Sunday, March 30, 2008

i'm still here

Don't worry, I didn't fall off the face of the earth. I've just been in major production mode. Lots of orders to go out next week...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

layers of pattern

I always love the way Anthropologie layers pattern in their catalogs.

melting spoons

I accidentally melted these measuring spoons in the dishwasher, and my first thought was "I should send them to Corey."

This should explain why.


I gave a little chain-making demo in one of my classes yesterday. It's one of my favorite demos to give - I just love all the endless possibilities for making chain.

Friday, March 21, 2008

trying something new

Just listed in my Etsy shop!

packing orders

It's amazing how something as simple as printed labels can make you feel instantly more professional.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


This before and after on design*sponge today really made me smile. Finally, someone with a house that was worse than ours when we bought it! (That's a picture of our kitchen when we first bought it. Our house was a bank foreclosure.)

Sadly, we're not quite to the point of being a stunning after, but this post makes me really motivated to work on the house more.

what I'm reading

I've been slowly picking my way through The Small-Mart Revolution for the last month now, but it feels really relevant to my post yesterday. I really like the premise that small, locally owned companies can combat globalization and make a positive contribution to the local economy.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

a certain kind of business

Another long day in the studio, with a lot on my mind. So bear with me...

I've been thinking a lot about the kind of business I would like to have, and I'm realizing that in order to get to this, I may have to do some slightly more formal things. Like writing a business plan. So, I'm going to attempt to begin to verbalize some of my goals.

When I daydream about the kind of business I'd like to have, it certainly isn't a one woman show slugging away in my garage. Several years ago, I read an article about a handbag designer who moved to the Blue Ridge Mountains and set up a small workshop - employing local women in the creation of upscale handbags. This wasn't labor exploitation, rather she was providing gainful employment and teaching a skill to women who may not have found a good job otherwise. This idea has really stuck with me - a business making positive contributions to a local economy by teaching hand skills and providing good employment. This is the kind of business I want.

I've also been thinking a lot about the idea of teaching, and I've come to the following conclusion - I don't have to be in a classroom to teach. My experience having interns (hooray for my awesome interns!) has shown me that I can teach and mentor people in a work environment. I also feel like I can learn a lot from the people I surround myself and my business with. I'd like to keep this spirit of teaching and learning as an important component of my business.

One of my biggest design icons is Tord Boontje. I just love how his clear aesthetic pervades every product he designs. When people ask me what I want to be, I say Tord Boontje. While I have no intention of copying him directly, what I really want is a business where I'm creating both jewelry and home goods that have a strong and cohesive aesthetic.

That's all for tonight, sorry it's a little disjunctive. Thanks for listening!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

and speaking of San Francisco...

A while back, I alluded to an opportunity that developed at New York Gift. Well, I'm finally ready to spill the beans. I was invited to participate in a jewelry trunk show at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art!

I'm so psyched! I've never been to San Francisco before, and I've convinced Joe to come with me and spend a couple of days site-seeing. So in April, its off to San Francisco. I have a (long) list of things I can't wait to see, but in the mean time, if anyone has any suggestions of things for us to do, I'd love to hear them!

rare device

Just a quick post to let everyone know that you can now find my silver on steel rings at Rare Device San Francisco.

(And yes, I'm jumping up and down at the fact that Rare Device is now carrying my work!)

american craft

After several days of teasers, I finally received the newest issue of American Craft Magazine in the mail yesterday. I've been totally impressed with the re-design, and particularly like this issue's focus on craft and industry.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the type of business that I want to have, and this issue has really given me some things to think about... (more on that later, I'm sure.)

Monday, March 17, 2008

production mode

A big batch of my long leaf chain, in progress.

Its spring break this week, so I didn't have to teach today. This is great because (a) I have a ton of orders I'm working on and (b) I'm sick. Ok, back to the studio, hopefully my sore throat goes away soon.

Friday, March 14, 2008

a consuming desire

I seem to be blogging a lot recently about exhibitions I've seen and the work of other artists. Hopefully it makes up for the lack of interesting stuff being made in my studio. (What am I working on, you ask? Mostly order fulfillment. But I digress...)

Last night, I went to the opening for April Wood's graduate thesis, A Consuming Desire. April was the only graduate student when I started teaching at Towson, and she made my transition so much easier. April's thesis explores peoples' relationships to food, eating, and sexuality. Her exhibition was a lovely installation incorporating metal, gut, beeswax, vintage furniture and linens, and food stuff. Congratulations, April!

To view more images of April's work, visit her flickr site.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Just a quick little sketch to share before I run out the door for April's opening.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

what I'm reading: why we buy

I've been attempting to read a lot of books lately, so I thought I'd start a little mini-series sharing my current reads.

I'm almost done Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping by Paco Underhill, and I have to say its been really insightful. Underhill breaks down how store layout, placement of merchandise and signage all affect whether or not someone buys something. I've gotten so many little tidbits that could improve my craft show booth. This is definitely a must read for anyone who sells their own work!


I just wanted to say hello and welcome to any new readers who arrived either through SNAG or Annie's excellent discussion. Thanks for stopping by! (And feel free to introduce yourself in the comments section.)

I'm also happy to report that you can now view all my photos from Savannah here.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

in response...

Annie's post yesterday, and its subsequent comments, really got me thinking. So I thought I would post my response here.

I consider myself in a unique position. I come from an academic background and came up entering the traditional craft world - I have a BFA and an MFA both in metalsmithing, I participate in SNAG, co-wrote an article for Metalsmith, and I recently participated in the ACC Baltimore show. But I also participate in the indie craft world - I have a blog, an Etsy shop, and last year did 5 indie craft shows.

