Auld Lange Syne Again

sunset 1 13 2014 Should Old Acquaintance be forgot

and never thought upon

summer solstice 2015

The flames of Love extinguished

and fully past and gone:

 

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Is thy sweet Heart now grown so cold,

That loving Breast of thine;

santa cruz

That thou canst never once reflect

on Old Long Syne?

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Robert Burns immortal poem reminds us to appreciate the virtues of reconnecting with old friends and memories. On this last day of 2015, I want to let everyone out there know how much I appreciate your interest and support in my jewelry endeavors. I look forward to the journeys  that 2016 has in store!

 

Into the Wild

aldar eye Right now, the signs of Fall are everywhere in the  Pacific Northwest. Lately I have been lucky enough to spend a lot of time in the woods, witnessing the changes of the season. And extra lucky to have as a forest companion an 84 year old man who has spent his life working in the woods. His name is Marv Jones. His son, Bruce, who has been taking us on weekly excursions into the wild, compares his father to the original Jeremiah Johnson.

Marv reads the forest both as a living journal of current events and history book. For example, the faintest scratch along a logging road tells him a good sized buck deer was here, the direction it was headed and how long ago. Once a professional bear hunter for the State, he points to Cascara trees with bent branches, a sure sign that bear were here eating berries within the last day or two. He explains to me why one tree is left standing in a clear cut, (as a seed tree) and  recalls planting trees in the 1960s for a timber company, using tree planting machines (that were later discarded because humans do it better.) He shows me  where the timber camp was located. It's hard to imagine that buildings once stood here, the only marker now is a tree stump with a rusty bucket perched on top.

He gives me a bear tooth for a good luck piece, which I now carry in my pocket.

Marv, photo by Bruce Jones

An avid photographer, he has a keen eye for the beauty of dew coated  spider webs shinning in the sunlight or mushrooms freshly popped up from the forest floor. Speaking of fungi, the first rains of the season have spurred overnight mushroom growth.  I think about the campy Japanese horror film Matango-Attack of the Mushroom People, as I encounter mushrooms of incredible size and colors.

matango

We pick chanterelles, a highly prized seasonal mushroom by the bucket fulls...

chantrelle mushroom

What follows are some photographic highlights from these "sashays", as Marv would say...

Bear claw marks

Elk graffiti-marks left on tree from where elk polished his horns

mushroom

fungi

The forest provides an inspirational photographic setting for jewelry...after years of shooting on the beach I am excited by the filtered light and moodiness of the woods.

men's copper cuff

musroom rings 2

Mist Ring on alder leaf

copper cuff and lycopodium moss

 

cuffa and mushrooms

labrynth and mushrrom

 

black beach stone ring and maple leaf

After several  weekends spent tromping through the woods, I dive back into the studio with fresh ideas that practically explode off the bench!

And speaking of new work...I will be showing at the fabulous Santa Cruz Sea Glass Festival   November 7 and 8th. To see more new work , I invite you to follow me on Instagram

in progress on the bench

sea glass and eel grass

I have to thank Bruce and his father Marv for giving me a real insider's tour of the forest that I have lived so close to and yet never really known before. I hope to share more photos in future posts with you.

October sunrise by Marv Jones

In closing, hope you are having a terrific Autumn, and taking some time to enjoy the changing of the season.

 

 

The Spirit of Materials-Earth, Water, Air and Fire

metal etched and chased.2jpg MATERIAL ~The Matter from which a things is or can be made.

The dictionary definition of material lists it as a noun or adjective, a name or a description. Used as an adjective, it describes something that is "important, essential and relevant." 

Recently I have been a participant at several art events where the material shines through and guides the process of art making. This post will be about those materials -clay, paper, metal and wood, and show the process by which they are transformed into something new.

 

Sophia and I attended a cultural exchange workshop in Astoria, Oregon that featured six indigenous Maori clay artists from Aotearoa, New Zealand. The accompanying art exhibit, art lectures, and hands-on clay workshops were called Uku-Aotearoa-The Spirit of Materials.

baye riddell

Artwork by Maori clay artist Baye Riddel

I have not really worked with clay before, except for an ash tray I made in second grade. It was made with coiled rings of clay. It had a green glaze and marbles melted in the center. ( I gave it to my grandfather, who smoked.)

It was a good opportunity for beginners mind, also known Shoshin. This is a concept in Zen Buddhism that refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject. Also inspiring was the opportunity to see experienced  artists build clay sculptures using age old techniques. There was a grace in watching coils of clay transform into an abstract angel, the artist's hands building and smoothing every bit of it inside and out. The workroom filled with the energy and camaraderie of students and professionals, each making something with their hands. Maybe it was process that informed the final shape, for some it was an idea wielded and realized through process. The heart beat of it all was the building of a paper kiln. Like paper wasps building a home, the group slathered paper and mud to make a giant hive that breathed fire!

paper kiln7Step one: shelves are assembled to hold ceramics

This is an ancient, changeable and customizable method of kiln construction. The paper kiln uses simple materials-tree branches, paper and mud to construct an oven around stacked shelves of ceramics. These low-tech, versatile kilns are used in India today.

paper kiln6Wood is stacked tipi-style around the shelves.

paper kiln2

Sheets of newspaper are dipped in mud, then wrapped around the frame

paper kilnA fire is lit outside the kiln

The heat is from the fire is drawn into the structure. Coals are shoveled inside and a close watch is kept, repairing the walls as needed and keeping the fire stoked. (It was lit around 4:00 in the afternoon). Flames shot out of the top before it collapsed into itself around 1:00 A.M.

paper kiln opened up

Aftermath-a pile of burned paper, mud and wood coals surround the fired ceramics

paperkiln fired potOne of the fired pieces-organic material including mosses and shells were attached to the piece with copper netting to produce the random color and markings.

After returning home, steeped and stimulated by what I experienced, I started texturing sheet copper for a wood and metal sculpture collaboration with Jeffo . It feels great to work big-much bigger than jewelry mode. I will share more on our project in a future post.metal etched and chased

metal etched and chased.2jpg

Last week, Jeffro and I showed at the studio/ showroom of HIIH Lights in Astoria, Oregon.  Lam Quang and Kestral Gates are a husband and wife team who make handmade paper light  sculpture at their wonderful farm.

hiih barn

hiiih jeff photo

papermaking hiih 3Lam demonstrates paper making...

papermaking hiih

Wet mulch drying on the screen

 hiih papermaking

a few hours later, it starts to look like paper.

hiih show me

I need some of their lights for my display!

jeff horse hiih

Jeffro with Arabian Horse Bust, constructed from driftwood with his partner Zela Dove

jeff and zela

 

And more raw materials: piles of small wood that will eventually become part of Jeffro's art:

woodpile

woodpile3

 

“From around the age of six, I had the habit of sketching from life. I became an artist, and from fifty on began producing works that won some reputation, but nothing I did before the age of seventy was worthy of attention. At seventy-three, I began to grasp the structures of birds and beasts, insects and fish, and of the way plants grow. If I go on trying, I will surely understand them still better by the time I am eighty-six, so that by ninety I will have penetrated to their essential nature. At one hundred, I may well have a positively divine understanding of them, while at one hundred and thirty, forty, or more I will have reached the stage where every dot and every stroke I paint will be alive. May Heaven, that grants long life, give me the chance to prove that this is no lie.”

-Hokusai Katsuhika

 

This quote was hanging on the wall of the ceramics classroom at Clatsop Community College in Astoria. It certainly expands the art and age horizons!

Going to close post with a photo of a recently made pendant, featuring an ancient Greek coin.

artemis on the beach

Artemeis Solteira. on the beach- ancient bronze coin from Syracuse, Sicily 317 B.C

bud namaste Bud, my studio mate

Until next time-may you be inspired!

Sea Glass Safari

wkTf3FGmSkh_BQwydbl1XEeX89pQzLb67hXqTv62yc8LAYspN "I tramp a perpetual journey."-Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

My sixteen year old daughter Sophia and I just returned home from a trip to the California coast. It was our first road trip together. We were headed to a Sea Glass Festival in Cayucos.

