Monday, April 30, 2007


Now that I've answered the phone about five times and just started saying "no, not yet" instead of "hello!" Here is the update:

No, I am not yet a mom.
Her official due date is May 3.
If I'm not in labor by May 3 they will schedule a date to induce her, coz she's clearly more than fully cooked at an estimated nine plus pounds.
And I will tell you when she arrives, honest.

You know how people always complain that new parents only talk about their kids? I would Really love it if people emailed, posted, called, came over, and talked about something other than my kid right now. Tell me about Your life. Tell me about your projects. Tell me about good movies to rent. I need distraction from my crankypants state of discomfort. :)

Oh and hows about this, here's a way to be supportive without having to deal with super cranky me! I just had glenn drop off my work for Somerville Open Studios (SOS). Go see some art in the hip city of Somerville this weekend, and you can buy some of my jewelry, which will be on display at Jade Moran Jewelry (number 55 on the map, I believe). It's a little different than some of my past stuff, as it's what I could manage while pregnant (fewer hammers and torches involved), but a greater range of you may enjoy it, too!

I won't be there myself as I'll either be a new mom or Jabba the Hut by Saturday. SOS is a particularly good Open Studios weekend as the city is really understanding how to support artists and there is a lot of studio space and gallery space compared to neighboring towns. Enjoy!

If you miss out on this weekend, much of my work will be at Gallery Penumbra, on Rocky Neck in Gloucester this summer.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Tucson, AZ

After a few anxiety-producing pregnancy issues and a couple days of tests to be sure I was travel-safe, I went to Tucson, AZ this week for the gem show. This is like at least forty gem shows that take over the town -- convention centers, giant tents, whole hotels where every room is a different vendor. . . it goes on and on and on.

It's overwhelming for the heartiest of shoppers, and was definitely a bit much for this way pregnant lady. I stopped a lot, watched a lot of demos and presentations and workshops, and chugged a lot of water. I saw people I knew and met people I'd heard of, tried new tools, learned about gems, and I had a very good time. I bought just a few things; mainly I got an understanding of the scene for other trips.

My friend, jeweler Jade Moran, traveled with me, and we stayed with my wonderful aunt. So, it was as safe and comfortable and fun as possible. The last day, the three of us just went and played. We drove down to the artist colony town Tubac (a day before their extensive arts fair began!) and wandered galleries and outdoor sculpture gardens for half the day. (This fountain dripped water off of her hair, which was super cool....)

Then we went back north to the Sonoran Desert Museum, which has miles of trails going to various outdoor live wildlife exhibits. Since the kicking beachball and I were a bit tired by then and we had a short amount of time to see the sights, I got wheeled around in a wheelchair at high speed, screaming and laughing as we visited bobcats and ocelots and several enclosed aviaries.

We admired the view from the visitor center of Saguaro National Park, then stopped in a mountain pass to watch the sunset before going out for Mexican. It was a fabulous day.

I'd only been north of Phoenix before, so it was a real treat seeing the cacti and very Western movie type landscape of closer to the border. I don't think I'd want to mountain bike there...they had me nervous enough about going flying from the wheelchair. See, it's a rather sharp place: always have to make sure you're not being followed!

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Holiday Shopping

My jewelry is now for sale at Jade Moran Jewelry, 257 Highland Ave., Somerville, MA. You can walk there in 10 minutes from the Porter Square T stop. Don't miss the annual holiday Open House hosted by Jade Moran and neighboring (amazing) ceramicist, Ruchika Madan.


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

We attended a costume party on Saturday night. This party has a theme each year, and this one was "Hellenic." The concept of a toga party didn't totally appeal, so we did our best. Glenn did especially great, since he requires a cattle prod to get him to wear a costume. He came up with a beer hat -- the kind with two cans and tubing down to the mouth. He'd relabled them Hemlock (with some very funny fine print) and had a "Hello My Name is Tag" that read "Socrates." It was excellent. (He was wearing a t-shirt of a Moose on the side of a triangle for an extra Greek inside joke...) I wore a toga-like outfit with a insanely big white afro (I looked super fly in the black-lit bathroom there) and the following bling:

We met up with some friends there, including a truly impressive Greek salad, "Oh-limp-ass" (Olympus), Pandora, Medusa, one of the Sirens, and more.

