A Commissioned Collar

YOJ16-21CommissionedCollar

 

This week I was commissioned to make a collar for an energy healer. She has a herkimer diamond that she wears 24/7, and her previous collar (not by me) broke after many years of taking it off and putting it on.

She wanted the new collar to incorporate gold-filled and silver, to represent sun/moon and male/female energy. I added 11 bindings (master number 11 represents intuition), and with the exception of the binding at the base of the “V”, each of the bindings is a multiple of 3.

 

Announcing “The Tao of Wire” Online Video Course

Announcing “The Tao of Wire” Online Video Course

For a long time, people have commented to me that they would love to take my classes, but live too far away from me.

So, last year I started work on a new project, which I’m happy to announce is almost ready to launch!

The Tao of Wire, an online video wireworking course by Dianne Karg Baron

The Tao of Wire is a step-by-step online video course to help you discover your own creative voice through making wire jewelry. You’ll learn professional techniques for making wire jewelry that you are proud to wear, give and sell.

FoundationSkillsCourse1Cover

Foundation Skills: Introduction to Wire Jewelry is launching soon!

This free course introduces you to the tools, metals, and types of wire you’ll need to start working with wire. Learn how to straighten wire, how to work with square wire, and tips for avoiding strain while you work. You’ll also learn step by step how make one of *the* most fundamental and multi-purpose links – the S-link – and a hook, using square wire.

Sign up today to start your creative journey!

 

Updating the site!

If you’ve visited before, you’ll notice a few changes. I’m working on updating the site to make it more responsive – that way it will display nicely on mobile phones and tablets. I’m also working on updating the way the collections display. That is still a work in progress, so bear with me! Please let me know if you see any broken links or images that don’t display. Thanks for visiting today!

The blog has been quiet for a long time, but I’m still here :)

Yes, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything to this blog.

In fact, I’m kind of shocked to see that this is the first post I’ve made in over a year!

There have been lots of things going on behind the scenes, some personal, some professional.

On the personal side, I spent a good part of last year recovering from an accident – I was hit by a van while crossing the street. Although I wasn’t seriously injured at the time, I developed complications later that required many months of painful physiotherapy. I’m happy to say that I’m now almost fully recovered and pain free!

I spent a bit of time traveling in Europe, soaking in the atmosphere and the history, celebrating birthdays with family, meeting some of my online friends face-to-face for the first time.

On the professional side, live classes have been the focus for the past year. One of my long-time students, Camilla Gryski, completed her course of study with me and last June celebrated her “graduation” with a very successful gallery show. I’m enormously proud of her!

Right now, I’m hard at work on preparing for a new course I’ll be teaching at Haliburton School of the Arts this coming July: Wire Weaving & Coiling. This course will introduce students to the foundations skills used to create wire jewellery using weaving and coiling techniques. If you’re looking for a chance to get away, come join me in Haliburton from July 20-24!

I’m also hosting the Year of Jewelry Project 2015, which is now on Facebook.

Finally, I’m up to my neck in renovations! After many years of thinking and planning, I’ve finally been able to design a dedicated workspace, with everything exactly where I need it. My new studio is taking shape, and I’m looking forward to moving into my new space by the start of summer!

 

Found on Pinterest – Artists Synchroblog

Found on Pinterest – Artists Synchroblog

Pinterest kind of reminds me of YouTube – there’s lots of oddball stuff, and you can do almost any kind of obscure search and find something.

So it wasn’t really a surprise when I recently did a search for “white board ideas” and found dozens of diy applications.

While working on MAGazine, my white board was my best friend – all of the various sections and articles got listed, and it was easy to add and subtract notes as I thought of new ideas, or finished working on a page. Unfortunately though the one I was using was old and heavy and had a nasty habit of crashing to the floor. Eventually the poor thing was so completely bent out of shape that it wouldn’t stay on the wall.

Knowing that buying the same type would only end up with the same problem, I was happy to find a peel and stick version from Martha Stewart at Staples. Three 12×12 inch squares now form a customized wall next to my computer. The package contained 4 squares, and the last one wouldn’t fit my space. I didn’t know what to do with it, but didn’t want to throw it out.

Then a few weeks ago, while organizing myself for my class in Haliburton, I saw this white board backed iPad case on Pinterest. (Original source.)

