Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Waste Not, Want Not

Tonight was a pretty good studio night. The building my little studio is in was pretty empty and quiet when I got there after work today. I got the window and door open, my music going, donned an apron and got to work.

I'm developing a series that will be titled "Papilion" (or something similar to that). It's based on some earlier work I've done and tonight was a good three solid hours dedicated to creating AND figuring how to recreate. (I've been running into some challenges with some other lines...).

One IMPORTANT self-imposed rule I have when making my jewelry, is to utilize as much scraps and leftovers as I can- especially with my silver. I work with silver wire and sheet and there are always scraps that are leftover or discarded due to mistakes. I collect as much as I can- with the exception of silver dust (it's currently resting in a catch tray). The scraps are organized by size and shape (yes, that's a little OCD of me...) and I will melt them down or cut them up into something I can use.

Why all this trouble when you can send your metal scraps to refineries that will buy it from you? Well, I'm glad you asked! I CAN be lazy about it and toss it into a little baggie and mail it to said refinery. BUT- there are costs and wastes associated with that. The piece of plastic holding the scraps, the paper needed to package the metal in for shipping, the fuel and energy required in the transporting of the metal and you get the picture.

It's a small step, but it's my little "gift" to the planet, or at least, my bit of restraint. I am keen on looking at other ways and areas in which I can reduce unnecessary spending, using, wasting, etc.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's Been One Month...

I miss my grandfather.  It has now been a month since he's passed away and it still doesn't quite feel like he's really gone.

I am thinking about all of the things that I've told myself to accomplish, spurred on by the unexpected passing of a man who was a father to me and I'm taking a step back to see how much I've done these past several weeks.

Some things are great: getting the website up, getting some photos taken, doing some research on jewelry venues.  Some things are still being tweaked: business cards, being able to reproduce some of my more recent designs, creating some long-term goals, getting my studio more organized.

I have a (better) copy of this photograph in my office:

This is my grandparents in their early twenties.  And I find it so amazing.  Did they know back  then, that they would raise three children and end up with a handful of grandchildren?  That they would go from China to Taiwan to Nicaragua to the United States?  That out of all the great cities and places they could have chosen to live in the US, that they would settle down in the San Francisco Bay Area and that their arranged marriage would bring them sixty five years together?

Looking at that photograph, I know they didn't.  No one could have really known what exactly their future held for them.  Sure, you can plan.  You can set goals for the next year, 5 or 15.  But you can't predict what each month, week or day will hold for you.  I guess in my long train of thought, the point in all this for me, is to try to live each day in action towards my goals and accepting that there will be backward steps with the forward steps.  I won't know what each day will bring for me, but I know that each one is an opportunity for me to make something of it...

Monday, June 22, 2009

How Do You Like Your Eggs In The Morning?

I LOVE this. I LOVE eggs and I LOVE the idea of having your own little pretty hennies for laying them. Fresh. Everyday. I think this little contraption is pretty freakin' cool - your very own henhouse, ready to go (check out!

It seems like there is a continuing and steady progression for becoming more self-sufficient and conscientious of how and what we consume. Everyone's been talking- the economic crisis, prices of everything going up, poor health, etc., etc. For many people (and I admire them), that talk has turned into reality. A lot of people I know are into gardening and growing their own vegetables. People are frequenting farmer's markets more, to take advantage of fresh, locally produced produce (like yours truly).

There are more and more articles out in the information world about edible gardens being planted at schools, or the rising number of households keeping chickens in their backyards, or increased promotions of local gardens and farmer's markets. These all seem like small, drop in the bucket type of activities, but once YOU get involved, it can do wonders for YOU and YOUR family. And that's where it counts!

Down The Drain

Busy, sort of non-creative weekend...  Favorite boy and I had a plethora of activities- gym, farmer's market (great, great place), house-cleaning (aaaarghhhh!), gram's birthday celebration, yoga, loooooong walk in the city.

We came across this great little store that had some ridiculously cute house stuffs.  They do a lot of reupholstering projects and have an amazing selection of fabrics.  I've always wanted to know how to sew.  That's something I deeply regret not having learned when I was younger.  It shouldn't be too hard to pick up, but, I've got enough items on my plate right now.  Plus, there is a big space limitation for me as well.

Anyhow, we noticed that they had custom-made shower curtains.  This was the fabric we picked out.  It's time we upgraded from out plastic, fish and plastic-googly eyed shower curtain to something a bit more modern and mature.  I think it will look great.  Favorite boy made a great call on this selection.  Simple, but great.

I think I'm going to give the studio another run tonight.  Last week was challenging - running into some re-production issues.  Well, it's always a learning and improving experience.  Positive thinking is the key for tonight!

Monday, June 15, 2009


I FINALLY have my website up and running. It's been over two years in the making. I don't know WHAT took me so long, but sometimes, an artist's brain just isn't tuned into the finer, inner-workings of computers and codes...

Find me here:


Friday, June 12, 2009

I'm Up To Something...

stayed tuned.  have happy news!

Monday, June 8, 2009


A new piece in the works...

It's been a long Monday...

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Starry-Eyed Surprise

Btw, here is a picture of another new line I'm working on, called Starry-Eyed Surprise.  I've got quite a ways to go with this piece so far, but it's something I threw together one night I was feeling inspired.  These are argentium sterling discs.  I used a torch and fine silver wire to connect the discs together.  I used a metal hole punch and a jeweler's saw and a burnisher to get the various effects you see on this piece.  I think this one will be pretty fun.  I have a lot more playing around with it to do.  Enjoy!

If At First You Don't Succeed....

So, I was working on a little post.  Had pictures posted- written a bunch of whimsical nothings and then Safari shut down and I lost it all.  Oh well.  No point in crying over vanished posts.

