Friday, December 4, 2009

Swaps The Spirit of Giving #2



I made another wonderful swap last week with Philadelphia sculptor + print maker Kate VanVliet. I have known Kate for some time through selling my work at Moore College of Art & Design's Art Shop.

I saw this lovely print on her blog + asked if she was interested. She already owns a pair of my Cocoon Earrings + now she is proudly wearing one of my Claw Rings.

Thanx Kate!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Collaboration with Simply Jess




Recently while reading one of my favourite local blogs Sprout, I learned of a local jewelry project Simply Jess that I am really, really excited about. Simply Jess is a jewelry project started by a 7th grader here in Worcester, Massachusetts to raise funds for Jess's trip to Europe as part of the People To People Ambassador Program. Jess will be representing Central Massachusetts and will travel Europe for 19 days as part of a cultural/education exchange.

I recently got in touch with Jess and invited her and her mom to join me in my studio for a day to create a line of Eco-jewelry for her to add to her collections that she is selling to raise funds for her trip. The idea is to take disassemble old jewelry and reassemble it into something completely new while not buying any new materials thus saving the old jewelry from going into a landfill and giving new life to the old jewelry.

If you have any old jewelry you would like to donate to our collaboration we would LOVE to hear from you. Please send me an email letting us know your interest and I will let you know where to send the old jewelry. We will post photos of our collaboration on our websites/blogs so stay tuned!

Resist the temptation of buying something mass-produced, support local artists. Simply Jess will be selling her creations at Chain of Lights Shopping Alley, Sutton, MA, Saturday, December 5, 2009, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Peace.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Swaps - The Spirit of Giving



Recently I was in in Manchester doing a photo shoot for my upcoming book on recycled materials/found objects in jewelry. The book focuses on my work as well as the work of 5 other jewelers. One of these jewelers is Emiko Oye of San Francisco who creates jewelry with LEGO®. I admire her jewelry very much for it's thoughtful use of materials + amazing colour scheme. There are a number of examples on the internet of people using LEGO® to make jewelry but I think Emiko's LEGO® jewelry is without a doubt the best out there.

This bracelet here is a limited edition bracelet made of repurposed LEGO®, patinated sterling silver tubing, synthetic ruby corundum set in 14k gold, rubber cord and is titled 'Fruit Stripe'. I fell in love with this bracelet the very moment I saw it. The colours just made me salivate and totally made me think of my childhood chomping on Fruit Strip gum as a kid in my Nana's kitchen.


After I returned from the shoot I became very reluctant to send this baby back to Emiko so asked her if she would be interested in a swap for some of my jewelry. She happily agreed!! I am now the proud owner of this sweeeeeeet thang and Emiko has my Fluff Vent Necklace + Fluff Heart Ring in purple. Two very happy artists sharing their work.


As important as it is for us to sell our work so our businesses thrive sometimes it is just nicer to get back to basics, ignore the money + barter. It never hurts to ask. And in these harder economic times it's a little easier. So if you have a talent making jewelry, art, cooking, writing etc. share it with someone and barter.


The Holidays don't have to be stressful. It's all about being thoughtful + giving, not how much stuff you buy or what it costs. What to barter? Let me know.



Peace.

photo courtesy of Emiko Oye

Monday, November 16, 2009

Heather Skowood Jewelry Interview on Wearable Art Blog





I have been following and enjoying the Wearable Art Blog for some time now. I love the interviews with the artists + the wonderful examples of jewelry and clothing designs from around the world that Sandi posts about regularly. Recently I blogged about Wearable Art Blog's interview with Alice Matsumoto's Carrotbox blog all about rings, which I am also a huge fan of. Now, to my great surprise and excitement Sandi has featured me in an interview for Wearable Art Blog about my explorations in recycled materials + found objects in jewelry.


Cheers Sandi!!


Visit both and give us a shout we would love to hear your feedback!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Back From "My Mersey Paradise"


Madame applying make-up to Misty


Well the trip to Madchester was fantastic, as always. It was lovely to be able to go back for a month long visit to see friends + family and catch up properly. We spent a lot of time popping into cafes for tea + Curiosity Cola (I'm so addicted to that stuff, it beats Coke by miles!), cupcakes in Chorlton, checking out the latest work by designer/makers at the Manchester Craft & Design Centre and picking up a few pieces of clothing and accessories in the Northern Quarter (I'll save them for an upcoming post).

