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Tomato Thieves

Posted on March 09, 2013 | 0 comments

I am sitting here in my studio looking out over my snow covered garden and dreaming of spring.  A few years ago my husband Tommy and I bought a house with a nice piece of property and I began to create gardens throughout the backyard. As you can imagine, I love to  be outside gardening and creating beauty in my environment. For me being in the garden is meditative and peaceful. As soon as the weather breaks I am outside doing spring clean up and starting to work the soil. Last year the winter was so mild I actually had the spring crops planted the end of February. This year is a much different story!  My garden is a working kitchen garden, I plant vegetables, flowers and herbs all together informally which I absolutely love to look at.

The garden, the vegetables anyway, has been moved to the front yard in recent years. We now have an edible landscape.  The two main reasons for this are in the photo below. Their names are Johnny Utah, the thief with the tomato, and his lawyer, Blue.  I never actually saw a ripe tomato when the garden was in the back and wondered why. Some other missing garden elements were strawberries, zucchini, and these scoundrels actually figured out how to pick the carrots! Needless to say, I had to move the garden.

 

My brother Chris came over and removed all the grass off the front lawn and I made paths that I covered with two truckloads of wood chips.  We are organic gardeners, absolutely no pesticides or chemical fertilizers are used. I had compost delivered and I worked it into this beautiful fluffy organic rich soil.  I actually have a worm farm too that creates organic compost, but I will save that story for a future post.  

       

Occasionally the thieves help me in the garden if they are on their best behavior.  

               

These images are from the end of last summer, when the garden was full and lush.  The trellis is a new element that Tommy made which I love.  I covered it with clematis vines, peas, morning glories and hops. My cousin brews beer and I wanted to give him an organic crop of hops for a custom brew. Didn't pick them in time though and Hurricane Sandy blew them away...

        

Today I will read my heirloom seed packets with a cup of tea and patiently wait for the snow to melt so I can get out and get my hands in the soil again. Looking forward to another great growing season.


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Sandi's Earrings

Posted on February 18, 2013 | 0 comments

This is how I spent this chilly winter morning, making a pair of earrings for one of my fabulous customers.

Rosie pattern on Shibuichi metal sheet

"Rosie" pattern on Shibuichi metal sheet. Shibuichi is a Japanese alloy of copper and sterling silver. It was used by Samurai warriors to accent their weaponry. This is what it looks like in its natural state, similar to rose gold.

 

          

I traced the pattern twice on the metal sheet with a sharpie marker. 

With a fine saw blade I carefully cut out each piece.


This is my grinding/polishing station where I sand the edges of the metal pieces and polish the fronts and back to give them a matt finish.


After the initial polishing the pieces go into my rolling mill in between two brass texture plates. This embosses texture onto the petals.


Here is where I hammer the metal petals into a bent natural shape.


 

After polishing once again I add a micro-crystalline wax polish to seal the surface of the Shibuichi and prevent it from tarnishing.


I put two pieces of sterling silver wire through the rolling mill to texture it for the accent pieces that will dangle in front of the petals.


The blow torch is out to ball up the ends of the sterling silver 'stamen' accents. This takes about two seconds, if that, in the flame for the silver to create a little ball on the end of the textured wire pieces.


My husband Tommy took these photos, I kind of had my hands full!


   

After the wires were polished and cut to size I hammered the ends and drilled a hole in the end of each 'stamen'.  I like to make each piece a little different to look more like natural botanical elements.


Each French ear wire is handmade in sterling silver and I use this high tech way of curving the wires into shape.


The final shaping of the wires before assembling all the parts into the finished earrings.



VOILA! A finished pair of "Rosie Earrings" made by hand for my friend Sandi!

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Navy Seal Jewelry

Posted on February 16, 2013 | 0 comments
 
A very good friend of my husband is an elite Navy Seal currently serving our country. Last year he had asked me if I would design a piece of jewelry for him to give to his future wife. He told me about his favorite myth and wanted me to design the piece based on the story.

Both history and mythology are combined in this heartwarming story. Coma Berenices is an actual constellation, located near Leo. Its name literally means "Berenice's Hair".  Berenice  was an Egyptian Queen and her husband was off serving at war. The myth states that Berenice was so concerned about the safety of her husband, that she promised the goddess Aphrodite that she would sacrifice her beautiful blonde hair if her husband returned home from war safely.

Her husband did return safely. Faithful to her word, she cut off her hair and offered it to the gods who had watched over her husband. The gods were so pleased with Berenices sacrifice that they placed her hair into the heavens creating the constellation.

With 'full artistic license' I came up with a number of designs which I e-mailed to him while he was overseas and he chose this one.  The silver circle represents both earth and the moon. The gold strands represent Berenice's beautiful blonde hair, and the diamonds are the stars which create the actual constellation.

Creating this piece was such an honor for me to do. I cried when he e-mailed me the story. The loved ones of military personnel are going through their own battles. My heart goes out to the families for enduring many sacrifices and I thank those men and women who choose to serve our country. Especially the amazing Navy Seals!!!

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Wax Castings

Posted on January 21, 2013 | 0 comments

A look behind the scenes in my studio! Here are some of the steps that I take to create my cast sterling silver collections. Below are wax wire flower designs that I made using an x-acto knife and a hot wax pen. I wanted to make a collection of larger, yet lighter, floral images for  this jewelry collection. My process is very free form and loose. First I will sketch some images in my sketchbook from flowers in my garden and then I cut and bend the wax pieces into various shapes and 'weld' them together with the hot wax pen. 

This is what the pieces look like after they are cast in sterling silver. As you can see, there are  many little 'sprues' covering the petals, that is where the molten silver flows into the mold created from the wax model. Now each sprue must be sawed off, sanded and the whole piece polished.  The process is very labor intensive and although they are cast, each piece is hand finished individually.


From here I designed many different combinations of the cast flowers to create both small and large necklaces and earrings which are in the Summer Sunshine Collection. And, here is a peek of my jewelry/art studio, this is where the 'magic' happens!

          

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New Website

Posted on December 10, 2012 | 0 comments

Here is the new and much improved re-launch of the Garden of Silver website! I wanted to thank my fabulous web designer, Christine Thatcher, for giving me exactly what I wanted, and exactly what I didn't even know I wanted! 

Christine gave me weeks of 'homework' before the start of redesigning the website which was so helpful to me in really getting to visually focus on my brand and feeling that I wanted the website to convey. She had great design ideas and was extremely knowledgable about incorporating everything that I needed this website to be able to do. I highly recommend Christine and plan on working with her again when I redesign my fine art website as well.


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