I was one of forty other sea glass artists, writers, and photographers, showing their sea glass creations in this idyllic little town, located close to Moro Bay and San Simeon.I met some of the sea glass world's icons, like author Richard La Motte, and artist Monica Branstrom. The show was well organized and blessed with perfect weather and large crowds. It was a big success for me, due in no small part to my excellent helper, Sophia, whom I relied on in every way. She did not disappoint!

It has been a trip I will always hold dear, for so  many reasons: renewing bonds with childhood and high school  friends, seeing my brother and our eighty six year old father,(who drove up from Los Angeles with two accordions, two mandolins and a bouzouki for us from dad's personal collection-I mean, his closet.) I got to meet Al and Celia, online customers who live in the area face to face for the first time- (they brought me gifts of almonds and wine!) The enthusiasm of new customers was wonderful-and promising for next years show.

Add to this the magic of the California coast, Carmel, Big Sur, Glass Beach, and the REDWOODS.

I will let the pictures tell the story, because I don't have adequate words yet...

 

RbF8zC1NkKKD9A4fytLwgHMMoN5kmolYTplcK4fOcMgLAYspN Sophia on the rocks near Monterrey, CA

After two days of driving from Tokeland WA, we reached Pacific Grove, CA-John Steinbeck's old stomping grounds. We spent two nights in the area near Cannery Row, going to the tide pools, hanging out with Monarch butterflies, and gallery scouting in downtown Carmel. At Rumble Seat Guitars we drooled over the vintage guitar display. When the sweet owners asked us if we would like to try any of them out we dropped to our knees simultaneously and shouted "We're not worthy!" (Not) We left with free picks and lots of inspiration!

zHLEqyMI7G8B6ANT4u0Z4HtaLOmlvJuN2xzQQozkH6gLAYspN _vh_J1_EsqiZvtxyLk4HSniJxHSG_IQT4pFWGgJa7loLAYspN

BIG SUR

When I was Sophia's age, I visited Big Sur for the first time, on a high school backpacking trip. The beauty I beheld then sort of split me apart. It continues to influence my art and spirit to this day....

cqOeBBo2OrbxIb6eCYSbO7ynVXCAJRZc2H5Z-vtLR1wLAYspN11058373_804991602921584_5754519074376785053_n Jewelry shoot on the beach at Big Sur where brown kelp, blue green water, craggy rocks, are my photographic muse.

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EH27lGC_pfp5tssTEFdal6I35YVwD1s7mIjh4zaiYSULAYspN

e-4UgrCA9-isyXSS-acLp_uK4BvTgb6kkXdoBvZEAwwLAYspNSophia on the porch at Nepenthe, Big Sur- a world class view of the Pacific and great food too!

WtGFnYV88nC6CkUbIi-sZjZPDwaAI1M7eJM4I5Avi1ILAYspN

Warm sunny weather induced us to ditch our motel reservations and camp on the beach that night at LimeKiln Campground.

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We slept to the roaring of the ocean, a starry sky and half moon hanging over the ocean...

Cayucos

11033082_806663962754348_4549991225272723418_n Sophia and I before the show opened...

vWNGW8H6nJbOl5UG_E1REIcah5F_F6xtPbnefFOGucgLAYspN

11050234_806664009421010_297643368121479576_n Etched Mermaid drawing by our five year old friend Timber was a great display piece (and must have brought us luck, because Cayucos broke my previous sales records.)

10995749_974796942532942_949833681248639085_nThis sea glass, touted to be the world's largest, was on view at the festival. It weighs five pounds four ounces and   was found on the NE coast of England.

 ramona girls reunion

Some of my Ramona Convent class mates, came up from the LA area-it was the first time we had been together in 37 years...( and we still look exactly the same :) ) It was so moving to hug these girls after more than three decades!

Glass Beach

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I have been given sea glass from the famed Glass Beach in Northern CA, and am often asked if I have ever been there. This trip had to include a detour to see it for myself.

We arrived on a very foggy afternoon, after a day of driving North from Cayucos, through the Bay area and some very twisty roads in Mendocino County-wine county. After checking in to our motel we headed directly for the beach.

Fort Bragg has three historic dumps sites spanning from 1906-1967. Because of the rock formations and how they affect the tidal flow, nothing gets washed out to sea there. This is why there were multiple dump site, after one was filled another was started. Wherever there are dump sites, there is bound to be lots of glass. Glass that in this case did not get washed out to sea, but was sanded and shaped by right there, becoming buried under slag.

There are three beaches to find sea glass, each located at a former dump site.The most popular is called Beach Three.

beach one

I must say, after all the photos and hoopla I have heard about this place I tried not to expect too much. It is visited by thousands every year, many taking away buckets full of gravel and glass. We found tiny chips of green, white and brown colors in isolated areas.

IzYodhvSI1w_TqXysezRgM5l3Zc-eZSJ3XKfrhnu1WsLAYspN

The next morning was sunny. We started the day with a visit to the Sea Glass Museum. It showcases well organized displays of sea glass found locally and around the world. It's chock full of information about glass-how the color can change over time-such as sunlight turning clear glass purple, rarity of certain colors, and a black light display of ultra violet glass that glows green due to its uranium content. In short it is a great museum. We talked to it's curator Capt. Cass about the local beaches. He marked the way down to beach#2 on a map. After purchasing his informative book, Beaches of Glass, we were on our merry way, back to the beach!

qmKpKPSJgX_BcLE-jMm8lGiUFkC_RdqxK5hDcsEYZygLAYspN Climbing down the cliff to Beach Two

N9dFmHZblHOdznMZ59K9b6eZ6VWNpiO7yzaIih_eCY8LAYspN This beach was nothing but sea glass! Crunching underfoot, glistening in the sun-I felt like I was in Ali Baba's secret cave....

oZGylcqdV-brXwWkNOLFH7oUl1Vhe7jTe980wcLyXvkLAYspNDisclaimer-we did not remove any glass on the state beach or above the mean tide line.

D96dK0RvHP6o2PQdU1UoqAA2dsN2kzezAG4F-jpA030LAYspN

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I tried to remember to breathe as we took it all in...I selected a few pieces of glass to bring home, being careful to take nothing that I would probably not use later.

10906065_10205271063389590_3450426046080873653_n "Mom are you done yet?"

I was completely sea glass satisfied, as we climbed back up the cliffs and headed on the the redwoods...

 

11009203_808556369231774_1196157412295245540_n Goodbye Ft Brag-until next time!

Avenue of the Giants

1497473_10205274294230359_159791877566701636_n There is nothing on earth quite like the redwoods-they are the tallest living things, and some of them are the oldest too...

10403001_10205267511620798_1804912203058670373_n World Famous drive- through wonder~ The Chandelier Tree. It is 2500 years old and appears to be thriving. It was worth the five dollars to drive through it!

The drive on the Redwood Highway, US 1 and 101 is a unique mix of history and natural wonders, seasoned with folksie roadside attractions. (Most all of it is free, with no admission charged.)

inside tree Inside the Chimney Tree-hollowed out inside for a great hobbit hole!

inside tree sophiaExiting the Chimney Tree

11018916_10205274293390338_672180339485177581_n Bigfoot lives!

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Pure Burlesque!

10882093_10205274293230334_5576228761421886947_nPaul Bunyon and Babe the Blue Ox at the Trees Of Mystery near Klamath, CA

There is a really great Native arts museum here. Walk through the tourist shop and take some time to go through the extensive displays of Native American artifacts. They have a wonderful collection of Northern CA tribal basketry and more...in their bookstore I bought a copy of Ishi, the Last of his Tribe for Sophia, a book I read at her age and never forgot.

coin shirt tribal

11081083_10205267537261439_6756248442824203054_n Sophia in the Avenue of the Giants-redwood root behind her...

sophia redwoods At the LadyBird Johnson Memorial Redwood Grove, near Orick CA

All Good Things...

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After we left the Trees of Mystery and got in line behind other cars following a pilot car past road construction, I saw a piece of cardboard in front of me and had no time to move around it. So I drove over it. As I did, I saw (to my horror) spikes coming out of one side-and it was plywood, not cardboard. Our car thunk thunked over the plank. I was telling myself I had imagined the spikes, when Sophia said "Mom-that board had nails coming out of it!"

