Self-Promotion Thursday: New Jewelry and an Early Sale Announcement!

It’s been a while since I’ve put up new jewelry pictures and links, so I’m going to work harder at getting that done on Thursdays.  I’m working on getting an actual art and jewelry blog up and running, but I’m not moving too fast on it.  Stick around, because I’m running a sale this weekend at my Etsy shop and you’ll find a coupon code that starts today at the bottom of this post. (I honor the discounted price on pieces placed on layaway during sales, by the way.)

New in the Etsy shop this week:

A black butterfly wing with blue and orange spots along its edge encased in a stain glass pendant.  It is attached to a rosary-style chain with peacock blue pearls and 5 larger brown smoky quartz beads.
Click picture to visit the listing.

I’m really excited to be teaching myself how to do stained glass, which eventually I hope to start building wardian case greenhouses and display cases for things like Ancestor relics.  I’m not there yet, but it’s the dream!

This is a Red-spotted Purple butterfly wing that was found naturally-expired in a relative’s garden.  I’ve encased it between 2 sheets of glass and used lead-free solder around the edges.  The pendant has been put on a rosary-style beaded chain that includes peacock blue pearls and 10mm brown smokey quartz beads.  The metal of the chain, including the hand-forged hook clasp, is copper.  And that hook clasp?  It’s been placed to the front of the necklace instead of the back, which is a style I’m moving towards for ease of use as well as aesthetic.  I know I’m not the only person out there that has issues clasping necklaces behind their heads.

The necklace is seconds quality, because a bit of flux slipped between the glass while I was making this.  It won’t structurally harm anything, but it does show up.  Therefore this piece has a 50% discount.

A sterling silver palmette-shaped filigree earring with a cluster of amethyst beads and jade green chrysoprase tear drop underneath.
Click picture to visit the listing.

These are actually older earrings that I am just getting around to listing.  They include my hand-made filigree pieces, variagated amethyst beads, and faceted chrysoprace briolettes.

A pair of long earrings consisting of an ivory and red handmade bead, 3 clear herkimer diamonds, 2 red garnets, hand-cut sterling silver hearts, and black sapphire teardrops
Click picture to visit the listing.

And some newer ones, featuring self-representing artisan-made lampwork beads, Herkimer diamonds, garnets, and black sapphire briolettes.  Oh, and hand-cut sterling silver hearts that I’ve texturized and put an oxidized patina on.  These lovelies measure almost 4-inches long.

Click picture to visit the listing.
Click picture to visit the listing.

Finally, there is this bracelet, which is another piece from my death-related line of mourning and memorial jewelry.  The beads are antique French jet, which are a wee bit chipped and definitely worn between the late 1800s and 1930.  I’ve made them into a brushed sterling silver chain and haphazardly stamped a Pablo Naruda quote onto them from his poem The Dead Woman.  Oh!  And lace.  Because lace.

But what about that sale announcement I promised?  Yes, from today until November 2nd, you can take 20% off in my Etsy shop with no minimum purchase.  Use code Samhain2015 at checkout.

I’ll be back in the next few days with photos from our Ancestor shrine.  But until then, have a great weekend with your Ancestors for those of you celebrating Them!


Now Selling Jewelry (Again)

At some point in the last week I decided I could no longer handle not making jewelry.  Over the years I’ve changed my focus from specifically beaded work to some beaded work and metal.  I specialize in filigree, which when I started working in the discipline was a bit of a dying art in the United States.  I will also be using my Etsy shop to offer sculpture and 2D art, and I have a plan to offer printed goods through a Society6 store…  But one step at a time.

Plan on seeing prayer beads with hand-fabricated metal components, amulets, talismans, and a world of other pieces from me on Thursdays, highlighting what I’ve put up for the week for sale.  I’m currently listing older stock, and I’m also not currently taking custom work offers…  That will most likely change in the form of dedicated listings for specific objects.  Since I specialize in short-run and one-of-a-kind work, I’m not known to enjoy making the same ring over and over and over again.

I’m very, very excited about this!  I’m looking forward to getting back to my torch and pliers along with hopes to buy a kiln in the next 12 months to start enamel, precious metal clay, and glass work.

So allow me to show you what I’ve listed so far this week for sale…

A pair of long-back hook earrings with chain fringe, a lemon quartz briolette, garnets, and turquoise
        The Fringe Earrings – Lemon Quartz, Stabilized                Turquoise, and Garnet on oxidized sterling silver.

One of the things about my work that I’m proud of is that I’ve been able to source quality stones.  When I use turquoise, for instance, it’s not chalk turquoise that has been dyed, but it instead stabilized turquoise that has been otherwise untreated.  I try to find the very best faceting on stones as well, so in the earrings above they are gem-grade lemon quartz.  The faceting is flawless.  These earrings are available here.

