Here is the second video in my series, in which I explain the process of selecting gemstones for custom pieces. If you want to check out the book I mention, here is a link to it on Amazon.
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Here it is...my first video in the Custom Jewelry Guide. This series will take you through all of the steps in creating a custom jewelry piece. Please make sure to comment if you have any questions about custom jewelry. I will respond in a future video.
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When you saw "celebrity," what came
to mind? A Kardashian? A starlet on the red carpet? Too often these
days, "celebrity" just means someone who is famous for being famous.
Let's reclaim the older definition of celebrity: a "celebrated person,"
and a person who deserves celebrating!
Let me introduce you to one of my collectors, Theresa Rebeck. She has a very big week ahead of her. "Smash," the TV series she wrote, premieres right after the Super Bowl. This is the kind of woman that I'm proud to call my celebrity client. While the contemporary notion of celebrity is all about being in front of the camera or wearing couture dresses on the red carpet, I love to celebrate the way someone like Theresa brings her extraordinary creativity and intelligence to the complex and demanding process behind the camera. As a playwright and a screenwriter, she has been a trailblazer in a male-dominated industry, and an unabashed champion of women in her field.
Theresa Rebeck at the debut of her play Seminar, with Alan Rickman.
Can you spot a familiar-looking necklace?
I'm honored to have a woman with this combination of drive, brains and creativity wearing my work. When I'm at my sketchbook or my workbench, I strive to reflect the strength and beauty of women like Theresa.
I'd love to honor more of my clients for the impressive work they do in the world. Is there an achievement or milestone you'd like to celebrate? Tell me what it is! Include a photo of yourself wearing a piece of my jewelry and I'll put your story in an upcoming newsletter so we can all give you a well-deserved round of applause.
I performed at a friend's wedding bonfire, photo by Rima Shamieh
Did you ever find yourself going out for an evening and having it lead to experiences that you couldn't have imagined in your wildest dreams?
Back in 2006, I was making a beautiful line of jewelry, with delicate silver and gold tendrils sprinkled with colored stones. The line was in a lot of stores, and its success made me happy, but I was also burned out, trying to do everything myself. The pieces were cast, which meant I made an original, sent it off to the caster, who returned multiples that I then had to finish by hand. My studio had turned into a one-person factory.
A very popular design from my first collection
For 5 years, I had immersed myself in the jewelry world, to the exclusion of everything else. You could find me at every conference, trade show, reading magazines and books about jewelry. My husband would beg me to talk about something other than jewelry. But around this time a friend invited me to see her Middle Eastern drum performance, and even though I was working overtime getting ready for a trade show, I knew that she really wanted me to be there.
What happened that night was one of those moments when life switches course irrevocably, and a new path opens up. My friend was accompanying a belly-dance group. After the student performances, a dancer named Kaeshi took the stage. Her style of belly dance was magical, and I was awestruck. She wasn’t Middle Eastern, and her Asian background also led me to ponder the boldness of her choice to become a belly dancer. The combination of who she was and her signature dance created a pull in me that I could not resist. I surprised my husband by telling him, "I want to do that.”
I studied with Kaeshi for 1 1/2 years,
thinking of it as fun and fitness, when she started to ask me to perform at her
weekly event. I came up with every possible excuse to avoid this terrifying
prospect, for a year! Finally, Kaeshi enlisted one of my friends as her ally,
and added a couple of cocktails to break my resistance. I actually really
wanted to perform, but I was also afraid of what might result.
But once I was in, I was in all the way. For that first performance, I surprised Kaeshi by creating my own choreography and my own costume. The reluctant performer turned creative director. This, after a year of cajoling me just to get on the stage! I was overwhelmed by the joy of being on stage, the cheers, the happy faces of the audience.
I started to embrace my performing nature. I found collaborators around downtown NY, working my way up to an all-day dance performance that started in Central Park and wound its way down Fifth Avenue; a stage at the Brooklyn Academy of Music; and even a dance festival in Bali. I explored classical Balinese dance and added some underground dance styles to the mix. I had moments I could not have conceived of in my wildest dreams.