The 3-day photo shoot with Jonathan Keenan + Co. for the book I am writing about found object/recycled materials in jewelry was brilliant. It is such a pleasure working with Jonathan + watching him work his magic with the lens to capture the dramatic qualities of wearing my jewelry.

BIG THANX to Jonathan, his assistant David, my so very lovely friends Misty who modeled the jewelery + Madame Deax Chats for providing her make-up skills. As well as Colette Hazelwood, Rochelle Dodson, Samantha Mills, Christine Dhein + Emiko Oye for loaning me their jewelry creations to be included in the book. Cheers Mi Dears!!!!



Jonathan behind the lens shooting a necklace on Misty, David providing some extra light



Jonathan working hard from his throne in his studio in the Northern Quarter



He does work very hard to get the best shot + make everyone comfortable




"How can I feel more tired standing around modeling than a shift at A&E" - Misty




Photographing Emiko Oye's Lego Bracelet

(Bottom right Madame Deaux Chats is wearing the building block bracelet I made for her that will be included in the book)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

"O Manchester, so much to answer for..."



Wooohooo tomorrow I'm heading back to Madchesta!!!! I'll be catching up with the Mcr Crew, my gurls of the Manchester Jewellers Network and work with Jonathan Keenan on the model shots of my jewellery for my book!!! It's gonna be Aces! I'll try to post some photos while I'm over there but might have to wait till I get back so much fun to be had while I am there.

Peace.

(photo taken from CowLane Studios in Salford, where I had my studio)

Monday, September 21, 2009

bRing bRing bRing! Carrotbox interview on Wearable Art Blog


Fluff Ring
sterling silver



I LOVE RINGS! I love wearing them as well as making them. For years now I have been following a blog called Carrotbox written by Alice Matsumoto who is also very obsessed with rings. She kindly featured my one of my Fluff rings a few years ago which was a great honour because I admire her taste in rings. Alice has an amazing personal collection of rings + has a serious knack for finding superior examples of interesting rings on the web.


Wearable Art Blog another fantastic blog that I follow recently conducted an interview with Alice of Carrotbox that I highly recommend you read if you love rings!

photo by Jonathan Keenan Photography, UK

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Collecting Rusty Objects in The Rain Bliss - Brimfield Antique + Flea Market

 
  
The Brimfield Antique and Flea Market is the largest in New England. I've visited this show a few times over the years since my friend's family sells antiques in the J + J Field. Now that I live here in New England I go to all 3 shows they hold every summer. Seriously from antique buttons, fabrics, knick-knacks, fiestaware to lawn ornaments made from old sheet metal to andirons + armoires this show in Brimfield  has something for every type of collector imaginable...including peeps like me who LOVE rusty objects.
Last year I found One Stop Antiques, Inc. from Marietta, Ohio. They have a HUGE booth practically a pavilion, full of metal, glass + wood drawer pulls, old keys + escutcheons, decorative light fittings, crystals from chandeliers + soooo many other lovely lil' hunnies to create with. Since starting my exploration of using cold connections to join found objects + recycled materials in my jewelry this show and in-particular One Stop Antiques has been my Mecca for sourcing materials. 
Yesterday it rained like hell but we were out there in our ponchos (my lil' boy snug in his sling on me) gazing around at all the lovely objects people painstakingly collect than bring out to sell to more collectors. It's a great recycling program. The rain came and went + coincidentally the down pour arrived just as I stepped under One Stop's tent. So I just HAD to take shelter there combing through their treasures till the rain slowed down. :) Bliss indeed.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Red This Ever Gear Wedding Rings

