Monthly Archives: May 2013

Something Old and Something New

herband billphoto by Marcy Merrill

Wedding rings are a great example of jewelry with meaning. Chosen with care to represent both individuals and their union to each other, it is always a great honor for me to work with a couple to custom design the rings that will signify their commitment  and love.

Recently I made the wedding rings for my friends Herb and Bill, from Astoria, Oregon. They have been together for nearly twenty years. On March 4, 2004, they were legally married in the state of Oregon. The rings they used in that ceremony  were made by a  Hopi silver smith, purchased on a previous trip to Sedona,  Arizona.

Eight months after they were married, same sex marriage was repealed in Oregon. It will go back on the ballots in November 2014. Although same sex marriage is now legal in nearby Washington state (yay!) they choose not to get re- married there.They are going to wait for it to pass ( again) in their home state.

Herb and Bill asked me to design some new rings for them, using parts of their original wedding bands. They really liked the organic texture and form of my reticulated silver bands.The idea was to incorporate a piece from each of their rings into the design. Herb’s ring had four bear paw prints across the top, in gold. The bear symbolizes healing, protection, power and strength. Bill’s ring had a four part  wave motif in gold. The wave symbolizes continuous life and love.

I started preparing the metal during a full moon in April. Lots of positive thought and intention went into the process. It was a bit of a challenge to work with elements that were not completely of my own making. I really hoped that the stylized and polished Hopi designs would mesh with my funky free form organic silver bands….

When the rings were finished, I called Bill and Herb.

They planned a trip up to my studio in Tokeland. (Coincidentally, it was during another full moon.)

They were more than delighted with the look and fit of their new wedding bands! We drank a champagne toast to their new rings and continued happiness together…something old and something new.

bands

Making it a romantic weekend, they stayed at the historic Tokeland Hotel. Built in 1885, it is the oldest resort hotel in Washington state. They invited me to be their guest for diner that night. We enjoyed a delicious dinner and great company, in the rustically charming dining room, wood stove blazing brightly as the rain came down outside.

 

hotelhttp://www.tokelandhotel,com/home.html

 

herb and bill22

Here’s to you Herb and Bill, all the best and many thanks!!!

Surfin Dolls and Sea Marbles

ALTRUDA1012033Photo by Marcy Merrill

Sea marbles are rare treasures found on the NE coast of England and Scotland. They may also be found in Hawaii, but the real mecca for these beauties are beaches in the UK. They are referred to by the natives there as Codds, in honor of Hiram Codd, an inventor who in the late 1800’s developed a bottle which utilized a marble to keep carbonated beverages fizzy.

hiramcodd2   Hiram Codd                                    codd_historical

The marble was sealed inside the bottle, floating to the top to form a seal that kept the bubbles from escaping. The marbles could only be released by breaking the bottle.

There is something about a marble that conjures up the magic of childhood-and when they have been tumbled in the sea for one hundred years or so, and have a frosty luminessence -even better!

bluemarblependant  sea marble necklace

ALTRUDA1012022 Sea Salt Ring-frosted light green marble

I have been saving one marble in particular for a while-it was just too beautiful to “let go” of. A two- tone blue swirl, that looked like a wave and/or a yin yang symbol. I decided to use it in a ring and as I worked on it, in my imagination was the sound of waves crashing on the beach and the cry of sea gulls… the smell of salty air mixed with sun tan oil.

I envisioned a surfer girl wearing it as she rode the waves.

seamarbleclose upseamarble

Last weekend, I posted a picture of the ring on my facebook jewelry page. I had just bought a new camera and was excited to show what a difference a good macro feature can make with close up shots.

It was seen by a beautiful surfer girl by the name of Eve-who happened to be at Westport’s Annual Clean Water Surf Challenge. That afternoon, she came to my studio and tried it on. It was a perfect fit. Meant to be.

I am so happy to think of this bitchen ring finding the perfect person to wear it!

Cowabunga, Doll!

eve

gidgetThe original surfin doll,Kathy Kohner aka: Gidget

 

places and traces

tokemao

For over thirty years I have lived in this place called Tokeland in Washington state. It has been the longest lasting relationship in my life, not counting my family-none of whom live remotely close to here (but they do enjoy visiting in the summer.)

I came up here from Southern California when I was in my early twenties and found a way of life in a small rural community that continues to evolve. Sometimes I am in love with this place. Other times it is a test of endurance. Fourteen years ago I became a mother. My children, Sophia and Raleigh have enriched my life beyond compare (more about them in a future post.)

Somehow I am managing to raise my two children and still serve the needs of my muse (she is sort of a bitch if I don’t!)

I do love a challenge.

Here are a few pictures of places that inspire the jewelry I make…

IMG_5387    king tide, November 2012.

IMG_6357    IMG_6364

 

The highest tides of the year are called King Tides-we get them in roughly Fall and Spring. This was an 11.5 ft tide as seen from the beach where I live on Willapa Bay.

About three hours by car to the north, on the Olympic Peninsula,are rocky beaches that play host to all kinds of sea creatures. I love the shapes, colors, movement and life on display in salt water pools.As a child I was fascinated by tide pools-still am.

IMG_4899                              ane3

tide pool, Ruby Beach, WA                                                            sea anemone ring

 JUNE 2012015

Salt water rings on a kelp bed-photo by Marcy Merrill, my very special photographer friend who lives in the neighborhood.But more about Marcy in a future post!

Salt Water Jewelry

A beautiful, clear sky this morning in Tokeland. Days like this are too rare for studio work.or computer time…but before I head off for the beach, I would like to share a few very recent pieces of new work with you.

 

IMG_6345                     IMG_6362

All of these are made with sea glass found in the UK. The shapes of the glass are used ” as found”.That means, no reshaping of the sea glass has been done. That makes finding a piece that is suitable for jewelry and has a unique shape a real score!

I love heart shapes.In this pendant, a tiny pale green heart is surrounded with textural silver layers and a rich pink sapphire dangle.

The burgundy red sea glass in the ring is set in 18KT gold, with a small diamond sparkling off to one side.The shape of the sea glass is suggestive of a heart (maybe it’s the color) or a shield- is there a metaphor there?

IMG_6375   Salt Water earrings: I could see  Aceta, the Nereid of the Shore in ancient Greek mythology taking these earrings off and leaving them on a rock to go for a swim….especially on a day like today.

May your day be full of wonder!

Oxygen

IMG_6307_2                      IMG_6306

Sometimes people ask me what kind of set up I use for soldering. I like oxygen and propane, and use a Hoke torch. Today I am taking the empty oxygen tank into Aberdeen (the closest town to us of size, about 40 miles away)  to exchange it for a full one. About every couple of months or so I need to do this….There are two welding supply places in the industrial part of Aberdeen, about a block apart from each other. One of them has a guy working there who looks like the actor Sterling Hayden ( The Asphalt Jungle, The Killing, Johnny Guitar…)

Hope he is there today…

Sterling Hayden On A Boat                                sterling1