Maybe, I thought, that this was the computer/internet/www's way of saying they didn't like the topic?  It was just a short little chapter on coffee and chickens.  So anyway, just to play it safe, I thought I'd show you a couple of pictures of my little studio.

It is a small space.  I mean, SMALL.  But it is comfortable, inviting and lovely.  I'm on the fourth floor in the building and out of my window, is a view of the Castro Hills.  I have a door that shuts and locks, so I don't need to worry about my supplies, etc.  There is a little sink (with cold water only), which is extremely convenient for my work.  You are seeing a view of my jeweler's bench (which I adore) and I have an easel tucked behind that against the wall.

This is my little art wall for inspiration.  Some of my favorite little pieces are hung up such that when I look up from my bench work, I can see some of the simple things that make me happy.  Btw, the mirror isn't a reflection of narcissism.  The sink is right below it and it's helpful for me to "test" my freshly finished pieces and have a mirror to help critique it.

As for this little jewel of a brush- it's a brass brush and it's a jewelry maker's best friend.  It has always amazed me how it cleans a piece of metal that you've just torched or dumped into kool-aid.

That's it for now.  Hope you all are having a good Saturday!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Random Pictures

Life is like a bowl of lychees...  Well, not really.  I'm actually kind of allergic to them.  But I love them.  I'm super picky about them.  Thing is with this fruit, is that the flavor can be just a tiny bit off and then it's gross.  It's not a delectable lychee anymore.  It becomes a slimy, sticky piece of blech.  Yuck.

However, what will never "go off" is this lovely plate on which these lychees are lucky enough to be resting on.  The shape of it is more organic than the fruit its hosting.  My friend Linda Fahey is first and foremost, an ARTIST.  She works with clay, glass, makes AMAZING mosaic pieces, paints, designs- well, simply put, she oozes creativity (check her out in my list of favorite blogs).  She makes some of the coolest things and surprise, surprise- art that can be incorporated into your daily routine as well.  These plates have a bright underside (no picture yet), each one is unique and completely fun to use.  I'm lucky to have met such a great artist and friend.

These little babies below will soon find themselves encased in some precious metal and if they're lucky, adorning some ladies with brilliant taste in jewelry.  They may look plain-jane to some of you right now, but each one will become a beauty in its own right.

Now as for this photograph, I couldn't resist.  My favorite boy caught this lovely image on digital film a couple of years ago.  I call it quintessential San Francisco.  Favorite boy's got a great eye and has a knack for picking up super engaging and sometimes intimate, images.  I felt compelled to share this- it's too good to miss.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

On A Roll

So, believe it or not, I've actually started taking some pictures today.  Of jewelry.  I feel like, this may lead into my jewelry website actually being created at some point in the near future as well...

So, this first piece is part of an upcoming line called "Force of Nature" (a clever name created by my favorite boy).  I "__________" the ocean.  There's no one way I am able to describe how I feel about it, what I think about it.  And it has recently been a great source of peace and inspiration.  I love beach-combing and can spend hours looking in the sand for a piece of treasure.

In the Force of Nature series, I attempt to express how I feel about the ocean via a piece of jewelry.  The beach stone- tumbled and tortured by the ocean waves and sand, is encased in a silver setting.  The lines of the piece are organic- rough, flat, smooth, curved.  I used a bezeler to "draw" lines into the silver, creating a starburst effect around the stone.  I created a chain that expresses the beauty that comes from rough treatment (cutting, hammering, sanding, firing).  It's left slightly darkened and oxidized.  Btw, the white/ivory colored swirl on the top of the stone is actually some remnant of a fossilized shell.  Cool, huh?

Check back in for the "Starry Eyed Surprise" series!

Hello, Goodbye, It's Been a While

(photo by m.crowley)

It's been a super long time since I've been back in my little Mission studio, working on jewelry projects, dreaming up and sweating out my ideas.  It's been a difficult couple of weeks, because I've had to say goodbye to my grandfather, who raised me from the age of four and just passed away- unexpectedly.  I think I'm able to write about this because a part of me still can't believe he's gone but another part of me wants to be sure that I never let go of some of the lessons he's taught me, nor any of the traits about him that I really admire(d).

Grandpa was the thinkiest of thinkers I'd ever known - and he was able to use BOTH his left and right brain.  He was very thorough, exacting and precise.  He had high standards.  He was a businessman and an entrepreneur.  He was a writer and wrote beautiful Chinese calligraphy.  He was a poet and a fashionista.  He enjoyed food and drink and pictures and language and travel.

So, although I am still in the process of saying goodbye to him, I will say hello to the new inspirations I have, in maintaining my memories of him and in honoring his life.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

There's Always a First...

I guess there should be a first for everything- at least everything that YOU are interested in doing.  Honestly, I would have never guessed that having a blog would be something that would be of interest to me (i think that might be because i HATE doing anything remotely complex, in relation to computer and the internet).

As you might be able to tell from the title, JEWELRY is something that I am greatly interested in and I have been making it for about 6 years now.  My work has evolved quite a bit. A goal of mine (for the past few years) is to actually photograph the jewelry that I make so that people can see them.  And then to get my website going and find those special little boutiques that I would want carrying my work and find international fame.  Hahaha.  One can dream.

Art is another generic term for what I enjoy in life and what I spend a good amount of my day thinking about.  Colors, music, movement, paintings, people, nature, destruction, construction are all examples of "art" to me

And last but not least, my right brain.  Oh, it seems like that part of me is forever stuck in its terrible two's - so, SO hard to keep reigned in and therefore you must keep it busy and attempt to keep it happy.

So, that's it for my first time.  Hope to give you more good reads!