Tag Archives: glass

Glass Butterflies and adoption….

6 Feb

Glass Butterfly for Sarah’s Wedding….Originally uploaded by CleverGirlBek None of my formatting is holding… Off to explore a fix for it… But here’s my post anyway….   I made this piece for my little sister, who is getting married (eloping! woohoo!) this weekend… This piece, and Sarah (my sister) mean so much to me for so many reasons…. Some of you know that I am, or was, an only child for 30 years…. Some of you know that I was also adopted into my family at 3 weeks old…Two years ago, just before Christmas, I got an email that started something like “I think I may be the person you have been looking for”… A couple of weeks later I received a sweet card from another woman I had never met that was supposed to arrive, I think, before that startling email but because I forgot to change my address on that one online registry, it took the scenic route…They found me. My birthmom, Julie, and my little sister, Sarah. They found me.After a near match with a possible biological father and his sister (that proved heartbreaking all around, it wasn’t a match but I still occasional email with my not-really-my-aunt but still so wonderful) I finally just let my desire to find a biological relative cool off…. I figured that it wasn’t meant to be… Arizona (where I was born in 1975) and NY (where the adoption was finalized and where I was raised) have rules on searching and records and releasing even non-identifying information that excluded me completely from receiving even pleasantries from either state agency…. The adoption lawyer, Stanley Michelman, has long since left law but had been working on cataloging all of the old files and promised to keep in touch…I just let everything go. I lost hope, but not in a hanging my head low sort of a way…I really let go and moved on without another thought…. For the first time in 30 years I didn’t totally lose my marbles on my birthday. Ok I didn’t celebrate either, but I wasn’t a complete mess like I had been every year since I was a kid and it dawned on my, on that day, that someone that I didn’t know might be thinking of me, someone that I didn’t know might have blanked me out of there mind, someone that I didn’t know might just not care, and that someone that I didn’t know carried me around with them for 9 months and just gave me away- and from the story that I knew, of my adoption, they kept me for 3 weeks and then still decided to give me away. While I know the true story now, and learning it has been a long, intense healing process for all of us involved, it’s really hard having that one day a year and not wanting to get out of bed, and having nobody (at least nobody I knew pre-wide spread internet use) else who could understand….So they found me. Not only was there one person who thought about me on my birthday, she thought about me more than that… In fact, I quickly learned, I have four siblings that were all raised knowing that they had a big sister out there in the world somewhere.Imagine wishing every year, as a child, that Santa would bring you a sibling and then 30 years later, after abandoning that wish, you get a Christmas card from a sister you didn’t know you had. Yeah. Intense. Between the email from my biomom, and the many emails that have followed, and the letter she sent in a Christmas care package and my sister Sarah’s card and letter I was a mess. I was a happy mess, but I couldn’t stop crying long enough to say a single word. The decision my birthmom made to give me up when she was 17 years old did change our lives forever. I was always told, when I took my parents for granted, which all kids do, “Imagine if ‘she’ kept you, what your life would be like”…. But there was no imagining with me- I never imagined any of it. I was a creative and imaginative kid, but I never let my brain go there. It’s probably the one thing in my life where I have never said “what if….” and maybe that was a saving grace at times….The decision my birthmom made to find me (she searched for so long and then boom, one night, there was my information…we were so accidentally close at times- she worked in the same company as my parent’s next door neighbor who adopted twins around that time so my mom and I were discussing the whole adoption thing with that neighbor while in the next state my birthmom was working away and wondering….) was perhaps more life changing. The loose ends have been tied up. The questions have been answered. My heart and soul have healed so much. Being given up at birth by your mother is known in adoption as “the primal wound”. That primal wound will always be a part of me, but it is more of a scar these days….Slowly fading and sinking into the skin….And I have siblings.Sarah, who is the oldest of their family, and I are very close…. She came to visit last year and it wasn’t weird or awkward like everyone assumed it would be. There was this calmness, this familiarity, this connection…. Like you have with your oldest friends- you know the ones, you lose touch for awhile, life goes on, and then somehow, someway you reconnect down the line and it’s like not a day has passed, except there are some new tales to tell…. Anyway, Sarah is getting married this weekend….Her/our grandma passed away a few years ago and she and Julie still talk about her and still have a hard time with her passing- understandably so, from what I have heard she was an amazing woman…. She collected glass and crystal for years and loved butterflies…. Sarah mentioned a few times that she wanted to incorporate butterflies somewhere in her wedding….When Sarah was visiting us here in Florida awhile back we went for a nice slow drive through this local nature preserve…. We got out of the car to take pictures and a single, beautiful monarch butterfly followed us around. It felt like the past, and Sarah’s grandma, was saying that everything was good. And it was….It is good.  There are hard days and moments still, but it is so much easier to weather them with so much love around me.   So I made this piece for Sarah….She should be getting it today, before they leave on their drive to the Smokey Mountains for their wedding weekend… Sarah and Greg are doing their wedding in a way that is a perfect match for them- surrounded by peace and quiet and nature and soft sounds…. I am so proud of her and can’t wait to meet Greg in person (although he and Jeff look and act so much alike it’s kind of crazy sometimes)….So this is a vintage, glass butterfly…The theme and material borrowed from the memory of her/our grandma…. Set in sterling silver, by me…..With love…. A connection to the past brought to current times….Congrats little sister! I am forever in awe of you.

