Tuesday, June 16, 2009

More Relei glass

Just got another package from my favorite glass artist, Carolyn Relei. I had to set a couple of them right away, the colors are so deep and rich.
I spent most of the day yesterday working on customer's orders, Josh was here working on some chains for me, so together we kicked the hog in the ass. Feels good to get some more orders done, the shows will keep me pretty busy after July so I'm trying to get caught up while I can. This weekend I'm going to Constable Hall for their annual craft show on Sunday, it's a good show that I look forward to each year. I've been attending it as a vendor off and on for 30 years. The first time that I was there I was pregnant with Josh and he was born a few days later. I was making jewelry then and later attended with my grapevine and tree root baskets, then my reed baskets and now back to jewelry again for the past several years.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Meet the Artist event in Massena

I'm excited about attending the 'Meet the Artist' event at Seasons Gift shop located at 27 West Orvis St. in Massena NY this Saturday, June 13th from 10-2.

Seasons Specialty Gifts http://www.seasons-gifts.com has been a wholesale customer of mine for several years and I'm looking forward to visiting their store and meeting the other artists that will be there too.

Yesterday I was photographing several of my new pieces to add to my website. My webguy Terry has started making some much needed changes to my site and I'm gathering new material for him to add. Several of my new pieces are selling before I can get a photo of them though, not a bad problem, I'm just sorry to lose some of them so soon.

Most of my work is one of a kind and I've always been hesitant to put their images up on my site as I cannot usually reproduce them but have recently decided to put them up anyway. I think that most of my customers know me well enough to understand that and they can get ideas from the images and I can create something similar for them.

Friday, May 22, 2009


While at the LARAC show in Saratoga a few years ago, I met a glass artist Joe Peters from MA, his work was mostly sculptural but he did have some pendants available. When you see his work you think that you are looking at something from under the sea, it's very intricate and evokes a feeling of otherworldliness. We struck up a business deal, I set some of his cabochons in silver and he paid me with cabochons.
This photo is of a batch that I sent last month and I just sent another batch this week. He has a local show this weekend, please check out his website http://www.joepetersglass.com to see some of his fascinating work.
Today I'm concentrating on getting ready for the AAG Artisan Exhibition tomorrow at Gallery 812 in Lowville. I have a new set of daisy jewelry to showcase and started a crazy S hook set yesterday, that never lasts long on my table. If time allows, I'll set some more stones today too! We have guests coming to our rental cabin today and then a couple of campers to set up in our campground later, so I'm 'on call' all day today.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Daisy Cuff

Here is my rendition of an idea that came across my workbench recently. A customer had cut a picture out of a catalog of a similar bracelet and left it on her husband's dresser, no doubt hoping he would get the hint, HINT. I make a daisy pendant and earrings but had not tried the cuff, I wasn't sure how to make it sturdy enough to hold up to use. So yesterday when the husband brought the picture to me, I worked on the idea and came up with a couple of bracelets that I'm confident will hold up. The other cuff has a copper center which I prefer and think that my customer will also. Can't wait to see their reaction.

Finished Product

The finished product...I had to make one of these miniature packs to fulfill an order and I didn't have any others so I made 4 altogether. I need to add one to the Gallery 812 display, I sold one to a great shop in Saranac Lake called Eco Living and I have one left for my display. Guess I'll be making more soon.

Weaving is one of my great pleasures, somehow it just feels right to weave, it's an obsession. One of the most fun things that I do is weave a design into a cuff bracelet, I don't want to stop once I get started on a pattern. Last spring I made a batch of 4 or 5 cuffs and wove up all but one, I started the design on the last one and intended to take it with me to craft shows so that customers could see the process. However I could not stop myself from weaving it to the end, definitely OCD.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Adirondack Pack Baskets

Last week I wove a few pack basket pendants and took a picture of my bench to show you some of my supplies and tools. I have the base for a pack all laid out in the center and the weavers are coiled to the left. I use pure silver wire for most of the basket as it is more malleable than sterling.

In front is a pack basket partially woven and the two in the back are woven to the top and awaiting the rim row and finishing. It doesn't take too long to weave but the setting up and finishing up are very time consuming and I have to use my magnifying light for most everything.

