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.