There was no place to turn to the shoulder, so we stayed in the line of cars and kept driving until past the work site. I pulled over to take a look at the tires on the right side. They looked okay. So we continued driving, listening for the thumping sounds of a flat for another 80 miles, hoping to make it to the nearest Les Scwaab in Grants Pass, Oregon. That drive was pretty tense, as I thought about how everything in the trunk of the car, including our luggage, the  heavy glass for the display cases  and  an  accordion, was loaded over the spare tire. I REALLY did not want unload everything on the side of an isolated highway...But at least it wasn't dark or raining. And...we made it to the tire shop, they checked it out and said we must have been lucky-no leaks!

That night in the hotel I dined on leftover kettle corn and wine, while watching Dance Moms on TV with Sophia. (Don't worry, she had been properly fed.) The next morning we left Sutherlin OR for a nine hour drive to Tokeland-easy all the way!

11088391_357043457835709_5186675655956176216_n "There's no place like home."

Hope you have enjoyed this recounting of our road trip/sea glass sojourn. There is more I have to share, but will do that through the jewelry I plan to make!

If any of you happen to be in this SW Washington area, you might like to come to out 9th Annual Tokeland Studio Tour, Saturday April 18th from 10:00-5:00.

Thanks for joining us~

10314697_10205259860349521_8101924545776206772_n "That's All,, Folks"

 

PS: Yesterday after I posted this, I got a call  from Jason at Three Crows Garage, in Westport WA, After fifteen months of restoration and a lot of blood, sweat and tears, She was finally ready to come home!

ghia Stopped at Washaway Beach to take this photo-Ready for the next road trip? You bet!

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Are Here

timbers mermaid Copper etching of Timber's Mermaid I am writing this post on the Lunar New Year-goat or sheep-take your pick. (I choose goat.)

Here in the Northern Hemisphere we are at a seasonal crossroads. The last weeks of winter linger, while the days grow longer and warmer.

Everywhere signs of Spring are emerging: the sounds of frog choruses at night, cherry blossoms in bud, robins singing in the early morning. The sap is moving in the trees and I feel a corresponding awakening within.  Winter's sequestration is nearly over and it feels good to be outside again!

Something I do when the weather is good and the garage doors can stay open is etching metal (copper and shibuichi) in acid baths. The drawings of five year old Timber, daughter of Jeffro and Zela, were among my first projects.

In less than a month I will be in  California for the Cayucos Sea Glass Festival, where the theme is mermaids. Timber's drawings will translate into great display pieces for my booth.

Here is a sneak peak at what I will be showing there:

caycous ringblue

scott2

After a long period of grey skies and heavy rain, when the sun comes out its a call to action for beach photo shoots!

Like the changing seasons I have been developing two lines of work-one sunny and bright (the sea glass) and the other deeper and more mysterious. This has been my Winter's endeavor. Time consuming, skill challenging, pushing my vision further. It is only the beginning, but I share it here with you:

Bacchanal Rings~

dionysus coinphoto by Marcy Merrill

Dionysos ancient Greek coin (3rd Century B.C. ) with 22kt gold, ruby, reticulated silver and 18kt hand formed band.

beecoin 2

Honey Bee coin, Ionia c. 305-288 B.C. with 22kt and 18kt gold, reticulated silver and yellow diamond. Photo by Marcy Merrill

stagphoto by Marcy Merrill

Artemis-Greek coin from the 2nd-1st Century B.C. featuring stag. 22KT,18KT gold,reticulated silver.

octo coinNymph- ancient Sicilian coin with octopus on reverse side, 22KT and 18KT gold, reticulated silver, diamonds. Photo by Marcy Merrill

In closing, I would like to share two  photos taken this past week on our beach here in the Center of the Universe!

cathenge

Daybreak-Cat Henge!

tokeland skyine1Sunset, Tokeland Skyline-Sophia and Raleigh

 

scotsunset

Time to get back into the studio-hope to see you at Cayucos!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the not too distant future

sunrise 1 7 2015 Daybreak Tokeland, WA The month of January is well underway now-I hope everyone made it through the holiday season intact. I love the beginning of a new year, the clean- slate state of mind where plans can be formed or  momentum regained. This post will be a brief sharing of recent events and a road map for upcoming activities.  I promise to be brief as I have some projects upstairs in the studio waiting for some attention!

First: some new pieces to share:

pauls coin pendant My friends Mark and Paul went shopping for antique Japanese furnishings in Astoria, OR and discovered a cache of Chinese coins in a wooden treasure box Paul purchased. Knowing my patina fetish, they offered the coins (many had a beautiful green patina) to me. As a thank you, I made this pendant for Paul.

 

Meanwhile back on the beach...

chris silver cuff

This is a custom made cuff for Chris of North Carolina. She brought the large silver stone to me last summer when she visited the Washington coast. I designed a cuff for her of etched silver with a small pieces of green sea glass, recycled diamond, and 22kt gold rivets, spread out like constellations across the surface.

chris silver cuff 3

The next ring was a birthday surprise commissioned by Al, from California,  for his wife. Deep blue English sea glass with reticulated band, 22kt gold and  diamond. I hope she loves it!

 

al finished ring

And a custom ring for a lady from Olympia, WA, who found this gem- like sea glass on our local beach....

norma wallace ring

The following two shots are of an ancient style ring of rolled silver with a Victorian era bottle stopper from the NE coast of England.

bottle stopper ring2bottle stopper ring

Speaking of sea glass-exciting news to share: I was accepted into the Cayucos Sea glass festival  to be held in March in California. I learned about this show from the Queen of Sea glass herself, Penny Parker, while visiting the coast of England last summer. It promises to be a world class showcase of sea glass and jewelry. Now is the time to make plans to visit this beautiful part of the central California coastline and see the show!

cayucos poster

And finally...one year ago, I dropped off my 1971 Karmann Ghia to have the body restored and painted at Three Crows Garage, a local shop in Westport, WA. It was a Herculean effort for the aptly named Jason, who took every pitfall and challenge in stride. The car was unveiled on my birthday last weekend....

ghia

In Tiffany Blue, of course!

It's time to close this here, and get back to the studio. I am finishing some new chasing tools in micro sizes for  jewelry-scale designs, and sorting through sea glass for a new body of work...I hope the new year brings you excitement and resolve in all your endeavors!

sunset 1 13 2014

 

 

 

 

Winter Solstice 2014

sunset11 30  

The shortest, darkest day in the Northern hemisphere is today. It is a powerful time for going inward to reflect, dream and plan. Add a rare new moon (in Capricorn) on the same day and you have something really potent for making positive life changes. So dive deep and reconnect with the source of what you really love-and who you truly are.

A powerful visual reminder for me to dive deep is a block print that hangs in my studio by artist Stirling Gorsuch, titled Undertow Woman. It brings to mind  the book  Women Who Run with the Wolves, Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Dr.Clarissa Pinkola Estes. A reoccurring theme in it is the "rio abajo rio"  the river beneath the river. To get to this deepest place of self,  we have to leave concerns on the surface- and dive! Far below the  obligations, distractions, and interruptions that we often place in our own way. Maybe not the easiest thing to do, (but interesting how the world can manage when you are not available.) The river beneath the river is a place of deepest inspiration and clarity. Even a short time there can result in a purging of the unnecessary. A realigning of self.

undertow woman.2jpg Undertow Woman

In addition to being a wonderful muse, Undertow Woman has had a symbiotic effect on the patina process, resulting in a much bluer colors...I don't ask  why, I just say thank you!

some pieces from the journeys of 2014

jennys cuff3Jenny's Cuff-etched copper with silver lining, ancient Roman coin. Photo by Marcy Merrill

gorgon cuffMedusa Cuff-ancient Greek coin with etched shibuichi and gemstones. Photo by Marcy Merrill

crab and fishCancer and Pieces pendant-ancient Greek coin (circa 400 B.C.)  reticulated silver and 18kt gold. Photo by Marcy Merrill

athena cuff marcy 2Athena Cuff-etched shibuichi with amazonite and gold. Photo by Marcy Merrill

athena cuff Electra Cuff-etched shibuichi with sea glass and 22kt gold. Photo by Marcy Merrill

blue labrynth pendant Blue Labyrinth Pendant-chased shibuichi with seaglass.

tidepool uk Tide pool ring-photographed on an English  sea glass beach last summer.

