Road to Mecca (jewelry mecca that is)

Necklace I made using a commissioned piece from Ashley of Summer Wind Art

Unfortunately I’ve been nursing a sore back, which has kept me away from the computer. Feeling well enough to write now, I decided to post something before I head to Tucson for the Gem, Mineral, Fossil, and Jewelry Show. Woohoo, desert here I come! This will be my first time attending and I’m beyond excited! This has been on my bucket list for several years and I finally made the decision to attend this year.

For those unfamiliar with the event it is a 2 1/2 week gathering of hundreds of gem, mineral, bead, fossil, and jewelry vendors, experts, artisans, and shoppers, all converging on Tucson, AZ. There are over 40 different venues located in hotels, the convention center, warehouses, casino, and on sidewalks and in huge tents all over town. Take your pick, there is something for everyone from dino bones to flamework glass beads, to metalsmith pieces and fine gem stones. Vendors come from all over the world to sell, trade, and just share their expertise with the public and wholesalers alike.

Being a newbie I decided to purchase the Tucson Gem Show catalog which has loads of information on all the shows, how to get around town, maps, restaurants in the area, hotels, etc. Totally worth the investment. Also, there are apps one can download and information online. I was propelled to take the leap to attend when a jewelry artist I follow online decided to run a day long workshop there (Candie Cooper). She is holding it in a cool motel and she has lined up some wonderful artists that will be doing classes with her. Candie’s event is a day and a half long which includes visiting the African markets and other venues, but I booked time before and after to do some things on my own. Of course I’ll be shopping and will definitely go to the shows located in the casino. Many people I’ve purchased from will be located there. There are a few others venues on my list that I want to attend, but being new and not sure of the layout and transportation I’ll just play my free time by ear and see what happens. I will be attending the Beads of Courage bracelet making fundraiser one evening. People I’m familiar with in the DIY jewelry world will be there and it all sounds fun and for a great cause.

I will be posting pics from my time there, so keep a sharp eye out for that. I’ll also share what trinkets I find and bring home with me.

Time to start packing! ~ Holly G

Pondering over beads and coffee- “What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Back home with a few goodies

Well, we are back home after enjoying our vacation in Florida. Although it was chilly by Florida standards it was still much warmer than back home. Our condo on the beach was just wonderful. The views, amazing. We did luck out and had a few days warm and sunny enough to lounge by the pool. It has been quite the re-entry coming back north. We got snow and very cold temps to deal with, but that is what winter is like here, even for a southern state.

When I travel I like to seek out independently owned bead shops and lo and behold I found one, located just up the road from where we were staying, called Island Cove Beads and Gallery. If I lived in that area, I’m sure it would become my second home. Friendly staff, lots of great beads, some of which were made by local glass bead artists, and an area to sit and hang out making jewelry. My kind of place. I was glad I found it and got to spend some time in there. Of course I found some goodies to bring home with me! How could I not, I ask you. I’m saving my $$ for ‘the’ Tucson show (more on that later), but I could not resist. Plus I’m supporting a locally owned shop. All good.

Pondering over beads and coffee- “Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.”  –Martin Luther King

Peace to all – Holly G

On the beach

I am not a winter or cold weather person, even though I was born in the upper Midwest where winters can get crazy. I crave sun and warmth, much like my cats. So it’s not unusual for my husband and myself to seek out warmer climes for a few days during our winters at home. Currently, I am sitting in my condo on a beach in sunny Florida watching palm trees swaying, and waves a crashin’. My kind of winter day.

One of the things I love to do on these visits is to walk the beaches enjoying the sights and sounds and sun. I’ll scoop up any shells I see along the way that I find interesting and beautiful. I have jars full at home from years of collecting. What I find more difficult to find is sea glass. I just love the stuff, but find it hard to find. I know some of you may have been lucky to find loads on other beaches you have visited, but they elude me. Whatever pieces I own, I have purchased them. In the past I have used pieces in my jewelry making, mostly wire wrapping them for pendants or earrings. I just love the smooth shapes and frosted look of it. I’ve seen tutorials on drilling into the glass, but haven’t tried my hand at it.

