August 15, 2013 § Leave a comment
Wood burned pocket knives and flasks. Drawn, burned, stained, and gilded by hand. I haven’t posted on this blog in while, in part because this was the year my crafting went pro again. I’ve been selling these through my Etsy Store, my Scoutmob Shop, and at a couple great indie craft shows like Renegade.
It started with finding the dead stock vintage wood knives in a wholesale warehouse. I thought they were great on their own, but quickly realized burning designs would work well on that wood.
(all images by my very own in-house photographer Alec K. Redfearn)
It took a little learning since the wood is vintage and can burn irregularly, but I figured out a pretty consistent technique and set to work making them mythical and whimsical:
These sold really well, especially during the holiday season, so I wanted to add more products to the line. I like the idea of making things dudes can enjoy, too, so flasks jumped to mind. Figuring out how to add wood to stainless steel took a couple months, but I learned all about real oak veneers and settled on that. The staining, sanding, and adhering take a bit of work but I’m happy with the results of the process.
I started making things again, and cataloging them in this blog, as a way of remembering who I am and how I live after a fall down the rabbit hole when my decade-long marriage ended. I’ve been making things for as long as my memory extends. Continuity in identity was a challenge when my world went helter skelter, so this was a path from old to new. In the several years that have passed since I can see that, along with getting my band recording and performing again, it was a successful process. One thing I didn’t expect is that I’d also get over the memory of what a pain in the ass running a craft-related business (the headpiece company) was back in the early 2000’s, and find myself here older and wiser and ready to try it again.
June 3, 2012 § 1 Comment
Peridot briolette gems twisted on silver wire on a silver chain with peridot rondelles and silver clasp. This is a design for my Etsy store, and it sold immediately so I’m making more. The wired fern method is something I came up with years ago when I was making headpieces for a living. Not having formal jewelry training back then made me pretty gonzo freestyle about the whole thing, and so I approached it from a sculptural point of view.
It started with wanting to add sparkle to my floral-based pieces. The whole totally impractical business plan for the headpiece company involved being a stickler about top quality, so I added actual faceted gemstones (like, carat weight) set in sterling and on sterling wire. Seriously, with metal market prices today you could sell one of my old tiaras for scrap and make back the cost!
So the wired gems started taking stylized shapes and the fern became a favorite. This necklace is a like a lone leaf from one of those headpieces, and is high on the fae and ladylike meter.
March 29, 2012 § Leave a comment
Antique brass necklace set with large smokey topaz drop and faceted metallic Czech glass beads/Garnet briolette and Czech glass headpiece. This was a super fun commission from a great patron of the arts and intended for a well-known glamorous torchy songstress. I was given free reign on what to make and I chose this from what I know of her: classy, a little regal, and in touch with an older lineage of quality. The design is rooted in the ’20s, art deco and etcetera.
I decided to make a necklace set – there’s two separate pieces here with common themes, meant to be worn together but also autonomous. The longer of the two rests down below the chest bones, and the shorter is a slender choker style. Very dainty and ladylike but there’s also an edge given the darkened color scheme. Like the recipient herself.
The matching headpiece is a mini-tiara, meant to be work at the crown of the head. It’s mounted on a comb and is in a classic style of mine from the headpiece biz days. Nice to use my newly sharpened jewelry-making skills (Thanks, day job!) with my own aesthetic and favorite techniques. All in all, a satisfying project. Here it is wrapped to go out to the mail:
January 7, 2012 § Leave a comment
Sterling silver necklace with pearls, crystals, and faceted citrine. I whipped this up for my mother for a Yule gift. She’s been getting handmade jewelry from me for gifts since I was old enough to string a bead, but I thought this year should be extra fancy. I’ve been making necklaces along these lines for a living this year, so this one is just a little more pro than my old designs. Cleaner wire work. Sharper technique.
The holidays came fast this year, since I was away for the month of November in Wales recording an album. Lots of prep for a trip, so the myriad smaller art projects had to go on hiatus for a season. December is always the zenith of crafting, though, so I jumped back into it feet first. I can make way nicer things than I can afford to buy right now so making it was! After about a decade of working my way through supplies from my old business I’m finally ready to acquire some new stones and chain, but there was enough left to make this sparkling number for my mama. She loved it, of course. My easiest-to-please audience ever.