 

A few favorite shots of my jewelry paired with fashion by Kucoon Designs of Los Angeles

 

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kucoon burning man

kucoon saharaphoto 4 cropped

 some photos of what inspires me everyday:

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Happy Solstice~Enjoy the return of light and with it a renewal of dreams, ideas and passion!

Made in Tokeland 2014

3made in tokeland Mark your calendars now for the second annual Made In Tokeland art happening, Saturday December 6th at the historic Tokeland Hotel, from 11:00-6:00 PM.

Featuring photography, wood carving, sculpture, miniatures, painting and jewelry by five Tokeland based artists; Jeffro Uitto, Earl Davis, Marcy Merrill,  Judith Altruda, Paul Havas and Mark Murphy of Astoria, OR.  A special treat will be live music by acoustic trio All In, with special guest Dinah Urell.

The Artists:

Though based on the tiny peninsula of Tokeland, Jeffro Uitto’s (Knock on Wood)  reclaimed wood furniture and sculptures have gained worldwide recognition. His US shows include the prestigious SOFA show in New York and Chicago. His work is always evolving and there will be new pieces on display.

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Earl Davis, of the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe, is a carver who works in the style historically known to the Lower Columbia River, Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor. Earl was the recipient of the 2014 Governor’s Art and Heritage award for Young Arts Leadership. He will be showing carvings and silkscreens.

earl davis

Judith Altruda traveled to Ireland this summer to take a class in Celtic chasing with master Brain Clarke. Known for her jewelry featuring sea glass, Judith visited the beaches on the NE coast of England to hunt for sea glass and marbles. She will be debuting new jewelry that is inspired by her journey.

labyrinth log marcy

Marcy Merrill, photographer and beach cleanup crusader, has been documenting the random beach finds that wash up (or are left behind) on Washaway Beach. The images range from the sublime to the visceral (literally dead animals with their eyes popped out.) Working in alternative processes, including pinhole photography, she will most likely have her hand beaded vintage cameras on view as well.

barbie

Mark Murphy, is a master craftsman/maker of miniature furniture, specializing in 18th/19th century pieces with a special focus on arts and crafts movement and Japanese designs. His work can be seen in museums in the mid-west and private collections worldwide.

marks

Paul Havas, 1940-2012, was a painter of light and landscapes. He taught painting at the UW, Idaho State, and Stanford, and was one of the founders of the NW Figurative Artists Alliance in 1993. He and his wife Margaret lived in Seattle and had a beach home in Tokeland, where he was inspired by to create beautiful and atmospheric paintings of local landmarks. His widow, Margaret, will have some of Paul’s paintings on display and also books about his art.

Willapa Structure op24x69 05

The Tokeland Hotel  2964 Kindred Rd. (360)267-7006, is the perfect gathering place, with full restaurant, cozy lobby, and very reasonable rooms available for this event. The live music starts at 5:00, with a jam session following at 6:00. Good art, good friends, good food-Why not book a room now make a night of it?

More about this event on Facebook events, Made in Tokeland  Or call: (360)267-2326

marcy copper spiralscropped

Hope to see lots of friends from near and faraway! 

 

Celtic Chasing in Ireland

IMG_20140808_090054336_HDR In August I traveled to Ireland to take a class in Celtic chasing with Brian Clarke. He is a world renowned silversmith who in the past has taught classes all over North America. However nowadays  if you want to take a class with him it requires a trip to his studio in Ballinaclash, Co Wicklow. He teaches 3 one week classes per year, all in the month of August. I felt very lucky to get one of four spaces in the class. I learned about Brian from my friend and teacher Bill Dawson of Mud Bay, WA who has been to Brian's twice before for classes and study.

IMG_20140808_090353224_HDRBrian's studio aka The Old School House

I stayed in the nearby  village of Rathdrum. A small town with two butcher shops, seven pubs, (not all currently open) a post office, druggist, small grocery store, two bookie shops, two takeaway shops, (one Chinese, the other fish&chips) two B&B's, and two Churches on either end of the main drag. Also a beautiful park.

IMG_20140804_072308931_HDR Main Street, RathdrumIMG_20140804_072538315 storefront window display

IMG_20140803_163312254beautiful water main hole covers along the sidewalks!

moores Moores Family Butcher Shop. I suggested they have t shirts printed with their logo for tourists like me to buy-I got a bemused smile in return....

IMG_20140804_073147758 The Stirabout Inn offered a full Irish breakfast, cooked to order by inn proprietor Daphne. She even picked me up at the train station when I arrived from Dublin. A true home away from home!

Meanwhile, back at the schoolhouse:

We were learning top down chasing-an ancient technique using various metal punches and a hammer to create a dimensional design on the surface of metal. The metal (copper) was stuck into a bowl of warm tree pitch. when the pitch cools it holds the metal firmly as it is hammered.

Two examples of top down chasing by Brian

brians chased design 2

brians chased design

Beginning the first project:

 

IMG_20140804_144602720_HDR The first project was to chase a concentric circle design in copper. First an outline is chased...

IMG_20140806_162247913 Brian positioning a metal punch onto the copper.brain demoanother view

 

heating pitch

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Brian demonstrating heating the pitch (carefully) with a torch until soft, then embedding copper into it. He is using a cold metal tool to apply pressure so no air pockets form beneath the copper( the pitch doesn't want to stick to cold metal.) The heated pitch has a wonderful pine smell!

We worked steadily, the sound of metal tapping forming a hypnotic rhythm, silenced  only for occasional breaks for biscuits and tea or coffee. The breaks gave our fingers a chance to rest-this is pretty intense stuff. (Pushing through the hours was a good thing-my left thumb went from soreness to numbness after a day or two...) Everyday around 1:00 the class stopped for a lunch at Brian's house. His beautiful wife Yvonne prepared  delicious meals and joined us at the table for some great conversations.

Back to the studio:

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Brian's wall of hammers

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tree stump work stations (not for our class)

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My third project, a Celtic knot, in progress measures about 4x4 inches

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To remove the piece, the pitch is heated up again and metal is lifted out. Sometimes a cool design imprint  is left in the pitch, like this one...

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The metal is carefully flattened on a sandbag to even out the edges. It can be remounted into pitch for further refinement or reshaped, patined, or polished as a finished piece.

The "commute"to Rathdrum:

I took this snap from the passenger seat of my classmate's Porsche-funny to be passing a horse and wagon on the highway!

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Other nearby sightings:

IMG_20140806_181956693_HDR Roadside shrine

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The nearby Wicklow Mountains were once home and hideout to Ireland's rebel fighters:

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I was taken to the mountains after class one night by Liz and Trevor, friends of friends back home. They pointed out some of the sights along the way as the sun was setting. We had a delicious dinner at the historic Glenmalure Lodge. One of the best sights there was a ninety year old retired sheep farmer named Jim, playing cards with a table of ladies. They used matchsticks to keep score. Apparently he comes there every night!

old jim

 

 

Back to the Schoolhouse:IMG_20140808_143516425

Brian gave a toolmaking demo, using old tool steel an (allyn wrench) to make a liner punch...

 

chasing tool

Two different types of puncheschasing tool 2

Basically punches are used to create lines or texture. Brian said he could get by with seven different punches, however his studio has thousands of them!

Some of our finished projects after five days of class:

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IMG_20140808_170619409 Fellow classmates (minus one) and teacher...

dragon cloud

As I rode the train back to Dublin Friday night, I knew the trip had been worth it in so many ways-too many to put into words right now...Since returning home I have been putting the lessons learned into practice.

Here is a recent piece, chased in silver:

silver spiral earrings

A few pictures from Dublin before we part:

IMG_20140802_135221527 National Museum

 

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The Brazen Head-Ireland's oldest pub-it came highly recommended  and did not disappoint!

 

IMG_20140803_114031631_HDRPeople watching...

