Sunday, November 6, 2011


  EtsyMetal Blog Carnival:

So you ask, "what is a blog carnival?"
It is group of EtsyMetal members who will collectively write a article on the monthly subject for their blog!

Topic: "Holiday Previews"
The Holidays are fast approaching! Give us a preview of what you are working on for this special time of year.
 I have been buying a lot of stones on etsy lately. It is now time to make something from them before I go broke. I am kind of new to working with stones, but it is what I have been concentrating on with jewelry this year. I am not sure what took me so long to get into them. My favorites are stones with dendrites in them and I am one of many who have jumped on the druzy bandwagon!
This stone is about the size of a hockey puck. Not a great photo, but it is a huge agate druzy, really wonderfully cut.
 Here is some work in progress, Day and Night necklaces. I am making some pieces to get professionally photographed, to apply to some retail shows. It has been a while since I have applied to a big show, and I think it is a bit more competitive than it was 10 years ago, so I am motivated to take my time with these. The work will go to Michele Mercaldo's store in Boston when it is done, hopefully before Thanksgiving, so it will sell for the holidays. 

Please take some time to check out the other etsymetal elves, to see what is going on in their workshops: 

1. Michele Grady Designs:
2. Erin Austin:
3. Cynthia Del Giudice:
4. 2Roses:
5. Nodeform:
6. Rebecca Bogan:
7. Danielle Miller-Gilliam:
8. Panicmama Jewelry:  

9. Evelyn Markasky

Sunday, October 2, 2011

EtsyMetal Blog Carnival

October Topic: "Lets Talk About Food!"
The weather is cooling, Fall cooking season is 'round the corner. Tell us about some of your eating habits, philosophies, favorite foods and share a seasonal recipe!

 When I come home after a long day, I actually find that preparing a meal to be a relaxing and enjoyable experience. I love food preparation, shopping, cookbook collecting, and of course, eating!  When my family moved from Boston out to the suburbs, one of the advantages was starting a garden in the yard. This has started my interest in food preserving, primarily canning and pickling excess produce, to enjoy throughout the year.  I always thought of canning as outdated, but it has lately experienced a resurgence, due to people's desire to eat seasonally and locally. It is also economical and I think, fun and crafty.

Here is an awesome book on the subject, but there are many great info sources on the web, click on the recipe links below to view a few recipes I have tried... 

This summer we have had a great tomato and veg season and I have canned at least:

6 pints of tomato chutney
4 1/2 pints of bbq sauce
9 quarts of tomato sauce
6 pints of salsa
8 pints of strawberry balsamic black pepper jam
5 pints of indian chutney
10 pints of spicy corn relish
4 quarts of pickled carrots 
6 quarts of dilly beans

A bit obsessive, I know. It satisfies my hoarding impulse. There is also something very satisfying about lining up all of the jars on shelves in the basement, Mission accomplished!

Check out the responses of fellow EtsyMetal blog carnival participants: 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Etsymetal Blog Carnival

Topic: "Artist's Work That Has Influenced My Own"

 I am inspired by artists who work with respect for traditional techniques and create well-crafted objects. One artist that immediately comes to mind is the sculptor Martin Puryear. I have been in love with his work since I was an undergrad and saw some large pieces at the MFA in Boston.

I like the way he distills forms, but they still have warmth and soul. The markings of the maker and the labor-intensive energy is evident in the work. Reverence for material and process provide much of the meaning. There is a beautiful and tactile quality that is appealing to me as a crafts person and artist.

Here is a picture of Martin Puyear in his studio. Check out all of those tools!

Here is an installation of his work at SF MOMA last year.

Click the links below to see what others in etsymetal have to say about artists that inspire them:

Monday, May 16, 2011

EtsyMetal Blog Carnival

 Topic: "Pages From Your Sketchbook"
Share a page or two from your sketchbook.
Tell us about the piece(s) or idea(s).
Have you started the piece? Did the finished piece change from the original sketch? 

I have always kept a sketchbook, somewhere to put down ideas before I forget them. Some ideas eventually get made, some are jumping off points and get resolved at the bench, in process....I will look at things even years later and still find ideas that are relevant.

 With every new sketchbook that I buy, I always start with the best of intentions, that I will record ideas meticulously and thoroughly. In the end, they become a combination of sketchbook, shopping list, to-do list, price formulas, phone book, scrapbook and diary. This is fine by me, it suits my random and disorganized nature. There is no rhyme or reason, but at least it is all in one place.

Enjoy the other posts about personal sketchbooks from the following etsymetal members:

Saturday, April 23, 2011

RAW 13/52

Ring a Week: Kinetics

Better late than never...
The first Ring a Week Group Challenge was 'Kinetics.' I have fallen behind with my RAW creations but I did finish my kinetic ring  for #13.

