Tuesday, September 1, 2015

I have been the chair of Pleiades now for several years, that is, with the help from my side kick and friend, Cindy Calahan.  I have seen the ups and downs of retail in our small show.  We had a great “run” in our Bethesda Woman’s Club house location, but felt it was time to find a new home.  We are thrilled and honored to move our show to the beautiful Strathmore Mansion in Rockville.  Actually, we are partnering with Strathmore!  That’s huge for our little group!  And honestly, it says a lot about the group and the quality of work shown throughout our 29 years.  Now as we prepare for our 30th anniversary and our big move, I stress over making this our best show ever!  It keeps me up at night….not exactly what I want, but I take all this seriously.  We have added extra guests to our lineup, making it 30 women for our 30th year.  I am excited about the growth and changes and very hopeful for a great show.  And why shouldn’t it be great….we have so many really talented women joining us this year.  I recently finished working on our website, making lots of changes and additions. I watched the intro fade from one image to the next and loved each one of them.  What a fabulous group we have! Now I have the task of getting the word out.  I’m certainly not the most adept at the social media stuff, but I know it is the way of the world.  I will now need my crash course on Facebook, and Pinterest.  I should probably talk with one of my nieces….for them it comes naturally, or so it seems.  I will learn, as I did with the website, so “stay tuned”.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

InBloom Jewelry by Stacey Krantz: Remember Beauty Everywhere

InBloom Jewelry by Stacey Krantz: Remember Beauty Everywhere: Today I walked the circle driveway of my farmhouse, round and round, round and round. I do this most days. It was particularly vi...

Sunday, November 9, 2014

“Good art is art that allows you to enter it from a
variety of angles and to emerge
with a variety of views.”
~Mary Schmich

Gayle Friedman

Before taking up jewelry, I danced a lot, mostly flamenco. I’m attracted to its joyful and intense emotions as well as the flamenco concept of duende: the notion of pushing oneself as close to the edge as possible, where one becomes uncertain of the outcome. This captures the way I like to make jewelry.

I’m interested in the stuff that flows in and out of our lives - a scrap of fur, a ceramic shard. These objects are often imbued with unexplored meaning and emotion. I’m drawn to relationships, and in making my jewelry, I get to explore the relationships that we have with these materials, where they come from and how they can be understood through the medium of jewelry.
Fragile Landscape

My work takes shape organically. I begin with a stone or some other found object and play with it until I am clear how to proceed. Sometimes this results in simple shapes and lines and other times pieces become more complex.

1. What led you to designing and creating jewelry?

Porcelain Pendant
I was a ceramic sculptor for years before I even thought about jewelry. Over time, my sculptures grew smaller and smaller and were hung on the wall. Some of the pieces in my last show were only 3" tall. Then I stopped doing ceramics to help found an alternative school, where I spent 7 years. After I left the school I enrolled in a jewelry class and was immediately taken. It seemed so natural to make tiny things that hung vertically on the body.

2. Are you a full time artist and how did you make your way there?

Cocoa Pod Necklace
Yes. I'm a full time artist, but I'm also the founder and director of Studio 4903, a working artist studio space that features jewelry. I'm fortunate to be able to sell out of the studio as well as around town and in some galleries throughout the country.

3. Biggest challenge as an artist?


4. Describe your creative process?

I'm very curious and drawn to many materials and processes. I find or buy or make things that interest and intrigue me. Then I sit with them, sketch a bit, sometimes working on pieces for months. I play with them, move them around, put them together and often take them apart and eventually I end up with a piece that feels right.

 5. What inspires you?

Dirt/clay, negative spaces, hidden places, rocks that don't look precious, the stories behind things, "duende" or being on the edge and about to go over. Right now I'm really into a book I just got on wallpaper!

6. Tell me about the technical process you employ in your work.

I mostly solder and pierce my work. Occasionally I'll cast pieces or carve in wax. I like using alternative materials, which constantly challenge me to come up with interesting and "right" ways of incorporating them.

7. How would you describe your artistic style and how has it changed over the years?

Clay Cup Earrings
Eclectic. Somewhat funky. Far-flung. The bodies of work I've made have changed over the years, as I explore different themes and materials. I've been using some beads lately in my pieces, which I never would have thought I would have done when I first began making jewelry.

