Monday, March 23, 2020

03.23.20 March Madness 2020

Photo credit: Washington Post
I usually write my blog posts a couple of weeks before I actually put them up...that gives me time to try to be thoughtful, edit, and avoid putting up something that feels - and reads - like it was rushed.

When I first started this post - before all hell broke loose mid-month - I was going to write about participating in #MarchMeetTheMaker on Instagram.  I still want to give British designer Joanne Hawker, a shout out.

Photo credit: Joanne Hawker

She started the hashtag - and the challenge - with the goal of getting makers share things about themselves - and learn about others - through a month long series of prompts and posts.

Participating has been a great distraction - and a way for me to think about what I want to do differently, and better - when I return to the studio.

For now, though, like pretty much everyone else I know, I am going to #stayhome.  Except for those folks who are now in their 80s and 90s (and at extreme risk if they contract Covid-19) who lived through the Great Depression or World War II, none of us have ever experienced anything quite like this.

It's scary and it's stressful...and we really don't know how long it's going to go on.  I've also been reminded of how many things I take for granted...

Being able to go to the grocery store...

here in Texas we have fabulous home grown grocer in HEB. They had been preparing for the possibility that folks would be told to stock up on non-perishable items, but even the laid plans were no match for the panic buying that took place last week.   To their great credit, not only did HEB get things mostly back on the shelves and under control in a matter of days, they continue to be at the forefront of supporting communities in Texas in times of distress.

Being able to spend time with other people...

thank goodness for modern technology and social media.  My husband is able to work from home, we are able to stay in touch with our friends and family, and although it is somewhat isolating, it would be so much worse if we could not communicate.

Being able to travel freely...

we were just starting to plan our summer vacation as the directives to close business and work from home began.  I am still hopeful that we will be able to get together with all our kids for a week this summer, but for now - all that is on hold.

Being able to pay bills...

we are so fortunate.  No one in our immediate family works in a job in the retail or service industry that has been shut down by this pandemic.  But we have many, many friends who have scaled back their businesses, or had to close them completely for the time being.  We are doing what we can to be supportive - but this is bigger than anyone can handle on their own.

I can't tell you yet whether or not I'll continue to post every two honestly depends on how I'm feeling and if I think I have anything useful to say.

I am confident this won't go on indefinitely - but it could certainly be a while.  As communities around the world work through this - together - I am grateful for the support of each person who reads my blog.

Until next time - be well.

Monday, March 9, 2020

03.09.20 Tourist for a Day

This is the photo in my blog banner.  It is a collection of zircons from the Hall of Gems at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

I took it in the summer of 2013 (before I ever thought seriously about taking jewelry making classes) on a family vacation to Washington DC. I grew up in the DC suburbs, our family had a membership to the Smithsonian - and went often - this became my favorite exhibit more than 40 years ago.

In front of Calder's "Obus"

We were back in DC in February - it was a weekend of wall to wall family events - except for a few hours on our first day, we hopped on the Metro and headed out to be tourists!

We started at the National Gallery of Art - also a favorite - especially the contemporary art in the East Wing. Not only did I see Calder's sculptures and mobiles, but there is a new Ellsworth Kelly installation in the foyer.

Ellsworth Kelly at NGA

While my own work tends to be much less abstract - I have always loved the incredible use of vibrant color by both of these artists.  I could (and have) spend hours in the museum's light filled atrium just meditating on the objects around me.

NGA Degas Art Mug

After soaking up some culture, grabbing lunch, and this fabulous new mug (link in the photo caption if you want one too) - we headed over to the Museum of Natural History...because a Smithsonian visit is not complete without a trip through the gems.

I spent a couple of hours meandering through the halls filled with rough and finished stone specimens...but it was different from my previous experiences...this time I was looking at the gems and minerals as a jeweler. 
Cross section of Spectrolite

I could identify things by sight - without first looking at the information labels - and as I walked through, I was thinking about the various pieces I had made using the stones in the glass cases.

It sounds silly, but I was almost giddy when I realized how much more meaningful it felt to come back to this place with new knowledge.