That inspired me to take my spare square with me and use it as a portable and reuseable sketching space when I’m explaining things to my students. It worked brilliantly:

White Board

Because I was able to draw out a much larger-than-life version of the vernier calliper, teaching this segment was a breeze compared to what it’s been like in the past. The students were able to see exactly what I was referring to, and as a result were able to instantly use the calliper for their project. Since I don’t always have access to a blackboard or chalk, it was a perfect tool for sitting with students and helping them work out design problems.

This is definitely forming a permanent part of my teaching kit from now on!

The Artists Synchroblog is a group of bloggers who post every other month on the same topic, sharing our experience or perspective. On alternate months we undertake a Pinterest Project where we each take inspiration from a Pinterest picture, create something (art, a meal, a DIY project, etc) and then post about it.  You can read more about the Artists Synchroblog here.

Please visit the other synchrobloggers this month and read their Pinterest inspirations!

http://amyestellemetalworks.blogspot.com/
http://www.islandgirlsinsights.blogspot.ca/
http://www.wrapturewirejewellery.on.ca/blog
www.elenorbuffington.blogspot.com
http://doxallodesigns.blogspot.com/
http://www.journeyinjewelry.com/blog/My-Journey-in-Jewelry
http://simpledesignjewelry.blogspot.com/
http://designsbylynnea.blogspot.com/
http://marikach.blogspot.com/
www.createrecklessly.com
http://design.kcjewelbox.com/
www.allwiredupjewelrydesigns.blogspot.com
http://shaktipajdesigns.com/blog/
www.beadsbythebay.blogspot.com

Early Bird/Night Owl – Artists Synchroblog

Early Bird/Night Owl – Artists Synchroblog

For this month’s Artists Synchroblog we were asked to write about what time of the day we are most productive.

Once upon a time, I was an early bird.

I’d get up at the crack of dawn, because I liked how quiet the house was before the hustle and bustle of the day started. My mind was always clearer after a good night of sleep. I’d hear my Dad get up and leave for work. I’d watch the sun come up through my bedroom window.

By the time I was in university, the only way I could be an early bird was with the help of a very large mug of espresso. Night time was when I did my best work.

In my early years of making jewelry I’d regularly only get about 5 hours of sleep a night. I’d come home from my day job, eat dinner, and then start on whatever jewelry project I was working on, and finally drag myself to bed after midnight. That trusty mug of espresso would get me going in the morning again.

Then I had kids.

Anyone who has followed my Year of Jewelry blogs over the years has read my stories about trying to juggle working on jewelry with trying to care for small children. There is no best time of the day, only 10 minutes bursts coupled with complete and total exhaustion. Espresso intravenous, stat!

Over the years, it hasn’t so much become a matter of what time of the day I physically feel most productive. That seems to always be in flux, as I juggle seasonal changes of shows, teaching, the children at school, or on vacation, or a husband who works Monday-Friday or a rotating 12 hour shift schedule. People gasp when I tell them I maintain eight calendars, but it’s the only way I maintain any sense of order.

I gave up caffeine six months ago. Adjusting has meant learning to really listening to my body and its rhythms. If I need a nap at 2 p.m., I take a nap at 2 p.m., and then I’ll work from the time the boys are in bed until midnight. If I wake up at 4 a.m., I’ll take advantage of the quiet and do planning and research or answer emails.

What I need to be productive is a focused start point and peace and quiet. Right now, the focused start point comes with the help of a Job Jar. I wrote a bunch of things I need to do on individual pieces of paper, scrunched them up and threw them into a jar. I’ve included projects that are long neglected, as well as routine jobs. I shake the jar, pick one out, and do it, regardless if it takes five minutes or five hours.

Job Jar
PIcking something from my Job Jar helps me to get focused.

I feel an energizing sense of accomplishment when it’s done, and that, more than anything else, gives me the jump start I need to tackle the other things on my To Do List.

 

The Artists Synchroblog is a group of bloggers who post every other month on the same topic, sharing our experience or perspective. On alternate months we undertake a Pinterest Project where we each take inspiration from a Pinterest picture, create something (art, a meal, a DIY project, etc) and then post about it.  You can read more about the Artists Synchroblog here.