Gearing up for a trip to Lake Placid and Saranac Thursday to try and sell to a couple of galleries there. Moon Tree Design on Main St. in Lake Placid is the absolute best gallery/shop in town, I'm honored that the owner is willing to look at my jewelry. If you get to Placid, Moon Tree Design carries the most interesting and unique products, stop by and give yourself a treat.

Mike and I are going to Lake Placid for the weekend with some friends, our first vacation since 2007. I love Lake Placid and am usually working when I pass through there so I don't get to look around for more than an hour or two. Can't wait to breathe the air and walk around Mirror Lake, it feels like home when I get there.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Crazy S Hooks and Aventurine

Several years ago, while making some S hook earrings, I cut the pieces too long and ended up make the crazy S hook instead. It's one of my little designs. Whenever I make a piece with the crazy S hooks it's sold almost immediately. I like to use it with bead wraps, it's a nice spacer and is a good length. In this photo I've wrapped aventurine beads with sterling wire and linked them together with a few double cable rings and the crazy S hooks. I have one S hook as the pendant and finished off the back of the necklace with twisted link chain. One of my favorite customers bought this in Canton at the Middle School show last month, I love it when my babies go to a good home and I might be able to see them again.

Mother's Day

This lovely mother-daughter dragon fly pendant was ordered by one of my customers for a very good friend of mine, I hope she likes it! I had a great time making this, not my usual style but it's always good to branch out and try something different. The larger dragon fly is about 1-3/4" wide and is set with a garnet ( mother's birth stone )and the smaller one measures 1" wide and has a moonstone ( daughter's birth stone ).

Sunday, May 3, 2009

This is an example of what I call a 'miscellaneous' bracelet. At any given time, my bench has several pieces from various projects strewn about, some are leftovers or ideas that didn't work out for the intended purpose. So once in awhile I put these pieces together with a few bezel set stones, in this case, dichroic glass. These bracelets are all one of a kind and so much fun to make! I occasionally make a necklace also.

I have lots more photos to upload here when I get time, I've got some great aventurine bead wrap jewelry that I made that I would love to show you next.

Bill, a friend of ours that stays at our campground has been telling me about facebook and has convinced me to join up. I'm enjoying it very much and still trying to figure out how to do everything there. It is truly a time eater though ..... Bill put our cabin and campground information up on his facebook and has sent several campers in our direction. Memorial weekend is going to be a busy one for us here and I've had a few calls for dates in July also. Thanks Bill!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

AAG Artisan Show in May!

I belong to the Adirondack Artisans Guild http://www.adirondackartisansguild.com and we have scheduled an Artisan Show for May 23rd on the sidewalk in front of the Gallery 812 at 7617 North State St. in Lowville, NY. Last year we had a Studio Tour with limited success. We are a far flung group with members in St. Lawrence and Jefferson County as well as here in Lewis County. Spring is an exciting time of year for most of us, we have been working all winter on new products and are anxious to show off our wares to our customers. I'll keep you posted on the details as they become available and hope to see you there!
I love the organic turquoise pendant shown above, my focus this spring has been on reusing scrap. Generally I return surplus scrap to my supplier and get credit towards future purchases but this year I have reused most of it and have decided not to return any. The freeform shape and imperfections give the pieces some real character and I've had positive feedback from several customers.
This week I'll be in Saratoga Springs at the 23rd Annual Buyer Days, a regional handcrafted rustic and nature-themed wholesale show, presented by Adirondack North Country Association. You can check out the show vendors at http://www.AdkNCcrafts.com. The quality and variety of products is amazing, it's fun to see how artists grow and change from year to year. I was a vendor at the very first Buyer Days, selling baskets and that's how I really got started with my wholesale basket business. Most of my customers were shops in the Adirondacks and it was a great way to meet them.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Feather and Leaf Barrettes

Thanks to Dorothy for the inspiration for these barrettes, they measure about 3.5" long and are attached to a metal barrette. In an earlier post, I had photos of the concho barrettes like the ones that my Mom made for me many years ago. This is a great variation on that idea and I've already sold several. They aren't cheap, these long ones are priced at $70 and I have a shorter one that I sell for $50 but they are truly one of a kind. I'm going to add some small stone cabs to the next batch that I make.

