The peace theme I like to use in my jewelry has been hard to incorporate into earrings.  The other day I made a pair that does it nicely, however:

I started with fine silver disks and stamped the word "Peace" in each, then domed them.  I then added a briolette of aquamarine in the center of the disk and wirewrapped natural citrine to finish the earrings.

A couple of days ago I had an idea for making some “pendants” so I spent most of my time in the studio on Tuesday actually making them.  They turned out exactly as I’d expected and I am very pleased with the outcome.   

Here is the necklace in it’s entirety:

The technique is molton silver flattened with hammer, then domed and polished.  The beauty of it is that if you don’t like the shape you get you can always melt it and try again.

In this necklace, I used rhodolite garnet and natural citrine beads.

Some more fruits of my weekeend labor:

These earrings are of extremely similar styles but differ in a few ways.  The top pair is made of 26g sterling silver wire with very small sterling silver beads surrounding a single ruby bead.

The second pair is made with 22g sterling silver wire, much larger sterling beads, and natural carnelian rondelles.  They are much heavier than the ruby version, but still comfortable to wear.  I call them Gypsy earrings.

Remember that old song by Loverboy called "Working for the Weekend?"  That’s pretty much what I did, only my song was called "Working on the Weekend."

<tangent>  I am now indulging in a major blast from the past–went to iTunes and downloaded some songs from Loverboy’s Get Lucky album (on which resides Working for the Weekend).  That was one of my favorite albums when I was a kid.  </tangent>

Now, on to the jewelry, which is the real reason we’re here.

Citrine Pillow Earrings

Very similar in design to these earrings.  The only difference are the natural citrine stones.

Still Rockin’ the Pink

This necklace is a companion piece to this bracelet.  In this version I included some green garnet and greenish-pink tourmaline.

Ruby Necklace

I love this necklace, and I promise it looks a lot better in person.  It’s sterling silver with five ruby beads in the center.

A Different Kind of Peace

Remember when I said I was getting away from the peace signs?
   I never said I wasn’t gonna promote peace in my jewelry wherever I could and in this case it’s rather more obvious than the "Free Your Mind" message (although I guess it’s hard to read–the plate at the top says "Peace.")

<tangent>  Oh no, now I’m on to Survivor’s greatest hits… boy I’m a sucker for a power ballad. </tangent>

Tonight I looked at the website of an author I really enjoy:  Daniel Silva.  The urge was triggered by reading this article.  It is about a 60 year old Holocaust survivor who, since 1990, has been actively searching for his mother who he was separated from when they both went to a UN sponsored hospital for refugees in Munich.  He was adopted by an American family in 1950.  His mother, now 83, is living in Israel but has refused to reunite with him.  The connection to Daniel Silva is somewhat tenuous, but without going into too much detail, Silva’s main character is an Israeli spy named Gabriel Allon and the Holocaust is a central theme in the novels.  Whilst reading the article I realized that he must soon be having another book come out and hence the visit to his website.

The more important point of all this is that it got me thinking about my dreams and my hopes for accomplishing them.  As we grow older, I think we become a bit more realistic about what we will and will not accomplish in our lives, and the most important things become more focused.  In the past couple of years I’ve re-defined a lot of my dreams as goals and then set out to accomplish them.  Losing weight was a big one.  Running the marathon was an even bigger one.  I think one of the reasons being physically fit rates so high on my list of accomplishments is that I never thought of myself as a physically active person and now that I’ve worked hard and achieved so many of the dreams I had in that direction I look at it as a sort of benchmark for other goals and dreams I might have.

Pies in the Sky

When I was young, my true pie-in-the-sky dream was singing.  Oh, how I dreamt of being a singer.  Back in the 1970s, I was enamored of Marie Osmond and my best friend Debbie and I used to argue about which one of us sounded the most like her as we stood on a bed singing Paper Roses into a hair brush microphone.  (Oh, and for the record, I sounded more like her).

I’ll tell you this, if American Idol would’ve been around when I was in my 20s, I woulda been all over it.

The highlight of my singing career was four years as a soprano in the choir at Loyola Marymount University, led by perhaps one of the greatest choral directors ever, Paul Salamunovich.  Shortly after I graduated, he went on to direct the Los Angeles Master Chorale.  The fact that I got to sing with him is one of the great opportunities I’ve had in my life, and I’ve never taken in for granted.  But for as much passion as I had for it, and I really did, I now know I was never destined to be a singer.  It was a great dream to have, but it was just that, a dream, never a goal to be systematically planned for and eventually achieved.  I no longer aspire to be a singer, though get me on the karaoke stage and it’s hard to get me off.  Being a singer was a big part of my identity when I was younger, but I’m completely okay with the fact that it no longer defines me at all.

So What am I Here For?

I have long considered myself a writer, for no truly legitimate reason.  From childhood until young adulthood I wrote poetry, but looking back I think that was a coping mechanism more than an actual talent or urge to write, and I say that because now that I’m fairly settled in life I have no desire to write anything even remotely poetic.  One of these days I’ll have to post one of my sonnets though, since that is one of the first places my creativity expressed itself.

I suppose I could argue that I am a writer.  I have a degree in screenwriting, I’ve written or contributed to several books on international education, I’ve become very chatty in my weblogs, and my husband and I even wrote a teleplay together.  Somehow, none of this counts though.  Why?  Because the one pie-in-the-sky dream that has defined me like no other is my desire to be a writer of novels, more specifically, mystery/suspense novels, like Daniel Silva (aha, you say, it’s all starting to make sense).  The problem is, I have no idea how or when I’m going to do it.  I only know that it is something I will do–an item on my to do list that I can’t cross off no matter how unlikely it seems I’ll ever do it.

