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.

Friday, April 29, 2011

song of the day: Craft Spells "After the Moment"

Happy Friday! And to all those in school, like me, it's almost the end of Spring semester! I had a crit this morning, that didn't go as well as I'd like, for my work, personally.

So here I give you Craft Spells fun and 80's-like song, After the Moment. Enjoy!

P.S. I'll be back on the WZMB radio in mid-May. So stay tuned.
thanks for listening and reading ma blog.
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Thursday, April 28, 2011

what I've been making in the studio

It's finals week at school and I've been in the studio everyday...most of the day. Not only working on these two fun brooches but also on my reliquary.

In these two brooches I used the turtle 'skin' my Dad gave me along with the black coral I've been storing. I tried two new techniques with these, resin and plexiglass. I really like the brooch above but I'm not sure how I feel about the brooch below...something's missing.

Lately I've been going through a period of questioning myself and not sketching and investigating as much as I'd like; I attribute it to the lack of time I had this semester and taking three studios classes: Jewelry 1, raising and forming and textiles.

I'm hoping that this summer I'll catch up and get past my 'jeweler's block'.

Anywho, thank you for reading!
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

recent issue of Metalsmith

Vol. 31, Issue 2

This Spring issue of Metalsmith is really, really good. It is chock-full of great articles. The Society of North American Goldsmiths puts out Metalsmith, a trade publication for all kinds of 'metalsmiths' whether your a papersmith, goldsmith, silversmith or professional jeweler.

I hadn't renewed my subscription since last year because I just couldn't afford it but after seeing the cover of this issue with Ramon Puig Cuyas recent work, I was salivating to have my own copy. There are three articles about Mexican jewelry and the Taxco history of silversmithing...all in preparation for my Mexican adventure this summer! Oh and a great article about Robin Quigley, head professor at RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) and her evolution of work.

I highly recommend you sign up or order this issue because it's definitely good for any metalsmith's reading collection.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

A worthy cause

If you can, consider donating to the Radical Jewelry Makeover VI: Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Also check out their blog.

I wish I could go!

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Featured Artist: Tara Locklear

Tara herself, in Italy last summer.

If you follow my blog or have read older posts, you'll recognize the name Tara Locklear.

Tara is also an undergraduate student in the metals program at ECU and a friend of mine. We work well together in the undergrad studio; from running the metals guild (Tara is the treasurer), maintaining the studio to coming up with ways to boost income for the guild and students.

Not only is she an awesome guild treasurer but a very talented metalsmith. It's been inspiring watching her work evolve and progress. Her work challenges me to rethink the material and have fun with it. You can see both an elegant lady but also a punk-rock chick wearing her pieces.

Tara loves experimenting with new materials and putting a modern spin on them - especially the look of gemstones, whether it's cast in silver or concrete.
Unbridled Royalty, 2010
(Tara has won several awards for this amazing necklace)

The Lighter Side of Status, 2011

Close up of center pendant.

Pile of Rocks ring, 2011

Cocktail Overload bracelet, 2010

Too Many Coctails ring, 2010

Rings on Deck, I & II (the ring on the left is mine and on the right is Kat Cole's) - from a trade)

Cast in Stone, 20111

From the pieces Tara's turned out within the past 2 years - I can foresee Tara going to some high places.

Stay tuned for details on our combined trunk show along with Sarah West this summer...it'll be kick-ass!

Thank you for reading and Happy Eostre!
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Friday, April 22, 2011

much better photos!

So I finally took a good friend's advice and shot my work outside on an overcast day - what a difference it makes with photos?!

Below is my beloved hinge vessel for my Jewelry I class with Mi-Sook Hur.

I'm quite proud of the vessel for several reasons, the curvy lines, the crystal and the fact that my hinge works! However there are design issues, the catch is tiny compared to the heft of the vessel and the prongs for the crystal are a bit obvious but all in all I'm happy and admit that, I love looking at it!

And here are two rings I made on the fly because I just wanted to make some pretty bling. The above ring I used a casting from my antler necklace and now...it's got me on a roll to make more for the summer...a possible trunk show is in the works!
Last week the Contemporary Techniques class with Ken Bova did a demo on using concrete in jewelry - which I was super psyched to sit in on because I missed the workshop Jim Cotter did at ECU a year ago.

Anywho, I had initially made this ring for a boulder opal but I had a little mishap so I used it for the concrete - which I love too! I'm already brainstorming ways to introduce it into some jewelry.

Thank you for reading!
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Impressive graduate show

ECU's College of Art and Design had several fantastic graduates put on an amazing show last week.

Part of me just doesn't want to accept that these talented artists (and good friends) are graduating...I'll miss them but it's been exciting seeing their work evolve and at the same time being so inspired by where it's taken them.

Ten graduates showing in the art school's Gray Gallery are: Jeremy Fineman (Ceramics) , Liz Steiner (Metal Design), Tim French (Painting), Chris Wooten (Sculpture), Leslie Shira (Fiber/Textiles), Marissa Saneholtz (Metal Design), Andy Denton (Sculpture), Steve Blouin (Wood Design), Laura Wood (Metal Design) and Amanda Micheletto (Fiber/textiles).