I even made a replica of a pony tail holder that my Dad bought for me when I was a teenager, it seems that it came from an antique shop or something. It's not sterling but it's very nice and I've worn it many times over the years.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Recycled bracelet

Two views of the same cuff show you a bit of the color change that takes place in the dichroic glass cabochons that I've chosen to resurrect this cuff from the recycle jar.
Originally the cuff was used for a friend's bracelet design, but it wasn't what she had pictured so I removed the stones, they had been held in place by the wire that undulates across the bracelet. I kept wondering what I was going to do the perfectly fine cuff blank. My only concern was the extra solder that was visible here and there along the bracelet, I needed to get that to blend in.
When in doubt about what to do next, I often wait for the materials to tell me what to do. So I got out my stash of dichroic glass cabs and just started looking for inspiration, eventually I found it in these cabs. What I liked most was that the large cab made by one artist was very much complimented by the 2 smaller cabs made by a different artist. I don't find that happens very often, I can't remember a time that I mixed different artist's glass in one piece.
It's hard to tell from these photos but all the cabs share blue, green, yellow and orange depending on how the cabs are turned in the light.
To cover the extra solder left over from the first time around I decided to use pure silver wire to wrap the cuff and then when heated the solder ran and attached to the wire, so everything blended in beautifully. I purposely made the cuff too large for me, as I absolutely love it and would keep it if it fit.

Jeremy's finished belt buckle

Finally finished Jer's belt buckle yesterday, I was waiting to get the width of his belt from him so I could finish the back that attaches to the belt. This is going in the mail today.
This is the first time that I have made 4 layers of metal on any project, the hard part for me is getting the solder to flow under all those tiny little copper flames.
Now Jer will look even cooler riding his Harley with his Harley belt buckle on. He has a Harley emblem that he made and wears on his necklace. For Christmas I made our oldest son, Josh, a big Harley cuff bracelet.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Money Chain

It's been a few years since I made the 'money chain' or 'Roman Link' chain. Like many chains, it's built link by link but can be easily taken apart link by link if no ring is attached at the end. The story behind this chain is that each link had a monetary value and could easily be removed to pay for items at the market or added onto the chain if payment were received. Of course I make sure that the ends are secure so that it can't be taken apart but the idea is fun.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Silhouette earrings

Silhouette jewelry is one of my more requested items. I started with tree silhouettes and then my customers started asking for cat tails, dragon flies, butterflies, dog paw prints, wolf paw prints, oak leaves, maple leaves, bear paws, wolves, pinecones, moose etc...I've even done an Iroquois symbol for a special order.
A couple of days ago I had two requests for jewelry party dates. I offer jewelry parties that are fashioned after a Tupperware party. The hostess chooses a date and I print up the invitations and mail them to her to distribute. When I arrive at her home I set up my display and her friends, family and co-workers can browse at their leisure. The hostess receives $25 in jewelry for hosting the party, $25 in jewelry for every party booked from hers, $25 in jewelry if 15 guests or more show up, plus she will earn 10% of the shows sales in jewelry. The average party hostess receives about $100 worth of jewelry. Please contact me if you are interested in learning more about hosting a jewelry home party.
In May, the Adirondack Artisans Guild that I belong to is planning an Artisan show. As soon as I have a date and location I'll post it here and on my website calendar of events. Last year we had a Studio Tour and are hoping to make this year even better!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Jeremy's belt buckle

Finally got my son Jeremy's belt buckle started. It's his January birthday present..... The photo shows the copper sheet partially sawn into a flame design, it will be sandwiched between the heavy sterling sheet on the back and a lighter sterling sheet on top with his name stamped into it.
I'm often asked how I make some of my more inticate designs and my saw is usually the culprit. You can see the blade is quite fine and pictured above the buckle is the wax glob used to lubricate the blade as I saw.
I'll probably make another belt buckle with a large turquoise stone in it. About a year and a half ago we were on our way to a Nascar race and stopped at a rock and mineral shop in New Hampshire. While I was there, they were unpacking a shipment of wonderful turquoise cabochons and I bought several. My thoughts at the time were to put at least one of them in a belt buckle, I may finally get around to doing that.
I'll keep you updated....

