Elements & Artifacts' Anniversary Celebration!

I’m excited to announce my new collection of work, not just because September has always been a pinnacle month for Elements & Artifacts in terms of the autumn/Halloween mindset, the size of my creative output, and the anniversary celebration swag…but because of what it took to get this collection in particular ready.

You see, in March I sprained my wrist in a random maple syrup bottle incident and, although I carried about the next few days as normal, it slowly dawned on me that something wasn’t quite right with my left (dominant) wrist. There was evidence of a ligament/wrist sprain, bruising on the median nerve, and a volar cyst. Instead of self-resolving with a little rest and TLC, it degraded into worsening nerve pain, swelling, and symptoms consistent with some random combination of Guyon’s canal, ulnar neuritis, and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I am finally seeing small improvements in my condition…six months, three specialists and two physical therapists later.

What started as a typically upbeat mindset faltered as the weeks turned into months with no improvement, which meant that returning to my usual pace of creative output was getting further pushed out to an undetermined point in the future. I tried shifting into art/illustration projects, but it was just as difficult for me to do as the metalwork.

During those first few painful months, I ruminated on my schooling and the momentum-driven 13-year development of my creative freelance business. What did this long break mean? Would I regain my momentum? Would I have to rebuild my clientele? Should I go back to school on an earlier timeline than anticipated? Re-learn a language I once knew well? I navel-gazed. I walked endless paths around my neighborhood. I pushed through dance classes despite the nerve pain. I laughed and cried. I had an identity crisis, which makes sense when my work is defined not by the medium but by my creative introspection and output: 35+ years of creating, halted by my wrist even for lazily meandering through a project to fill my time as a casual hobby. Who am I without art? How do I slough off the stresses of daily life without creative output, when that is my typical grounding point? Frustration and boredom set in. I languished.

And then? I picked my ass up and dusted myself off and realized that, no matter what life throws at me, I always eventually bounce. Resilience is my superpower! So here I am against several odds with a September collection ready to celebrate nearly 10 YEARS ON ETSY, with 7 of those years officially doing business as Elements & Artifacts. The existence of this collection is a triumph despite the fact that my wrist is not completely better, and despite the fact that I don’t know how much longer it will take. It is a product of works that were in varying stages of completion at the time of my injury plus a slow, careful, painstaking perseverance to finish those items while leaning heavily on the use of my non-dominant, uninjured hand.

The last of the human freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances. —Viktor Frankl

I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of you for your patience and for your new and continued presence. Thank you for your excitement, referrals, feedback, comments, and support over the years. Every single thing means so much to me and enables me to shape and grow this offbeat combination of intensely creative art, jewelry, and design work. 

Here is a list of things that kept me sane this summer:

  • My husband and daughter and all the joy, love, and chaos they bring.
  • A few lovely friends, who served as a sounding board and/or a fun social distraction at certain points over the past few months. 
  • Copious amounts of bad and not-so-bad TV.
  • Contemporary dance classes.
  • Walking, especially at dusk.
  • Sitting on the porch on languid summer nights. 
  • Brushing up on a language I once knew well.
  • The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer.
  • Dozens of TED Talks.
  • Everything Brené Brown has ever written.

 

Now for the goods! What are we celebrating? Elements & Artifacts officially turns 7 this month and the existence of concept jewelry (alongside my design and art work) will officially hit 10 YEARS next month!

To celebrate, I will be sending out swag, swag, and more swag! While supplies last, all September orders will arrive with a random selection of a custom line of luxury glycerin tablet soaps from PaintboxSoapworks. She has created a gorgeously synaesthetic cluster of scented gemstone soaps in garnet, ruby, emerald, sapphire, amber, amethyst, and moonstone.

While supplies last, you will also receive a random selection of gourmet caramels from Botanical Sweets & Treats of the Pacific Northwest. Featured flavors are caramel apple, vanilla bean, and sea salt.

I will also be sending out a random assortment of swag E&A stickers, pins, Elements & Artifacts pens, and mini reusable Sunshine Polishing Cloths to shine and polish your jewelry!

Domestic orders over $100 placed in September will receive a free upgrade to a Priority Mail flat rate box.

Everything will go live at elementsandartifacts.com on Wednesday, September 9 at 1:00pm Pacific. Thank you again for all your love and support! Happy September; it’s almost autumn!  

Ocean Myths Sneak Peek!

As many know, I am in the final stages of preparation for a major jewelry update! I will roll out a series of sneak peeks to break the monotony of photo-editing and uploading the information to Etsy.

This is Dione, the water goddess of creation, which was entirely hand sculpted out of fine silver. I used paint brushes to nudge and finess the details.



This is Lorelei, the Mermaid's Hair Fork. There have been many times over the years that I have randomly offered up hair combs or hair sticks in my shop. I thought to myself…why on earth haven't I released any of these now that my main focus is wire work? And so...



Once I see how the photo-editing and uploading process is going, I will make sure to announce an estimated release day and time! There will be at least a couple more sneak peeks before then. :)

Winter Stragglers

I just released my final jewelry collection of 2010!

These twenty items were slated for the Yule release but I couldn't quite fit them in due to time constraints. Over the past few weeks I have been finishing these up in the background. I like to call them my Winter Stragglers. :)







Each order placed in December will receive a FREE blank note card with either the Winter Solstice or Wheel of the Year artwork! As we approach holiday shipping deadlines, I will be giving out Priority Mail upgrades at my cost.