Earrings with 2 black clay birds on top of tiny pearls and black tourmalinated quartz teardrops
Huginn & Muninn – Oaxacan black clay, seed pearls, and black tourmalinated quartz on oxidized sterling silver

So…  I’m a little bit obsessed with Oaxacan black clay beads.  They’re handmade by artisans in Mexico, and sooner than later I’m hoping to buy directly from those making these amazing beads the next time I buy a batch of them.  The beads I’m working with currently were bought by a friend who was traveling in Oaxaca a few years ago, and I’m going to be sad when they run out.  You’ll likely see these showing up in my prayer necklaces, because there’s a certain tactile quality that I can’t put into words that is simply magical.  And I really love using them in designs where I can highlight their details while balancing them against beautiful stones and pearls.  You can find these here.

A long ruby and quartz necklace sitting on books
The Queen of Hearts Necklace – Rubies, Lepedocrosite in Quartz, and Pearls with a filigree clasp
A blackened silver heart hook clasp surrounded by white pearls
Detail of the oxidized sterling silver clasp and pearls

My goal for upcoming jewelry is to move away from pre-bought components other than chain when working in silver.  I’m still trying to figure out the best way to do the same with gold-fill, but in the future I’m also planning on working in 14k gold in customs.  This is not to disparage those working with mass-produced findings, obviously; not everyone has the skill set that I do nor the time, ability, or interest.  But one of the largest influences in jewelry for me is looking at Art Nouveau and older pieces, really taking in the complete nature of design.  If I am making an item, I want complete control over the design…  That has been a driving force in my self-education in jewelry, because, yes, I am proudly self-taught.

This necklace is one of my pride and joys.  Not only did I get to use a boatload of rubies, but I also made a point to highlight the hand-fabricated clasp.  Curious about it?  You can find it here.

(And yes, I do accept payment plans; feel free to send me an email or Etsy message to discuss them.)

Silver filigree chandelier earrings with patina, smoky quartz, rhodolite garnet, and carnelian beads clustered at the bottom
Sterling silver chandelier earrings including filigree, carnelian, rhodolite garnet, and smoky quartz.

Another example of my filigree work available here.

I also make sure that I make more easily affordable pieces and simpler daily wear items.

For instance, this petite little necklace with a lemon quartz briolette that’s just a little over a quarter-inch in height…

A sterling silver necklace with pale yellow lemon quartz teardrop
The Little Lemon Quartz Necklace

Available here.

And affordable options for the budget bride or other savvy spender looking for high-quality jewelry that won’t break the bank.

Gold-fill, pearl, morganite, and rainbow moonstone earrings.
Gold-fill, pearl, morganite, and rainbow moonstone earrings.

Available here.

Over the next few days more and more will be going up.  And soon I’ll have other types of art in my shop as well.  I do barter for things I need, especially online classes and books that fall under my interest, but sometimes art or supplies as well.  This is on a case-by-case basis, though, because sometimes I simply can’t afford to let go of a certain amount of materials used or am really needing to pay a bill (like my last dental bill… Yikes!).

Bookmark my Etsy shop or follow me on Facebook to stay updated.

Strong Juno, Queen and Protector

Juno Regina by Camilla Laurentine
Juno Regina, clay and paint

Galina Krasskova is running an agon for Juno until February 14th, and I would encourage everyone to send a prayer or piece of art in Juno’s honor for this.  This is my entry.  I’d been waiting for the statue’s clay to dry, and Galina’s announcement gave me the last little kick I needed to motivate me in completing this.  For that I’m very thankful.

This statue is going to be placed for the first time on my shrine tomorrow for the Kalends of February, which happens to be Juno’s die natalis, or birthday, as well.  Both Juno and Janus recieve cultus in my home on the Kalends of the month, and She has a special place here, having been openly prayed to at my wedding to my mortal husband.  I will have to remove the on a sunny day to put a protective coat over the paint, but I’m very pleased with how She turned out.

It seemed natural to sculpt Her first.

Lately I’ve been thinking about my return to art after so many years of walking away from art school.  We were recently looking through my portfolio of work from my high school years, and most of the drawings and paintings were related to mythology.  I’d always considered myself a figurative artist, but looking over it recently I realized that my focus had always fallen back to Deities and Spirits.

I look back at my critiques in Chicago, and I think beyond my depression and pain I felt from my work being torn apart, I was told regularly my art fell in the genre of fantasy.  I had (and still have) quite a bit of technical skill to master, and I was never unaware of that.  However, I have always felt a sense of sacredness to the work I do in the realm of art.  Meditating upon it now, I feel a deep awareness that I didn’t take those critiques as simply a technical critique…  Those pieces of art were my statement of my belief in the Gods, and even as a teenager that was a very serious thing to me.  My art has never been fantasy any more than a Christian would call a painting of Jesus a piece of fantasy.

It’s taken me years to get to a place where I feel comfortable making art again, and it’s only with that comfort that I’m realizing that I didn’t just feel attacked on my talent and skill but my very beliefs.

This ramble is basically just a note of thanks to those reading my blog and encouraging me to continue creating.  I’m so happy to have found others who believe in the Gods as I do, or close enough that we can consider each other co-religionists.

Thank you.

Also, be looking out for an exciting announcement coming from me!  (Not the opening of my art store either!)

Spirit-Working Artist Problems

Me: I’m going to draw Freya next.

Loki: Why hello there! *lounges on the couch with no clothes on, eating an apple*

Me: … Hi.  You’re naked.  I’m not going to draw you right now.

Loki: Yes, you are.  Look at me.

Me: … *glares and goes off to do housework instead, muttering about how this isn’t going to end well*

One week later…

Me: *sits down to draw Freya*

Loki: *refuses to let her visualize anything but him nude and eating an apple*

Me: Damn it! *tries again*

Loki: I’m glorious!

Me: Fine!  Fine!  Fine! *grumbles and starts a preliminary figure study of Loki* But you have to cover up a little…  I’m a prude.

Loki: Deal.

Here we go…

A Return to Art: Cultivating Self

Note: I am behind on my Fasti post for April, and I apologize to anyone looking for it.  I got hit with chronic illness after a bout of stomach flu, and this is the first week in almost a month I’ve felt even remotely capable of thought.  It will go up in the next couple days.  May’s posting will be forthcoming also.

Michael’s recently had a 3-for-the-price-of-1-sale on their art paper. It was about the time I had spent 10 minutes debating size and type aloud to myself while my mother and daughter stood patiently waiting that I should have maybe realized that something was amiss. When Mr. F&F inquired why I had bought so much paper, puzzling over why I needed so 3 pads, and I exclaimed “I’m going to use it!” in an annoyed manner that something was happening.

I should have seen it when I gleefully, albeit slowly, started drawing out graphic design work. I had to have had some inkling when I wanted nothing more than to buy clay to sink my hands into for the first time in ages.

I was stepping back into art in a serious manner after almost a decade.

Somewhere in storage is a giant box of supplies I never got rid of. It wasn’t a “just in case” thing. It wasn’t a “I’ll get to it later” or “when I feel like it” situation. It was hoarding things I had absolutely no plans to ever use again but just couldn’t get rid of. Or so I told myself, even if now I’m currently wondering where that box is exactly. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I must have known it wasn’t actually done. I wasn’t really finished with it, even if I thought I never wanted to make art again.

A few months ago, I started realizing I felt like I’ve been removing parts of other people that I seemed to absorb. All of these voices filled with judgment. They belong to people I care about, or they belong to people I cared about at the time. Friends. Family. Teachers. I know we all suffer from it, but I sometimes wonder if, because I have been so involved in the group artistic process of critique, that somehow I trained myself to take in what everyone has said and internalize it more than your average… Attempting to make myself better than I already perceived myself to be.

The problem with critiques is that not all advice you get is actually good advice. In a class setting, you find yourself getting advice from peers. Sometimes the teacher isn’t skilled or even remotely interested in the style that you are… Which is where I hit the real wall in Chicago. I internalized those critiques. Critiques I have scars inside my mouth to this day from, trying to keep myself from showing others the weakness and art school crime of feeling too much about your creation… Critiques that eventually hit too hard during the very initial days of my first mystical experiences and the deepest depression I’ve ever experienced.

I remember driving away from Chicago, watching the city’s skyline get smaller and smaller as we drove back to Iowa. I remember the bitterness of a dream I worked years to achieve not being anything like I’d imagined it would be. I remember the promises of returning to visit friends who had supported me the best they could those hard months and understanding at a very gut level that I’d never see them again. Never mind the friends that I’d not gotten to say goodbye to before leaving.

Never mind that a decade later, the voices of my teachers there have grown into the monsters that try to hold me back. I think I’m starting to understand that I internalized these voices as a weapon against myself. I feed them by listening to them.

I don’t think I will ever get rid of them, but I can learn to ignore them. I can grow back the pieces of me that I have tried to keep from growing due to fear of being judged by people I care about. It’s none of my business what other people think about me, and if they really want to be vocal about it then I need to start reconsidering if they really deserve to be a part of my life.

In the garden that is my own life, I am the one who has the final say in what seeds to allow to grow and which sprouts to pull. I have the right to remove anything that threatens to spread to the point of choking out the beauty I have planned. This is what I tell myself. This is a theme that keeps returning this year for me, and amusingly I discovered just last night that according to numerology I’m in the finalizing 9 cycle for the year.

It’s time to let go of things that no longer work for me: Ideas, habits, people.

This isn’t as easy as I would like it to be, but it’s necessary for growth. That’s what Apollon keeps telling me. That is what all the Gods, major and minor, who take the time to speak to me say. If I don’t let go of these things on my own accord, they will be ripped out from me anyway.

But as I work on removing these things, I find old parts of me buried underneath. Here is my art. Here are people who support my work and my Work. Here are pencils and paper and praise. Naysayers I’ll never see again in my life but somehow weaseled their way into my brain be damned. If we rip off the old skin, I can see the woman who has been silently healing underneath all along. Maybe a little scarred and worse for wear but complete all the same.

It’s funny how some things you simply can’t escape. You think you’ve done it, but suddenly you find instead that you’ve come full circle back to something.

Art just happens to be one of those things for me. I have officially given up fighting it.