Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Happy Birthday!

photo taken by Susan Deboer

Nearly 8 years ago, I met a brazen little filly in a pasture full of mares and foals. She was 2 or 3 months old, and marched right up to the humans walking around the field, her dam out of sight on the other side of a hill.

She had no cares of where her mother was in her state of curiosity. The people were much more interesting and knew all of the right places to scratch. She continued to follow us as we met each mare and foal pair and until we left the pasture.

I received updates from her breeder throughout the year in stories and pictures, and we met again at the horse expo. She'd grown out of her curly buffalo coat, her ugly duckling phase, and for the first time away from her place of birth - she was mellow as can be. While I thought the little filly I met a year before was cute, I fell in love with the yearling in front of me.

photo taken by Susan Deboer

Some months past, fall came, we met again at the farm she was born at. I hadn't been able to shake her since seeing how lovely she was in such a chaotic environment.

And then more photos came.

photo taken by Susan DeBoer

And I was sold.

And the little mare came to live with us at the end of November, 2003.

And now, 6 1/2 years later, she turns 8 on this day. She's all grown up and has her first REAL show season this year!

love my Cholula Mae.

(photos taken last spring/summer)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

My weekend.

This is a typical weekend for me:

AM chores
ride horse 1
work on jewelry
take photos of jewelry
ride horse 2
work on more jewelry
barn night check
(eat somewhere in there)

AM chores
lesson on Cholula mare
PM chores
try not to face plant
more jewelry
face plant

I'm in between home and face planting right now. (It doesn't help that I generally get 5-6 hours of sleep a night...)

So yes, these are my weekends. My time "off" from my "real" job. There is no amount of coffee or tea that could keep me fully functioning for the entire 48 hours. Truth.

But, in the midst of all of that, I finished a couple of pieces, and I have photos of one of them! This is the pearl necklace that I was rambling about yesterday. The one where I just could not get the liver of sulfur to cooperate. This one has been on the lists for a couple of months now, and I realized only after putting it together that it's quite a bit like another pendant I made last year, but with a copper dot in the middle. This one has an adjustable chain with a handmade clasp and can be worn at 16" or 18".

Ramble ramble. Tired, yes? Yes.


Saturday, March 27, 2010


Things didn't quite go as planned today. I was supposed to have 4 finished things and I only have 2. BUT...the others are worth the extra work. And hopefully I will have at least one of them finished tomorrow.

I am in love with how this ring turned out. I want to keep it.

Ruby Compass
size 6.25
sterling, ruby, 14k gold

The 14k gold balls are soldered at NE, SE, NW, and SW. The back of the ring is stamped with "N, E, S,W."

Pinwheel posts

I had fantastic rides on both of my horses today as well...busy busy Saturday!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I'm doing a poor job of finding the time to blog. Today I was driving to my "studio" (I use the term loosely, here) and thinking about the trio of gold rings I made. And then I realized I never blogged about the last ring I finished.

I'm noticing now I did a fairly piss poor job of photographing it, but thankfully it resides in the same house as my "studio," as it belongs to my stepmom.

Here are the first two rings: GOLD.

And here is the final. It's one of my landscape rings, carved in wax and then cast in metal. It looks like it has 2 very dark stones but they are in fact a ruby and a sapphire. And they are in fact red and blue. I will try and get better photos of it sometime. It's 18k as are the other 2.

And for the record, if a torch is involved I really like working in 24k gold better. That'll be a "my first" post someday. And speaking of that series, the next "my first" post is written, I just need to take the photos!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sisu - The final installment

I really enjoy working in series.


This project was so good for me in so many ways. I've always worked differently in never seems to be the same creative process as my other art forms. There's not the same getting it out. I had other outlets for that, and truthfully, I like the separation. I always liked that I could just make jewelry without worry. I didn't have to worry about exploring something deep enough or making a statement. I could just make things for the purpose of adornment and that was perfectly ok. It was a nice break for an art kid.

Now that it's the only form of art I've been consistently making, I feel like I can let a little of the other stuff in. And I have. But it still feels different.

Creating these bracelets has merged my processes a little. Exploring a series, each bracelet a little different but with the same feel overall. I'm getting there.

ps. I think I found some green teas I don't hate. One in particular doesn't even smell like wet, rotting grass!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

oh dear.

hi, blog. Nice to see you.

I have some things to tell you:

1. Right now I am working on a slew of rustic goods with a slew of great little stones...including a super fabulous 12mm ruby that I'm kicking myself for. I'm kicking myself for not buying more of them in Tucson.

2. I'm not really sure why, but raw and rough stones are calling my name. I mean more than before. And pyrite. I really like Lady Gaga.

While it doesn't seem like those things are related, I think pyrite goes with Lady Gaga like peanut butter goes with jelly.


3. I think this little obsession was sparked slightly by the rough diamonds, but then bff Joe sent me a giant quartz crystal that I instantly decided MUST become a big stabby ring. I'm just in a really gaudy mood apparently. Maybe it's the weather.

4. Sisu #3 is done, photographed, and sent/received by sisu owner. I've been meaning to post the photos for a week. I will try. Tonight.

5. Rex and I have been attempting to cook more instead of going out to eat all of the time. We've not been terribly successful. BUT, yesterday I did make grilled tomato/basil/mozz sandwiches which were amazing. And tonight I'm going to marinate/sear a really nice tuna steak. Domestic.

6. I'm trying to convince myself I like green tea. I've attempted this in the past without much success.

7. My new jewelry plan of action is to breathe. I get so stressed when I don't have new work every week, or several pieces to introduce at once, or "not enough" work for the open houses. Balance in my life is important. I have a horse to ride, I have a full time job, I work at the barn part time, I have a life to organize and plan. I can't compare myself to those who do this as their job, or anyone really. Everyone has different priorities. I feel like I work incredibly slow - because I do.

But that's ok.

Cholula agrees.

It's a struggle to truly convince myself of this and be ok with not being a metal machine. There's a little guilt that creeps in when I choose to spend a quiet night at home instead of at my bench. But I'm trying.

And maybe next week I'll have a shop update for you!

***photo found at

Friday, March 12, 2010


You may remember this --

A friend liked the chain so much, she asked me to make one for a bronze pendant she had.

I wasn't sure how I was going to actually attach the pendant, seeing as I didn't want to risk melting it or ruining it somehow with my torch. But...I also didn't want to risk sending it off with unsoldered joints, and wire wrapping was not going to cut it (the mock ups were awful, to say the least).

But then I remembered that cold shield is awesome and oh, I have a tub of it.

Anyway, the results:

I love how well the chain compliments the pendant and stands up to the pendant's weight. Really happy with how it turned out, here is to hoping my friend is too!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Nesting Ring

boulder turquoise + sterling

Because my time in the desert lifted me up and filled my cup to the brim.
Because I was weightless there - supported and cradled.
Because the stresses of here melted away into the mountains.
Because I could just be for those days.
Because of the sense of home and light and a safe nest, if just for a time.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Weekend Cholula

I really cannot get over how adorable Cho pony is here.

She loves her food. So very much that she must cuddle into it and love on it.

My weekend was full of barn. Barn chores + Cholula. We went on our very first ride down the gravel road yesterday (and first ride outside of the year - yeah!) We encountered a pile of geese milling about a frozen (but quickly thawing) field. And a running and barking dog. And a car. And a giant pile of snow. And a bunch of other stuff in the distance. While all was worth looking at and noting, Cholula kept chugging along. She was fabulous.
I managed to find a spot of time to finish up a few custom orders, a few pairs of earrings, and a ring for the shop as well! Photos to come soonish.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My first...

I thought I'd do a series of blogging of some of my metalsmithing firsts. The idea was to do this in chronological order, however, I can't find some of the *very first* things I ever made (dating back to my junior year of high school) and I don't feel like spending ages digging for them.

When they show up, they'll be blogged on, fear not!

Some background: I took my first smithing class my junior year of high school. I learned all of the basics - piercing, soldering, bezel-setting (very badly), casting, etc. My senior year I took another class. I continued the trend in college and took 3 classes there - honing my skills and picking up some new ones. I have ONE item of jewelry I made in high school (senior year, I believe) that I wear all of the time and love. The rest of it is kind of embarassing. College was more successful.

To start off, these are the faceted stones I set. They were preceded by a prong-set irregular slice of agate. When the urge hits me, I'll teach myself to bezel-set faceted stones, but at the time I was itching to learn prong-settings!

This was in my 3rd metalsmithing class in college (except we just called it jewelry). I bought the largest faceted stones I could afford to make it a little easier on myself. My best guess is that the round is 8mm and I think the oval is 10x13?

Blue topaz with handmade chain -
One thing I'm incredibly grateful to my college jewelry prof for is learning chain-making. In fact, my very first project in college (long lost, I'm sure) was a handmade chain. It took me some 13 hours. We made unique links, often with 5 or so soldering points per link. The chains were interesting and unique...and taught us some mad crazy soldering skillz.

You can't see the backside of the stone, but the tip of the stone actually sits on your skin. The setting is exactly what you see there - a round wire frame with 4 prongs holding the stone. That's about as simple as it gets. Let's just say jewelry prof was not too pleased with me when she realized I "cheated."

Smokey Quartz -

For the second prong setting, now that I knew I could prong set, I actually did a basket setting. I remember this whole pendant being amazingly difficult (though some parts just sort of happened like magic and surprised me). I'm still quite proud of myself that I DID it and to the standards I'd set for myself. *Everything* is soldered. Everywhere you see metal touching. I've been picky about that from day one...I always risked ruining the inner workings of my clasps so that the tiny ring attaching them would be soldered. I know how hard I am on my jewelry, and I hate the thought of leaving anything open!

Stay tuned for another "firsts" post next week!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

It is TINY!

Yes, necklace is tiny.

And I was mistaken - for whatever reason I had it stuck in my head that the doublet was 8x10...but it's really 6x8. Hee.



Cholula and her bff Izzy