Thursday, October 20, 2011


White Mountains, New Hampshire

Today I'm blogging with friends about our favorite seasons. I love Autumn, particularly in New England where I have spent much of my life. This time of year makes me nostalgic for the deciduous forest as well as the ocean and calls to mind:

long, deep shadows
shimmering trees
an evening campfire with my favorite sweatshirt
cool breezes on a rocky coast
pumpkins, witches, and vampires
diving into leaf piles mainly for the smell of it
hot apple cider
sienna mums and the cornucopia

and the slow ease into Winter

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

a poem

I've been collaborating with a couple of poets recently (which I'll blog about soon). I write a little every now and then and was going through some of my old poems tonight, this is from 2005 and one of my favorites.

     Your Voice

     I could just
     crawl inside your voice
     and take a nap.
     sounds resonate
     I know
     I've heard before

     like a wall. a shelter
     strong enough
     that I could truly sleep
     sleep deeply
     without worry
     without harm

     a sane vibration
     rising to the surface
     calling me home

Friday, September 23, 2011

some things I've learned living in the south

birthplace of Elvis, Tupelo
1. it's pronounced "Gracelnd".
2. "all y'all" is the plural form of "y'all"
3. When a woman says, "bless her heart" that's not a good thing.
4. "Fixin' to" is city and "fittin' to" is country.
5. It's pronounced "Nawlens".
6. The hinges of hell are hotter than hell itself.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

why i love memphis

Today I'm blogging with friends, the topic is what we like about the places that we live.

The Mighty Mississippi
I moved to Memphis from Maine 12 years ago. I have always lived within a short distance of a large body of water - first the Atlantic, then Lake Michigan, then back to the Atlantic. The Mississippi is beautiful and has a rich heritage that one can learn about at the Mud Island River Park.

The Music
Home to Beale Street, which some claim to be the birthplace of the blues. Elvis and Isaac Hayes lived in Memphis, Al Green is a preacher at a local ministry, and Aretha Franklin was born less than 2 miles from my house. Sun studio is still around and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music is a great place to visit.

Beale Street
According to the 2000 census, Memphis is 61% African American, 34% white, 2.9% latino (I suspect that's higher now), followed by Asians and Native Americans.

The Art Scene
Memphis has a wonderful, thriving visual art scene. There are two designated arts districts  that host special events like regular gallery walks. Public art is springing up everywhere thanks to the Urban Art Commission. We are home to The Dixon Gallery and Gardens as well as the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. I used to work as the Assistant Curator of Education at the Brooks and the institution is sacred to me, as are all of my friends who still work there. The National Ornamental Metal Museum is perched on a beautiful stretch of the Mississippi River and I am lucky enough to have an exhibition there through January 7th.

A History of Struggle and Strife
Memphis was a major port for slave trading and exchanging cotton. Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed here in 1968. The Lorraine Motel where he was shot still stands and is now home to the National Civil Rights Museum. Like most American cities we still struggle to achieve racial harmony.

The city has seen much controversy over Forrest Park, the memorial grave site of Nathan Bedford Forrest - a cavalry leader in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, and the Ku Klux Klan's first Grand Wizard. Each year Civil War reenactors celebrate Forrest's birthday in the park, while others stand by and protest.

Nathan Bedford Forrest memorial and grave

Yes, it's an ugly history. Good or bad, Memphis was in the thick of all of it. Why cite this as a reason to love living here? Because it was and is a reality, and we still have so much to learn from our past.

The Weather
Lastly, I love the climate here, I've lived in some very cold places. We have four distinct seasons, winter is very mild and most of the foliage reimains green. Folks put out pots of pansies in January, I love it. I've even come around to the heat.

Please visit my friends to read about their respective cities:

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My show at the Metal Museum

My small Ring a Day exhibition is currently on view at the National Ornamental Metal Museum until January 7, 2012. It's on the second floor of the library building. I could not be more pleased with the installation, conservator Kevin Burge made individual stands for all of my rings. Woot!


You can see all of the rings on view here.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

EtsyMetal Project Runway Challenge 9.5

Suede, copper, brass, sterling, snaps.

The EtsyMetal Project Runway challenge two weeks ago was to make something that would work well with Heidi's sport New Balance collection. The designers on the show were encouraged to incorporate denim or suede into their designs. I've had computer problems and am finally able to post these pics.

I've been wearing it every day and it's REALLY comfy.

Friday, August 26, 2011

six steps

Six steps to an utterly useless shower when you are late for an important appointment:

1. Make sure it slips your mind that you found the terrier sleeping on the only clean bath towel the night before.

2. Upon exiting the shower look all over the house  and confirm that this is the only available towel. I find profanity helpful during this step.

3. Return to the bathroom, close your eyes and dry yourself with the Terrier Towel, breathing forcefully OUT of your mouth - do not inhale!

4. Gaze into the mirror and enjoy your new sexy, fleecy look.

5. Attempt to air-dry any residual moisture so that some of the fur falls off on it's own. If you are really late, move to using paper towels before you are completely dry. As in step 2 profanity can help.

6. When you arrive late for your appointment, take the time to check your look in the restroom and swat away the three white hairs that remain on your neck.

Listen to a woman with experience - don't skip step 6! 
On a positive note, I delivered my rings to The National Ornamental Metal Museum today for my small exhibition that opens next week! I'm so excited!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

a bracelet for Nina Garcia

Pierced brass cuff with variscite stone that I cut and polished.