I decided to take photos - a lot of photos - of the various stones I have used in my work, and I created an album on Facebook.  Over time, my plan is to add photos of my jewelry made with these minerals and gems in the comments under the pictures from the museum.

I loved this turquoise grouping (of course I did) - especially the piece showing the bright blue in the matrix, which I use in so many pieces.

I knew when I started taking classes at Creative Side that I would learn new things, but I continue to be surprised at how much knowledge I've acquired - about myself, the creative process, and the world around me - beyond what I expected.

Thanks as always for joining me on the journey.

Until next time.

Monday, February 24, 2020

02.24.20 Blue Wave

Postcards: January 2017
If you are a regular reader of this blog, or follow my social media, it will come as no surprise that I have not been happy about the state of political affairs in our country for several years...

I started writing postcards to members of Congress just days after this administration took office, then Resistbot came along, and I began sending regular electronic missives to Washington...and those fell on deaf ears.

I am now back to writing postcards, but this time it is not to elected officials, but to voters (who will hopefully send new people to statehouses and Washington in November).

Through a grassroots organization called Postcards to Voters, I've been writing cards to voters all across the country encouraging them to sign up to vote by mail, and participate in special elections for Democrats running in key races.  It feels much more productive than writing to Washington - where at best I get nothing in response, and at worst I get horrible form letters with canned language that isn't really related to my original message at all.

Stone Maven Designs on Etsy
At first I was printing the cards myself, from templates on the PTV website, but as I started following the organization and other writers on social media, I discovered makers who were creating cards especially for the effort!  I thought what could be better than supporting fellow artists - so I bought postcards from sellers on Etsy!

The first set I bought came from Stone Maven Designs, featuring great drawings of blue waves...and suddenly I was inspired to create some blue waves myself - in jewelry (of course).

I had already ordered a beautiful larimar cabochon and it seemed like the perfect choice for a wave on the back!

Just FYI - I'm keeping this one.

Then, I started thinking about how I could create a relatively affordable "Blue Wave" piece, so that I could donate a portion of the proceeds to progressive candidates and organizations.

I had some success with this concept during the 2018 election cycle when I created and sold several "Blue for Beto" pendants.

I ordered some pieces of vintage blue glass (which is a lot less expensive than larimar, lapis, kyanite or any other blue stone I can think of) and made a prototype.

These pendants are available, starting at $125 with a glass cabochon - more for a stone -  and with each sale, I will make a $25 donation to the (state or local) Democratic candidate or cause of the buyers choice.

The pendants can be customized in a few ways...

I can put a wave or a state cut out on the back;

the buyer can choose their bezel wire (straight, serrated or scalloped);

Shop on Etsy
I can make the pendant with our without an outer twisted wire ring or patina;

and of course, I can make them with a stone cabochon (price to be determined at the time the pendant is commissioned).

So...if you'd like to support the Blue Wave, click the "Shop on Etsy" link below the photo, hit me up with a comment here or DM me on Instagram.

If you want write postcards and support other makers, follow the links above to Postcards to Voters, and get your cards from Stone Maven Designs, Creative Dem or Mary Likes Postcards - all on Etsy.

Mary Likes Postcards on Etsy

Democracy doesn't just happen - it takes engagement from every one of us.  

Make sure you are registered to vote

Become informed about the candidates running for office at every level of government, and then go participate.

As Abraham Lincoln said in the Gettysburg Address (at a previous time when we were a very divided country), we are a nation "of the people, by the people, and for the people" - but only if the people participate.

Until next time.

Monday, February 10, 2020

02.10.20 Color of the Year

Photo credit: Pantone
I've always noticed - and even been amused - when Pantone announces their "Color of the Year", but this is the first time the selection provided any real inspiration for my jewelry.

I looked at the Classic Blue and thought...I love that color, and I actually have a lot of it in my jewelry wardrobe and my cache of cabochons...

...starting with lapis...

While trolling on eBay for (more) vintage earrings, I happened upon a pair of lapis drops just like the big turquoise ones I bought and converted to earwires...and thought - it's the color of the year - I've gotta have those!

