makin' it

Here I am a day late with makin' it. 

These are my forget-me-not castings in need of some sanding to smooth out rough edges. 

 You've all seen my lovely 3M wheels I use with my foredom, so I figured I would just show an after picture of my nice, smooth castings.

Next comes dapping time!

I love tools and hammers. This step is much more fun than clean up.

Once the flowers are cupped I get my soldering station set up. Out comes my soldering stick, brush, flux, third arm, tweezers, ear posts and some freshly cut solder chips. 
[don't you love the little crane that keeps my tools from rolling away on me?]

Just a little close up.


 Here's the happy little family pre-pickle and full of fire scale. 

 After the earrings have been pickled I sand away fire scale and solder [yes, with my 3M wheels!] and then start on my matte finish. This sander attachment is intense, safety goggles are a must [but really, they are always a must]. Once I am done texturing I am covered in silver dust and bits of the wheel that came loose. I can't argue with the results. I love the random scratches that create my matte finish. I should add that I do this for the oxidized flowers as well, it gives the same feel to the oxidized pieces, making them less shiny, even after a romp in the tumbler.

Then comes the packaging. This step is so satisfying unlike the photography step. With photography there is editing photographs, loading them onto websites, writing descriptions and filling in 15 fields before hitting 'publish' to get your work listed but when your item sells, it makes it all worth it.

I love these behind the scenes studio posts, don't you?

xo, kim

thrifted, handmade + altered: what I wore

I have been a lover of skate shirts since high school. Element would be one of my absolute favorites as they were the first skate company to offer clothing for girls and these clothes are proudly designed by girls. 

This has long been one of my favorite shirts but I hadn't worn it much as the sleeves were cropped, tight and uncomfortable. Finally, I decided to take some scissors to this t-shirt and make it into a tank top. The sleeves came off and the the neckline was made bigger. Now it's perfect. I get to wear my shirt with golden flowers and butterflies. 

In the few spare moments I had while studying jewelry and metals at UMass Dartmouth I made rings for myself. This was my first square bezel setting which was no easy task. I wore this ring so much the labradorite is scratched and the silver has dings and colored epoxy on it from past projects I made while wearing it. I'm still in love with the stone's iridescent darkness and the history it shows of my hard earned BFA. 

Here's the thrifted part, another gap skirt. There's a pattern here, I love aline jean skirts from the gap.

happy tuesday!
xo, kim

makin' it [old school edition]

Back in my days at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth we were set to the task of learning stone setting. Not buying a pre-made setting and putting a stone in it stone setting, but fabricating settings to set the stone in sort of stone setting. 
 We were encouraged to do some practice pieces just to get the hang of making these settings. 

 But I had just come back from Blithewold Gardens with a leaf similar to the one above. I was in love with its simplicity, irregular edges and subtle movement. I ordered some silver and went to a local stone cutter to get an oval peridot to capture the color of the leaf. After some sawing, hammering, forming and soldering I managed to manipulate a sheet of silver into a leaf and set the peridot. Not well, but well enough that it is still in place eleven years later. 

Here's my gingko hair pin. I recently shined it up a little and decided to make a point of wearing it. 

After I took this picture I realized how much fun I had making this piece, all of the tools I used, a new way of adding color... and concluded that I needed to make more. More to sell, more to make into brooches, hair pins and bracelets...a series.

It won't be soon but these are on my long list of things to make. I look forward to sharing a new series with you. Hopefully sooner than later.

happy monday! xo, kim

ps: this is a post meant to connect with my customers and readers. it is not a DIY post. please read this post if you think otherwise. 

Thank you, Boston!