The combined show for all of them flowed very seamlessly and felt like being in a museum of revered objects (which they are).

Here are some photos of their work for the exhibition:

Leslie Shira Sculptures

Leslie Shira's awesome sculptures with textiles.

Stacks of Laura's 'paper' plates

Large view of all her pins

Sideshot of pins

Upclose shot of Laura Wood's lovely pins (I want one SO bad)

Chris Wooten's awesome busts

Chris Wooten's sculpture of Andy

Weaving chair (immaculate craftsmenship)

Steve's chairs

Upclose photo of mirror (enameled, tin, copper)

Mannequins and necklaces
Universal joint necklace (=ridiculously talented)

Telephone necklace (brooch/pendant)

Dresser set (comb, mirror and brush)

Marissa's comb and compact

Passover dinner set

Jeremy Fineman's beautiful mugs and sets

Yoga pose - Andy's sculpture
One of Andy's sculptures

*I completely forgot to shoot Liz Steiner's work but you can see some photos of hers on Flickr.

I hope you enjoyed my colleagues work - I definitely did!

Thanks for reading.
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Monday, April 18, 2011

"Jewelry is like food, the more you eat, the more you want" Karl Fritsch

I can't stop - more videos and this one is extra delicious.

I love listening to veteran metalsmiths.

props to Kaleidoscope blog.
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I am not a photographer...

Sterling silver ring; cast from deer antler

I had two pieces left from my castings for the deer antler necklace. On Sunday, while taking a break from raising I decided to turn the casting into a ring. And of course, I wanted to focus on that project rather than raising...somehow that happens but it's great because I get to 'play' for a little.

And below is the result of more playing. I finally bought gold leaf and it is SO much fun! I love the contrast of the gold and black - always elegant and sexy as hell.
Pierced and oxidized copper, gold leaf detail

I don't know why I still try and take quick photos of my work!

these are the only decent photos after taking about 30.

Plan on getting a pro soon...after I finish more projects.
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Mystery stone setting - very exciting

yes, another rad video for you!

I've got photos of recent work I plan on uploading but due to finals just around the corner, I give you this gem nabbed from Arthur Ash at his blog, the Art Escape Plan.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

song of the day: Jezebel cover by Anna Calvi

Anna is such a hot minx in this video!

I love her strong and deep voice and this cover of Edith Piaf's song is very cool.

Unfortunately, I will not be DJing tonight at WZMB as we're converting over to a new system to hold all the music, etc.

However, it's a blessing in disguise as I'll have a chance to check out fellow metalsmith, Laura Wood's MFA thesis show! Laura has been a wonderful presence at the metals department at ECU. Laura was the creator and brain behind the first ECU Metals Symposium.

If you're in town, check it out!

Thank you for listening and reading, have a great weekend!
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

new Craft in Sight video: Sue Amendolara

Craft In Sight (Craft in Sight is a collaboration between Brian Ferrell and Brigitte Martin (crafthaus.) Our goal is the creation and distribution of videos about crafthaus artists, showcasing a range of craft media, creative processes, and the environment in which craft work is made today.)

They just released a new video, found this from Crafthaus. check it out...
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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Featured Artist: Marlene True

M. True herself!
You are the Assassin: Tin, enamel, pearls, etched

Gia: enamel, tin, copper, etched
Hunter's Badge: Tin, copper, found objects, 2.5mm diamond
Ephemeral Series: Steel and plastic

I recently met the infamous, Marlene True, several weeks ago, when I provided visiting artist Jesse Bert a ride to Pocosin Arts Folk School. I write 'infamous' because when I met the other graduate students of the metals/jewelry program at ECU almost two years ago, they raved about Marlene, and simply referred to her as 'M.True'.

I thought, who is this woman? And when can I meet her?! Sometimes when I meet fabulous people, or more specifically an artist, that everyone is talking about, I get shy and a intimidated, so I didn't introduce myself immediately. But when I met Marlene at Pocosin, it was about time I put my shyness away. And come to find, she is very approachable and very, very talented and savvy.

As you can see, Marlene is a lover of tin. And she creates beautiful pieces with tin, that voice her style as a metalsmith but also a modern commentary on classic themes and ideas. Such as Hunter's Badge, a classic image of the deer with antlers but also a distinct red cross and diamond.

The first two photos above are the pieces I respond to the most, and I have a feeling it's older work of Marlene's. I respond to the pendant and brooch because they speak to my own work and what I'm attracted to.

Marlene is currently residing in Columbia, NC where she teaches at the Pocosin Arts Folk School. Marlene has worked very hard to create an excellent metals and jewelry studio at Pocosin; she was able to secure funding to bring big name artist's to teach workshops; such as Jesse Bert, Boris Bally, Bruce Barnett and Tim Lazure, along with many others. You can view photos of the workshops and friend Pocosin on Facebook.

