Thursday, December 13, 2007
It doesn't take long for me to gravitate back into the blue gemstones. A couple of pieces I'm loving right now are these cluster earrings of Peruvian Opals and this front toggle closure necklace with a stunning faceted marquis Aqua Chalcedony. I suspect some lucky person will receive these for Christmas!
Sunday, December 9, 2007
These are a couple of fun and easy necklaces to make. I found these cool Geode slices in my travels on the internet and had to have them. I've paired them with double chain necklaces and a faceted gemstone of sage amethyst to add a bit of interest and movement to the necklaces.
I also did matching hoop earrings. That's all for this week! I should have a few more items to post next weekend....
Monday, November 19, 2007
In my goal to showcase some jewelry in new colour palettes I've switched into the Olive tones. This necklace is a collaboration of smoky green quartz and Grossular Green Mali garnets. I love how these earthy greens look with gold!
Looking at my jewelry one might think I'm a very elegant and classy kinda gal. The truth couldn't be more different! My daily uniform is strictly jeans & T shirts. I've never owned a pair of heals and rarely remember my makeup! It's curious that I love designing such exquisite high end jewelry. I really do love designing it and get a total thrill to see it on other people. It's just that I'm not my own muse. For myself I wear very little jewelry and when I do it's small and subtle. Ironic?
A lot of designers design for themselves, but I'm not one of them. I love designing specific styles for people I know. Some of my friends are very classic and elegant and others are edgy and off beat. I enjoy the challenge of interpreting their different personal styles and designing pieces specifically for them! That is my favorite part of designing jewelry.
I thought it would be fun to include a photo of my "studio" which is really just a small computer desk in the corner of my bedroom. Try as I might to keep it tidy and organized it just explodes into what you see pictured here every time I sit down to make something...
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Ok - I promised a new colour scheme, and although I know grey isn't exactly a "colour", I thought it would be a break from all the blue jewelry I've been posting lately.
The center piece of this necklace is a Thai Hilltribe Silver Orchid. The Thai people are truly talented artists. Every flower is different and you can see how each person puts their own special embellishments into each piece they create. I have some silver butterflies on their way which I can't wait to design something with.
My photos of this necklace did not turn out well. The light was too dark when I was taking them, and even my macro shots are blurry. Oh well - I plan to work on my photography skills in the new year!
Friday, November 9, 2007
I'm not sure what it is about blue in jewelry - but it seems to be one of the colours people gravitate to the most. Watery aqua blues, bright Lapis blues, bright turquoise blues or Icy Kyanite blues...they always get the most attention. The more I try to steer my colour palettes in other directions (away from blue) the more people ask for it. Knowing that it sells well, I've put together a few more pieces with Kyanite. These are from the first wave of Christmas Collections I'm currently designing.
Next week I promise a new colour!!
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Every November I hunker down in the dark rainy evenings and get to work on my Seasonal Jewelry Collections. Christmas is my busiest time of year for sales, and I always do a few "Christmasy" pieces because people really like them. For me Garnets are the perfect Christmas stone. Their deep rich red colour really says "Winter" to me. I love garnets with gold. Pictured here are a necklace and bracelet from my upcoming Christmas Collection.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Here in Vancouver we are settling in for the loooooong rainy winter. This is my favorite time of year to get crafty. Today I'm posting a bracelet I made for my friend's birthday. I used the same technique as the baby bracelet in the last post with the wire loops wrapped to closed jump rings. I added interest and movement with the dangling charms.
The stones I used were rough cut Peruvian opals and kyanite.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
This is the smallest bracelet I've ever designed. It's for a newborn baby girl and I can't wait to see it on her wrist! Her mom mentioned that she really wanted a bracelet for her baby daughter and I made note of it. The result is so delicate and pretty I think I'll want to make an adult sized one also!
The bracelet was made using gold filled wire and closed jump rings with alternating Arizona Turquoise stones and 4mm gold filled beads. I really like working in this style of making delicate "chain" from linked beads and jump rings. I find if I just link the beads without a jump ring the jewelry doesn't move freely enough. The links get kinked very easily when the jump rings are absent. Something I've learned from linking thousands of beads together over the years.
One of the first things people always ask me when they look a my jewelry is how I get the loops formed so perfectly. Practice, practice, practice! Exactly the same as sewing a straight line....lots of practice!
Sunday, October 14, 2007
I don't have any current jewelry updates to share with you today. Instead I thought I would share a bit of my personal history in my journey towards becoming a jewelry designer.
I spent the year of 2001 living and studying in Oaxaca Mexico. It was a sabbatical of sorts from my career as a designer in the clothing and apparel industry. It was also a year of reflection about what kind of work I would really like to be doing next. (designing jewelry) ..... I have been designing jewelry for almost 20 years! I started when I was only 14. I spent my year in Oaxaca brushing up on my Spanish, and I also spent that year enrolled in a jewelry design program at a local Artisan's School. That was where I learned the intricate art of filigree jewelry making. It is a dying art I might add, as the labor and time involved in creating these pieces is enormous. Young people today are looking for more lucrative careers and are more drawn to technology. One of the things I loved the most about this art form was it's ancient, manual techniques. Everything is done painstakingly by hand! The photos here are two pair of earrings I completed at the end of the course. The amethyst pair I wore for my wedding. I also met and married my husband during this year long sabbatical!!
