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Inspired by Artist Lydia Makepeace

One of my Etsy friends and shop owners, Lydia Makepeace, has gone through a remarkable evolution in the expression of her creative voice. I first became familiar with her work when she sold (primarily) jewelry; in fact, her acorn necklace was so beautiful that it inspired my very first Etsy Treasury: “Squirreling Around… Awh Nuts!” Over time, I’ve continued to be amazed by her work as she’s given her primary focus to her paintings.


I have found, while our mediums are different, I never cease to find inspiration in her work. Her use of colors and textures always give me ideas for new jewelry expressions in my own work. And, her willingness to always challenge herself to new heights reminds me to strive to add new skills to my repertoire (rather than becoming too comfortable in what has become “easy”).


One of Lydia’s recent paintings caught my imagination; as soon as I saw it, I wanted to create an etched pendant inspired by it. Of course, I don’t want to steal her work or fail to give credit- so I tossed the idea aside and set about focusing on other projects…. until I remembered she had a birthday. Finally, an excuse!


Sometimes, as artists, it can be easy to wonder whether or not anyone appreciates our work. Compelled to create, but separated from those who appreciate and purchase our work, sometimes we can feel like our creations get lost in the abyss. We put all of our heart and soul into something, it sells (sometimes after a long while), and then we often won’t hear anything about the piece ever again; we simply hope that it found a home in which it will be appreciated.


So, for my dear friend, I decided to give her the gift of a reminder. I made for her a two-sided etched copper pendant. The front has an etched botanical pattern, inspired by one of her paintings. It’s my hope that she will always remember that her work, her voice, is appreciated.

LM Pendant

The back of the pendant has the word “inspire” with a few decorative “splotches” of paint. This side is a “thank you” for all the times she has inspired me, and the expression of my hope that she will never stop painting (or inspiring).

Back of LM Pendant

On a personal note, I can’t recommend Lydia’s shop enough; I am an enthusiastic follower of both her Etsy shop and her Facebook page! Her birthday pendant is now on its way; help me give her an even bigger gift by checking out her shop and following her on Facebook!

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New Tools, New Mediums

I’m always in a process of evolution. Personally, creatively… it doesn’t matter. If I’m not growing and expanding my horizons I start feeling constricted. And if I don’t do something to challenge myself quickly, once I feel confined, I begin to feel like I’m drowning in stagnate waters.

I try to challenge myself. I search for things that not only interest me, but also things that are beyond my comfort zone- even things that scare me (a little). I choose things that I don’t know if I’ll be good at… or things with which I have a history of struggling.

At the moment, that thing is Photoshop.

Technology and I have long had a history of being at odds. In high school I took a Computer Repair and Electronics class for one of my science credits (I just couldn’t stomach the idea of dissecting anything).  Almost none of my computer-related class projects worked; my teachers would stand by and watch me complete the task and even they couldn’t figure out what I did wrong (which probably helped save my grade). I quickly came to the conclusion that I was technologically cursed- a counterproductive viewpoint which became part of my life narrative. It has been my approach to almost all computer-related tasks ever since.

Now, in adulthood, I’m more ready to admit the viewpoint I’ve had for so many years is not serving me. That fear I developed of computers (and computer programs) is holding me back from using some (potentially) really cool tools for my photography and jewelry design goals. So, do I continue to limit myself… or do I jump in and start learning how to use the tools correctly?

  • I spent the better part of a year being scared to death of my camera- refusing to take a picture because I was convinced the camera was smarter than I was.
  • I spent 3 months limiting myself to the “auto” settings (No, you’ve never seen those pictures).
  • Once I discovered the RAW format for photos, I spent an 6 months avoiding that feature.
  • Then I spent four more months avoiding even the possibility of trying to process those photos after 1 failed attempt.

I admit it. The first time I tried to process this photo taken in RAW it turned out looking like an abstract painting that had gone horrifically wrong. You couldn’t even tell that there was a butterfly in the picture.

But, I came back. Calmer, wiser (I always do lots of research when I’m scared of something- knowledge is power!) and ready to try again.

And, for a second attempt, it’s not bad. I’ve got a lot more to learn…. but it still looks like a butterfly and that’s progress.

When at first you don't succeed, try again (repeat as often as necessary)! Close-up of an Oroville, WA butterfly.
When at first you don’t succeed, try again (repeat as often as necessary)! Close-up of an Oroville, WA butterfly.

I think once I process a few more photos (enough to get more familiar with the features and stop being scared of them) I’ll revisit one of the jewelry-making skills which scared me off a little over a year ago… pewter casting. After a year of research I have some new ideas about how to reliably get good results (I did get a perfect cast once, but I was never able to replicate the process to duplicate the results).