Thursday, May 21, 2015


I have always been fascinated by trends. Why do certain things become popular? Who decides that something is worthy or cool? As a teenager I remember having a discussion with my mother's boyfriend, an antiques dealer, about trends and motifs in Arts and Crafts antiques(his specialty). He made it his job to research those trends and to anticipate what to buy based on the vagaries of people's collective taste. I remember thinking how cool it was to be able make your living by researching a very narrow area of interest and becoming an expert in that niche.

 Now, as an artist and designer, I feel that I am mining similar territory. I am tapping in to a niche consciousness of people who value the same trends and motifs that I myself find compelling and valuable. Feathers and Turquoise, Anyone? How about the Natural World, Farming & Food, or the Luxurious Bohemian? Clearly I am not the only jewelry artist exploring these particular landscapes. Clearly, there is a pretty wide audience out there that is hungry for these distinct aesthetics. Which is pretty cool. Because it is as though we are all having this rather large and informal conversation. Which is facilitated all the more through forums such as Tumblr, Instagram, and Facebook.
Although being original and innovative is surely a highly prized trait of an artist, I would assert that interpreting trends is valid too. And the reason trends thrive is because they reflect the Zeitgeist of a culture.

"The Zeitgeist (spirit of the age or spirit of the time) is the intellectual fashion or dominant school of thought that typifies and influences the culture of a particular period in time." (Wikipedia)

I am well aware that the Zeitgeist influences my work. How could it not?

According to German philosopher Georg Hegel, Art reflects, "by its very nature, the culture of the time in which it is created. Culture and art are inextricable because an individual artist is a product of his or her time and therefore brings that culture to any given work of art."(Wikipedia)

So, the whole reason I got to thinking about trends, the Zeitgeist, and this big, open, ongoing cultural conversation(well, I think about it a lot actually) is because of this custom order I just finished. I have a necklace that I made that is NOT for sale. It is one of, maybe, two necklaces that I have created and actually decided NOT to sell off my body. Sometimes they just feel too personal. I have had several people attempt to buy it and I always demur.

Recently, however, a client requested I replicate the design, which I was happy to do. Most people(thanks to the good ol' Zietgeist) think this necklace is referencing the Evil Eye. But, in reality, I was more inspired by the concept of the Third Eye(Enlightenment) and by the 2012 Album Visions by the artist Grimes.
In the Aegean Region and other areas where light-colored eyes are relatively rare, people with green eyes, and especially blue eyes, are thought to bestow the curse, intentionally or unintentionally.[10] This belief may have arisen because[citation needed] people from cultures not used to the evil eye, such as Northern Europe, are likely to transgress local customs against staring or praising the beauty of children.(Wikipedia)

Grimes totally referencing the Zeitgesit, btw, with the schoolgirl's uniform and the writhing python. Who does THAT remind you of??

But in really real reality, it probably WAS influenced by the overwhelming abundance of Evil Eyes that are inundating Instagram accounts and etsy Treasuries the DigitalWorld over. I mean, how could that NOT somehow seep into my subconscious?

We are all here having this conversation. Ever more connected.

Some other goodies I made in the studio this week: Feathers: A trend singlehandedly masterminded by Yours Truly?? I think not. But executed with my own Fabulous Personal Lens? Yes and You're Welcome!

Spotted Feather Earrings. Available in my Shop!

Dancing Nancy's Dangly Feather Earrings. Available in my Shop!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Mother's Day at the Farmer's Market

I am so very lucky to be a part of the Atlanta Farmer's Market community!

And Mother's Day at the market is always one of my favorite days of the Season. This year at Grant Park Farmer's Market, I got to interact with so many mamas and their babies, young & old and everything in between.

A new design I have been developing, standing Feather Vases, making their debut at market.

I love to go the extra mile with packaging on Mother's Day! These are some wax flowers I got at Whole Foods. They are perfect as a gift-wrap garnish because they don't wilt easily. Like baby's breath, but better! And they smell fresh and lemony.

The mother-child bond is so very sacred and strong for me. I lost my own mother two years ago, with no warning and no chance to say goodbye. It is hard for me to even share that sentence, but a little bit freeing I guess. It was definitely one of those Mother-Daughter relationships where she was my favorite person and best friend. So there is a big swirl of feelings around Mother's Day, from joy and bittersweet nostalgia to jealousy and grief. Her name was Diane.

One of the first visits of the day was my favorite. I can't tell you how touched I was by these two. Beautiful Tania and her adorable daughter Nina came through and took their time admiring and exclaiming over each and every piece, then helped each other to choose their favorite piece; a sweet little leaf ring for Nina, and some gorgeous green kyanite earrings for Tania.

The sweetest Mother and Daughter, Tania and Nina.

The love between these two  is absolutely palpable. Tania told me that Nina showered her with a whole host of Mother's Day presents that day including a bracelet, and some money, which is totally hilarious yet adorable!

The two of them just made me feel grateful that while my Mom was here, we shared such a deep connection and mutual love for one another. Not every one gets that. We are all blessed with different gifts in this life.

Another special visit was from my buddy Cate, another Mom and a fellow Jewelry Artiste. We used to share a booth at art shows back in the day; I kind of gave her a helping hand into the wonderful world of the Outdoor Art Festival, which was a pleasure and privilege!
She was hankering after a piece she saw me post on social media, and snapped it up as a Mommy's Day present to herself.

The piece Cate saw on Instagram, Buddy McFly. Available in my etsy shop.

