One of the things I love most about my personal creative process is that I find inspiration from everywhere. The world is my muse. In some respects it makes my life difficult in that it’s almost impossible for me to completely stop working. In other ways it makes me lucky because I am rarely at a loss for ideas (though sometimes my own skills have not yet developed to the point of implementing them).
A few days ago I was feeling a little bored with my current projects so I went through the photographs I took a few years ago when my sweetheart took me to the Butchart Gardens. This photo caught my eye. At first glance it reminds me of my favorite fireworks from the shows I used to in Grand Coulee during my childhood. But on closer inspection it makes me think of design elements for a pendant, earrings and maybe even a cuff design. Mixed metals, perhaps brass (or gold) and silver…
For better or worse, my initial design drawings are outside of my current skill range (and I don’t yet have all the tools I would need to implement those ideas); I’ll get there eventually but for the moment I’m unable to bring them to reality. But, therein lies another challenge. How can I get creative, with the tools and skills at my disposal, to make something else- just as beautiful and with similar characteristics as my original designs?
That challenge fuels my creativity. What tools can I make to expand my options? What techniques can I learn to further evolve my art? It’s these questions that keep me making new designs.
Phoenixes, fire embers, a person’s inner spark or flame; I love the imagery of all of them. I like the idea that fire has the potential to ignite, drive or fuel our passions- but I also know that, sometimes, our inner flames can burn down to embers if we don’t tend to our own needs. With this new Etsy design, I wanted to capture the light of fire through the ages- past, present and future.
The three Swarovski drops on the necklace remind me of the people who have helped to reignite my inner flame when I’ve forgotten my path. It also reminds me of the life-journey; sometimes we burn bright, sometimes we don’t- but always we have the spark of potential.
In my life, I have always striven to be a “light-bearer”… but there are have been times I have forgotten to tend to my inner flame; my fire burned down to embers. To all those persons in my life who have inspired me and been kind enough to help reignite my passions when I have forgotten my own potential- I thank you.
I love the way these Swarovski crystals catch the light; it’s almost as though they have some inner flame desperate to burst forth and share beauty with world. Just the tiniest movement can make it seem as though they come alive and the colors remind me of the beauty of some of my favorite wine grape varietals on the vine.
Between the holidays, the wedding of a dear friend, New Years’ Eve party invitations and Valentine’s Day plans, my mind has been preoccupied with the idea of celebratory jewelry. And, as the marking of milestones seems to be culturally celebrated with a toast (wedding toast, toast in the new year, wine and chocolate Valentine’s Day events), this new design, part of my Tendrils of the Vine Collection, is the manifestation of my personal celebration for endings, beginnings, milestones & holidays.
And, for Butterfly Sundries, it also marks a new milestone: this is my first Swarovski design, now available on Etsyhere! I’ll toast to that!
Argentium is a modern, more pure, kind of Sterling Silver which modifies the traditional alloy. One of the most notable differences is that it replaces some of the copper with germanium. But, why does that matter?
Depending upon the desired result and use, Argentium can have several benefits over Sterling Silver. While there are many technical benefits for the jewelry artist, for the average consumer there are two obvious benefits:
It is highly tarnish resistant, which for consumers who hate polishing their jewelry and want it *always* shiny and pristine is a huge bonus.
Argentium silver is stronger and more durable than traditional sterling silver, making it more resistant to damage from scratches, denting and deformation – (this is particularly beneficial for jewelry items that will be worn regularly).
For the jewelry artist with some cross-over for the clients:
Reduction or elimination of firescale (Good for the environment/requires less of the artist’s time/saves client money! Note: this does depend upon how the silver was used; it won’t always save you time or money.)
No plating necessary- it’s silver through and through (You don’t have to worry about it losing that “like new” appearance due to the plating wearing thin and the artist doesn’t have to spend the time doing it!)
For the jewelry artist:
accelerated hardening and easy heat-hardening properties
suitable for welding and laser forming
safer working environment (no nasty or dangerous chemicals required!)
For the environmentally and socially conscious, it’s important to note that Argentium silver is guaranteed-responsible:
The traceability of its raw silver is guaranteed; only recycled silver is used (it’s certified).
No hazardous processes (chemicals)
Reduction in manufacturing time, labor and resources
Argentium alloys don’t contain nickel.
Aesthetically, it’s also whiter than traditional sterling, white gold and platinum! Over an extended period of time, it can develop a mild golden patina.
While the vast majority of my designs are always available in silver (by custom order), in preparation for the holidays I’m making some of my favorite original wire designs in silver ahead of time (both as samples of my work and also for sale). Some will be available on Etsy, others through the Moses Lake Museum & Art Center. The difficulty is in choosing which pieces to focus on!
I’ve chosen a few of my favorite items from the Tendrils of the Vine Collection, and I’m sure one of the silver naval/climber’s knot rings will show up…. but after that my brain freezes. I simply can’t decide.
(Taking suggestions and requests!)
What I have decided, though, is to explore the possibility of making select etched-silver designs available in-time for the holidays. After numerous requests for the option, it’s time to meet the demand. And for those pieces…. I already have grand plans in development!
When I first received a collection antique silver coins, I felt so inspired by the beauty of the Arabic calligraphy on them. The smooth sweeping lines- I wish my writing were so beautiful. The coins made me think of beauty, blessings and prosperity. I decided to make a special design to represent those ideas- with the hope that it will also inspire its future owner.
The design you see etched into the copper pendant is the word “Bless,” written in Arabic calligraphy. With the initial blessing, I chose to add two kinds of stones (hematite and garnet) which are traditionally associated with manifesting dreams into reality… to symbolize all my hope for its wearer, along with three authentic antique silver coins for prosperity. This pendant is one of my favorite items available in my Etsy shop; I like the idea of blessings in physical form.
A note about the coins: These genuine silver coins come from one of the batches I acquired of tentatively identified 17th-18th Century silver coins, from Turkey and Egypt. They came to me with the holes already in them. No work whatsoever- aside from putting wire through the already existing hole(s)- has been done to these coins. They are as I obtained them. Even the patina has been preserved, as it often enhances both the character and the value of the coins.