Eilisain aka Lisette in Gaelic

Welcome to my blog, where I document my process in making jewelry, muse on the influence of art and the joy of making beautiful objects.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

at the bench

This past Sunday I studio sat at the Torpedo Factory for Jenae Michelle whom makes very cool and stylish handbags. While I'm 'sitting', I work on my own jewelry! I began a 2 shank silver ring with an agate ring.

The cab and bezel setting.

Range of Emotion, handbags by Jenae Michelle. I've been lusting for one of her bags!

Dawn Benedetto is the other artist sharing studio 262, Dawn is the creator of Poppi Jewelry . I'm really going to miss the wonderful creative enviroment on that I've been blessed to be a part of. I first began part time making the rings and earrings for Dawn and from there she connected me with other jewelers; since then my experience continued.

Tonight was my last enameling class and it was sad - Abby Goldblatt has been another wonderful blessing. Ramune brought cupcakes and I brought a four pack of white wine for Abby, Rae and I to drink.

I began working on the chain for my painting inspired pendant. I am worried though that I made them to thick and thus too much for the entire necklace. I need to let the idea marinate.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

no sleep till...Arlington?

That's how it felt last weekend. It's been a bit crazy/busy for me lately. I flew to San Diego last Friday to work for HRC at the San Deigo Pride Festival booth.
Every year I always forget how much hard work it is, staffing a booth. Anyways, it was still great to be back on the West Coast, I love the vibe and just the nearness of the ocean. I was kinda sad I didn't get to visit the beach but that's okay.
It was somewhat ironic though that our booth was next to 2 jewelery booths. One, I was particularly enamored with, Coco Loco jewelry. I bought 2 pairs of earrings...I shouldn't have but I knew that if I didn't I'd kick myself. I rarely ever buy other jewelry as I like to wear my own but when I find something I really like, I get it.
the wood earrings are very cool, that is one thing I definitely want to learn at ECU, woodcarving.
I bought a pair of the Coconut carved earrings that look like 'spacers' - earrings that usually heavy metal peeps wear.
I've already worn them 3 days in a row...sorta addicted. I don't usually wear earrings because I've been making some larger neckpieces but these earrings have me thinking on broader terms....which leads me to the doodles I did at a meeting today.
I was listening at the meeting! I've read numerous reports that say state that when one doodles they are more apt to remember what it was they were listening to.
Here are some of the fun 'doodles' (aka sketches) I did.

I really like where I was going with the sketches and definitely plan on working out a necklace with the trapazoidish designs. I want to make some triangle earrings. I was telling a friend, that I'm really tired of round designs. Not that round is bad...it just gets boring when you see the same design, over and over again. Yet, I find myself doodling lots of triangles...that's where I get stuck, combining different elements. Pin It

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It's official...I'm going to ECU

Like a storm gathering in the distance or mold slowly growing on fruit (that's a fun analogy), I've been building and preparing for going to art school to study metalsmithing and jewelry for the past two years. Taking enameling courses, working weekends at Lawrence Miller & Co., working at craft shows - whatever I could do to build a resume and knowledge.
It's been a dream of mine to study full time. My dream has partially come through.
A long and complicated story, I was initially declined from my application to the MFA program at ECU. I knew it was a long shot, considering the small graduate program, the fantastic professors and art school ECU boasts, needless to say I was sad. However, one glimmer of hope was that I could attend the undergrad BFA program and re-apply. I was willing to go with that option.
That was one hurdle, I figured financial aid would be a breeze. No! Because I'm obtaining a 2nd degree option and as an out of state student...they didn't award me much.
So I'm going part time, which is fine, I can build residency in NC and then get in state tuition after 1year.
I've never wanted anything so bad. I'm reminded of an Indigo Girls song, 'Closer to find'. I'm closer to find my vision and voice as a jeweler.
Did that sound corny enough? I don't care.
Here's another crappy photo of one of my new pieces, my second try at prong settings. I've had this stone for awhile and finally set it in sterling silver.
When I'm in school I'll have awesome equipment to take photos of my jewelry AND I can take art classes in fashion, painting...well, one at a time...since I'm going part time. Doesn't matter, I'm getting the heck out of dodge, moving to a new town and living by myself!!!!
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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand."

I just pulled this from another jeweler’s blog and it makes SO much sense.

Despite my attempts to get off the couch and make things…I haven’t been too good about following my intention. Often times I want to make something but I need a teacher, someone to get their wisdom! I have been good about first making samples of work before I actually get to using silver.

One project I’m really excited to work on in the future, is this awesome triangular lapis lazuli cab. I’ve had it for 2 years now, and I decided that it needs to be set in gold. The flecks of gold in the lapis contrast well with it. so first I’ve started in paper and this is the sketch I have worked out. I’ve never worked with gold and I’m excited yet a bit scared…

In the meantime I’m working on my painting inspired neckpiece, here’s where I am so far.

