Sunday, December 23, 2007

Margaux Lange plays with Barbie

I discovered a really cool jewelry artist the other day and I'd like to share. Her name's Margaux Lange and she plays with Barbie dolls. Some people might be freaked out by wearing Barbie body parts, but not me. I find her work fun, playful and colorful. I especially LOVE the necklace with all the eyes. It's just some great stuff!

Are you dirty or are you green?

You've learned all about "blood diamonds" and how to take a stand against them, but have you thought about where your gold, platinum and silver comes from? Most of us have not. Now that being "green" is on everyone's list, it's time that the jewelry industry comes clean. Since about 80 percent of mined gold is used to make jewelry, we have to take notice and speak out. Mining for precious metals wreaks havoc on the environment and on workers and their communities.
There are two great websites that address this issue. Ethical Metalsmiths and No Dirty Gold. Please take a few moments to visit them and read more about this issue.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tis the season for the crazy

my great grandma's old brooches

Oh lordy. I'll be SO glad when the holidays are over. I don't know how many more gawdy xmas sweaters I can take. You know the ones...they're COVERED in silly holiday scenes in 3D, no less. With glitter. Wait, there's more. You simply MUST wear tacky earrings, charm bracelets, necklaces and brooches to match. With BELLS. Oh, and an xmas watch. Come on!
I know, I know. These folks are just entranced by the season and are just expressing their holiday joy. Hey, if you don't give me weird looks when you see my many tattoos, I'll try to reciprocate.

Friday, December 7, 2007

My Estudio

Okay, so I finally have my perfect soldering table. It only took 16 years! Over the years I've used an old drafting table, my workbench and a microwave cart. Fine for a little while, but I needed something better. So I went to Diversity Thrift and saw it right away. It was a mere fifteen bucks. Lodged inside one of the drawers was a little bouquet of fabric flowers, the name tag of the previous owner and a cute drawing of a duck. Of course I'm keeping the mementos. I painted my desk grey and I still want to add something decorative to it in white. I'm just not sure what just yet. So now my studio feels complete. It's a good feeling.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

My first jewelry job

I moved to nyc in June of 1991 with friends and a mere $200 to my name. We'd all just graduated from RISD and where else are artists going to go but to New York. We all shared this loft in a sketchy part of Brooklyn. It was an industrial area where the loft was and projects a couple blocks away. We drank 40's on the roof and watched hookers and their johns in cars below. Aah, those were the days...

Any who, I had to find work. NYC is one of the only places where there are tons of jewelry listings in the classifieds. Now, art school was great. I learned how to think. At the time, there was a lot more emphasis on the art aspect than on the business part. How do I make a living doing what I love? So I answered an ad and went on my interview. Wow, what a different world.

My very first jewelry job was working for a jewelry manufacturer on West 46th Street that had contracts with Tiffany's and Paloma Picasso for Tiffany's. I started at $7.25 an hour and was one of the only English speaking employees. Most were from Guatemala and El Salvador. There were three rooms. One had about 4 stone setters. The larger room where I was had maybe 15 of us, with the foreman. He's basically the manager. The third was the polishing room.

We'd come in and all be handed a metal box with our days work in it. Everything was 18k gold and everything was weighed before you got it. There were a group of us who finished the castings and another group who soldered the links together. The foreman had to check our work at each stage for quality. Before clocking out for lunch, we had to sweep all the gold dust and castings back into the box to be weighed and handed over before we left. We did this at the end of the day as well.

Day after boring day. I cleaned the castings in this damn bracelet for the entire six months I was there! Most of the men and women I worked with were good at what they did and worked very hard. It's not a glamorous life. After six months I was making a mere $7.50 and hating it. Around this time, the company had a "temporary layoff". Half of us were "let go" until they got some money stuff figured out. When they called back to "re-hire" us, I turned them down. I had found what I was looking for working for a jewelry artist in SoHo.

