Since returning from a three week trip to England and Scotland, I've been busy in the studio building a new collection of jewelry inspired by my travels. Sharing a peak at the show card here. I am excited to debut this new work at the RiverSea Gallery in Astoria Oregon on Nov 11th.
It is the very height of summer here in the Pacific Northwest.The weather has been perfect to unplug and get outside-for picnics, road trips and languorous rambles. To laugh and be silly. To dream.
This is the concept/inspiration for the photos which follows.
The models for this shoot are a mother and daughter I met at a performance of one act plays at a community college. Both women are beautiful, but what really makes them stand out is their loving bond-they positively glow!
With the theme Summer Road Trip, what better prop to use than a 1971 Karmann Ghia? (as luck would have it the car was ready to come back from the garage with a new carberator, just in time for the shoot)
I purchased some exquisite turquoise at the Tucson show last January, (see the post Tucson or Bust.) Inspired by the upcoming shoot, I had a great time making big "Ghia colored" statement rings.
We were especially lucky to have photographer Eric Fitzpatrick and Los Angeles based stylist Amy Jo Davies contribute their talents-it was a magical collaboration!
We set up on the grounds behind the historic Tokeland Hotel on a (former) golf links that has now "gone native." It was a pristine setting, the sky punctuated by the flutter and dip of swallows and the occasional eagle high above. We waited until the sun was low in the sky, casting long shadows over the tall grasses, and then were ready to begin...
Okay-NOW we're ready to begin!
What follows are a small sampling of some of my personal favorites...all photos by Eric Fitzpatrick
Field Day...belt, cuff, rings, earrings and necklaces in sea glass and turquoise.
Creativity magnified-the exuberance when it all comes together-location, light, and talent!
Thank you to Dr. Sherry Franks, Meg Moilanen, Amy Jo Davies and Eric Fitzpatrick. Also a big thank you to Katherine White, owner of the Tokeland Hotel, for her gracious hospitality.
Whats next? Follow my late summer sea glass adventures in the UK on Instagram-stay tuned.
Over the past few months I have been taken on a vicarious world tour, via the photos of jewelry shared by customer's on their travels to Greece, Russia, Mexico, India, the Galapagos Islands, New Mexico and more! Its quite a thrill to see jewelry made in my tiny Tokeland Washington studio end up in some of the world's most exotic places-but fitting too. As the materials I use, be it ancient Greek coins or sea glass from England or Japan, came from times and places far removed from me, they are only in my hands for a short time in their overall existence.
Jean and Marianne took the trip of a lifetime to the Galapagos Islands this Spring. I was beyond thrilled when they sent photos of their cuffs in such a primeval setting. They seem to belong there! (The bottom cuff was a collaboration between myself and Earl Davis of the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe, who supplied the drawing which I chased into the copper.)
My good friend and Tokeland neighbor, Jeffro, traveled to Russia this Spring to be a participant in a wood carving invitational. He wore his ancient Greek coin ring and other pieces, promising me he would get a pic from Red Square-and of course he did!
One of my customers, Gosia, (who I have never met in person but feels like a friend,) is a massage therapist and intrepid traveler. She own several of my pieces and sends me pics from her travels, featuring the scenery of her current locale.
Gosia traveled to India and happily for me, took photos of a labradorite ring I recently made in some of the most exotic settings imaginable. The luminosity of the stone and the pure magic of India are a match made in heaven. Thank you Gosia!
Rachel, from the UK wore her Japanese sea glass ring, made in the USA to Greece-that's covering quite a lot of the globe!
Before the summer is over, I will be adding to this series myself-as I travel to England and Scotland in search of sea glass.
Until then I will close with photos of recent jewelry modeled by my daughter, Sophia. (Proud Mother Moment-she just graduated from high school and the local community college, and now poised for her own globetrotting adventures.)
Since returning from the desert Ihave immersed myself in all things sea glass in preparation for the Seventh Annual Cayucos Sea Glass Festival,March 11-12 2017.
It will be great to once again venture out of the Pacific NW rainy season, (although this is perfect weather for staying in the studio and losing all sense of time at the workbench!)
