Saturday, November 10, 2012


I paint with beads. Discrete droplets, geometric increment of color and texture.

There is no palette where the colors are poured out; imagine a painter scrambling from one drawer to the next for the next stroke. The right size, the perfect color- one of a whole string of beads, or just one unique irreproducible drilled thing.

Each bead, like a token on an abacus, can be an effort to place, and mean so much more than the mere fact of placing it beside the one before it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Handmade Beauty for a Cause this Season of Giving

We all need help sometimes. A group of wonderful people who are jewelry (and other) artists have gathered to help a family in need whom we know could use some grace in the wake of great sadness and disruption of life.

Check out the blog post at Art Bead Scene:

That auction flurry is over today, but at my Etsy Shop ( I will be continuing to donate all proceeds through Christmas to this cause. If you would like to share in the goodness and receive a piece of art jewelry, please convo me with an offer (lower that listed price will be considered) or simply purchase the item. If you would like more details, get in touch with me by leaving a comment here or at the shop by clicking the "contact" button.

Warm blessings to you for listening and acting from your heart.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Renaissance & the Tabla Rasa

Okay, well, maybe let's be a little less lofty and call it "Renewal."

My official jewelry making enterprise is now well over 5 years old,and I've faced some of the realities of the world of business vs. the fantasy of making things. And survived; my love for making things and working with the people who wear them, intact.

Here are a couple things I discovered:

1. Selling greater quantities of jewelry to a retail shop for next to no profit isn't worth it. The audience may have increased but the ability to meet your customers and please them is gone. So is the incentive.

2. When it comes to shopping, we will never be able to compete with the Cheap and the Imported (henceforth known as CH&I) - and we shouldn't try. What we make is one of a kind, made here locally by individuals that our customers can meet and talk with. There is no substitute for something personal, original and handmade. Not to mention unique.

3. The above realizations notwithstanding, that is the only bad news I have after my slightly-less-than-a-decade as a real business.

4. And the good news is partly to be found in a four-letter word: ETSY. More on that later. I'll be writing on that tabla rasa.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Allegory of Romance

When things turn monotone, the one constant thing is the trust I can put in my deepest closest relationship- that one with my Muse. The muse continues to ask, many times a day “How are you? What’s going on with you? When are you going to be yourself again?”

That may seem like an annoyance, but how many of you have a muse at all, or one who notices your state of being? It’s actually a luxury. I hadn’t noticed I wasn’t myself until the Muse announced it. Of course, existentially, I can’t be anyone but myself, but I think the problem is I don’t seem like my old self. That can happen when one is sick for a while- pretty sick- and in enough discomfort to think about mortality. I think about such things when I’m unwell because, mainly, doing so reminds me of my strength and my determination to thrive. In my head ( or somewhere close by) a voice says ‘This is nothing: you can get through this!’ To which another voice adds: ‘Soon you’ll be back to doing things you love, with vigor!’

It’s nice to have a psychic choral section for encouragement. When I was making and unmaking this necklace several times, I needed it. Originally a Valentine’s Day whimsy, it started with a very old soft-metal pin in the shape of an arrow. Seemed like a perfect symbol to pair with Hearts for St. Valentine tribute. But the arrow, being ancient and slightly fragile is very malleable. When hung, it never seemed to hang symmetrically. If I had never been fascinated with arrows (and their weaponry association), when I was little I was consumed with love for the painter Paul Klee. And Paul Klee loved arrows. Here is a diversionary series of images to prove that:

For Klee, in the middle of WWII and Swiss, arrows represented direction, (which is hwy they almost always point to the right- the direction of reading) force, connection.

Isn’t that the essence of love? Klee’s Painting Hot Pursuit describes the connection of personal intention leading to something permanent:

So that’s where my uncontrolled subconscious thought was roaming when I saw this antique pin. After that, it became a game to combine components into a message necklace.

So let me give you a key to the necklace:

Arrow = the direction of hope points toward the wearer’s heart

Granite = solidity is the core of love

Crystal spinning inside a shell ring = volatility is the essence of romance

Oval filigree beads = love is intricate

Vintage chandelier crystal = purity gives way to all the spectrum

Blown glass heart and old etched glass heart = two hearts become one purpose

Saturday, May 2, 2009

A Question of Balance

In my life, I’ve always been cobbling something together- making do out of found pieces, instead of having something new and made to fit.

