Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Christmas 2011

A very happy Christmas to one and all!
It's become an annual tradition for me to create a new necklace for my mother around this time of year, so I thought I'd share my latest creation with you. It was made with lots and lots of sterling silver wire, which is pretty amazing since silver has gone up so much over the years (I haven't purchased silver wire since it was $7 a troy ounce!). Most of the time I use copper wire, which I like nearly as much as silver.
The necklace also features some beautiful raku-fired ceramic beads purchased last March in Santa Fe, a glass focal bead and some of my own enameled cage beads.
Happy wrapping,

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Wild Wire Women Retreat 2012 Dates Posted!

I just posted new dates for the Spring 2012 session of workshop retreats in my Idyllwild, California studio:
March 22-26
April 19-23
April 26-30
May 3-7
May 10-14
May 17-21
May 24-28
If you've always wanted to come out for a Wild Wire Women retreat, the spring of 2012 is the ideal time to do it!
I'm now offering a wide variety of workshops in wire jewelry design & craftsmanship, metalsmithing techniques, torch-fired and kiln-fired enameling, form folding, etching, and more. Come and learn the latest techniques in very small classes (limited to six adult females) from an artist with over a decade of experience in jewelry making with wire, metal, and beads.
The fee of $825 includes:
Three very full days of workshop instruction in small class sizes
Workshop handouts
All materials (with the exception of beads) such as copper wire and sheet, enamels, etc.
Four nights shared accommodation in my beautiful mountain home
Welcome wine & cheese reception followed by dinner at Cafe Aroma
Four big breakfasts and three delicious lunches, beverages & snacks
All FOUR of my instructional DVDs, a $120 retail value!
24-hour access to the studio and its vast library of books & periodicals
The fee does not include transportation to/from Idyllwild (out-of-area students usually rent a car) or three dinners (Friday-Sunday nights); Idyllwild boasts a variety of terrific restaurants for you to try, suited for all budgets and tastes.
I hope to see you in Idyllwild soon. More information can be found at this blog:
Or feel free to email me, anytime:
Happy wrapping,

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Wild Wire Women Retreat: Day 3

It's the end of Day 3 for us, and, as always a bittersweet feeling accompanies the last supper, the last sip of Tuaca, the last laughs of a weekend filled with fond memories and much laughter. We also made lots of jewelry and learned many new techniques in wirework and torch-fired enamel jewelry making.
The picture above shows the bracelets we made during the Silver Sampler Bracelet workshop—obviously we used copper wire!—which included a variety of techniques: hook & eye clasps, coil-wrapped beads, tapered worm beads, heart links, twisted wire jump rings, and more. It's an intensive, full-day workshop, but we also managed to fit in...
...torch-fired enamel jewelry, including enameled headpins and multicolored cage beads! What a blast. I mean this literally, because we had to open the windows to the studio to let in some fresh air, and it came in with a blast! We're having some very cold weather just now. But what fun to form our own cage beads with heavy-gauge wire and roll them in a variety of different colored enamels, torch-fire them, and enjoy our own creativity.
This project is also featured in my latest book, Arty Jewelry IV.
I am so proud of my students, who were fearlessly creative and threw themselves into their arty explorations with such abandon! And they made some truly gorgeous jewelry. What nice ladies they are, too. I will miss them very much!
Happy wrapping,

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Wild Wire Women Retreat: Day 2

Day Two was very productive for all of us, as you can see by the photo above featuring the treasure-trove of jewelry we made! Pins and pendants with wire embellishment, knotless netting, beads & pearls, and lots of creativity...
I was thrilled to capture this photo of Kellie, actually filing a piece of jewelry she made. She likes to tell people that she never files her wire jewelry, but she does, and I've got the photo to prove it!
Kellie also has a store and she teaches tons of classes. Visit her Web site here:
Above you can see a closeup photo of Kellie's beautiful wire embellished pendant. A similar piece that I call the Silver Swirl Stick Pin is featured in my latest book, Arty Jewelry IV.
Here's a picture of Susan, proudly holding up her finished knotless-netted pendant...
And Stephanie, displaying her beautiful pendant as well.
The photo above shows just how talented Stephanie is: She not only made a gorgeous wire stick-pin, she also designed and made the lampwork bead (embellished with a starfish) adorning it. And here's good news: She sells her beads! Check out her Web site here:
Ivy played lounge lady while we all worked really hard all day!
Amongst many other techniques explored in class today, Susan tried her hand at torch-fired enameling. She's now addicted to making her own enameled headpins (as am I).
The photo above shows all three pendants made today with knotless netting. Great job, ladies!
And here is Susan's stick pin which can also be worn as a pendant. I'm so proud of my students.
Stephanie had a little time on her hands this afternoon, so she made a second stick pin. The incredible lampwork bead you see here is her own creation.
After a long day working in the studio, we all went out to dinner at Arriba's Mexican Restaurant. Some of us started with a generous bowl of Abundigas soup.
Stephanie's about to dig into an enormous plate of yummyness!
And look at that grilled burrito... I ate half of it and that's the best I could do.
We returned home rather late, but naturally we had to finish off our adventures with another jewelry photography session. This time I gave the photo styling over to Stephanie, who did a fantastic job, don't you think?
Be sure to tune in tomorrow for Day 3 of our Wild Wire Women retreat!
Happy wrapping,

Friday, December 2, 2011

Wild Wire Women Retreat: Day 1

Day One of our Wild Wire Women retreat has come to an end, and above you can see the fruit of our labors: Metallo del Fiore bangle bracelets made with sheet metal, wire, vintage buttons, and beads. We had way too much fun today!
Here are my three students, clockwise from left: Kellie and Stephanie (from B.C. Canada) and Susan (from California). They look happy and energetic... that's because I took this photo first thing in the morning.
We started with a demonstration on how to design and create motifs suitable for sheet-metal pieces to incorporate into a bangle bracelet. After making several sketches (hearts, flowers, leaves, sea motifs, and more), we transferred our designs to the metal with a Sharpie pen.
Here you can see Stephanie sawing out a small hole in the center of her floral motif.
Here's Susan, sawing away!
After we sawed out our pieces and filed and polished the edges, we used a Dremel engraver to create lovely designs on the surface. Then we hammer-textured our metal pieces with various hammers and used metal stamps and daps as well as dimpling pliers to add fun designs.
Above you can see our finished metal motifs, ready to be attached to bangle bracelets.
Susan was thrilled with her finished bracelet!
After using patina on our bracelets (liver of sulfur) and polishing them, we headed upstairs for a lesson in jewelry photography.
We all made some fun, funky clasps for our bangles and it was important that we get good photos of them for future reference.
After a very full day in the workshop, it was time to head out for dinner at the Hidden Village Chinese restaurant, a local favorite. Here you can see Stephanie and Susan, champing at the bit!
And yet one more photo of Kellie, taking a portion of Sweet & Sour Pork... we all tried some of everything, and it was hard to decide which dish was our favorite. After working hard all day on jewelry, we had developed a big appetite!
The bracelet we made today is just one of nine projects featured in my latest book, Arty Jewelry IV, currently available as a printed full-color book via If you'd like to see a preview of the contents, click here.
Happy wrapping,