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, December 28, 2010

imitating plant movement

It's what I think is the nature-inspired part of Jill Platner's jewelry. I'm really digging her sunlit studio and all the lovely plants she maintains in it. One day...that's going to be me, in my studio, with staff and maybe even a gallery.

Coolhunting did a video in her studio. Check it out:

Jill Platner from Cool Hunting on Vimeo.

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enjoying this awesome winter break

It's given me a chance to really be inspired and imagine projects for the future. It was a beautiful snowy Christmas, and where my parents live, in Granite Falls, NC, the scenery allowed me to relax and reflect.

I hope you had a safe and Merry Christmas! Pin It

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Winter Solstice

We're officially crawling back towards the light on the shortest day of the year. It's comforting to know that Spring (my favorite season) will be coming soon but at the same time to revel in Winter's coldness by staying inside, reading, sipping tea or making jewelry!

In celebration, I give you a great time lapse video of this morning's lunar eclipse. I wanted to stay up and see it but I was so tired!

What a beautiful sight, to see colors change on the moon's surface. The universe never ceases to amaze me.

Winter Solstice Lunar Eclipse from William Castleman on Vimeo.

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

well rested

Is how I felt all weekend. I spent Saturday cleaning my apartment, exercising and relaxing. It was wonderful not to have any pressure to go into the studio.

I did go into the studio for several hours today. I tried repairing some of the dents in my mother's silver cup. However, mid-way through I discovered a solder seam come very slightly apart. I stopped planishing at that point because I'm not as sure of soldering a seam in an old cup.

I sanded the bottom and top of the cup with 2500 grit paper and then polished with tripoli then rouge. I'm considering taking it to my old employers, and friends, Lawrence at Lawrence Miller & Co., to get his expert opinion.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

recent gifts and trades

I love, love, LOVE studying in such a fresh and creative environment. That's how it is at ECU, seeing what and how other artists make, it's always invigorating and stimulating.

I got this sweet brooch from Laura Wood at the ECU metals guild secret santa swap. The brooch is set in oxidized sterling silver, set with paper that Laura made (Laura is the paper master around ECU) in which the pearls are peaking out. It's simply beautiful and elegant.

Then I traded with a wood graduate student, Stephanie (I don't know her last name). Stephanie's work has much ritualistic and religious meaning. She works with wood, leather, feathers, metal and cord wrapping.
Stephanie's bracelet is really comfortable and cool. Pin It

star ring

I'm not sure what else to call it. But that's kind of what it looks like to me, this is the best cast ring out of the 4 that I cast...they weren't great. I need more practice handling and playing with the wax.

I plan I making some gifts from cast rings over the break.
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Thursday, December 16, 2010


No, I'm not talking about the Adult swim cartoon...though I LOVE that show. Squidbillies is smart and very funny.

What I'm actually talking about are these beautiful sea-cast rings, necklaces and more. Heron Adornment, jewelry by Peggy Skemp, is elegant and interesting because of the patina the artist uses and the semi-precious stones embedded in the tentacles.

I'm quite in love with this knuckle duster...I need to make one myself.

It really looks like you could find a small squid at the bottom of the ocean like the ring above.

And a gold plated silver locket. Anatomical hearts are so cool. Pin It

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

biting off more than I can chew...

I think that's what happened to me towards the end of this semester.

Despite taking 9 credit hours (and all 3 courses were studios), I still had a hard time finishing my final projects, I didn't have the spiculum/antler necklace done nor my jewelry box by the end of my last classes this week.

Part of it was bad time management on my part and the other was working 2 part time jobs! I've decided that I can't work the open studio hours at Emerge Gallery. I love it but I need that extra time. It's hard making sacrifices like that, especially when I could use the extra money.

Anywho, that's the realization I had over the past two weeks. Now, I'm so happy to have time to relax and process how fast this year has gone by! Pin It

Thursday, December 9, 2010

fancy photos

My life has been crazy hectic but I'm SO happy I got a professional photographer to take photos of my work for upcoming exhibitions.

Check'em out! Pin It

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

pitchin' it

Me this morning filling my spiculum with pitch, for oh, the 4th or 5th time. I'm almost done, next up planishing out the kinks and bumps on the inside of the curve.

I got in early again this morning to get working. I'm determined to have all three of my projects done in one week.

Christmas break will be so sweet when all of this is done. Pin It

Sunday, December 5, 2010

more coral

I know, it's not like I need more coral to work with...but I couldn't resist!

The Geology fraternity, Sigma Gamma Epsilon held a rock & mineral sale last week and I got these pretties. And some other minerals.

I plan on making earrings and a brooch with these, maybe even a wall piece. Pin It

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Purchase handmade goods for the holidays

Last night I worked the booth at the ECU holiday sale, it was somewhat dead, we had some lookers and purchases - specifically one of my test pieces! It always surprises me when customers buy jewelry of mine that I'm not that wild about or something that I absent mindedly put together. That's why I don't hesitate anymore to sell pieces that I don't 'think' will sell because ya never know!
We did a great job of displaying the jewelry, credit goes to grad student Kat Cole, she put out some risers that worked really well with the colors of our work.