Photo credit: Pantone

Then, I spent a little time on the Pantone site, including looking at their "complementary color guides" and dug into the stones in my collection for ideas.

In my stash was this gorgeous blue green azurite cabochon. I started there...setting it in a scalloped bezel and putting a heart on the back.  I think it looks like the earth from space, so I've named it "Love Your Mother".
Shop this pendant on Etsy

Maybe it was my subconscious, when I was creating a pendant inspired by our fragile planet, but next I decided to make a piece that provided some comfort, and maybe even a sense of protection for the wearer.

Shop this pendant on Etsy

I chose a piece of faceted lapis (from a lot of four that I purchased) and put a hamsa on the back.  I'm really pleased with this one, the color is beautiful and soothing.

Soldering 18K to argentium silver

Finally, for this blue series, I had an inspirational spark while watching television - and seeing Ted Muehling (a designer I love) earrings on the leads in both Blue Bloods and SVU...which got me to thinking about this lovely kyanite.  I decided to continue playing around with gold prongs on another pendant.

I definitely have a case of the blues for 2020 - in both a good and bad sense.  The state of the world is pretty overwhelming, but one of the best ways for me to manage it is in the jewelry studio, at the bench.

I imagine I will spend a lot of this year seeking to replace emotional blues with "classic" ones, set in silver and gold.

Until next time.

Monday, January 27, 2020

01.27.20 Something's bugging me...

While I (almost) always have a work plan when I go into the studio, it's usually about the stones I've chosen for that week - I don't set out to make a collection, or a group of pieces around a single theme...

...the realization that I have created a group of related pieces comes later, usually when I am updating my Etsy shop, or have finished all my work in progress and start thinking about what to do next.

I do a lot of things with a Southwestern theme, boots and saguaro cactus on turquoise, I've even done a couple prickly pears recently.

I've done a few birds, and as it turns out, I've also done bugs...quite a number of them.

It started in my first kinetic jewelry class, a couple of years ago, with De Pastel...when I decided to use a small monarch opal with a caterpillar on the back, because it made me think of Heimlich (who is bright green, as is the stone), from the movie A Bug's Life.

I'm not entirely sure WHY I thought of this particular bug - perhaps it was because when the movie came out (in 1998) it quickly became my daughter's favorite (she was three at the time) - and we watched it A LOT!

In any case, I wore the pendant recently, while working on some new pieces...including one with a dragonfly on the back. It occurred to me, for someone who doesn't like bugs...I sure have put them on a lot of pendants.

I made another kinetic pendant, with a small red and black stone (a bonus cab from one of my vendors) after making Heimlich, because I thought it looked like a ladybug (also one of the cast of characters in the movie).

I've done a "hunny" bee, inspired by Winnie the Pooh, and most recently the aforementioned dragonfly (which sold so quickly at a holiday trunk show, that I made another).

I purchased a couple of beautiful black mother of pearl cabs late last year, and when they arrived, I laid them side by side and thought they looked like dragonfly wings...that's generally how the cutouts evolve - it's not so much that I buy a cabochon with a specific design in mind (although that happens), more often the ideas flow once I have the stone in my hand.

Often, I'll buy a stone because I like the way it looks, with no real idea of how I will use it; with some pieces the designs pop into my head almost instantly, with others it takes a while, and there have been a few where the stone didn't speak clearly to me, and I made (and unmade) the piece more than once.

So there you have it - there's not as much method as madness in my design approach...but so far, it seems to be working.

Until next time.

Monday, January 13, 2020

01.13.20 Bad habits...

New year's posts generally focus on resolutions for change or improvement. Not for me, at least not this year.

If you are a regular - or even occasional - reader of this blog, it will come as no surprise to you that I have a bad earring habit...just go to the search bar in the upper right hand corner of the blog and type in

I probably have more posts about earrings than any other single topic, and I know I have more pairs than I do any other variety of jewelry...but does that stop me from acquiring more...


The most recent earring spree started late last summer, when I rediscovered a pair of turquoise earrings that I have had since high school, because they are a great match to the pendant I made my with my first foray into gold.