8. Any big plans for the future? Other shows, etc...

Fur Ring
Studio 4903 will have its annual Holiday Show on December 14, from 1-5! Please come!
Oh, and a new website, which I'm working to develop! One where I can easily add new pieces I've made.

9. If someone wants to purchase a piece from you (away from the show) what is the best way for them to contact you?

or cell: 202.641.4248

Courtney Gillen

Sterling silver set with sea glass, recycled glass and pearls. Designs are clean and simple, often taking inspiration from the glass itself. All work is done using traditional metalsmiting techniques.

I have been a full time jewelry maker for over 18 years, doing about 17 - 20 shows per year and selling to stores and galleries around the country. My specialty is sea glass.

I first discovered sea glass about twenty years ago when a family member moved to Hawaii and out of the blue sent me a box of sea glass with a note "this might make nice jewelry". At the time I was starting out and my work resembled an amalgamation of many different techniques. There was no cohesion. The sea glass brought it all together. I fell in love with it, its gorgeous subtle look, and the unique shapes and colors.

This material matched my metalsmithing style, which is organic in nature. I like to just jump in with my silver at my work bench. There are often no plans for the work day other than it’s an earring day. My sketch books are full of loosely drawn ideas, but often the designs are created in the moment at the bench. I have still not tired of this material even after all this time. It’s still a thrill to go though my vast collection of sea glass and wonder what its previous life was and how old it is.

The majority of my collection I have personally gathered, mostly from old dump sites on the western shores of Kauai, Hawaii. I also incorporate fresh water pearls and recycled glass in the work. All the work is a one of a kind due to the nature of the sea glass. That is what is so fun about this material; unlike calibrated stones each has a different shape. This also means this work cannot be mass produced. Much of the sea glass jewelry on the market today is wire wrapped or drilled, not my jewelry, my glass is bezel set in hand fabricated settings which are often inspired by the glass itself.

This material has become more scarce in recent years due to the use of plastic bottles and recycling. It is rapidly disappearing off North American beaches as people collect it. We no longer dump refuse into the ocean and we recycle glass. Now there are sea glass festivals, books, lectures, and even sea glass associations. Back twenty years ago when I started working with it many people thought I was crazy thinking anyone would buy it. At the time there were only a handful of jewelry artists using this material. There are many more now, my work stands out because of my many years of experience with it, and my love of metal working.

Sandra Zacharia

I use shell forming, fold forming and raising techniques to create graceful forms that follow the patterns of nature. Using silver, gold, copper and bronze, each piece is handcrafted in silver, gold or bronze with added textures and patina.

The clean lines in my jewelry reflect an endurance within nature, ...the beauty of seashells washed ashore a thousand times, ...the delicacy of veins outlining the leaf that has long since crumbled and blown away. It is this tension between the stamina and fragility in nature that infuses my work with a life of its own.

1. What led you to designing and creating jewelry? 
I like to see things in terms of the patterns they create. The ones presented to us in nature are fascinating because they are just there, and they’re always perfect. The ones that we create ourselves just by manipulating things are exciting. If you let yourself go, you never know where you’ll end up. Often, without planning to, I’ll find myself right back at nature. 
I love to work with metal. Before I made jewelry, I was a textile designer. For me it was essentially the same thing, only then, the patterns were two dimensional.

2. Are you a full time artist and how did you make your way there?

Jerusalem Studio
At this point, I make jewelry full time, but I didn’t always. I went to F.I.T. and started out as a textile designer. For years, while I was living in New York, I designed fabrics for the fashion industry. Later, I moved to Israel where I raised my two oldest children and studied jewelry design at the Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem.We left Israel and came to live in the DC area nine years ago. Soon after, I was able to begin making jewelry full time. I work in my home studio. I participate in several shows throughout the year, and I'm a member of 2 galleries, the Waverly Street Gallery in Bethesda and The Jerusalem House of Quality in Israel. All this keeps me pretty busy in my studio.

