Beadfest planning and preparation.



After 2 months of focused preparation, the weekend is here. I have hundreds of pendants. 

Mythic Nature pendants

They are almost all priced. 


The process of planning is a visual one. I will have an 8' table in Artisan's Alley - #461 is you were wondering. I wanted to maximize my space and create a pleasing display. A display that showcases my "Mythic Nature" series of original designs. But I have SO MUCH inventory - I need to use every inch.

So I do a mock set up in the basement studio:


There are trays for pendants, necklace displays to show finished pieces... I really like the antique cigar boxes - I can pin up samples in the lid and set out more stock in the bottom. 

I have new work, featuring new pendants... Half the fun is planning waht to wear, and display... I made a new batch of necklaces featuring my pendants and time in the studio was a joy after marathon glazing sessions - 6+ hours a day, 5 days a week. 

Veritas necklace

Now I just have to pack up: 


Hope to see you in Philly! 

$5 entry coupon



Beadfest Sneak Peek

Taking a glazing break - actually I am almost finished, having met the epis task I set myself! I will have a plethora of pretties at Beadfest this month in Philadelphia - my classic "Mythic Nature" designs and new items as well. Needless to say - I havent been doing much else lately. Heres a recap of the last weeks... 


Milagros - sorted into piles, 4-6 colors each! in the designs, fresh from the kiln... 

Hi fire

A new, OOAK batch of vessels and goddesses. High fire stoneware with a wash of iron oxide. Very happy with these... 

Matroska cabs


Matroska cabochons, raw glaze before firing.  There will be pendants too. 

resin rings


Limited edition  pendants - some will have resin inserts of vintage illustrations/antique text. Others will be open... 

If you are a beader, wire worker, metal smith - or even a newbie bead stringer... please stop by and sat Hello! I will be at Booth 461 in Artisan's Alley. 

Beadfest pass 

Clay and linoleum - an unlikely duo?

Update from the studio... 

!. Glazing all day. 

2. Bisque firing what may be last load before Beadfest. 

3. Mopping up basement as its a monsoon out there. 

4. Waiting... to unload new goddesses from the ^10 reduction firing at the "work" studio!

And thinking of printmaking. 

My friend, fellow clay artist and AJE member Diana P. wrote a post this week regarding her foray into carving stamps. She is working with EZ carve - similar in consistency to white erasers. Its great to carve, but a little springy. Too soft for what she wanted to do in clay, but great fun nontheless. 

So I decided to share some linoleum I had carved, and stamped into clay. This is the economy "battleship" linoleum that I used to use when I taught art/printmaking as a public school teacher. Its shallow but very firm and worked well for my new dseries of icons. 

Lino pendants

Yin Yang and Om signs in clay - awaiting finishing.  

carving area

Here's my carving area, complete with bench pin, and a few other "icons" in progress. This series I designed to keep simple and have the symbol itself be very clear and legible. I like the texture the carving leaves - as contrasted to the smooth background surface. These are going to be glazed in an array of colors... 

Fairy door tile

And one more example of linoleum and clay in tandem: this is a clay tile/print from a linoleum block I carved in San Diego. When I lived there I had an amazing artist/mentor in Sibyl Rubottom. This was from a printmaking and letterpress workshop I took at her studio, Bay Park Press. It was carved to print  and accompany text set in letterpress. And so I tested it in clay - was thrilled the depth was sufficient to give me a print to glaze. This was the test piece; I plan to do more for my fall shows. 

I am excited to be able to draw on the creative energy of that fruitful time - although I work in such different materials. I am glad the block carved 10 years ago and across the US can be reborn here, now. In many ways my series of "Mythic Nature" tiles and pendants are similar to a run of prints... but that philosophical musing will wait for another day. I have more to glaze...


Art Jewelry Elements - Everything's coming up roses...

Good morning! Its reveal time over at Art Jewelry Elements blog. This month we had a sweet porcelain rose from Diana

Diana's porcelain roses

These might be a limited design - so check her shop now!

Now - I saw this picture, and I decided to challenge myself a bit... and asked for lavendar. Nothing against pinks and pale purples - they just arent "me". The bead I received was lovely... I went to my amethyst stash, logical. It was too boring. (The combo, not the amethyst!) I heard my sister Heather in my ear... lavendar green and yellow. Great combination... We window shop in boutiques on South Congress St in Austin and look, and discuss, have a coffee whenever we get a chance! It gives me insights into her tastes, and potential presents for her... So with Heather in mind, here goes.

AJE July

A double strand of gems: wire wrapped amethyst, yellow jade, jade... and tourmaline. The darn tourmaline was sooo tiny is was barely stringable, since I wasnt willing to go smaller than 24 ga wire. But it was essential to play off the glaze color as the amethyst was so dark. 

AJE reveal July

Finished with silk cord and a sterling hook clasp I whipped up. It hangs long-ish at 25". I was working on it at a "Girl's Beading Night" and have to thank Kim and Marsha - they advised on length, and Marsha had brought her silks... that helped decide the closure as she had the perfect green!

I love the way it turned out, the colors are fresh and spring-like to me. The silk makes it super comfortable to wear - something I always consider. Thanks Diana for the beautiful piece in a rare (to me) color! Please take a gander at my colleagues creative interpretations of this focal - and the lucky monthly winners. 

That's all for now... have 2 other posts in the works here for this week. I am trying to nurture my blog that gets so neglected when I am in the midst of teaching Clay Camp. And I am in a Beadfest frenzy - so when I emerge from the "glaze cave" aka the basement studio, I can tap tap away here... Thanks for stopping by - hope to see you again soon. 



Bead Hoarders of the world - Unite!

Hello - Thank you for your patience! The Bead Hoarder's Blog Hop reveal was scheduled for yesterday... and I am finally here, finished and posting! 

The hop - held by the ever imaginative Lori Anderson - was a challenge to beaders everywhere to dig through your stash. ( We ALL have a stash!) Select a piece you had squirreled away and finally use it! Permission to break out the treasures! Create something fabulous! 

I have a stash that dates back 10 years to my time working at the Shepherdess in San Diego! With so many pretties... Here is a collage of my final, much edited , round of contestants: 

Hoarders selection

From top left: Kwan Yin shrine from a London's Portobello Rd. antiques market, assorted glass vessels that make me swoon, a Basha bead and suitably flashy seed beads ( a going away gift when I left San Diego!)

Row 2 - a lampwork vessel - I think by Gail Crosman Moore, a lampwork ocean bead, oops. vessels snuck in again! 

Row 3 - clay beads by Fete of clay; a collection, in the original Shepherdess box, I received when I left to move back East;  lampwork swirly bead - also a going away present. 

That was a really hard thing to do. I loved going through the stash, and I have so many ideas!!! But to select one, and make a final decision in the time alotted? Well, you can see I was late... 

Stormy Night

As you can see I selected the box of beads. It was my intention all along to design and create a piece where the lampwork bead took center stage. If I had treasured it for 10 years, it deserved to be the star.

The lamp work bead, in swirly and speckled greys and browns, wanted to be paired with smoky quartz. I decided to add the bronze clay moon face as the colors/tones were so perfect, and to give the focal more volume, more importance. The triple strand uses the wee grey seed beads - and a strand of bronze pearls. The extra smoky quartz drop on a jump ring? Simply to aid in keeping the three strands hanging correctly. 

I rarely name my pieces - it is not my preference to do so unless there is a contextual clue I want to give the viewer. This necklace wanted to be named "Stormy Night". 

Please take a look through the treasure boxes, the secret stashes, the creations of my colleagues and fellow blog hoppers! The full list can be found at Lori's Blog - Pretty Things. 

Thanks for stopping by! I would love to hear what you think. 

Clay Camp

Where have I been? Clay Camp! Every summer I teach an intensive ceramics class at my work studio. ( As opposed to my home studio) Its great fun, a lot of work, and a bit tiring. I just startled mysefl awake in a chair, iPad in my lap. When did I fall asleep? Whatever... 

The numbers: 

2 sessions. 10 days each. 1.5 hours a day in class. 2 classes a day. 

ages 6-9 - sculpting and hand building/ sculptural and functional work.

ages 10-17 - same as above with wheel throwing in the mix and taking priority. 

The saving grace - I have 2 ( yes - 2!!!) fab student teacher's aides! Sweet! And I can pay them in clay... 

So I thought I would show you exactly what we have been up to... 

Jo's LOTR tile

The first teen project was a relief tile - inspired by reading, and loosely book shaped. Here is Jo - during the laborious painting process. This took at least 2 hours, painting the details in underglaze. The finished tile is outstanding and full of symbolic images in every space. It looks better in person! (Can you find Orthanc? Boromir's horn? A swan ship? The Eye? )


Center the clay, open the clay, raise or pull the clay... repeat. Get dirty. Enjoy!

dipped and drying

Wheel thrown pieces by the teen age group. Dipped in the high fire ^10 glazes! Awaiting kiln loading!

dry. Fire. dip.

Dry. Fire. Glaze. Dip. The hardest challenge of clay camp is drying. The humid weather forces me to break a few rules, and dry pots fast, on a hot kiln. Generallly this is a no-no. But the first week we are sculpting and throwing - I have to get things fired so we can glaze them! 


New work from this week in Session 2. The book project tiles -  expanded a bit to include the favorites Dr. Who and Star Trek. A coffee monster pinch pot. (How did you know it was me? ) And 2 sleeping creatures - an elephant tucked in with radio at his head, and my sample - a bunny reading a book, that I hope to finish tomorrow!

Trim, carve, sketch

This is Emma, my teacher's aide,  trimming pots for the teens. In the time we have - I choose not to teach trimming right away. We clean up the pots on the wheel, and by hand a bit as needed. Some I trim, and now Emma volunteers. It IS rather Zen... So while Emma trims - her mom, artist Sarah Dressler, carves intricate designs into Emma's thrown porcelain pieces. Sweet deal! And a great way to pass the time as Sarah isnt teaching this session... 

So - in a week or so I will be fully immersed in bead and pendant making - getting ready for Beadfest in Philadelphia. But for know I am playing with clay, loading kilns and just having a good time. See you soon!




June reveal! With my components for the AJE challenge!

Hello - 

What do you mean June is almost over? I have been in "Clay Camp" - a 2 week pottery intensive class that I teach - and time seems to have flown by without me... 

This month over at Art Jewelry Elements - the Component of the Month was provided by yours truly. There was great team response, and our special guest bloggers who won free charms as well! Please take a look at their offerings!

Here is what we were working with...  

June CoM

As to mine - 

simple. organic. dangles. words. 

My favorite kind of earrings. 

Nature spirit

Mismatched charms stamped from eucalyptus pods. Words stamped with intention into silver. Earthy aqua glaze... 

(With a nod to AJE team mate Diana Ptaszynski for the mismatched inspiration...)

What words would YOU wear dangling from your ears? I would love to hear... 


Inspired by Reading: "The Bucolic Plague"

 This month for our book selection, Andrew Thornton chose "The Bucolic Plague" by Josh Kilmer-Purcell. The real life tale of 2 Manhattan executives who became... goat farmers. I had heard of Josh and Brent as they starred in a reality show "The Fabulous Beekman Boys" depicting the cycle of growth and chaos on the farm. Raising heirloom vegetables, parenting a diva llama and a herd of adorable goats, and creating "Beekman 1802" their line of goats milk based bath & beauty products - all taking place on the former Beekman estate in upstate New York. They also ran... and won... "The Amazing Race"! Quite a multi faceted pair, these two... 

The book was a fast and engaging yarn. Josh tells their tales, all the ups and downs, with honesty and humor. I dare anyone to read the scene about the baby goats in the truck on the way to the Martha Stewart Show - and NOT be compelled to read the rest! It was heartfelt in the telling of the trials and tribulations of this dream turned reality, and didnt candy coat the all too real stresses that this journey put upon the partners. I applaud that honesty, and was all the more engaged; feeling I was allowed to see the real deal. As someone who left a full time lucrative (art) teaching career at its prime to allow myself to be a full time artist - I respect and admire their risks taken and rewards reaped. 

I was struck most by the contrasts in the book and the attempts to reach compromise, middle ground and a general sense of balance. And this was an evolving journey, with no clear solution - just 2 loving, inspired, creative, energetic, daring adults trying to make a dream a reality. And a life for themselves, and then some... 

From the city to the country. And back to the city.

From close partners to long distance partners, working partners...

The polar opposites of Martha Stewart's Stepford-like perfection to Oprah's "Best life" with a dash of Wabi sabi.


"Country" - Hand painted watercolor, under mica; with gems. Inspired by the goat barn, and the grassy border of the "Beekman 1802" logo. (Shown below). 

Beekman logo


"City" - watercolor sky behind a copper NYC skyline; with gems. 

*Disclaimer -I designed this piece to be two sided. Country/city pendant... and I drilled the holes incorrectly. Jeez. Embarassed. As I thought it over - trouble shoot or do 2 pieces? Inspiration struck...)

"best Life" country themed

The finished "Country " piece - the copper backing is stamped with "Best Life" typos and all. I wanted to pay homage to the idea of doing what you love, doing what makes you happiest - even if its not perfect or always pretty. 

"Good Things" urban themed

The finished "City" piece. "Good things" come in all shapes and sizes... and should be appreciated, honored, and recognized. The city became a bit of a necessary evil to Josh as he spent weeks working to financially support the farm/his dream, while Brent was doing the day to day... yet it was Martha's own "good things" that helped launch the soap business initially. 

Study in contrasts

But this story wouldnt have occurred without both sides of the tale, both people, both environments. A sense of contrast and a sense of balance achieved!

Congrats to Brent and Josh at their upcoming wedding at the infamous Beekman Farm!

Please take a look at my friends and colleagues' offerings this month! The full list will be posted on Andrew's blog. 

Thank you for stopping by - I would love to hear what you think! 

Clay camp and a kiln unloaded...


Welcome to clay camp. 

Well - its my primary focus for the next 5 weeks. I have up to 24 students in 2 age groups. Ages range from 6-17. They are with me for 2 weeks - one of creating, sculpting, wheel throwing, hand building; and another of finishing, glazing, decorating. 

And in my off time - I am making things like mad in preparation for Beadfest in Philadelphia in August... 

Last Friday I did a post over at Art Jewelry Elements blog about the loading of the ^10 high fire reduction kiln. We unloaded today! It was a great firing. Not a ton of reduction - so out copper bearing glazes flashed more green then red. Simply beautiful in my opinion!

The big reveal

The first thing I saw this morning!

kiln pix collage

Taking it apart - shelf by shelf. 

porcelain components!

I am so happy with my organic porcelain charms! There are coral prints & sea urchin, in 4 colors. And I didn't "Lose" any stuck to the shelf or chipped, etc. Many of them have 2 holes. I want to make earrings with dangle, and bracelet links... 

Coffee is done. Headed to the studio. I'd love to hear what you think!


Focus on Life - 52 photos. Catching up.


This week: Green Taken in the ceramics studio courtyard on a break from loading the big gas kiln. 

Hello everyone, 

Jenny here. I know I have been MIA. This weekend is the first in 2 months that I have been home without a show, or company. Posting on a Saturday would mean having it all done in advance... and you see how well that works for me. So this week I wanted to jump back in, catch up... I have posted many of these on Instagram, but I am not sure if many of the Focus on Life groups is there ( I know some of you are, Hello!)

Yes, the purpose of this year is to live and look mindfullly in the "now" during the week. And I have been for the most part. Its getting better now, summer, as my schedule is settling in: teaching "Clay Camp" and making things for Beadfest. So here is a glimpse. Thanks for your patience and understanding. 


Foodie: I am a coffee snob, its so very true... 


Reminisce: Last weekend my 2 college roomates were here for our annual Girl's Weekend. Alison summed it up best: " Talk, eat, drink. Repeat." It was wonderful to see them, and catch up - yet also feel like no time had passed. We have been friends for over 20 years.... 


Looking up

Looking up: This was a hard one. I was having trouble seeing interesting things. Until Oscar decided he wanted a snuggle as I was lying on the sofa... I also used the Percolator app on this one. 



Hope: What better symbol than the blossom about to burst open in all its natural glory? 


Hope to see you around more often! If you are on Instagram - look me up! ( I am jdaviesreazor over there!)

Have a lovely week everyone. 

PS. I still "owe" you typography... still looking. 



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