Made for the EtsyMetal Project Runway Jewelry Challenge. For this week's episode the designers were challenged to create an outfit for Nina Garcia, the winning design will be worn by Nina and featured in Marie Claire magazine. Nina prefers a smooth and crisp silhouette, she generally wears tailored clothes without too much embellishment or excess fabric. I searched around the web and she seems to like chunky jewelry - she wears a lot of cuffs (sometimes one on each arm), and she likes to wear them on her upper forearm as well, which I find striking.

I love the winning design from this week's show, created by Kimberly Goldson, and I made a cuff in my style that coordinates with the outfit. Kimberly's gold, textured top has many sharp details and makes such a statement that a big and bold bracelet seems all that's needed to set it off and balance the asymmetry.

(I made the bracelet closer to Nina's size than my own.)

Kimberly's winning outfit plus my bracelet. I hope I don't get sued for using this image, I couldn't help myself. At any rate the cuff is not for sale - unless Nina wants it!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

my bucket list

Today I'm blogging with some friends about our respective "bucket lists" - the things we'd like to do before we die. I've been thinking about this for two damn days and here it is:

one chin-up

That's it, that's all I've come up. I've had this goal for a long time and have worked at it sporadically over the last seven years. The older I get the harder it is and it may never happen. I can live with that.

Sure, there are lots of things I'd like to do - travel to Bangkok, see the Northern Lights, go rockhunting for aquamarine. But these things are fairly arbitrary and after all of my contemplation I realized that my mind just doesn't work this way. I can't settle on a bucket list and I don't really want a bucket list. I'd like to say that's because I live in the moment, but if that were true I think I would be content all the time. Maybe I don't like thinking about my own mortality, maybe a list would cause me undue pressure - at any rate my mind won't cooperate and I learned a long time ago not to argue with it.

So there it is, a chin-up. I hope you don't feel cheated by this post, I suggest that you visit the blogs of my friends to read about their much more interesting lists:

Andes Cruz
Kathleen Krucoff
Wendy Kelly
Natsuko Hanks
Mary Watson

Thursday, August 18, 2011

20/52 Agate

Made for EtsyMetal's Project Runway "Go Big or Go Home" Challenge. I carved the agate from a slab using my trim saw, hand tools, and sandpaper and then I set it in copper.

Monday, August 15, 2011

more rocks

A milky light blue marquise aquamarine that I cut (1 1/8" long) plus over 100 cts of gorgeous green beryl rough (these two are the same mineral, just different colors). The green beryl is amazing and I won't be cutting into it until I'm much, much better at it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

what I've been doing part II

Things have been busy. I'm still behind with my RAW rings and clearly I have given up on my original intent to feature rings by other artists each and every day (I'm sorry).

I thought I'd share some of the other projects I've been working on.
I recently finished teaching two eight week photography courses at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art to adolescents from Girls Inc, we focused on portraiture and the girls will have an exhibition of their work at the museum in September.

The girls also did some fun things with stop motion.

Last I month volunteered to teach a couple of juggling workshops to kids at a local community center. I made the balls very cheaply this way and gave a set to each child who successfully learned to juggle three balls within the hour. All but 5 kids out of 30 or so were able to do it, and the youngest to learn is eight. So much for what many think about children's attention spans, most adults I know won't stick with it that long.

I made a video on how to juggle three and four balls for some of my friends, it's also on YouTube (and displays correctly) here:

In June I finally finished the mosaic tile project created with the students in the courtyard of Treadwell Middle school.

I have been making liqueurs - pictured are blackberry, ginger, apricot, and orange pecan. I also made some great chocolate rum, peach, and plum but my favorite turned out to be Jalpeno/espresso tequila sweetened with agave. Really. Yum.

I have also been learning to cut finished stones from crystals and hunks of rock, below are clay canyon variscite, aquamarine, pink tourmaline, ruby, amethyst, carnelian, yellow apatite, and pink quartz.

They used to look something like this:

and I cut them on this:

And I put together a 20 page book of some of my Ring a Day pieces using Snapfish, a number of us who participated in that project are creating books and trading with each other.

Back in June I made this entry for Wendy Rosen's video contest to support handmade in the National Parks. I may have been the only entrant and I'm not sure if a winner has been announced. It's 5.5 minutes long. (Bad audio - turn it up!)

(Now don't forget to lower the volume or you might end up blasted out of your chair.)

Lastly, the press release for my upcoming ring exhibition at the National Ornamental Metal Museum came out today! The show will be open from September 1 - December 1. YAY!

Sunday, July 31, 2011


I'M NOT DEAD! Really. I had pneumonia for a month and narrowly avoided hospitalization. Then my DSL went down for three arduous weeks of AT&T customer service hell (just ask for tier II support right away, you'll be transferred back to the states). Here are some rings, I am very behind.

RAW 19/52
sterling silver and 15ct ruby handcut by me

That's right, I'm cutting stones now and I love it!

RAW 18/52

An experiment with stone chip inlay - ruby and chrysoprase, the ring is made from a vintage clip-on earring

RAW 17/52
sterling silver and Washington State carnelian handcut by me

RAW 16/52
sterling silver and aquamarine handcut by me

RAW 15/52 saltwater pearl and sterling silver

I made this back in May in honor of Miki Endo, the brave young woman who sacrificed her life and saved 7000 lives during the Tsunami in Japan.