After a gloomy start towards Boston this past Sunday morn it turns out that not turning around and climbing back into bed was the best decision I've made this whole year. We don't need to discuss the details of the gloomy start but trying to make up for time with speedy driving only made us arrive late to the amazing venue that is Bazaar Bizarre Boston

photo of the masses thanks so Sarah Coyne of egg-a-go-go

It was a busy day, a complete blur of selling bling and wrapping pretty little boxes up with twine. I got to meet some twitter friends in real life, found a few spare minutes to chat with some favorite crafters and even do some handmade holiday shopping. Once I was home and settled, I tallied the day up to discover that Bazaar Bizarre Boston was my best sale ever. And since the seven hours of selling was such a whirlwind I didn't realize until today, while entering what little inventory I had left, that there were some products that definitely hit the spot in Boston. 

It seems that my favorite neighboring city is smitten with green. These box earrings were a huge hit. So much so that I was glad I had some wire already cut, with the edges smoothed and tumbled for spring tucked away in my totes. I made a few extra pairs of these olive jade box earrings in the rare moments between rushes of customers. In the end even making on the spot wasn't enough, I sold out.

First frost was a huge hit as well. These are on my to make list for this week. I'm pretty excited that my new winter colors were so warmly welcomed. It really warms this bling makers heart when new work sells out.

I brought back these silver lining earrings from retirement. Am I ever glad I did, they sold really well. So much so that I need to get some supplies to make these fast. I wouldn't want to set up shop at Mass Market on the 11th without them. 

So, Boston, let's meet up again this Sunday at Mass Market! I'll be restocked and ready for action!
xo, kim

 and thanks for making my holiday making season bright!
{to see these items in my shop click on the photos}

molly m designs

Here it is November and I still have a pile of cards of my favorite makers from the New York International Gift Fair. And yes, I still intend to write about each and every last artist whose work I pawed over back in August. 
As a maker who uses simple shapes in her designs I appreciate the collections made by Molly M Designs. Her medium, wood, is manipulated with a laser cutter, a method she originally employed to make architectural models. I think it is her background in architecture which helps her to stand out in the laser cutting crowd. Through the eyes of an architect she approaches her materials in a different manner. Molly pays attention to color, texture and layering, making her forms more complex than they may appear from afar.

Unlike most folks who use this medium Molly doesn't cut an abstract shape and glue a pin back on it. Upon close inspection you realize she layers pieces, mixes fabric with wood and changes up her shapes. Circles vary in size, stretching to become ovals or overlapping to become a group marquises resembling petals. It is in these details we seek our appreciation for jewelry and home goods, they are objects which are meant to be touched and further inspected.

Molly also creates depth through her use of line, alternating between a full cut forming negative space or using a more shallow cut to create a gesture and illusion of depth. 

This last set of earrings looks to me like an overlay of the land. What you see from an airplane heading into the sky and away from the city. A group of forms, becoming muddled. You are unsure of where one house begins and the other ends. Maybe that is just the reason Molly found her voice in jewelry. It is her work from beginning to end. 

take a look at more lovely lasercut pieces by Molly M Designs here

happy friday!
xo, kim

Quench Metalworks

Another artist I was happy to see at the RISD Alumni Sale, Quench Metalworks. I've been an admirer of her etsy shop for some time now but it's always better to see jewelry in person. Plus, there was a super cute little lady doing a great job of handing out postcards. You don't see that on etsy. 

I love to see real metalsmithing jewelry. You can tell by looking at each piece that Jennifer Atkins Lisa utilizes an arsenal of tools to make her jewelry. 

Jennifer also knows how to use buttons as a focal point in her pieces. In the world of craft, we see lots of button jewelry, but we don't often see pieces of this caliber. These buttons are carefully sewn in, like little mementos. Maybe they are from a loved one's shirt and newly stitched to a swatch of fabric from their coat? There is a story being told here that we can all relate to. 

I got to fiddle with these Loop de Loops. They are just as stunning in person. I quite smitten with this design, it's a simple play on repetition of shape that is elegantly done. The near uninterrupted flow of the ear wire brings the whole design together completing it's perfection. I just added them to my wish list. 

happy monday!
xo, Kim

ps: there's more to be seen here and here

Angela Fung Jewellery

It shouldn't come as a surprise that the jewelry is what I noticed most while at the New York International Gift Fair.  Shiny objects always catch my eye. Angela Fung had more than just shine in her line of jewelry, she had movement. 
Angela creates simple yet thoughtful jewelry. Her pieces look sophisticated and elegant but she uses this sophistication to hide it's playfulness. Her real audience is the person who loves to fiddle but appreciates clean lines and simplicity.