 
These wedding bands + engagement ring were created for my very, very wonderful friend Roy Retrofit and his wife-to-be Ada Ruiz. They are members of the Baltimore synth-pop band Red This Ever. When they told me they were getting married and presented the concept of creating an engagement ring based on a hose clamp and wedding bands based on gears I just did a snoopy dance around the room! 
To start the process I sketched out the rings by hand + then had my old friend + mentor, Philadelphia jeweler Krikor Yeremian create computer aided drawings (CAD) of them. The CAD drawings can be seen on my website here. After Krikor created the drawings we then e-mailed them to Roy + Ada for approval. Once the designs were approved they were sent out to be cast + then were finished. 
All 3 rings are 14K white gold + the engagement ring has the diamond from Roy's mother's engagement ring tube set by Garo Yeremian (who I trust with ALL my stone setting!) on the side. I can't tell you enough how thrilled I am with these rings, they really came out brilliant. If you or anyone you know is interested in having me make their one-of-a-kind rings you can email me at heather@heatherskowoodjewelry.com
 
Congratulations Roy + Ada much love + happiness to you both! See you on The Big Day in Baltimore!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Teaser for my Recycled Materials in Jewelry Book - Location Shots

 
  
In addition to including photographs of the jewelry being worn on a model for my book, I have created digi-sketches of all the materials used to make the jewelry. The materials have been photographed out + about where they were 'found'. I thought taking them outside would make it a bit more interesting than studio shots. Give a shout, much feedback is needed for YOU!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Jewelry Studies with Cable Ties

 
  
  These are a couple of studies I recently completed using cable ties to make necklaces. I'm loving the colours and patterns you can produce with them. The final piece I created is a very dramatic and 3-dimensional collar but I will save it to share in my upcoming book on found objects/recycled materials in jewelry. Enjoy the teaser + give a shout!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Metalwerx Last class - Finished Projects







THANK YOU Lisa, Elaina, Danielle, Ann, Kristin + Donna for such a wonderful time. I wish the class with you gals was a longer it was such a pleasure working with all of you, so creative and so eager to gain as much knowledge as possible. So glad that many of you will be continuing with your studies in metal! Ah, ah, ah more metal junkies!!! These photo are the results of our four week pendant class at Metalwerx, enjoy + give a shout!

Peace. x

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Teaser for my Recycled Materials in Jewelry Book



Here are some teaser photos I took myself to blog for you to check out. I will be having these properly photographed in Manchester next month, along with all the other new work I've been creating. The top is a ring in sterling silver + plastic from faux flowers. The bottom image is a detail of a necklace made in copper dipped in house paint. I think I will do another version of the necklace dipped in cold enamel for a longer lifespan.

Give a shout!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Basic Jewelry Course at Metalwerx, Week 2



Ahhh, I love working with students who are picking up a jewelers saw for the 1st time. It brings me back to when I was first learning, breaking saw-blades left + right with my impatience to get things cut out. No, there isn't a tiny band-saw to do this work you have to cut it out yourself.

Actually there were a lot less blades broken last night than I expected, everyone seemed to pick up sawing fairly naturally + had a great time as you can tell in the photos. Next week soldering I can't wait to see these projects come together more, there are some good designs emerging from this group.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Jonathan Keenan Photography Manchster, UK


Jonathan Keenan is a professional photographer based in Manchester, England who has been photographing my jewelry for my website since 2004. I just LOVE Jonathan's way of working, very relaxed and super professional. Jonathan also did all the photograph's for the "Architectonics: Foundations in Jewellery" exhibition that I curated with the Manchester Jewellers Network in 2006. I will once again be working with Jonathan this year as he will be doing all the photos for the book I am am writing about my found object/ recycled materials jewelry.

Jonathan is now keeping a blog about his work in addition to his website. Check it + give a shout!!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Jewelry Basics Course at Metalwerx - Week One

The first of my four week Basic Jewelry Pendant Class at Metalwerx in Waltham was last night. I met 6 lovely women who after last night's introduction I believe are hooked! I love working with newbies and seeing the excitement on their face when showing them all the tools and processes of jewelry making. This is quite a short time to learn everything you need to know but I think we will do alright with them time we have to make a pendant. Anyway, this is a nice taster course that will bring them all back for more.

Ahhhhh, Metal Love at first site is a site to behold. ;)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

More Inspiration: Art in the Park - Elm Park, Worcester, MA



The Art in the Park event in Worcester Mass. is back! And I tease you not it is even BETTER than last year. Last year the event was hit or miss but this year I don't think there is one sculpture that I don't like. All of the work this year is made to withstand the elements and all of the work has been really thought out, plus there are quite a few created with recycled materials!