And we had alot of work to display - this year many of the grad students cranked out some pieces. I meant to bust out work...but was just too busy with my two part time jobs and classes.

Anywho, I truly recommend you consider buying handmade work this year, there really is nothing like giving presents that are made with love and care.

Some of my friends (past co-workers) are selling their crafts - if you're in the DC metro area or here in Greenville - you can check them out here:

Happy shopping!

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

ya can't stop progress

That's a quote from Bill Heslop of "Muriel's Wedding" one of my all time favorite movies.

And that's how I feel today - I've been on a roll since 6:30am this morning. Got into the studio to work a bit before class. Worked on my castings to be mounted on the antler, I put some pitch and formed my spiculum and now sawing out my hinges for the wooden box.

I even went to the gym!

I hope you are feeling just as productive as I am. Happy pre-holidays!! Pin It

Monday, November 29, 2010

whats on my bench = lots of work

My castings...gotta file, perfect and polish these babies up. Why can't it be the holiday break now? Pin It

Sunday, November 28, 2010

a new treasure

While visiting my parents for Thanksgiving, and helping my Mom set the table one evening, I came across the silver repoussed cup below. At least I think it's repousse, I'm not sure how the beautiful art nouveau design was done.

I immediately persuaded my Mom to let me repair the dents and polish it...and keep it! muahahaha, no I'm kidding, knowing my Mom she will make sure she gets it back. I'm always asking her to give me some beautiful old jewelry or clothing of hers.

It was my Mom's Aunt's cup, I just love how the stone is set and the engraved initials are arranged.
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Friday, November 26, 2010

Featured Artist: Sarah West

When I first moved to Greenville and started classes at ECU, I didn't know anyone and in the studio it was even more awkward as I wasn't even taking jewelry/metals classes because I had to take my foundation (figure drawing and design) classes.

However I was allowed to have bench space and Sarah West was the first friend I made in the studio. She was really nice, welcoming and friendly.

Sarah is very talented and knowledgeable. Sarah is the person in the studio that almost everyone goes to when they need advice, feedback or help with their work. She's also there for a good laugh or when you need to vent...which I've done a few times.

Sarah also works part time at the Jewelry Doctor and asked me to replace her earlier this summer while she was studying abroad. I felt really lucky to get that opportunity!

Here are photos of some of her award winning work.
The above champleve brooches are my favorite.
The brooches above are somewhat deceiving from above but when you look at the side of them, you can see how much work and time it took Sarah to make them.You can see more of Sarah Wests work here. Pin It

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Happy Thanksgiving to my North American readers/subscribers!

I hope you are enjoying the day with loved ones and eating delicious food. I have so much to be thankful for; my family, friends, my beloved cat, Squints (pictured above) and especially having the opportunity and hard work behind me, to be able to attend art school and do what I love.

Thank you for reading my blog! Pin It

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

warm colors

On my drive to school and work I'm greeted by warm colors and the crunch of crisp, fallen leaves.

I wish the beautiful colors the trees possess would remain year round.

The picture above is a view of my walk to campus. Pin It

Sunday, November 21, 2010

all in one day...or more

I have three projects somewhat due this week...right before Thanksgiving break. I'm almost done with my wooden jewelry box; it was due last week. Oh and I need my wax rings ready for investing tonight and one more project due on Tuesday....I don't have enough time or hands! ack. Pin It

Thursday, November 18, 2010

my students work

Above is a coral ring Lindsey made, her first ring. I really like it, this is the first ring Lindsey made and she did a prong setting which was a challenge but she did a great job.
And above is Molly's skull pendant. She riveted the skull to a patina back piece and added the flower. I really like how she thought about the layout and colors. I'm so proud!

I think most of my students in this class are going to sign up for the winter session; which I'm very excited about because I really enjoy their presence. Pin It

Holiday shopping

There is so much coming up, I'm wondering how all of this crept up on me? I've got to get going on making some new work for the holiday sale and holiday gifts. This weekend I think I'll be sleeping in the studio.

As you can see above the ECU School of Art and Design is having our annual holiday sale, if you're in the area come by and check out some awesome handcrafted work!

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

woodworking advice

Working with a new medium is similar to making a new friend. May sound like an odd analogy but hear me out. You have to get to know a person to know and understand their quirks, personality and reactions to work well with them.

Such as wood; I am still a bit intimidated by the power of the tools and also taking a risk with a cut, a design and execution. But I am getting comfortable handling the machines and ALWAYS having respect for them. At first I had the same sentiments with metalsmithing but now, metal and I are besties. I still have my good and bad days but we always get along.

With that said, I'm doing some research on wood and came across Kent Perdue, via Crafthaus. His work is fascinating; his technical skills are impressive. He's also good with instructional videos.