Sharing here some recent work that will debut at the festival soon.
The beaches of Japan have the most interesting array of old pottery pieces, sea glass and ohajiki (flattened glass disks used in a children's game similar to tiddlywinks) I wrote about my Japanese sea glass hunting adventure in an earlier post here: In search of: Japanese Sea glass
Barbie Ball Stovall with a bonanza ohajiki finding day during a super low tide on her local beach in Japan.
Sea Pottery and sea glass earrings with silver tassles, from Tokyo to Tokeland!
Heart of Glass pendant necklace, Japanese sea glass heart, naturally formed by the sea and shore, with inset diamond and silver chain and tassle.
The Queen of Sea Glass
I have been obsessed with crowns and tiaras this winter, part of it has to do with research I am doing for a novel. This inspired the making of two sea glass crowns. They are modeled after British Arts and Crafts style designs from about 1908. They are made of silver with sea glass jewerls from England, Japan and California and moonstones from our local beach here in Westport Washington.
Sea glass crown as modeled by Timber Uitto
photo by Eric Fitzpatrick
It was a magic moment, one that surpassed the original goal of getting good photographs of the crowns. These girls rule!
I hope to see those of you who can make it Cayucos for the festival. Its a great little beach town, just North of Moro Bay. And remember, Spring is coming!
Last week I happily left the rain and darkness of the PNW for the dry sunshine of Arizona. It was a sacrifice, but "somebody has to do it" as the saying goes...Destination: Tucson Gemshow!
During the later part of January to the middle of Feb, the city of Tucson plays host to gem, mineral and fossil displays that are unparrelled. Huge tents spring up in motel parking lots, or entire floors of hotels are turned into storefronts, rented by vendors traveling from countries all over the world to vend their wares. I talked with ( and bought from) Brazilians, French, Ethiopian,Chinese, Peruvian,and Finnish gem dealers as well as locals from Colorado who mine and cut their own turquoise. I saw buyers from Vienna to Los Angeles (and points in between) buying everything from rocks, to beads and pearls, to finished jewelry.
I'm back home now, the torrential rains of an "atmospheric river" are bringing inches of rain as I write. But I have a sack full of brilliant opals, rare turquoise and Peruvian opal to keep me focused, and memories of clear blue skies and dry desert air to get me through the rest of this winter. If you get a chance to go-DO IT.
As a child I grew up on the beaches of Southern California, where my siblings and I spent long summers collecting shells, sea glass, and other treasure. I was always fascinated by stories like Robinson Crusoe and Swiss Family Robinson. The idea of improvising for your needs with what the sea provided seemed a fabulous challenge.
There were lots of beachcombers but I don't know how much general appreciation there was for sea glass in those days excepting an old lady who displayed jars of sea glass in the windows of her beach shack. She lived alone and after she died, her house was torn down. Who knows what became of her glass collection.
Fast forward a few decades-sea glass is now being recognized as a disappearing resource worldwide. There are signs proclaiming it an "archeological resource" at a famous Northern California beach (another post on that soon). What was once trash has been elevated to treasure, and the prices for certain kinds of glass has skyrocketed according to its beauty and scarcity.
The first sea glass jewelry I made was with glass I found on my beach here in Tokeland. I was introduced to Japanese sea glass by a neighbor who traveled to Hokkaido Island to hunt for sea glass for her jewelry business. Liking my designs, she commissioned me to make a ring for her in exchange for a box of Japanese glass. It took me a long time to use any of the glass because I couldn't imagine parting with it! Eventually I used most of it and hoped that maybe someday I would go to Japan and find some of my own.
The next best thing to going to Japan was finding an online source to buy sea glass. I discovered Barbie Ball Stovell through a sea glass website/auction and bid unsuccessfully on her Ohajike pieces. Resembling flattened marbles, originally used for a children game similar to tiddlywinks, they are even more beautiful after tumbling in the sea for decades. Always outbid, I never did win any of them at auction, but did get some tiny heart shaped glass pieces from Barbie. Even better, we struck up an online friendship, never dreaming that one day I would actually visit her, get a private tour of her beaches AND find my very own ohajike!