Please visit the other synchrobloggers this month and read their stories about being an early bird or a night owl!

http://amyestellemetalworks.blogspot.com

http://www.islandgirlsinsights.blogspot.ca/

http://www.wrapturewirejewellery.on.ca/blog

www.elenorbuffington.blogspot.com

http://doxallodesigns.blogspot.com

http://lesliervillarreal.blogspot.com

http://www.journeyinjewelry.com/blog/My-Journey-in-Jewelry

http://simpledesignjewelry.blogspot.com

http://designsbylynnea.blogspot.com/

http://marikach.blogspot.com/

www.createrecklessly.com

http://design.kcjewelbox.com

www.allwiredupjewelrydesigns.blogspot.com

http://shaktipajdesigns.com/blog/

http://silversmithblog.com/

http://stonezjewelry.com/blog/

 

 

 

Found on Pinterest – Artists Synchroblog

Found on Pinterest – Artists Synchroblog

For June, the Artists Synchroblog task was to find inspiration via Pinterest.  Pinterest is a hugely popular online bulletin board, that lets you “pin” links and images for later reference. I used to use it quite a lot, but scaled back after concerns about copyright infringements surfaced last year.

Those concerns aside, it is a very useful tool for collecting ideas and inspirations. With a studio renovation underway, I’ve been bookmarking links like crazy for working effectively in small spaces.

One of the things I need to be able to do is photograph my work.

After investing in a good DSLR last year, I discovered one very annoying downside: it didn’t work with the light tent I’ve been using for the last seven years. My DIY setup of a food umbrella and a white pillow case worked perfectly well when I was using a portable digital camera.  Most of the photos for my tutorials were shot using that setup. Unfortunately though, with the DSLR, I needed to position the camera further from the subject, and the awkward angles resulted in ugly photos. One of the links I found last year was a portable light tent by Modahaus. Much of the Modahaus system is actually intended for use with iPhone type cameras.  The Tabletop Studio TS216 is slightly larger than a legal size file folder, which makes it portable and easy to store when not in use. What really attracted me to it were the background sweeps. I’ve used all kinds of things for backgrounds, from matte board to scrapbooking paper, and most recently plastic cutting boards.  All have some degree of texturing, which is fine, if all I’m doing is taking Etsy shots. Jury photos need to be on a dark background, de rigueur, and magazine photos work best on white.

Most of the other light tents I’d seen used fabric sweeps, which tend to be wrinkly. The Modahaus sweeps are made of plastic, and come in black, grey, white, translucent white, red and blue.

The TS216 turns out to be a bit small for my needs. I find that I have to add risers to the diffuser to make space for my props.

Modahaus Tabletop Studio setup
My tweaked setup of the Modahaus Tabletop Studio

 

So far, I’ve been quite pleased with the results I’ve gotten, but there is the inevitable learning curve of figuring out how to position the lights on the jewellery to avoid excess glare or shadows. I like the little bit of reflection I get with the black sweep and as long as I take care to minimize dust, there is less photo editing needed than my old setup.

I’m constantly experimenting with different tricks, and while taking these shots, I added a small light bounce card to reflect a bit of the light to the underside of the rings. It made a huge impact.

The effect of adding a small light bounce card to increase the reflection on the bottom of the rings was astonishing.
Adding a small light bounce card to increase the reflection on the bottom of the rings made a big difference in the final photo.

I’ll continue tweaking the setup over the coming months, but on the whole this was a very worthwhile investment, found via Pinterest!

The Artists Synchroblog is a group of bloggers who post every other month on the same topic, sharing our experience or perspective. On alternate months we undertake a Pinterest Project where we each take inspiration from a Pinterest picture, create something (art, a meal, a DIY project, etc) and then post about it.  You can read more about the Artists Synchroblog here.

Please visit the other synchrobloggers this month and see how Pinterest inspired them:

http://amyestellemetalworks.blogspot.com

http://www.islandgirlsinsights.blogspot.ca/

www.elenorbuffington.blogspot.com

http://doxallodesigns.blogspot.com

http://lesliervillarreal.blogspot.com

http://www.journeyinjewelry.com/blog/My-Journey-in-Jewelry

http://simpledesignjewelry.blogspot.com

http://designsbylynnea.blogspot.com/

http://marikach.blogspot.com/

www.createrecklessly.com

http://design.kcjewelbox.com

www.allwiredupjewelrydesigns.blogspot.com

http://shaktipajdesigns.com/blog/

http://silversmithblog.com/

http://stonezjewelry.com/blog/

Words have Meaning – Artists Synchroblog

Having wound down my time as editor of MAGC’s MAGazine, I’m now refocusing my energy on my own work and my long-neglected blog.

The Artists Synchroblog is a group of bloggers who post every other month on the same topic, sharing our experience or perspective. On alternate months we undertake a Pinterest Project where we each take inspiration from a pinterest picture, create something (art, a meal, a DIY project, etc) and then post about it.

ChakraMeditation.jpg

This month’s theme is “Words have Meaning”.

