Monday, November 5, 2012

Why do I make jewelry?

Once a month, members of the EtsyMetal team are given a topic or question and then are requested to blog about it simultaneously. This month's topic is:
Why do you make jewelry?
Think hard, dig deep!

Another difficult question.

Well here's the easy part of the answer: How did I start making jewelry?

  • I made my first piece of jewelry about 25 years ago but it was NOT love at first sight.
  • I actually fell in love with metal working a year or two later while making a large steel sculpture.
  • Another year or so later, I found myself concentrating my college studies in metals/jewelry. I KNEW this is what I was supposed to do with my life.
  • And...I have been making jewelry ever since...

The hard part of the answer: Why am I still making jewelry?

  • AHHHHHH...good question!
  • When I am at the bench and in my zone, jewelry making is pure joy. (METAL + FIRE = LOVE!...right?!?!)
  • But.....I have to admit that after all these years, I have found myself a little bit burnt out. (The reason for this may need to be another blog post.)
  • I don't spend as much time at the bench as I used to.
  • But it is the only thing I know.
  • And I do love it.
  • I have been taking steps to get my mojo back...because I have to!

What is inspiring me to love my love for jewelry making again?

  • New work is inspiring me.
    • Manipulating metal, soldering and creating is my passion.
  • Making wedding bands is inspiring me.
    • Rings are somewhat limiting in design, but they are very intimate objects and many times have such deep personal meaning...this really appeals to me.
  • Helping couples to make their own wedding bands in my workshop is inspiring me.
    • This is SO satisfying. Showing a novice the work involved in making a fine piece of jewelry and watching the couple work together fills me with joy. 
  • Teaching others is inspiring me.
    • I have recently REdiscovered the joy of sharing my knowledge with others. It is a nice change from working alone in my studio.
So have I answered the original question, Why do you make jewelry?
I make jewelry because I love working with my hands, I love working with metal, I love stones, I love making objects that make others happy. It is my career, my art, my passion, my life. Sometimes we stumble or slow down along the journey but we still continue...

Please follow these links to read why my fellow EtsyMetal members' make jewelry:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Stone Setting Intensity

sample rings we used to learn stone setting techniques - my week's worth of work!

Last week I went to the New Approach School for Jewelers to take the Stone Setting Comprehensive class. I brushed up on my skills, learned some new techniques and tricks and had loads of fun! It was a fabulous and intense week! Now I can't wait to carve out some time to make new designs to utilize my new skills!!!
Danielle hammer setting

Danielle using a loupe and graver to cut a seat for a princess cut stone

Monday, July 2, 2012


Once a month, members of the EtsyMetal team are given a topic or question and then are requested to blog about it simultaneously. This month's topic is:  What In The World Are You Doing?
...Please share your "goings on"!

Well, in my case it is a matter of what I am doing and what I am NOT doing...

  • For starters, I decided to take a sabbatical from all wholesale trade shows in 2012. This will be the first time in 15 years that I did not exhibit at the Buyers Market of American Craft! This has left me with both a feeling of apprehension and relief. I am still taking wholesale orders, I am simply not traveling to the wholesale shows. Everything else is business as usual.......well, sort of......
  • I will be discontinuing many designs throughout 2012. All good things must come to an end, right? Since 1995, I have successfully built my jewelry career on my "Abacus Collection". Even though I have added new items every year to keep it fresh and new, after so many years, I have simply grown tired. I have decided that I need to revive my artistic juices and to truly do so, I must put things that I feel are holding me back to rest. Once my supplies run out, most of this collection as well as other older collections, will be retired. (Stay tuned for news of flash sales on these older items!)
  • I am continuing to develop new work as well as my eco-friendly engagement and wedding ring lines. This is where I have focused my energy lately and I am really enjoying it!
  • At the beginning of the year, I was awarded with an Artists' Ventures Initiative Grant from the SC State Arts Commission. The purpose of this grant is "to encourage and enable the creation of new artist-driven, arts-based business ventures that will provide career satisfaction and sustainability for South Carolina artists."
  • With the help of the above mentioned grant, I have started to conduct "Make your own Wedding Band Workshops!" Yes, you read that correctly....I am assisting couples with no jewelry-making experience. From raw material to final polish, they spend the day under my tutorship creating perfectly made wedding bands. They learn how to melt, mill, measure, cut, form, solder, sand and polish the rings to perfection. It is a romantic gesture and a lifelong memory above and beyond a trip to the jewelry store!
Julie & Eli working hard at their recent Wedding Band Workshop

Please follow these links to read about my fellow EtsyMetal members' "going ons"
Laney (aka silentgoddess)
Evelyn (aka markasky)
victoria takahashi (aka experimetal)
Miranda (aka Gracebourne)
Beth Cyr
Rebecca Bogan (aka AdobeSol)
Anne Walker
Erin Austin

Friday, April 20, 2012

One Swell Engagement - Alexa & William

I always love hearing my customers' love stories, so when I received an email with a link to a blog post about a customer's proposal, I was THRILLED!

Here is Alexa & William's story in her words...
I know I don't share too much personal stuff here in blogland, but I wanted to share with you the big news of my engagement to my boyfriend of 2 1/2 years William! I knew this was coming for a while, but I had no clue when and I really wasn't expecting it to happen at the beach, but it did. He's a sneaky little fella!
Since it had been his week off from spring break, he had planned a couple night getaway for us. Everyone at work kept teasing me saying it was going to happen, but I still wasn't getting worked up over it. I've always been very rational and not tried to get overly excited for something in fear of disappointment. To me, if it happened, it would happen, and if it didn't that would be ok too.

