Tag Archives: silversmith

Magic Hour.

18 Mar

Sunset

Originally uploaded by CleverGirlBek

In another lifetime I worked with film and I am still obsessive about the glow of magic hour…

I try to bring that sort of light to my metalwork, at every opportunity. I love contrast. I love making, by hand and with only a couple of tools, thrones for vintage plastic bits… Glass is lovely as well, and occasionally I do work with glass, but I’m forever in love with the jewels of our grandmothers and bringing them back into the light…

I love dark metal and vintage Lucite in various degrees of translucence… This piece is a matte finish deep tangerine. In this setting, with this contrast, it actually reflects light and appears to be lit, just a bit, from behind…

It glows.

Just like the earth during the warm flirtation of the sun’s angle at magic hour….

Magic Hour will arrive shortly, in my shop.

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Green Apples

13 Mar

Green ApplesOriginally uploaded by CleverGirlBekEvery time I see these my mouth starts to water… I bought a pound of green apples yesterday (washed and sliced and ready to go) because of these earrings… Even though the color is a bit deeper, more of a lime, the contrast reminds me of freshly sliced apples…Yum. Fresh and springy and you can find them in my shop

Labelmaker

12 Mar

Off the deep end….

Originally uploaded by CleverGirlBek

Ok. So I was talking to someone yesterday and I was explaining the steps I have been taking, or attempting to take, in reorganizing the household so there are less distractions to send boy and me into our personal ADD spirals…. So my side of the conversation went something like this:

“I bought small plastic containers”

“They stack”

“I bought a bunch of them. Everytime I go to the store they have more in the same color. I’m not even a big green person- more into blue, which they had…Anyway. I bought a bunch”

“And I bought a label maker”

“This project has been going on for a month. I have a tower of plastic containers with green latches in my living room. I’m going to put everything in plastic containers and label it so it’s out of sight but I can still find stuff” (note: true to a life of ADD and being the creative sort I tend to leave things out because for me, out of sight=out of mind and leaving things out typically means I do eventually finish them but it also means that we have tons of visual clutter which would be distracting for a person without ADD/ADHD….Hence the reorganization)

At this point I confess the following.

“The label maker is put away. I made a label for it that says ‘LABEL MAKER’.”

And it is at that point that we both start laughing, hard.

The truth is that I have been having a hard time with my ADD and fatigue and a whole host of health issues…

And of course, boyo comes first- always. So now I’m staring at a pile of information about how to help him, how to help me help him, how to help the teacher help him, how to explain all of this stuff to his grandparents, and a sizable pile of how to help me. Because if I can’t focus at all, I can’t very well help him.

So today I went in and dug around and found some more suggestions on being a productive adult with ADD.

Those of you that know me, know that I work my arse off and I always have and I always will, it’s my nature. I do, in fact, get things done.
But what I cannot do is focus. Have a conversation with me in person and you will find that my brain likes to take detours. Trying to complete a task as simple as getting a cup of coffee in the morning can often turn into a 2 hour event, if it happens at all. Most folks have blinders that they don’t even think about- that ability to get out of bed and get the cup of coffee. They can tune out the things that derail me in my attempt at having just a regular morning. Everything has a million steps and points at which I can be pulled off of my track. I do many things exactly when they occur to me and it takes every bit of strength not to be derailed from one tiny task, and then I’m wiped out if it gets done at all…I’ve had other artists ask to come hang out- to have fun and to learn from each other,  I’d love that, but I can’t function with more distraction, and I’m a little shy about my visual clutter and my mad scientist work style…  I did function, for years, in office situations.  Surprisingly, many of my jobs in the past have involved organizing other folks.  But that was before the many things that make my ADD more symptomatic… I do manage to get my orders out on time, but instead of completing them in one simple swoop I have been finding that having more of a schedule/to do list of every part is necessary and while it only takes me a few minutes to get an order out (ready to wear pieces) those few minutes are quite broken and scattered across the day…

But as long as the label maker box has a label that says label maker on it and the label maker is in the box, then everything will be A-O.K., don’t you think….

(hubby just came back in the room and said “what’s up kid?” and that’s all it takes for me to be knocked off the track….eeeeek. I’ll post this anyway, even though I’m pretty sure it didn’t go where I intended it to….)

*hugs*
b

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.

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 

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