Monday, December 19, 2011

Recent Custom Pieces...

Once again, I have neglected to keep up with my blogging. I am going to try my best to regularly post in this upcoming year. So to start it off, I will share a recent custom order I made...

A lovely repeat (& local!) customer liked my Geometric Series and wanted me to create a pendant and earring set using rubies from an old ring.
This was my initial sketch for her:

After a few meetings and a final sketch, this was the final product:
Sterling silver, 18k gold, pearl and rubies
She loved it! I am grateful to have such a lovely, kind and patient client! :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Few Tips on Buying Handmade Jewelry

Once a month, members of the EtsyMetal team are given a topic or question and then requested to blog about it simultaneously. This month's topic is:
A Few Tips on Buying Handmade Jewelry
Share a few of your personal tips when it comes to the purchase of handmade jewelry.

WOW! I could go into a lot more detail on some of these points...
So I think I will make a quick list now and then elaborate in a series of future blog posts.
  • Uniqueness of design. It should speak to you. It is different than anything your peers have and that is a good thing!
  • Listen to the artist's story. Most artists have a story to tell---about their inspiration, technique or materials. The story continues when you purchase the piece---you become part of the story!
  • Look for quality craftsmanship. Handmade doesn't (and shouldn't) mean poorly made! (This is a pet peeve of mine. I will definitely elaborate on this in a future post!)
  • Ask and understand about the materials. For example: There are differences between fine silver, sterling silver, silver-filled, silver plated, bi-metal, nickel silver, etc.
  • Know your Budget. You will more than likely pay more for a handmade item than a mass produced item. Are you looking for everyday earrings or a large statement piece that you will only wear a few times a year?
  • Care Instructions. Handmade does not mean indestructible. Love your jewelry and ask if there are any special care instructions to help it last for generations.
  • Exchange Contact Info. The artist will more than likely want your address and/or email for their customer mail list. (You will receive notices when the artist is in a show in your area, if he/she is having a special sale, etc). And you may want to hold onto their business card in case you want to add to your collection or if you loose an earring and need a replacement made.
You can read more "Buying Handmade Tips" from other EtsyMetal members. Follow the links to their blogs throughout the day:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Centrifugal Casting Gold Rings

I recently shot a video while my husband and I cast a pair of gold rings. This is my first edited video using iMovie, which was pretty fun. I hope you enjoy watching this jewelry making process...

I plan on shooting more videos in the future...hopefully they will get better. ;)

14k gold Chiseled Wedding Bands

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mount Gretna Art Show

I will be exhibiting at the Mount Gretna Outdoor Art Show in Pennsylvania this coming weekend. If you are in the area, please stop by booth #146!
Saturday, August 20: 9am to 6pm
Sunday, August 21: 9am to 5pm

Monday, August 8, 2011

Elaine and Waylon

Artists Elaine and Waylon met a an iron pour in Brevard, NC in 2006. Fast forward 4 years, 4 states, one BFA, one MFA and another MFA in the works...and Waylon proposed in dramatic fashion at an 300 lb sand mold iron pour in Kentucky, much like the one they met at earlier.

Fast forward 8 months later...
A picture perfect wedding occurred!

I am honored to have made the rings which represents their enduring love.
Elaine's engagement ring is sterling, 18k gold, tsavorite and diamonds.
Her wedding ring is a "chiseled" sterling band.
Waylon's ring is "chiseled" palladium band.
Elaine, a talented ceramic artist, made the centerpiece platters, the cupcake tier and all the dessert plates! With the couples names and wedding date inscribed on the bottom, the sweet little dessert plates not only served yummy cupcakes, but also served as the guests' favor. Elaine and her friends also handmade the lovely paper flowers arrangements for the centerpieces.
CONGRATULATIONS to the beautiful and talented couple...Elaine and Waylon! Wishing you both the happily ever after that you deserve.

Photopgraphy by Ryan Bumgarner
Elaine Quave, ceramic artist/sculptor
Waylon Bigsby, sculptor

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ridge Collection

My newest body of work, the Ridge Collection, will be represented by llyn strong fine jewelry (booth 108) at SOFA in Sante Fe! SOFA: Sculpture Objects and Functional Art Fair is a gallery-presented, international art exposition dedicated to bridging the worlds of design, decorative and fine art. The show runs from August 4-7.

llyn wanted images for a slide show, so I had the pieces shot by local photographer, Eli Warren. Some of them turned out great! Take a gander...
Waning Pendant

Ridge Cuff 1

Ridge Cuff 2

Marquise Beryl Ring

Ridge Earring 2

Eli edited all the images in white and gradated backgrounds, so I can use them for editorial or jury images.
Thanks for reading! Your comments are welcomed.