Cutie Cate werkin' her layered necklaces.

It is always so flattering when another jewelry designer buys your work. It kind of helps to alleviate the sting you feel when you overhear some lady in your booth tell her child "Put that back, we can make that at home." Tee hee hee.

At some point during the market, I could have sworn I heard a baby goat. Sure enough as the market wound down, I had the pleasure of meeting Mel, and her week-old baby, Bug. (photo)
Mel was very sweet about letting me pet and cuddle with Bug. There is a strong and natural falling in love that comes over me whenever I encounter a baby of any species, especially if its fuzzy and/or furry.

Me 'n' Bug
Well, a picture of a baby goat, I can't top that. Scene.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Queen Joni; The Original Artist as Muse

Music is such an important part of who I am, especially as a creative person. One time my stepdaughter said I was "like, 50% music," which coming out of her mouth sounded like a sarcasm-tinged observation, but sounded to me like glowing praise!

Joni Mitchell has always, always topped my list of Inspirations and Role Models; her sublime excellence in her craft, her influence in her field, her soaring unparalleled talent in vocals, poetry, songwriting, piano, guitar, AND painting!! I also admire the way she never sugarcoats things, yet her music never makes me feel depressed. Rather, it intimates that there is some sort of essential truth out there; that life is a struggle, but there are moments of beauty in that struggle "like a shiny light breaking in a storm"(from the song "Willy"). This is the precise feeling that my best, most emotionally connected pieces of jewelry strive for; the beauty of hanging in the balance.

A buddy of mine just sent me a quick email with the link for a short article about Joni; I make my Joni Worship widely known. As far as I am concerned, if people choose to associate me with her, I am winning!

Joni Mitchell Is Not a "60s Folksinger"."

This article was short and sweet, and made me realize that I wanted to revisit some of Joni's albums that I haven't listened to for years. The beauty of her body of work is how much it is has evolved and spanned the decades. I mean, she hasn't stayed the same, and neither have you or I.  Her 90s album "Turbulent Indigo" likely won't strike me the same way today that it did when it came out in 1994 when I was a just a high school pup. She doesn't aim to stay relevant by popular music standards and never has. She only aims to stay true to herself. No wonder so many other artists admire her and cite her as an influence.
Photo Credit: Norman Jean Roy, New York Magazine
I chose to share the above pic, because while nostalgic pics of Joni looking like a nubile folk goddess are quite pleasing, I find her even more impactful in owning her current-day Badassery and poise.

 One of the biggest motivators for getting me into the studio, besides having a idea that is searing a hole in my brain, is looking forward to listening to a particular album or artist. On deck: "Turbulent Indigo" by Joni. Just reading the line the author of the above article pulled: "Oh, what do you know about living in turbulent indigo?, "makes me Feel. Something. Strongly.  Let's see where that takes me today...I'll keep you posted!


ni Mitchell is Not a “60s Folksinger”

Joni Mitchell is Not a “60s Folksinger”

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Foraging is Fun with Crack in the Sidewalk Farmlet!

Ever since I serendipitously stumbled across morels in my own backyard last Spring, the concept of foraging for wild foods has become less a romantic notion and more of a realistic hobby. Being a Farmer Groupie, I am lucky to have a  short list of friends that I trust to say yea or nay if I text them a photo of a questionable find. The internet is rad, but a real human giving you the green light is next level!

Foraging for wild foods is not only like playing a mixture of needle in a haystack and Where's Waldo, it really feels like you are getting away with something. Its free! And also empowering.

Last week my buds at Crack in the Sidewalk Farmlet, Chris and Isia, put out a call for volunteers to help them whip their space into shape for an upcoming Benefit Dinner (The Spring Tonic). I had never actually visited their farm before, which is located in the plentiful urban ghetto blight of South Atlanta and was super curious to see what they had going on over there.

After schlepping and cleaning on the farm for a bit, my reward came when Isia asked me if I wanted to accompany her and intern Chris on a short drive down the street to forage for Bristly Locust blossoms. I think she said something like "Who wants to go on an adventure?" Um, those are the magic words! We soon pulled up to an abandoned and boarded-up house with a front yard swimming in gorgeous and delicate pink blossoms. Bristly Locust is a legume and relative of the pea family, and tastes like a delicate pea shoot. Delish.

Bristly Locust Blossoms

As always, I found the cameraderie of harvesting with my chums irresistible. Working in the jewelry studio can be lonely and isolating. There's nothing like working together on a common project in the out of doors to create and deepen the friendship bonds. AHHHhh!

After we returned to the farm, I spent some QT with the Chicken Posse, and swiped an especially pretty feather for later. Not really swiped because the chickens said I could have it. I stuck the feather in my backpack, hoping it wouldn't get too mangled. Then, I managed to get a precious few picturesque snaps of the farm before my camera, unceremoniously, died.

When I got back into the studio later in the week, I whipped out this design that has been rolling around in my brain for a while: A Feather Vase Necklace. It is really more of an invention than a design, if I do say so myself, as I felt there was a clear NEED for a way to hang on to your nature treasures on the go, without them getting mangled in a pocket or backpack. The groovy thing about this design is that the feather is removable, so you can tuck a different treasure in the teensy vase if you like. Say, a dried flower, or maybe even an insect wing. Get cray!
Feather Vase Necklace: Brass, Recycled Silver, Turquoise, Chicken Feather from Crack in the Sidewalk Farmlet.