I took these photos yesterday of two of my favourites. The top photo is of a floating sculpture made of lawn chairs, which like the bridge spanning the water in the background reminds me of a bracelet. (heehee Yes, I do see jewelry EVERYWHERE!) The bottom photo is of a gazebo type structure made entirely from a piano. This is a detail of the dome which is made of the piano keys.

Go Worcester!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

New Website : www.heatherskowoodjewelry.com


I'm VERY pleased to announce that I have a new website up at www.heatherskowoodjewelry.com!!!

This site has much much more than my previous website including a page dedicated to my commissioned jewelry, a page for my new recycled jewelry, and page for the latest news about my jewelry including my blog. Plus, the site has software that allows me to update it much more easily than my last site so it will be updated often, I PROMISE.

I hope you will check it out and let me know what you think, as always feedback is appreciated.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Stackpole Books - Found Object/Recycled Jewelry Book

Exciting news, I recently signed a contract with Stackpole Books to author a book about my jewelry made of recycled/reclaimed materials!! I'm soooo very excited about this project which will include work I've created in the past year as well as some new pieces made specifically for this publication. Plus a few of my jewelry colleagues that have inspired me to explore recycled materials in my work will also be featured in the book.

So far I've have a rough outline of the project finished and some digi-sketches of the found location photos for the materials used in making the jewelry (see above). I'm going to start the introduction this afternoon and get back in the studio to play with some more samples I'm working on which will help me execute a few of the final pieces.

If you like/dislike or have any questions about the project as I blog about it, do give me a shout. Feedback as always is welcome! Also check out the new group I posted on Crafthaus called, "Recycled Adornments". It's a forum for art jewelers who are creating adornments from recycled, reclaimed and re-purposed materials to show post photos of their work and discuss related topics.

Enjoy!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Basic Jewelry Course at Metalwerx, Waltham - Massachusetts


Well, after a little break I'm back at Metalwerx in Waltham, Massachusetts to teach jewelry. This August I will be teaching a basic jewelry course focusing on the pendant as a point of departure for explorations with tools and fire that will turn you into a serious junky for making your own jewelry. If by chance you don't become hooked you will at least walk away with insight in what it takes to make a piece of jewelry that will help you become a more informed collector. If you or someone you know is interested sign up now as spaces are filling up!

The Basic Jewelry Course will be held every Monday, 6pm - 9pm, from the 3rd - 24th August.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

25 Things That Inspire Me To Create Jewelry #25 YOU!!






#25 - YOU

Without you there would be no exquisite body to adorn with my creations. Without you there would be no creative collaboration. Without you I would have no inspiration at all!


Top to Bottom:


Inda- wearing her cocoon necklace
Misty - 1. wearing her fossil necklace, sterling silver + fossil
2. wearing her necklace made with geodes from her home in India
Kath - wearing her commissioned silver jewellery suite - earrings, ring, necklace and bracelet
Jenny - wearing her 21st birthday present commissioned by her dad, sterling silver + 22. caliber bullet shells

Friday, June 26, 2009

25 Things That Inspire Me To Create Jewelry #24 Pre-Columbian Art + Architecture


#24 Pre-Columbian Art + Architecture

My 6th grade history teacher presented the history of Latin America to me in a way that made me fall madly in love with the art and architecture of that part of the world. I fell so hard that I swore that some day I would visit Machu Picchu in Peru. Well, in 2000 the dream came true and I did visit that incredible place. I have yet to visit the Mayan sites of Guatemala, but there is still time.

The spirituality of the people, the amazingly intricate carvings on their buildings and sculptures, their dedication to the sun and the moon in relationship to their built environment so that buildings create shadow play at the equinoxes is just mind-blowingly beautiful to me. There is so much meaning, creativity and celebration in everything the Aztecs, Mayans and Inca did at the height of their civilization. Although may of these countries are now in much more poverty they hold traditions from their history that still makes them very rich in spirituality, respecting nature as their ancestors did.