IMG_20140801_165432244Temple Bar district on a bank holiday weekend- it is rather quiet during the daytime hours.

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Until next time-Cheers!

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Sea Glass

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I dreamed last night that I was on an English beach with my mother and sister. The tide was coming in, but I took a quick look on the beach and instantly found two fist- size pieces of sea glass. Both were globular shaped with blue stripes and frosty pitted surfaces. On the ground at my feet were sea marbles sitting on top of the pebbles. I picked those up and some smaller deep blue pieces of glass. Went back to get my mom and sister to join me...

I had planned to start writing about my recent trip to Ireland and England in chronological order-starting with Ireland, where I took a metal smithing workshop with Brian Clarke, and then a second post about hunting sea glass on the NE coast of England. After last night's dream, I am changing that.  I rarely dream about my mother. She has been dead for twenty years now. But everything was so vivid in that dream-sharing my excitement with her at finding the sea glass made everything fresh again-so here goes....

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First off, I have to say that the sea glass was not easy to find. Also-as I tell my tale, the names and locations of the beaches visited will not be revealed!

I have been buying Victorian era sea glass and using it in the jewelry I make for years now. The glass is found on the NE coast of England and Scotland. It was once factory waste from the many glass manufacturing plants along the coast. Over the years of buying glass from a few collectors who live along the beaches there, I became especially friendly with a woman named Jane-(aka Jazomir sea glass.) We seemed to share certain things in common, and struck up an online friendship through Facebook. Jane generously offered to host me should I make a trip out to her part of the world. (In preparation for this, I developed a taste for Newcastle Brown Ale...)

newkie brown aka Newkie Brown

Last month, I flew from Dublin to Newcastle, and Jane met me at the airport. Thus began my up close and personal introduction to the world and culture of English sea glass. I saw some of the collectors I knew from online  sites like Esty, Ebay and Pinterest, strolling the beaches in search of glass. It was a true Who's Who of sea glass folk..it was almost dream like to see names connect to actual people, many not at all as I had envisioned.

hunters note the sea glass stance-it makes for a sore neck after hours of this on chilly beaches!

 

At a party that night at Jane's house, I met the Queen of Sea Glass herself, Laurel , She brought a gift to me of a huge champagne colored orb of sea glass, larger than the palm of my hand. Laurel has been collecting sea glass on the local beaches for twenty years, and has coined a lot of the terms used to describe its many shapes and forms. There are also highly specific names for colors, as I was to learn...

But more than the physical properties of sea glass, there is a philosophy to collecting-at least according to Laurel. She abhors those who use sticks to poke through the deep layers of pebbles to uncover glass as it causes damage. She holds those who actively seek it by sitting down on a pile of rocks and covering every inch with distaste. Laurel's method is to stroll down the beach at a reasonable clip, letting the glass catch her eye. It finds HER.

Laurel's tiny dog, Pepper, is also good at finding glass-as are Jane's two border terriers, Poppy and Levi...They both laughed about the times when cleaning up after their dogs they find an especially fine piece of glass that they hadn't noticed earlier.

levi    Levi (with rock in mouth) Heidi

Another huge no no is to name the beaches where glass is found. Laurel joked about blindfolding me before going to a very private beach, but it wasn't ALL joking. The popularity of English sea glass has created a market  and determined collectors who are out rain or shine to harvest sea glass and sell it for ever rising prices. The old timers say it is not as easy to find, and lets face it, there is no more dumping of glass factory waste to create a new supply. The average time glass has been tumbling on the rocky shore there is about one hundred years or so.

As a beginner, I saw white and green glass on occasion, while next to me, Jane would pick up a beautiful multi colored purple and blue piece, or a sea marble. Jane said that you learn to filter out the extraneous things like rocks- and see the glass. I was absolutely thrilled to find a small rose colored piece-a rare color indeed, raising a heartfelt "well done!" from Jane instead of her sweet "that's nice" response to my previous finds of green and aqua shards.

jane Jane

sea marble a sea marble-as found on rocks

me first marble On my last day I found my first sea marble!

The next day we went to the secret beach, lets call it Hex beach. Earlier that morning we had been to two other more popular beaches. We walked about 45 minutes through beautiful fields overlooking the beaches to get to the trail approach. As the low tide was nearly over, we knew there wouldn't be a lot of time to spend on this beach. You had to wind around  rocky outcrops which lead to a series of small beaches. At high tide it would not be possible to get around those rocks. If we did get stuck by the tide, there was an escape route that Jane knew about-an almost vertical goat trail leading up the muddy cliff side. I did not fancy taking that route!

Mythical stories of finding treasure in secret coves or caves as hot lava flows or angry gods approach were going through my mind as every beach led to more incredible sea glass. With one eye on the tide and the other on the ground, I enjoyed the thrill of knowing how close we were cutting it. It was raining and I was thoroughly drenched but didn't even realize it!

As we timed our way back around the rocks to the brief ceding of wave motion, I knew the thrill and sport of extreme sea glass hunting! (okay, others would argue that diving off the N California coast is the true extreme sea glass hunting, but I will NEVER be doing that)

jane mud prints Jane looking smashing in her mud printed leggings, as we climb off the beach.

I brought along some finished pieces of jewelry with the intention of photographing them on the beaches where the sea glass was found-a full circle, if you will..

Here are a few photos:

pink sea candy pink sea candy ring

saltwater ring england Salt Water ring

IMG_20140811_102245724 Infinity ring

IMG_20140811_110140619_HDR Gauntlet cuff

trevors beach Trevor's Beach

I must say that the genuine friendliness that Jane, her husband Trevor (aka Ocean Wanderer on Etsy) and their family showed to me was something i will always treasure. We made a real connection via our love of the ocean and  sea glass. We discovered we also shared a love of gangster films (thanks for introducing me to British gangster genre, Trev) good food and drink, music and so much more.

After four days of beach combing, it was time to say goodbye...I never did make it to the local museum which would have given me more information about the area's industrial roots in coal mining, glass making and more. Guess that means I will have to make another trip....

As Jane and I sat in the Newcastle airport, sipping cappuccinos and  spending a few  minutes together before I boarded for London (my suitcase loaded with sea glass and rocks) we vowed to meet up next summer and take a road trip to Scotland. I will drink to that!me Cheers!

Trippen

labrynth garnet earrings detail Chartres Labyrinth earrings, photo by Marcy Merrill It seems somehow appropriate to start this  post with an image of recently completed earrings. They represent the sum of my explorations into etching and using Japanese patina on shibuichi alloy-and the image of the Labyrinth, which is etched on the metal surface, is highly symbolic of my own creative quest.

Long used in spiritual rituals world wide, labyrinths can be walked or danced, representing an initiation-a transformative, mysterious and universal awakening into a "universe larger than our inspirations, richer and more complex than all our dreams-it is the call of the larger cycle, the dance of the larger life."-Helen Curry

labyrinth eaaling st marys

The long anticipated journey to Ireland and England begins this week! I am beyond excited at the thought of exploring Dublin, taking a week long workshop in Celtic Chasing with Brian Clarke, and meeting my sea glass friend Jane  in Newcastle, England. The timing for hunting sea glass couldn't be better, as it coincides with a Super full moon on August 9th (this wasn't intentionally planned by me-or was it?!)

I will be taking an assortment of sea glass jewelry with the plan to shoot it on the beaches in England where the glass was found. To see some stunning photography of these beaches, check out the link of photographer Ray Etchells.

Here are some shots of recent work  taken by my dear friend Marcy Merrill in her North Cove Washington studio:

sea candy collection 2 Sea Candy rings in rare shades of Victorian era sea glass with reticulated silver, 22kt gold and small diamonds.

sea candy blue 2sa

bee coin ring ancient Greek coin with honey bee, circa 350 B.C.

labrinyth earring turqs

Labyrinth shield earrings-etched shibuichi with 22kt gold rivets and turquoise.

And...here are two shots from Spring and Summer2014 as featured by Kucoon Designs, Los Angeles:

!cid_C9027FF2-5E8C-4DC6-B7A0-1B4686DD048E@socal_rrCrusader Cuffs-etched copper with sea glass and moonstones, photo by Daniel Jung

kucoon burning man

If you would like to see photos of my adventures, check out my facebook page for updates when on the road-unless that is, I decide to unplug until my return!

In the Good Old Summertime

gothtini Summer began with a family visit that is still partially going on...this post will be brief in words ( I think) but hopefully show through photos that which has been keeping me so busy that I haven't had time to share much via my blog recently. In the last post I was preparing for my Los Angleles based family to arrive for an extended stay. My brother Joey, his girlfriend Amy Jo and her 13 year old son, Jaydon made the trek to the great Northwest by car with our 85 year old father as their precious cargo. Joey likened the 1200 mile  trip as a cross between the films The Long Long Trailer and The Grapes of Wrath...

wrath

Arriving safely, we began a very pleasant round of  barbequed meals, beach walks, playing guitars, campfires,  movie watching,  and two visits to Astoria and Cannon Beach, Oregon. And yes, summer rain just for the Angelenos!

astoria rain ecola beach 2 Ecola Beach, Oregon

On our small island in Tokeland, Joey found an old bottle with cork intact. In raised lettering on the front side of the bottle is the inscription:  "Dr. Price's Delicious Flavoring Extracts".

dr price bottle

After some internet-searching, we discovered that Dr. Price was the inventor of baking powder. He patented a line of flavoring extracts at the turn of the century (1910-1915). There were flavors like cherry, vanilla, orange etc. We also learned that Dr. Price was the grandfather of the actor Vincent Price. As with most beach finds, there is no clear answer as to how that bottle ended up in such pristine condition on our beach-where had it been all these years? Is the caramel colored liquid inside it the remains of an original delicious flavoring? We decided to leave it corked-for now....

vincent p(Vincent Price)

 

During this time I continued to work a few hours every day in the studio, preparing for two trunk shows in the same week. My good friend Jeffro modified some beach-salvaged wood stumps to create workstations for metal smithing. I can work comfortably at standing, sitting or kneeling positions. As I am preparing for my Celtic Chasing class in Ireland in August, this is perfect for having a good place to practice before the workshop begins.

work stations 2 workstaions3

Before the trunk shows I wanted to get some photos of just finished pieces. Amy Jo was an inspiring model/ collaborator for the shoot...

Summer Solstice Photos

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131solsctice earrings

blue set

sky cuff

moonstone necklace amy

I am going to close this with one family photo and the promise to keep in touch as the summer progresses. I hope that  you have some time to reconnect with those that bring you joy, some time for solitude, and plenty of adventures!

summer bbq

Seeds of Summer

  1956 The Bad Seed McCormack The Bad Seed 1956-there is a tie in to this teaser photo-just keep reading...

 

The past month has been one of seasonal (and personal ) transition. As the days are getting longer and warmer we prepare  for the setting in motion of ideas, goals and long held dreams...

To start with the most literal: This week the kids and I  planted our vegetable  garden. This always take longer than expected-weeding and digging, waiting out the rainy weeks and digging some more.

garden 2014Sophia (my very own Bad Seed) and Bud, planting a row of sweet peas in a small corner of the garden plot

This year we have expanded the size of the garden area because my dad is coming up from Southern California to spend the summer with us. He is 85 years old, in good health and has loved gardening his whole life. The big plan is for him to relocate permanently nearby-and the garden is one of ways we are hoping to entice him to stay beyond September. My theory: If an older person has more family interaction and social stimulation their aging process may be reversed to some degree. He still has a lot to contribute and has said he will probably live for another 15 years. So let's keep him busy and off the streets!

Other exciting news: I have bought my plane tickets and am traveling to Ireland and England for two weeks in August. In Ireland I will be taking a workshop with renowned silversmith Brian Clarke. The class is called Celtic Chasing. Chasing is an ancient technique used to achieve a dimensional or sculptural relief on the surface of metal. I can only imagine how this will expand the direction of my jewelry...

banner9example of Celtic chasing by Brian Clarke

Following the workshop I will travel to the NE coast of England to visit with my sea glass friend Jane and her family. This is going to be a dream come true-to hang with some cool English folk and actually get to set foot on some of the beaches where the sea glass is found! (Not to mention being taken to the Workingman's club) I plan to drink some Newcastle Brown Ale in Newcastle  and hopefully find a few treasures on the beach to take home with me. And of course, gather memories that will last forever!

ne coast of england Jane's beach (which shall be nameless)

The photo below shows some larger size sea glass specimens from the NE coast of England. These are pieces I have bought and kept just to look at...there is also a fossilized clam from our area in the group.

sea glass and clam

And here are some recent jewelry pieces made with English sea glass:

 

sea glass stopper ring

Bottle stopper fragment set in ancient style ring band-photo by Marcy Merrill

green sea glass ring marcyprong set seaglass marcyProng set sea glass with etched copper and silver-photo by Marcy Merrill

Meanwhile back at the ranch...

jaws marquis

There is a much loved and recently renovated theater (vintage 1929) in the city of Hoquiam. (about 35 miles from where we live.)  It plays classic films and hosts live performances on occasion. I never miss a chance to take my kids and their friends to see films like The Bad Seed, (as pictured at header) Them, The Wizard of Oz, The Planet of the Apes, Psycho, La Cage Aux Folles (with live drag show!) and The Sound of Music. Last weekend we saw JAWS on the big screen. I remember standing in line to see this movie when it was first released in the summer of 1975. How fun to revisit it again on the big screen with my own kids-a rite of passage as summer (and swimming) approach!

jaws selfieL-R Leah (good friend) my son Raleigh and me...

Only a few weeks left of school for the kids-as for me-I am working daily in the studio and enjoying this last bit of solitude.

 

faceted marble ring marcy Something new: ancient style ring design with faceted cat's eye marble-Marcy Merrill photo

In Closing....

spring sunset

As  family visits and international travel loom, I promise to keep you updated on all of the above-it should be an interesting summer. I hope you have some great adventures planned as well (and that they do not include winning a penmanship medal!)

Five Minutes

ultra violet ring chryspprase earrings Spring has definitely arrived on the NW coast, and with it, our annual Tokeland Studio Tour. This year it is Saturday April 19th from 10:00-5:00 PM. There will be three art studios open including my friend Jeffro, Knock on Wood. A variety of area artist showing in the lobby of the historic Tokeland Hotel, and the Shoalwater Bay Tribe will have a display of work from their apprentice carvers program.

The Daily Astorian recently published an interview with me about my work, inspriation, and processes-if you care to take a look, click on the link....

http://www.coastweekend.com/arts/five-minutes-with-judith-altruda/article_02985d70-bac5-11e3-b73c-001a4bcf887a.html

Will close this post with a sampling of recent pieces to be debuted at the tour this weekend.

HAPPY SPRING!!!

salt water blue diamond

amazonite shi earringsstarburst earrings shi cuff

mer maid rocks

flame two

 

This is the City

crooked way 1949 The Crooked Way 1947

"Los Angeles, California. I was working the day watch out of Homicide..."

Recently I was in the City of Angels for a ten day visit. It was timed to coincide with the annual LA Vintage Pulp and Paperback Show and the Noir City film festival in Hollywood. My brother Joey and his gal Amy Jo were my hosts for two fun filled, action packed weekends. Better than a trip to Disneyland was walking the streets of downtown LA...finding both well known and more obscure locations for the films and  television shows we grew up watching in the pre-cable days in Southern California (when there were six television channels to choose from!

Other highlights from the trip include an art show in Chinatown, vintage shopping in old town Burbank, exploring the neighborhood of Silverlake, walks along the Los Angeles River Trail and visits to Olvera Street and Little Tokyo.

Oh yes, and waking up my first morning in Los Angeles to a 4.3 earthquake....

121                    Chinatown with full moon over head- perfect night for an art walk!

I was lucky to be in town for the opening of A Better Home For Quiet Wolf-a solo show by MatJames Metson. His assemblages are mysterious and haunting. Turn of the century portraiture is combined with obsessively worked elements like numbers, old letters, seeds and nails, wrapped objects and much more. I found it disturbing in a pleasant way-like visiting the Winchester House... The show is hosted by  Coagula Curatorial and runs through April 12th.

