Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Finally, some new stuff

I've finally had a few spare moments to get back to experimenting with colored pencils and tinted resin. On the left is Sunny the Sun Conure, who lives with my parents is and is like a third sibling. It's my mom's xmas gift. This quick snapshot doesn't really do the pieces justice, I'm quite pleased with both of these and I'm looking forward to doing more with this technique. I used to love to do drawings with Prismacolor colored pencils, so I'm excited about incorporating them into my current work.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Here's another oldie! This one was carved in wax and then cast in sterling silver by me at the Santa Rosa Junior College. There are pin findings soldered on the back.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More old stuff

Here's another oldie, from the same time as the rhino. This one is a combination of casting and fabrication. The gorilla was carved in wax and cast (by me!) in sterling. The box he's sitting in was entirely fabricated from sterling sheet, meaning I cut it out with a saw and stamped (or chased, as it's known as in the biz) all the detail in will various steel chisels and punches. Then the whole thing was soldered together and finished. Ack! That was alot of work! It, too, is fairly huge and doesn't really work as jewelry, but is kind of cool as a little diorama.

As I was editing the photo, I looked up from my monitor here at work (shh, don't tell please!) and on the wall is an enlargement of the original photo I used to carve the gorilla from! He's a big silverback that I saw in 1989 in what was then Zaire and is now the Congo. The photo was taken with a 50mm lens, not a zoom. He was less than 10 feet away from me. I hope the big guy is still around.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Really old work

I thought it would be fun to show some of my really old pieces, dating back to when I was learning silversmithing in the early 90's. My favorite way of working back then was repousse', which involves sheet metal (in my case usually sterling silver), a bowl of pine pitch, a hammer and assorted chisels and punches. You heat the pitch up with a torch, put the metal in and start hammering out your form from the back. You have to pull the piece out of the pitch and anneal it fairly often, so it's a very time consuming process. The pitch supports the piece but is soft enough that you can create form in the sheet. Once the form was starting to develop, I would turn it over and work from the front, adding all the lines and detail (known as chasing) with fine chisels. And then anneal it, flip it over and work from the back more. And then anneal it and flip it over and work from the front. On and on. I quite like this Rhino, but not as jewelry since it is HUGE - about 3" across. The second photo is of the back, so you can see how it was hammered.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

New Technique

Phew, I have been BUSY lately! But not too busy to experiment, this cardinal is my latest. The color is done with a combination of Prismacolor pencils, tinted resin and clear resin. I'm pleased with the result, and now the squirrels in my brain are spinning with new possibilities for adding color to my stuff!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Professional vs DIY

I spent two full days last week working with photographer Timm Eubanks, shooting product for my day job. Here is a professional studio photographer's set up:

He shoots with a $20k (that is not a typo!) large format digital camera that is controlled with a computer. Conversely, here is my stove top DIY jewelry photo studio:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Mental health day!

Today I took a very much needed mental health day off from the day job. And even though the weather is spectacular (sunny and at least 80!) I happily sat at my work bench from 8 until now (5pm). I got so much done! I finished up some pieces I started last night, made some new stuff, fired it all, did final finishing on some previously fired stuff and still have the entire weekend ahead of me (concrete work, some bronze, more final finishing). It doesn't feel like work at all. And I'm not pissed off and grumpy like I am after spending 8 hours at the day job. Hmmmm......... I think it's time to start working towards quitting the day job and doing this full time.

Monday, November 10, 2008

What I like about making jewelry

This earring was found recently beneath a parking lot next to the walls of Jerusalem's old city. It's made of gold, emeralds and a big pearl and is thought to be Roman, from sometime between the 1st century BC and the 4th century AD.
A big part of what like about making jewelry is that humans have been making things to adorn themselves with since the beginning of time. I enjoy being part of that tradition, and love seeing the work of the ancients. It's truly amazing what they were able to do with the tools and materials that were available at the time.

Summer is finally over

I was walking down to the Whole Foods (or Whole Paycheck, as I like to think of it) and had my camera in my pocket. The trees are losing their leaves and everything is getting especially dried up and crinkly and interesting. This is one of the pictures I took - I think there's a piece of jewelry in there somewhere, I'm just not sure where yet! This is how I start my process.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

New etchings

Here are some newly etched brass plates - 3 new designs and a larger version of my little bird artwork which I am going to try on bronze. I use etched plates to make the impression in the clay which then gets oxidized (after the clay is fired) so the recessed areas become black. It's like a rubber stamp, only it's brass. You can get a tremendous amount of detail with etching, which I really like. And it turns out good nearly every time!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Etsy Metal Clay trunk show 10/30 4pm Pacific

Some of us from the Etsy Metalclay team will be doing a virtual trunk show in the Etsy Labs this Thursday, October 30, at 4pm Pacific time (7pm Eastern). There will be prizes, and I will be doing some sort of promotion (free shipping perhaps) for those who attend.