We don't really get trick or treaters at my urban house, so tell me if you get any good ones. A friend told me about a pretty good costume she saw last year: a guy came as a "chick magnet" by glueing Peeps all over his clothes. One of my favorites was an election year when my friend and office mate at the time came as a voting booth ( you could part the curtains and be inside, facing her, lol). Oh, and a fairy tale themed party when I was wearing a hat that looked like a large pie with blackbirds coming out of it and my friend the Greek Salad was The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe, with the complete shoe encasing her and small dolls constantly falling out of it as she walked around.

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Thursday, August 17, 2006


A friend wants to see what I've been making...

Since I know five couples getting married in the next month I have been making wedding rings. Oddly wedding rings are sometimes the most simple rings. And somehow simple rings can manage to find their own challenges. Especially when you're a rookie. Anyway, here's a couple that are in the works.

That's 14k yellow gold, a simple flat band with a matte finish. This ring had to be resized (hammered wider) as the size the client thought he was didn't match his finger. This is not unusual when you don't size someone yourself. So it required a bit more work to even it out, but it's nearly done.

This one is my first cast piece. Things come out of the mold with a big connector leg (a sprue) on them which has to be removed. This was a little tricky on this one to keep the symmetry, particularly as I was working on it while ill. It is 14k white gold.

Oh and in case you've never seen the groovy rings (designs by C. Ploof that I made while working for him) I made for glenn and I, here they are (I love these rings):

Mine is damascus steel and 18k, glenn's is the one with the rolled wavy edges -- his is forged meteorite with 18k.

Other than that I've been still trying to get the exact etching I'm looking for on some bracelets:

And I work for another jeweler a couple of days a week on her designs. My work that is at Penumbra Gallery in Gloucester is doing okay. I sold another three things the other day. That will be be my deposit for my new studio space. :) Of course when I was in the ER last week wondering if I was dying I thought "I should have written a novel." This should be my gravestone: Too many interests in an unreliable sack of skin.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006


In September I will at last have studio space! The search went from newly renovated artist spaces to several mixed use buildings to a cooperative house-like space, to maybe a first floor room in an apartment and ended in a gritty but functional industrial space inhabited mainly by woodworkers (a lot of North Bennet St. School alum). I'm sharing a 525 sq. foot space with two other metalsmiths (for less money than a 288 sq. ft space was going to cost in the newly renovated artists bldg!).

It's got a level cement floor and most of the top of one wall is glass bricks with a couple of small windows to the outside (with security wire fencing and all). We'll need to run a big dehumidifier as it is concrete and brick and ancient. It is an end unit and is ten feet or so from the outside door so we can do various noxious things outside, which is unusual for urban artist spaces.

The three of us will likely hold a studio-warming holiday sale in the coming months. Stay tuned!

Meanwhile this means I will move my studio out of our space that is meant to be a livingroom, we will have room for actual seating and not only can we have people over, but they won't have to fear their kids (or our cats) getting into my sharp and toxic stuff.

If you have any old appliances that work but you don't use that could be useful in the space, let me know: dehumidifiers, A/C, tiny fridge, microwave, etc.

Exciting! And scary.


Monday, June 12, 2006

Itty Bitty Boneyard

One of my favorite things looks like a turd.

Worse, it looks like a turd with feathers and fur stuck in it. If I find them on the ground while I'm working as a park ranger, I don't even get to say something educational to the people around because they tend to turn away when they see me picking up what look like turds.

What I like to do next, is to pull them apart with tweezers. These "turds' are owl pellets. Owls can't chew, nor can they dissolve bones with their stomach acids. Their gizzards compact bones and fur and feathers and whatnot into compressed nuggets, then they are conveyed back out to the throat for the owl to expel later. It's like a fur ball, but delivered with less theatrics. The owl just opens it's mouth and drops it out. And the evidence of all the wee rodents and birds an owl ate in a couple hours time is represented in it.

Apparently it is quite common for grade schools to teach kids about owls and their pellets these days, as it is easy to buy pellets rather than find them the old fashioned way. Science companies sell them pre-treated for fur eating moths. and sell 'em. They want your kids to play with turds because it is fun and educational.

Me, I am fascinated by skeletons. I love seeing how the bones fit together. I love the archeological dig feeling of slowly pulling apart a pellet. I'm kind of still a five year old. I had a jewelry idea that requires some tiny bones, so today I spent some time pulling apart some pellets I had in a bag. (What? you don't have a secret owl pellet stash in your house?)