These are two of my favourite books in my collection about Pre-Columbian art and architecture. The 1st is an amazing book of photographs of the Pre-Columbian architecture called, "Silent Cities of Mexico and The Maya", by Norman F Carver, Jr. The 2nd is called, "Design Motifs of Ancient Mexico" by Jorge Enciso which is a collection of pottery stamps found throughout Mexico. I have taken a few of these motifs for my tattoos, one of the rain god, the fire god and the third a geometric flower motif.

If you haven't seen my 'La Joyeria de La Luna' piece made in honor of the Mayan Moon Goddess visit my website. I loved making the nose ornament and have worn it to a few events. As the Maya intended the wearing of such a nose ornament, it certainly demands people's attention!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Inspired Jewelry from the Museum of Arts and Design NYC

25 Things that Inspire Me to Make Jewelry:

#23 Other Art Jewelers


Hurray, finally this fabulous book has arrived on my doorstep!!! Last autumn my good friend and jeweler Sarah Nelson and I took a day trip down to NYC to see the Art Smith jewelry show at the Brooklyn Museum as well as visit the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) to see their incredible collection of art jewelry.

I have always big a huge fan of Art Smith's jewelry and it was such a pleasure to see see so many of his sculptural jewelry works right under my nose! As was the opportunity to see MAD's vast collection of art/studio jewelry that spans work made from the 1940s to the present. MAD's collection was like visiting my artist family tree. All the heroic artists that have laid down the foundation and paved the way for those of us who are making art jewelry today. It is truly a breathtaking collection that everyone should make a pilgrimage to see. At the time of our visit to the museum this book was not available so I jumped on a e-list to be informed when the book would be ready. I got the email that is was in last Tuesday placed my order that same day and it arrived the very next day, postage paid! Thank you Museum of Arts and Design! And thank you to all the art jewelers out there continuing to make jewelry and inspire us all!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

25 Things That Inspire Me To Create Jewelry #22 Music

#22 Music

I need music like I need air. My studio is always filled with music of all kinds of music while I work, from Gotan Project, Bessie Smith, Tom Waits, Lupe Fiasco, Johnny Cash, The Cure, Elliot Smith, Alabama 3, Bonobo to Aphex Twin, Asian Dub Foundation, Mogwai, N.W. A. + many many more. Music keeps the blood flowin'!


This is from one of my favourite Manchester bands New Order:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

25 Things That Inspire Me To Create Jewelry #21 Graphic Patterns

#21 Graphic Patterns

I've always loved graphic designs, something about sharp lines + minimalistic patterns just really do it for me. This was taken in from my friend's balcony in Manchester. It's a little freaky how computer generated some of our landscape has become but I love this shot regardless.

Monday, May 18, 2009

25 Things That Inspire Me To Create Jewelry #20 Triangles

#20 Triangles

I'm not really sure where my obsession with triangles came from but I have always really loved the shape and it's use in bridge structures. I've also had this obsession since I was a teenager with making these triangle links with drinking straws when I'm out at the cafe or pub having a drink. Which also reminds me of this fabulous dress I made my freshman year at Moore College of Art. It was full ballroom skirt style dress made of drinking straws spray painted in copper to look like a cage. It was sooo cool, unfortunately I never took a photo of it. Maybe I should make a new version with my improved making skills! Hmmmmmm, just maybe.

Friday, May 15, 2009

25 Things That Inspire Me To Create Jewelry #19 Sunsets

#19 Sunsets

The day is done + when the sun falls gently below the horizon leaving a display of colours across the sky + clouds it's time for relaxing with friends, dancing with fire + tapping into those corners of my mind where really creative things lie...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

25 Things That Inspire Me To Create Jewelry #18 Tools


#18 Tools

This is a photo of my bench top. These are just a few of the tools I use to create my jewelry. In addition to the hand tools at my bench I have (+ also love) my mini - rolling mills for drawing down wire and making sheet metal thinner, my hot rod steam machine for cleaning, a ultrasonic machine that is also used for cleaning, my polishing machine and my ringer bender. My husband jokes with me and says the tool catalogues that arrive to our door every month are my jewelry porn. I suppose he is right. Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr