Monday, May 28, 2007

Hippies eat your heart out

Today I made these using citrine, goldfill, vermeil hoops and garnets.

And the technique?

Brick stitch!

That sound is the sound of a million horrid pairs of fringey hippie earrings screaming.

I hope I've redeemed the stitch a little from its usual fate.

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Milky Way

So I dragged a very dear friend to a bead shop the other day. I think he surprised the bead store people because he's
1. not my husband
2. totally not the bead store demographic - start off with the male factor and go from there...
3. could tell me what not to buy so fast it'd make your head spin (I need eyes other than my not so great ones to say "yes that's eye clean")

"Bead Shops? Hasn't this girl heard of wholesale?"

Yes, but there are times you do not or cannot do a 240 dollar strand of beautiful tourmaline droplets, even though it would be ideal and it's what you and all your customers would love.
I was out of clasps and I needed a one-off stone.

What I re-learned the other day is just how beautiful the highly underrated can be. While I was looking at chalcedony - admittedly pretty in its soft blue color, but just somehow not totally exciting, my friend found this banded agate.

"Did you know the vast majority of those are from Minnesota? Some from Russia, but most are local."

I'm terrible about the opaque stones. I find myself overlooking them often in favor of something sparkly, but often not as high a quality as I could get for the same price if I paid more attention to agates, better jasper, carnelian in its best form.

I loved this stone and knew it would be much more at home in my designs than a mediocre chalcedony. I loved it more because he told me about picking these up as a kid, his parents polishing stones for him in a rock tumbler when he was really little, the fact that this stone may possibly have been found, cut, and polished in Northern MN.

I think the top banding looks like a faint galaxy in the night sky. I added the ring for just a little fussy extra interest. And I re-photographed it this morning and added it to etsy. I wish I could drag him along every time I look at stones.

I've got my eye on these green garnets next, they'll look incredible with gold filled beads.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

About Ensō

So I'm probably better known for my costume jewelry line, Bombalurina. It's a fun, vibrant, and fabulous romp through design history, but it's not where I started and it's not all I do.

Beadweaving was my first introduction to jewelry, and my first love.

I spent the better part of a year doing nothing but beadweaving - learning and mastering the major stitches, making huge meandering freeform items, losing myself in the cheerful and eccentric color palettes of seed beads. I still love that kind of work.

Only I don't wear that kind of work.

I have infinite appreciation for intensive elaborate beadwork, and I've made my share of outsized collar necklaces. Even won at the Minnesota State fair - second place - not bad for a relative neophyte up against the likes of various people who have written many a book on how to bead. (Minnesota has a freakish claim to many of the major artists in the bead world - Nancy Eha, Diane Fitzgerald, Bonnie Voelker, need I go on?)

But I don't wear this type of jewelry.

I don't know what exactly motivated me to start weaving with small, expensive, little bits of metal on silk, and I strongly doubt that this was something no one else had thought to do, but if they have I don't know about it. Maybe it was the realization that my 2mm crimps are about the size of a delica bead. Maybe it was fretting over the fact that those plated delicas are going to rub free of plating if you wear those pieces every day (not that you would, but what if you could?)

My goal with Ensō is to create something modernist, minimal, elegant and more upscale, in complete contrast to my enjoyment of inexpensive and vintage materials as expressed in my costume line. Something modernist, minimal,timelessly chic, something I would wear without irony, to my best outings or my serious dinners.

This is jewelry I wear.

I never could reconcile the latent modernist in me with the junkhound. So I'm not going to try. This line has a wonderful specificity to it and I'm proud to put my name on it. This is my art.