3. Biggest challenge as an artist?

Silver  Knot
I’ve worked hard to refine my work. Getting to the core, finding what really moves me in a piece, clearing distractions…
Knowing what I need to do and finding the discipline to do it, is a great challenge for me.

4. Describe your creative process? 

Work In Progress
I like to doodle through the creative process. I usually begin with copper or brass. I'll cut a piece in a shape that pleases me and then just start playing with it. I don't plan in the beginning. It's more a stream of consciousness type of thing. As I hammer and manipulate the metal I get inspired by what it's becoming.Most of my inspiration comes from the process of doing. Only then do I decide want it is. At that point I'll begin to adjust my work to make the pattern. I cut it from heavy card stock and then from metal. Once I have something that I like I play with different variations of it until the idea eventually morphs into something new.

6. Tell me about the technical process you employ in your work.

Sky Blue
I combine different forming techniques. Whatever I need to do to get the metal to flow. I primarily use fold forming, anticlastic raising and synclastic forming. 

7. How would you describe your artistic style and how has it changed over the years?

Metamorphosis Cuff
I like to think of my style as earthy yet clean. When I started out I didn’t use any forming techniques. Everything was fabricated, meaning I would cut and solder to create my pieces. Now my work flows. I hammer and form. Its very liberating.

9. If someone wants to purchase a piece from you (away from the show) what is the best way for them to contact you?

Ocean Blue
The best way to reach me is by email artjewelsz@gmail.com), throughout Facebook (www.facebook.com/artjewelsz) or my website (www.artjewelsz.com). My work can also be seen at the Waverly Street Gallery in Bethesda, MD.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

"Art completes what nature cannot bring to a finish." ~Aristotle

Carol Oshinsky spends much of the year in Massachusetts, providing her with the inspiration that drives the work she creates in her basement studio upon her return.

“Texture and the shapes created by edges that don’t quite meet fascinate me.  Most of my work reflects this interest. My textures are created by hammering metal into rocks or pitted chunks of iron, through fusion of bits and pieces of silver and gold, by surface embellishment using hammers, gravers and burs.

Berkshires in the Fall
The landscape of the Northern Berkshires is the inspiration for most of my pieces.  Although I do not translate literally what I see in the mountains and fields, with a little imagination my brooches become framed paintings in metal and gems that speak of the ever-changing hills of a most beautiful part of New England.”

1.  When did you join Pleiades?

Can't remember how long I've been with Pleiades.  I met the members through Washington Guild of Goldsmiths.  I was asked a number of times to be a guest artist - had lots of fun and sold some things.  Sometime after 2000 I was asked to become a permanent member, and I accepted.

2. What led you to designing and creating jewelry?

How did I get started making jewelry?  In the 70's Treasure of the Pirates (long gone) offered silversmithing classes.  I wanted to learn how to repair some of the broken silver pieces I had.  Once I learned to solder, I was hooked.  The variety of techniques to learn and things to make were endless.  WGG offered workshops with wonderful teachers and I took as many as I could.

3.  Describe your creative process.

Landscape 1
I play with the metal and see where it leads me.  I love textures and patinas.  I get my inspiration from things around me, mostly when I'm in New England.

4.  Where do you get your inspiration?

My inspiration comes from rural New England, nature, fine art - I make pins of abstract landscapes, insect pins, and I have made earrings that were inspired by Rothko paintings.

5. Tell me about the technical process you employ in your work.

I hammer into rusty steel to create textures and I fuse copper, steel, and gold  - fuse bits and pieces, roll out, fuse more, roll out, fuse more until I like the texture I have.  Patinas & polished high points accentuate the textures.

6. How would you describe your artistic style and how has it changed over the years?

My artistic style? - I don't have a name for it.  I play and lose myself in the process.  Sometimes I make a piece that is worth saving, sometimes it is a failure and ends up fused in pieces into something else.  Fortunately my livelihood does not depend on what I create.  I don't have to think about the saleability, marketability, or profit margin of what I make.  That's a huge plus.  I am lucky to have Pleiades because the sales I make allow me to thin my inventory and give me the push to make more.