But the world of beads is a world where I rule. I command the vast armies of beads, tell them where to go- pick them up when they overflow. So small and beautiful, beads let us have the feeling of control. Place them, move them. What they make is a work of art.

A work that can be worn, taken with me. I am my own museum.

In this simple necklace, I felt control palpably. It wasn’t just controlling the palette- ivory and earth color. It was finding a way to mount the Indian coin with its graphic round perfection over the smooth elongated rectangular fossil coral pendant. And I found matte moukaite rounds of the same diameter as the agate, to contrast with their high polish.

Moukaite is a wonderful stone – ranging from deep purple-red brown to creamy white, with shades of pink and amber in between. The 2 large matte burgundy rounds echo the dark coin, in both shape and color. The smaller matte rounds of moukaite blend in with the polished agate, noticed only when you look closely, and catch the hints of pink and rose.

You have to sift through a lot of beads, and pass up a lot of near-perfect choices to come up with what happened here. Looking at the necklace you can read the thoughts I was having about sameness and difference and how to tease the line between them.

So I felt perfectly in control, and in the end was pleased with all the decisions I’d taken in making the necklace. We both know that was an illusion: that the beads were in control…rolling out at the right time, letting their individual peculiarities become their perfection, and agreeing to stand in line forever, balanced between plan and accident, intention and adventure.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Psychic Moments with Earth

Beaders have prescience about small things: how many beads it will take to fit around a wrist, which color of gold will look best with some particular stone, when to stop planning and start working. I was reminded of this when we were in the office of an important man who invited my Muse and me to see a new gift he'd purchased for his son. It was on the floor, carefully packaged in many layers, behind his desk. Would I come and pick it up so it could be unwrapped and admired? And it was heavy, precious, said the important man.

"Oh, I said, walking around behind the desk toward where the treasure was mummified in bubblewrap and corrugated paper. "It's a dinosaur egg." Much to everyone's surprise, it was. The magical ancient ovoid was still indiscernible in its enraveled state, so there was no way my basic 5 senses had clued me on that. It just seemed that, on the short walk behind the desk, a dinosaur egg revealed itself dancing in mid air...couldn't have been anything else.

So this necklace came together in that way, visionary dancing in air, making itself asymmetrically and without question. The yellow turquoise barrels themselves seem like dinosaur eggs, and the green turquoise square is a corner of earth whose crevices and faults hide marvelous secrets. But my favorite: the vaseline opalized glass octagon that sits in front: light filtering through it with great mystery.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Spice Mouse

A perfect winter piece, with the weight to lay gracefully over a warm winter sweater. Blue coral, little spaceships and silver leaves sit between red sandcast beach glass that looks like spicy gumdrops. and to remind us to be kind to all creatures, an inquisitive mouse from Green Girl Studios nestles between two smaller spun beads. It is the beauty of compassion for the small that will be yours when you wear this.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Mentor's Key

The story of this necklace reads like a fairy tale: first, the mentor gives the traveler three keys. And then I guess the traveler goes on to find out what the keys unlock and gets into all sorts of untoward adventures. I think a monster or two will be behind one of those locked doors. Then the heroine conquers the monsters and brings them, along with the treasures she’s gathered along the way, to her Ancestral home with newfound appreciation.

Well, my Mentor DID give me three keys, because I’d mentioned I could see a necklace with a key as the center piece. Then the great voyage began- a search through the treasure chests (actually they’re little bags and wooden boxes) of beads and trinkets to find companions that would ride along with the enchanted key.

The central shield , for protection, is an ancient-looking probably very old brass button with a lot of character and an irregular surface. Perfect for holding the keys and the necklace together. Reminds me of a Celtic knotted embellishment or an Etruscan shield.

There are carved serpentine barrel beads above the centerpiece followed by gorgeous thumbprint Kazuri beads. They’re a soft earthy color somewhere between fern and moss, and when you touch them, could can feel the ancient way they were made: using the thumb to indent soft clay and form a whorl-like shape. It gives you a moment of tactile communion with the person who created them.