These cufflinks are perfection. In my experience, men like jewelry that has a function and is well constructed. And they like to understand how the pieces are fabricated. Angela Fung's cufflinks are perfectly functional, and simply constructed. The wearer can figure out the basic means of their fabrication and appreciate her playful details. I don't think these would be worn out of duty, like the tie you gave dad on father's day. They will be worn with appreciation for the design and for the thought you put into the gift. 

This is just a little sample of Angela's work. There is much more to be seen here

happy thursday!
xo, kim

Ananda Khalsa Jewelry

While browsing the bustling New York International Gift Fair Ananda Khalsa's jewelry caught my eye.

It must have been the mix of color and simple shapes that drew me into her booth. Whether she is framing a hand painted scene or a gemstone she does it simply and with elegance. Ananda has a way of creating a focal point which captures the viewer. 

Bold color in the form of stones or paint are set against a neutral frame. Once your eyes take in the deep hues you realize the soft accents of gold, silver or a wash of grass and pale sky. 

Ananda's work is well planned and perfectly balanced. The paintings may be her visions but we can all relate to the tranquility expressed in her lines. And she chooses gemstones of the most unusual shapes which makes them seem as if they were hand-picked just for us. Ananda's jewelry is personal yet tells a story we can all relate to and make our own. 

there is much more here

happy friday!
xo, kim

HML Berlin

While strolling the aisles of the New York Gift Show I came across some shiny objects that caught my eye. They were simple and elegant with a touch of color. 

These timeless pieces are designed by Horst Max Lebert of Berlin

And he explains his work aptly, "Not the things themselves are important, but the feelings they evoke."

I couldn't agree more. I feel like jewelry needs to have an intimate interaction with the wearer. They need to like how the piece makes them feel, mentally and physically. Jewelry needs to be comfortable and functional yet relate to the wearer, telling a story about the person behind the ring, brooch or necklace. HML of Berlin tells subtle stories that don't get old or over done. They remain timeless. 

happy monday!
xo, kim

in my studio : swedish stars

These Swedish stars have been a long time inspiration of mine. I believe it was four years ago now when I received my very first star from my sister in law. These stars were never taken down after holiday celebrations came to an end and moved with me from apartment to apartment and found a new home in my studio. I love the shade of red and thought everyday deserved to be festive.

I am forever getting compliments on them which is a great reminder to stop being busy and to take the time to look up from my bench to admire them.

One day my admiration for their forms will find a place in my jewelry. Until then I will settle for capturing the color on shapes I work with daily..

happy sunday!
maybe you should spend your funday shopping..
xo, kim

in my studio : love

Here are some behind the scenes photos of my new color combination called love. Why love you ask? Well, it is a combination I love and the two shades remind me of valentine's day and flowers. But I prefer them year round and not just for a special occasion. Pink and red are best together.

It all started with this photograph taken at Blithewold gardens. For years it has graced my studio wall and until recently I didn't know exactly how it was going to translate to my jewelry. But it was the color combination that finally crept it's way into my bling.

I am not the only one in love with this combination of rusty, ruby red with sprinkles of pink. My newest consignor, Magpie asked for tons of earrings and necklaces in this new hue of mine. Here is a collection I was getting together for them. This is before the ear wires are formed, solder clean up is in full effect here. Sometimes I need to see this massive pile of bling to reassure me that completed work is on the way.

 Here they are finally finished and up for sale in my etsy shop. Love dash of color. 

I love the super shiny backs of these. It is proof of my time spent at my flex shaft polishing these babies up. 

