Thursday, July 30, 2009

treasuries and insanity

iced teal

Now for the insanity portion. *screech*

A friend of mine has asked me about having a jewelry party.

And I'm discombobulated!

The big gulp for me is that I've been a virtual hermit for the past year. I went from being *extremely* active to not leaving my house. I went from being the type of person who might be intimidated by strangers, but who would reach out to them even so, to getting panic attacks if I was outside and the neighbors were in their yard.

I've been slowly getting better. I'm on Prozac, I'm seeing a shrink, I'm reading about all about anxiety and depression and sensitivity-- and I'm slowly, slowly getting through it. I can lift my head in public. I can sit in a stadium with 8000 people.

Can I do a jewelry party?

Well-- I can't afford not to, so I said yes.

And now the insanity strikes.

My shops are well stocked currently-- better than ever before actually. So I'm concentrating on making up the little pieces that I usually make to order.

So far I'm up to about a 100 bits and bobs-- AKA earrings!

With about a 100 left to go.

That said-- being nervous about the prep work-- I have about 150 pieces to attach price tags to-- and set up-- I'm totally not into my current display--and calculating sales tax on the fly-- eek-- it's the people that I must engage. *screech and cower*

Frontal lobe says it's no big deal and I'll be just fine. Heart says you're making progress, take another step.

Something else inside says 'danger will robinson'


Monday, July 27, 2009

monday's picture post and more fun with copper

Fifteen of our wonderful BAO artists have chosen to participate in this week's Items of the Week special. Check out the details on each artist's item on the BAO blog, HERE.

And I added some copper hair sticks-forks-pins to my line:
notes on mania hair stick

Sunday, July 26, 2009

fun with copper

Forever and a half ago I bought some copper wire-- but I never got around to even opening it.

Then Serene over at BlessedLotus asked me to make her a copper nath.
I liked the way it turned out so I used it to make a few more pieces.

gemstone gauntlet

earth girl copper anklet/bracelet

entish green long necklace

raiment as you like necklace

Around the same time I started make a few of my Simplicity Series pieces in solid 14k gold-- but that didn't sweep me away like the copper. Perhaps I enjoy it so much because I'm not afraid to waste it.
In other news-- I think I'm almost over my orange kick. Almost.
Last year I pegged orange as the hardest color for me to work with. That's history. Maybe yellow is hardest now?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ornaments and Amulets

article by Jan Atherton

For thousands of years Ornaments, Amulets and jewellery have been worn, or used to serve different purposes.

Ornament as currency, or as a display of social status, or personal/family wealth:

Materials including shells and silver have often been used as a form of portable currency. Modern currencies such as the Cedi of Ghana, and Sterling in the UK, reflect this.

Shells and metal pieces were often made into jewellery, or stitched to clothing. A striking example of this can be seen in the traditional clothing of the Wenxiang Miao women from Guizou Province in China.

Silver is fashioned into elaborate headdresses, broad neck rings, handmade chains and small embossed metal panels, that are stitched to their outer layers of clothing. When extra money is available, they buy more silver to make more ornaments, then sell the pieces when money is needed in leaner times.

Photo of Miao women and children.

In many cultures ornaments and jewellery are also often part of a woman's dowry, on the occasion of their marriage.

Spiritual and Religious Purposes

In many Native American cultures, particularly the Lakota Sioux and Cheyenne cultures, a newborn baby is given a beaded amulet made from buckskin, or antelope skin, containing the remains of their umblilical cord. The cord is dried, wrapped with sacred herbs - sweet grass, sage,cedar and tobacco, a small amount of earth from the area where the baby was born, and small snippets of hair from close family members.The amulet is then stitched closed.

The amulet is worn by either the baby's Mother, Grandmother, or attached to the baby's cradleboard, until the child is responsible enough to wear it. The amulet stays with the child throughout life, and is buried with them when they die.The amulet is made to connect the child to both their Mother and to the Earth.

Girls are given an amulet in the shape of a turtle. The turtle with her protective shell represents motherhood, connection to the Earth, fertility and protection during childbirth.

Boys are given an amulet in the shape of a lizard, the lizard represents quick movement, self reliance and renewal/regrowth.