Do any of you work with sea glass in your jewelry making? What do you think of it?h

Pondering over coffee and beads…. “ A beach is not only a sweep of sand, but shells of sea creatures, the sea glass, the seaweed, the incongruous objects washed up by the ocean.” ~ Henry Grunwald

Greetings from Margaritaville – Holly G

The right components

As a Do It Yourself jewelry maker, I’m always on the hunt for the perfect components to use in my pieces. That’s half the fun! Beads of all shapes and sizes can be found in a variety of hobby stores or venues like Etsy and Amazon and are often mass produced. I buy those by the boatload, especially during sales. I love the variety in colors and mediums. I’m partial to glass, but I also like wood, lava, clay, resin, and of course natural gemstones. If you have a design in mind and find just the right size bead, in the right color, that’s magical! I can hardly wait to put it all together.

I also love love love buying handmade components. There are so many unique and talented artisans out there that create lovely pieces. I feel I have only scratched the surface in locating them. I have some favorite artists that I return to and I’m adding more to the list all the time. Facebook has been a great source for me to find individuals or groups of people who specialize in making jewelry components. They often have sales/auctions live on FB. You often have to be fast tho, as items sell quickly. I’ll be talking about these people here periodically, as I so enjoy their work and incorporating it into mine.

This photo is of a pair of earrings I made using Czech glass beads, spacers, silver plated beads and sunburst design charms/components I believe came from Wild Raven Studio. (That’s the bad part, I don’t always remember who made what without going through my stack of purchases. I’ll need to do better getting that information organized this year.) I just love the southwest (or beachy) vibe of the colors and design. They are lightweight and so easy to wear. It actually has been easy to find clothing that goes well with these colors too. A great pair of earrings to wear on a Caribbean cruise or while wintering in Sedona sipping wine watching a desert sunset. Don’t mind if I do!

Pondering over beads and coffee… “Sunsets, like childhood, are viewed with wonder not just because they are beautiful but because they are fleeting.”  –Richard Paul Evans

Enjoy the day- Holly G

Inspirations

I love artists and their works. Of all mediums. Wandering museums, art shows, craft markets are my jam! I truly envy their talent and courage to put their work out for others to see (and judge). I just love the inspiration it gives me, makes me believe I too can be an artist. However, that thought that I am not an artist has been a major stumbling block to me and my creativity. I have to remind myself that a person does not have to be a trained artist with an MFA to be a creative. Because I’m not trained in jewelry design (or art of any kind) I do look around for inspiration and help in how to make and create.

I began my jewelry making journey in prehistoric times (aka pre-internet). My sources for how-tos were jewelry making books and magazines. I’d either go to the local bookshops or the library to find anything I could on the subject. At the time, there seemed to be quite the variety of magazines to peruse through. I had quite the stack for awhile. I really enjoyed repeatedly flipping through the pages and getting jazzed up by all that I saw. Some designs I felt were beyond my reach and talents, others were possibilities. I rarely buy these magazines now as they are getting harder and harder to find both in stores and online.

Years ago I found a PBS show, Beads Baubles and Jewels that still runs on my local public TV station every Friday. Ah, more like minded peeps! I love the show because I much prefer to watch someone make something and give instructions instead of seeing still photos and reading the instructions. Now, the internet is the main source of locating inspiration for me. The how to videos on YouTube and Facebook as well as on bead sellers/jewelry makers websites has just blown up over the past several years. Lucky us! What a great way to see and met people who share my passion and can talk the ‘bead talk’. Can’t forget to mention Pinterest as well. What a great way to waste time find great ideas and more people connections.

Truly, there are many ways to find inspiration. If you want to find color combinations to use in your pieces look to nature, such as walking through the park, catching a sunset on the beach, desert beauty, country living, etc. Fashion and home design/decorating magazines are also great sources for seeing what is currently on trend. I’ve seen jewelry makers challenge themselves and others to create a piece based on colors in a particular painting or photograph. I’ve tried this when I’ve been stuck creatively and couldn’t find my muse for awhile. It helps get the juices flowing again.