Monday, August 1, 2011

My (artisitc) Roots

Once a month, members of the EtsyMetal team are given a topic or question and then requested to blog about it simultaneously. I haven't participated in a while---in fact I haven't done any blogging in a while. I thought this month's topic was a good one to jump back into it with:
Our Roots
Where we came from. How our families have influenced us. Artists in the family.

When I think about my artistic roots, I immediately think of my mother. She has always been a "maker"---someone who uses her hands to create. I have childhood memories of her making clothes and going to the fabric store with her...looking at all the clothing patterns and wondering the aisles of fabric bolts. She painted pottery, did macrame, cross stitch, knit and crocheted. One of her longest lived hobbies is quilting. Over the years, she has quilted baby blankets, comforters and wall hangings for dozens of our family and friends.
One of the many quilts my mother, Suzanne Miller, has made for my children.

She has always been supportive of my artistic endeavors and enrolled me in pastel and oil painting classes when I was 10 years old. I was encouraged to follow the creative path that ultimately lead me to art college and my jewelry career.

Coincidently, my grandfather dabbled in metal work. When I was a teenager he gave me a cuff bracelet he made. My memory is foggy, but I think he said he made it when he was in the Navy during WWII. When my mother was a young girl, he took sheet metal/tin smithing classes and made cookie sheets, pitchers and containers for friends and family members.
Bracelet made by my grandfather (circa 1945?)

Last but certainly not least, I am influenced by my husband, Ben Gilliam. He is an amazing teacher and a talented metalsmith and sculptor. We have different styles, but we still influence each other in countless ways.
Copper vessel by my husband, Ben (aka: John B. Gilliam)

Please read the "Roots" stories of other EtsyMetal members. Follow the links to their blogs throughout the day:
Artigiano Jewel Box
Erin Austin
Inbar Bareket
Beth Cyr
Cynthia Del Giudice
Evelyn Markasky
Elizabeth Scott
Twigs and Heather

Friday, January 28, 2011

Nervous Habit Rings

There is something particularly intimate about a ring---Not only because it is used as a symbol of love---but because it literally surrounds and becomes a part of the wearer more so than other jewelry. Our hands are the main source of our gestural language...we wave hello, we hug, we shake and hold hands...
Nervous Habit Ring #7. Made in 1996-ish.
Published in "Fidgeting in Style" Lapidary Journal January 1997 and "1000 Rings", Lark Books.

I have always liked to make rings that are gestural, playful, kinetic....
Rings that can be enjoyed by the wearer and viewer, rings that are conversation starters, rings that are more than just rings...

Revisiting my love for kinetic rings in the Ring-a-Week Challenge has made me think about some of my older designs. I recently rephotographed them since I had no digital images of them---only slides! (How old school is that?!)
Nervous Habit Ring #8? Made in 1996-ish.
Published in "Fidgeting in Style" Lapidary Journal January 1997.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Ring-a-Week : ring 3/52

Continuing with the kinetic theme this week...

Fidgeting Marquise Ring
Sterling silver w/ patina. Marquise elements freely rock back and forth.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ring-a-Week: ring 2/52

My second ring for the Ring-a-Week challenge was inspired by some other pieces in my Mod Collection. It is a combination of my Mod Rocker Rings and my Mod Slider Necklace.
Mod Slider Ring - sterling silver, amethyst and garnet.It doesn't see-saw up and down like my Mod Rocker Rings, but the stones settings do freely slide back and forth. This is a quick video I shot with my little digital camera, so please excuse the poor video quality...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Year, New Challenges...

You may or may not know, a year ago, I embarked on a challenge entitled "A Ring-a-Day" in which I was to create one ring every day for as long as I could...

I lasted 100 days. (see my RAD rings on flickr.)
Some brave and VERY creative souls lasted an entire 365. (see everyone's RAD rings on flickr.)

Now in 2011, I am embarking on another challenge...a little less demanding but equally as inspiring..."A Ring-a-Week". I have committed to making one ring per week for the entire year...52 rings! I hope to continue to explore some of the ideas that I began with the previous challenge, to make some rings that have been brewing in my mind for a while and to be inspired to new levels.

This is my first ring for the Ring-a-Week Challenge:
18k gold & green tourmaline.
The stone setting freely slides back and forth.
I hope to not only blog my rings but also to share with you some of the amazing rings made by my fellow Ring-a-Day artists....stay tuned! In the meantime, you can view everyone's RAW rings on flickr.