Just go to Etsy communities>virtual labs at 4pm pacific on the 30th, or use this link:
Click on the big green "treehouse" square and come on in! It's a live chat, and each artist will be showing and talking about 3 pieces. It's interactive so you can ask questions. There will be door prizes, discounts and promotions so stop on by! Meet the artists! Have all your burning questions answered! I will be presenting around 4:15.


I finished up the mushroom last night - it turned out pretty cute. I also finished 4 more oak trees, a silver and concrete leaf and some other things, so I'm awfully tired for a Monday. One of these days I'll get enough sleep.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Mushroom ready to fire

Here't the mushroom in clay form, ready to fire.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Autumn in Sonoma County

It looks pretty much like summer, only there is even more brown and some of the trees turn yellow and lose their leaves. Not spectacular like fall in New England or anything, but the 80 degree sunny days and cool nights make up for that!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New piece - start to finish

Here's a new piece I'm working on, although why I feel the need to do a mushroom is a bit of a mystery, but, whatever. I keep coming back to it so I figured I might as well go ahead and see how it turns out! I thought I'd share my process, so here are the initial scribbles:

Once I have an idea of the shape and how I might construct the piece, I move from paper and pen to Adobe Illustrator:

Once I have a rough drawing in Illustrator, I can resize it all I want (yay vectors!) Metal clay shrinks after it's fired (12% to 15%) and I can calculate this and get an idea of what the final size will be. I'm also still trying to decide if I should do the mushroom on a round background or not. I plan on making this in the coming days so we'll soon see if it turns out good or not!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Congratulations Kelly!

We had our last race meet of the season at lovely Buttonwillow raceway this past weekend. My boyfriend Kelly finished the season first place overall in 250 production and second place overall in Formula 2. That's him on the green bike with the other class champions that ran Dunlop tires. As for me, I'm just happy I finished the season!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Lulu Bug featured on Wishing Willow blog

Here's a really lovely post about my work:

The oak tree also made the Etsy front page today - yay! And it's been sold. The response I've had to this piece is tremendous, so more concrete trees are on the way. What a nice way to start a Monday!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Chief Eating Officer Clancy.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The head honchos at Lulu Bug Jewelry

Lily is the CFO (chief fun officer) and Lulu is the President
here at Lulu Bug Jewelry. Not pictured (yet) is Clancy, the
CEO (chief eating officer).

Friday, October 10, 2008

In the kiln right now

My trusty little kiln, at full sinter temperature
of 1650, in the living room

Here's what's in there

There was a time in my life when I'd feel like a total loser, sitting at home on a Friday night, but not any more! Now I am pleased that Kelly and I went out to eat early, and I'm sitting here with these pieces firing in the kiln, and a bunch of bronze in process on my bench. Get older is not so bad after all.

The above pieces are made using real seed pod/blossom thingys (I'm not a gardener so I don't know exactly what they are, only that they're cool) that are covered in MANY layers of paste made from pmc. I'll post an after picture if they turn out, and explain more about the process then. Enough of a break - back to work! I'd easily stay up till to 2am or later working on stuff, but I have to go to an 8am workout tomorrow so I have to get some sleep. Tomorrow night is a different story. I won't feel like a loser then either!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

New work

I was busy this weekend. Here's a bit of the work that I finished.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

New workbench!

My first treat to to myself after selling much better that I expected on Etsy was to purchase a real jeweler's bench. I've never had one at home before, but used to have a really nice one when I worked making high end gold jewelry. I was amazed at the amount of tools and other stuff I've collected in the last 11 months, so it took some time to get it set up how I wanted. I can pretty much find everything at this point too.

Here's what's on my bench at the moment:

There's concrete pieces and sparrows ready to fire tommorow, a bunch of stuff that is fired and will get finishe tomorrow, and pieces, parts, and things in still in the works.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Etsy Metal Clay team featured!

