This a special blog post because it's an announcement of something new, something I've had on my heart for a long time and am watching it finally take shape. My years of creative sketching, drawing and computer work have combined into a new venture.

In our technology age instant downloads from the web have become commonplace, and this applies to the world of art. It's no longer necessary to wait for an artist to ship his/her artwork to you after purchasing online. If it's a print you're looking for, now you can literally click, pay and print. In other words, it's printable art. This is attractive for both artists and buyers: artists no longer have to hold inventory or oversee the printing/shipping processes, and the buyer receives his purchase immediately with complete control over how the artwork is printed.

I love this aspect of our digital world.

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I've been slowly building a small collection of jewelry pieces to add to my Etsy shop. Most of them I had professionally-photographed, so that took a little extra time. But I'm happy to say nine pieces were listed today!

Sept-Shop-Update-Pieces-sm

(FYI - all the ones shown, with the exception of the copper chain bracelet and necklace, were captured by Leah Judway Photography. There is a huge difference between her photos and mine. She makes my jewelry look beautiful; I try and make it look beautiful. ;))

It's fun to see my work progress. From etching silver to forging chain to trying a design in a different metal, each of these pieces evolved from an existing design. And in some cases, it improved on the previous one. More ideas have sprung from these, so I'm anxious to get started on the next batch of designs.

Fall is in full-swing and this is going to be an extraordinarily busy season for me, in addition to the usual increase in holiday orders. But, I'm trying to remember to take it one day at a time and just enjoy each day that I'm given. And above all, to be *grateful* for the life I have. I hope the same for you.

~ Christina

Mixed Metal Teardrops

Aug 20, 2015

In:Jewelry

It's easy to get frustrated when a design doesn't go as planned, but if you push through, it almost always works itself out. I began these mixed metal teardrops with a completely different vision for the teardrop shape (I didn't plan on a teardrop at all), but I think the end result turned out even better. They are after a stacking ring I introduced early on with a similar copper accent. I may need to bring that ring design back; the one I wear still catches attention!

Mixed Metal Teardrops

I haven't worked with hand-formed chain too much before now, but I really enjoy the rich texture of hammered wire. When a thick gauge is used, it has a nice weight to it.

These are a couple variations of the "Pebble" theme. Made from copper and sterling silver, I go back to mixed metal jewelry time after time.

Pebble Necklace Mixed Metal Jewelry

Pebble Post Earrings Mixed Metal Jewelry

Light for Your Path

Aug 10, 2015

In:Faith

It's funny how you can read or hear a specific Scripture verse dozens of times, and suddenly it sinks in more deeply. This morning it was Psalm 119:105 - "Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path." I love the imagery of light piercing the darkness, of a warm glow straight ahead of me, directing the way. But the phrase that resonates in my mind is "your word".

It's God's word that lights our paths. Not our calendars. Not our work-schedules. Not our to-do lists. Not our hopes and fears. Not our ambitions. Not what is trending on Facebook. All of those solutions require us to do something, or be something, to navigate this often-times messy life. But God says all we need is His word. That's freeing, isn't it?

One of the best ways to experience this for yourself is to spend a few minutes, in the quiet of the morning, reading Scripture. This discipline builds a firm foundation for the rest of the day. Looking at that Psalm again, if we are in God's word it will light our paths. We will have assurance we are going the right way and can tackle whatever may come.

If you need direction I suggest using a daily devotional to help focus your thoughts. Lately, I have been reading Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence. At the bottom of each entry are Scripture references that you can look up in your Bible, on an app such as YouVersion, or a website like BibleGateway. If you are choosing a Bible for the first time, I recommend a translation that you can easily understand; my favorite is the New International Version (NIV). If this sounds like a lot, don't worry! Daily devotionals are typically short and only take a few minutes of time. If you can work through the struggle of getting started and make it a habit, you'll be glad you did.

In Job 11 it says if we devote our hearts to God, "life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning." (v. 17).

Light.

It's what God promises.

It's just for you.

Light

 

GreenLion Saw Frame

Aug 6, 2015

In:Jewelry

My favorite tools are the ones that are both functional and works of art. In my 4 years of making jewelry, there are only two in my arsenal that fit that description: a Fretz chasing hammer and most recently, a GreenLion saw frame.

I have needed to replace my saw for a long time. It consistently popped its blade no matter how many times I readjusted the tension or tried to realign the saw. This was disappointing; the saw was more cutting-edge (see what I did there) than the traditional jeweler's saw and was more expensive. When it held the blade it worked beautifully, but I had to hold my breath just *hoping* it would stay in tact until I finished my piece. Finally, I'd had enough. It became too time consuming and frustrating.

I researched new saws, unsure which one to get. I couldn't go with the same manufacturer of my old saw (even though the saws have since been redesigned), and I had heard mixed reviews of traditional saws. I remembered a buzz about this stylish, black, steel-frame saw last year and looked into it further. The consensus across reviewers was that it cut like a dream. Too good to be true? Maybe. But after a lot of research and thought, I decided to give it a chance.

Cure for the common jeweler's saw, yes?