I hope you enjoyed reading about M. True and if you get a chance, visit her at Pocosin and sign up for her classes - it's worth it!
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Sunday, April 10, 2011

how I became a metalsmith and jeweler

Me at my dining room table chasing a copper lid.

Often when I catch up with old friends or make new ones I get that question, how did you get into working with metal and making jewelry? I find that most people are intrigued because it's not the common profession, to become a metalsmith.

At first, it can be a scary and daunting journey - to take that first step of moving forward and even knowing where to go but it is so gratifying!

Back in 2001, I graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelors Degree of Liberal Arts and Science in Anthropology. My last semester at UF, I took a wire wrapping class in jewelry making at the student union. From the first class on, I was in the studio every night. It was like returning to my roots.

So there I was, graduating with a degree in which I had no idea what I was going to do and then rediscovering a lost passion; jewelry and being creative. And I asked myself, how do I get into the field of making jewelry?

I really didn't have much of a choice, upon graduating, I still had to make money! Long story short, I worked for about 8 years in the non-profit field, specifically environmental and human rights. In my spare time I took jewelry classes on the side and towards the last 3 years I began to work part time for professional jewelry artists and in a jewelry/silverware repair shop. Somehow, I made the time to study with other artists: on week nights I took enameling and raising and forming classes, then on the weekends I worked at the shop.

Some days it was tiring (juggling a full time job and part time job) but also very motivating and it pushed me to save money and build up my portfolio. Not only did I get great professional experience and knowledge but also I met very talented artists and craftspeople. Finally, I made the decision to go back to school and get the technical experience I still lacked.

It's the best decision I've ever made, thus far, in my life.

My best recommendation for anyone that wants to get into the arts field is this: find people like you that are interested in the craft, take classes, read about it, and do your research.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my journey and feel free to share your own.

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Friday, April 8, 2011

A CASA - Brazilian Jewelry Museum

I can't say enough how much I enjoy learning about jewelry artists abroad, especially in Latin American countries.

Here is a video, in which I can understand a few words (that are similar to Spanish words) because it's in Portuguese, from the Museu de Objeto Brasiliero, where Miriam Korolkova, a jeweler and teacher, discusses the work exhibited by contemporary jewelry artists in Brazil.

Isn't the black necklace amazing? Hope you enjoy the video and check out the other ones posted on the Museu's website!

Thanks for reading.
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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Visiting Artist: Boris Bally

Images taken from Velvet Da Vinci website
Last night the ECU metal and jewelry department had the pleasure of hosting Boris Bally and viewing his work up close.

Boris is that kind of person that draws you in immediately; demanding your attention. And his journey as an artist and experience is very interesting but not completely unique as a metalsmith/designer/jeweler.

Boris is largely self taught but I found it very interesting that he got his start as an apprentice at 19 years old at a goldsmith studio/shop in Switzerland. And from there, Boris' interest in metals was sparked. Unfortunately I was late (had to work) for the beginning of Boris' presentation, and what his parents did as a profession however I did learn that his family loved to travel and his father taught at Carnegie Mellon University as did Boris.

Boris never went to school for an MFA which is quite impressive when you view his work and how much he learned and investigated on his own. He taught himself how to raise a vessel, and spin on a lathe...I could go on and on.

I have so much respect for artists that take that first step to learn a craft on their own - it's SO hard when you don't have anyone teaching you the right way to do things.

Boris is continuing his visit in North Carolina with a trip to the Pocosin Folk Arts School where Marlene True is heading up the metals program. I'm sure the students and visitors will be just as entertained and enthralled by his artistic evolution as we were!

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011


ok, so this isn't an original post of mine but since I'm crazy busy, I thought I'd share Justin Siow's awesome discovery...

check it out and you won't regret it!

I'll post photos soon of my recent work. thanks for reading!!!

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Youth Arts Festival

Today on the ECU campus the School of Art and Design along with other ECU students held our 7th Annual Youth Arts Festival.

Families came out and enjoyed all kinds of arts for the day - face painting, sculptures, making bird feeders, making clay pinch pots and of course jewelry making!

We had bottle caps that children could dap into domes or flatten on the anvil and then add a jump ring along with yarn to make a necklace.

I organized the metals guild to volunteer - despite most of us attending the many art openings, senior shows the night before (and after-parties)! I was definitely dragging this morning but it's always fun working with kids. They're so enthusiastic and curious.
Above Tina Lazzarine, metals guild secretary, showing a kid how to center punch the bottle caps.

We were fortunate to have some nursing students from the School of Medicine at ECU help us.

Below, Marlene True, (ECU metals and jewelry alumni - currently teaching at the Pocosin Folk Arts School) showing kids how to use her custom made hydraulic press to make small anvil magnets. I kinda wanted to snag one myself!
The day was perfect, after all the stormy weather Eastern North Carolina has gotten.

Hope you enjoyed the photos and thank you for reading!
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