Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Ups and Downs

Life has been full of ups and downs lately. There are so many transitions lately that all I can do is stick my elbows out and get carried along with the flow.

I got a new job at a jewelry store--it's very fun, eclectic, and my co-workers are wonderful.

I finally, finally, retired from nannying. When I got the new job, and realized this was going to happen, I had awful awful nightmares.

I am still having nightmares. But I figure it's all part of the process.

My body needs extra care lately. Some very real repercussions are taking place whenever I eat something I'm not supposed to (wheat, alcohol, coffee, sugar, etc.). It's scary and I'm doing the best I can to tweak my diet and be good. I am even sipping bone broth as I write this.

Today was my first day off work in 3 weeks (hello, transition period!) and I took myself to the art museum to see the Italian Fashion exhibition. It was wonderful and made me want to look further into my great aunt's life--she was a contessa in Vicenza during WWII and after. I am so curious about her life. I am blessed to have some of her belongings, including two scarves from Dior with little notes written on them by him.

I read my friend's suicide note. It didn't answer any questions and really threw me off for a few days. I have to work very hard, every day, to keep a healthy frame of mind about her suicide.

Our collaboration pieces are going to travel far and wide! I am so grateful.

Due to the current state of teaching at universities in America, I have postponed my going to grad school indefinitely. I still want to...someday. But with the state of things, I just can't justify the debt when the job prospects are so dismal.

Like I said, this is a seriously transitional time. It is kind of strange, but I'm just going with the flow as best I am able.

Oh, and Amber is limping. And falling. She can barely jump--I'm hoping it's just arthritis but we'll see.

I can't wait to get back into the studio tomorrow.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

I have some new and wonderful wares in the Etsy Shop! Head over to check them out and be on the lookout for more, coming soon....

Friday, March 20, 2015


Life has been a whirlwind of events. It's like one of those beautiful, blustery days in the Gorge--wind coming at you in all directions, blowing this way and that, followed by moments of calm. On those windiest of days, those moments of calm are a true blessing.

So has been life. After working for months on the Co:Operation Garnish pieces, followed directly by preparing for a craft fair, I have been blessed by two weeks of quietude. Two weeks that I have enjoyed silence, yoga, running, and the beautiful sunlight that has been gracing the Northwest.

Yesterday (Thursdays always seem to be my day to do these things), I ventured out with a girlfriend to the Smith Bybee Wetlands in North Portland. We wandered the paths and wetlands, commenting on the cutest teeniest birds, and gawking at the gorgeous Blue Herons that flew past.

New pieces are in the works, and I'm looking forward to sharing them with you! 

It has been a beautiful time. Happy Spring!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Next Weekend....

....You can find me and my jewelry at the Buckman Art Show and Sell! I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Finally, peace....

 Holding, Capturing, Containing, Keeping.
Sterling Silver, Patina

Holding, Capturing, Containing, Keeping.
Sterling Silver, Patina

Holding, Capturing, Containing, Keeping is both a necklace and a brooch.  It references mourning jewelry from the Victorian era, as well as vials that were made to hold tears in historical times. It is intended to capture and hold tears of those mourning. The shape of the locket is taken directly from Sonya’s “signature” shape in her jewelry.

As a pendant, the locket hangs at about belly height, and can be held comfortably in the hands. As a brooch, it can be pinned close to the heart. This piece was directly inspired by discussions between the artists, as well as a quote by Sonya, “already I can see that the neck would be an ideal expression point.  Close to the heart, hidden…I also think the hands will be important. Holding, capturing, containing, keeping. Trading. Exchanging.”

The Rise and Fall
Brass, Halite, Tencel

The Rise and Fall
Brass, Halite, Tencel
The Rise and Fall honors Sonya’s fascination with ancient Roman jewelry, as well as my love of abstraction. The brass references what would have been gold in Roman times, and the blue of the Tencel thread invokes ideas of royalty. The three stones are Halite—a salt mineral—which represent the value of salt in ancient Roman times.

 This is a necklace for royalty, with stones as precious as diamonds sitting front and center. Empires, particularly the Roman Empire, rose and fell according to how salt was traded, who had what, and their trade routes. The necklace has a significant weight to it, and is clasped at one side with a sizeable hook. The halite are naturally fairly clear stones, so the golden color of the brass shines through them.
All photos by David Woody Photography

Saturday, January 24, 2015

What is in a name...

jewelry sketchbook the salt project locket

If you have been following me on any social media platform, or here, you will have caught wind that 4 months ago, one of my dearest friends committed suicide. Sonya Scott was an incredible artist and designer, and I was so lucky to have her as a good friend. We were working on a collaboration for Co:Operation Garnish, an upcoming exhibition. We had been talking about salt and all the possibilities and significance of salt, and how we could use it for this project. I have since been referring to it as "The Salt Project."

When Sonya passed away, I decided to keep the collaboration going. It took her husband about a month to find the journal she and I had been sharing, and in the meantime, I got to writing down everything I could remember that we had spoken of. Once the journal was found, her words gave me a lot more focus and direction.

I am now making two neckpieces--one is a locket which doubles as a brooch and pendant, and the other is a statement necklace meant to signify the value of salt as a trade in ancient Roman times. So now, I am faced with the prospect of naming these two pieces.

Naming a piece is always an interesting process. I tend to start out with an intention, or idea, and let it mull around in my head for a while. For instance, for the locket, there is a quote of Sonya's I have in the journal. I may use the entire quote for the title. Or, I may shorten it.

For the statement necklace, ideas such as "What Value We Bestow" are floating around. Sometimes I tackle the dictionary and thesaurus for ideas--even just changing one word can make the difference I was looking for. In a name, there should be enough intrigue to keep people guessing a bit. I am a big fan of innuendo and imagination. I am rarely satisfied with "Untitled," although sometimes that is the best title there is.

Friday, January 23, 2015

City Girl

I am realizing that my 30's seem to be full of ownership. I am learning to "own" myself--all those little things about me that I have suppressed or pushed away in order to fall into some ideal. Those ideals rarely come from within.

Perhaps it's really about coming full circle. It's definitely about finding myself--not the journey, or the search to finding myself (as in the years leading up to now), but actually finding me. Like, "Oh, HEY, there you are!! I've been looking for you!"

I've always fancied myself a country girl--even growing up in Portland (above is my name in the bricks at Pioneer Square), we lived in a secluded neighborhood with horses and a little orchard. There was no real sense of 'the city' unless we went downtown. This was supplemented by visiting my mom out in the country every other weekend, and for long stretches in the summer and on holidays. I moved in with my mom at the age of 14 (after getting into too much trouble hanging around downtown Portland), and lived the country life during most of high school, and I loved it. I loved the elements, the animals, the vast swaths of fields and rolling hills, the freedom.

And then I moved to Sydney, a city packed with over a million people (at the time--that was 14 years ago). I was overwhelmed and completely in love. The tall buildings and crush of so many cultures just swallowed me up and held me tight. There are still details of those buildings that I think of often.

I only stayed in Sydney one year (oh, I wish it had been longer...), then moved to Adelaide. While it was smaller, there is such a rich and vibrant artist community there that I didn't mind. The galleries were fantastic, and I was working with incredible contemporary artists. With occasional visits to Melbourne to visit friends, I was able to get in that truly big, dingy city vibe. There's something so brash, edgy, and unapologetic about Sydney and Melbourne. They really are incredible.

Moving back to Hood River after living abroad, and living in cities, was a rough transition. I struggled. I returned after 4 years to a changed town where all the people seemed different and strange. As much as I loved the beauty of the scenery, and access to the outdoors, I realized there was no room to grow there. I probably would have stuck it out if I hadn't gotten into OCAC, but I'm glad I did. OCAC brought me home to Portland.

So here I am. Finally admitting that I am a City Girl. I love the crush of cultures, the tiny details in all the old buildings. I love the bridges and freeways. Our library system is phenomenal. There is beauty everywhere. I can eat at any number of restaurants I want, go to museums and galleries, run out and buy jewelry supplies on a whim. I can visit Powells, my favorite bookstore that I practically grew up in. Everything is at my fingertips. And, Portland being Portland, I have plenty of access to mountains, rivers, and rolling hills.

Recently, we went to the Portland Art Museum, where I got to see some incredible work. Richard Mosse's The Enclave was out of this world. I want to go back and see it again, and really immerse myself in it.

Chris Antemann's Forbidden Fruit was a stunning display of detail, talent, and some serious naughtiness. Everyone had to wait for me while I gawked at all the details. "Look at all the tiny fruit! Look there's a tea set! Did you guys see??"

 As part of a Blue Sky Gallery retrospective at the museum, I got to see one of Nan Goldin's sets of photos. Goldin has been a true force of reckoning in the photography world, displaying life's real underbelly--raw and unyielding.  When I was a young art student, with a minor in photography, her work amazed me.

 Last but not least, I found out that the museum now has a display of Meso-American artifacts! There are nose ornaments, body adornment, and even a few Colima ceramics. It's an incredible collection.

So there you have it. I am a city girl. I love the crush of cultures, the diversity, the conversations, the coffee. Part of my heart will always live in the country--those moments when I get out there fill me with peace. It's where I recharge, find quietude, find my roots. But the city gives me opportunities, allows my ever-busy mind to be constantly engaged, and to explore a side of myself that simply doesn't fit in that country life (for now, at least).

I think a lot of this came up because we've been talking about moving to San Diego, and I got all excited because of the different cultures and architecture and colors. It made me realize how much I love it all. How much I've always loved it all.