Thursday, March 27, 2008

Commissioned Jewelry - for Sharmishtha Ghangrekar

Sterling Silver pendant with bezel set Fossil Coral

This is another necklace in my exploration of using beautiful stones from Horizon Mineral. The stone I used here is a Fossil Coral. I love contrasting textures, shapes and colours and really love the way the architectural elements I made in silver support the organic and somewhat fragile feel of the stone. I only say fragile because this is a fossil and a snapshot of life has been captured eternally within this stone. The imagery is beautiful, this once living organism so fragile is protected and incased in silver.

Because this necklace seems to embody this theme of life and death I thought it was quite a perfect necklace for my friend Sharmishtha Ghangrekar in the UK who I can now proudly say is a doctor! Sharmishtha is a strong and passionate person who is dedicated to educating, nurturing and taking care of people so this one is for her.

Give us a shout!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Mind The Gap

Hey there! Well I got that bug that seemed to be going around which landed me in bed sick for a few days. As soon as I felt better I jumped a train to see mi Peeps in Philly and back on the homestead. It was a good trip all around. It's always great catching up with the loved ones!

I also got to travel by train which is my favourite way to travel really. I love the rhythm of the train, putting the headphones on and watching the world go by, making up stories about all the scenery and people you see. I also just love the tracks themselves and all the electrical wires used to make it all work. It is especially fun for me when we go through North Jersey which despite being a bit of a gross wasteland right outside of NYC is a visual feast of ideas for me. I mean look at all those girders, supports and crazy network of wires! I just could stare at them for hours getting so many ideas from them.

We'll see what brews up in the studio over the next few weeks and I'll post more photos.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Commissioned Jewelry - for Indrayani Ghangrekar

You may have noticed that it isn't very often that I use stones in my work. The reason being is that I am obsessed with metal and how I can use it to build forms with it rather than using metal as a just a platform to showcase a stone. Nonetheless I cannot deny the allure of shiney things and particularly stones that are VERY unusual so occasionally I do use them.

A Connecticut jeweler friend of mine who uses a lot of stones in her jewelry designs introduced me to her stone dealer last year and it was then I began to really understand her obsession with stones and reconsider them myself. Her dealer is Joe Jelks of Horizon Mineral in Lewes, Delaware. Joe is a kind and very chilled out guy who hand cuts his own stones from minerals he sources from all over the world. I have to say I walked away with quite a few of his stones and set out to do a few pieces with them as a challenge to how I usually design.

The first of these challenges was this necklace that I made for my friend Indrayani in the UK that features one of Joe's hand-cut Ocean Jaspers. I chose this stone for Inda because she studies neuroscience and I thought the pattern in this Jasper was very cellular looking. Since the stone's pattern is not just on the surface and can also be seen from the back I decided to pierce the metal out in the back to reveal its pattern there too. I also added the extra metal pieces on the top and bottom to continue the pattern and imply that it was growing out if its frame.

The next few entries that I post will be on this series of pendants with stones, I hope you will let me know what you think.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Architectural Knitting

Well, I wouldn't usually post an entry about my knitting projects on my jewelry blog but since a scarf is an accessory and my latest knitting project seemed to result in a very architectural design that reflects my jewelry, I thought otherwise.

I was introduced to knitting last year by my Nana and have since made a few traditional wide flat scarves and used the left over yarn to make swatches that I am stitching together to make a blanket. Though my attention span is a bit short trying to figure out increasing, decreasing, counting stitches and knitting and purling. So it wasn't until I was introduced to finger knitting by one of my gurls in Manchester that I really got inspired.

Finger knitting is exactly what it sounds like and involves nothing more than some yarn and your fingers. The main difference between knitting with your fingers and with needles seems to be that you are limited to 4-8 of your fingers and that the end result is more tubular than flat. 

I LOVE IT! Check out Skamama's blog on how to finger knit.

I think that because the result is more 3-dimensional and it is such a fast and easy knit, it really inspired me to experiment more. I've made single knit chains, knits with 1, 2, and 3 strands of yarn, and produced spirals, stripes and thin and thick tubular chains.

The scarf pictured was knitted in one sitting while I was sick last week, it really helped with the cabin fever. Making this scarf was a great exploration since it is made with quite a few different knitted elements I experimented with and it was completely unintentional that it came out so architectural. What a wonderful surprise after knitting 6+ feet or so to see how my thoughts and inspirations sneek in. 6+ feet indeed, I love a long scarf that you can wrap around your throat a few times and can be flailed around like a boa! 

