Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ethnic Style Jewelry DVD ready to order!

I'm so excited to announce that my latest DVD, Ethnic Style Jewelry Workshop, is now ready to order! If you've been waiting patiently for this one and are ready to purchase it today, simply click here.
If you're new to my instructional DVDs, they are all filmed close-up, over my shoulder, so you can see clearly as I demonstrate each step and explain everything carefully to you. My DVDs are all fully interactive with menus and chapters so you can watch various segments over and over again, instead of having to rewind the entire thing.
My previous DVDs include Tribal Treasures Workshop, Rings of Beauty Workshop, and Bohemian Bangles Workshop. I guess you can tell that I just love that ethnic style in jewelry making and design. I also enjoy sharing my tips and techniques for making beautiful, unusual, and durable jewelry pieces that you will be proud to wear or give as gifts.
My latest DVD offers three and a half hours of wire-art jewelry instruction and costs $39.95. If you were to take all of the lessons offered on this one DVD in a live setting, it would take several days and cost hundreds of dollars in workshop fees.
The chapters include the following:
Tools, Materials & Resources
Twisted Wire Jump Rings
Double-Spiral Links
Figure-8 Links
Leaf Charms & Linked Bracelets
Copper Tubing Bead Connectors
Etruscan Spiral Pendants
Foreign Coin Charms and Metal Hole Punching
Riveting with Copper Tacks
Copper Washer Jump Rings
Assembling the Ethnic Coin Necklace
Assembling the Ethnic Charm Bracelet
Assembling the Copper Tubing Necklace with Etruscan Spiral Pendant
Assembling the Back to Egypt Bracelet
Artificially Aging Ethnic-Inspired Jewelry
Polishing Your Finished Jewelry
I know you're going to love this one! For more information on all of my instructional DVDs, please visit

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ken Bova Workshop at Idyllwild Arts

This week I've been taking a very inspiring workshop with mixed-media jewelry artist Ken Bova, who combines a variety of materials—paper, metal, pastel, shell, beads, wire, found objects—and "low tech" cold connections to make unusual jewelry. I've been busy and overwhelmed and somewhat exhausted, which may explain why I haven't posted here in a few days!
The workshop began last Sunday, and concludes tomorrow at the Idyllwild Arts campus. My sketchbook is bursting with notes, drawings, quotations, ideas, and inspiration from this class. I don't have much finished jewelry to show for my efforts, but I have had a rare opportunity to put my business life on hold for a few days and simply focus on learning new techniques that I can incorporate into my designs in the future. It's been a worthwhile investment of my time and money, and I would encourage anyone out there who is interested in a "boot camp"-type learning opportunity to take advantage of it next year.
What made this workshop such a success was organizer Deb Jemmott's terrific idea of having rotating mini-workshops with all the teachers who participated in Metals Week. For example, on Sunday we spent our morning with Ken, and then after lunch from 1 to 2:30 pm we had another teacher come to our class to give a short demonstration and answer questions while Ken left to teach another class his own mini-workshop. From 2:30 to 5:30 we were back with Ken Bova again. Each successive day was the same schedule with a different visiting teacher, so we got a little taste of all the participating instructors' teaching style. All were very inspiring, and I think our class felt that we have something to look forward to next summer when we choose new classes with different teachers.
I really enjoyed Connie Fox's earring demonstration, as well as Deb Jemmott's thorough introduction to soldering techniques and technical information. Master teacher Val Link gave a slide presentation and introduction to hydraulic assist die forming, and Fred Zweig taught us a new way to make a fibula and demonstrated his "one-blow riveting" technique.
I was amazed at how much each teacher was able to cram into an hour and a half! And yet we also had time to make little samples, to play (very important!), to create a few finished pieces—others in our class were more successful at this than I—and to learn from one another. It's been an amazing adventure, and I look forward to doing this again next year during Idyllwild Arts' adult summer program.
If you want to know more about it, visit