I loved this combination in the dash of color earrings and new it needed a necklace to match. I also knew that I needed to design a fancier clasp for my dot necklaces. I wanted them to be more, well, me. So, I started with making a little eye hook.

 Then I bent the wire around a dowel to mimic the shape of the dot shaped pendant. I didn't complete the circle for this half to make the hook part of the clasp.

On the other half I completed the circle. All of the loose ends were soldered up with the chain in place. No cold connections here!

 And pickled in my super duper eco-friendly vitamin c pickle. There isn't a picture but I cleaned the solder up with my trusty flex shaft and brass brushed it to a shine.

Purty, isn't it?

A mate for my earrings. 
Even after batches upon batches of these being made, I still do love these colors together. 

happy sunday! do you have your studio to do list made up already?
xo, kim

object fetish fridays : Marketa Lisa

This morning I am missing drawing class. Looking at these pieces by Marketa Lisa reminds me of nature drawing and the envy I have for those who can effortlessly do line drawings.

I am in awe of Marketa's ability to use silver wire, pliers and a torch as delicately as one would use pencil and paper. Her work seems effortless.

Marketa captures gesture in her work with subtle bends in wire. It is all so simply elegant.

aren't these pieces perfect for spring?

happy friday!
xo, kim

object fetish friday : Elisa Bongfeldt

Another week means another Fridays spent eyeing gorgeous jewelry on object fetish
Enjoy these industrial yet elegant designs by Elisa Bonfeldt

How I want to try on her cylinder bracelet. 
I looks like great fun to wear and I bet it sounds quite lovely too. 

Elisa's lace ring reminds me of my first ten speed bicycle, the one I was always fixing the chain on. Thought it reminds me of something so simple I am lost in it's elegance. 

Most jewelers let the stone stand out making a setting that seems to disappear. Being that I am someone who likes to work with metal over stones I appreciate how Elisa keeps the settings present and equal to the stone. I appreciate this balance and I seem to notice the glint of the diamonds more. 

I love this hollow form reminiscent of a large washer being far more elegant than the real thing.

And since I love metalwork more than stones I love these stacking rings. Void of precious stones yet still incorporating color means I love them all the more.

 happy friday!
what does the weekend hold in store for you? perhaps some shopping..
xo, kim

object fetish fridays : Jung Ja Lee

There are many artists who have amazing textile abilities but they don't always translate these abilities into jewelry successfully. Artist, Jung Ja Lee manipulates her textile techniques to create a whole piece from beginning to end instead of mixing her delicate work with an awkward chain or pre-made findings. And this is why I love her work. 

The work is hers from beginning to end. She doesn't compromise her design to fit a finding. Jung utilizes her textile know how to create chain and to connect her handmade components. 

I also love the feminine colors. Her palette is the perfect match for her delicate neck ware. It is reminiscent of decorative collars made for large swirling dresses.  

Jung's construction is always interesting. It is playful yet still feminine. And I love it.

happy friday! what are you up to this weekend?
xo, Kim

mondays' muse : Vera Siemund

I have a lot of enameling to do in my studio this week. Torch and kiln fired. I am quickly learning that I preferred torch fired as I get to interact with the process in a more direct way.  I love seeing how different artists approach the same materials. Below is a piece from Vera Siemund {very similar to the one in hnoss depended}.

click on image for source

I love how Vera blends enamel and texture in this piece. Most enamelists use transparent enamels when applying it over texture. Vera uses opaque enamel, making the outcome appear more modern than your traditional bastille. 

Finally, I am getting more comfortable with my enameling. After taking some time off from sifting and firing crushed glass it didn't come back to me as easily as I would have liked it to. But I am coming around and feeling more comfortable then I was in college. I have been experimenting with techniques I was told couldn't be done and am successful at it. Soon I will be leaving this comfort zone and trying new things. Texture is another love of mine so I hope it finds it's way into my enameling.

happy monday!
xo, kim

supermarket saturdays : girl tuesday jewelry

There is something simply stunning about this Glacier Necklace by Girl Tuesday Jewelry on supermarket.