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This and that and Industrial Sunshine.

25 Jan

CitronOriginally uploaded by CleverGirlBek Eeep. None of my format is keeping…. So this looks like it came straight from my brain! (I’m the queen of the run-on… I had a prof in college tell me I was “comma-tose”….) Sorry :-)  My love of juxtaposing opposites is endless….Even when the differences are more subtle or cerebral…I love mixing natural and manmade materials (silver and plastics)…. Different textures…. Different colors and shades…. Old and new…. Most of my pieces have a marriage of opposites – it’s part of who I am and has always been a part of my art… I would say that less than a handfull of my pieces that have this dynamic were intentional at the get-go… Often the details that comprise the contrasts, are only revealed to me at the very end or close to the end. On occasion, I’ll have a piece that is technically finished but I’m not getting that giddy, goofy jumble of excitement fluttering around my belly. That lack of feeling is a sure sign that a piece is not done. Around a quarter of my more intensive pieces (those that demand bezel settings and handmade chain) are put in a tin to await additional inspiration….There’s no rush. These are typically not custom or made to order pieces.These are typically new designs and they just need a little push from me… I like to explore and I love the way this scenario works my brain. I also like to follow my pieces wherever they want to take me during “the build”… Often I’ll have a satin, semi-satin, brushed, or completely matte finish in mind when working on a piece but when I get to that point my gut pushes me on- I want to make sure I’ve made the best creative choice for a piece- so most piece in the finishes I’ve mentioned above have actually been brought to that finish and then painstakingly finished to a mirror shine- which for me acts as a blank canvas for whatever final finish I come to… I apply the tiny scratches and rub with sandpaper a little bit at a time- like a painter laying paint and pushing it around a canvas… The picture here is of my Citron earrings- which I also make in other colors…. This is one of those pieces of contrast- matte and shiny, light and dark, sunny and cloudy… A little industrial sunshine for all of you….This style is near and dear to my heart because it required a whole bunch of problem solving…The problem? How to make sterling silver chain where one link was glass and not have the glass shatter or become weak from thermal shock on the way up (torch soldering) or the way down (just cooling) without a kiln…. Hmmmm….Sure I could have just left the rings open- even a paper thin gap in the ring closures would have held the glass ring secure, but that would have been too easy… I’m in this to learn, to explore, so I pressed on…Tried a few different ideas (top secret, of course) and finally a durable answer (durable in regular wear…the yellow rings are glass after all…a sharp smack onto a marble floor is not considered regular wear…although I did drop my pair on tile and they were fine)…And I think the look is pretty fantastic… Links of hammered sterling silver (in a heavier gauge than usual- your lobes won’t notice the extra weight- it’s more visual than anything…Wires are still standard gauge) with a link of fabulous glass (yellow! green! cobalt! a milky carnelian that is just fabulous! gray! black!)…. Ok. Enough of my babble for today… Going to run to the store for some mini-ravioli’s for boy’s dinner…. (I put a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a pan, heat it a little bit, and then gently slide in some frozen mini raviolis (mini- seriously less than 1cm square) -carefully so there is no splatter…. then cook until they start to brown/toast….let cool slightly…. mmmm. yummy. it’s pretty much the one food boy requests aside from chocolate milk…) Oh and there are a few new pieces in the shop  Happy Friday!B 