I have lots of new jewels on order so expect to see some new collections very shortly. The winter season is the busiest for me, so I should be getting into full production mode as soon as the rain starts here in Vancouver - end of October and ALLLLL of November!!
Saturday, July 21, 2007
This is just a quick post to show off my latest necklace design for a local store. The hammered circles are one hot ticket this summer so I've been using them in almost all my new necklaces. I'm ready to move on to something else - but when you are working with a store you also have to listen to what the customers are responding to. In this case it's the circles!
The faceted nuggets are Aqua coloured Chalcedony. Another popular colour with this store's clients.
Have a great weekend!
Sunday, July 8, 2007
So much for crafting - I'm still making jewelry! That's ok as I really do love jewelry and my apartment is set up for it. I have a designated table for my jewelry and this makes it easy for me to sit down for 10 minutes here and there to work on it. This is how I work most of the time as I never have large chunks of time for any of my hobbies. They happen in bits and pieces of time that I squeeze into my day. The problem with sewing is the lack of designated space. I have to dismantle my kitchen to sew and I hate doing this. I generally only sew when I have an entire day off to myself so that I can make a big mess for 6-7 hours and then clean it up. The problem with sewing is that you need a table, ironing board and cutting area ie. (space!) something we lack in our current apartment of 450 sq. feet!
This necklace and earrings is for my dear friend Norah. She is an artist and will be exhibiting her work at the Winsor Gallery starting July 19th here in Vancouver. If you get a chance please check it out! The necklace is a re-design of something she picked up in Nepal about 10 years ago. It had been strung on string and was falling apart. In hindsight I should have taken a before photo. I'm never thinking in terms of my blog....I am very pleased with the resulting design and earrings to match. I added faceted nuggets of Carnelian and Lapis that I had left over from previous projects. As well as a sprinkling of turquoise - much more interesting than the original!
Monday, July 2, 2007
So far I'm only averaging about 1 post per month...I'll try and do better! It seems once I made a conscious decision to devote more time to crafting (check out my craft blog ChicaCraft)
The jewelry design business took off. I'm so thrilled that my latest designs are selling well at the House of Jewels boutique where they are sold here in Vancouver. She keeps asking for more. I just need more time to devote to it. Maybe it's the full time job getting in the way! Unfortunately at this time it still pays the bills.
Circles and Hoops is the name of this post. It seems to be the hot trend for this summer. Hammered circles are selling very well along with the wire hoop earrings. All shades of blue. I always fall back on the watery blues of Peruvian opals and Amazonite so this time I tried something new. The gemstones I used in the two necklaces here are Kyanite. It is a very icy blue which works best with Silver. This blue looks great combined with denim which we all have in our wardrobes!
I should add a note that the beautiful hammered circle and intricate Orchid are from the talented Hill Tribe people of Thailand.
I'm hoping to get back to some of my craft projects so it may be a while before I post again.
Friday, May 4, 2007
It wasn't my intention when I started working on this collection to have it end up with such a "Santa Fe" feeling. I guess when working with this colour palette it's inevitable. One necklace is more traditional with the silver accents it it very much looks as though it was inspired by New Mexico or Arizona. The other necklace with the round turquoise beads is a more modern take, with the asymmetric carnelian nugget accents.
I'm sending this small collection off into the world tomorrow and wanted to record them in photos first. I do miss my designs sometimes after they're gone. But, it also gives me so much pleasure to know people like and appreciate my art enough to want to purchase it! I love seeing people wearing the pieces I design specifically for them.
Sunday, April 1, 2007
Friday, March 9, 2007
Here are a few pieces from my new Spring collection. I want to post a few photos of them before they get sent out into the world! I spent the winter working with gold but now I'm itching to experiment with different metal finishes - and silver has caught my attention all over again. The hammered silver rings are from the Thai Hilltribe people. I wish I could have made them myself, but alas I have no metal working equipment at my disposal. One day!!
As usual, I've been drawn to watery blue stones, especially Peruvian Opals, Amzonite and Chalcedony. I never get tire of them and they combine well with silver and gold.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Wow, it's time to start blogging again! I took a bit of a break over the holiday season, but I'm back at it again. I just finished this bracelet for a co-worker. She loves tanzanite and that was my starting point for this piece. I decided to make it really colourful by adding orange and green and gold to it. The brilliant blue of the tanzanite really stands out.
I just opened my Etsty shop a few weeks ago so I need to take this opportunity for some shameless self promotion. You can see what I have for sale at www.astartedesigns.etsy.com
I encourage all jewelry designers to explore Etsy. It is a forum for crafts people to buy and sell all things handmade. What a brilliant concept! And its free - well almost free. You have to pay a small fee to post something for sale, and pay a small commission when something sells. It's a bit like eBay that way. It's still better than paying 50% to a store for placing an item on consignment!