We went to dinner with some friends tonight and I was glad no one asked me what I'd done today.

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Friday, June 02, 2006


Penumbra, the gallery in Gloucester carrying my work, had its grand opening party last night. My stuff was in the case by all the free wine, so I'm not sure how much people were focused on jewelery. It's a couple feet away from where you can view it, and some of the interesting detail is lost as a result. However, maybe that's what I can take from that – most people don't stand looking at earrings from three inches away.

Meanwhile I was wearing a lovely rubber necklace with a pendant made from a brass Restroom Token set with a sparkling CZ. I think it was registering with people as a gold circle with a diamond. Anytime my brother or I pointed to it and laughed and said "here's what I made today," people nodded earnestly and said "Gorgeous. Just gorgeous."

I think one of my favorite things at the gallery are these lovely shelves reminiscent of suspension bridges that were made by Brian Ferrell.

Penumbra is in Gloucester, MA, out on Rocky Neck by the Rudder restaurant.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

I Can See Clearly Now

Today I had an appointment with the eye doctor. So of course I brought my camera.

I asked her at least four questions per instrument or test. I made jokes. I complimented her. I let her rediscover the weirdo formation my right optical nerve has.

But she wouldn't let me take a picture of my eye through anything. She said slyly: "There are special cameras for that. But I don't have one." I was bad. I asked her about whether she had to study a lot about the brain in school and got her to say "Yeah, but I don't really use it day to day, you know?"

I giggled to myself while I sat in a chair waiting for the drops to dilate my eyes. Another eye-drop tripping guy sat down next to me. I looked at his Fluevog shoes and asked him if they were Trippen shoes just to entertain myself. "Oh. my. god. Do you know where you can get Trippen here?!" he practically yelled, turning to lock dilated irises with me.

When I left the office, I stopped at each store in the complex on my way out and asked if I could have a token for the restroom. Then I walked home a couple of miles instead of taking the subway so that I wouldn't run home and make Restroom Token earrings out of them before I could actually see clearly again.

On the way home I did a couple of errands. I tried not to make eye contact with anyone in any store I stopped in so they wouldn't think I was tripping. This is hard for me. I felt like I would with a blind spot, like I was missing important information. Like if only I at least had a picture of my eyeball to refer to . . ..

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Things Aren't as They Seem

Not a bad day for not having slept much last night. Things were consistantly different than they seemed at first, in that special sleep-deprived way -- but not in a Twilight Zone way.

I worked finishing rings for another jeweler at the bench in the front window of her shop all afternoon. What was impressive about this is that I successfully did NOT lean outside and yell "Nice Ass...phalt!" to the guys trying to strike poses while displaying butt cleavage in the process of working on the sidewalk outside. Later in the day one grubby guy, whose suspenders had unfortunately popped off on one side while he was working, stumbled to the locked door with his fly unzipped and looked at me aggressively. I unlocked the door for him and thought he was going to ask to use the bathroom, but instead he whipped out a hundred dollar bill and bought some pearl earrings for his girlfriend for her birthday.

I was relieved to find I didn't have "the dropsies" today since yesterday I was clumsiness incarnate. Jade, who owns the jewelry shop, told me about a guy who, on the first day of a high profile designer job, hit a springy-handled scoop of tiny diamond baguettes on the edge of the karat scale, spraying them upwards. His coworkers spent the next half hour picking diamond lice out of his hair with tweezers.

After work I walked into a bookstore and picked up a book by Elinor Lipman that looked interesting... and then she walked in. The store suddenly filled up with people to see her. She was there for a reading and was introduced by a similar style of writer, Mameve Medwed (or Mascara Medwed, as I think when I see her). Elinor read a nice brief amount and was charming and entertaining and afterwards I was able to have a chat with her. It really was a good turnout for a night competing with a Sox/Yankees game, the finale of Lost and the American Idol pagentry. Go Cambridge! Elinor lives in western MA and I mentioned that my brother lived out her way and is the managing editor of the Massachusetts Review. Elinor said her first really great rejection note, the kind where an editor took a lot of time to type up thoughtful notes, was from the Mass Review. I told her Cory just randomly sent me rejection notes. I didn't even have to submit anything.

