Thursday, October 25, 2012

Inspiration...or something like it.

Here's the cold, hard truth:  I can not draw to save my life.    No, I mean it, if I had to draw a picture to literally save my life, the consequences would be grave.

There is only one thing I am worse at than drawing, and that is spelling.  Luckily -- there are all kinds of programs for that, to help a girl out.   But, even with all my schooling (You know, just a few classes until I finally get that master's degree), I still can not spell -- and I have to work rally hard at proper grammar.

But back to the main topic -- okay I have my coffee ready, so I can certainly write this, right?

So when you have inspiration, I see that most of my artsy friends see things in their mind's eye, and often, if they design like me, they draw it out.  Huge hindrance for me, since, again, I can not draw.   Literally, I need help with a circle.

This is not to say things do not inspire me -- they do, and I look for inspiration everywhere, the autumn leaves, the winter snow, the many colors of spring and summer.  But, my favorite place to find inspiration for my designs?

The lyrics to songs.

Seriously, I sit there, or am running around the house picking up after my three kids like a mad woman, with crazy red hair and half bleached pants, blasting my iPhone (which is currently charging so that I can do this inspiration thing while cleaning again today) and a lyric, or line from a song will hit me and I will see colors and stones in my head.

Then, since I can't draw, I have to make it.  Then and there.  At least the design elements.  Maybe it's not the stones I saw in my head, because potentially I do not have those on hand -- but something has to be made so that I capture the essence of what my mind saw. 

Then, I will go back to the song, holding the piece and sort of give a yes or no as to whether it works.  Most of the time, however, it doesn't, and I see something else when it's produced -- or even in the middle of production. 

Currently, one of my daughter's favorite song's is "Firework" by Katy Perry.  Listening to that, I saw a fire work earring design in my head -- it was difficult to make it because I wanted it to be perfect, and colorful -- but I am pre-show right now, so my gemstones are a tad limited.

I ended up with these because of my gemstone limitation right now -- I will still have to work out the full "Firework" design.  More stones, more colors, more wire wrapping, but still a hoop earring -- remember watching fireworks as a kid on New Years or the 4th of July?  Yeah, that's what I am going to Evoke there. 

That set above, while beautiful, became "Fire"  without the "Work."

How are you inspired?


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Scorpio Birthstone

There is something absolutely fascinating about looking up alternate birthstones.  Well, mostly because I am not a big fan of my own birthstone for a variety of reasons.  Knowing that when early December arrives I will have alternates to choose from -- you know if I want to trust my hubby with purchasing jewels that is-- I will be able to choose something I will potentially enjoy soothes me.

My mother is a Scorpio, and she was very excited when I started researching all the variety of stones available to her during both her birth month and her Zodiac sun sign.   See, traditionally for October she has opal -- she is not fond of opal and calls it an "emotional stone."  Which is somewhat true metaphysically or mystically.

However, she loves her alternate birthstone: Tourmaline.  And so do I, but I am not born in October, sigh again.  Being under the sun sign Scorpio affords her certain rights to claim Topaz as her own -- I suppose since Topaz is November's birthstone, and Scorpio is mostly November.

Onwards and upwards to Scorpio's alternate birthstone:

Beryl:  This stone I consider the biggest win for my mother, because beryl is chosen as a broad term here, meaning it can also be any of the 4 main beryls.  The four main beryls being Heliodor (Golden), Morganite (Pink), Aquamarine (Need I say more? Blue)  And the one I think she really likes (no doubt due to our mutual coloring, making green stones shine) Emerald.   Decisions, Decisions.

This "Lady Sings the Blues" includes both Topaz and Aquamarine

"Rain" is designed with Moss Aquamarine Briolettes, Moss Aquamarine Roundelles and Sapphire, evoking Seattle Rainy Day Weather.