July 8, 2011 § Leave a comment
Hand silk-screened black light poster. My band’s new EP was ready to go, and I was trying to choose the release format. Vinyl is preferable but prohibitively expensive. Digital is practical but unromantic. For many of us the listening experience is linked to the physical artifact…especially if we’ve been vinyl freaks. For me that’s certainly true. I want to hold something beautiful while I’m taking in the sound. In this weird new era when the music can transmit through a short download code, the artifact can be almost anything though, right? I chose an art poster, specifically one with the parent’s basement/stoner contemplation demographic in mind.
“Where is my Roger Dean?” I asked. Kind friends pointed me to artist and awesome fellow musician Jason Killinger, and I commissioned him to come up with the image. I threw out a couple of reference points and definitely said something about the cosmos, but was still blown away by where he took it. Mind-bending space landscape! Originally I’d planned to have it professionally printed, but when Jason said we could do it ourselves my irascible DIY/art nerd self brushed aside all planning concerns and happily agreed.
That’s how Jason, me, and my friend David Brant ended up in listening to prog, drinking beers, and printing the first two colors, the flourescents, late night in a heat wave.
I woke up the next day looking like an extra from some electroclash video: totally covered in day-glo pink and blue ink. That said, it was really Jason who did the lion’s share of the work. From design to burning the screens to finessing the registration of the three screens, he made the visual side of this project come to life. Here’s the man of the hour holding the first finished poster:
We quickly turned out the lights and huddled giddily around it as I snapped on the black light bulb. Success! Torrents of pink lava & eerie blue illuminating possibly my favorite part of creative living: quality collaboration.
July 8, 2011 § 1 Comment
Custom headpiece for the wedding of my dear friends Sarah and Phil. In my early twenties I ran my own business designing bridal accessories. Each piece was made as the real deal, not a plastic sequin nor a poly flower in sight. My tiaras were solid silver & precious stones, my silk flowers were real silk or velvet…some imported from a tiny village in Cremona, Italy (had to Babelfish the hell out of that 2001-era Italian website). I’m still proud of my sourcing, obviously! Eventually I folded the business when I realized my daydreams were shaping up as crowns instead of songs. Not an acceptable trade of creative energy in my book at that time.
I love breaking out the old skills for friends, though. A custom piece is way more fun, and I get to fit it to the bride’s face instead of guessing. For this one Sarah had the idea of matching a beaded motif on her dress. I sketched the basic shape and started free-forming:
I’m still without a work table in my new place, so this was a spread-out-on-the-carpet job like my earliest art days. In addition to the beading we also chose some Edwardian-yet-kinda-Avant-garde stripped peacock feathers, and I decided to sew them to wire so they could be better controlled…an extremely delicate task.
Early on I concluded this should be several separate pieces to pin into the hairstyle for greater flexibility. It total we had the main motif, the wired feathers, and also several matching pins to continue the sparkle around the up-do. Fun fact: most of my headdress design inspiration came from close study of paintings. Thanks, Mucha!
Projects like this take quite a bit more time and thought than some others, but the payoff is proportional. I want the people I care about to have exactly what they want and the best I can give them, always.
(First & last photo by Love Me Do. See more here: http://lovemedophotography.com/blog/?p=2641)
March 24, 2011 § 1 Comment
Feather-covered boudoir slippers, a housewarming gift for my friend/new roommate. I started with a pair of plain cork heels I found in her size and carefully glued on a design with feathers from my collection.
This project started as a half-joke. We’d been happily brainstorming about the household we would create together and the lifestyle it could inspire. Kimonos and feathered slippers, sunlit rooms. Quality conversation, convivial spirit. A bohemian salon, relaxed but rich with a spirit of artful living.
To honor my part in making that more than idle talk, I decided to start our time in this house with a ceremonial gift of the slippers. Research quickly revealed that most available feathered shoes are pretty hideous. Since I’m physically incapable of buying something I think I can make better, the day before I moved found me surrounded by boxes at an empty worktable…covered in feather whisps.
A home frames a lifestyle. A lifestyle informs an identity. From identity we take action. The most frivolous of objects imaginable, an ornamental indoor shoe, becomes a piece of proof that a beautiful life is taken seriously. No moment is too common to celebrate.