Today, however, Cory sent me the coolest present for my birthday. It was on the table with the mail when I came home. Look closely, it contains two kinds of screwdrivers, a bottle opener, and a couple kinds of wrenches. I promptly donned my bat belt and ran around the house with my superhero sidekicks (our two kittens). Sadly, I could not hang myself on my magnetic strip where I hang pliers. For some reason I found myself wishing it had a hidden knife, too. I blame glenn for this since as I fell asleep last night he was singing "abunakunasasoodesu" over and over in various tunes -- that's the complicated Japanese grammar he'd just learned to say: "It doesn't seem to be dangerous to me. . . ."

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Here's a bracelet design I was working on this afternoon. I sometimes watch/listen to movies on tv while working, and today saw/heard the very charming Here Comes the Groom with Bing Crosby and Jane Wyman. The convincing delivery of such snappy reparte seems like a lost art. Anyway, comment or email and tell me if you like this design or not.


Recent Creations

Things have been a little dark and sketchy looking lately. . . patinas and etching and playing with various metals together. Still experimenting to get my etching down the way I want it on the silver. It's a lot easier and faster to etch silver with nitric acid, but since I'm working in our living room essentially, I don't feel like having that around right now. I am using ferric nitrate which is a little tamer, but still acid. It's just fussier.
In that first pair of earrings I was thinking about bird foot prints. I made a good stamp of some last year that I haven't been able to find, sadly. The next ones are shibuichi and silver bimetal. It makes me think of bamboo. I made a necklace and earrings set with similar looking pieces with labradorite beads that were glowy blue with coppery shimmers. There are black and white etched silver earrings and some rings with various gold and silver combos.


Saturday, May 20, 2006

Lookit, I'm an Artist! Ha.

Last night glenn and I had ourselves a date at The Blue Room. I had soft shelled crabs with greens and roasted tomatoes and a remoulade sauce. I really never have figured out how much I like soft-shelled crab vs. how much I like that they look really creepy on a plate. Either way I enjoyed them. I then had lamb, which I rarely eat. These were steaks cooked in herbs and served with what I think was sautéed pea tendrils and a cassoulet of beans and garlic and other yummy bits. It was enough that I'll have it for a couple more meals. It was unusually delicious, as was the planked arctic char with preserved lemon and duck cooked in a port reduction with Brussels sprouts and wild rice timbale that glenn ate.

Today we were deciding between a bike tour of historic buildings in Somerville, a bike tour of green buildings in Cambridge, and the South of Washington Art Walk. Waking up a bit late made the decision. We'll likely go sample a new place in Chinatown for lunch, and then go to the South End and prowl galleries and open studios and the season opening of the South End Open Market.

I'm struggling with the concept of getting studio space myself, and have been looking at all kinds of spaces. I think I want my own space to be a freak in, where there are not these two incredibly cute kittens curious about everything I'm doing, and playing with my stuff. It would remove lots of toxic and sharp things taking up half our living room. Maybe if we had a people-friendly living room more of our friends and their kids would come over.

So I've been talking about sharing space with a friend, and that seems okay, but we need a small space that allows torches, which has been harder. One space I saw was really office space. Another would be built out for me with ventilation, but would be way too much money. Another is deciding if I'm a good fit in a coop that would require me at meetings and on committees. And now there's the possibility of sharing someone else's metal studio in an artists building I rather like, which would give me access to a rolling mill and some bigger torches and whatnot. But it wouldn't be My space then. Hard to say how to proceed.

In the meantime, I was asked to come up with an artist's statement for Penumbra, the gallery in Gloucester that is carrying my jewelry. It opens this week. I hate artist statements. Here's what I came up with:

I spent most of my years working online and on television. So, it's no wonder I spend most of my time now hitting things with hammers. I published numerous articles online and in print, read my work on NPR, oversaw a number of major websites, and was a regular on several international television shows. I left the business on a severance check, which I used to write a travel book, and then I took up jewelry making.

I needed this journey, and this degree of maturity before I could work with metal. Metal smithing is a wonderfully balanced activity requiring a meditative and yet vigilant patience. It requires inspiration as well as careful, logical plans for each step. When my life was more scattered, I pieced together mosaics and quilts. These days I form metal into new shapes, experiment with etching and patinas, and ponder transformation.

My college degrees are both in writing. I have studied metal smithing at Massachusetts College of Art, the Decordova Museum School, Metalwerx, the Sturbridge Village Education Center, and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. I was a bench jeweler for Chris Ploof, working with alternative metals such as meteorite, mokume gane, and Damascus steel, and currently do some work for Jade Moran, where the focus is wax casting.