 It is three bands that spin on a larger ring. Fun to play with and it makes a little rattle noise when it is shaken. I like this, it is one that I could wear every day, but it is going into the etsy shop. First new item listed in a while...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

RAW 11/52

Ring a Week: week 11--Broken Stone :(

A beautiful round ocean jasper cabochon, cut by Cabbinrough. I tried to set the stone using 12 guage sterling silver prongs, by just hammering the tops to set the stone in place. Wouldn't you know it? the stone broke? I love the proportion of the stone so much, that I requested another. It has arrived, but I have to find the time to set it.

Next up is a more complicated setting with square wire. I am a bit behind in posting, but have a week off, where I can plan out the next few designs and get back on track. 

Massart MADE finally open for business!!!

The Massart MADE store had its opening party tonight!!!

Mon - Sat:10:00 am-7:00 am
Sun:12:00 pm-6:00 am
A retail store featuring work by alumni, students, staff, and faculty!Alumni, faculty, AND STUDENTS are able to submit work to be sold at the store!email Ginger Russell with examples of your work!
A retail store featuring work by alumni, students, staff, and faculty
(located on the first floor of the Kennedy Building)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

RAW 10/52

Ring a Week: Week 10--Jumping on the Drusy Bandwagon...

It seems like everywhere I look lately, I see drusy (or druzy) stones incorporated into jewelry designs. It is either a hot trend right now, or I am only now seeing them because of my recent interest in stones.

What is drusy?  Drusys are created when crystals coat the surface of a stone, usually an agate or chalcedony, when gases are trapped inside a cavity of the stone. They can be large and rough, or have a fine, sugar-like appearance and are found in a variety of colors.

I like the white and pale pastel varieties, as they compliment the clean appearance of the brushed silver. When the silver is oxidised, the opal-like luminosity in the white stones is enhanced.

For this week's ring, I have made a rough piece of drusy into a ring by prong setting the stone with square wire. To be honest, I think I will change this to a pendant, I am not sure the stone will survive long as a ring, and it is somewhat uncomfortable to wear.

Here is a pendant I made at the same time as the ring with a pretty oval shaped agate drusy:

This one is going into my etsy shop.

Be sure to check out everyone else's progress in RAW. It is fun and inspiring to follow the progress.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

RAW 9/52

Week 9: Beach Stone Blues

Here, in the Northeast, we take our summertime seriously. We are desperately waiting for warmer weather here in Massachusetts, so this week's ring offers a taste---- A stone picked up from a beach and sterling silver prongs.  Something to contemplate on these cold days and to remind us that change is coming...

 It is my first successful attempt at prong (or is it claw?) setting. This is not a traditional prong setting that you would see on a faceted stone, but made with 1.6 mm sterling square wire. I like that the prongs are really reaching around and gripping the stone. I may give this to my sister, who lives in Colorado and misses living near the coast and her time at the beach.

C'mon Summer, hurry up and get here!

Old Lyme Shores, CT

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Etsy Listings

This year, I was accepted to an Etsy team, Etsymetal. It is a group of very skilled metalsmiths and entrepreneurs who have very successful shops on Etsy. It has inspired me to make some real improvements on my shop. I have been on Etsy for a few years, but it has never been a great money maker, and I feel that the few sales I have made were the result of dumb luck...

One of the things I am working on this year is to take my Etsy shop more seriously and try to get noticed in that huge abyss of crafting.I have been working hard photographing and listing some work on Etsy.  

Here are some recent listings to the shop:

What is the secret to get attention on Etsy? Who knows. I know my photography needs help, and I have been trying to make improvements to it.  I am determined to figure this out!

Monday, February 21, 2011

RAW 8/52

Ring a Week:  KAPOW!!!
This week's ring is made from a fossilized dinosaur bone and sterling silver. I think the color, size, and origin of the cabochon speaks of power and strength. I made a simple bezel to contain the fossil, then embellished it with some cast elements that I usually use as necklace parts. After making them, I wear my Ring A Week pieces to school for a day (I am a high school teacher), and this one has garnered the most notice and comments from my students. I think all of the elements work really well together.

The bezel settings are pretty easy and quick for me to make now, and I have attempted some prong settings. Not going so well, but I am figuring it out and hope to show a big, fat prong setting in a ring next week.

RAW 2011 Blog Carnival

The topic for the first RAW 2011 Blog carnival is: 

"What was your inspiration for participating in RAW?"

I joined RAD last year, because I was in a creative funk and needed some motivation. I wanted to change the direction of working and think more about process, less about product. I also needed to develop new skills and sharpen my old ones... I thought that the rigor of having to be so prolific would benefit me in many ways.

Some of my RAD rings from 2010

I had never done anything like that before, sharing work, comments, and interests with complete strangers. I found it very inspiring to see so many people from all over the Earth sharing a common passion (obsession) to create. Even though I could not keep up with RAD, and lasted only 5-6 weeks, I continued to follow the crowd, so to speak.