In the box with the turquoise drops, I found some other old jewelry (including the moonstone earrings I repaired) that I decided I'd put in my Etsy off I went to do some comparative pricing.

You'll recall that after making the moonstone earrings wearable again, I decided I was done setting small stones. Furthermore if I wanted more (because I don't need more) earrings, I would buy them.

But...I digress...
I went trolling on Etsy and eBay for prices on pieces similar to the ones I wanted to list in the Vintage section of my shop.  I found plenty of things for comparison...

I also discovered lots of inexpensive vintage silver earrings for sale that didn't need repair - just some cleaning up or new earwires (either replacing old screwbacks or the cheap ones that people had put on them to resell)...and things got a little out of control.

I found about a dozen pair that were $10-20, so I bought them all...cleaned them up, put them on new earwires (some on leverbacks, depending on the style). I even bought a few as gifts because they were such good matches to pendants I'd made.

I probably ought to stop...but that's not likely to happen, because it's become a form of entertainment for me...can I find some unloved pair of earrings to bring back to life for myself...or someone else.

So, keep an eye on my Instagram, where (most days) I post #todayearrings, and you are likely see all the old, tarnished baubles I'm giving new life for myself...or in my Etsy shop.

So, maybe that's my new year's resolution after all - to give old silver some love, new life and keep it from the scrap heap.

Happy new year!

Until next time.

Monday, December 23, 2019

12.23.19 Wrap it up, I'll take it!

Wow! What a holiday season this has been for me and my jewelry...

two years ago, I'd never done a holiday jewelry show - this year I did THREE!

The lovely folks at the Pottery Barn at the Arboretum (Austin) invited me to do an in-store pop up in mid-November.

It was a busy Saturday - the staff set me up about halfway back in the store, with some of their lovely jewelry boxes to use as display props. All afternoon I visited with shoppers as they were getting ready for Thanksgiving, and just starting to think about holiday gifts.

Some lucky people are going to get earrings in their stockings this week!

That same weekend was the first - of two - for the East Austin Studio Tour, or as most folks around here call it, EAST.
THE Ladysmiths
📷 @in.hansland @happyhannahkkuh

After a fun and profitable day on Saturday, I spent Sunday at Canopy, an artists' community in east Austin, where the Ladysmiths of ATX (I've written about them before) rented gallery space that opened just in time for the show.

This incredible group of women (I'll be writing a lot more about them in 2020) rented a space and got it ready in record time, then brought in nearly two dozen women artists (including me) to sell handcrafted jewelry, ceramics, textiles and fine art!

I am so excited to have a local gallery space where my jewelry is on display and for sale...because it wasn't just open during EAST; for at least the first few months of 2020, the space will be open for business every weekend!

📷 @lindsayhendricksjewelry
Not only did my jewelry (and that of everyone who was there) do well at EAST, it was a treat to spend two weekends watching people - LOTS of people - come in, and shop for handcrafted art and jewelry.

Yes - we were tired when it was over - but, very happy.

I took a break (from in person jewelry sales) for the week of Thanksgiving, but I ran a sale on Etsy (so thanks to all those shoppers, too). When I got home, it was time to get ready for the my last event of the season...

...the Second Annual Holiday Trunk Show at Creative Side Jewelry Academy.

📷 @lindsayhendricksjewelry
For the second year in a row, the incredibly hard working staff of CJSA turned the studio space where I make jewelry into booths for more than a dozen members to set up shop.  It was wonderful to have guests come in and see our work - and our space - and it was especially wonderful to just hang out with my benchmates.

Generally, when we are in the studio, we're working - so our heads our down (sometimes our earbuds are in) and we're sawing, hammering and using power tools...but a few times a year, we come together as a group and get to socialize...and it makes me even more grateful for the place and the people that I have come to think of as a second home, and family.

I'm thankful, too, for my online community.  I've now been writing this blog for five years - and I never imagined I'd be where I am today.

Y'all just keep coming back for the year ends, we're closing in on 26K views...from all over the world...which (at least to me) is pretty amazing.

So, that's a wrap for 2019.  Thanks for being part of my jewelry journey.

Until 2020.