Ketchup on Steak Jewelry Collection Inspiration

All About the Holy Guacamole Collection

How's that for a Collection Title?

I’m going to be honest with you here…I’m nervous about putting this collection out into the world. But, in an effort to be true to myself, I’m stepping outside of my comfort zone and jumping off the cliff.

In reality, it’s not a big deal. The only thing I really have to lose is a bunch of my time that it will take to create it. I don’t know why I create these silly stories in my head.

Here’s the thing…the stones that I’m going to be using aren’t 100% formed naturally like a lot of other stones that I use. In fact, I cannot tell you exactly how they were made. I do know that they contain turquoise that has been reconstituted into a composite with copper, maybe another metal, and maybe even some dye. Cringe. There it is. I said it.

I was reassured that they don’t fade. My stone dealer is reputable, and I trust them.

I’ve really been struggling with this, y’all. When I create any type of art I’m all about durability and longevity. I want my pieces to be able to withstand anything that comes their way, short of being run over by a truck, or abused or mishandled in some other extreme way. I can also be kind of a purist when it comes to materials, which is kind of funny because I used to work with polymer clay, which is a plastic. (I still love polymer, though).

But when I started my shopping for the year at the Quartzsite show I saw these stones and fell in love with them. I resisted getting them because of my reservations. I also had never bought from this vendor, and they were from out of the country and I didn’t want to take a chance on something that I couldn’t return easily if they didn’t work out.

A couple weeks later I went to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show and there they were again. This time I found them at my regular dealer’s booth, and the cuts and finishing was even better. I bit my lip, walked around and had a little conversation in my head. Then I heard my husband’s voice:

“If you like it, you like it. Who cares if they say you shouldn’t eat ketchup on steak? Eat what you like.”

That man can spit some pretty wise words sometimes when I’m being such a rule-follower. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t eat ketchup on steak at a fancy place because there are too many other good, expensive things I can get on top. But give me a regular old grocery store steak at home? I’m all about the Heinz 57.

So that’s how the collection name came about. It has me thinking a lot about why we do the things we do, and how we can miss out on things we like because we care too much about what other people think. My resounding conclusion has been, F%$@ it. Life’s too short. That seems to be a common theme with me these days.

I love these damn little stones, and if I want to put them into jewelry, I’m going to do it. I hope that you love what I come up with. I’ll be sharing more about the process and inspiration as the days go by, leading up to the collection debut.


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. 


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.