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.

Monday, March 28, 2011

I got the Penland Work/study scholarship!

student at work in one of Penlands many studios (Penland photo)

I'm SO ecstatic I can hardly contain myself or think of anything else.

As you recall in a previous post, I was submitting my applications for several exhibitions and scholarships...I didn't think I'd get it but I did!

I have a feeling it's going to be an awesome summer, I've got some other amazing opportunities on the horizon.

Thank you for reading and your support.

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Visiting artist: Jesse Bert

Jesse Bert and his studio

Our Lady, brooch

Hair Comb


This weekend the ECU metals guild hosted alumni Jesse Bert. Jesse was formally invited to be a visiting artist by Bob Ebendorf, Belk Distinguished Professor at ECU.

Jesse graduated from the ECU masters program in 2006 and since then has been living and working as a professional jewerly artist and instructor in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

You can see the Mexican influence in his work, such as in the Our Lady brooch above. Jesse uses found objects, like ivory piano keys, wood, paper, amber, steel and all other sorts of fascinating materials. Jesse's beautiful and detailed chasing and rivets (along with the found objects) really make his work distinctive and unique.

I'm really drawn to Jesse's work because he incorporates his found objects in such an unusual manner. For the Hablando pendant, Jesse uses the latice piecercing already in the ivory as a beautiful backdrop for the swirl pattern of the wood in the shape of a talking symbol he drew from Aztec ideograms. Or his Sole pendant, Jesse used a piece of dryed up rubber sole that mimics some of the stamping/chasing he does on the center silver piece.

Jesse works out of his home studio but also travels across Mexico and the U.S. teaching mini-workshops and one on one sessions. It was wonderful to have him visit and learn of his journey as a metalsmith and how he is able to make an income; for many of us students he is an example of how we can make that same journey and be successful.

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed viewing Jesse's work.
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Friday, March 25, 2011

song of the day: Deep Red Bells by Neko Case

I can't stop playing this song. Neko has the strongest and most beautiful voice of female contemporary singer/songwriters today.

And she's quite beautiful, I have a bit of a girl crush on her.

As you know, Fridays evenings 6-8pm, I'll be DJing at WZMB (livestreaming). Tonight's theme will be 'otherworlds'; where does music take you and what songs seem to conjure other planets and lifetimes.

As Andistan (another DJ at WZMB says) turn off the ME-Pod of and turn on the we-pod radio!

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tosca Teran Nanopod

Handmade Portraits: Nanopod from Etsy on Vimeo.

It's always fun and interesting to see how other metalsmiths work in their studio, where they draw ideas and inspiration.

Tosca has this wise and cool vibe to her look as well as her jewelry. Check her out on her website, Nanopod.

Thank you for watching and have a beautiful Spring weekend!

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artist statement

So I finally finished and edited my artist statement. I'm pleased with it and think it reflects who I am as an artist.

Let me know what you think!

I can vividly recall, when I was a young girl, asking my mother if I could play with her jewelry and then ask her where she bought it. Perhaps it was a silver chased brooch she bought in Thailand or the ruby, pearl and gold earrings that were her aunts from Panama. Stories and memories are carried through her jewelry. My work expresses my own journey and conversation with the material. My habit of collecting natural and found objects such as shells, coral, tagua nuts, deer antler, seeds, and rough stones reflect where I’ve lived and what I experienced at the time.

Body adornment is a significant part of our human culture and history. Archeologists and historians have uncovered a wealth of information from the jewelry and body adornment left behind by our ancestors. I translate my own life, ideas and thoughts through the jewelry I create.

There is a wildness and foreign sense in my jewelry, as if it was found in a remote and undiscovered part of the world. For example, the Epona necklace evokes images of a matriarchal huntress wearing it proudly at a ceremony and my Rebirth ring conjures visions of female anatomy; a ring that perhaps a shaman would wear. My work reflects my own desire to create a world full of fascinating and intriguing ‘artifacts’.

Thanks for reading.
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Monday, March 21, 2011

David Huang bowls

Luminous Relic 724

Sensual Radiance 866

Whorled Flow 877-2

Whorled Flow 877-4

I was recently browsing new work on Crafthaus and spied a new bowl from David Huang. His chasing and repoussee work is amazing. He creates entrancing swirls on his bowls and then applies gold leaf on the inside as well as gorgeous patinas, like the blue/green one above.