I became a big believer in the power of affirmations years ago when I used the ones published in Louise Hay’s book “Heal Your Body” as a starting point to cure myself of asthma.  I went from having multiple daily attacks and monthly refills of Ventolin to nothing. My last inhaler was so little used that it expired with most of its contents intact.

I always know which affirmation is the right one for me now because I take an involuntary deep breath. It’s like my body says “AHHH! Yes!”

So it was no surprise when I reacted a few weeks ago to a graphic with Chakra affirmations posted by one of my Facebook friends.  Unfortunately I didn’t save the graphic, for which I’m kicking myself now, so this is my (revised) version. Starting at the base chakra and going up through all the affirmations, ending with “I AM WHOLE” has been a fabulously healing meditation for me.

A wonderful side effect of this meditation has been finding inspiration for a bunch of new projects, which I’m looking forward to working on in the coming weeks.

 

Please visit the other bloggers this month:

http://amyestellemetalworks.blogspot.com

http://www.islandgirlsinsights.blogspot.ca/

www.elenorbuffington.blogspot.com

http://doxallodesigns.blogspot.com

http://lesliervillarreal.blogspot.com

http://www.journeyinjewelry.com/blog/My-Journey-in-Jewelry

http://simpledesignjewelry.blogspot.com

http://designsbylynnea.blogspot.com/

http://marikach.blogspot.com/

www.createrecklessly.com

http://design.kcjewelbox.com

www.allwiredupjewelrydesigns.blogspot.com

http://shaktipajdesigns.com/blog/

http://silversmithblog.com/

http://stonezjewelry.com/blog/

 

Lake Scugog Spring Studio Tour – May 4-5, 2013

Lake Scugog Spring Studio Tour – May 4-5, 2013

sinousbanglelowreslogo

radiant-circle-necklace-lowreslogo-jpg I’m pleased to be participating in this year’s Lake Scugog Spring Studio Tour, May 4-5, 2013.

This year’s tour brings together the work of 28 artists at 15 different locations in and around Port Perry, Ontario.   Eight  new artists are joining the tour this year and I am once again being welcomed as a Guest Artist at the studio of Cathy Mark, 25 Glasford Road, Little Britain (location 1 on the tour map).

For further information about the other artists participating in the tour and a downloadable map, please visit the LSSST website.  The tour brochure is also available at local galleries, hotels and tourist information offices in Durham Region.

Come out for a drive and self-guided tour to Port Perry, located just one hour northeast of Toronto!

Exhibition – Surfacing: OFF THE PAGES

Surfacing Magazine, Durham Region’s guide to the arts and culture,  launched in Autumn 2008.  It is celebrating its fourth year and the publication of its Autumn 2012 issue with an exhibition at Whitby’s Station Gallery.

The exhibition, “Surfacing: OFF THE PAGES“, brings together a selection of  works by some of the 100 artists, writers and craftspeople who have been featured in the magazine.

My jewellery was featured in Spring / Summer 2012, and I am pleased to be able to contribute one piece to the exhibition.

The Station Gallery takes its name in honor of the former Grand Trunk Railway Station which is now its home.  The building was slated for demolition before  Whitby Arts Inc., a group of arts enthusiasts, purchased and moved it to its present locationat 1450 Henry St in Whitby  in 1971 .  The gallery has served as a community arts centre for over 35 years.  After an extensive renovation, it has now expanded to almost 10,000 square feet of exhibit, studio, collection storage and administrative space.

Surfacing:  OFF THE PAGES
September 8 to October 14, 2012
Opening Reception, September 8 at 1 p.m.
Curator’s Walk & Talk, September 20

www.whitbystationgallery.com

 

Pop! Goes the Circle wins Award at International Bead Awards 2012

Pop! Goes the Circle wins Award at International Bead Awards 2012

The disappointment of having to cancel my classes in Germany was mellowed a bit this week, when news came from fellow instructor Dian Hierschel that my necklace “Pop! Goes the Circle” had placed second in the Metals/Wirework category at the International Bead Awards!  The IBA was exhibited as part of Beaders Best Perlenkunst Messe, just wrapped up in Hamburg.

Dian kindly sent along this photo from show.

Pop! Goes the Circle (2011)

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I worked at break-neck speed on this necklace, spending most of New Year’s Eve finishing it.  It was uploaded almost at the last minute before entries closed.  The sore shoulder lasted a few days, but this makes it all worth while!  Thank you to the jury and to everyone who voted for it!