 

matjames-metson-bodycopy  coagula chairStudio shot of MatJames at work (and wearing one of my rings!)

Doug Harvey had an exhibit of found moldy slides with a soundtrack at the Jancar Gallery. The slides were found in the trash of the Edendale Hoarder. Some had molded or scratched, most dated from the 1970s. (Click on the link to read the detailed story of his amazing horder find and what he did with it!)

 

 doug harvey gondola

The next day, Joey and I headed out to Glendale for the Vintage Pulp and Paperback show... There were paperbacks of every description and value, from one dollar copies of Rosemary's Baby and The Godfather to plastic-encased rarities from the early days of paperback publishing.

homocide hussy              127

There was sheet music, stacks of Confidential Magazines, and even a rare Dragnet Script from the 1950's radio show...

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One of our favorite vendors, Terry, claimed he had a tie that belonged to Jack Webb. It was in his van out in the parking lot. He promised to try and find it when he had a break. Joey and I waited around for a long time but never did get to see it...

123 Terry (in the hat) helping a customer

We did however purchase quite a few treasures from him and others...

 

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Other highlights from my trip:

Los Angeles River Walk

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The Los Angeles River flows 51 miles through the nation's second-largest urban region. The Los Angeles River Trail helps to tell the story of the founding of Los Angeles.  Due to flooding in the 1930's the river bed was channelized in concrete making it a perfect film locale for car chases and a home to giant post- nuclear ants in THEM! It is a sanctuary for birds and wildlife, also habitat to many abandoned shopping carts...

them_poster_02

And then there's downtown:

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236  213

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Olvera Street...Suddenly I had to find the perfect pair of Hurraches, and brother Joey was along for the ride...

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I did find my Hurraches with the tire tread soles and after a quick taco we were off to Little Tokyo.

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After a quick gyoza we were off to beautiful downtown Burbank...

Shopping in the many vintage shops was a great way to pass an afternoon. There is a store called "It's A Wrap" that sells wardrobe clothing from film and television shows, many have never been worn. They are arranged on racks with the film or TV show listed-Breaking Bad had many non descript looking button down long sleeve mens shirts-just Walter White's style.

 

         102          swizel

We found a bundle of cocktail swizzle sticks circa 1960's. As children we fawned over these plastic sparkly canes with miniature whistles from our father's cocktail accoutrements... Joey paid $35.00 for set of these in NYC-and it was missing one of the colors... We bought this bundle for five dollars-SCORE!

146 Unicorns Happen-Sunset blvd in Echo Park

My last night in town, we had planned to attend the opening of Noir City at the Egyptian theater in Hollywood. A fully restored version of Too Late For Tears was the feature, with a special salute to Dan Duryea. Who would have guessed that all tickets were sold out days in advance? We were just too late for tears...

Too_Late_for_tears-Title  Too Late For Tears 1

Plucky souls that we are, we still went to Hollywood....

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Hollywood Boulevard with Joey and Amy...Graumans Chinese and Ginger Rogers footprints

hollywood march 2014

#selfieswithmybesties @ Grauman's Chinese-Hurray for Hollywood~

Back home now and making the adjustment from ninety degree temps to the breezy and wet Pacific Northwest. Enjoying the beauty of our local beaches again, but missing the shopping carts...

Till next time-Adios!

Patina Envy

  220px-Hancoin1large

This winter I have been on a quest for patina. Patina is a tarnish that forms on metals such as copper, bronze or other like alloys after exposure to oxygen, rain, salt and other natural elements over a long period of time. It causes iron to rust and sometimes produces shades of green coloring in copper.

My goal was to coax  color development in metal  that is evocative of timeworn surfaces. To produce a texture and finish that works in harmony with the design  of my jewelry. Easier said than done...

 

Several years ago, I bought a book about Japanese patina methods. I made some attempts to patina shibuichi-an alloy of copper and silver that was once used for Samurai sword decoration. The results were pretty uninteresting. Maybe I didn't have enough patience or time to invest in experimentation. (ya think?) Perhaps I was expecting to get results in a hurry (no comment.) In any case, I packed up the supplies and equipment and put it away for another time...

spanish door  door key hole

Inspirational (and metaphorical) examples of patina, doors and keyholes.....

Japanese patina trials part two:

This winter I brought out the box of supplies, re read the book Japanese Patinas by Eitoku Sugimori and decided to give it another go. This time with full surrender to the experimental process and all the mystery that accompanies it. This time with patience.

Before you can try out any of the recipes you must have a copper pot. Any other metal with interact with the chemicals used for patina. A glass pot would be an okay substitute, but the copper imparts something extra  to the coloring process.

Finding an all copper pot isn't as easy as one might think. After scouring the internet  (they were either very expensive or lined in tin,) I mentioned the search to my sister. She was getting ready to take a load of stuff to the Goodwill-including our grandmother's fondue set, which was all copper. Perfect timing!

001

Once word got out that I was on the lookout for a copper pot, two other friends donated to the cause. Now I have three pots in handy sizes. The photo shows them after patina usage, with chemical residue building up inside. This residue strengthens the next batch of patina-it it sort of like seasoning a pan. FYI: the name patina is derived from the Latin for "shallow dish."

 

Sakurajima_daikon

After ordering copper sulfate and rokuso (a Japanese chemical used in some of the recipes) I had to get some daikon radish. This is part of the traditional process. It is grated and applied to the clean metal just prior to immersion in the patina bath.

Of course, before this can happen, the jewelry piece must be in a near finished state. All forming and soldering completed. There is no going back after the patina bath-except to start the process all over again. If using stones, the setting of these takes place after the patina, being very careful not to mar the surface. The cuff in the patina bath below has been etched (see my January2014 post to learn about that process) formed, had rivets applied and bezels for stones soldered in place.

006  witches brew

This cuff is made from shibuichi consisting of mostly copper alloyed with silver.It can be purchased with amounts of silver content ranging from 25%, 15% or 5%. I decided to try all three and take careful notes on the differences. I am not going to transcribe my notes here-but rather show with photos the alchemical journey...I was trying out a layered patina.This is a multi step process. First, a foundation layer of patina is applied by immersing the object into near boiling Niage solution. This can create colors ranging from straw to silver grey to browns. It depends on the metal content and a lot of variables. I had no idea how much time it might take, it doesn't specify in the book. When I decided the color was not changing any more, I removed it from the pan and rinsed.

The second part of the process involves fuming the piece. A mixture of ammonia, salt and vinegar can be used, brushing it on the piece and enclosing in a glass jar

 

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This produces a blue green color in crevices and craggy spots.

Athena-Goddess of Patina

The above piece changed a lot during this part of the experiment. I went from loving it to hating it. From bliss to despair. Deciding there was nothing to lose, I rinsed it, burned off the surface color and started over. It is still in a fuming jar as I write this. At about this time I realized that there must be a god of patina. And I needed to make a request before trying again. To ask for a little guidance and oversight (or insight!) My searches brought me back to Athena-Goddess of arts, craft, wisdom, war and metal. The rest is between me and her...

Some of the first pieces:

textile cuff wide 2   textile cuff wide

This cuff is shibuichi with  etched Japanese textile pattern, silver rivets and amazonite set in 18kt gold. It is 3 inches wide. It has a coat of wax rubbed into the surface to protect the patina and finish.

shi cuff narrow  shi raindrop cuff 2

These two are also shibuichi, variations on a theme..the one on the left has 22kt gold rivets and a diamond in the center. It is one inch wide. The one on the right has 22kt gold rivets, and a piece of Victorian era sea glass set in 22kt gold. It is two inches wide.

shi sheild earrings aventurine  tidepool dia ring

The earrings are shi as well, but a higher silver content, They were more challenging to patina, but I like the way they came out, like little shields. The ring is etched bronze with sea glass and a diamond. In the same patina bath,the bronze turned a milk chocolate brown-pretty with the blue green sea glass.

I feel that the above group was successful in that they are consistent color-wise-and now I have something to build on. Stay tuned for more as I continue to experiment and develop a color vocabulary...