Not really dainty...at the House Dance International conference
photo by Becca Fox
So here I was getting this bold and electric feeling from performing, but in the studio, I was holding myself back. When I looked at myself in those full-length mirrors in the dance studio, I saw that there was a discord between my physical presence and what I was designing. People frequently described my work as "dainty.” Like many women who got tall very young, I was always aware that “dainty” was something I was not. How had I ended up making “dainty” jewelry?
Dance had taught me to release fear of judgment, and pushed me far out of my comfort zone. When I took that back to the studio, what emerged was the Wrought Collection. Big and bold. No longer a cast collection, these pieces were one of a kind and hand-fabricated. It wasn’t that I didn’t love the old work, but this collection represented a more authentic representation of my artistic voice: boldy romantic.
Baroque Wrought Bracelet
Today I am stirring up the creative mix once again. Last year, I focused on developing my business, really getting down to the core of what I do. Concurrently, I was suffering from hip pain that prevented me from dancing. But last Wednesday night, my body was finally ready, and I took to the stage and danced with intensity. Meanwhile, in the more solitary environment of the studio, I am applying an equal intensity to creating new collections. And as I do, I smile thinking of you feeling that electric charge of attention when you wear them.
Have you had an experience like this? Have you ever thought about skipping a performance, gathering, art opening because of over work, only to go and have your life changed forever? If so, please share it with me in the comments, I would love to hear your stories!
Happy New Year!
Yes, I had a little vacation in the desert for the holidays. I go there every year to spend time with my mother and stepfather, and I get the chance to be connected to things besides my computer and my smartphone.
My cousin and her husband took us on a major hike, which involved passing over a couple of mountain ridges, bushwhacking through cacti (ok, so there was a reason everyone looked at me weird when I decided to wear a skirt), and the moment that I though a cactus was a tree branch...noticing right as I was about to grab it for support.
While I love cities through and through, it is really important for me to connect with the rugged natural world,the origin of my materials. In Arizona, it is possible to find turquoise speckling a rock used as gravel. I also spotted plenty of quartz, which I have been using as softly tumbled beads combined with handmade chains.
City girl in the desert!
I look forward to connecting with you in 2012. I have a couple of new collections that I will be unveiling in the next months. I am also putting together some great guides to jewelry buying and care to share with you.
Thanks for reading!
Flashback to 10 Years Ago...
Hunched over the hotpot dish at the local
Vietnamese restaurant, I could barely keep my head up to eat. I was so
tired, with so much more work to finish. This memory of Thanksgiving
came back to me this weekend, as I enjoyed a lovely day off on
Thanksgiving and interspersed my work with other social events. I
definitely got enough rest. This memory, though it sounds a little sad,
is one I fondly remember. I was just beginning this journey of my
business, making the first few pieces of my collection, putting in the
first of the many hours of work that it takes to build a business.
As I mentioned earlier this fall, it was the tumultuous and traumatic events in lower Manhattan 10 years ago that launched me on my trajectory, gave me the courage to strike out on my own. By Thanksgiving weekend, I was holed up in my apartment, pulling together a small collection of designs to show at the upcoming Holiday Sale at the Craft Students League. In the end, I had about 5 designs. When I picked up my first bag of castings, I nearly fainted when I found out the bill was $500, and every single step of the making process took me eons to complete. I could never have guessed how much metal would pass through my hands in the next ten years, not to mention the rare and valuable gems that I would have the pleasure of working with.
At that first sale, I put the pieces right down on the tablecloth on the folding table. The leaf and the Tibetan cloud earrings, with matching pendants on leather cords, the flower pendant with a cabochon in the center, and a couple strands of handmade rosary chain with turquoise. I give eternal thanks to the handful of people that made purchases that day. If they had not appeared at the moment, who knows if I would have moved on to the next step?
relaxed environment of 24th st lofts
24th St Lofts Jewelry Show and Sale
December 10th 11-6
Deccember 11th 12-5
148 W. 24th St. (between 6th and 7th)
9th Floor, NYC
So here, I find myself, 10 years down the road, and I want to celebrate! To mark the 10th anniversary of that modest start, I am inviting you to celebrate with me. On December 10-11th, I will be exhibiting at the bi-annual show at the 24th st lofts with several other jewelers. We always provide wine and snacks in a relaxed atmosphere, but I am going to add some special things, including a giveaway!