Twins are given amulets in the shape of intertwined snakes, representing the interconnectedness of the twins, both in the womb and throughout life.

Credit: by Patti from Northern Lodge

Passage Through Life Stages:
- Birth and childhood
-Puberty and passage into adulthood
-Childbirth and Motherhood
-Becoming an Elder - reaching age related milestones
-Death and preparation for death
-Preparation for funeral, afterlife, or reincarnation, depending on religious beliefs.

Healing and Medicinal Purposes

Traditionally worn for healing, or medicinal purposes, Native American medicine bags were made from buckskin, or antelope hide.The bags contained medicinal herbs and plants, healing gemstones such as quartz, soil, sand, or stones from a location special to the wearer, feathers, or animal hair to evoke the spirit of the bird, or animal. The objects are all either gifts from others, or from the Earth.

Credit: photo courtesy of Flickr user mharrsch


Jewellery and Amulets are often made for the purpose of holding prayers and inspirational passages from religious texts, or as an aid to memory when reciting complex prayers.

An example of the former are the Hirz from the Yemen. The Hirz is a pod shaped case, usually made from silver, or coin silver, and often decorated with intricate metalsmithing techniques such as granulation. Small pieces of paper containing prayers and passages from the Koran are placed inside. Some examples are soldered shut, and others open at one end.

Photo of a Hirz

Examples of the latter are Catholic and Anglican rosaries, and Hindu and Buddhist Japa Mala prayer beads. Indeed the word bead is derived from the middle English word bede, meaning rosary bead, or prayer.

Photo of Japa Mala

Personal Expression of the Wearer and Artist

Traditionally artists were supported by the patronage of royalty, a wealthy aristocracy, the rich merchant classes and ecclesiastical patrons.These patrons commissioned artwork and jewellery as a form of PR and a calling card. To be seen to be a patron of the arts, was to be seen to be an educated, knowledgeable person. Interested in philosophy, art and politics.

An artist or craftsman's skills were highly prized. Patronage meant increased status for the artist and relative financial stability for an artist's family. However an alliance to an unpopular patron, or the withdrawal of patronage due to an indiscretion, or change of political regime, could endanger an artist's livelihood.

The old system of patronage and Craftsmen's guilds meant that most professional artists and Craftsmen were male. Since around 1900 women artists and designers now have enjoyed greater access to formal and informal art education, and a larger number of outlets to sell their work. There is also greater freedom to express personal ideas and themes, rather than being a cypher to another persons whims and aspirations.

A beautiful example of a more intensely personal project is Amethyst Ravenstar's recent collaboration with her son. The project is a series of ornamental beadwoven panels. The designs inspired by both Native American and Celtic forms are beaded by Rose, from designs on paper created by her son.

Amethyst Ravenstar's Mother and Son series, number 11.
Credit: photo by Rose from Amethyst Ravenstar.
This series resonated with me, partly because I live far from my family. I live in Chicago and my parents live in Scotland, and partly because my own artistic journey was sparked and encouraged by my parents. My Mum instilled a love for textiles (especially knitting) and music, and my Dad was a High School Art Teacher and is now working full time as an artist after his retirement a few years ago. The closeness of Rose and her son is palpable when you look at their work together.
Jewellery and Ornaments are also worn to enhance, or exaggerate the proportions of the body, this is often for cultural reasons, or an identification with a social group, or subculture.
Hierarchy of Materials

The rarity of materials has always played a part in Ornament and jewellery making. Precious metals such as Gold and Silver are rarer and more difficult to obtain than copper, or tin. Precious gemstones such as emeralds and rubies are rarer and more difficult to cut, than more common semi-precious stones, such as quartz, or garnets, for example. Jewellery made from these materials was out of the financial reach of the majority of people, and the effects of sumptuary laws further delineated social class and rank.

The development of synthetic materials and substitutes such as resins, plastics and synthetic gemstones, have given artists and jewellery makers a greater variety of materials to work with. It has also meant that many artists choose to subvert the traditional hierarchy of materials - often using everyday and recycled materials to make jewellery of beauty and ingenuity.

Where an artist may once have used gemstones, or precious metals they have been replaced by used computer parts and electronics, or packaging and advertising materials.

Credit: Leslie Perrino; photo by Larry Sanders.