GreenLion Saw Frame

My first attempts at sawing were clunky, but I realized it was because I didn't have the tension on the blade set correctly. Because the blade on this design is loaded more like a traditional saw (my old one wasn't), I had to re-learn how to set the tension. But that didn't take long; YouTube to the rescue. Once I had the tension nice and tight...

...sweet relief.

It does cut like a dream. Or like butter. You pick. And knowing that blade is firmly clamped down almost makes me cry.

The last thing worth mentioning is the weight of the saw. It's heavier than my old one and will take some getting used to, but the balance feels nice. I think I'm going to enjoy sawing much more from now on.

Metalsmiths: if you're like me and give a lot of thought to your purchases, my recommendation is that this saw is worth buying.

~Christina

P.S. If this review was helpful and you wish to support my website, treat me to coffee. Thanks so much!

While I think all of my pieces can be considered "art jewelry", polymer clay jewelry especially feels that way to me. It can take on any shape or form, and be any color desired. There are no artistic limitations with this medium.

When I began work on these earrings I had a specific idea in mind, but they turned into something entirely different. I experimented with various texturing tools (borrowed from my metalsmith collection no doubt) and then stumbled across the clay's desire to turn and bend and be more than just a flat piece of clay. So I went with it. The result was these organic pod-like, or even shell-like, forms. Made from white clay, they were given a cool gray-blue contrasting color.

I can see these in a larger size as well.

Polymer Clay Jewelry

Purchase these earrings right here in my online shop.

~ Christina

Since my recent drawing spree, I had been itching to break out my polymer clay stash just so I could play with color. I also had to break out my books on polymer for a refresher, but it didn't take long to remember how to work with it. I ended up with these textured earrings in light green turquoise and dark brown hues, my ode to summer. When Chad saw them his initial reaction was "mint chocolate chip", and I had to agree. So here are "ode to summer, mint chocolate chip" polymer clay earrings with handmade sterling silver ear wires.

Polymer Clay Earrings Mint Chocolate Chip sm

Polymer Clay Earrings Mint Chocolate Chip 3 smPolymer Clay Earrings Mint Chocolate Chip 2 sm

These earrings are currently available for purchase in my online shop here.

Mint chocolate chip ice cream anyone?

~Christina

In a previous post titled Act 2, I talked about growing pains my small business has been experiencing. One of them involves my pricing structure. It needs changing to allow for continued, sustainable growth.

When I look at all that's been accomplished over the past 4.5 years, and how my customers have supported me in providing artwork and jewelry, I am so thankful. My heart's desire is that I can continue in this creative profession for a long time. That means being able to reinvest in the business to purchase the tools needed to create more quality, handcrafted jewelry. It means being able to expand to more retail stores given the right opportunities, allowing customers to see my work before purchasing. It means being able to cover expenses like materials, tools, income taxes, web hosting fees, retailer commissions, and show fees without carrying debt. It means leveraging my business for good...to give generously to those in need.

When will the change occur? The price changes go into effect this Wednesday, July 1st. I'm giving you advance notice so that if you've been eyeing a particular piece, you'd have the opportunity to purchase it at the lower price before Wednesday. Please contact me should you have any questions.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

~ Christina

180 - Hammered silver heart dangle earrings 2

Sterling Silver Heart Earrings

 

Simplifying Drawing

May 1, 2015

In:Art, Drawing

Did you know that as a general rule, you have to know how to draw from life (i.e. keep it real!) in order to make simple, authentic drawings? It sounds counter-intuitive, but if an artwork looks simple to draw, it probably isn't quite so simple.

For four weeks, I've been drawing almost daily. It's noteworthy, because it's been several *years* since I've had a real fire burning for drawing. And now it's different. One of the reasons I quit drawing is because, creatively, I felt limited. I felt limited to drawing from compositions in photos and making them look realistic. If my only goal was to make a drawing look like a photo, what was the purpose of the drawing? Deep down I wanted to "draw outside the lines", but didn't know how. Working with metal was, and is, a welcome change from feeling stifled in that way. With jewelry I can create any shape and form imaginable, without trying to replicate something that already exists. So when the drawing bug hit again, and I realized I was only limited in my thinking, new doors opened wide. So much can be said through art! And there really is no limit if you know the basics. All that's required is inspiration and a lot of practice.

I went to the library and checked out a few drawing books to get started again...and simplify. These first 5 photos are sketching exercises I completed; some ended up with color, some didn't.

Rose

Pampas Grass

Trees

The sea lion is my favorite. :)

Sea Lion

Grapes

It helps to see how others work through a drawing, but that can only take you so far. It's necessary to explore on your own to find your own artistic voice. Now that I've cleared away the cobwebs, I've begun to do just that. And let me tell you, it feels GREAT to not be confined by a photo! This little illustration is titled "Hope Thrives Even When It Rains", inspired by April showers, and the emotional rain that pours down on all of us every now and then.

Hope-Thrives-Even-When-It-R

I've been using pencils since I have them on-hand, but soon I'm going to play with watercolor paints again, and maybe even alcohol-based markers.

There is just something special about simplicity.