Pondering over beads and coffee….“Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative place where no one else has ever been.” -Alan Alda

Creatively yours~ Holly G

Peace!

Since the 70s I have been a fan of the Peace sign. You know the one, the round circle with the three pronged bird foot looking symbol. At the time it was the image to wear on t-shirts, purses, jean patches and of course jewelry. My fave was a necklace with the peace sign hanging from a long chain or piece of leather. So cool. I didn’t own one as a youngster, but quite a few years ago my husband and I went to a NYE party that had a ’60s’ costume theme. I went to a local vintage shop to find some things for us to wear and found just such a necklace and bought it. After all those years, I finally had one. It was a must have piece. Not sure who manufactured it tho. I also got a Lucky Brand chunk chain PEACE bracelet that I wore regularly for awhile. Might be time to get that back in the wearing rotation.

Of course I have been buying and collecting Peace symbol charms and beads to use in my jewelry as well. These findings can be located in retail hobby/craft stores and online shops. I also found some delicious Czech glass Peace beads and bought some in several colors. More colors are available and are on my wish list, because more is more! They are on my bead table to use some day. I like to let pieces sit around a bit until inspiration hits. I also just like to have them and look at them. They make me smile! Once I get something put together I’ll post a pic. I recommend using findings in your jewelry designs that mean something to you like the peace symbol, or beads/charms in other shapes and colors, because if they mean something to you likely it means something to others. It is especially nice if you are making a pair of earrings or a bracelet for someone to incorporate items that reflect the wearer in some way. Makes it so much more personal and special

BTW, if I were to get another tattoo (I only have one now), it would be the Peace sign, but that’s for another day.

Pondering over beads and coffee…. “When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.” Jimi Hendrix

Peace Out! ~Holly G

Whatever possessed me

I’m really not sure when or why my passion in jewelry started. I do know it goes way back. Rings were my early obsession (and still are). I loved looking at them on others and always wanted to wear them. I wore inexpensive adjustable rings as a little girl. Plastic or cheap metal ones. The kind that would turn my finger green over night. I knew I wouldn’t be getting ‘real’ rings at that age, but I did covet them. One of my childhood girlfriends got a birthstone ring as a gift from her parents and I so wanted one like it. The ‘stone’ was colored glass and the metal plated, but that didn’t matter. I must have made my desires known to my friend, because for my birthday she and her mother took me to the department store where she got hers and bought me one in my birthstone. I still have that ring today, scuffed up and lackluster after so much wear. It meant the world to me at the time. I’ve had pieces handed down to me from my grandmothers, aunts, and mother. All unique and carry their own story. Once when I was admiring a ring my aunt was wearing she took it off and gave it to me right then. It was a birthstone ring she had purchased in Italy, her native country (we shared the same birthstone). I was so surprised by and appreciative of her gesture. I wore it for a long time and cherish it. My husband knows all too well my love of jewelry and has given me so many lovely pieces over the years. I love them all… and him too. It’s wonderful to have a spouse that more than tolerates my jewelry hobby. When I was a young teen, mood rings became the fad (mid 70s). Of course I had to have one and got an inexpensive version. I thought it was, in the vernacular of the day, neat. I wish I still had it. Jewelry is not just something that adorns a person, but can carry with it sentimental value that is worth more than any monetary amount.

I have drawers and boxes full of fashion (junk?!) jewelry I’ve amassed over the years even after having donated quite a bit to charitable yard sales and Goodwill. Still, when I go to antique shops or flea markets the jewelry booths are my favorite stops. I like to linger over the cases of antique fashion pins or Bakelite bangles. Maybe I’ll find a hidden treasure I think. Rare now to find a bygone trinket at a bargain. I’ve bought a few faves, the ‘just can’t live without’ pieces, but mostly I’m just a looky-loo. Now I have loads of earrings, necklaces, bracelets that I’ve made for myself. I still like to buy rings however. That is something I haven’t mastered making, nor do I really want to. It’s fun to go on the hunt.

Pondering over beads and coffee….. “The ring has awoken, it’s heard its master’s call” – Gandalf The Lord of the Rings (JRR Tolkien)

Ciao! ~Holly G