Months later I ran into some of the guys I worked with on the subway. They told me that one of the owners had been shot by the mob and that the foreman had been stealing the castings and making counterfeit pieces. Awesome.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

I love this site

I love rings. All kinds of rings. You've got to check out the Carrotbox if you love 'em too. This site has been around for years and I've been a fan since coming across it years back. This site is dedicated to rings made of materials other than metal (the author is allergic). She also writes an awesome ring blog with super links to many talented jewelers (me included!). The rings on the blog do include metal ones. Go check it out if you have a minute...although with the amount of cool pieces you could be here a very long time.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Guess who's NOT coming to dinner

Went grocery shopping today and found this grocery list left in our cart. I had to share it.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Project Runway is my crack

I'm totally addicted to Bravo tv's Project Runway. The designers are so colorful and full of drama. I love the breakdowns. I love the rush of watching them try to be creative in such a crazy time constraint. I love the stress.I love watching the struggle of working in teams. I love Tim Gunn. Heidi, not so much. She needs to be auf'd. I can't stand how she butchers Nina Gaaah-cia's name, either.
If you're not watching this...why NOT? There's even something special for serious Runway addicts...FANTASY Project Runway. Seriously.
Make it work!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

UK Dazzle me!

Okay, so I wish I was on another continent for a bit...
Those of you lucky enough to be in the UK are in for a treat. Dazzle is touted as "a selling exhibition of contemporary jewellery". It's a show and sale of some very talented jewelry artists based in the UK.
Here are a few artists that really caught my eye:
Julie Allison, Donna Barry, Shimara Carlow, Kate Hodgson, Hannah Louise Lamb, Jane Moore (gorgeous enamel), John Moore (talent runs in the family. I LOVE the african grey earrings. They remind me of Hexum, Mom's African Grey), Miranda Sharpe, Sarah Stafford and Naoko Yoshizawa.
I lied. It's more than a few. There are just so many I like!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Think Small 4

Tonight is the opening of Think Small 4, a miniature invitational exhibition. It's one show held at two galleries here in Richmond, VA; Art 6 and Artspace. I created a piece for this show where nothing can be larger than 3 inches.
My piece is a ring titled "Juicy". The materials are sterling silver, wood and paint. Check it out if you're in town.

Sparkle Plenty 3

It's not every day that you get to see jewelry treated as an art form. Let's face it, most folks don't get that jewelry IS an art form and that it can be functional or conceptual (or both). It doesn't have to be made with traditionally precious metals like silver or gold. It can be created out of anything; paper, steel, found objects, plastic, hair, etc.
Well, we Richmonders are in luck this month. Last night I went to see Sparkle Plenty 3 at Quirk Gallery. As a jeweler myself, I absolutely LOVE seeing other art jewelers' work up close. The show was curated by Robert Ebendorf and it is wonderful. I urge you to go see the show if you're in the neighborhood. I know I was inspired...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Richmond Zombie Walk 2007

Tis the season for the undead and what better way to spend a Saturday than to join 210 zombies on a walk through town. Enter Richmond's third annual zombie walk. I heard about it last year but wasn't able to make it out. This year, my husband was a zombie while I decided to document the festivities. Next year I think I'll join the undead. It was well organized and well attended. Everyone was there to have a bloody good time and aside from a couple of terrified kids, a good time was had by all. So, I will post a not-so-few of my favorite shots. It's the best month of the year so please allow me to indulge...

Blood is in the details

grrr aargh

Brains for dinner, brains for lunch...

It really is a wholesome family event...

They're coming to get you Barbara!

The trail of the undead continues...


Zombie walk: complete with snacks, dancing and terrified children...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

My jewelry on Sunset West on tv

Sunset West, the band I sponsor with My Precious Studio jewelry, is gonna be on national tv! The Next Great American Band, the band version of American Idol, premieres Friday, October 19th, from 8-10pm on Fox. Filmed in Las Vegas this summer, Sunset West made it to the top 30 out of 8,000 bands! So they'll be on for the first few episodes of the show. Be sure to look for my jewelry worn on Jill and Mark. Congrats guys!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Go see this

