Tuesday, September 21, 2010

how to make me smile.

i have many favorite things...

that make me smile
that make me feel good
that make me think,
that make me see beauty in a different way.

and i'd like to share a few of them with you.
pay it forward.


Ray LaMontagne.

if you already know his music,
i'm so glad!
if not, then i am so excited to be the first person to introduce him to you.
i discovered Ray's music back in 2004.
i had downloaded a live show of a female singer-songwriter 
that i really liked, and during a break in songs she reminded the audience
about how amazing the performer before her was.
and the way she talked about him made me search him out immediately.
at this point, he only had a demo and some of the songs were
out there on the interwebs, if you searched hard enough.
so i collected a cd of about 6 of his songs and very quickly
fell for his writing style, his raspy soft voice, his sadness...
his hope.

i found out that he had spent his young adult life working in a shoe factory
in Maine, 65 hour weeks, struggling to find peace in his life.
One morning in '99 he was woken up by the sound of the radio
instead of the normal high pitched alarm sound.
the voice that came out mesmerized him.
the words woke something inside of him.
he had never heard this kind of music.
it was steven stills 'tree top flyer'.
he quit his job, bought a guitar, and set his mind on
becoming a singer-sonwriter.
a few years later he put out a demo,
which i stumbled upon,
and then later put out his first album on RCA.
a couple weeks ago he put out his 4th album.

i strongly recommend you start with his work in order.
it's like meeting someone for the first time
and hearing where he started and where he is now,
is a beautiful journey.
he is such a talented, soulful writer and singer,
i am pleased to introduce you to Ray LaMontagne.

his first album was called Trouble.

go there first. 
and then feel thankful that there are three more!


 another favorite of mine is postSecret.com

In December 2003, Frank Warren took his first trip to Paris, France. 
That night he checked into a hotel in the Latin Quarter. 
While he slept he had an extraordinary dream that would change his life
and eventually lead him to the PostSecret project.

"My first day in Paris I had purchased three 
Antoine de Saint-Expery's "Little Prince" postcards from a small shop near my hotel. 
When I got to my hotel room and prepared for bed,
I placed the cards in the nightstand drawer and went to sleep. 
During the night, I had a lucid dream in which I was aware that I was in my own dream. 
I found myself in my hotel room. In my dream I opened my nightstand drawer,
and examined the three "Little Prince" postcards. 


"Each one had been altered with messages written on their backs. 
The first message read, 
"unrecognized evidence, from forgotten journeys, unknowingly rediscovered," 
the second message was about a
"reluctant oracle" postcard art project 
and the last message 
I could not understand at the time."

"When I awoke, I removed the actual postcards from the drawer 
and tried to recreate them 
so they would appear like the ones I had seen during my dream. 
What I did not know 
was that those three remade Little Prince postcards 
would be the first work of a trilogy of postcards that would consume my life 
and set me on an unimaginable journey."

 "In January 2004, I started the "reluctant oracle" project. 
Every Sunday, I created an released a new work to be discovered. 
They were discovered by people serendipitously. 
The story found local, national and international media coverage.

The last message from "reluctant oracle" bore the message, 
"You will find your answers in the secrets of strangers." 

The next Sunday the PostSecret began. 

Frank Warren randomly left and mailed 500 of these
out into the world.
and then waited.
and a few days later they started coming back.
with art work and collages and photos...
and secrets.
and then they started coming in faster and quicker.
and then postsecret.com started.

and every sunday Frank posts 10-20 secrets 
that loosely relate to a common theme.

my sunday morning are spent with a cup of coffee, 
the dogs, the Red Cat, 
and postSecret.com.

the postcards are inspirational to those who read them, 
have healing powers for those who write them, 
give hope to people who identify with a stranger's secret, 
and create an anonymous community of acceptance.

Since it's creation, PostSecret has given back to the community
with generous donations to Hopeline, a suicide hotline,
college events, and art installations. 
when art and life can intermingle so nicely and beautifuly
in the large haunted house of life,
it helps me hold out hope for humanity.


Brian Andreas.

she said she usually cried at least once
each day not because she was sad,
but because
the world was
so beautiful and
life was so short.

Brian Andreas set out to ask people to share stories
about their experience of being alive, 
using the Internet of the early 1990s.
Of this experiment, he wrote:
"Hall of Whispers takes its name from an ancient Babylonian myth of a specially constructed room in one of the ziggurats (stepped pyramids) where a whisper would stay alive forever. I have an image of the electronic networks whispering ceaselessly with the voices of our times.
In a turbulent world, it is easy to lose sight of the small beauties and
moments of grace
that occur constantly around us.
I wanted Hall of Whispers to give voice to that side of ourselves
that recognizes that this is
as much a time of renewal
as it is a time of decay.
Using the then-infantile Internet, Andreas ultimately gathered 
more than 4,000 stories from around the world.
Andreas went out into his backyard and pulled a board from the fence 
and began to play with the boards and place little stories and some color onto them. 
Soon, shaped as 'people,' they began to sell.
Of the results of the Hall of Whispers and the fence-board experiments, 
it was eventually written that 
"he discovered the StoryPeople waiting to be carved 
out of rough barn board, 
painted in bright colors, 
and hand-lettered with their individual stories."
He "gives voice to the vision of the child 
and the unsophisticated 
in books that listen to unnamed 'StoryPeople,' 
who express themselves through hand-stamped print, as if epigrammatically."

Of his work, Andreas says,
"I like art that admits to being a part of life. 
The moments I have with my friends and family are really all that I need. 
I like to take them and weave them into stories 
that are filled with laughter and music and lunacy. 
And they are mostly true, but I'm not telling which parts. . .
I have a real quirky view of the world."
I received my first Brian Andreas print in 1999 from a good friend.
I have since given them as gifts to many of the important people in my life.
There is a story out there for everyone..
usually many.
some humorous, 
some uplifting,
some profound.

readers, i'm pleased to introduce you to Brian Andreas.
i hope that you have found a new favorite in one or more
of mine.
i would love to hear any of your favorites you'd like to share.
leave a comment!


Monday, September 20, 2010

a thousand words

a week in pictures.
early week in new york..

mid week in upstate...


late week in rhode island...

weeks end...

hope you had as lovely a week as i did.
i'll be posting new designs and work this week
both here and in the etsy shop.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010

new rings...

today has been a good productive day in the studio...

and i have three new rings to preview 
before they go in The Shop tomorrow:

   :: Hell In A Bucket  :: 
Dragon Skin Turquoise & Sterling Silver Ring
fits size 7-8

i really love the way this feels when it's on
my finger.
it feels strong and secure
and safe and proud.
i might have to keep this one.....

:: Tough Mama ::
Ammonite Fossil & Sterling Silver
fits size 7-8

i pulled out my drawer of ammonite this week.
i have a love affair with this fossil...
yes, i did say drawer.

:: Poppy ::
Faceted Red Ruby & Sterling Silver Ring
fits size 7

another ring in the Lily Pad Series...
this one came out more square.
it sits so nicely on the finger.



Wednesday, September 1, 2010

i live in the best place on the planet...

what a week it's been in the world of the interwebs!
it amazes me that these lines of communication,
shared by millions,
sometimes cross my path
and stumble hard enough to stop and take notice.

it's nice. 
no, it's superb.
or how about, rewarding.

{my catci are in bloom!}

i live in a magical place called The Hudson Valley.
It is considered upstate New York
{which is actually in the southern part of NY but they still call it upstate.. weird}
and houses Woodstock, Kingston, New Paltz, 
and plenty of small towns filled with treasures
and musicians and artist
and dreamers and thinkers and do-ers.

and one such Do-er/Artist found my presence online and thought enough of me
to highlight me on her Blog.
Her name is Liz and we just found out this year that we have tons of friends in common
but managed to never meet until last summer.
She has a wonderful spirit and enough sass to warrant a friendship from me!

She is a photographer and a lover of the Hudson Valley,
and now a lover of my Jewelry.
Check out her Blog for cool photos and insight on being an artist in the Hudson Valley.
thanks Liz!


i had quite a productive day yesterday.

i turned 3 pairs of old jeans into skirts.
i love jean skirts, but all the ones i see are Hoochy-short or Grandma-long.
and i have more jeans that sit in my closet than i actually wear,
so i up-cycled 3 of them into skirts last night.
and i LOVE them!!
they came out great and they were super quick and easy to make.

this one has slits on the sides and a scoop in the bottom of the backside.
:::click the picture for a bigger view:::

 i really like the a-frame of this one, and it's not too long

and this is the shortest one, with a scoop in the bottom of the back too.
  {if anyone wants a tutorial let me know, i'd be happy to post one}


i also rearranged my studio space last month to make it more efficient
and to take out all the plastic storage and replace it with wooden
crates and boxes, all found at flea markets or antique stores.
{both of which are aplenty in the Hudson Valley}

but while working in my new space this month i realized that my design/work space desk
was getting cluttered real fast and the actual 'work space' was 
diminishing quickly.
no good.
so i went to my local hardware store and made a quick fix with out having to buy a new table.
 and I LOVE IT!
why didn't i think of this sooner?
one piece of plywood that they cut down for me (brilliant)
into a new, bigger table top, and the leftover wood cut for shelves,
and a few pieces of metal piping and i have a new work space for really cheap!
the desk top was 4' x 2', so i had them cut me a 6' x 3' top out of nice thick plywood
and then just screwed it on to the existing top.

then i found these cool metal plumbing pipes that come in many lengths with threads on both ends.
and they screw into metal disks with four screw holes in them.

i just screwed them onto the shelf, and then into the new top
and viola! new shelf that is super super sturdy!
now i have room for all the tools that are involved with metalsmithing
that i need to be able to pick up easily, and quickly without going into drawers
or cabinets. 
i'm a very visual person... i need to see my stuff.
my whole studio is set up in a W. 
that creates 2 nooks where i have work space on three sides of me,
this is one nook of the W.
soldering station, fabrication area, design/workspace.
and a spinny-chair on wheels to get around!
 it makes a difference in my creative flow to be able to move from place to place quickly
without getting up.
then the other side (on the right that you can't see)
is the nook that has my beading table and stone storage,
and extra storage for stuff i don't need all the time.

My green beading table was made in the 1800's as a farm table
and is so rich with history.
it has a leaf that pulls up to make the work space 
much bigger when you need it!

i really love my studio!
it has been a work in progress over the years of figuring out 
what works best for me and what my needs are 
as a metalsmith, self-taught.
do you have a cool idea to better utilize your work space?
i'd love to hear about it...

i have noticed over the years that there are many ways of beating metal
to get to the same ring.
that everyone has a personal process, and 
a tried and true way of getting there.
and sometimes we change our ways to better suit our moods.
or to flatter something we've seen and like.
some of us look for help on every turn,
others try and try until they figure it out.
some do it for the passion,
others for the paycheck,
but as long as we love it, we can't knock it, right?
life, meet art.
art, meet life.
you two should get along fabulously.

much love to all of you...
there is still time to make a new rivet piece today.
pictures of new work coming soon!

{love that hound!}


i'm on a roll!

and yet another ETSY treasury this week.
one of my Lilypad Rings that i just put up a couple days ago
has already been noticed and featured.


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