this is a custom piece that i made for a woman in nevada whose business is all about brains. i had conceived of the piece in a similar way to other two-layer pieces i have done, but the intricacy of the brain's detail was too fragile for it to be a practical piece of jewelry.

i ended-up doing an in-lay (sort of) version that incorporated the "waste" of one piece into the top layer of the original design. it is was a simple move, but one that resulted from the making step of my design process.
sometimes i feel like i am moving in slow motion. that my designs develop through a series of drawn-out steps - from mental pondering, to sketching, to thinking in-scale via autocad, to testing it out my making/cutting, and then tweaking and retesting based on the results - discovering different tidbits with each step. (i am fortunate that i can be hands-on with the laser-cutter, because i learn a lot through the act of cutting my own pieces.) perhaps my process is more drawn-out because i am juggling multiple things and my making simply needs to flex with my schedule. however, i've always maintained that design takes time - whether jewelry or interior design or architecture - some solutions just take time to arrive.
i've been thinking a lot about the design process and the importance of having a variety of ways to 'test' ones ideas. my students are in thick of developing their design projects for the final review that is in about 10 days. i have been meeting with them individually and in groups to review their progress and to help them navigate through the process of developing their ideas and determining the best ways to communicate them. for some the making is a result of a solid idea and for others the idea is solidified through the exploration of making. each of us has our own way and our own collection of tools to discover and express our intentions. it has been invigorating for me to witness 20 different ways, concentrated on a similar problem. learning by teaching and teaching by learning.


mental occupation....

i've been unusually busy and mentally occupied the last few weeks as i am adjusting to a temporarily-full schedule and the added role of "adjunct professor" -- which is intimidating in and of itself. my class {of 20 students} meets twice a week and will last a total of 8 weeks. all in all everything is going well and the students are producing work that meets and exceeds my expectations while surprising me at the same time. the element that i didn't expect is the mental weight that comes along with it. i feel like my brain is constantly percolating with thoughts of what i need to do, what i should have done, what worked, what could use tweaking if i ever teach the workshop again - not to mention the responsibility of holding students to a common standard when it comes to the basic maintenance of attending a class as well as reviewing them/their work evenly. i was pretty stressed the first week or so, but i must remind myself that it is my first time and other adjunct-faculty that i've spoken to all say that it gets easier the more you do it. it's already gotten easier, actually. -- my respect and awe of my friend martha (who has been teaching for at least 8-9 years) has grown immensely in the past weeks, and it was already pretty high to begin with.

some highlights so far:

(1) i brought in local architect, Ralph Nelson, to talk about a side project/product that he and his firm, LOOM, have developed called 12 blocks. you can read about it here. (and see an article about it here.) ralph is unbelievably articulate when it comes to talking about his design perspective and process and did not disappoint with his presentation to my students. he, too, has been teaching longer than i've been out of school, and is someone for whom i have immense respect.

(2) i took my students on a "field trip" to visit the BLU DOT headquarters that are located right here in minneapolis. i've known people at blu dot for many years now (since working "with" them while at redlurered) - but it was really fun for me to take the tour to see how much they have grown and evolved in recent years. the breadth of their product range is continuously growing, the scope of their work is expanding, and the strength of their marketing is becoming more and more reflective of the "blu dot personality" - you can see their catalog as a PDF here. medora was a fantastic host and provided an insightful narrative to blu dot's history and approach to design.
so, this week i'll be meeting with each student to discuss the direction they'll be taking for the final project. i can't wait to see what they're cooking up!


more updates

back in december after the silvercocoon sale, martha and i made a trade. i got this lovely scarf (that i wear constantly) and martha chose the grey version of my single layer HIVE necklace. i love this picture that she posted on her blog!

i'm happy to report that both the grey and black HIVE necklaces are now available in my shop. -- my first intention during the design development of this necklace was to make it a double-layered piece like so many of my others - and i liked the idea of contrasting colors etc. -- but, for some reason, in actuality the double layers just did not feel as good as a single layer version. the lightness of the single layer then required a more flexible neck wire than the ones i had been using. i opted for a small "ball" chain in sterling silver that is considerably less expensive than the the ones i use for other designs, and there is a practical quality to this chain that i really like. all of these moves positively affect my prices, which always feels good -- {for the record, i have been making the wood versions of the HIVE necklace double-layered (like the brooches) on the original sterling neck wires - mostly for strength & durability sake - but they are more in line with my other prices.}

i am a pretty practical person - one who cares about my appearance, but who also has so much going on that there isn't always time to "doll" myself up. this being said, i wear a black HIVE necklace nearly everyday - mostly because it is so light that i barely notice that i have it on - but also because it makes me feel like my boring little self can be "salvaged" when i have it on.
SO - the added ease and practicality that was reached with the acrylic HIVE necklaces got me thinking and revisiting some of my older designs. I have created a single-layer version of the POMEGRANATE necklace with the same sterling chain -- the translucent and red versions are also available in my shop. others are on their way as well.....


red valentine

i've posted some red items in my shop today in honor of valentines day, which is a week and a half away. {red POMEGRANATE earrings will be added by friday} everything that i put in the shop is already made, so that means items ship out within a day of ordering.