As in England (and everywhere) the best beaches to find sea glass are kept secret. Short of blindfolding me, Barbie let me know that this applied to her beaches as well. I know I was lucky because her husband, Robert kept remarking in surprise-"Barbie never takes ANYONE to -----Beach!"
With full respect to Barbie, I will not be divulging longitude or latitude, let alone beach names or signage. But I can say we were on the coast about an hour from Tokyo. Even if I had come as a tourist, there is no way I would have found these places on my own. Some of them were non nondescript stretches of sand along the highway, others were lush secluded coves. Each is known for being a good place to find specific types of items-pottery shards, sea marbles, ohajike, and other treasure.
To backtrack a bit....In late June Barbie contacted me about making a ring for her. I mentioned that I was going to Fujirock with my brother Joey and his band in July. Hearing that we would be in Tokyo after the gig, she invited me, Joey and his girlfriend, Amy, to visit her family at the beach. Learning that Fujirock was on their musical bucket list, Joey arranged for free passes for Barbie's family. (They brought their tents and camped on the ski slopes with thousands of other fans, having a GREAT experience. ) None of us had met in person yet, but we were discovering we had some major interests in common-music, sea glass, and junk stores!
After the three day festival was over, we took a train from Tokyo to the coast and were met by Barbie and her husband, Robert. After a stop at the 99 yen store just for fun, we headed straight to the ohajike beach while the tide was still low.
After visiting a couple beaches, we settled into a comfortable guest house and got ready for the evening's entertainment. We happened to arrive on the date of the town's annual fireworks celebration. Walking from their house to the nearby beach, we were joined by friends and neighbors of the Stovalls to eat, drink and watch the firework show.
Barbie and Robert's home is a treasure trove of sea glass finds, artfully displayed in table tops and pretty much everywhere else!
It was a warm and beautiful evening, we walked around the area surrounding the beach as the sun got ready to set. Street vendors sold all kinds of delicious food and treats, the atmosphere was festive and fun!
Day Two: a whirlwind of beaches-and junk shops!
Its been an amazing trip, now that I am back to my studio, I look forward to many happy hours this winter making new pieces with my Japanese treasure!
Domo arigato Barbie and Robert for the amazing hospitality and fun-I am sure we will be back to continue this adventure and friendship!
PS: I just published this post and the mail truck delivered a box from Barbie! She shipped my junk store 'finds'-silk kimonos, knick-knacks and extra sea glass that would not fit into my over stuffed suitcases...Perfect Timing. :)
Until next time...Mata ne!
“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” – Mary Anne Radmacher
Its hard to describe the impact the travels in Japan have had on me. It was an amazing journey. On so many levels it was inspirational-and the friendships I made are at the top of these experiences!
In a series of blog posts, I plan to share the highlights with you. From traveling with a band to Japan's largest rock festival, to picking up sea glass with a wonderful local guide (and friend!), the trip included many milestone moments.
So let this brief post serve as a prelude to much more-as soon as I get back down to earth!
Yesterday was the Summer Solstice and a rare full moon to boot-I was lucky to wake up to a beautiful visitor (two of them, actually) coming in off the beach.
In a few weeks, I will be heading to Los Angeles, and then Japan. Inspired by the upcoming travel, I am making rock star pieces for photo shoots in Tokyo, and Fuji Rock. Japan's biggest outdoor music festival, the line up features The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beck, Lee Scratch Perry, Wilco, Courtney Barnett, and many more! I will be traveling with my brother and his bandJump With Joey (playing the theme song in the video below)
Recently Jeffro, Spencer and I got out the big guns to texture some copper for a sculpture project. We tried different calibers and ranges to see what kind of patterns we could create. As everything seems to be interconnected, the "scraps" from the sculpture are being made into some "killer" cuffs and buckles.
Belt buckles, detail of texture
Here is an in-process shot of our Kingfisher sculpture....
Our process began with a shotgun blast, followed by an acid bath and fire...we can hardly wait to see what happens next!
Here are some recent jewelry projects:
I will end this post with the promise to update my blog from Japan, and the hope that you have a magical summer !
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