Monthly Archives: February 2014

A Return to Wanton Creativity

Alice in Wonderland Bib Necklace
Alice in Wonderland Bib Necklace

Before you ask…

No.  I am NOT caught up on all the things.

Wholesale ordering on website ready? Nope.

Digital Images site fully stocked?  Nope.

Laundry folded and put away?  Bwah-Ha-Ha!!!! No!

But there comes a time in an artist’s life when she must set aside trivial things like laundry and tax returns and focus on the truly important things in her life.  Her cat, and making stuff.  Really Cool Stuff.  Over the top, eye-catching, jaw dropping, THIS IS WHY I WANTED TO BE AN ARTIST stuff.  That day was Tuesday.

What makes these pieces so special?

In an average day I make around 30 pieces, more if its an earrings kind of day.  But this week I spent each day on only ONE gorgeous signature necklace.  All of the individual components were worked up in advance (images tweaked and printed, game pieces decoupaged, resin cast, sanded and drilled, Watch movements cleaned, wire wrapped and resin cast…) so all I need to focus on was glorious creation and creativity.

And glorious it was!

The Reveal

The Mermaid’s Tail:

The Mermaid’s Tail necklace is *almost* finished…just another hour or two of beadwork before she goes on display at the Rust Belt this Saturday.

Mermaid's Tail Necklace
Mermaid’s Tail Necklace

The final version has an additional row of beaded chain and two quarter sized vintage watch movements.  I’ll have pictures of the final version up on Instagram soon, and if you’re in the area you can stop by the Rust  Belt  Market  on the corner of 9 mile and Woodward…

Up close and personal with the mermaid's tail
Up close and personal with the mermaid’s tail

The Wonderment Necklace:

I’ve been working with Tenniel’s iIllustrations for Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass for a while now, mostly on my Poker Chip Gypsy Junk style layering necklaces.  These aren’t simple pieces in any way, but compared to this lady they may as well be just a trinket on a chain.

Wonderment Necklace
Wonderment Necklace

Layers of salvaged chain, glass beads, vintage buttons and decoupaged antique game pieces arranged to make one unified wonderland of a necklace.  This may be the most colorful piece I have EVER made.  The Divine Iguana loves color.  The Divine Iguana approves.

Up Close and Personal with AliceAlice will be with me at the market this weekend as well, but probably won’t hit  Etsy for a day or two.  If you’re local stop by and see her in person at the Rust Belt.

The Tangled Pearls Necklace:

My favorite piece is the one that started the whole delightful mess.  The Tangled Pearls necklace is perhaps my favorite piece to date.  And it only took ten hours to construct!  That’s sarcasm…this thing consumed an entire day and most of the night.  It was totally worth it…

Tangled pearls Steampunk Necklace
Tangled Pearls Necklace

She’s available on Etsy RIGHT NOW, and she’ll also be with me at the Divine Iguana shop inside the Rust Belt Market this weekend.  I’m pretty excited to share her with the world.  She’s made entirely of salvaged chain embellished with repurposed glass and faux pearl beads and a myriad of hand-wrapped antique mother-of-pearl buttons.   And did I mention this beauty is reversible?!

Steampunk Bridal Couture Necklace
Up close and personal with the Tangled Pearls Necklace


Lost knowledge, collotypes, and Grandma Tootsie’s cinnamon rolls

A blog about losing knowledge. I wrote this post years ago for my old blogspot account and, ironically enough, almost lost it when I transferred to the new format. I found an archived copy of it, and thought I’d share it with my new readers. The topic still intrigues me, and the article reminds me that I ought to try and catch up with John. I hope he’s still working in the same medium he was back when I wrote this article.

There used to be people who could tell what sort of trees were overhead by the sound the wind made as it blew through their leaves. There are very few of these people, if any, remaining in the world today and most of us will never realize that such knowledge ever existed.


On February 5, 2010 the last speaker of the Bo language, a woman named Boa Sr, died. Although her language had been extensively studied, it will never again be truly understood with all its nuance and subtle beauty. Boa Sr was the last keeper of this knowledge. She was a bridge between the past and the present and her death seals us permanently into a new era. There is no going back. Only forward.

The loss of knowledge is constant, slow and steady. Think of your grandmother’s sewing machine, covered in dust, its manual long lost. She did not need the instructions, you never needed to learn and now that she has gone the machine will sit idly until someday NO-ONE will know how to use it.

My Great-Grandmother used to make cinnamon rolls from a recipe she held in her head. It was her grandmother’s recipe. She never taught any of the children how to make them, never wrote down the recipe and now it is lost forever. I know it stared with a “a small handful of flour and enough butter to make it moist”. We will never get to cinnamon rolls from there.

I will never make these.  Nor will you.

This process goes faster and faster as technology progresses. How long until no-one remembers how to program punch cards? or program games for the Atari?

Today I met someone who knows how to print Collotype. Real collotype, with gelatin and a host of toxic, photosensitive chemicals. The process was replaced in commercial printing with the advent of offset lithography and has become almost completely obsolete in the digital era. Young artists do not need to master such a complicated, time consuming and hazardous technique to get the results they want. Even Wikipedia’s page on the collotype is woefully vague. This knowledge is fading. John is one of the last keepers of this gateway into our past, and he is not an old man.  He is a man with strong roots into our own past, into the how of things.  A true printmaker.  A dying breed.

After some searching I found a shop in Florence, Italy that still prints fine art editions in with traditional Collotype technique.  Alinari Printworks is one of the last gateways into this dying art form.  This is a commercial printhouse, specializing in museum reproductions.  They do not seem to be creating NEW pieces in the medium. The medium has stagnated.  The end is nigh.  But, boy are the prints beautiful!  No digital print has yet come close to achieving the glorious color and lush surface of a collotype.