The key, which plays the part of lock-et (visual and verbal pun) is symbolically chained to yellow turquoise and shell leaves, two Vaseline matte Czech glass seashells and a double-sided natural brass seahorse.
There are some sweet miniature vintage filigree buttons dangling there in front and a larger flower pattern vintage button used for closure.

The necklace is filled with other treasures, some collected from 30 years ago: a brass –inlaid rectangular tube bead, a paisley carved wooden round and an old nuthusk bead. Nestling in peace with the exotics are several American-made artisan beads: a Keith O’Connor fancy patterned ceramic tube and a mustardy borosilicate dichroic heart. The plain and the fancy, the earthly and the ethereal romp together in harmony for you.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


A made-up combination word meaning happiness of thirteen: Thirteen strands of very individual beads, in grayish blues and pinks, all based on the amazing fossil jasper disc of rose, smoke and sky remnants of ancient tidepools.

This is where we repeat the dance of those stones and bones in a delicate way.
Memorabilia from earth to you.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Chance Meeting at a Summer Soiree

Beads of many shapes and sizes get together and have a party.

Beads, like people, act differently when they aren’t accompanied by others who look just like them.

They burst out of their ordinary personas. They mingle. They make connections you’d never think would work so beautifully.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


This neckpiece looks like a party to me- not one of those sanguine, sit on the terrace watching the boys play croquet parties—this is a rip-roaring, bring sparklers and spike the punch fiesta. Some very fancy lampworked beads are mixing with down to earth wooden beads, irregular spool-shaped beads and art glass. You’d never think they’d get along. But it’s the colors of a warm summer evening’s sunset that make them happy to sit side-by-side: that orange-y coral and rich plum magenta that gives way after a long evening to Maxfield Parrish blue- deep and on the edge of purple.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Spirit of the Village

This is a neckpiece for the most powerful person in an ancient village. It brings it’s wearer strength in many settings: there is a fish that symbolizes speed and agility, a fire agate Full Moon bead that symbolizes the fullness of wisdom. These float from an intricately inlaid shell bead shaped like the replica of a small shrine. Two brass boat-shaped beads symbolize a robust body and a vigorous mind to carry one through the difficult waters of life. Above them, encircling the neck, are the ethereal arms of iridescent tube beads, rays of a warming sun.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Remembrace Mermaid

Like a neckpiece of seafoam, these translucent briolette glisten in the wearer’s peripheral vision. The crystal hangs above the mermaid and rings like a tiny bell.

Is the Sea green - or is it blue? All things beautiful have many colors.

Those who know the secrets of Green Girl know the message inscribed on the back, but it's worth repeatingL "We do not remember days; we remember moments."

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Grass is Greener...Right Here

Okay, I’m supposed to be doing something else. But I’m thinking of beads…confession! As my mind wanders from work, I think of what a great life I have, and how lovely the view is from here. Just take these amazing gold and green tiger beads from Milan. They were costly- too expensive for a necklace to sell, really, but just right for one to give to a dear friend. The kind who deserves the best and rarest things you can find. It was my Muse who found the first green and gold luxe beauty, in a bead shop we don’t often get to. [The best thing about that bead shop is the great CafĂ© on the way home from there: you can drool over your new beads with a latte to disguise the real reason.] Okay- so Muse made me purchase ONE green glass bead- for a hefty $7.00. I thought it was too much to spend, but the Muse chooses, and that’s it!

It only took a glance on the way home to know we'd never be able to live (or finish a necklace) without more of those magical Italian tiger-stripe beads. If you hold a bead up to the light, you can see the world reflected in brilliant emerald. It the glossiest, greenest glass imaginable. So the necklace has to be simple. Let the beads shine on their own, and let the wearer delight in those little worlds of perfection.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Collar of the Shaman

I see some powerful ancient seer wearing this- the pebble-shaped beads painted with the elements of the universe- sky, sea, soil, soul.

UPDATE FEBRUARY 2009: This piece was stolen from a shop in Avon, CT. It is one of a kind. If you see some one wearing it, you will know that it was not gotten honorably and that it's power to bring good fortune will have been voided by the disgrace of its possessor. The only decent thing to do is to give it away to someone and hope that the generosity of that act will redeem your taking it.