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Wild Wire Women Retreat coming up

I still have three openings for my next Wild Wire Women Retreat held July 3-8 in Idyllwild, California.
This is a great opportunity to learn wire-art jewelry techniques and bond with other like-minded artists in a beautiful, peaceful mountain environment.
Once everyone arrives on Thursday, we'll have our get-acquainted dinner at Cafe Aroma, one of my favorite restaurants up here on the hill. On Friday after breakfast (included), we'll participate in the 10 Trippy Tricks 1 workshop with a break for lunch (also included). Dinner is on your own in town, but there are many great restaurants to choose from.
Saturday follows a similar itinerary, with 10 Trippy Tricks 2 and a quick workshop on my Funky Chandelier Earrings. On Sunday, we'll participate in the Ethnic Coin Necklace workshop where we will learn some cool cold-connections including riveting, plus twisting wire to make neat jump rings and lots of forging and texturing with our hammers.
The retreat is going to be great fun and a worthwhile investment in your wire-art jewelry education. The cost is $625 for the weekend and includes three full days of workshop, four nights lodging in my private home situated on the national forest, one welcome dinner, four breakfasts and three lunches. It does not include the cost of materials or your transportation to/from Idyllwild.
If you're interested, I have three openings and I welcome you to join us. For information, please email

Friday, June 20, 2008

No place like home...

There's just no place like home. And if you're very fortunate, home is in Idyllwild, California.
I've been away for a week in Colorado shooting a series of step-by-step photos for a new book I'm writing for Interweave Press, and I had a terrific time. The folks at Interweave are so kind and big-hearted and thoroughly professional, they are a dream to work with. We made a lot of progress together in one week, and today I flew home just in time to join my folks (seen above) for dinner at our favorite restaurant, Cafe Aroma. Notice my mom is wearing an Ethnic Coin Necklace similar to the one I demonstrate on my latest DVD, Ethnic Style Jewelry Workshop.
Aroma is a terrific little bistro with great food and a well chosen wine list, and they provide nightly entertainment as well. Tonight jazz pianist Barnaby Finch presented a new band he's recently formed, "The Straightjackets." Joining Barnaby on sax was Paul Carman, with Bill Saita on bass and Jeff Olson keeping the rhythm on drums. We all loved this new band, and if you want to see them in action you can still catch them at Cafe Aroma—reservations are a VERY good idea.
Phone: 951 659-5212
Although my new book won't be available until September 2009, I'll keep you posted now and again as things develop and as soon as I have a definite title and cover photo I'll post it here. I can tell you that this particular book has some great projects in it, including my Sombrero Ring and Spider Weave Pendant, and some cool copper jewelry as well as submissions from guest artists like Richard Salley and Rachel Nelson-Smith.
It's good to be back!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Missing Sparkle & Rosie

Tonight I'm finishing up my packing and will depart early tomorrow morning for Loveland, Colorado, where I'll be participating in a photo shoot for Interweave Press. I'm really excited about this trip and look forward to meeting up with my editor who worked with me before at North Light, Tricia Waddell. We're working together again on my fifth book, this one on mixed-metals wire art jewelry of all types.
If you liked Bead on a Wire, you will love my next book.
My kitties, Sparkle (top) and her daughter, Rosie (in a basket), will be looked after and loved by my friend Joy Woodman, who is staying in my home with them for the week while I'm away. You can't imagine how much I'll miss my girls, but it's only for a few days and I guess I'll survive...
A lot of folks have been emailing me to ask when my new DVD will be available, and I can't give you an exact date yet but I do know that it is now in the manufacturing stage. They will be shipping it out to me by the end of this month. As soon as Ethnic Style Jewelry Workshop is ready to order from, I promise to let you know! In the meantime, I have a few last-minute things to pack so I'd better get back to it. I hope to blog from Colorado, but I can't promise anything because we'll be so busy every day. I hope you all have a great week.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Reviewing my DVD...