I'm a member of the Etsy MetalClay team, and we have been featured in an article today on the Etsy front page. Here's the link:
http://www.etsy. com/storque/ spotlight/ featured- etsy-team- etsy-metalclay- 2657/
It should be great exposure for all the team members!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Stan 1983 - 2008

My beloved old cockatiel Stan is now flying around heaven. I'm very sad and miss him terribly already.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Garage cleaning

Kelly decided it was time to get rid of one of the by-products of racing - the crashed helmets. They are so expensive (averaging $500 each) that you tend to hang on to them even though they are of no use anymore. Here are mine, lined up on my bike. After I took the picture, I remembered that there was still one more in the closet!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Faux Bone pieces

Here are my finished pieces from Robert's workshop. Very different from what I usually do! I really had a great time making these. I was able to let loose and experiment without worrying about the outcome. Working in a material that is not expensive is very freeing. Silver, especially PMC silver, is quite expensive these days, which makes it hard to do something completely experimental.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Robert Dancik workshop

I was fortunate to have attended a two day workshop last week with Robert Dancik, who was teaching how to use his Faux Bone product. FB is a plastic that you can do just about anything to. It's amazing stuff, but even more amazing was Robert himself! He is a truly gifted artist and wonderful teacher, and I got much more out of his class than I expected. I would take a class in floor mopping if he was offering it. Seriously! I hope to take photos tonight of the pieces I made, which are quite different than what I usually do.

Some Faux Bone examples:

The man and his glorious mess!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Art Therapy

My 25 1/2 year old cockatiel, Stan, has not being doing so well lately. In fact, I'm amazed that he is still here. 25.5 is VERY old for a cockatiel, the oldest my vet has seen is 21! I made myself this piece from a very cute photo of him, it was good therapy. He's getting lots of attention right now, and all his favorite foods - I'm grateful I have this time to dote on him. I've lived with Stan for over half my life!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New etched plates

Here are some newly etched brass plates. I use these to imprint on to the metal clay while it's wet. The fired pieces are then oxidized, and the black stays in the recessed areas, bringing out the image. This is the method I use for all my work. I hope to get pieces made from these plates listed tomorrow.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Another front page!

I made the front page again, and sold the piece almost immediately. Yay! I've got to make more concrete flowers pieces.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I made the front page!

I got to work this morning and discovered one of my pieces on the Etsy front page! Yay! The necklace featured went from 60 views to over 800 in about half an hour. Here's a screen shot:

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My first Etsy treasury

Etsy treasuries (found on the left side nav of the Etsy home page) are items picked by members, and are a different way to browse through the jillions of really cool things on Etsy. There are a limited number of treasuries at any time, so it's hard to get one. I got my first today though, and featured my fellow Etsy MetalClay Team members (who have done the same for me!) It's a suprisingly fun thing to do, and if you're lucky, your treasury will make the front page. Or even better, a treasury with one of your pieces makes the front page (you're not supposed to put your own work in treasuries you make). Here's a screenshot of mine.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Another giveaway!

Made it back from the races in one piece (both me and my bike!) but I'm tired and dehydrated. I'm participating in another blog giveaway - check it out and enter at scoutiegirl.com

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Off to the races

I'm off to Thunderhill this evening for 3 days of motorcycle racing. The photo is of me with my boyfriend Kelly behind me. It's fun, expensive and yes, dangerous, although crashing on a race track is far better than crashing on the street. There are workers in every corner to help you, and ambulances standing by should you get hurt.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I'm a member of the Etsy Metal Clay team!

I was accepted into the Etsy Metal Clay team - yay! You search do a search for emc and see all the work that has been tagged by our members. I need to go and edit my shop so my listings show up.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Here is my second batch of Bronzclay pieces, unfired. They look like terra cotta, but will transform into bronze after 9 hours in my kiln. I make quite a mess working with the bronzclay - with the silver clay every last crumb and speck gets saved to be resued, but since the bronze is considerably less expensive, the dust and filings get everywhere! The upside is that now my bench gets cleaned more regularly.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008

What's on my bench right now

Here's a bunch of work currently on bench - some pieces that are done and photographed, concrete pieces awaiting final finishing and concrete, and some just out of the kiln.


Well, seeing as I finally got my Etsy shop up and going, I could no longer put this blog off. I'm totally new to this (writing a blog that is, I love to read them!) so please bear with me as I figure it out. Here's a few things in my Etsy shop - I've got new stuff in all sorts of stages right now, I'll post new images when I have them done.