Timeless beauty…a simple statement of desert textures in bronze and earthy rose gemstone beads
This very special set of prayer beads, or Spirit Beads, has just been listed in my Etsy shop. It was modeled after my own set of Black Madonna beads and is even larger and more elaborate, with vintage, antique and handmade elements that are one-of-a-kind. It is a very powerful offering.
Unique cluster earrings with impressions of New Mexico desert rock in bronze
Here’s the result of three days of intensive work, plus a trip to Mesa Verde. I just finished these bronze metal clay pieces, 39 in all, the entire contents of a 200 gram pack of clay. The impressions run the gamut from New Mexico’s Chihuahuan desert out to the Sonoran desert of Arizona and the Mojave in California, and there is a suite of pieces I created onsite from the sandstone and trees of Mesa Verde in Colorado. (Utah and Nevada are missing….hmmm…time for a road trip?) And of course there are some fossils added to the mix as well.
Bronze clay is so beautiful and strong but boy, is it a bear to work with. The unfired clay is much softer and more breakable than silver clay. When it’s fired in the kiln it must be buried in a pan filled with activated carbon (think charcoal), which means a very messy cleanup involving scrubbing with a stainless steel brush after it comes out of the pan.
I hand-finish each component so it has just the patina and level of polish that suits it best, something that wouldn’t be possible if I just tossed all the pieces in a tumbler. But it takes a lot of work, and today I spent 6 hours of constant sanding and scrubbing to finish this batch…ibuprofen time!
I began this morning with cleaning the freshly fired pieces, then the rubber gloves came off and the alligator skin tape went on my fingers and thumbs before I began sanding. I’ve learned the hard way that it’s necessary to wear protection. The gator skin tape was black and shredded by the time I pulled it off today, but in the past it was blackened and painfully split and shredded fingers instead.
After the cleaning I went into the studio and spent several hours sanding. Each piece was gone over with two different grits of sanding sponges, with some also getting a preliminary reduction with coarse sandpaper. It takes a lot of elbow grease to refine the hard bronze surfaces. Then it was back to the kitchen sink where each piece was dipped in hot liver of sulfur, which smells as good as it sounds, and then it received a final going-over with steel wool and and an abrasive pad. Once everything looked good I gave the pieces a thorough washing in warm, soapy water and they were done.
The pieces look a little harsh and silvery in this light, but it’s been a cloudy day. The patina will deepen and mellow over time to the warm golden hue we associate with bronze. Look for these beauties to start appearing in the shop soon!
A rare fossil stone from the Australian Outback makes a spectacular talisman of the drylands
A very rare and stunning type of oolite…wow. I just love this stone!
A soft, feminine yet earthy mala…unconventional, and absolutely delightful
Rustic desert elegance, a hand-chained strand of unusual, rare and ancient beads for your desert dreaming
Tiny seed pearls cluster together on these unusual hoop earrings!
Dynamic lines traced by a trio of silver bangles…desert rock and horizon lines for your wrist
The uncompromising lines of the desert wilderness…fused in silver for your wrist
I love the sinewy lines of these mimimalist silver bangles. They capture the raw essence of the desert so beautifully!
Made of desert stone and sinew…a bit of the wild land for your wrist
This one for you today…more are on the way!
A desert evocation of bronze, cactus greens, and drylands textures
Here’s one from the warm deserts of the far West….
I have several new sets of Spirit Beads that are going into my Etsy shop. Be sure to take a look! And more are on the way…I think we could all use a little mindfulness, tranquility and perspective these days.
Happy New Year, everyone! Here’s a necklace that looks like something worn by a wandering shaman of the desert, who gathered talismans here and there and added them to her power piece.
I have also started out the new year with several sets of Spirit Beads and handheld prayer beads! These will be appearing soon over in my Etsy shop, Desert Talismans.
Hello folks, and I hope you all have been enjoying your holiday season. I have been enjoying some quiet time and spending many days in the studio, as we have been having some extremely cold weather and our first real snows in several years. As we move into the New Year I wish you all the very best for a healthy and luminous one!
I have two new necklaces listed and a third ready for its photography, but for some reason the computer won’t let me create a link to the listings as it usually does, so I have to work around it. Here they are!
A polished pendant of Deschutes jasper paired with a juniper wood textured bronze ring hangs from a warm, luminous strand of metal and gemstone beads
A fossil ammonite section with intricate markings on a handmade chain of primitive links
A feather found in the Sonoran Desert, transformed to pure silver for your ears
A stunning and elegant pendant of polished Mammoth ivory on an oxidized sterling silver chain
Two wintry beauties for you today! More to come….
I have one of my new polymer pieces (which in no way resembles polymer!) in the shop for you today. I feel this is a very successful piece, “perfect for what it is”, with that sense of complete integrity that I love seeing when it happens. Earth + Winter + Elemental.
Also, it is with much sadness that I have to share that my Dad passed away in his sleep this past weekend. He was quickly failing from Alzheimer’s but nevertheless his departure was a shock to us all. I have spent much of this week on the phone with various relatives as funeral arrangements have been made, and I will be flying out to Chattanooga, his home of many years, next weekend. Because of this, I will not be able to ship orders between December 6-9, but will resume on Monday the 10th. I just wanted to let you know because I don’t want to leave anyone in the lurch during the Christmas season.
More work will come as I soon as I can do it!
A fossil bead in whispery browns…a simple and understated necklace for layering or everyday
Also, an update on my shipping policy: in the interest of cutting costs in order to make my talismans more affordable to you, I will no longer be shipping items with full insurance. This has gotten very expensive, and in all the hundreds of boxes I’ve sent through the Postal system, I have never lost a package. The only one that was lost was being shipped to Costa Rica and disappeared after it left the country. So from here forward I will be shipping via Priority Mail, in the same boxes, and it will still have a tracking number for you.
If you would like to have an item insured, please let me know and I’ll invoice you separately for shipping.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!