Give Shout!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Commissioned Jewelry - for Samantha Mills

This brooch was created for yet another of my wonderful jeweler friends in Manchester, Samantha Mills. Sam is one of the few people I know who can rock a hat like nobody's business! I'm always so jealous when I see her because I want to wear hats with cool brooches on them but can never really pull it off like Sam. Maybe I can convince her to send in a photo of herself so you can see what I mean.

This design is made of very thin sterling silver sheet so it will not be too heavy on her hat but is reinforced with the I-beam-like reinforcement on the curves to make the brooch ridged and strong. I really love incorporating architectural elements like that into my designs. The sweeping curves of this design remind very much of Sam's flexible and free spirited approach to everything she does. You can see some of her work at the Manchester Jewellers Network site. I happen to own one of her lovely 'jack' necklaces as well as one of her amazing necklaces made out of sewing bobbins! Sam's bobbin necklace is featured in the Ethical Metalsmith's online exhibition, 'Composting Good and Evil".


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Jewelry Making Classes at Metalwerx + Lexington Arts and Crafts Society

I will be teaching two classes this Spring, one at Metalwerx in Waltham and the other at the Lexington Arts and Crafts Society in Lexington,  both in Massachusetts.

A few weeks ago I was offered a brilliant opportunity to teach at the renowned non-profit jewelry school and community studio Metalwerx. Classes and workshops offered here have been taught by metal artists such as Michael Good, Cynthia Eid, Chris Ploof and Chris Darway. I'm very excited to be working at this incredibly equipped studio and join their exciting community. The class I will be offering is called, 'Hollow Form Fabrication' and will cover how to create larger scale, lightweight hollow jewelry - specialty and favorite! The classes will be every Tuesday from 10am -1pm and will run from April 22nd through June 10th. Visit their site for more details on how to register, their refund policy and safety.

I will also continue my class at Lexington Arts and Crafts Society from last year that offers intermediate level jewelry making students the opportunity to work on independent projects with my support and guidance. I will also provide demonstrations on a student need basis that will be shared with the entire class. To register for this class call 781.862.9696


Monday, March 10, 2008

Street Art, Grafitti, Public Art: Knitters in Yellow Springs, Ohio

I saw a great article on the Associated Press today about a group of knitters in Yellow Springs, Ohio who have created what they call a "knitknot tree". Various knitters in this town have knitted and stitched together patches to cover a tree! You could call it a tree cozy!

Why is this news worthy and why in the world would anyone do this, you might ask? Well you see, this is a brilliant example of the type of thing artists like to do to make you smile. I mean imagine you are going downtown to post some letters and you pass the same scenery you do every time you wonder downtown, except on this particular occasion you see a tree tenderly decorated or you could  even say adorned in a cozy knitted sweater-type thing. I mean isn't  this better than seeing a new billboard go up or bus stop advertisement trying to sell you something you don't need?

I absolutely LOVE this type of art work which is known as Guerilla Art or Street Art. Guerilla Art is a movement that came out of Graffiti and these movements broke the boundries of art traditionally displayed in galleries or museums by taking art out into the street where it could be shared with anyone and everyone plus no money is ever exchanged to view or 'own' the work. 

There has been a long standing debate about these art forms covering concerns about property damage or 'defacement of public property' which I do think are legitimate concerns in some cases but not it all. Let's think about this for a minute and consider cave paintings, hieroglyphics, lovers carving their names in trees, signing guest books or yearbooks and religious pilgrims who carved their names onto pillars in cathedrals. These are all ways humans leave their mark and communicate to others that they are here or to be remembered they were here. It seems to be a natural instinct for us and not really a new concept at all, though the ideas in how it is done are always being re-invented.

In Barcelona graffiti is EVERYWHERE and a 90% of it is AMAZING and DOWNTOWN! I didn't see the city officials going around trying to paint over it either because they seem to understand that people enjoy it and come from all over the world to see it. I'd rather see really well done graffiti then advertisements ANYDAY. Wouldn't you? I also saw a lot of brilliant graffiti in San Francisco where the art form also seems to be celebrated than looked down on. When a few of my gurls and I stayed in SF so we could attend the opening of our Architectonics jewelry exhibition we stayed in a VERY affordable, clean and inspiring place called Hotel des Arts right near the gates of Chinatown. Every room of this hotel was decorated by a different graffiti artist. There were several of us staying there that week and we all ran around the hotel taking pictures of each other's room and examining every detail of every room. It really added a wonderful memory to the many that were made that week. 

If you haven't heard of the famous graffiti artist Banksy who is from Bristol, England (another place I visited with wonderful graffiti) you  should definitely visit his website.

