Maybe You’re Not Allergic to Metals in Jewelry

Do Your Ears Itch When You Put in Earrings?

I had my ears pierced way back in high school and everything was OK. I won’t go into the time that my dad tried to pierce my ears with a needle and ice, with his giant fingers and my tiny ear lobes.

I even got a piercing way up on my ear in the cartilage and enjoyed that for a while. It was the late 70s and double-piercing your ear lobes was just starting to be a thing, so I did that too. That didn’t go so well.

They got really sore and I couldn’t wear earrings in those holes. I don’t know the exact progression of things but at some point I couldn’t even wear the first, regular piercings. As soon as I’d put earrings in my ear lobes would start to itch, and turn bright red.

I’d heard of people being allergic to metals and I thought that was what had happened to me, too. So I stopped wearing earrings. For about THIRTY years!

It wasn't an Allergy to Metals - And I Can Wear Earrings Again

Fast forward to the wonderful internet era. I was on a message board and the subject came up. A fellow artist, who was also a nurse, said it could be an infection, not an allergy. She suggested putting Bacitracin, or a triple antibiotic cream on my ear lobes and also on my ear wires before putting them in.

Would you believe that it worked? I did that and no itching!

At first it was a temporary fix because if I didn’t do the ointment, my ears would itch again. But, after I did it for a while, I tried without the ointment and would you believe that now I don’t even have to do that? I’ve only tried it with sterling silver ear wires that I make, so I don’t know what happens with base metals, or other metal compositions.

You Should Try It

If, at some point you started being unable to wear earrings, and think you’ve developed an allergy, you should give this a try. It can’t hurt you, other than the itchiness or other reaction you usually have if it truly is an allergy.

Of course, if you have big reactions, or if you’re sensitive to a Bacitracin or Triple Antibiotic ointment, don’t try this.

Good luck. I hope it works for you, and I’d love to hear if it does. I can say that I’m really happy that I can wear earrings again. 

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What is Art Jewelry?

I can’t believe that after all these years in the jewelry industry that I didn’t know that Art Jewelry was an official-ish title. I had always categorized my work as Bridge Jewelry; the bridge between costume and fine jewelry. I suppose my work still falls into the Bridge category, but there is a difference.

Sterling Silver and Blue Glass Art Jewelry Ring

Definition of Art Jewelry

According to Wikipedia, the value of Art Jewelry “emphasizes creative expression and design” rather than the value of the metals and gemstones as in Fine Jewelry. So, while craftsmanship can be important in both, the artistic expression is more of the focus in Art Jewelry.

The Wikipedia article goes on to say that, Art Jewelry “shares beliefs and values, education and training, circumstances of production, and networks of distribution and publicity with the wider field of studio craft. Art jewelry also has links to fine art and design.”

Sterling Silver and Red Glass Poison Berry Earrings

What Materials are Used in Art Jewelry?

Just like all art, anything goes. It could be cardboard and craft paste, OR, it can be those same high end materials that Fine Jewelry relies on.

My work falls somewhere in the middle, and I espouse one of the distinguishing factors of Art Jewelry: I create as many of my components by hand as possible, ensuring that every piece is one-of-a-kind, in limited small batch runs.

I fuse, grind, and polish, all of the glass stones in my collections. I sometimes use stones that are cut and polished by other artists (not machine made), and often refine the stones that I do purchase. I make all of my own ear wires, links, jump rings, and connectors. The only thing machine-made that I use are sometimes lobster clasps, and sections of chain that I modify, patina, and re-finish, with hand-picked closures. And I’ve had a foray into making some petite rings with cubic zirconias.

Custom Red Fused Glass Berry Cabochons

My Customers are Artistically-Literate

Art Nouveau was a big contributor to the Art Jewelry movement and I love this quote from the wiki page:

Art nouveau jewelry from France and Belgium was also an important contributor to art jewelry. Worn by wealthy and artistically-literate clients.

That is how I am going to envision my customers now. “Artistically-literate,” because my goal is to create for people who appreciate the arts, and need art with and around them as much as possible.

Custom Handmade Glass and Sterling Silver Jewelry Components

Beyond the Materials Why My Jewelry is Art Jewelry

I’ve had this burning inside of me to explain to people who haven’t seen it in person, what it is about my work that is moving. The definition of Art Jewelry does that.

Expression. Uniqueness. Focus on process. Intentionality.

If you are an art lover, these are all things that you can feel when you stand face to face with a piece of art that resonates with you. Who wouldn’t want that on their body at all times?

Here is an example: I used to think, “Meh, square boxes of color on a canvas,” when I saw photos of Rothko’s paintings. And then I saw one in person. I literally had to hold back tears. It was a weird experience, that I’d never had before. It vibrated. You could feel it. I’ll never forget that.

It’s the same overwhelmingly moving feeling I get when I go to kids events at school, or to a concert of one of my most favorite artists. You experience their hearts (or the heart of the teachers, in the kids example) that goes into their craft, their process, their love of the game.

But anyway, I’ve digressed. If you’re an artist that makes jewelry, or a jewelry fan that loves art, you really should read the Wiki article. It’s pretty fascinating.

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Am I Too Woo-Woo for You?

Who I Am, What I Believe...

Did you hear that deep sigh I just let out? I just got out of meditation and the message that I got was that today is the day that I tell you who the real me is. If you’ve taken any how-to-sell-handmade-online classes chances are you’ve been told that it’s essential to tell your story, so that your customers can connect with you.

I’ve tried it multiple times over the years, but it’s never felt 100% genuine. I mean, the different iterations have all been true, but they haven’t been the full story because I thought, that sure is going to be a small audience! Plus, it’s always morphing.

Right now, my About page touches on it but I realize that it took me so long to write because I was being very crafty in tiptoeing around telling you what really makes me, ME.

Just a photo of one of my hand-stitched evil eye tapestries, to break up all these words

So, the meditation guides have called me to task, and when you go in asking for guidance, and tell them that you want to hear clearly, it’s probably a good idea to do what they say once they tell you, right? And really, it’s probably not that big of a deal, but, here goes..

I'm a Closeted New Ager, for Lack of a Better Label

I have been this way my entire life, even before I knew what it was called. I guess you could call it my religion, but it’s not a religion. I believe that the sole purpose of a soul is to seek; to experience and learn, in this case, through this physical existence. I believe that we choose what we want to learn in this lifetime before we come here. I believe that we are not fated, nor that everything is pre-destined, but that we are presented with situations every single day that give us the opportunity to move closer to experiencing and learning that which we have chosen. We can choose not to learn what we chose, and there’s nothing wrong with that. There will be plenty of other opportunities if we want to try the same lesson again.

another hand-stitched piece on fabric to lighten the mood

I've Studied Lots of "Out There" Things

I’m a certified hypnotherapist, past-life regressionist, yoga nidra facilitator, and Reiki Master. I was baptized Catholic, didn’t practice, then was confirmed as an adult. I spent 10 years at an evangelical christian church. I’ve studied Taoism, and resonate with that system of belief, or non-belief, the most. 

I’ve studied a lot of modalities that most people have never heard of, and connected with most every one of them while doing so. I’ve spent time doing Shamanic journeying, inner child work, EMDR sessions, and many types of energy work over the years. I spent a year doing a secret order alchemy correspondence class. I believe in the law of attraction, and the other universal laws, although those kind of things have much deeper meanings than those that are presented to the masses. I still consult fellow woo-woo people to help me when I’m stuck, or can’t shake something bothersome.

I believe that everyone is perfect just as they are, and have lived my life by trying to put myself in other people’s shoes in order to gain understanding, and compassion, even when I don’t want to. I believe that difficult people in our lives are some of the most brave souls because they chose to come here and play that crappy role in the script of our lives so that we can have the experiences we chose to have. It doesn’t mean I have to like them, or spend time with them. They’re just here for a reason, just like I am.

I am fascinated with duality, and root causes of what makes people behave how they do, and how situations get to be how they are. I thrive on problem-solving and figuring things out.

I believe that we are all one, and while I have gotten glimpses of it, it’s a hard concept to hold for an extended period of time. I believe in everything, and I believe in nothing.

If I could have anything I wanted in life, it would be to be in what I call “the flow,” 100% of the time. I guess you could call that wanting to get back to the Source, because that is what I imagine that feels like.

Oh. And I talk with rocks.