Making a Video!

November 11, 2014

I know I have been rather quiet of late… I am in the midst of my wonderful, new project: teaching online for I have been in the pre-production phase for many weeks now. What does that mean? It involves creating a 7 part video first. The video comes down to figuring out what is important to teach, how to say it and show it as well as creating the pieces that show the methods on the way to the end result in at least 3 steps plus the finished piece: so think 4 pieces for each 'chapter' or segment. Wow. That's busy!

We film the video next week! I'm so excited to do this! But here is what happens as an artist: cycles of pure confidence in what I know and can teach but then…a crises of confidence: consuming nervous anticipation that I'll be a total flub on camera. It's crazy. Where does this come from? I know what I know. I can only be me. They can edit, stop, start, reshoot, edit and did I mention EDIT? BREATHE! It'll be fun. REEEEALLLLY!


Dreaming of Things to Come

October 25, 2012

I'm working away like mad making new jewelry for the show in Switzerland. My time is running short and of course life doesn't just stop when you have big things to do and little time to get them done. I got 4 contracts today – all of which need thorough reading and who knows what else. Then it occurs to me that I need to finish some things for one of the galleries that carries my work so they'll have it for holiday season. When it rains, it pours. This is one of those times when I remember the days when I didn't have my work anywhere, I wasn't working in any art related field, and I just dreamed of the day when I would be steeped in art every day in some way. Here I am! NO complaints! So what are the big dreams of things to come now?

Lately I've been daydreaming about a proper Jeweler's bench and dust extractor system. Weird, I know. But check these benches out!

I think I have bench lust though I like the bench I recently made and am using. I'm thrilled to be working in the studio after such a long hiatus. I can't wait to get home and get in there after work or on my days off. Right now it's late evening and I'm already looking forward to what I'll work on tomorrow. So what does that take? To get that excitement in doing your own work? I think getting out of your own way. The joy is in the doing. The more you do, the more intrigued you become. Make your work your priority and it all falls into place. So while I do have bench lust, wish for a bigger space to work in and all that I'm really dreaming of things to come: finishing the pieces on my bench so I can move on to those other pieces I have in my head!


So one would think that a jewelry maker would have some sort of anvil and a bench block or two, (which would be a steel block to hammer on)…yup. To make metal spread out requires hammering the piece of metal using some sort of steel hammer and hammering on a steel block. Now it seems like every time I turn around I see an anvil or bench block that makes me want to have it. What is up with that?

This last week I had the great good delight (something I try to have often), of setting up my bench. I've been hammering stuff on a bench block on my kitchen counter for years. When my tools weren't in use I tucked them away into tool bags and drawers, making it a hassle to find what I need at any given moment, sucking time looking for things instead of working. This was okay before and after my arm was reconstructed a couple of years ago because I couldn't really do that sort of work anyway. But once I found I could hammer some metal again it was time to get things set up properly and get to work again. As I was arranging my bench and places for my tools I kept finding bench blocks and anvils! It was hilarious. Some are small, some bigger, some really heavy, some are light for traveling, some are like mini anvils. I think I've been collecting them and dreaming about using them or something, saving them for the day when I could. But not five minutes ago I saw a lovely bench block and actually thought I wanted it. Then I started counting what I already have. I think 12 or thereabouts is enough, don't you?

Below is a picture of where I put things together. Everything red or orangey is flame painted copper. Most black components are polymer clay or blued steel. Bottom left is aluminum (holey) and next to that is polymer veneer with sequins in it. There are some woven wire pieces here as well as pendants waiting to be combined with components and finished for hanging. The triangle with tabs in the center is actually flame painted copper, too.


The finished pendant at right is the same one seen in the picture of my work table on the right. From front to back there is a charm I made from a radial polishing wheel (light green), behind that a triangle of polymer clay, a swinging spiral of red brass wire is under wheel charm, under the spiral is a vertical of patina'd steel shim (steel blue that looks black here), that has a vine pattern applied to it and everything is backed by black polymer clay. It's the first of my House series.

Molded Resin is Fun!

July 19, 2012

I have been working on a new series of jewelry that brings together resin, my polymer veneers, collage, resin paper, mica, glitter, metal and my etched metal pieces. I think of it as jewelry that speaks… This is the first pendant in the series.

This picture is linked to the Bead Fest Philadelphia website because my class there in August, 'Out of the Box with Resin', is all about creating things like this pendant. This piece was not sanded in any way!

Another fun thing about jewelry like this is it changes how it looks depending on what you're wearing behind it. The translucency communicates what's behind it. This is the sort of thing I love when traveling. I can wear it with different clothes and people think it's a new and different piece of jewelry every time! Check it out on blue….


SNAG Conference Coming!

April 28, 2011

The Society of North American Goldsmith’s is holding their annual conference in Seattle this year.  The conference runs May 26 through May 29 ending with a trunk show, an amazing trunk show, featuring 60 established and emerging jewelry artists.  HOW COOL IS THAT??

I know some of the people participating in the trunk show and can’t wait to see their work on display.  I’m also excited because I’m going to take a two day workshop with Ken Bova, (  I am completely looking forward to this opportunity because of the genre of his work.  Ken Bova uses a variety of materials (me, too!).  He likes to collage his materials (me, too!). He uses a lot of birds, (ME, too!).