Give me a shout!

photo by HSkowood

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Contemporary Wedding Jewelry - What does a jeweler wear to her wedding?

Sterling Silver Necklace with Black Pearls +
Sterling Silver Hollow Ring with Black Pearl + Etched Design

To be honest my wedding band and engagement ring (not shown) that are 18K white gold are quite simple and reflect my taste for German design. I didn't want anything that would get in the way of working with my hands and I am a firm believer of never taking these rings off. The engagement ring has a  1.5 mm diamond flush mounted in a simple 3mm round band and sits next to a 4mm flat wedding band. I love the round and flat combination and the fact that they are so simple allows them to be comfortable to wear everyday. I didn't wish to have a big diamond as I think the money was better spent traveling with my Love in Europe!

The jewelry you see pictured I made the year before I was married. My husband was traveling in China for work at the time and got himself into a jewelry trade show and bought me a small collection of 5mm black pearls as a surprise. What an amazing surprise right? He's a keeper for sure! When I set out to design this black pearl necklace I knew I wanted very special jewelry that would compliment my aubergine a-line taffeta dress (how I LOVE that dress!) but I also wanted something that my husband and I would pass down to our children.

The necklace is made from sterling silver wire with small hidden hinge-mechanisms where they overlap and the ends are capped with the half-drilled black pearls. I really love how it drapes down the back of my neck as well as hangs slightly in the front. It is a like a drawing around my neck when worn! The ring is hollow and decorated with a hand drawn etched pattern plus my signature thorns that protect the black pearl from being srcratched.

I have worn these beauties many times over the years for special occasions and I even included the ring in an jewelry exhibition in London. The exhibition called 'Heirlooms' was presented by the Association for Contemporary Jewellery during their 2006 conference, 'Carry the Can'.


Saturday, March 8, 2008

'Wedding Adornment' a Manchester Jewellers Network Exhibition

Nest Collection - sterling silver wire + glass beads handmade by LilianaBead

The Manchester Jewellers Network exhibition 'Wedding Adornment' was presented in the summer of 2006 at the Manchester Royal Exchange in England. The exhibition showcased jewelry and textiles created by Manchester designer/makers who incorporated "themes and aesthetics taken directly from various cultural matrimonial ceremonies such as church weddings, Muslim weddings and same sex ceremonies, with an aim of influencing new concepts in wedding adornment."*

"The Nest Collection focuses on the bride and her confidants who she has given honour to in her wedding party and has confided in over the years before meeting her Life Partner. The collection is created from sterling silver wire and transparent hollow glass beads used to create an elaborate necklace for the bride and a simple yet related version for each of her confidants with matching earrings. The collection also reflects the union between me and glass artist Liliana Cirstea Glenn my professional partner as this is our first major collaboration. Our intention is to bring our passions of metal and glass together with our passion to create handmade contemporary jewellery that will stand the test of time."*


*taken from the Wedding Adornment Exhibition Catalogue
 photo on left by  Jon Cotton, UK
photo on right by Heather Skowood and LilianaGlenn

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Commissioned Jewelry - for Colette Hazelwood

Sterling Silver and Glass Bead Cocktail Ring 
for Colette Hazelwood, UK

This lovely lil' hunny was made for one of my favorite UK jewelers and very good friend Colette Hazelwood. The brilliant turquoise color of the bead (by LilianaBead) is a favorite of Colette's so I knew it would suit her very well. Plus I added the small silver flower piece on top to finish it off and hide the hole of the bead. It's like the cherry on top which is how I think of Colette's cheery and positive attitude towards things. 

Colette makes some fantastic jewelry and you should check her out at


photo by H Skowood

Monday, March 3, 2008

Chris Jordan's Photos of Mass-Production

Chris Jordan drives the point home about the dangers and ethical questions of mass-production in his 2005 -2008 photographic series, 'Running The Numbers'. I never get tired of looking at these photos. I love how clever they are, the impact they have and their absurd beauty. These photos truly show why I make a strong effort to shop locally, buy things that are handmade and why I ask you to consider to do the same.

I also found Chris Jordan's series In 'Katrina's Wake: Portraits of Loss from an Unnatural Disaster' an undeniably strong body of work as well. I'm someone who believes that New Orleans is the heart and soul of America. I have visited the city many times to enjoy the great music, architecture and meet the people who make that city the amazing place that it is. I hope people will view these photos and not forget the tragedy New Orleans has and is still experiencing and will demand more from our government to help the people of New Orleans and all over the country who have been left to fend for themselves.