Pearls are the queen of gems...and the gem of queens." - Anonymous
Natural (or wild) pearls, formed without human intervention, are very rare. Many hundreds of pearl oysters or mussels must be gathered and opened, and thus killed, to find even one wild pearl; for many centuries, this was the only way pearls were obtained, which is why pearls fetched such extraordinary prices in the past.
One family of nacreous pearl bivalves – the pearl oyster – lives in the sea, while the other – a very different group of bivalves – lives in freshwater; these are the river mussels such as the freshwater pearl mussel.
Wire wrapping, not to be confused with wire sculpting, is my passion. What's the difference you ask? Well, I'll tell you.
Quick...which of these stones don't belong?
Trick question...none of them, because they're all turquoise!
We've all heard the phrase attributed to Oscar Wilde that "life imitates art far more than art imitates life". I don't know about that (one way or the other), but I do know that life inspires art. At least for me.
I go to the gym almost every day...my spin class is what keeps me sane (mostly). There is a monitor on the wall that rotates through the most beautiful photographs of nature and architecture, and it almost always makes me think of the beautiful gemstones I've got in my studio.
Recently, I finished my class and found my phone was still charged, so I took some pictures of the pictures and thought I'd share them and the stones/jewelry they inspire for me.
February is one of my favorite months because, Valentines Day...need I say more? And when I think of Valentines Day, I think of hearts, which are my specialty.
The other day I was browsing through my drawers of cabochons and beads. I organize them by type of stone--turquoise in one drawer, amber in another, pearls in yet another. And I noticed that even though I had the same stone in each drawer, each stone was uniquely different, yet distinctly part of the same family.
Then I was visiting at Kress Emporium in Asheville, where I have a booth, I noticed I had several Red Creek Jasper pieces and each stone is one-of-a-kind.
I know, I know. Back in June, I committed to creating out of my storehouse of cabochons and beads, and resist the gem shows (see the results of my labors here and here). I'm here to tell you I have fallen off the wagon! A gem show was just 10 minutes from my house, and I swear to you my car drove me there without me even realizing it (that's my story and I'm sticking to it).
Next thing I knew, I had a bag full of beads, cabs, and findings. And as I was looking at the spoils, I noticed that there seemed to be a theme of what makes my heart go pitter-pat: Busy-ness.
...about custom jewelry? It's one of my favorite things to do. Ever.
There is nothing quite as thrilling as having someone find their perfect gemstone (in my studio or out on their own) and working with them to create a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry that fits them to perfection. The process of designing a piece with another person is the ultimate collaboration of minds, and it never ceases to amaze me how it all comes together in just the right way every time.
(... IS NOTHING MORE THAN A SUMMER'S WAVE GOODBYE
My assistant, Kristen, told me in August that autumn had begun. Her neighbor's weeping willow tree had already turned yellow and dropped all of its leaves. I had trouble with the idea that the weeping willow knew (well before the weather turned chilly) that it was time to buckle in for winter. But here we are.
This past May, I made my annual pilgrimage to the William Holland School of Lapidary Arts in the mountains of Georgia. I usually go once a year to learn a new skill, but I realized this year that I didn't go in 2017, so that makes it not as annual as I may have wished.
The last time I went, I learned chain maille. This time I took it up a notch and learned to weave with wire.