I was pleased to join RAW because it is more manageable with my busy schedule. I am also teaching myself some stone-setting techniques, which has opened up a whole new way of working. It is a good practice for me to keep a schedule to make new, one-of-a-kind work and to document it. I work better with a deadline and discipline. My flikr 'contacts' make some amazing work and it is great to trace their progress. Such variety and quality and LOVE for the materials!  The following mosaic shows my most recent flickr faves:

1. OJ ring, 2. r.a.w 4 {this won't hurt a bit ~ wedding ring}, 3. Anillo Folium, 4. Collar Metal Naïf, 5. RAW 1/52 - Chartres, 6. r-a-w 1{wee walnut box}, 7.RAW 1/52, 8. RAW52-1, 9. "Birth" RAD #365, 10. RAd 142 The Last Waltz, 11. it's loosely laying in there, 12. white04, 13. hemimorphite06, 14. R-A-D #361 12/27/2010 "Carnelian Cone Ring", 15. Worrying about Worry Beads Coming Undone© 1997 Harriete Estel Berman, 16. Recycle Bracelet Two Orange © 2010 Harriete Estel Berman

Looking forward to another year of creative discovery in 2011!!!

Please check out what other members of Ring A Week have to say about what inspires them to participate:

Marcie Abney -
Joanne Harrill -
Thomasin Durgin -
Amy Nicole -
Janice -
Aleksandra Micic -
Lana Chu -
Evelyn Markasky -
Kerry Alice-Twigs and Heather -
Lorena Angulo-
Maria Apostolou-
Sarah Small -
Rebecca Bogan -
Elaine Luther -
Rebekah Timlin Meddles -
Laura M (Zoeowyn)-
Kimberly (bahamadawn) -
Erin Austin -
Catherine Witherell -
Michele Grady-
Joan Furilla -
Kathryn Cole- 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

RAW 7/52

Ring a Week 7:
This week's ring is actually two, as I made them both at the same time. I absolutely love these stones, which are two different types of jasper. They have such a rich carmel color which is very warm and comforting.   All Jasper is believed to produce longevity, fertility, serenity, wisdom, balance, moderation, perspective and stability.

I will post these one-of-a-kind rings on my Etsy shop in a few days when I can get brighter photos.

Next on my list for my stone setting education are prong settings, I have many irregular shaped druzy and large beach stones to practice with.   Look for these and others on my flickr page in the next few weeks! 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

EtsyMetal Blog Carnival

EtsyMetal Blog Carnival 

February Topic: Non-Metal/Jewelry Creativity 

Tell us about other kinds of art and craft you do. What other media do you work and play with? How often do you get to create? Does it relate to or inspire your metalworking?

Although metalwork is my comfort zone, I enjoy working in other media as well. I don't think that most artists really limit themselves to particular media. It is all about the need and desire to work through the creative process of designing and making things.
 Between my job as a teacher and being a mother to a two-year old, I have to be somewhat obsessed with finding time, usually at night.  There is always work in progress, as sometimes things take me months to finish, and I work on MANY projects at once. It doesn't really matter to me how long it takes to finish the 2D work, as I don't exhibit or sell it, it is for me.

 I am interested in organic and anatomical structure, and the perfect design and pattern found in nature. These natural forms and networks can speak about the fragility/strength of the human condition. This is a mixed media (collage, acrylic, pastel) on board: 
structure, 2010

I love printmaking processes, as they are very tactile and material based, much like metal. I do woodcut, etching, and some lithography. At work, I am lucky to have use of a  printing press.   This is a lithograph portrait of my husband, Jim:

jim, 2008

This is another mixed media piece, (collage, acrylic, ink, on paper). I was experimenting with mixed media techniques and enjoying the process of letting go--hard to do with metal. Sometimes it is nice to not have an idea of where something is going, but I am still drawn to the same types of forms, not matter what media I am working in. 

landscape, 2010

As a high school art teacher, I make exemplars for many lessons that I assign my students. It gives me an opportunity to understand the issues that they may face as they work through the processes that I assign. I enjoy going back to observational drawing practice, as it helps to inform any artist. It is all about SEEING, after all. 
It is important to my teaching practice that I serve as an artist exemplar, so that they can see that being an artist is a life-long pursuit. The following self-portraits were done alongside my students as an assignment on blind contour, looking at details of the subject, only peeking minimally at the paper.  This convinced the students to trust the hand-eye coordination to record details accurately, as these look quite a bit like me.  When I do an assignment with them, it also diminishes the hierarchy of the teacher/student relationship, and we relate to each other as fellow artists. I wish I had the time in my workday to do this more often. 

modified blind contour self, 2010
modified blind self, 2010

Check out the other members of the Etsy Metal Team to see their response to this month's Blog Carnival: