Back in the Jewelry Studio

It has been almost a year since I published my last coloring book. In true form, I’m on to the next thing. Or should I say, back to an old thing? This foray finds me back in the jewelry studio. I thought it would be fun to show you the process for one of the bracelet styles I’m making using scrap soft glass and silver fabrication.

First, I pull out some old scrap glass rods, stringer, and murrine cane, and chop it all up.
Then I line a steel tube with kiln paper and throw it all in.
After a 16 or so hour fuse in the kiln i have a nice puck of colorful glass with which to work.

These pucks get sliced into disks to reveal the designs hidden within.

I then slice them up into funky shapes.

Sometimes I use the scrap from this step.

And configure for another, shorter, fuse in the kiln.

Then comes the polishing. Sometimes I stop at a matte finish.

And sometimes I take them through six different grits of grinding and polishing wheels to achieve a higher shine.

Here is where it all starts to come together. Setting them in silver. I create a silver bezel to frame the little masterpieces.

And then cut out more silver to give them a nice backing.

From there, I solder the bezel to the backing and file the edges to a nice smooth finish.

And add some type of decorative element to make the back just as fun as the front.

If it’s a pendant, with a larger cabochon I am starting to get a little more creative with the setting, for more visual interest without being too busy against the design in the glass.

With the bracelets, the chain links that I solder between the pieces are just enough to pull it all together.

It feels really good to be back in the jewelry studio. Thanks for following along throughout the years!

If you’d like to see more of my process shots in almost-real-time you can follow me on Instagram or my facebook page.

You might also want to check out  my new web site to see all of the other pieces I’ve been creating this year at

I’m writing an ebook and Salvador Dali is my first subject.

Don’t get too excited. Today I started documenting the micro mosaic process, with the proverbial carrot dangling from a stick being a finished ebook in the end. We’ll see how that goes. It could end up being one of those, “it took me 3 years to write it” books.

I have always thought that it would be cool to write a book and then I start thinking about it and I get overwhelmed. I wouldn’t even know where to start and to tell you the truth, even though I love to blabber on here, I really don’t have any experience or idea of how a non-fiction  or memoir book is written. The few times that I’ve googled information I thought, oh, no way. It stressed me out thinking about it.

From the beginning of when I started working with the micro mosaics I have had a lot of suggestions that I should teach. While I really don’t have a desire to teach, and can’t imagine how I would fit something like this into even a two day class, I did think that some type of book could cover everything. But was I willing to show my process in depth?


Today I decided to start documenting that process, along with pictures. I could always just blog it however, I think that the time will come when I want to produce a series of ebooks for sale. I still wonder who would buy them since it’s such a niche subject, but hey, you never know. I think that even if the reader didn’t make the mosaics from the tutorials there will be lots of technique that might spur other ideas and it will be image heavy, which is always appealing (when they’re good photos).

So, the one I’m starting the documentation with is my next piece based on the image of Salvador Dali. I love my Andy Warhol piece and Salvador Dali, and his work, have always been an influence on my life in the arts. Plus, how can you NOT want to reproduce that likeness when you are looking for an interesting face?

blank glass bead tile

I’ve started my content matter research, created the blank fused tile and will be documenting it along the way and sharing the issues and solutions that arise as I consider elements for the piece. Things that I think about when I’m driving in the car alone: How am I going to hang or display this? How will I achieve shadows in the skin tone? How will the electroformed mustache be attached?

Oh, and on the back it will have a quote from Dali that says: “I don’t do drugs. I am drugs” in murrini letters as well as mosaic design. Which also leads me to think about, could/would this be wearable? It would probably be uncomfortable with raised murrini on the surface of the reverse side, but maybe I could work around that with cold working or extra fusing. And, would someone want to pay such a high price for a double sided piece if you only see one when being worn? And on and on.

Lots of things to consider when designing something different. At least, that’s the approach I take. I want all bases covered. These are too time consuming to chalk a piece up as a learning device.  I will educate myself as much as possible ahead of time and still learn a lot from the pieces that I will do differently in the next one.

The Adventure of Myself

Sounds pretty exciting, doesn’t it? It’s not at all.

School ended for the kids at the end of May and I casually decided to take a week off from the studio. Not because I needed a break but because, well, I could. And, not like I can’t do that any other time. I just consciously said, “I’m taking a week off.” I find it stressful to try and get out there while the kids are home. Even though they’re old enough to take care of themselves, I just can’t disconnect the mom-brain enough to get into the headspace I like/need in order to be the creative genius required in this line of work.

That one week off has lasted until now, what, like 6 weeks? That’s not entirely true as I had to get a few pieces done for some juried stuff. This week marks the end of that break and back into the studio, armed with all kinds of new ideas.

During my little sabbatical I have had the above-mentioned Adventure of Myself. I have pondered and realized a lot of things about myself. Many of those things come and go but some of them have stuck with me.

Geometric Bead

I have realized that I hate summer. Yes, it’s hot in Arizona but that’s not what I don’t like. I don’t like the freedom of sleeping in and doing nothing because, well, I take the opportunity and then I feel like crap because nothing got accomplished. Oh sure, I’ve gotten things done, baked bread, made it to yoga class, gotten my work into a few exhibitions, came up with some new techniques, blahbidy blah. But, really, I could have done so much more, and not just work. Stuff that I could have enjoyed. I don’t mourn the lost time but I do judge the lethargy that oozes out of my pores in summer.

Some may say that that is what summer is for. Relaxing, taking it easy. Well, maybe, but if you enjoy work and being productive, relaxing and taking it easy to extent that I’ve just done isn’t as satisfying as being in the studio creating.

The pieces shown in this post will be in the ISGB Geometric exhibit at this years Gathering convention in Rochester, NY. You can read the requirements at that link if you’re interested.

Geometric Bead

While this piece may look very basic (the design is), the technique is a multi-step process combining cold-working and fusing as well as lampworking. While there is a big focus on going beyond the bead, incorporating other media into beads or using beads to create something more than jewelry, this is an example of combining techniques within the glass toolbox to come up with something different from the traditional torch-worked-only bead. I like it.

The idea popped into my head right away when I read the Geometric guidelines. Clean simple design with no color, it had to be. I flashed back to a retro feel (I think).  It is not my preferred aesthetic but it works for this brilliantly. AND, the good news about this is that it has led me to an idea that I am attempting to incorporate into the micro mosaics. Of course I will show it when I have an example.