Saturday, October 22, 2011

One About Me

This is a post without Etsy angst, or the thrill of new supplies and the lust for moreandmore, or even slowly improving pictures of my wares.

This is a post about me. Not what I do. But who I am.

There’s something magical and elusive in defining oneself. I’ve been my constant companion for nearly 24 years, and it seems that I really should know myself rather well by this time. And yet, every time I try to sit down and share just exactly who I am, the attempt is only a feeble mockery. Every person has enumerable facets, some larger and some just teeny glittering winks of brightness.

Here is yet another attempt. 

I went through my Photo Albums and arbitrarily chose pictures that made me feel a little bit more myself. You’ve got though pictures, too, right? Something about them just captures a tiny glint of your own essence.

Dahlias are my favorite flower. They come in the most gorgeous colors and loads of sizes, and they are so unique! These are my very own dahlias that I grew last year. (Sidenote: All the pictures that aren't specifically OF me are taken BY me.)

I'm in my second year of vet school. I long to be a small animal veterinarian and work with brachycephalic dogs - ones with squashed-lookin' faces. This pic is me doing my first neuter on a stray cat in a clinic on the island of Rarotonga in the South Pacific. Without gloves. Because I'm hardcore like that.

 I'm an introvert, meaning that crowds of people that I don't know make me very tired, and I treasure a group of close friends. It's tough living in a new city and state, devoid of the meshwork of support that I'm used to having at my fingertips. My dearest are all over the country now, and it sucks. Each one of the girls in this picture now live in a different state from the others. I'm building up friendships - always so painfully slowly - in my new town now, but I miss the easy familiarity of old friends.

I'm an open minded woman with a set of deep, personal convictions. I never want what I believe to become stale or ill-fitting; I need to keep my ideals as alive and changing as I am. I believe in treating people with respect and kindness because we are all everlasting splendors, as C.S. Lewis says. "There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendors."
 I believe in a world of beauty alongside deep pain and loss. I have accepted that these will live together in riotous disharmony until the end of all things, and the beginning of unimaginable new things.

I believe that Science and Religion are brothers. It has never been a battle between the two, but rather a battle to align them harmoniously. Science is my livelihood, and God is interwoven throughout the fabric of my life. They are impossible to separate.

 I'm a passionate person, roiling with humor and hope, dreams and desires. I love to create, to feel that part of me has been transferred definitively into the corporeal world. I know what I want and then I take the steps to achieve it - after some muddling around and hem-hawing.
 I realize that I started out with very superficial and specific factoids and ended with very abstract and ill-defined thoughts. And I have no idea what sort of a collage I've created for you or if it even vaguely resembles me. I may wake up in the morning and hate the whole thing, but for now - here you go.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Rusty, Crusty, Salvaged Hardware

A couple of weeks back, I lassoed a friend and dragged her along with me to an estate sale advertised in our newspaper with two words that firmly caught my attention: "eclectic" and "wimsy" [sic]. Despite some spelling difficulties, I still thought the owner of said estate might have some treasures worth the finding.
 Oh yes. More than I expected. I've been salivating over jewelry artists who use bits of old, salvaged junk and hardware to make beauteous creations, and I so wanted to try my hand at it. Only problem was, I didn't have any junk. Oh, say no more.
 Voila! The rustiest, crustiest buncha lovely, super-old hardware one could hope to find. I keep trying not to think about what the owner said to me, "If only you had been here this morning, there was a lot more great stuff." Curse my morning classes!
This funny lady kept coming up to me as I squatted on my heels in the dust of a very old shed, organizing my finds, and slipping other things into the basket I used to place my Keep pile. A heavy, rough cast brass bell with indistinct carvings of what look like tribal gods (or monsters). Two lengths of corroding chain. A large gourd-like whistle strung on a fraying strand of rope with owl eyes carved into it.

I would LOVE to know how old these are. I feel that the term "vintage" (20 years or older) applies without question. I would feel rather strongly, as well, that "antique" is also appropriate. But how old? 60 years? 100 years? More than that? How does one go about finding out about the approximate age of old key plates and door locks?
The patina on these just makes me squirm with happiness. I love them so much in their untouched glory that it's painful to think about hammering, cutting, or soldering them, as this would marr the perfection.

Some of them, I have NO idea what I can do with them. I'm a little afraid that I'll let them sit in the ornate woven basket that I ended up purchasing as well, gathering more dust and time and not being displayed like they deserve.
My thought is that if I ruin them, there are no more to be had. This was a serendipitous find that will likely never be repeated, and as a somewhat young designer, I don't have the experience to be able to tell myself soothingly, "Nevermind, you'll find something else amazing soon. After all, you've got 20 years of incredible supplies for your finds in the past." What if this was my only good find . . . ever?

Have an idea for me to use with my new playthings? Think I'm insane for waxing poetical about junky old metal? Leave me a comment!

Friday, October 7, 2011

The New Old Wall in my Apartment (that I found in the backyard)

I’ve decided I’ll be better off focusing on backgrounds and less on props. I wanted old wood; all my awesome old wood that I’ve been using as my photo background is two hours away now that I’m back at school and in my apartment. So when I got home from school, I wandered into the woods behind the complex, looking for discarded boards from the construction of the building. 
Cream Stone earrings, Faceted aquamarine gemstone Mother of pearl button - Faerie Glade
I found a chunk of a brick wall, nicely overgrown with moss. 
Cream Stone earrings, Faceted aquamarine gemstone Mother of pearl button - Faerie Glade
“That’ll do,” I decided, grabbed it in both hands, and lugged it up to my apartment.
You tell me: is it working?
Czech glass, hand-dyed lace, freshwater pearls and fish vertebrae.
Cicada-bug carved outta carnelian. Linked to rough fluorite and labradorite nuggets.
Not sure how well Rainbow is workin' with the background . . . too busy?

Monday, October 3, 2011


The pictures from last night were-interesting, but not amazing. I don't know what I'm gonna do come winter and I can't photograph outside. The light today was a little thin, so I'm not sure how great this batch turned out, but I think I got the props better matched to the feel of the necklaces.

 This is the cave woman necklace again on slate, with a hint of awesome tribal basket weave in the corner.
 Slate, basket, a leetle textured paper.
Okay, I am loving this picture, but I'm not sure if the color of the metal is blending in too much with the leaf. Thoughts?
The handkerchief might be too frilly; I liked the contrast, though. And the chain rocks.
A nice, bland shot of the rest of the necklace. Fish vertebrae inside carved horn, handmade lampwork from my favorite, Believe's Beads, foiled glass, a pebble of rough peridot, and . . . jasper?
 I feel like this one is working on some level, but does it look too busy, or are the props subtle enough to not detract from the focus?
 There's that old leaf poppin' up again. I feel like three kinds of brass chain is just enough for this piece. Can you ever have enough kinds of chain?
Slightly different perspective. That focal is probably between 60 and 100 years old; I bought it at an estate sale with a bunch of super old, yummy, corroded rusty grungy hardware pieces that I can't even identify half of. Pair with a tiny ceramic hand and a faceted drop of rough ruby with fuschite, and we are rarin' to go!

I feel like the photo shooting went better today,but this is a lot of work for every set of pictures! Totally worth it if it actually brings in more views, though. And I imagine it gets faster as one figures out what one is doing. Let's see what I can do with the light tomorrow!

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Tonight, I gathered an old corn cob, a copper mesh basket, a shell, a fan of coral, half a geode, a silk handkerchief, three vintage wood clothespins, an antique clock face, and an armload of colored, textured papers, in an attempt to get some serious backgrounding going on in my Etsy shop (

You go look at it. Go on, it okay; I'll wait.

 The backgrounds. They are . . . okay. Adequate. Decent. Alright.

Sparrow Salvage is the picture-taking master. And she was kind enough to post a blog about how to take amazing pictures for Etsy, starting with the backdrop.

These are my before pictures.
 You gotcher oxidized brass focal with rough fluorite nuggets, carved bone, and ceramic beads.
 Oh, right, and there's a lampwork one. And some jasper. Ooh, and Baltic amber chips.
And bitty shell heishi beads on the end. Right. So, boring background. Yes? Here are tonight's.
Sparrow talks about giving your item a "feel" or brand concept that is fluid throughout your shop. I guess I'm still figuring that out in mine, but this piece is sorta rough and tribal while (to me) still seeming a little flirty. Y'know, like a cave-woman dressing up for a night out on the . . . plains. Caves. Whatever.
So there's that geode I was talking about; just a hint of it 'cuz I wanted the focus to still be on the piece; and you can see the layering I'm doing with the multiple shades and textures. Not sure how well they're workin', but that's my attempt at nuance and layer and substance and stuff.
Didn't help that the lighting pretty much sucked. These pictures have been auto-leveled on photoshop, and that is all. Mebbe photographing in the daylight would help these out, too.
So that's pretty much my cavewoman necklace. Maybe the backdrops are too soft for the boldness of the piece? I'm still figuring this out. With any luck, Sparrow will be by to help me in my muddled attempts.