Tuesday, February 24, 2009


This last Sunday I attended a Gem Faire in Santa Barbara, California with two friends. Thought I would share some of the jewels I brought home with me. I seem to gravitate toward neutral tones and purposely went to the faire to stock up on pearls and crystals.
Going to gem faires is certainly a learning experience for me. I try to discover new stones every time, meet new vendors and try to not buy every single strand I fall in love with. But, honestly, I just don't have much will power. Along with the pearls and crystals, I also picked up some wonderful African brass beads in different shapes and sizes. Mixing glitz and rustic elements to my jewelry intriques me.

My big splurge this trip was a strand of Dogon Donut Trading Beads from Africa. The young man selling these beads was very informative and educated me on these beads. This particular strand is from the 1800's and originally made from an assortment of glass by the Dutch. They were in turn traded in Africa. I was told that families and tribes in Africa have held on to these trading beads for over 100 years. But now know the value of them and what they can bring on the market so are parting with their heirlooms. The color, texture (some frosted, some not) really excites me. I also purchased a strand of Herkimer Diamond Quartz....the strand of rough cut nuggets laying across the Donut Beads. Strands of pyrite, tourmaline, all kinds of pearls, sterling silver charms and various chains also found their way into my shopping bags. It was a great day!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Spring 2009 Belle Armoire Jewelry Magazine

What a pleasure it is to congratulate three of my good friends for having their work featured in the Spring 2009 issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry Magazine...to hit the stands soon. First, Diane Cook, a good friend in Texas, not only is featured in the magazine, but took the COVER!!!! I am so very excited for her. Isn't her necklace lovely! And to think this was her first time to have the honor of being published. You go girlfriend!

Another very good friend of mine, Stephani Gorman, is also featured for the first time in this issue and has the pleasure of being mentioned on the cover. The "Black and White Jewelry Inspired by Coco" refers to Stephani's beautiful faux bone pieces in the magazine. I mentioned Stephani's work in a previous post. I am so very proud of her!

And, of course, my friend, Deryn Mentock, who has the ability to constantly amaze me with her inspiring designs, talent and kind and gentle spirit.

And how fun it is for me to also be featured in this issue as well. A little preview below.

I would like to encourage all of you out there who have considered submitting pieces of your work to any publication but for some reason have not followed through to go for it. Take the risk, challenge yourself and just do it. Is it the voice of your inner critic holding you back??? You don't think you are good enough? You know we all have those insecurities and you just have to work past those feelings and honor the artist within you. Enjoy the process of designing a special piece for all to see. If you are accepted, congratulations! If you are not, have the comfort in knowing you tried and try again the next time. You never know unless you take the risk.

Ta Ta

Viking Knit Class

Just a note to say hello to all of you out there. I have been held hostage by my studio for the last few weeks working on orders, publication submissions and this week, preparing for my Viking Knit class this weekend. So that being said, I haven't had much time to post. It's a lot of work preparing to teach a class but what joy it does bring. Today my goal is to complete three pieces of jewelry incorporating viking knit, wrapping up all of the kits and running errands gathering up treats and other supplies for class.

FYI - the Feathered Friends class on May 2nd here in California is half full at this time. Riki and I are so thrilled with the response to this class. Thank you!

Take care of your sweet selves!


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Feathered Friends San Juan Island

As promised...here is the information regarding the Feathered Friends pmc workshop that my friend, Riki Schumacher, and I are offering on San Juan Island, Washington on Sept. 26, 2009. It is the same class that will be offered on the Central Coast of California on May 2, 2009. So you have a choice of where you would like your adventure to take you. The class will be located in a private art studio on the picturesque San Juan Island just outside of Friday Harbor. For more details contact Riki either by phone (805-459-7454) or by email rikis1@mac.com. (Click on the flyer above to see an enlarged version....much easier to read)


Coco Dots

I would like to introduce you to my good friend, Stephani Gorman. Stephani is a mixed media artist living on the Central Coast of California who spends most of her free time in her studio creating very whimsical creations. Her new love is working with faux bone.

Stephani's "Coco Dot" collection of faux bone flowers will be featured in the March issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry Magazine. What this girl does with faux bone amazes me. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of her flower rings and bracelets. That is for you to discover in the March BAJM issue.
I decided to feature Steff's heart pieces for the most part for you here. With Valentine's Day around the corner, it seemed appropriate to do so don't you think. The piece below begins to show you how she manipulates the faux bone into dimensional shapes and combines it with beautiful beads and wire wrapping. Stephani also loves collage, felting and art dolls. I invite you to visit her blog to see this sweet ladie's art.

A thought for you as we approach Valentines Day --
"Where there is great love there are always miracles." ~ Willa Cather
"It takes great love and courage to excavate buried dreams. Today is the day set aside for love, a perfect occasion for going within and glancing back with affection and understanding at your real life journey so far." ~Simple Abundance
Wishing you all a very Happy Valentine's Day! Treat yourself to something special!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tweet Tweet

This post is "for the birds"......and for those of you out there who love birds and would like to learn about the wonders of pmc (precious metal clay) and fun wire wrapping techniques.

I would like to announce via this post that registration is now open for my next class "Feathered Friends" which I have the pleasure of team teaching with a mixed media jewelry artist friend of mine, Riki Schumacher. Riki and I met in a Susan Lenart-Kazmer class a few years ago and have been friends ever since. Riki has been creating amazing "wearable relics", as she calls them, for 12 years and playing with pmc for 8 years.

Riki is a Certified PMC Instructor and she and I have collaborated and put together what we think will be a really fun class. As you can see by the photos, we have incorporated some basic and some not so basic pmc techniques and a variety of wire-wrapping techniques in this project/technique oriented, extended day class.

Both Riki and I wanted to take the steps necessary to see that most students will leave the class wearing their new creations. Therefore, we have designed the class to be fairly fast paced and extra long (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.). Our description for this class is as follows:

Design a feathered friends inspired necklace, in this fun and creative pmc (precious metal clay) workshop. Begin your flight by learning basic pmc techniques including sculpting, texturing, and layering. Soar with basic wire wrapping techniques as you build your own nest, and wire-wrap beaded vine components. You will fly out of class with a newly hatched, bird inspired creation to add to your nest.

So if you would like to take flight and join us on SATURDAY, MAY 2, 2009, in the Village of Arroyo Grande, California for this class, please call me at: 805-544-3664 or email me at: belladonna1351@charter.net to reserve your spot. Space is limited. Click on the flyer above to see an enlarged version and check out the requested supply list, fees, what's included, etc.
Payment in full will reserve your nest (cash, check or PayPal accepted).
AND for those of you who might live in the Pacific North West or would like to visit there, Riki and I are offering a second "Feathered Friends" class on San Juan Island in Washington. Riki lives in California for the winter months and on beautiful San Juan Island during the summer. What an ideal life don't you think!
Feathered Friends will also be offered on SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2009, in a private art studio outside of Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. A gorgeous, relaxing setting. Details will follow shortly. We are still putting together the information for that flyer including housing, transportation, shuttles, etc.
We would love to have you join us for the day as we share our excitement about the incorporation of pmc in your mixed media art creations.
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