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Happy July!  This summer I’ve been taking an online course to learn to make some new earrings. The class is taught by Deryn Mentock and she is an AWESOME teacher. I’ll also be taking a class (in person) from her next March at Adorn Me! 2012. I canNOT wait! For now, have a look at a couple of the earrings I’ve made:

These hoops are forged sterling silver. I made every bit of them, *including* the ear wires (confession: after working through some of the lessons in the class, I’m chagrined that I haven’t always made my own ear wires. That will be changing.). It always amazes me that I forget how much I love hammering metal.

Aren’t these lovely? Same hoops as above but I’ve added a metal clay medallion and some very pale Aquamarines.  I’ve got lots of ideas for embellishing these hoops. Lucky for me, there was a bead show in town this weekend. Check out my haul:

I wanted garnets and I was so happy to find some in the perfect deep, deep red that I adore. Also there’s some labradorite that’s going to be lovely paired with black leather for a wrap bracelet. See all the ‘white’ beads? It’s faceted moonstone! I usually see smooth moonstone & it’s kinda, meh, to me. But I fell in love with the faceted variety; the faceting highlights the colors & lights in the stone.  You’ll be seeing more of it in my designs. Yes. Those are skulls. I haven’t figured out *exactly* what I want to do with them but I was drawn to them, so now I own them. I’m really looking forward to working with all this loveliness!

Sidenote from the bead show #1: If you’ve ever seen my arms, you’d know that I’m NOT the customer that needs the how-to-build-a-collection lecture.

Sidenote from the bead show #2: Many of you have asked me about what to use to clean your silver jewelry. My first choice is my tumbler but since I know that’s not an option for most of you here’s my second choice:

I’ve used this biodegradable metal cleaner for years & years. It’s from that booth that’s always at any kind of show (Home & Garden, Holiday Markets, etc) & they offer to clean a ring for you. Both of their products are great but I was more interested in the metal cleaner this trip. It really works well, it’s safe for your fine & sterling silver jewelry & it lasts forever. If it ever dries out just add water & it’s ready to go! They also told me if you put some in a jar with water, soak your silver overnight, it’ll be shiny by morning. Fabulous! Email me if you’re interested in a jar ($10) and I’ll ship it to you. Or later this summer…

You can place an order for it ON MY WEBSITE! I’m [this] close to actually having a real, live, working website WITH a shopping cart! I spent time today loading the earring category. Really! My goal is to have it up and running by my birthday. That gives me just over a month. Stay tuned. Of course, I’ll be mentioning it EVERYWHERE once it’s ready.

Hope you’re having a great summer. We’re having a hot (normal), dry (not so normal) one here in Houston but I’ll take the heat over the chilly any day! It’s going by so quickly, the kids will be starting school in no time. Stay in touch, say hello anytime!

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A piece doesn’t always go neatly through the 4 phases. My friend Heather kept gently hinting that she needed a pair of earrings to wear to yoga. You know, the kind of earring that she could put on and forget about. The kind of earring that is not annoying during a belly-down savasana but looks great after class: cooled down, showered & possibly with a touch of make-up (sometimes the cosmetics part is just *too* much ofter class, you know).  So the idea had been percolating in the back of my mind. It was on my general jewelry to-do list, hanging out waiting for the muses to smile on it.  So about the 5th time (thank you for your patience, Heather 🙂 ) she mentioned it, she said: something, something, knot, kinda small, something, something.  When she said ‘knot’  the muses smiled, a light turned on in my head & I swear I heard a bell.  Since I was in the middle of  learning & becoming enamoured with the barrel weave, the stars aligned and within a few hours these came to life:

The Yoga Earring

 

So the next day, and here’s where I deviated from the 4 phases, I gave a pair to Heather for field testing.  *I* had not done all the things I do before I let other people wear my jewelry.  So I’d defined the 4 phases and then almost immediately deviated from them.  Yet in this case it worked like a dream ( I mean, really, the 4 phases aren’t set in stone). Heather put the earrings on then and not only wore them to yoga but slept in them and lived in them. I did the same thing and found them to be a near-perfect earring: practically weightless, look great with hair up or down (this really can be an issue, I promise), not annoying during yoga and just really pretty in a light, delicate way.  So this earring has affectionately been called The Yoga Earring not because they are particularly flexible or in tune with their breathing but because that’s what Heather would always say, “I need a yoga earring.” Feel free to wear them wherever you want. Feel free to try out a yoga class.  Feel free to thank me for both the earrings & your new love of yoga.  Namaste.

A side by side comparison picture of The Yoga Earring and Barrel Weave Earring:

 The Yoga Earring/Barrel Weave Earring  

The Yoga Earring

The Yoga Earring

A delicate single element of the barrel weave makes for the perfect go-anywhere-wear-with-anything-do-anything earring. You might want to keep a pair in your purse/car for those days when you get out of the house without accessorizing.  The earrings drop approximately 1″ from the earring wire.  All Sterling Silver. $35.

I know, I know, I know it’s been a month since I’ve been here. Apologies all around. Now, let’s get to the good stuff: a new bracelet & a new pair of earrings.

I just learned this weave a few weeks ago and after wearing & testing things out, I’ve decided they are ready to be introduced to you.  Just in case you’re wondering (if not, feel free to skip ahead to the photos), the things you see here & in the gallery have gone through what I refer to as the 4 Phases.

Phase 1: The Inception: this involves sketching, playing around, getting frustrated, giving up, starting over, re-visiting, playing around some more, sleeping on it, finally the stars align and a piece moves on to Phase 2.

Phase 2: Trial by Fire: The new piece goes out in public. I ask people about it; I don’t ask people about it. I wear it everywhere: to drop the kids at school, to yoga (that’s right, sweaty, hot Bikram Yoga), to read the newspaper, to sleep, out to dinner, you name it I put my jewelry through it before I put it here. Sometimes, of course, there is a quick trip back to Phase 1, then back to Phase 2, then back…I trust you see where I’m going with this. Then, naturally to Phase 3.

Phase 3: The Big Hold-Up: This is where the delays happen. Phase 3 involves pricing, photographing & blogging about the new-ready-for-it’s-big-debut-bracelet/earrings/necklace (FYI, necklaces are currently stalled out in Phase 1). I hate this part. I dread taking & editing the photos. Pricing makes me neurotic. The blogging is fine but I have to do the two other parts before I get to number 3 of Phase 3. But once I make/force/bribe myself to finish Phase 3, obviously Phase 4 happens.

Phase 4: The Release: This is the part we do together. I cannot do Phase 4 alone.  At this point, I’ve let the new bracelet/earrings/(sooner or later) necklace go out into the wild to make what it will of itself. I take a deep breath & wait. To hear what you will say, what your eyes will tell me.

So here we are at a Phase 4!

Barrel Weave Bracelet 

Barrel Weave Bracelet

A true shape shifter. Every angle is a different bracelet. Heavy weight Sterling Silver. $185.

Barrel Weave Earrings

Barrel Weave Earrings

 

A single element of the barrel weave, dressed up with a square of silver. And yes, the little square is cut, shaped, hammered & drilled by me. The earrings drop approximately 1.5″ from the earring wire. All Sterling Silver. $50.

Phase 4 won’t be complete without you. Let me know what you think. I’m waiting.

Last year at this time Studio 219 was but a tiny ember in the back of my mind. And now here we are celebrating our first Valentine’s Day. In honor of such an occasion I’ve designed a new pair of earrings: Handmade for 2009 Heart Earrings. In conducting my informal market research today at the yoga studio, the preschool parking lot & with my soon-to-be 7 year old. I’ve learned a few things: they’re pretty. some people are heart people & some are not. some people love to wear hearts all year round. others like to save them for special occasions. everyone loves handmade.

A little bit about these little charmers…The hearts are made of fine silver. I’ve fused and hammered and shaped and tumbled and patina’d them to get them where they are now. And may I say I love the fusing process. While it is not servicable for all your jewelry needs…it is a lot of fun and a fast way to get to the making of something without all the prep & clean up of soldering. That being said, soldering can be great, too. Glad I now know how to do both.  Everything else is connected with sterling silver wire; the pearls are freshwater. 

I’d love to play you some nice background music and extemporate on the value of love and having an open heart. However, Jayne Seymour & Kay Jewelers ruined that for us all, didn’t they? If you want to chat about that or what I think her Open Hearts design looks like, send me an e-mail.

So show the love for Studio 219, yourself, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a lover, a stranger ( I think you see where I’m going with this).  This Valentine’s consider going handmade. It’ll look like you love them more. 😉 Okay, okay love is not a contest. But it *will* look like to tried really hard this year and didn’t just cop out and do the Hallmark-for-the card/grocery-store-for-the-roses run on the way home from work. It’s early.  You have plenty of time to plan ahead and not end up at the mall. You can do it. Don’t worry, I’ll remind you. 😉

I’ve added two new pairs of earring to The Gallery today.  In case you’ve forgotten or are new to Studio 219 (Welcome! Thanks for stopping by!), you will see the link to the gallery over to your left. Have a look, browse, enjoy & let me know what you think.

I’ve had these ready for a bit, but couldn’t share them with you sooner since they were Mom’s Christmas gift & I didn’t want to spoil the surprise.

Here’s a preview of the new additions:Heath Earrings Pearl Earrings

Be on the look out for a post later today about my New Year’s special…

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Finally.  Here’s a look at the earrings I’m offering right now.  Keep in mind this is not a fixed list. Where you see a black Onyx bead it could easily be a Bali bead or a wooden bead or whatever you want (and that I can get my hands on).  If you’re wanting the pearl earrings in all black or pink & white, let me know and we’ll come up with earrings  you’ll love to wear.  And of course, I hope to be adding new styles or showing different options every now and then. 

Some of the earrings are shown with out earring wires, this was done to make taking the pictures easier. (Obviously, I can’t send out earrings without a way for them to attach [for lack of a better word] to your ears.) The earrings would lay flatter (if that makes sense) and take a prettier picture. Also the earrings in this gallery are shown with a french wire. Now when I make them they will have a lever back. The lever backs earrings are more secure than the french wire earrings since they ‘clip’ closed.

So have a look around and let me know what you think.  Want a little something for your sister or friend or mom or neighbor or your child’s teacher or a stocking stuffer for yourself? E-mail me. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Well, let’s just call this the first go round on the pictures.  They need work (a lot of work), but I felt the need to get something here. Be kind.

Of course, there will be more to come, including some earrings & a special bracelet that may get its own post.

For now, I’ve put Flickr on the backburner. It was supposed to be in the sidebar, but I couldn’t get the code right (seriously…I can *not* believe I just typed that). And I tried & read forums & FAQs and I kept getting little red Xs and file names instead of pictures. Not in the mood for little red Xs to make it look as though I don’t know what I’m doing.  So instead I figured out this gallery feature and we’ll just do this for now.  So enjoy…but remember be kind