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Relei glass cuff

We're experiencing some spring-like weather finally, I don't expect it to last but it's been a real pleasure to see the sun and feel some warmth and moisture in the air.
Orders have been my priority for the last week, I work on them weekly but am very close to getting ALL of the orders from 2008 finished finally.
What I really want to do is work on my new ideas. I'm getting ready for Adirondack North Country Association's 23rd Annual Buyer Days show in Saratoga Springs, NY. This is the only wholesale show that I do and it's a great opportunity to meet with shop owners from the northeast. I'm very excited to debut my 'organic' jewelry to that audience. Plus it's a great show, usually my first of the season and I love to see all my vendor friends, they are like family, as well as my customers. Some of the customers are from my basketweaving days. I've only missed Buyer Days a couple of times in 23 years.
I've made some great concho earrings and silhouette earrings, I hope to get some photos taken so that I can show you the new designs.
The bracelet above is a favorite design of mine. The cuff is shaped comfortably and I have wrapped the ends with copper wire to mimic the wonderful copper color in the dichroic glass cabochon. This piece of glass is from Carolyn Relei, one of my favorite glass artists. I buy her work on eBay and the quality and color are unmatched by any other that I have seen.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Barrettes and conchos

Years ago my Mom made me a few sterling silver barrettes and I have worn them off and on throughout the years depending on my hair length. Lately I've worn one almost daily to keep my hair out of my work and my eyes. After receiving many compliments and requests for barrettes I decided to make a few similar to the ones that my Mom made. The longer one is like the one that I wear, I've always been drawn to the southwest and love conchos. My stamp set lets me create many diverse designs on the silver. I spent most of today making concho earrings actually.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Gallery 812 Artisans

Thursday, February 26th I'll be working at the Gallery 812 Artisans in Lowville, I'm scheduled to work there the last Thursday of every month this year. Many of my customers stop by to check out my new designs and drop off or pick up their repairs or custom orders. I find that it's a great way to stay connected to my customers and get out of the woods for awhile.

My jewelry is part of this wonderful gallery featuring over 50 local artisans work. I'm very pleased to be part of this talented group and hope that if you are in the area you take some time to check out all the artisans creativity.

The Gallery 812 Artisans is located at 7617 North State St. in the same store as the Wildroot Bookstore and Wayseeker Studio. Casandra Lyndaker, owner and watercolor artist, is a good friend of mine, we have done business together for many years. I hope that you get a chance to meet her when you stop by, she usually works Tuesday and Wednesday. Many of the artists work a day a month as part of their agreement to be included in the gallery, so you'll always have a chance to meet an artist if you stop by.

I hope to see you some Thursday this year at the Gallery!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Organic Jewelry

These are a couple of examples of my organic jewelry. I use scrap sterling and melt it down and roll it into discs or whatever shape I need. The narrow pendant with the swirl has great texture and measures about 2" long.
The necklace is cool because of the freeform discs as well as the rivet-like connections. Of course I've attached one of my favorite chains - twisted link - to the discs. The earrings continue the freeform and I've drilled them and added the melted ball rivet-like loop at the top. I plan to explore this direction more and will keep you posted. The response to the organic look has been very positive so far, let me know what you think of it....

My BFF....

I heard from my best friend from high school and beyond earlier this week. Her name is Phyllis Shafer and she is a painter living in South Lake Tahoe. She has a solo show at the Stremmel Gallery beginning in-mid March. You should check out her website http://www.phyllisshafer.com/, her work is amazing, it always has been amazing.

Phyllis and I have been friends for over 35 years, many of them long distance but she is always the same warm, funny, intelligent, intensely creative and interesting person, no matter how long it's been since we connected. We made a great duo in school and even got to room together for a bit in college (Potsdam State) until I quit to come home and marry Mike and have children.

The photo above is one of her paintings, enjoy....

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Welcome to my blog!

Hi, my name is Lisa and I'm a silversmith living near the Adirondack Mtns. in northern NY. I'll be posting my new designs here and the inspiration for them as well. I hope that you check back often and see what's going on in my studio.

I have several customers that enjoy and collect heart jewelry, so I went a little heart crazy for Valentine's Day this year. Check out the bracelets that I have made. The coolest part is the 'organic' look to them as well as the addition of copper.

I like the organic look and have done many pieces using melted scrap silver that I shape into the desired design. Most of the shaping is done while the metal is molten then after cooling I can saw or file away whatever I need to.