Amethyst:   Ahh, lovely purple Amethyst.  I am certain they mean the stark purple Amethyst, and not any of the man-made types, such as Green Amethyst. Since Amethyst is in fact a description of the definitive color of said semi-precious quartz crystals, I don't have much doubt is saying:  they probably are going traditional here.

To be honest, I am a bit jealous of my Mommy. Hopefully, I will be able to find out I have some rockingly awesome alternate gemstones in lieu of Turquoise.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Trails and Tribulations of Custom Work

When I get an order for something custom, I am filled with adulation.  I am ecstatic, I can hardly wait to match gemstones and design to personality.

It's so much fun when it's someone I know too -- love it. Oh, this person loves this color, and has such and such personality, I will put this together with that in this artistic way.  It's really my favorite part of jewelry design.

My mother recently gave me some Hessionite Garnet that she has been holding onto for at least four years -- I remember she bought them before I went to Texas. That was exactly 4 years ago.

They are AAA grade teeny tiny hessionite garnet briolettes, and when she handed them over so that I could work them out for the store, I knew I would have to honor her and wire wrap about a million little garnets.   This would be a design for her, though she probably didn't know it when she handed them over. I would custom design something for her personality. 

Hessionite Garnet I can not bring myself to post -- because the design detracts from the beauty of the stone.  Don't you just want to start humming Adele's "Set Fire to the Rain"?

But the thing is, I love these stones myself -- and while I can't possibly pull off the fire color with my red hair and coloring, they are lovely. They invoke a desire to make something inspired by a song.  Maybe I will do that.

But, back to custom work -- yes I do do a lot of custom work, and honestly I give the customer options.  When someone asks for something custom, they will generally know that person better than I would, so while I can choose stones for color and personality, design has to be a work with the person ordering it.

I recently designed this as a first option custom job, but I said to the customer, "Her's will be blue stones to go with her coloring."

So I showed these to the customer, who wants something special to give to a special someone for the holidays.  Turns out my dogmatic approach to blue for her coloring isn't going to work -- her favorite color is purple, but the design is spot on.

Luckily though, my friends who want something special custom made and designed know to ask early for it, because I will give them choices -- after all, anything they didn't choose for their personalized design can go in the shop.

Bt here is the thing:  it's October now, the holidays are in December -- if you want something custom, ask me now, because I have a couple of gem shopping trips coming up in November and to custom design something absolutely unique for who you are thinking of -- I will need to add certain gemstones to my list. 

When you ask me for something custom, tell me what you are thinking, and I will gladly give you options, so the jewelry you give this season is absolutely one of a kind for your gift.

It's almost time for Scorpio's birthstone, and some long winded discussions on inspiration.

As for Inspiration, Richard Dryfus and Audry Hepburn discussed it well in 1989's "Always:"  Inspiration Mission


Monday, October 8, 2012

Creative Ethics

I have been battling to write a blog post today.   Sometimes it happens, even for someone who writes all the time and easily as I do.  Sometimes creative juices just stop flowing as words. 

I have, however, been really trying to expand my line, with fits and bursts of inspiration, muddled down with and internal dialogue that screams at every turn: "Do your homework," and "Get the house clean."  and worse yet: "How on earth are you going to fit your husband into your room when the Army finally lets him move home, now that you set up the studio in your room for comfort and ease."

Yes, my mind really does rage like that all the time.  It's hard to keep it quiet.

Now when it comes to the title of this post, I am certain you readers are like:  "What the heck is she talking about?"

No, I am not saying be creative in your ethics, I am saying, be ethical in your creativity.

My dear friend asked me about this today, she phrased it as something like: "How would you feel if someone took a piece of your jewelry and redesigned it to how they thought it should look. 

Interesting.  I am not opposed to taking apart "vintage" jewelry and redesigning it myself.  Heck, I have been known to do so even on commission, quite a few times.  And, I am certain we have all considered taking that hand me down diamond wedding ring and resetting it to suit our modern desires.