USPS states that the final safe date for international shipping deadlines (save for Express and Overnight) is December 13. The final safe date for domestic shipping deadlines (save for Express and Overnight) is December 20. I will hustle to get your orders out but cannot guarantee the timely arrival of your purchases after those dates.

Happy Holidays and warm wishes! Live well, love deeply, and be happy! Thank you all so much for such an amazing year.

Water Etching

I have been planning for some time to post some photos that show the water etching process that I have adapted as a signature element in my metal clay work. The example I've shown here is called Ice-Fire. I have combined both water etching and a ranged color patina to create a surreal one-of-a-kind pendant with a multi-hued snake chain.

The masking process is slow and painstaking. It takes many coats to build it up:



This is the raw etched version, minus the mask:



After firing, a layer of cool gray patina was added:



Then, the color!



This is the final product. Hello, Ice-Fire. :)





From the description: This pendant shows the clashing of ice and fire with a swirling, time-worn look created out of fine silver. It represents the elements water and fire and continues my line of explorations into the elements. The shaded areas of dark patina have been given a color cast to further exemplify the Ice-Fire concept. It ranges from hints of crimson, to dusky plum, to periwinkle, to dark royal blue.

Ice-Fire is part of my Elements sub-series and will go live with my Yule collection later this week! :)

Autumn 2010 is here!

The Elements & Artifacts Autumn 2010 collection is up!

Autumn is absolutely my most favorite time of year. I love the colors and smells. I love the sound of dry leaves scraping across the ground when the wind chases them. I love seeing a mass of leaves floating and swirling on the air as they leave their tree. I love burning apple and spice candles inside while the night folds in around us during the dark time of year.

Much of my work accentuates the ebb and flow of the year as one season gives way to the next. Within that are numerous tokens of our history and culture as well as the beliefs born of legends and myths. Those expressions are in this collection; some new, some revisited or reinterpreted with new techniques and materials.


Spirit of Autumn


Fallen Oak Leaves


Blazing Autumn


It was this time last year that I was secretly working on wire wrapping in order to unveil it for Yule. Just as I was unveiling it, I stumbled upon a metal clay project that made my heart beat faster. This Autumn collection holds the "official" debut of my metal clay work, which is something I spent all year preparing for. It came a little early with a surprise kiln; my initial plan was to unveil it (sneak attack style!) with my Yule 2010 collection, much like I did with wire wrapping in my Yule 2009 collection.

So, here it is! It's a small start, but a start nonetheless. I'm saving some of my more elaborate ideas for when I have mastered a few techniques, and that definitely includes bezel settings, rings, and other secret things! And don't worry; wire wrapping and hand-forged metalwork will not be going anywhere. It's here to stay. :)



Autumn Rustlings


Bramble Patch


Autumn Luciernaga


The rest of the collection (88 items!) is at Elements & Artifacts!

**STAY TUNED! There's a super spooky Halloween collection in the works with a slew of pumpkins, both new and reinterpreted from last year. There's also an AMAZING surprise coming with that collection. :)

Moons, Planets, and Star Goddesses

I put up this small celestial-themed collection just for fun, even though it wasn't slated to go up until later in the month. I've made it no secret that I love the artistry of Gail Kop's glass creations and once again I count myself lucky to have been able to snag these for use in my work. Thank you, Gail!

The following are listed in order: Thebe, Ganymede, Io, Sirona, and Astraia. Oberon and Umbriel are in the shop and also feature some stunning glass buttons by Gail Kops.

You can visit the shop at elementsandartifacts.com!










Early Summer

I have finished my summer jewelry collection! With it are many reinterpretations of past summertime inspirations, plus new explorations and wire techniques, and the introduction of some element-based sacred pieces.





You can browse the entire collection at elementsandartifacts.com!
There is also a complete gallery of this collection on Flickr.



Later this summer there will be new Thunderclap pendants, a new design featuring a gorgeous Gail Kops moon focal, the "fire" version of the Litha fairy festoon, and a surprise or two.

Enjoy!

Springtime!

It's now springtime at Elements & Artifacts! I just released a jewelry collection full of Nymphs, Dryads, Greek Muses, a rhapsody of spring flowers, and lots of new wire work!

The work in this collection is a mix of old and new; I tend to revisit and evolve my work through certain timeless concepts such as seasons, months of the year, and sabbats. With those, I add in new subseries that have been the subject of my research. At times, ideas for collections can be months or even years old. I tend to percolate them in my brain and my sketchbook until they're just right. I also have to wait for the right time of year to roll around in many cases.

It has now been 6 months since I bought a bench block and jeweler's hammers and began my journey with hand-forged wire, ornate wire wrapping, and metalwork. I'm marking it here because it was a very positive and inspiring turn for me. I was following a dream that I had previously thought unreachable, and I was stepping into something that would give my work it's own distinct style.

Here are a few items from the collection, with ~50 more at my website! There will also be a handful of jewelry stragglers in a few weeks; I'm working on learning a new and exciting wire-wrapping technique, one I've been wanting to learn for many years, and I needed a bit more time.













Elements & Artifacts Spring Jewelry: Nymphs, Dryads, and Greek Muses