Monday, April 28, 2008

Some of what I've been working on...

This lovely custom piece is going in the mail to its new owner. (Sterling silver, flower petals, twigs)

Monday, April 21, 2008

I'd rather be at my bench

Every year, Long Beach plays host to the most ridiculously loud Grand Prix race. The cars whir through downtown all day. From my apartment, a mere mile away, it sounds like a loud and angry swarm of bees. So, needless to say, I stayed inside all weekend, with the radio on to drown out the noise. Which meant that I spent quite a bit of time creating new work.

I'm really enjoying working with these bezel-like shapes, so I thought I'd just run with it for awhile. And now that it's spring, I've been collecting flowers left and right to include in some pieces. These ones have been drying between the pages of a heavy book to make them a bit easier to work with. I can't wait to see what the color contrasts will look like.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A simple pair of earrings

I've never really been one to wear earrings (other than very small studs). But, I have to go to an event tomorrow night for my day job, so I thought that I would fashion myself a nice, simple pair that I could wear. I will be wearing a necklace, of course, but I might have to bundle up (since we'll be outside), so I wanted to make sure that some lovely piece of handmade jewelry is always visible. So, here is my latest foray... (excuse the photography, I'm still learning how to use my camera)...

They're sterling silver, each with a small "job's tears" seed. And they feel like nothing when I wear them, so I'm really quite happy.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Quest for Sustainability

Several years ago, we all started hearing more and more about the idea of sustainability. Organic foods, not driving as much, recycling, being kind to the planet. All of these ideas are new, yet not really. I grew up learning how to recycle, and actually cracked the recycling whip at everyone in my dorm when I went off to college. Riding a bike or walking or taking public transportation has always been a viable option for me.

And, yet, when I went to a conference in 2004 focused on sustainability, and heard a presentation by Ray Anderson from Interface (watch this short YouTube clip for more), I realized there was so much more that I could do to reduce my impact. And I immediately started taking stock in everything I do.

When I took a carbon footprint quiz last fall, I was thrilled to learn that all my efforts are paying off - My personal impact is almost a quarter of the average Californian, a third of the average American. From swapping lightbulbs for CFLs and shopping at the farmers' market to commuting by bike and not traveling by airplane, it's nice to know that little steps can make a big difference.

But, one thing that I have wanted to do for several years, ever since getting into metalsmithing, is source my materials in a renewable way. For years, I've wanted to find someone who sells 100% recycled sterling silver (that's not PMC clay), and haven't had any luck. Until now. Thanks to Catherine of Solsida Jewelry, who I found through the Switchboards forum, I am happy to report that I am again hot on the trail!

I'm still in the early stages of researching some leads, but I am so excited by this prospect! And I hope to make a decision on a company and start transitioning from the stock I have now to fully recycled silver within the next few months. I'm also going to start posting more about my efforts to be as sustainable as possible, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

New Ideas

With all the marketing stuff settled for awhile, it's back to work on some new designs.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Saturday's Discovery

This afternoon, I wound up in Newport Beach, with several hours to kill. Not familiar with the area, I figured I would just head over to Crystal Cove and hang out on the beach. So, I was driving down Newport Coast toward the ocean, past all the multi-million dollar houses, and I looked off to the left and saw what looked to be a picnic area. I made a U-turn the first place that I could and discovered a small, practically un-marked park overlooking this gorgeous (and, I might add, completely undeveloped) canyon full of greenery and bright yellow flowers. It was wonderful - and a complete surprise!

Living in Southern California, you get to thinking that every square inch is totally paved over. So, to discover something like this was like stumbling onto a well-kept secret.

The most amazing part was that it was quiet. It was just off the road and down the hill enough that all you could hear was the wind and the rustling leaves and the birds and the crickets. And that's where I spent my afternoon - taking pictures of all the interesting plants, sketching, wandering around, watching the hawks, and otherwise just re-charging. It was delightful.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Marketing Updates

Hip Hip Hooray... my first little catalog is finished! It's small for right now, but I wanted to at least get done what I could at this moment. I'm looking at it as a sort of work-in-progress... As I continue to build my line of jewelry, I'll update the catalog. But, I have to say that I'm quite happy with how it turned out. I've uploaded it to my website, so if you're interested in taking a look, you can click right here.

Also, I've finished an updated postcard. I've found that it's a great marketing tool to have a snazzy 4"x6" card to hand out and to post around town. The one I did last summer desperately needed updating. So, I pulled a new one together that reflects my new work and the direction I'm headed at this moment. Doesn't it look great?