My very talented sister, Carla Ten Eyck, has a photographic opening tonight. She's been working on this project for a couple of years now and the big day has finally arrived!
The project is called "See Real Women: Really See Women" and it's about what makes a woman feel beautiful. It opens tonight with an artist's reception from 5:30 - 7:30 pm at the Hartford Public Library, 550 Main Street, Hartford, CT. The show will be up for two months. I encourage you to visit if you're anywhere in the area.
Good luck, sis! You make us all proud.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Charmed, I'm sure

I don't know about you, but I adore charms. I love that they're tiny objects of affection and sentimentality. The more you have, the bigger your story to tell. It's your birthday? There's a charm for you! Lost a tooth? There's one for you, too! Got your first period? Yep, young lady, there's even one for you! (My auntie Donna gave me a puffed gold heart for that one. Although I honestly didn't see the joy in commemorating such a downright inconvenient event.)
Growing up, my Mom always talked about the charm bracelets she got from her mom. She was obsessed with me finding them when she died and I got to clean out her bedroom. After a couple of long days I found them. Here they are in all their tarnished silver glory. I think one was Nana's and one was Mom's. Nana was a stewardess(ooh, how un-PC of me!) back in the day and married to a Marine. Hence all the travel-themed charms.
Nana's is the one with the hula girl and airplane.

I'm pretty sure this one was Mom's. The heart has her initials engraved on it.

There's a little suitcase charm on Mom's that when opened contains a little surprise...
How strangely wonderful!
It reminds me of the miniature eye portraits in mourning jewelry.

I think it may be Nana's eye...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

In remembrance

We all know what today is. My husband and I were living in NYC on that day and we'll never forget it. We were lucky in that all our friends and family were safe, but it was horrible not being able to reach anyone and having to wait for him to walk back into Brooklyn over the Williamsburg Bridge.
We decided to commemorate the anniversary each year by being together on that day. No trips apart allowed. Rather than stew in anger, we'll celebrate love.
Cheesy, yes. But hey, the world needs more love (and peace).

Monday, August 27, 2007

Trend alert!

I LOVE color. Seriously, love. Seriously. We've got NY Fashion Week coming up soon and Pantone has recently released their fashion color report for fall 2007. Yummy! Of course, my favorites are purple wine, dusk, green moss and carafe. I'm not one to follow trends, but that doesn't mean I can't like them every once in a while. We also know that black is always in. It's funny because the new jewelry I'm working on has roots in these color palettes. I'm going for a more luscious feel. Think gunmetal blackened silver (all shades of grey), with black, purple, blue, dusk, red and coffee colored stones. Think wine, bruises, coffee, chocolate covered cherries, dusk, know, a typical night.

um, speaking of fashion, I can't wait for the next Project Runway! Are you with me?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

It's the little things

I told you I got some cool fabric for my studio curtains... Thank you JoAnn Fabrics! I love the difference between daytime and nighttime. Plus, it inspires me. I love having lots of visual stimulation in my studio. Lots of textures and colors. It's all unpacked except for the artwork and other things that go on my walls. I'm changing it up a bit since it's a new room and I've got new inspirations.
Also, I'm overdue for kitty posts...stop complaining! You love the cuteness!
Frankie just turned 5 months (Charlie rescued him at 2 days old) and Nico is obsessed with spinach. I swear, last time I made a spinach salad (we eat them a lot) she emptied the whole bag on the table and was rolling in it. And yes, she actually eats it.

Friday, August 10, 2007

My favorite piece of wedding jewelry

Me and my nephew, Ty

I've been married almost 6 years now and while packing and unpacking, I found my favorite piece of wedding jewelry. I wish I could wear it everyday. It's pretty tarnished right now, as you can see. I had the inspiration one late night while coming across a bollywood movie on tv. The female lead had the most exquisite headdress! I never found out the name of the movie or the actress so I had to improvise. I made it out of sterling silver sheet with clear and purple cz stones. At the time, I didn't know what they were called. I've since learned they're 'tikkas' and are traditionally worn by the bride or at special occasions. I hope you can kinda see how I wore it in the pic. It's the only wedding pic I have digitally (!) I know, I still have to scan them ... Some shout outs: dress made by Mom, hair styling by sister Saca and dahlias picked from Dad's garden and arranged by sister Carla. Hell yeah I put everyone to work!