23 February 2008

avian architects

years ago i caught a fascinating episode of Nature on PBS called "bower bird blues" and it has been an inspiration to me ever since. the episode showcased the mating rituals of male bower birds who create intricate structures (bowers) from twigs and found objects to impress the local females. one example to the left features a bower bird who has designed his bachelor pad with red flowers and seashells. other kinds of bower birds decorate with berries, plastics, glass and other found objects. the birds are quite particular about their designs. they will constantly tidy their bowers and if a particular design element is displaced, will put it back "where it belongs" as soon as it spies the disorder. the male bowers also thieve amongst one another - stealing design concepts and even bits of each others bowers to maintain their own bowers as the most alluring to their female counterparts. as a designer who works with found objects, i consider these birds (with their odd ways) my avian kin and i just thought i'd take a moment to share their extraordinary story.

18 February 2008

cast iron taxidermy

while i've always been drawn to the creepy allure of true taxidermy pieces, there's a whole lot of me that couldn't bear to think of a once-cute critter sitting on my wall for all eternity. so i was really thrilled to find this antique cast iron wolf bottle opener this past weekend while i was out hunting for jewelry supplies. the photo doesn't convey the slight reds and browns that subtly bring this fella to life, but this bold three-dimensional oddity is going to be a permanent fixture on my wall soon. a cast iron (animal friendly) nod to taxidermy just for me. YAY!

13 February 2008

on the nightstand

I have to take a brief moment to mention this fascinating book that I've just finished reading. Using the unimaginable tragedy of the Nickel Mines, PA school shooting as its jumping off point, Amish Grace explores and explains how the Amish culture has embraced the practice of forgiveness. (The families of the young girls killed and injured in that shooting almost immediately forgave the shooter for his transgressions and welcomed his family into their hearts). When the news of this forgiveness reached the media, it nearly eclipsed the story of the tragedy itself as modern society could not understand how this culture could forgive such a purely evil act.
When I first heard of the Amish response to this tragedy, I was hoping for a book or editorial that may shed more light on the practice of forgiveness in the modern era (an era that seems hell-bent on vengeance as a response to any personal (or national) affront) - and this is that book. While the Amish find their call to forgive primarily in the study of their anabaptist faith, as a person who does not actively participate in organized religion, I think anyone who yearns to understand more about the human spirit will find comfort and inspiration in these pages.

09 February 2008

beguiling birdie

this wee golden birdie is posing quite a mystery to me. i came across him this week at the flea market and for $2 he simply had to come and live with me. yet for the life of me i cannot figure out his past. he's flittered from booth to booth at the flea market and no one knows exactly what to make of him. he doesn't have a clasp so we know he's not a pillbox. he smells like metal, not perfume so we don't think he held any lotions or potions. so far the only logical occupation i think he could have held is as a table salt holder...if anyone has any ideas about what secrets this wee birdie could hold from his past life. please feel free to comment below!

06 February 2008

On the newsstands...

Country Living Magazine has graciously included four of my designs in the "Out & About" section of their March 2008 issue. This is actually my very first exposure in a print magazine and I couldn't be more excited. Even more thrilling than being included amongst such amazingly talented jewelry designers is to see my designs styled with such grace and elegance (thank you to Marina Malchin the extremely talented stylist who put this story together)!! The issue is currently in the homes of those fortunate enough to have a subscription to this magazine and will be available on newsstands just before Valentine's Day!
The issue also features incredibly inspiring profiles of female entrepreneurs who have made fantastic strides in both business and artistry!
Thank you Country Living!

04 February 2008

a song in the heart

i've come across a really eclectic collection of vintage petite music box keychains that i've transformed into whimsical pendants - all of which will be debuting in the shop over the next week or so. this dainty and delicate piece features a teensy music box with a mother of pearl checkerboard pattern on the front (the lid comes off to show the music box itself!!) and plays what i think may be a bit of beethoven's "fur elise" (gah...my seven years of german is nagging me that i cannot put an umlaut above that "u" in elise!!) i've made a bunch of these over the past year and i cannot seem to stop obsessing over them. coming soon will be a few floral designs, a really mod bright red starburst, and a golden style. yay!

02 February 2008

flea market finds

since i spent the last post discussing the lovely folks who supply me with goodies at the local flea market, i thought i'd spend this post sharing a recent, favorite find from that same place. i truly couldn't believe my luck when i spied this beauty on a table. could it be real? a wee bird cage/music box/jewelry chest? and in my favorite avocado shade of green!! and it works! heavens to betsy. but indeed it was - the stars were on my side. although a bit dusty at the time, for $5 who could resist. i brought it home, used an old toothbrush to give a thorough cleaning to the bottom of the cage and voila, a sweet swinging bird (check out the photo progression to see how the bird swings when the drawer opens) meant for the top of my dresser. and there he sits - and holds precious treasures. thank you flea market!!!!