I will conclude this by saying that every part of the jewelry making process is pretty much about control and technique. Until we get to patina. This is unpredictable territory filed with variables. It is a mysterious and intuitive process. It is a collaboration of science and art. It is magic, pure and simple.

textile cuff wide . inside curljpg  sunset last 2 21

RAIN

rain Compared to the rest of the USA or other countries, our winter weather has been mild and easy. But there has been an unduly amount of rain, even for us..fortunately my favorite escape from endless grey is to lose myself in the studio. It's better than a trip to Hawaii-even though I am sure Sadie Thompson might disagree with me on that!

There have been some bright spots to start the new year. Jeffro made an incredible display bench for my studio. He salvaged the maple top from the beach in front of my house. The support pieces are from a ship wreck on nearby Washaway Beach.

jeffro display bench    Judith 17http://www.jeffrouitto.com/

I can't even express how much I love it-made by a good friend and truly one of a kind.

Another friend, photo journalist Erika Langley, stopped by the weekend this bench was delivered. It also happened to be Super bowl Sunday. In Washington state this was a HUGE deal. (BTW: The Seattle Seahawks won.) Erika and I took advantage of the completely empty beach-not even any footprints in the sand- to take some artist shots.

me  Judith 16

photos by Erika Langley

Without realizing it, she took a series of shots that formed a narrative of place- the source of artist inspiration, the artist at work and finished jewelry pieces.

Since I dislike having my picture taken, (unless there is wine and a fedora involved) I was trying to relax and forget about the camera. Erika made that easy. I have recently had another birthday and am now in my mid fifties. Okay I said it! Recently I have been giving thought to the aging process. There have not been a lot of widely publicized role models or mentors for women until recently for this time in life. I have decided to embrace it. Be nicer to myself. Enjoy  the little and the big things. Ditch the rules. Dream big.

On that note, I now must share a few pictures of my pet project. The restoration of my 1971 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia.

I bought this car four years ago from a local fisherman. It was barely running and pretty much in shreds. My ex husband, Tom, got it into running order and did a lot of interior restoration. After saving up money and a  search to find the right body and paint man, the project started in January 2014. With any luck at all it should be drive- able by June.

ghis restortation 1743470_526872930759532_43213501_n

 1601587_526874277426064_1334216138_n    005

This is the color it is going to be-it's called Seaside. The job is being done by Three Crows Garage in nearby Westport, WA.

Back to the studio...

Here are some action shots from our Superbowl Sunday Shoot:

Judith 21   Judith 31

And a piece of finished work. These are wedding rings for  Rachel and Nick of Portland Oregon. They will be getting married on the summer solstice 2014. Their rings feature Victorian era sea glass from the coast of England set in 22KT gold with reticulated silver bands.

Judith 48 photo by Erika Langley

And now for some shots of recent pieces:

blue lagoon ring 029 031 large008 photos by Judith

All of these feature English sea glass. Did I mention that I have recently renewed my passport? I am hoping to take a trip to the NE coast of England in later summer to visit the beaches where this sea glass is found. One of the people I buy it from has very kindly invited me to visit her and her family. (and also the working man's club!) I am a firm believer in planting seeds for whatever you want to manifest. So taking the action to get the passport renewed was step one.

Judith 43

 photo by Erika Langley   http://www.erikalangley.com/

Hope this scattered sharing of some of the past month's highlights has been of interest and not too rambling...Until next time, I remind you that even though it is still winter for another six weeks or so, it's time to plant the seeds for whatever you want to manifest your life.

In the immortal ad copy of Fredericks of Hollywood (and the Rocky Horror Picture Show):

"Don't dream it-be it."

Stormy day Musings/First post of 2014!

Happy New Year Everyone! As I work on this draft, we are getting ready for a gale here on the coast of Washington State. It is just getting light outside, the yellow dot- to- dot of deck lights from the crabbing fleet glow across the horizon. In the relative calm before the storm I took  photos out on the beach of a new cuff bracelet , stepping back as the tide washed up around my feet...

006    002

This cuff represents many different processes-from etching the copper with a design, to forming  it into a bracelet, adding silver rivets and soldering bezels for the stones, and applying patina until the desired color/s is obtained. The rest of the post will be about the technical steps that relate to each part of the process, with pictures in progress and of the finished pieces.

Step One: Etching

Before the etching,  a  thin layer of fine silver was fused to one side of a piece of 20 gauge copper. After that I applied a resist to the copper side.  Everything that is not covered by the resist is exposed and will be etched away in an acid bath. Even though this solution does not etch silver, it was covered with duct tape to keep it from darkening.

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The first photos show my low tech etching station. When the weather is warm, I set up a table in the garage with the door open for ventilation. I mix a solution of Ferric Chloride with distilled water in a plastic container (yellow colored solution). Essential supplies include rubber gloves, safety glasses, duct tape, wooden tongs and baking soda for neutralizing acid.

As an aside I should mention that when I was a student at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, my on campus job was in the printmaking lab. I loved the etching process and did a lot of photo etching of Barbie dolls in those days, printing them on alternative materials like canvas, wood veneer, leather and more, ultimately using the copper etching plates in sculptures.

The next photo shows a detail shot of a future cuff in progress. I took it out of the acid bath to check how quickly the metal was being eroded. The design being etched is a Japanese textile pattern. It was photo copied onto a special contact paper made for circuit boards called PNP paper,  then transferred to the copper with heat and pressure. The blue color is the PNP transfer which forms a resist against the acid. Everything that does not have the resist (blue ) on it will be etched. After examining it I decided to immerse it for a longer time to get a deeper etch. I would estimate the total time for this was about an hour plus...

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The second photo shows two etchings with different designs. They are taped to foam core board which allows them to float (upside down) in the acid. Note: you will see how each of these pieces looks as a finished piece of jewelry if you continue to read this post!

After the desired depth of etch has occurred, the resist is removed with acetone. I love this part of the process (no not because of the chemicals, Marcy Merrill a.k.a. Silver Nitrate Queen)   because you get to see what it's going to look like!

010  007

When the etching is completed the forming begins...

My friend Jeffro set me up with this handy vice stand, made from a salvaged tree stump found on the beach. The steel forming stake that is clamped in the vice was made by Bill Dawson of Mud Bay, WA. The cuff will be given it's shape by a process of hammering it around the stake until the top and bottom edges start to flare out. It is called anticlastic forming.

375925_406451936059673_1326369276_n 011012017

After the cuff has been formed and filed, stones or rivets (or both) can be added...

026 22KT gold rivets and bezel for moonstone are added.

What follows after the bezels, rivets or other accents are applied is the patina process. Patina is the darkening or coloring of metal due to exposure to chemicals or the elements. I have been studying Japanese patina formulas and applications. More about this in a future post.

Here are the two cuff in a finished state:

072 etched moonstone cuff marcy

Gauntlet cuff- copper, silver, 22 kt gold with abalone and a moonstone that was found on a local beach (Thanks Ann)

peonymarcy 2 peonymarcy

Satori Cuff- with diamond and 22KT gold rivets.Photos by Marcy Merrill

Photo Gallery: Etched cuffs

marlene m cuff 3 marlene m cuff 4

These cuffs are made with sterling  silver that was etched in Ferric Nitrate. They have an abstract/ organic texture the result of applying traditional asphaltum resists in a free hand manner. The top two photos feature a large moonstone found on the beach. This cuff was made for the beachcombers (and friends) who found the stone.

rain cuff 2 rain cuff 5

Rain Cuff-etched silver with Ellensburg Blue agate, custom cut grey moonstones and 18kt gold. This was a custom piece for Chris of Vancouver, BC. who sent the gemstones to me for the project.

 

034  037

Japanese textile -etched cuff with coral, mother of pearl, 18kt gold

Hopefully this post has shed a bit more light on some of the processes and creative surprises involved in the making of jewelry.  Looking forward  to the projects and adventures of this coming year-and sharing with you!

PS: I just discovered this Metropolitan Museum of Art's Connections/Magic feature. It is a four minute slideshow with Marco Leona talking about science, art and magic-the alchemy of creative experimentation.  The art images that accompany it are great. Here is a link:   http://www.metmuseum.org/connections/magic#/Feature/

Best Wishes for 2014~