Which is perfect in my attempt to get to know my new friend, wood. I've been doing okay so far with my jewelry box in my wood survey class but watching videos really help to imbed in my mind the techniques.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

you've been charmed

A blurry photo of the charms laid on the table. It was hard to get a shot with all of them because many of us couldn't help but pick up the charm and inspect them. The one I made is in the middle with black coral and pyrite. I got Autumn Brown's charm! Autumn uses porcelain and sets small gemstones in them. very cool! Pin It

Sunday, November 14, 2010


so pretty here in North Carolina, the beautiful golden orange, red and burgundy hues feel inspiring.

This is a huge oak tree at the entrance of the art building. Pin It

Thursday, November 11, 2010

charms sale success

The ECU metals guild is busting through the roof on our sales!

We had a rush of customers this morning and still throughout the day and a great range of charms.
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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

ECU metals guild charm sale

We're hosting our 'first' (we had one many moons ago but no one from our current guild organized that one) Charm sale!

Following our successful charm swaps; we decided to create a good event to sell our charms - perfect in preparation for the holidays. I'm definitely excited to see other work this coming Thursday at the sale.

Timothy Weaver
, a graphic design major, at ECU designed the poster. I think it's pretty sweet.

Here is a professional photo of my charm from the last swap. Tara Locklear has been very good about getting photos taken of the charms for a future book...I've mentioned before.
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wax on, wax off

Next project in Casting I is to make three rings with our wax ring blank.

It's been a loooooong time since I've done wax carving. It's much harder than one would think but I'm really excited about this project. I'd like to cast more than three, make some more for the holiday sale.

Here are some initial sketches and a bench shot.
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Friday, November 5, 2010

what do you see?

These two panels of wood will be the doors for my jewelry box that I'm making in Wood Survey.

Or at least trying to make. I've been a little slow in my progress. We only have access to one wood shop this semester (the other was shut down) so we've got lots of people in the studio trying to use the same machine. And I've been procrastinating too. It takes a lot of energy and careful measurements to create a good wood project.

However working with a new material is challenging to the senses and mind. Many factors must be considered. Wood has the most beautiful patterns; such as above.

Today I tried to be very careful treating my wood, my teacher helped me plane the panels but then we decided to hand plane the wood so as not to tear out the knot above.

One step at a time...hence slow progress.

P.S. I see a face, a mean face.
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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

my new obsession

Deer antler! One of my bench mates in the undergrad studio had been working with deer antler for awhile and I asked him where he procured them. Well, luckily, he gets them from another undergrad metals student, Luke Price. His family does alot of hunting (what family in North Carolina doesn't?).

So I spoke with Luke and we did a trade; a pack of smokes for two antlers. Deer antler has this beautiful ivory/tree grain quality, and it's soft. So I began cutting it up and found that the antlers worked really well with my starfish cast pieces.
And above are 3 of my pieces for Casting I class...I still have 2 more to knock out before tomorrow...so I plan on making earrings. That makes 2, right?
I hadn't really seen any of Luke's work until this morning and I almost had a heart attack from the beauty of his 3 brooches for Mi-Sook Hur's Jewelry I class. Luke also used antler, he carved them into 3 cabochons, of varying sizes. I really, REALLY, want one of these brooches. Luke also used wasps hives...at first I thought they were beehives. Aren't they gorgeous? Pin It

Monday, November 1, 2010

ECU Metals Symposium

Yup, we're doing it again and it's going to be just as awesome and interesting as it was last year!

I'm really excited because we're going to have great workshops with leading artist and instructors. The metals grad students created a blog to disseminate information and sign up and exhibition forms.

We'll be adding some new events to the symposium: a charm swap, sketchbook exhibition and more. I'm particularly excited about the sketchbook exhibition because I just love looking at how artists develop their work.

Hopefully you can attend the symposium, I promise you won't regret it. Pin It

Friday, October 29, 2010

Featured Artist: Joshua Craig

Over the past month or so, you may have noticed, I've mentioned Joshua Craig's name several times. He is a new graduate student of ECU's metals and jewelry program. I've gotten to know him more over the past month and seen his influence and presence have an effect in the grad program and also undergrad studio.

Needless to say, I'm very happy he chose to attend ECU. His work is, to use one of my favorite words, KICK-ASS!

I really love his vessels and enamel work. Josh has a great breadth of work - going from chased bowls to thread-wrapped spiculums.

Most recently, he gave me one of his brooches that I was coveting for a long time. I pretty much told him to give it to me but he was very gracious to actually pretend like he didn't notice!!!

Anywho, check out some of his work below...you'll be enchanted.

The brooch above, is simply beautiful.
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Today in my Casting class Tim Lazure showed us how he sets faceted stones in a tube setting.

I really enjoyed it because Tim has such an easy and approachable method for many jewelry techniques.

I won't go into detail, however here is a shot of where I plan on putting my cubic zirconia tube set stones.
This brooch will be one in a series of 5 for my casting class. Luckily, Tim extended the due date for another week. Oh and I have a jewelry box due in wood...where am I going to find the time?? Pin It

Monday, October 25, 2010


almost with the brooch at my bench yesterday and now wearing it today! Pin It