I especially love the detail of the two chains hanging below the druzy quartz. Not to mention the simple play of monochromatic color. 

Isn't it perfect that Girl Tuesday Jewelry used an over-sized stone in a simple piece? It isn't over done with too many details. Just the stone and the chain work perfectly together, balancing each other without competition. 

This is just my favorite in her shop. There are hearts a plenty for you to get for your lover. Not get to it!

happy saturday! xo, kim

object fetish fridays revisits Amy Tavern

I couldn't resist visiting Amy Tavern's work again. While glancing at the main page of object fetish I saw her colorful earrings flash by. I excitedly dashed over to her shop to see what new pieces there were to discover as I knew her work had changed from when my first crush on it began last August.  
The purposefully misshaped circle was so familiar but this time it is created from sheet and used as a canvass. But it is the color that is new, a process inspired by graffiti. The results are modern and hip but the shape maintains a classic quality. I just fell in love all over again. 

enjoy & happy friday!
xo, kim

ps: go get shopping for your lover. 

monday's muse

Seven years ago my brother-in-law (future brother-in-law at the time) brought a book back for me from Denmark. He had just returned from a residency program there. And being inspired from traveling afar for the sake of making art he brought something back to inspire me to start making again. The book was Ringe Dialog

For years I was completely stuck with what I should be making in my jewelry studio. I struggled with wanting to make only top quality exhibition work. Complex pieces full of brilliant concepts that one could spend hours discussing. I came to realize that this would be the route which insured me spending weeks and months alone in my then basement studio. These pieces were time consuming to make and required so much planning that the act of making didn't always happen often. Sure, you were making with paper models, trying templates out in cheaper metal and sketching plenty. But, this wasn't the  wielding a torch or a hammer part of making that I loved most about the process.

Something about this page from Ringe Dialog always came back to me. The artist, Mette Vivelsted, had chosen to make a fairly standard looking ring. Then she took the time to re-create the silhouette of this ring out of wire. Doing this again and again she has turned her production pieces into one exhibition piece. 

There are a few morals to this story. Making the same pieces again and again insures that you will learn to make that piece and make it well. You will learn to get comfortable with your materials, something I wasn't able to do making larger scale pieces because they were all so different. More pieces also means more hands for your work to fall into, spreading your art far and wide. And, finally, it is a great foundation should you decide that one day you might want to make something grand. You can build on your basic skills and make that complex piece that gets others talking about it for years to come. 

happy monday!
xo, kim

supermarket saturdays : The Opulent Project

These Day/Night earrings by The Opulent Project are brilliant. 

The design, color and materials are all just, well, brilliant. I love their versatility which forces direct interaction with the wearer. Most earrings just require you to put them on. With these you have decisions to make. Elegant night time wear or simpler business attire. As far as I am concerned, they will always be perfect. If anyone is reading who isn't sure what to buy me for an upcoming holiday, these are high on the list.

happy saturday!
xo, kim

ps: The Opulent Project is a master of using repurposed materials. They are super subtle about it. Their materials are striking but it isn't completely evident of where they came from until reading their product descriptions. Take time browsing their shop, you will thank me later.

object fetish fridays : Elke Mitscha

I have been thinking a lot about roses lately with the upcoming holiday. It isn't that I like roses, I don't at all. See, I use to work in a florist where all we did this time of year was take orders for dozens upon dozens of red roses, with babies breath of course. The man ordering the roses always seemed so impressed with himself, like he was giving the greatest gift as I rolled my eyes at the lack of originality. So, men, if you are going to get roses for your lover this valentine's day, make is a Brooch of Roses
Besides, these roses will last. And you want to make a lasting impression don't you?

Elke Mitscha may use geometric forms to suggest petals but this brooch maintains a vivid image of roses. She captures the gesture of this flower perfectly. 

And, I am a sucker for a handmade pin back. That always seals the deal for me. 

happy friday!
xo, kim