As I've worked on my copper vessel, I'm becoming aware of how the metal moves and behaves according to the type of hammer I use and how I want to manipulate it. Looking at David's work, I'm challenged to stick with this new technique and not be tempted to give up when I'm frustrated.

Hope you enjoy his work as much as I do - and thank you for reading!
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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Fever feels so good

Spring is my favorite season; flowers are blooming, the trees come alive with bright and lush green leaves, birds are singing and I'm filled with such a wonderful feeling, being a part of something much bigger than myself. I'm humbled.

I especially enjoy the change of seasons when I go for my morning runs.

Here is a reverential narrative video on growing and life filmed in the magnificent redwood forests.

Growing is Forever from Jesse Rosten on Vimeo.

Many years ago, when I lived in California, my family and I took a roadtrip up to Sacramento to see the redwoods...they are amazing, such wise old energy.

Found this video on 18kt, one of Marta Sanchez Oms' blogs. Check her work out, great use of lovely gems.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

song of the day: The Magic by Joan as Police Woman

I just discovered Joan as Police Woman last week and she is very much a badass singer/songwriter. She just dropped a new album, The Deep Field, and it's as deep as you can get. And I'm not surprised at all that she dated the dreamy and soulful Jeff Buckley.

I love her deep and husky voice and lyrics, they're complicated and tell a story.

How can you not love this woman when she sings of how divine she is?

And ending with this post, I am requesting you check out my radio show tonight, 6-8pm on WZMB 91.3, which also livestreams. Listen online tonight for fresh and feel good music!

thank you for reading and listening ;-)
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on my bench

I'm making good progress on my vessel/hinge project for my jewelry I class...hammering texture on a bowl with pitch is SO much more fun than chasing with little tools.

Below are my black moth earrings but with gold leaf! I am loving this look, adding the gold leaf gives it more pop and bling. These gorgeous earrings will be listed very soon on my Etsy page.
Thanks for reading and have a great weekend.
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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Featured Artist: Ken Bova

Ken Bova's happy face

Ken Bova is my featured artist today for several reasons; 1. Ken is a fantastic instructor 2. Ken is a fantastic artist and 3. Ken is a fantastic person

As you can see he's pretty much an all around awesome person; as mentioned above. Ken Bova is a visiting instructor at ECU's School of Art and Design Metals and Jewelry program. And Ken is leaving us at the end of this Spring Semester. I'm SO bummed, because I didn't sign up for the courses he's teaching this semester because I thought he'd be around longer....but I can't complain, Ken has been kind enough to review my artist statement and I'm so grateful for that!

A mini-album of Ken's workshops.

Ken's work is intriguing because of the many techniques he uses and how he uses them. Ken creates a landscape of different textures and colors on his brooches and jewelry.

You can find his jewelry in numerous private collections and in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Racine Art Museum, the Georgia Art Museum, and the Tacoma Art Museum, among others. (per Ken's website).

The brooch below really attracts me with the cobalt blue, gold leaf and texture of the setting. I'm not sure which materials are which, like the candy wrapper and bicycle reflector but arrangement of it all reminds me of a butterfly wing.
Gleam Revisited
3 x 1.5 inches approx.
(images not to be reproduced without consent of artist)
Bob's Gala Pin
2 x 2 inches approx.
(images not to be reproduced without consent of artist)
Sterling, 23k gold leaf, coral, wood, pearls

Ken is teaching Contemporary techniques (electroforming, creating new and different pinback and other techniques) and Enameling II this Spring semester. Both of which I still need to take.

I really enjoy Ken's style and approach to teaching because he makes it so accessible and easy to understand. Though I haven't sat in on his class, I've copied some of the handouts he gives other students and I'm delighted at how he describes a technique step-by-step.

Even though Ken will be leaving ECU soon, he has definitely left a lasting impression on the metals program and myself.

Thank you for reading!
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Monday, March 14, 2011

Life Anniversary

Is today - someone wished me that - for my Birthday!

I feel so much love and happiness (as dorky as that sounds) today from my closest friends and family, feels good to be loved.

I'm indulging myself with all the things that make me happy, like shopping for new tools. My parents gave me a gift certificate to Rio Grande.
So I'm getting a steel mittering jig and a steel block and some other things I need...it's amazing how quickly money goes when you're buying tools. But I'm grateful just to have what I have.

I thought about getting a Fretz chasing hammer but after talking with my teacher, Tim Lazure, he recommended I get a custom made hammer from one of his friends...I think that's even better.