I'm pleased with the colors however it definitely took some time to get all the different enamels on the back piece. In the following week I'll need to purchase some small rubber washers; as recommended by Abby to layer inbetween the pierced piece so as the protect the enamel.
From there I'll thread wire through the holes to set up the necklace.

The piece above is a continuation of my seashell. I really enjoy working on these easy pieces as their more of a test and break from more intricate enamel work. All I so is fold form the copper and hammer it for texture and sift a transparent enamel. For this one I used ...oh fudge I forgot the name!!! argh, well as you can see it gives it a beautiful leathery look. I'm very pleased.

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Thursday, July 9, 2009


With all the websites and blogs I’ve been reading lately, I came to a conclusion: I need to push myself; to get off the couch and make new and different pieces with all the scrap jewelry I have. I want to push my boundaries, in terms of materials and expression.

A new project as emerged from a group of artists called Radical Jewelry Makeover, which is a project of Ethical Metalsmiths a non-profit organization dedicated to connecting people with responsibly sourced metals and gemstones. You can read more about their project on the blog. What I love about the concept is that it not only works to recycle and reuse old, discarded and unused jewelry but to challenge the jeweler/artist to create a new object out of different materials thus giving the piece a varied and fascinating landscape. For example, Amy Tavern’s necklace is so cool for her use of silver, green thread and faux gems.

Tonight I tentatively began my own 'radical jewelry makeover', though I wouldn't call this 'radical'. However I do have plans to convert some old clip-on faux gem earrings into a pendant. I love the mix of faux pearls and silver chain on the necklace I made tonight, from an old silver bracelet used for charms, some scrap chain pieces I've had and some pearls my Mom wasn't using.

What I look for in other artists that I admire and aspire to be like, are ones that give texture, quality and thought to their pieces. And I’ve increasingly found European, specifically German, Dutch and Australian jewelers to be leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of us (Americans). That’s not to say that we don’t have our own pool of brilliant artists but they just have such a rich and imaginative way of expressing themselves. I’m constantly in awe.

For example Isabel Schaupp mixes enameled silver with oxidized silver, I love her use of mesh wire layered with the enamel and silver.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Not motivated

Last week I was completely lazy in doing anything jewelry related. I didn’t even sketch! I think it’s okay to take a timeout and let your brain absorb and rest – we need that, I definitely need that.

I also blame it on the extended weekend in celebration of Independence Day. I really enjoyed it too, went to the pool, watched movies all day Sunday. Those are the best days!

Anywho, I’m back this week and trying to get myself back in the swing of things. I had my enameling class last night, and I was still not as motivated to work on my current projects. But I did make good progress. I’m working on this one piece that requires layering different colors and it’s painstaking but I think it’ll look really cool in the end – so it’s worth it! And here is the other…

it’s growing on me, I first enameled a bright yellow that I’d planned on complementing with a transparent yellow…didn’t work out the way I’d planned. Nonetheless I’m layering a beige on top to tone it down. I’m very happy with the shape. Flames seem to be a theme that comes up in many of my pieces. I’m already formulating my

*I apologize for my crappy pictures...my camera was NOT meant to take pictures of jewelry, much less anything that needs detail.

Moving on, new fashions have been released and Christian Lacroix stunned the fashion world with his recent collection. It’s truly magnificent and reminds me of old paintings and Catholic images. I want to be that woman, with the black open back dress going to a fancy dinner and wearing my own jewelry.

Psst. if I could pick several wedding dresses...this just might be one of them, being married in a castle...

You'd probably ask, well what jewelry would I wear? of course my own and what would it look like?I'd have to sketch that out however, this is one ring I'd wear around the celebrations:

Queen Min Ring; 18kt gold and hand carved amethyst. Which brings me to a subject I've been thinking about lately, higher level or more to the point corporate, mass produced jewelry - do these individuals that represent the brand, for example Wendy Brandes...make any of it? At what level are they involved? I don't know...but for any jewelry I buy, in the future that isn't antique, I'd much rather buy from someone that is completely involved in it's production. If anything, know how to make it. That's my 2 cents on it. Nonetheless, I can appreciate the design and thought behind it(if they are truly hers). Wendy does have a blog, but she doesn't really cover much about her design or overall process.

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Sunday, July 5, 2009

They don't make this kind of jewelry anymore

Well, maybe they do...it's a phrase my Mom uses whenever she gives me any of her old jewelry. As if to say "you better appreciate this because there aren't many of it's kind." which is true. And I love it when she says it...one day I'll be saying it to my daughter!

I just got this book recently and though its short on the text, it is a great book with beautiful images of Byzantine, Egyptian, Levant, Persian and Mesopotamian jewelry. It truly is amazing how jewelers were able to fabricate jewelry in those times without the many conveniences and tools we have now however the methods and technologies are relatively the same. We must still use our hammers, anvils, sanding papers and stone setting tools that they used.
My anthropological studies as my undergrad degree certainly come through with my studies of jewelry. I absolutely enjoy the history and repetition of history in the jewelry making process. Pin It