These pieces question both consumerism, and our use of Earth's precious resources.

Functional Ornament and Jewellery

In their simplest form buttons are flat discs, or beads, and pins are bent lengths of wire, or a fibula form. By increasing their size, adding detailed texture, engraving, gemstones, or enamel, a simple fastening becomes both a functional fastening and decorative ornament. The Hunterston brooch from Scotland is an example of this.

Photo of Celtic Hunterston Brooch.
Credit:photo courtesy of flickr user WordRidden

This is only the briefest overview of a fascinating subject, I have barely skimmed the surface here. I hope you will enjoy exploring further.

I would like to thank Sarah Kelley for inviting me to write this and a huge thank you to artists Patti from Northernlodge, Leslie Perrino, and Rose/ Amethyst Ravenstar and her son, for granting me kind permission to include images of their work and for answering every question I had. Thank you also to Russ Nobbs, Joyce and Abdyl from the Bead forum for their help. The other images used in the article are from Wikipedia and Flickr and
Jan started beading to add some sparkle to her embroidery work and fell hard for those little sparkly objects. She knits, sews, draws and takes photographs, but none of her other artistic pursuits have ever come close to becoming a career. This year she has been able to finally teach others to bead and she hopes soon to have a website for this.
She has a BA (Hons) from Edinburgh College of art in Visual communications (Animation). See Jan's work at her Etsy shop Ten Story Love Song

Saturday, July 18, 2009

a country girl like you

My response is-- does it show that much? Well, it probably does actually-- try as I might to avoid typing 'ya'll' I'm sure it slips once in awhile.

Actually it might start slipping more often as I just joined the new Georgia Made Market on 1000Markets, and immediately, in the company of fellow Georgians, found myself typing about as casually as I speak!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

exhibition invitation

My friend Olivia Borba is having an exhibition of paintings!

July 24- August 31
4th Street Vine
2142 E. 4th St.
Long Beach CA 90804
Reception: August 1, 4-6 pm

For directions and hours:
Wish I was going!
Georgia to California is a bit of a trip though!

Monday, July 13, 2009

rip's ears are bothering him

And I was nosing around trying to get suggestions and found this. These are the highlights. Click the Excerpts link to enjoy the full text!


1. Introduction: Why Do We Need Humans?

Our greatest philosophers have struggled with this question for centuries, but the answer is actually rather simple: THEY HAVE OPPOSABLE THUMBS.

This makes them the perfect tools for such tasks as opening doors, getting the lids off of cat food cans, changing television stations and other activities that we, despite our other obvious advantages, find difficult to do ourselves. True, chimps, orangutans and lemurs also have opposable thumbs, but they are nowhere as easy to train.

2. How And When to Get Your Human's Attention.

Humans often erroneously assume that there are other, more important activities than taking care of your immediate needs. You can make this work to your advantage by pestering your human at the moment it is the busiest. It is usually so flustered that it will do whatever you want it to do, just to get you out of its hair. Not coincidentally, human teenagers follow this same practice. Here are some tried and true methods of getting your human to do what you want:

Sitting on paper: An oldie but a goodie. If a human has paper in front of it, chances are good it's something they assume is more important than you. They will often offer you a snack to lure you away. Establish your supremacy over this wood pulp product at every opportunity. This practice also works well with computer keyboards, remote controls, car keys and small children.

Waking your human at odd hours: A cat's "golden time" is between 3:30 and 4:30 in the morning. If you paw at your human's sleeping face during this time, you have a better than even chance that it will get up and, in an incoherent haze, do exactly what you want.

3. Punishing Your Human Being

* Use the cat box during an important formal dinner.
* Stare impassively at your human while it is attempting a romantic interlude.
* Stand over an important piece of electronic equipment and feign a hairball attack.
* After your human has watched a particularly disturbing horror film, stand by the hall closet and then slowly back away, hissing and yowling.
* While your human is sleeping, lie on its face.

4. Rewarding Your Human:

After much consideration of the human psyche, we recommend the following: Cold blooded animals (large insects, frogs, lizards, garden snakes and the occasional earthworm) should be presented dead, while warm blooded animals (birds,rodents, your neighbor's Pomeranian) are better still living. When you see the expression on your human's face, you'll know it's worth it.
5. How Long Should You Keep Your Human?

