Express Yourself
Photo by ~ Daniel Krucoff

I would like to introduce my newest series, Express Yourself…a little touch of Colorado.  The little touch of Colorado are the Aspen leaves.

For a number of years I have wanted to inject Aspen leaves in my work.  Now I have.  In this series, every earring will have an Aspen leaf in either bronze or copper.

Thanks to Andrea Kennington of NC Black Hammers, I learned a bit about metal forming.  I took a workshop with Andrea a year ago at Sandy Harris-Murphy’s studio here in Colorado Springs.  Even though I was “sicker than a dog” during the workshop, I managed to pick up some of the techniques and some pretty cool tools too.  If you haven’t tried NC Black’s hammers yet, and you are a metalsmith, well, I would highly recommend you get a few of their hammers for these techniques.

The thing that makes these earrings so enjoyable for me is their uniqueness and how it is serious playing with metal as I put the components together.  No two pairs are alike.  I don’t have a design in mind as I start to fabricate them, I just ‘wing it’ as I go along.  The process is very similar to what I did when I used to wire wrap my glass cabochons….no design, just an image in my mind and it flows from there.  I love that part of the creative process.  As you can see, I use a mixture of metals and materials.  It’s sort of like making soup with whatever you have around the house.  In this case, I sit at my bench, and have an assortment of items that I pick and choose from to see what plays well together.  It’s a blast for me!

A few of my Aspens provided the shape for the leaves.  I plucked some leaves last spring, that were new growth from some of the branches I had pruned to help promote growth in the trees.  Now they are helping to provide growth in my work.  The technique I use to form the leaves is one of the ones Andrea taught which involves my rolling mill, torch and a variety of the NC Black hammers to texture and shape the leaf so it’s 3 dimensional, rather than flat.  Love it.

This pair has fresh water pearls, mokume-gane, oxidized sterling with 14kt gold filled wire, and textured copper.  Added bonus, they are super lightweight, which makes them so easy to wear and people hear tiny little ‘tinkles’ from their movement.   When I wear mine, I don’t hear them, but others have remarked they can hear them and they way they move, they really do direct people’s eyes to check ’em out.  I like that.

Yesterday I delivered my first batch of these to Marylee at Santa Fe Trail Jewelry in Monument, CO.  She liked what I had and took everything!  Thank you Marylee.  So, lucky me, I get to make more and it’s a pure joy to ‘play’ at my bench like this.  I think pendants would be a nice touch too, what do you think?

Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.