It’s kind of silly in a way.  I consider myself an author, just an author who hasn’t written a book yet.  It’s something I plan to get around to eventually and therefore it is a part of my identity.  It’s like, I’m an author until I’m not an author, which I suppose will be the day I die (without ever having written a novel) or the day I decide I’m not an author any more.

Perhaps even sillier, being an author is a much bigger part of my identity then making jewelry, or painting pictures of dogs, or knitting, or whatever.  Those are things I do, not things I am.  There is a difference, however subtle it might be.

All of this begs the question, if you’re an author, then why aren’t you writing?  Oh, if only it were that simple.  I’m not actually sure why I’m not writing, though I suspect it’s for a lot of reasons.  Laziness.  Fear.  Lack of discipline.  All of the same reasons why so many of our dreams and goals are never accomplished.  And yet I have confidence I will eventually sit down and write it.  I guess you could consider me an undiscovered writer–undiscovered, even by myself.  When I’m ready, I will write that novel, just like I lost weight when I was ready–just like I ran that marathon.

When I was younger, I didn’t like pink.  In fact, if anyone would’ve asked, I probably would’ve said I hated it.  But something happened around age 35 and I suddenly started loving pink.  Now, pink or at least pinkish is a standard color in my wardrobe.

While I really don’t think of myself this way, I am, at heart, a girly-girl.  I love make up and jewelry and pretty curls, I played with baby dolls and barbies as a child (and still do when the opportunity arises), and I love flowers and color and all the things that manly men lift their noses to.

All this to say that I am in love with this bracelet, largely because of its color scheme:  Pink!

The stones are rose quartz (which, like aventurine, represents peace), rhodolite garnet, red garnet, peridot, and citrine,   The sterling plate reads “Speak your peace.”

I should probably take a moment to say that even though I do use certain stones, like the rose quartz, for their representation or symbolism, I am not someone who believes in the power of stones to heal or the mysticism of crystals or anything like that.  I like the idea of it, but that’s about it.

Ahem.  Back to the jewelry.

I said I’d be using more garnet, and so I am:

These earrings are red garnet with sterling silver and I like them a whole lot.  All and all, I’m really enjoying my work in the past week, which is good, because I’ve got a whole lot more to do by June 2.

This necklace, of course, is the same basic design as this one.

It is sterling silver, peridot, rhodolite garnet, and whiskey quartz, another one of my favorite color combos.

For a long time, I didn’t like regular old red garnet and always preferred rhodolite garnet because it’s pinker.  I’ve changed my mind though–I have some beautiful red garnets that I will be using a lot in the coming weeks.

And right about now I could use some whiskey because I got a jury summons today.  I thought it was bad enough last time when I had to go to the downtown court house.  This time I have to go all the way to Torrance.  Grrrrrrr.

Mick’s been saying he wants to become a citizen so we can apply to be on the Amazing Race (I think he’s serious, too), but when the summons came in the mail he changed his mind.

Once upon a time, there was a necklace…

In addition to some of the other elements I’ve mentioned with regard to my current line of jewelry, a very important aspect of it will be color stories.  There will be at least 5 different styles in the line, and probably as many color combinations:  blues, reds, greens, etc.

The pieces below represent one style in the collection as well as the blue color story.  I have always planned to incorporate strung beads on colored cord into at least part of the collection, as shown here:

The gemstones used are red aventurine (represents peace), Swiss blue topaz, turquoise, capped off with a facetted smokey topaz pendant as the focal point.
I am generally not a matchy-matchy person when I wear jewelry, but it can be a useful way to create it.  Though all of these pieces can be worn as a set, it is not my intent. 

By the way, I’m totally loving these earrings.

Today I straightened up my jewelry studio/spare bedroom and pulled out all of my goldsmithing tools, which I haven’t done in such a long time.  I make jewelry all the time, of course, but really the only time I use my metalsmithing skills is once a week in my teacher’s studio.

Like I’ve posted before, I’m going in a slightly different direction with my jewelry.  For the first time, I’ve got a clear vision of where I want to go with it, and one of the main elements will be handmade findings such as clasps, earwires, etc.   I’ve done that before, but not to this extent because my previous attitude has always been "why re-invent the wheel?"  I realize now that was a bit of a mistake because it’s such an obvious place to set my work apart.

Garnet and Pearl Necklace

I’ve long been a fan of garnets and pearls mixed together in jewelry, so it’s no surprise that my prototype necklace incorporates this combination:

Unlike this necklace, I don’t want the "message" in the jewelry to get in the way of its main purpose, which is decoration.  Some of my pieces will continue to incorporate it front and center, but for this part of the line I want it to be delicate and pretty. 

Additional pieces will incorporate much more color and will be more "multi-media."

Our friends Brad and George recently returned from a trip to Japan, which you can read about (and see marvelous photos) here:

Brad and George’s Japan Blog

Meanwhile, in my post about Yazuya Ryokan, I mentioned that we somehow forgot to get photos of our bedroom all set up with the futons.  Brad and George did manage to get one of the ryokan they stayed in and since it was very similar to ours, I thought I’d include a link here:

Ryokan "bedroom"

Seeing this photo reminds me of how nice it was to come upstairs after the huge dinner we’d eaten to find our bedding layed out and ready for us.  It was really very comfy, and oh so welcome after such a long day of sightseeing.