In thinking about why I seem to straddle the fence, perhaps it's because neither community seems to fully meet my needs. I like the sense of history and tradition that I get from the "established" craft community, and admittedly, its nice to be in a group where my seven years of higher education mean something. (I'd like to think I didn't waste my time during those seven years.) But I like the energy, enthusiasm, and creativity in the indie community that comes from both the makers and the consumers. My work is the same no matter which community I am in, and so I guess at some point last year I decided just to keep making my work, and fit it in anywhere, regardless of labels.

My experience at the SNAG conference was very positive, because the overall impression I got was "we are not alone." I met a number of young makers who are not concerned about where they fit into these boundaries, but instead are forging a path that works best for their work and their desired lifestyle. (Amy Tavern is a great example of this.) But I met many others who are confused - they aren't sure they fit into the established craft world, but feel they are over-trained and over-priced for the indie craft community. (A stereotype Bruce Metcalf reinforced in his presentation.)

I hope that is next generation of makers aren't discouraged about what went on at SNAG, but rather feel empowered to take control of the organization and mold it into something that helps define our careers and our identities over the next several decades. SNAG is ripe for a changing of the guard, and we can be that group. And I hope that same group continues to participate in indie venues as we work to educate the consumer (and the outside community) about the high level of craft and innovative work that can be found in the indie community.

I just want to end by quoting one of my students. When I asked her what she thought about the Bruce Metcalf/Andrew Wagner lecture, she said, "I didn't know there was a difference between traditional craft and alt-craft, I just thought it was all craft."

Now, if only we all saw it this way.

Monday, March 10, 2008

green pop!

Today is the first day of green pop! Poppytalk Handmade's new monthly market, in which I am participating. There is so much great stuff in the market, including these plates by Beehive Kitchenware.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

what happens at SNAG

...stays at SNAG. (Unless you've got a room full of people taking pictures.)

I'm about to board a plane home, but SNAG was a blast. I can't wait to go home and get back into the studio.

Above: Phil and Doug duke it out at the final night party.


I feel like I'm blogging about the conference in reverse order, but I'm just trying to get everything down.

On Wednesday I spoke about blogging and web 2.0 at the Professional Development Seminar. Overall, it was a great event. I think people were really excited about all the information that was presented. Thanks to everyone who came out, and especially those who introduced themselves!

It was great to spend time with fellow presenters Marthe Le Van of Lark Books, Ivan Barnett of Patina Gallery, and Amy Tavern (pictured above). Amy spoke on new trends and indie opportunities, and I though her presentation was a nice compliment to mine. Amy also has a blog, so check that out as well.

conceptual metalsmithing

While at SNAG, I had the chance to talk to Gabriel Craig, who I met briefly at ACC. Gabriel is a grad student at VCU, and writes an excellent blog called Conceptual Metalsmithing. Gabriel's blog turns a critical eye at what is going on in our field, and is definitely a must read.

In addition, Gabriel is seeking submissions - so if you've got a burning topic to discuss, contact him at gabriel.craig(at)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

fun at the jepson center

Today we went to the Jepson Center for the Arts to see the exhibition titled Contemporary Jewelry: Channels of Communication. This exhibition included work by perennial favorites Tina Rath and Manfred Bischoff.

Then we stumbled into an area called ArtZeum - a hands on area designed to appeal to kids (and metalsmiths). With places to draw and make magnetic sculpture, this area certainly gave me some thoughts on how to stimulate creativity in the studio.


Our last stop on the gallery tour was the Art/Industry exhibition, curated by Don Friedlich, at the Pinnacle Gallery. This was an exhibit of artists using industrial processes such as laser cutting and rapid prototyping. This was a small exhibition, but really showcased how some of these industrial processes are coming into their own.

I really enjoyed the laser cut mylar jewelry of Gabrielle Fitzgibbon. (We actually ran into Gabrielle at the exhibition, nicely modeling her own work.)


At the SNAG Juried Student Exhibition, one of the artists who generated a lot of buzz (and rightfully so) was Allyson Bone. Her layered, oxidized sterling pieces have a blend of ornament and kitsch that feels very contemporary.

I was equally impressed by the vessels of Allyson's University of Iowa classmate Jillian Moore.

Jennifer Wall's felt and sterling pieces appeared to be popping up all over SNAG - including the student show.

And finally, Anne Fiala's laser-cut vessel was another strong piece among this year's student work.


Last night was the SNAG gallery tour. We actually hit up on of the of the exhibitions - Materialistic at the Whitney Gallery - a little earlier in the day. This was a must see for me in order to check out this brooch by Margaux Lange, one of my favorite people.

I was really impressed by this brooch made of cupcake sprinkles by Kristi Sword.

Kristi also has images of some amazing site-specific installations on her website as well.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

grave tiles & design studios

Today was the most beautiful day in Savannah, far too nice to sit in lectures all day. This morning we went to Bonaventure Cemetery, where I became enamored with these "grave tiles." I'm trying to track down information, but its definitely scarce. I took a number of pictures at the cemetery, that I'll be posting later.

In the afternoon, we went to check out SCAD's Working Class Studio which is housed under an old bridge. It was great to see a functioning design studio run in a large part by students (and some dedicated alumni).

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

greetings from Savannah!

I arrived in Savannah yesterday (my first time on a plane in 5 years!) for the annual SNAG conference. While there are definitely some lectures I'm interested in, I'm even more excited about the chance to explore the city with Annie.

This afternoon, I'll be presenting about navigating the web 2.0. Wish me luck!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

new friends, part 1

I just wanted to share a few of the great artists I met during ACC wholesale days.

Heather Guidero (who I was lucky enough to trade with)

Rhonda from Figs & Ginger

Ananda Khalsa

Miel-Margarita Paredes