But where do we as creative individuals draw the line?  We know not to steal other designer's or srtist's ideas, and especially not to undercut them in a process somewhat similar.  But when it comes to design, when you are like me and you go for the heirloom, everlasting look and appeal -- where is it my design or public domain?  Is it in the number of wraps?  The stones I choose?   Where do I ethically say:  No, this is wholly my design and my personality and artistry are shown here?

Another dear friend of mine, from way back also, recently asked me to come up with something for his wife for the holidays.  I wanted it to be more modern, and special and unique for her.   I played around with a design, with stones I will not be using for her piece for the holidays and came up with this:

Amethyst Big Hoop Earrings by Maggie's Jewelry
There are certainly similar designs out there, but none that I have found are quite like this.  Now, what if my first dear friend had purchased these and reassembled them to say, be a mix of copper and amethyst?  Or maybe she moved the small amethyst and put them all together and dangled the briolette from the center sort of asymmetrically?

Is that ethically okay?  Can she argue that it's not my design she took apart, but just the raw materials, in order to make something really her style?    If my design as a designer is scrapped -- and that work I put into it is changed, because someone thinks they can do better, is that really okay?

I honestly don't know.

Let's look at this from another perspective.  Take a photograph I took of some of my jewelry, something I worked exceptionally hard on, because right now I am really trying to add interest by playing with bokeh in my jewelry photography.

See at the bottom of my picture where the watermark says "Maggie's Jewelry"?  Now--is it okay for another photographer to take that picture and re-edit it because they think it would look better more saturated?  I mean it's not copyrighted through any copyright offices, right?  It's just watermarked through my downloaded trial version of Adobe Lightroom.
Suppose for instance they thought what's above was more artistic, or a better rendering in the creative process of my photo?  Granted I am sure no one would go to that extreme (I added all the saturation, clarity, luminance I could on lightroom, just to make a dramatic change), but still, where would the line be drawn?

I am sure there are some thoughts out there on this subject, please respond in the comments...


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tourmaline: October's Other Birthstone

Lucky you October.  First you get flashy Opals, which dates back to at least the 15th century as your birthstone -- then something magical happens and jewelrs decide to also give you the lovely tourmaline as a birthstone.

I am very happy about this, because my Mother was born in October, and is very finicky when I have to shop for her.  There is a reason I have so much labradorite in my shop--it's the mommy, loving the gray flash of labradorite.

However, when researching birthstones, I round that there are so many versions, that I just have to write a whole bunch on the subject.  Sadly, she is a Scorpio, making my libra post null and void for shopping for her astrological birthstone.

But tourmaline, oh sweet tourmaline, Mom, you are one lucky chica.  Tourmaline is one of my favorite stones, but I am born in December, so I am mostly straddled with turquoise and blue topaz. Not a huge fan.
Super Chunky Tourmaline Necklace
Tourmaline comes in every color under the sun, including a remarkable "Watermelon Tourmaline" that actually has a few colors in the same cut of stone.  Each of the wonderful colors have different mystical properties, making it a really unique stone to play with. 

Plus, it's just super pretty -- my favorite is the pink and green, but that's just me.  I am pretty certain my sister would love the black tourmaline, which has some interesting historical references on its own.

All tourmaline enhances understanding, increases self-confidence and amplifies psychic energies. Tourmaline is said to neutralize negative energies, alleviate fear and grief and finally aid in concentration and communication.

  • Green tourmaline regulates blood pressure and strengthens the heart and nervous system. It  also stimulates digestion and strengthens the immune system.
  • Black tourmaline is a protective stone; especially against radiation. Black tourmaline also has a  positive effect on the body's loco motor system, while strengthening musculature.
  • Blue tourmaline helps combat water-retention, promotes detoxification of the entire body, strengthens the immune system. Blue tourmaline also reduces throat issues and bronchial problems.
  • Watermelon tourmaline  alleviates pain, protect the nerve cells and strengthen the immune system.