7.  Any big plans?

Urban Renewal
No.  I have raised my family, retired from the money making job, and now I want to do just what moves me.  In the warm months I spend much of my time gardening.  I get a charge out of going into the garden to decide what's for supper.  Back in Maryland in the winter I do spend time at the bench unless the basement is too cold (last winter). 

8.  If someone wants to purchase a piece from you (away from the show) what is the best way for them to contact you?

The best way to buy a piece of mine is to come to the Pleiades show.  Goldsborough Glynn Antiques on Howard Ave. in Kensington sells some of my pieces, too. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

“It is good to love many things, for therein lies true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.” ~Vincent van Gogh

Odaybea Morrow’s jewelry are creations born from her years living internationally. Born in Africa; raised in Europe; living and working in Asia and living, working and studying in the USA. Introduced to the intricacy of Native American beadwork while working and studying in Albuquerque she developed a passion to design jewelry. A Master’s degree in Medical Anthropology led her to Ethiopia working with women and children on health issues where she gained an even greater appreciation for the artistry and sophistication of local silver and gold work. With a PhD in international health from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, the next years living and working on three continents enabled her to build an extensive collection of antique beads and learn about culturally specific jewelry design. Odaybea’s recent move to the US with her family has allowed her to return to creating unique and exquisite jewelry inspired by all the cultural diversity of those years’ experiences.

Blue quartz, lavender
amethyst and garnet
Jewelry by Odaybea is a collection of hand fabricated and cast jewelry using precious, semi-precious stones and pearls and are accented with sterling silver, 14kt gold fill or 24kt gold vermeil.

1.    How did you get involved in Pleiades? How long ago?

I was invited to be a guest jeweler a number of years ago and last year was invited to be a permanent member.

2. What led you to designing and creating jewelry?

SS Dragonfly ring
With Mexican Opal
Since I could hold a pencil, I’ve had a need to release some form or another of artistic energy. But I started creating jewelry after finishing my BA – I had taken a year off before continuing graduate studies. During that year off I worked in a shelter home for abused and neglected children and during the late evenings, we would make jewelry to pass the time and keep ourselves up. I spent many years working towards and completing a PhD in International Health, but throughout that process, I continued making jewelry and sold it to friends and family.

Sterling Paisley earrings
with Garnet
I had dreams of becoming more serious about making jewelry but was reluctant to give up the public health, plus I was living abroad and it wasn’t feasible. It wasn’t until I had our third child, that I decided to stay at home with him and pursue my artist side more seriously. About 7 years ago we moved back to the US and I was able to take classes with Mimi Harris. She shared her passion of metal work with me and I’ve been designing and creating ever since.

first wax piece cast in SS
with tahitian pearl
A year and a half ago I took a wax class at the Art League. Through this class I discovered a love for sculpting.  Much of my newest work combines my newfound passion for sculpting wax and my love of gemstones.

3. Describe your creative process?

Orange and yellow
sapphires with citrine
in sterling silver “hole” ring
My creative process comes in sputters.  I can’t force it.  Sometimes I’ll dream of a particular design, or I’ll be sitting at a stop light and an image of what to create forms in my mind. Other times I’ll be sitting at my work bench with piles of gemstones in front of me, and as cliché as it might sound, the gemstones “speak” to me, so I know which ones want to be together and in what format.

4. What inspires you?

I am mostly inspired by my travels abroad and nature.

5. Tell me about the technical process you employ in your work.

Ahh, the technical processes… Much of it is ad hoc.  I solder, wire wrap, saw, drill and I carve and melt wax…

6. How would you describe your artistic style and how has it changed over the years?

Green onyx and
14kt gold vermeil
I guess my artistic style would be classic elegance. I’m not sure my style has changed much over the years.  What have changed are my skills.  Since learning how to work with metal and to carve wax, my designs have certainly evolved, but my style remains classic.  My newest line however, has taken a slight turn and would probably be considered to be more modern than classic.

Amethyst Hoop Earrings
7. Any big plans for the future? Other events?

No specific big plans for the future. I want to continue working on my skills, particularly stone setting.

8. If someone wants to purchase a piece from you what is the best way for them to contact you?

Both Facebook and Etsy are good ways to contact me.