When investing in tools, I've found that even though some tools are expensive - they're expensive for a reason because they're good; so I always consider how often I'll use it and whether I'm willing to deal with a cheaper quality tool (which I rarely do). Anywho, it's been fun doing my shopping - now back to the real world.

Thank you for reading!
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Thursday, March 10, 2011

spring break in the studio

Having a week free to work on my copper vessel and catching up on work has been wonderful. I don't want it to end! I get to sleep in and hit the gym and then head into the studio. Today I spent most of the afternoon in the studio planishing my copper container.

Sometimes I like planishing, it's somewhat meditative and you don't have to think too much, just make sure you hammer at the 'sweet spot' - for that 'ting' of the steel hammer meeting the copper with the steel stake on the other side HOWEVER, my hands and forearms do not like planishing.

I get so wiped out from raising and forming! Anywho, here are some shots of where I'm at.
Okay, my vessel is somewhat skewed to the right however it'll look way better once I chase it.
thx for reading!
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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sketched out

Before the ECU symposium the metals grad students had a brilliant idea to create a book compiled of drawings and designs from attendees own sketchbooks - and now the book is up for sale on Blurb!

Abigail Heuss and Joshua Craig put alot of work and effort to make it happen and I'm so happy they did. One of my sketches is in the book. I'm always fascinated by sketches from artists and how they develop their idea.

I hope you purchase a copy and enjoy soaking in the process as much as I do!

Thank you for reading.
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Monday, March 7, 2011

Fleurs D'Exces

I found this via Nowness, which always presents the coolest of the cool videos. I wish I could paste the video on here but I couldn't get the link.

However, here it is:

I love how she encases her creations in glass terrarium containers. Victoire de Castellane is the jewelry designer for Dior. She's very, very talented. Enjoy!

And as always, thank you for reading.
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Sunday, March 6, 2011

reaching back in time

Being an artist you can never escape the past but for me it often goes deeper; to the root of spirituality and beliefs - and yes, an ethereal quality.

Above is my 2nd raised vessel - but this vessel is not for my raising and forming class but for Jewelry I, in which the assignment is to make a container that tells a story.

I drew several, unsuccessful sketches and finally came upon an idea to raise and chase a vessel that tells a story of creation and energy. Waves of water on the outside, earth on the inside and a crystal on the lid (the creation). The main and challenging component of the container is the hinge. I'm NOT looking forward to it - more the final and hopefully beautifully made product.
And for my raising and forming class I'm making a necklace - seems contradictory, to be making jewelry for raising and forming and a vessel for my Jewelry I class however, I do not like to differentiate between my classes - they feed each other.

The sketch above may not be what I actually make, I'm still working on more sketches however I do like the idea of the turtle shell skins hanging like they do in the sketch. I may use it for another piece.

However, what is constant is that a torc neckpiece will be the main part of the design. This goes to my nostalgia and love of Celtic culture and metalwork. I've always been completely fascinated by their belief system, culture and language. It is so intriguing to me.
Several taped photos in my sketchbook of inspiration and references.
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Friday, March 4, 2011

song of the day: Last Beat of my heart by Devotchka

Oh Devotchka you're so wistful and romantic.
Perfect music for the coming of Spring and warmer weather.

Devotchka just released a new album, 100 Lovers, and it's as lusty and sexy as it's title name. I've already downloaded several songs for which I can't stop playing.

And you know I'll be putting it on my radio show - TONIGHT - the Feel Good show (every Friday 6-8pm) on WZMB 91.3. Be sure to tune in on the radio on livestream.

Thanks for reading - and listening! Have a great weekend. Pin It

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

my hands

I'm so grateful for my hands, somedays it really hits me, how I am so blessed to have the opportunity to make and create. Even on days like today, when I come home drained from a day of running around the studio - I still love it. I just love handling metal, bending and shaping it.

I got into the studio early this morning and worked on making a taper and finishing up my hinge sample.

Then I was off to my textiles survey class, which I'm really enjoying. Today I painted a silk scarf; painting silk scarves is almost like water color painting but much easier; if you choose and blend your colors well, you can create some beautiful designs, especially if you use a resist to create patterns.

My inspiration was bird feathers (I always go back to them). But not peacock feathers but the green one in my sketchbook, bottom left corner.
I chose to do an abstraction of the feather, the colors came out well, I did some more dyeing, this isn't the final stage, I still have to steam my scarf.My dyes and brushes.Here are some photos of my scarf and my classmates.
I love the elegance of all three of the scarves.

Well, enough for today - gonna get some rest.

Thank you for reading!
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