, and help. (Hello Susan! Hello Donna! Hello Maureen! Hello Mary!) Thousands of miles away from my home and family, I was not alone and celebrated my birthday with friends in a place that truly is paradise.