Miss Parker and the learning curve

22 Jan

Miss ParkerOriginally uploaded by CleverGirlBekOk.First of all…Voila. Vintage glass pistols on a pink backdrop, set in silver by yours truly…I had a bit of an obsession with the film Bonnie & Clyde for some time (around the same time as my The Graduate obsession…still love both but I’m focusing on other things and I’m not searching for a film history topic these days)…. So I named this after Miss Bonnie Parker… Although Dorothy Parker possibly could have appreciated this…I have only done a few of this rounded rectangle shape in my metal career…This is, by far, I feel the best um execution thus far… The rounded rectangle is surprisingly, more of a learning experience than I ever would have anticipated…. Truthfully? When a project doesn’t go the way I really want it to go and become a happy accident- when I’m not 120% excited about the final piece, or even sometimes I’ll become disenchanted whilst putting on the finishing touches, it has almost always been my experience with the dread rounded rectangle … But no more. I will not waste another moment on procrastination of jumping on the rounded rectangle horse once more. I figured out the final detail – the key- and I hope I am not jinxing myself here by saying that my future attempts at rounded rectangles shall be triumphant! (cue victory music… maybe “we will rock you”….hmmmm).So here it is…And out it shipped this morning…. I will, of course, be making another one (possible another 2) in the future….So keep your eyes peeled, there may be more of this general shape in my shop soon! Woohoo!

Rainy 4th…

4 Jul

It has been raining on and off all day. We desperately need the rain down here in SW Florida to hopefully keep anymore gigantic fires at bay. I hope people use their melons tonight and are more on the safe side of things as far as fireworks go (but I’m not holding my breath :-)

Alex is so excited about seeing fireworks that I’m amazed he’s sleeping right now but we had a busy morning/afternoon visiting with my folks (my dad is in town for the week) and going to the little eatery and shopping area near their home… There was a “Most Patriotic Dog” costume contest so the place was a mix of the usual folks we know from Mom and Dad’s development and then people who are obviously “dress up your dog like a small child and parade them around in hopes of winning a prize” veterans (complete with camping chairs and coolers and outfits to match what they’d decked out the dogs in)…

It was interesting. It was mostly a bunch of chihuahuas in denim. There were a few older dogs (including a 14 year old poodle who I was cheering for), a beautiful leggy great dane (they painted his white spots in blue and red…yeah. pretty disturbing.), but then out of nowhere comes this sweet cottonelle commercial yellow lab puppy. Cuteness in a little furry package. Wagging his tail. An American flag on a stick in his mouth. Sunlight glinting off his blond fur.

Yeah. The cute blond won. Like I didn’t see that coming from a mile away. Sheesh.

Anyways- made these last night… I made a similar pair in February and it just blows my mind how much my style and skill set has changed since then. These are completely different earrings from the original set (I’ll find a pic of the old ones when I get a moment)…. Spent some time on these yesterday and had a ball. It was a long (napless for Alex and me) day and I definitely was in the mood to play with my doming set and my mallet and a weight was lifted as soon as I fired up the torch…

Stay cool…

21 Jun

Stay as cool as I know you really are…

If you have met, or know me, outside of the internet then you know I have hair. A ton of hair. I have long, thick hair which I love for the most part. What I don’t like (aside from a bottle of conditioner only lasting for 6-8 showers) is the heat. Hair this big is like wearing thermals, with a thick wool sweater, and a fleece all at the same time.

So I have a collection of craptastic plastic claw clips that frequently break under the extreme conditions of “Bek’s Hair” and I’m forever buying new clips on every grocery trip. I have pony tail holders which I love but during the summer pigtails or a simple ponytail are still so hot I practically wilt (but that’s usually how I wear my hair all winter long)…

I also have this chronic problem misplacing common household/office items- namely reading glasses and writing implements. And yes, dear reader, you are correct! 9 out of 10 times the glasses are on my head or slipped over my shirt collar and why yes! that is a Pilot gel roller ball in my hair!

So between all this, and the arrival of some lovely new beads I have started making hair sticks. Hairsticks don’t work for everyone- but for my thick, long, wooly mane they are perfect. They are absolutely no fuss- especially for me as I’m typically not the up-do type. I now have an embellished set just for me in a mug near my soldering station. I just twist my hair up in the back, slide in the sticks and voila. Cool. Comfortable. Elegant. and a little different from the other sticks I have been seeing lately…

Now if I could just stop taking the sticks out to gaze at them I’d probably move on to the next project….

Seen in this post are two pairs I made that can be found in my Etsy shop (completely new and unworn, of course… I kept looking at them longingly and wondering if I should or could keep them so I made myself similar styles so the rest of the world can benefit from these pretties…)

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