Today I spent the entire afternoon reviewing my latest DVD, Ethnic Style Jewelry Workshop.
Currently in the editing phase and soon to be released, this DVD is three and a half hours long and is simply jam-packed with great information and close-up instruction. I am very proud of this one!
I'm finding the process of making an instructional DVD very interesting, albeit expensive. It all starts with designing new, original jewelry pieces. Then I go through my favorites and start pulling out designs that I believe will be of interest to my students and that will teach them a wealth of techniques and good craftsmanship. Next I cull the very best pieces from what I've gathered, and start writing up a tentative list of chapters for my DVD.
I do take a professional approach to this process, but to be honest, it's all guesswork. I'm pinning my hopes on my own taste and hoping to find others with similar interests and aesthetic views. But in the end, it's a gamble.
The taping takes place in my home, usually at night when the noisy grey squirrels and squawky woodpeckers have finally gone to sleep. It's just me and the lights, camera, and microphone. Sometimes I'm so tired, I forget to turn the mic on! So I do it over again. Sometimes I can tape an entire segment—which can run from 10 minutes to over 30—in one take. But, more often than not, I have to re-tape myself several times before I'm satisfied with each segment.
I take my camera to my office then and plug it into my Macintosh, turning each segment into a digital file. I then turn each file into a quicktime movie, and export it to an external drive. The drive is shipped to Disc Makers in New Jersey, and I leave it up to the experts there to edit the film for audio and video, create a menu and design the packaging. I have photographer Sylvia Bissonnette take a beautifully styled shot of my finished jewelry for the cover on the packaging, and then I sit back and wait.
In the following weeks, Disc Makers ships me copies of the disk in-process and I review them and note any errors or problems. This goes around several times until I am completely satisfied with the disk. I then give them the thumbs-up, and the DVD goes into production-mode. Disks are printed, packaging prepared, and eventually will be shrink-wrapped and sent to me and to FilmBaby in Portland, Oregon.
So this is where I am in the process with Ethnic Style Jewelry Workshop. I have just reviewed my disk for the last time and it looks and sounds fantastic! I have let them know at Disc Makers, so the DVD will be printed and shipped out to the west coast in about 10 days or so.
It's been a long road, and an expensive one, but we're coming up on the final turn and I believe the DVD will be ready to order by the end of June, as planned.
Thank you, everyone, for your patience! I promise that this DVD is worth the wait. You can learn more by clicking here.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Going ethnic, anyone?

Here's a photo of one of the two necklaces featured on my new DVD, Ethnic Style Jewelry Workshop. I just had to share it with you as we draw closer to the release date.
I designed the "Etruscan Spiral Pendant Necklace" while I was teaching a workshop series in Cortona, Italy in April 2007. I arrived a few days before my students, and used some of my free time to investigate the Etruscan museum right in Cortona, which houses some intriguing treasures discovered by archeologists working in the region. I saw the most beautiful pure-gold jewelry and discovered examples of coil-wrapped wire and spirals that look like they could have been made yesterday; but they were, in fact, centuries old.
I was very inspired by the museum's collection, even though I may never be able to use gold in my own jewelry. While I taught my workshops in Italy, I used spare moments to create a big double-spiral pendant using heavy-gauge wire. We twisted wire in class to make our own unique jump rings, and I incorporated these into the necklace along with copper tubing beads and a handmade clasp.
The result is a simple design, but I love wearing it. It's a bit rustic, so to speak, a little rough around the edges—not elegant, but ethnic! I love it. So I had to share it on my next workshop DVD, which will release toward the end of this month. I promise to let you know when it is available to order from my Web site, You will also find a tutorial on my popular Ethnic Coin Necklace plus four new bracelet designs on this new DVD.
If you're interested in having a cross-cultural experience with several days of intensive instruction in ethnic-style wire-art jewelry, I'm taking a small group to Santorini, Greece this October 9-16. More information can be found by clicking here. I hope you can join us!