Happy Val, pal, and Gal-entines day!

And a belated happy new year to you!  Now that the smoke has cleared from the January revelry, let’s catch up!

First, I have a spectacular new assistant, Chris McDonald.  Truly the Robin to my Batman, his background is incredible! A multi-talented artist, Chris grew up on a cattle ranch and is currently finishing up his degree at Columbia here in Chicago.  His original trajectory in school was photography but his abilities range from jewelry-making to graphic design, photography, and (of course), animal husbandry.  Can YOUR assistant help birth a baby cow?  Mine can!   Even if some of Chris’ abilities will most likely go to waste, I know my customers will love engaging with him at the many shows we will do this year!

Chris McDonald

With Chris’ help, I’ve been able to tackle some things that have long gone unfinished.  For instance, we are completely re-designing the website with the insight and creative web-developing skills of the one and only Reade Harris. That should be finished by the beginning of April, JUST in time for the launch of a new, exciting bridal collection.  The new bridal pieces have a classic art nouveau feel and will be available in a variety of metals and styles online and at a select few fine jewelry stores here in Chicago.  This collection will come not a moment too soon, as I have been receiving a multitude of bridal inquiries lately.  Its wedding fever!  Hopefully the new collection will serve as a jumping-off point for clients looking for ideas, though most bridal sets will continue to be custom made around each couples’ unique history and style.

The most wonderful part of having some help in the studio is that we have been experimenting with new techniques.  Lately I’ve gotten the pitch bowl out to add chased and repoussage elements to new designs.  These pieces will not be molded but will each be one of a kind.  The most intricate is probably a 2-part lung necklace with a repoussage back and hand-pierced and engraved front, with tubular vein structures throughout.  All of the one-of-a-kind pierced lung pieces will become available online and in stores this spring.

New pierced lungs in progress.

Recently joined instagram and have been sharing photos of works in progress. With Valentines day creeping up on us again, its been a lot of hearts.

Polished silver heart lockets in progress.

Polished silver heart lockets in progress.

Speaking of which, if you are burning to snap up a silver anatomical heart locket, there is no better time than the present to buy yourself a bit of a present.  My beautiful sister Colleen says you have to be your own ideal partner, (even if you already have one.) You have to take yourself out on a date (Say yes!  Say yes!)  or get yourself something special every once in a while, and this counts double for holidays.  Ideally, my me-girlfriend would be rubbing my feet right now, but as it turns out diy foot rubs are not so great.  So what I’m saying is, if you want to get yourself a little present you can use code FREESHIP14 for free shipping on anything now through Valentines day.  Those are available right here.

Exploring all of these different ways of making in tandem has provided a much-needed break from the chilly boredom of a long Chicago winter.  In my next post I hope to share more about the new techniques I’ve been exploring, including something called “chip carving” I’ve recently been exposed to.  Just now in the first stages of  a very interesting, layered men’s wedding band using this technique and will share process shots as the project progresses.

Frost Ferns

Ferns of ice on my studio window.