The day job has been beyond busy of late and so very little time to spend doing what I love. But, I finally got some studio time this weekend after a long week in Atlanta.
I have been focusing on my silversmithing skills lately, but when I took a look at this beautiful teardrop labradorite I couldn’t resist pulling out the wire. The color and flash are glorious and not as frequently seen as the normal blues and greens.
I thought I would give you a look inside my usual process. I typically start with the stone – that inspires the design. In this case, I sketched an idea out quickly in my notebook and got to work.
I wanted to use up some extra weaving wire that I had in a slightly larger gauge so the beginning weave was a little tricky to get started after such a long break, but I soon fell into the right rhythm and tension.
I check the fit as I go to make sure it works out as planned. I love when I can put the stone in and finish up the details and embellishments.
Using a bur cup I smooth the rough ends of the wire to make sure there are no “spikey” parts to scratch the wearer. In this case I hammered some of the spirals to give them more width and harden them up. I also attach the swirls to the frame using even finer wire so they don’t catch and pull out of place.
Finally I wove a simple bail and sat back to admire my work LOL. This particular piece took 3 full hours to complete. All in sterling silver. This one turned out very close to initial sketch which dent always happen. Once I am in the zone things take on a life of their own 🙂
“The path from dreams to success does exist. May you have the vision to find it, the courage to get on to it, and the perseverance to follow it.” – Kalpana Chawla
Many people believe that a grid of earth energies circles the globe, connecting important and sacred sites such as Stonehenge, the Egyptian Pyramids, and the Great Wall of China. That we are connected to Mother Earth through the subtle electrical current that runs around the entire planet. These electrical currents are known as “Ley Lines”
In fact, where the Ley Lines intersect are believed to be high points of energy and are said to be able to take information or energy from these higher vibrational points and carry them around the world, spreading knowledge and wisdom to all…
These intersecting points along the Ley Lines are also coincidentally home to some of the most sacred temples and monuments in the world including the Egyptian Pyramids, Machu Picchu, Stonehenge and Angkor Wat.
Although I am not sure I necessarily believe in all that, I am completely fascinated by how the theories of Ley Lines are so similar across so many countries and ancient peoples
In fact, most ancient cultures around the world seem to have some understanding of Ley Lines. In China they are known as Dragon Lines. In South America the Shaman’s referred to them as Spirit Lines, in Australia the ancient Aboriginals called them Song Lines or Dream tracks and in Ireland (my home country) there are Fairy Paths
These lines are the “Earth’s Meridians” – the pathways where life force, spiritual, electric magnetic energies travel. The earth meridians criss-cross the earth, passing over and connecting various ancient sites of religious worship and power.
Within the belief system of Aboriginals, a songline, also called dreaming track, is one of the paths across the land (or sometimes the sky) which mark the route followed by “creator-beings” during the Dreaming. The paths of the songlines are recorded in traditional songs, stories, dance, and painting.
A knowledgeable person is able to navigate across the land by repeating the words of the song, which describe the location of landmarks, waterholes, and other natural phenomena. By singing the songs in the appropriate sequence, indigenous people could navigate vast distances, often travelling through the deserts of Australia’s interior. The continent of Australia contains an extensive system of songlines, some of which are of a few kilometres, whilst others traverse hundreds of kilometres through lands of many different indigenous peoples — peoples who may speak markedly different languages and have different cultural traditions.
Fairy paths are mythical paths fairies take in a nightly procession from one place to another. The paths are always in a straight line. Every night, fairies use the path in their processions to their dances and ceremonies. Woe to the unlucky mortal who blocks the paths of the fairies!
It was believed that a house built on a fairy path would suffer from midnight noises or supernatural manifestations. Some builders used to use a technique to see if the planned construction was going to be on a fairy path; they would map out the floor plan in the earth and place a pile of stones at each corner and leave it overnight, if the stones were undisturbed it was safe to build, otherwise the work would not continue.
Home-owners have knocked corners from houses because the corner blocked the fairy path, and cottages have been built with the front and back doors in line, so that the owners could, in need, leave them both open and let the fairies troop through all night.
The awesome quote at the start of this post is from Kalpana Chawla: the first Indian-born woman in space and once of the astronauts tragically lost in the space shuttle Columbia. Clearly a woman with big dreams who charted her own course – I am sure it would have been fascinating and inspirational to meet her.
I think we all need to dream big dreams and listen to the quiet voice inside that compels us to walk our own path, whether that is in tune with the earth’s meridians or not. When I was working on the design of this piece of jewelry those were the inspirations and thoughts that danced in my head. I hope you like it I think this will develop into a collection over time. Shop the collection
I will leave you with another quote from Kalpana
“Listen to the sounds of nature. Wishing you the best on your trek towards your dreams.”
You know every time I go to a show, I forget something! First time I brought none of my bracelets – none – not. a. single. one. LOL. The second one I forgot the walls of my tent, if you can believe that!
Most recently I attended Live Oak International and as is tradition I forgot something… I had designed some new equestrian pieces just for the show and was going to premiere them there with a show special price. I even printed up a little sign. Can you guess what I forgot?
Yep the brand new Tassel Tale necklaces – *facepalm*
Oh well, I guess they will make their debut on the website in April instead. The show was a ton of fun. I met some new customers, had old ones come to visit and saw some beautiful Ocala countryside and glorious horses in the sunshine. Could not have been better!
I look forward to attending again next year – but if you don’t follow me on facebook or instagram here are some of the pics you may have missed
I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t fit into one box. Like most of us, I have many roles to play, mom, wife, corporate exec, friend, horsewoman, small biz owner, dog lover, globetrotter, artist… All of these different sides of me look a little different and dressing the part makes me feel ready to take on the day.
One of my favorite ever shows is Absolutely Fabulous. It is a British comedy show featuring Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders as a couple selfish drunken fashionistas. It is absolutely hilarious.
In the season opener, Edina dresses in a sharp pantsuit as part of her professional persona. But she doesn’t quite make it out of her bedroom. “I can’t be this person today,” she mutters. Desperate, she grabs a divining rod and points it toward the closet, hoping for inspiration. This always resonated with me because some days I do the exact same thing. Whether it is ditching the heels and choosing to go bare faced in flip flops or dressing for success in full make up and heels – what I wear, jewelry included, makes all the difference.
When I first started my jewelry business, I was concerned about finding a signature style and eventually I realized that I need and can have more than one. Which is what gave birth to the collections.
As Chaka Khan says “I’m every woman. It’s all in me….” Who do you want to be today?
So excited to announce that I will be attending Live Oak International as a vendor for the first time this year.
Entering its 28th year, Live Oak International is the largest international-level combined driving and show jumping tournament in the country, and each year welcomes some of the leading drivers, riders, trainers, coaches and owners from Europe and North America.
Now the grand prix which takes place Sunday afternoon during Live Oak International, is a qualifier for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League.
The venue, Live Oak Stud, offers a picturesque setting for world class equestrian sport. The 5,000-acre property is home to hundreds of heads of cattle, as well as Live Oak Plantation, an award-winning Thoroughbred breeding, training and racing operation. Racing under white silks with red polka dots and black sleeves, homebreds from the program have enjoyed success in the form of Breeders’ Cup World Championships’ wins, Eclipse Awards, FTOBA awards, and multiple Grade One wins on the dirt and the turf. In 2018, Live Oak Stud celebrated 50 years of excellence.
For one week, international equestrian athletes, corporate sponsors, patrons, volunteers, officials and friends are brought together to enjoy the magnificent Live Oak Plantation.
Whether coming around the final turn of a triple-crown race, representing the United States in an international Combined Driving competition, or taking on the challenge of a Grand Prix course, Live Oak International has always put horsemanship and sportsmanship first.
I hope you will come visit me at the vendor village. I will be bringing my new collections for four days of sunshine and horses
I recently received an email from Michelle who wanted to purchase a couple of gifts for her daughter. Sadly she had just lost her beloved horse, Danny and was grieving. Her mom wanted her to have something special to remember him by. She asked for my opinion on what pieces might work and mentioned her daughters birthstone was opal.
I was away from home on a biz trip at the time but I was determined to find just the right thing for her daughter after such a devastating loss. I suggested my Initial Horseshoe all in silver with a D for Danny and some lovely opals I had in stock. I also sent her a very rough sketch which Michelle asked to be made into a matching bracelet.
I promised I would get the pieces out with expedited shipping the day after I got home. We emailed back and forth on the details and I sent her progress pics just in case she wanted to tweak anything or if, heaven forbid, they didn’t arrive in time at least she could put the pics in an envelope under the tree.
I shared a couple of my favorite poems with them both also. I was so honored to be asked to help them remember Danny. Horses really do leave hoof prints on our hearts and you can never, ever be the same.
As promised I shipped the jewelry out and was surprised a few days later to discover a touching review on Etsy. Sometimes people can make your day with just a few kind words.
I certainly hope Michelle’s daughter loves her custom jewelry as much as I enjoyed designing them for her and what a sweet and amazing mom to do this <3
Below are the poems I sent, just in case they are helpful for anyone else dealing with the loss of their equine companion
Hark! Old horse. Please meet me at the gate. Hounds are leaving kennels soon, And we will not be late. Step up. Old horse. Carry me to the meet. Our years together count for much, Though you’re no longer fleet. Trot on. Old horse. I know you hear the horn. The hounds are in the valley now, The fox is in the corn! Kick on. Old horse, My soulmate and my friend. Our years together hunting are The best that’s ever been. Leap up. Old horse. Take the bit and fly! I still trust you like a brother, Even though the fence is high. Walk on. Old horse. We’ll soon be hacking in. Your nicker rests beside my heart. Our souls entwine within. Hark! Old horse. The years reveal our fate. If we should part before we wish. Please meet me at the gate ~Carla Hawkinson
Somewhere…Somewhere in time’s Own Space There must be some sweet pastured place Where creeks sing on and tall trees grow Some Paradise where horses go, For by the love that guides my pen I know great horses live again. ~Stanley Harrison
I am a December baby so lets talk about my birthstone ?
December’s birthstones offer three ways to fight the winter blues: tanzanite, zircon and turquoise – all of them, appropriately, best known for beautiful shades of blue. These gems range from the oldest on earth (zircon), to one of the first mined and used in jewelry (turquoise), to one of the most recently discovered (tanzanite).
Tanzanite is the exquisite blue variety of the mineral zoisite that is only found in one part of the world. Named for its limited geographic origin in Tanzania, tanzanite is still only found on a few square miles of land in Tanzania, near majestic Mount Kilimanjaro. Its price and availability are directly tied to mines in this region.
Zircon is the oldest mineral on earth, dating back more than 4.4 billion years. Found in the earth’s crust, it’s common in most sands and sedimentary deposits, as well as metamorphic rocks and crystallized magma.
While zircon is popular among gem collectors for its range of colors, consumers seem most enamored with the blue variety
I am a bit of a purist though and prefer turquoise, it is my very favorite color.
For centuries Turquoise has been recognized as possessing the power to protect riders from injury due to falls. First used as amulets by Turkish soldiers, on their persons and attached to their bridles and trappings. Their name for turquoise, pirouzeh, meant “victory.” Apache Indians believed that attaching turquoise to bows (and later, firearms) improved a hunter’s accuracy.
In the workplace, Turquoise promotes leadership, assists relocation or regular travel associated with career, and helps avoid unwise investments. It is a perfect companion for those who travel a lot. It protects them from thefts, accidents, or any unwanted incidences, bringing good fortune to the owner.
Historically, Turquoise is credited with being the symbol of friendship, saying that “he, or she, who owns a Turquoise will never want for a friend.” Which is my very favorite anecdote about my birthstone
Married couples have have been celebrating anniversaries since the middle ages. Traditionally, husbands presented their wives with gold or silver wreaths as symbols of harmony to mark the special event. By the twentieth century, a list of specific materials was designated for the major milestone anniversaries: turquoise is actually the gemstone associated with 11th wedding anniversary
Turquoise comes from several different places around the world and needs some specialized care since it is a little softer than some other gemstones – learn about all of that here
I picked up some of the glorious turquoise pictured on a recent trip to Nevada and Arizona
What December babies do you want to spoil this year?
Had a lovely weekend at the Mount Dora Craft fair. This was the second year I have been a vendor at this show. One of the prettiest towns in central Florida and lots of friendly attendees.
I typically set up on the Friday night and made a stupid mistake this time by leaving my tent walls behind! I thought I had packed everything… Thankfully my husband drove back and my son drove out to meet him with the walls so we got things up and ready in time. Team work makes the dream work LOL
I really liked my set up this year – I tweaked it a little from previous shows and remembers to bring a email sign up sheet so new customers could join the Red Mare Circle
Had a lovely dinner on the sat night and the weather was glorious.
My Mom was visiting from Ireland and my best friend drove her out to the show. I even got to meet one of my Instagram followers who came to see me.
Lots of new customers and great conversations with the added bonus of finding a pillow that looks just like Charlie LOL
This past week I have been visiting family in both Arizona and Nevada – this trip is all about Dads. My father in law was turning 70 in Phoenix so we spent the holiday weekend with him then drove up to Vegas to spend a couple days with my Dad 🙂 Of course we took the opportunity to stop at a couple places along the way
You know I didn’t spend time out here and not pick up some awesome Turquoise.
For centuries Turquoise has been recognized as possessing the power to protect riders from injury due to falls. First used as amulets by Turkish soldiers, on their persons and attached to their bridles and trappin
It is a perfect companion for those who travel a lot. It protects them from thefts, accidents, or any unwanted incidences, bringing good fortune to the owner.
Historically, Turquoise is credited with being the symbol of friendship, saying that “he, or she, who owns a Turquoise will never want for a friend.”
Go here to learn more about various stones properties
Missing my critters now so I am looking forward to getting home and making some turquoise jewelry
People are frequently interested in a peek behind the scenes, so I thought I would post a little about a recent design.
I typically search for stones that speak to me and then sit down to sketch a design that I think will complement that stone. I am not always sure how it will turn out. Sometimes it is successful and becomes a piece that I make over and over as part of one of the collections – sometimes it is a one off – a one of a kind piece looking for its forever home LOL
And sometimes it is a failed experiment and is sent to the corner of the studio to think about what it has done LOL
Last weekend I was feeling inspired by some beautiful stones in my stash and was quite prolific. I love when you get in the zone and you don’t notice the time passing!
This pretty little labradorite was calling to me and I had sketched a pretty circle within a circle horse design – the two were clearly meant for one another 🙂
First time you try a new design it is usually a little clunky as you figure out the best way to achieve it. I always say I am going to carefully plan and ensure but I don’t – I design jewelry like I cook – mostly by eye and experimentation – no exact recipe.
In this instance I wanted to try shaping the frame first so once I had the outer circle roughly where I wanted it I need ed to get the smaller circle exactly in the bottom center so I marked the wire with a sharpie. Of course looking back on it I probably made it more challenging than it needed to be since positioning my stone and wrapping it securely probably would have been easier as a separate piece – oh well next time I will try that…
I am really happy with the overall outcome. It makes me think of a wild horse on a plateau, gleaming in the milky moonlight at midnight. LOL