You are only obligated to your human for one of your lives. The other eight are up to you. We recommend mixing and matching, though in the end, most humans (at least the ones that are worth living with) are pretty much the same. But what do you expect? They're humans, after all. Opposable thumbs will only take you so far.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

passing on an invitation

I love mid-summer with its long warm days, and feeling of time to spare (at least it 'feels' like there's time to spare!). I thought I'd check and see how these days got their name. From Wikipedia: The Dog Days originally were the days when Sirius, the Dog Star, rose just before or at the same time as sunrise (heliacal rising), which is no longer true, owing to precession of the equinoxes. The ancients sacrificed a brown dog at the beginning of the Dog Days to appease the rage of Sirius, believing that the star was the cause of the hot, sultry weather.

And even worse, Brady’s Clavis Calendarium, 1813 described them as: an evil time "when the seas boiled, wine turned sour, dogs grew mad, and all creatures became languid, causing to man burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies"

Holy cow - luckily we now have air conditioning and time for Sunday afternoon naps and no need for sacrificing a poor little brown doggie!!

So, how do YOU spend those 'Dog Days' of mid-Summer? For me, it's a time to pause and reflect before the rush of energy that accompanies the crisp coolness of Fall and the busy holiday season that follows on its heels.

This little summer pause always gets the creative juices flowing for me - how about you? Any new pieces to share, or plans for new fall inventory? New ideas for getting a jump start for getting ready for the busy season? Thinking up some new advertising ideas? Maybe a little shopping spree? Join the artists of the Wearable Art Market tomorrow night for our Sunday Night at the Market get-together. The party starts in this forum thread:

Come and share your 'Dog Days' with us, starting at 7PM Eastern, 6PM Central, 5PM Mountain, 4PM Pacific. See you there!

Photo Credit: © Gianna Stadelmyer

Article Credit: Cheryl at Lavender Cottage

Saturday, July 11, 2009

4:30 and the immediate future

4:30 is late. Not early. I don't care what the song says.
And before I crash and burn I wanted to celebrate a bit!
Yesterday I posted item 200 to my Etsy shop. It's taken me two years to manage that!
And today my la isla de monte christo collar was purchased!

It boasts the distinction of being the single most expensive piece that I've ever sold-- but not the most expensive that I've created. (It falls #3 there.)
But I won't mail it immediately. It's dramatic piece, yes-- but not dramatic enough. Before I mail it out I'm commissioned to make a matching 3 inch wide peyote choker. Talk about dramatic! I just wish I could see this amazing combo on the new owner!

So that's what I'm going to be up to for the next couple of weeks.
See you on the other side!

Friday, July 10, 2009

between naps

I've been working:

Thursday, July 9, 2009

beadweaving challenges

I didn't enter either challenge. The bridal challenge simply didn't grab me and though I started something for the New Horizons challenge it is still a work in progress.
But of course I voted!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

theory of everything and jetlag

Nobody beat me because the title of this post is much cooler than said post, ok?
I listed the newest piece in my Primitve Series today.
Theory Of Everything-- TOE
Not very funny I know-- but no one but you guys will ever know!
I'm still insanely and frustratingly tired after my weekend away. I feel jetlagged. Last night I went to bed before 8pm and today I napped and renapped.
I remind myself that if I'd had pnuemonia and wasn't up to snuff it wouldn't be fair to be upset with myself. If I had a bad back would I get annoyed because I couldn't lift the couch? (probably-- which is my problem)
I have a sensitive system-- I don't do well with crowds and I spent the weekend in one. Payback is to be expected and I will recover. There's no sense getting angry with myself because I don't recover as quickly as most people-- and yet . . .

Monday, July 6, 2009

monday's picture post

Nine of our Bead Art Originals artists have chosen items to include in the Items of the Week for this week. You can find the details on each of those items here.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


I promise pictures tomorrow. Tonight I'm too tired. We got home and I'm just glad to be in my own little space.

I watched some little girls twirling around in dresses today and I was strongly reminded of when I used to do that. My aunt would make fabulous skirts and dresses for me that were spin-perfect.