Ken Bova brooch at Facere Gallery., TOO!)...and yet our work is not similar. Some elements are similar (just by chance, by the way) but the work is clearly individual.

I’ve been aware of Ken Bova’s work for some time.  I have a picture of a brooch of his on the wall above my work table.  I’ve seen some pieces at Facere Gallery in Seattle,

Brooch by Ken Bova at Facere Gallery.

( but haven’t really studied his work or anything.  I just know that I’m attracted to some of the pieces I’ve seen.

I rarely get to take a class and be the student so this is super exciting.  I debated and debated whether I could really justify attending.  This workshop just happens to be on my days off… an omen? Back and forth I debated.

Finally I decided that just getting to spend two days learning and making things was worth whatever the price. YAY!

Inspiration in Tucson

October 18, 2010

Every Winter I teach in Tucson at the JOGS Show in the Tucson Expo Center for the big gem show that takes over Tucson.  Last year the people I teach for made a video showing some of the key instructor’s work, (click here:,com).

This is the only event that I teach ‘on demand classes‘ for.  That’s right.  You can walk in and arrange for a private class at the rate advertised for my scheduled classes.  All of the instructors in our group will do this!




The cover of Ronna's DVD.

Surfing around the Interweave store I see that there is a new DVD done with a friend of mine, Ronna Sarvas Weltman, about working with wire.  Years ago, when Ronna was a private student of mine for working with polymer clay, I went to her home for some polymer sessions and to answer her questions about specific directions she wanted to go.  She was already established in wire and I got to see her work spread out on the dining room table, luscious and clearly in her own style.

There is a clip of the DVD here: with Ronna showing a piece of one of the projects on the DVD for making a necklace.  What caught my eye about this was that the title of the DVD is ‘Metalwork:  How to Shape, Texture, and Antique Wireworked Jewelry’.  It was the antique part that caught me mostly though it was the word ‘metalwork’ that got me initially.  Check out the clip for a bird’s eye view on working with different gauges of wire and how simple it can be.  Be sure to take a good look at the necklace Ronna is wearing in the clip!  It’s worth seeing.

Cold Connections Resource

September 1, 2010

I promised some students to post this resource because when I was teaching, I couldn’t for the life of me remember this info…  Sorry gang!  The eBook is called ‘Cold Connections’ and is available at It includes something like 10 projects, all cold connections, and also has the article I wrote about metal etching with the step by step pictures, too.  Other projects are written by Robert Dancik, Helen Driggs, Judith Freyer Thompson and some others.  It includes a couple of projects that introduce light use of a small torch for beginner’s as well, I believe.  Regardless, this eBook is guaranteed to get you experience in the realm of combining metal with other materials, riveting, metal etching and mixed media jewelry.  Enjoy!

Apologies for the lack of posts!  It’s been whirlwind busy: my friends from Switzerland came to visit mid-June.  Bea traveled with me to W. Virginia for the Polymer Clay Collaborative and Mixed Media Retreat and we returned last week.   She hopped a plane home the next day and that same day I picked up Dale Cougar Armstrong who was here in Seattle teaching last weekend.  Dale and I spent a couple of days together before flying home to Tennessee.  Then I taught a class at the Kirkland Art Center this last weekend… can you say busy? Where did the summer go?

I’m leaving in 2 weeks for Bead Fest Philadelphia which is shaping up to be a full show from the looks of things.   I’m often surprised at what I’m teaching because we book these things a year in advance.   I have four classes, two of which I may not teach again.  They’re new programs that I was asked to teach but I probably won’t teach them again.  Teaching combining materials is a complicated thing and teaching it on the road adds another level of difficulty.  Don’t get me wrong:  I don’t mind teaching complicated stuff and making it easy for others but on the road?  Well, that’s a lot of stress I can do without actually.

Bead Fest Santa Fe

March 15, 2010

Prayer flags in the garden at the Buddhist Center, Santa Fe, New Mexico. (copyright Meredith Arnold, 2009)

It’s that time again and I’m off to Santa Fe.  New Mexico is one of my favorite places.  I always find something inspiring, mind expanding and deeply humbling there.  I love that.

I see that my class ‘Exploring Polymer Clay’ is full and has gone to wait listing.   My ‘Metal Etching Made Easy: Disc Bracelet’ class has a few slots left.  It’s all good and should be a lot of fun, as always.

Last year at this show I found the first pieces for my marionette necklace, which has been on my mind a lot lately.  It was the trip to Santa Fe that inspired this project entirely.  It’s time to get back to it and get that finished up after this trip.

"Waiting for Baumann" marionettes from Ligia Bouton's work exhibited at Santa Fe Museum last year.

Last March I posted some pix of my trip to Santa Fe:  the huge statue of Kuan Yin at the Buddhist Center in the sound sculpture garden, the prayer flags in the trees there, the sign for Bead Fest outside of the Santa Fe Convention Center…  It snowed on us that week last year. It was charming.  We’ll see what it does this time.

I’m thinking I should take Sharky on this trip.  He’s never been that far inland and I’m sure a shark in New Mexico would be a novelty.  =)