On Friday night, we got in late to town in Morro Bay and most everything, but the restaurants were closed. We had a nice dinner at a local restaurant overlooking the Morro Bay Rock. It was absolutely beautiful. It's been a couple years since I've made my way to the coast, so it was special!
On Saturday, we checked out the town and the shops, then went to Pismo to the pier and beach. We hung out at the pier for a while. Everything was so nice and relaxing. Not a care in the world. Afterward, we walked the beach and went to sit by the sand dunes. We were talking, laughing and enjoying our time. Before I knew it, William started talking about spending the rest of our lives together and he asked me to marry him! He pulled out the ring (I had picked it out on Etsy a few months back) and of course I said YES! I think he had to ask twice just to make sure, though. He's the best thing to have ever happened to me and he's my best friend. I love him so much and it's so amazing to feel his love in return. He even made me emotional and made me cry (for those who know me well, this is a very rare feat.) Haha, William's always looking over to see if I'm crying in sad parts of movies, most of the time I'm not.

Anyway, that's our story. I love my ring and I'm so excited to get to share the rest of my life with him. He truly is an amazing person. We have so much in common. We have the same sense of humor and I love his boyish charm and compassion for others. He really is my perfect match. Some may say we even look a little alike. All the best couples do, don't you think :)
A detail of my ring from Etsy seller Danielle Miller jewelry. Her rings and jewelry designs are SO unique!

And for the curious, we did meet on EHarmony. I really didn't think I would meet my soulmate online! Maybe we should be in one of those goofy commercials. I better get Neil Clark Warren on the line!

Thank you Alexa for sharing your lovely story! Hop on over to her DYI blog for some crafty, creative inspiration: The Swell Life.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Music Monday - "Jamelia" by CARIBOU

Monday, February 6, 2012

Who would you like to see wearing your 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:
Who would you like to see wearing your jewelry?
This is a tough question.
Naturally, I LOVE seeing my jewelry on anyone (and everyone)!
But, I would be thrilled to have any celebrity donning my designs. Who wouldn't be honored to have their life's work in the spotlight, even for just a moment? To answer the question, I have decided to fantasize about a few individuals whom I would enjoy adorning with Danielle Miller Jewelry...

The Young Starlet:
Emma Stone is one of my favorite young actresses. She is drop dead gorgeous without being overly girly and has a swift and quirky sense of humor that will get you thinking.

dreaming about Emma Stone wearing my Ridge Earrings & Porta Pendant

The Dame:
Helen Mirren seems to have mastered the art of growing old gracefully. She always looks fit, elegant and fabulous on the red carpet...outshining other stars 30 years younger than her.
dreaming about Helen Mirren wearing my Circles, Circles, Circles Necklace

The Local Gal:
Kimberly Kelly is a TV host for two Entertainment & Talk Shows on CBS WSPA in Greenville, SC. She is always so well put together and fashionable. She DEFINITELY should be wearing some Danielle Miller Jewelry! :)
thinking Kimberly Kelly would look great in my Marquise Chain Lariat

The Dude:
Jon Stewart needs some of my cufflinks, don't you think?
wanting Jon Stewart to flash his cuffs with my Abacus cufflinks

Please continuing reading my fellow EtsyMetal team members fun posts about this subject:
Rebecca Bogan
Beth Cyr
Maria - fluxplay

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

STUDIO SALE at the Artful Home

I rarely run discounts, but for the first time, I am participating in the Artful Home's bi-annual Studio Sale.
A handful of my one-of-a-kind pieces are 30% off!!!
The sale only runs from January 23 through February act fast!
Geometric Drop Earrings & Necklace
(18k gold, sterling silver, peridot, pearls)

Cleopatra - Bib Necklace
(18k gold, sterling silver, blue topaz, pearls)

Dropping Bubbles Necklace
Sterling silver, 18k gold, pearls, iolite, peridot, amethyst

Circles, Circles, Circles Necklace
(18k gold, sterling silver, rhodolite garnet, pearls)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Rowena and Zack

Thanks to Rowena for sharing her love story and for writing this post for me....

Rowena and Zack met while students at Oxford University. Originally from the States, Zack stayed on in London after grad school and two years later he popped the question at the couple’s favourite place, the tropical conservatory at the Barbican Centre in London. Zack wanted Rowena to choose a ring that was just right for her so he proposed with a little silver bow to remind her to go out and find her perfect ring. That’s where Danielle came in! She created a beautiful (and eminently wearable!) ring with a chiseled silver band, one large black rose cut diamond set in a 18k yellow gold bezel and the second tiny white brilliant cut diamond set in a 14k rose gold bezel.
Having moved to the States for Rowena to attend grad school, Zack re-proposed at his childhood relaxation spot, Paradise Cove Beach in Malibu, California with the dream ring now in hand!
Danielle has also designed and created Rowena and Zack's wedding bands for their 2012 wedding at Boston’s Museum of Science.
14k yellow gold & 950 Palladium Reverse Radius Wedding Rings

Congratulations to Rowena & Zack! May your life together be filled with love, laughter and happiness!