I loved being swung around by my dad, tire swings, dancing with girlfriends, office chairs, all of it. I'd even twirl till my inner ear was in an uproar and I couldn't stand anymore and I'd lay there and watch the world spin around me. Over and over and over again.

I even semi-sort of sketched out a poem. It's been years since I've written poetry. I wonder if I'll have the time and interest to sort through it. If I do, I'll probably share it here at some point.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

all I can do

I like doing custom work-- really I do. I'm careful about the commissions I take on. If something isn't me, I suggest another artist that I think might be a better fit. Usually though people come to me because they already like my work-- they may even have some of it-- and they want something specific made the way I'd make it. Their idea, interpreted by thebeadedlily. It stretches me just a bit, but pleasantly! And sometimes I end up with an addition to my line!

There is a problem sometimes though. When someone asks me to do something, and I research it and find out that yes, I could do it, but it's going to cost more than everything similar on the market, I feel funny. Granted, what they want is either not on the market, or it's so rare that it's hard to find-- but the market has *similar* items for much less. I want to charge fair prices-- fair for me and my customers.

Sometimes, I look at the prices on the market I'm just not sure how anyone's making a profit on what they're charging. At other times, I think that the similar pieces on the market are made in a different way than I'd go about making the item in question. A quicker, easier way, with much less in the way of materials involved?

What I know is that when someone wants something created just for them-- something that isn't even on the market they can pretty much expect to pay for the privilege. I would. But what if they don't? What if the fair price is twice as much as they were expecting? Three times as much?

It makes me nervous, but in the end, all I can really say is "I'll do it for $x," and leave it with them. Part of me wants to defend myself from any feared questionmarks by being totally transparent. As in, 'The best price I could find for materials is $x, but I really want to do this, so I'm only going to charge you $x times 2 and the labor will basically be free and I know it sounds like a ridiculous amount of money but I'm offering you an insane deal.' But I don't. I can't. I'm scared to.

What if they think I'm trying to guilt them into saying yes? What if they think I'm bragging/blustering about the insane deal (look at me, look at me, aren't I nice?). (It's really a much more selfish, as in 'This is a crazy interesting idea so I'm willing to skip being paid if you'll foot expenses and a bit more for the business.') What if they think I'm lying and trying to rip them off? Or incompetent for not being able to match what's on the market?

It all makes me nervous. So I sweat about it for hours and then I write, "I'll do it for $x," and leave it with them.

Friday, July 3, 2009

thebeadedlily on

Any article that starts out "One of the first records of wearable ornaments was in 3000 BC in Egypt" is going to be a good one!

So go ahead and check out "Wearable Arts or Jewelry?" on

It raised some great thoughts."The ornament collectors’ love of beautiful ornaments naturally spills over into the enjoyment of adorning themselves with ornaments." Oh yeah! Doesn't it just!

And, "Will you ever again choose to throw on a piece of jewelry just because it matches your outfit? Start with the wearable ornament or ornaments that feel right today and let your outfit accessorize." I loved it! The collector's mind just doesn't work that way!

Of course, not everyone buys handmade art jewelry as a collector. Some of us are fashionistas and others just want something magical to wear to a special occasion. This article really hit the spot for me though because I am something of a collector and to have my work shown to likeminded folks is a thrill!

It doesn't hurt that my work was shown off with the work of other talented artists that I admire!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

i'm getting sleepy

I made a pretty cool pair of earrings the other day and they're now in two different treasuries. Fun!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

i believe

Ars Poetica #100: I Believe
by Elizabeth Alexander

Poetry, I tell my students,
is idiosyncratic. Poetry
is where we are ourselves,
(though Sterling Brown said
"Every 'I' is a dramatic 'I'")
digging in the clam flats
for the shell that snaps,
emptying the proverbial pocketbook.
Poetry is what you find
in the dirt in the corner,
overhear on the bus, God
in the details, the only way
to get from here to there.
Poetry (and now my voice is rising)
is not all love, love, love
and I'm sorry the dog died.
Poetry (here I hear myself loudest)
is the human voice,
and are we not of interest to each other?


Which is what blogs are all about-- our interest in each other.

Some of my favorite poems are about love and death and language and poetry. I like poems about poetry. And insanity.

And blogs about art.

Share your favorite blog with me?