Saturday, November 22, 2008

Etching Party!

Boy, what a fun little at-home workshop! Here's some examples of our etching work: We're hooked!
Here we are: Dana, Mimi, Karen and Laurie. Smiling after good results.

Mimi, Karen and Laurie in Dana's basement studio. Smiling because we're high on fumes.
I have some copies of a magazine article on etching. And I have notes written on it- let me know if you want me to mail you a copy!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Recent Work by Cindy

Above, a recent "Medusa" piece- chasing and repousee by Cindy. Below- look familiar? Her "Old Man" piece started during her demo! WOW!

Thursday, September 4, 2008


What does this picture have to do with metalsmithing? Well, I've FINALLY moved and the need to unpack so that I'm not living with a family of brown boxes has kept me away from my studio! What studio? It's still in boxes! Well, this is our lovely new fish pond and thought I'd share it with you. Look forward to hearing from me about our first Fall meeting soon!

:) Dana

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What's in a name?

What's in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet....

So says Juliet according to Shakespeare.

But in our society - names do matter. Both personally and professionally. Many parents agonize over what to name their children and we even obsess over what to name our pets!

As I was looking into registering a new domain I began thinking about business names, add that to a great discussion by some of my friends as one gal was attempting to formulate her jewelry business name.....and it left me with a lot of meat to chew on.

One thing that I came across in my travles online looking at names which I thought would be pertinent to this group in particular was the idea of gender associated with business. Since we are all "ladies" I wondered if using our given name as our business name (which is recommended by a lot of people) would have particular pros or cons. I know a few women jewelers who use their two first initials followed by last name and I wondered if it was intentional due to gender.

Are women generally accepted in the industry? As much as a man? More so? Less?

So this post is really asking several questions:
What is your business name and how did you decide on it?

Do you believe the jewelry industry is gender biased?

Please use the comments to offer your thoughts.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

July Meeting- Chasing/Repousee Demo

Cindy in action...
Have pitch pot and feet- will travel!

Cindy demonstrates chasing/repousee for (l to r) Bodil, Luisa, and Ellen (I'm taking pic)
Pitch pot with copper sheet and tools.

Thanks to all who came to yesterday's meeting at Cindy's house in Arlington. Thanks a ton to Cindy for hosting such a fun and informative meeting! Great food, great chat, great demo! It inspired all of us to pick up some quality pitch and hammers...

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Hello! Just a reminder for those of you in Baltimore- Artscape is this weekend!! Friday through Sunday. This year they have made quite a few changes and it will be chock full of great artists and metalsmiths. They have added new sections by closing Charles St as well as adding an organic market. I'll be there in the new D.I.Y. section. Since I never seem to be able to make it to the meetings- come stop by and say Hi! Have a great Weekend!

Invite - Synchroblog

I wanted to pass along an invite to a jewelry artist synchroblog.
A synchroblog is when a group of people opt to 'synchronize' their blogging on a set schedule and cover one topic. The jewelry artist synchroblog is scheduled to run monthly and you can opt in and opt out for any month. Topic suggestions are always welcome.
We are doing the first one in July - we are running a bit late - and the topic is 'art and economy' and can be approached from ANY angle at all. There are two blog posts linked so far and I know a few more will be coming.
Anyone interested can read more about it here. And you can find info on July's topic here.

Upcoming Virginia Meeting

Hello Ladies,

Hope you can all come to Cindy's house on Saturday July 19th for a repousee and chasing demo! She'll also have some tools for sale! Email me for more information: Thanks! -Dana

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

For Creative people ;)

My husband recently made a post on his blog that i really appreciate as a "creative person" plus i love the show This American Life and Ira Glass....
anyways i thought some of you might get a kick out of this if not appreciate his advice and experience on the topic. ;)

originally from
by Justin

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Chasing and Repousse

Here are a few samples of Chasing and Repousse I have done. I hope you find them intriguing enough to want to come to the July meeting in Virginia

Image #1, The deer was chased and repoussed in sterling silver sheet; working in the flat, and then bent round to a bracelet.

Image #2, The Rams Head Drinking vessel started out as a flat sheet of sterling and was hand raised to cup form. Then the ram's features were hammered out using a snaring iron and chasing tools.

Image #3, The shell shape is chased and repoussed in the flat and then embellished with electroformed copper stripes and surface set with white sapphires.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Baltimore Meeting

This month's Baltimore meeting was at the home of Courtney Legenhausen. She and her husband, Eric, work full-time making jewelry and are living the dream of supporting themselves (very well!) with their craft. Thanks Courtney! Courtney's husband Eric demonstrates his mastery of Computer Aided Design.

These are some waxes that Eric designed and milled himself.
This is the CAD machine busy milling out a wax.

A close-up shot of the CAD layout screen.

Courtney shows me (Dana- taking pic), Robin and Julie how to tube-set.

Courtney's work table (she cleaned up for us, too!)
What a fun and eye-opening meeting- hope more of you can come next time!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A "Sea" Pendant

Here's a pic of my "sea" pendant- 2-3/4" diameter sterling silver etched in metal from an original drawing, and a 20" chain of coral beads. Fun to make- so many ideas; it took a long time to get to simple! :) Dana

Monday, June 23, 2008

A couple of my "The Sea" pieces

I loved Dana's idea of being creative with "The Sea" theme. The beach has always been my favorite place on earth, and after spending a week in Kauai this spring, I jumped at the chance of trying out some new techniques.

I found these two pieces of Red SeaGlass on a beach and texturized pink 14K gold to look like sand, and wire wrapped the glass to make small dangle earrings.

While on Kauai we found a beach, where the sand was mixed with tiny pieces of glass which sparkled in the sunlight. I made a fine silver shadowbox and added this sand to resin, to create my version of the island to wear on a chain.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

June Ladysmith's Meeting

This was the attractive group of chicks at yesterday's meeting- enjoying Mimi's outdoor lounge area and some great snacks. L to R: Bodil, Laura, Mimi, Diane, Ana, & Cindy. (I was taking the picture)
Mimi demonstrating us her hydraulic press.

Mimi's studio- what a great set-up- she has 2 spaces to work in and tons of storage. Thanks, Mimi!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Still Sketching....

Hello All,

Still thinking about schemes for "the Sea". Maybe I'll actually have one decided on by the next meeting??!! One pic of jewelry by David and Roberta Williamson- love them. But, I don't necessarily like to copy someone else's style- have any of you done that?
If something hasn't turned out right, I put it in a plastic bag. I glance through those pieces periodically and occasionally have a bright new idea from an article I read or something that inspired me. If they are still around 6 months or more-it's off to the recycler.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Working Out a Scheme (comments on destroying jewelry)

Janice- I keep all my "disasters" in a red plastic plate and sometimes I've used them for other projects- like collaging elements, need a bit of wire for that, etc... So one disaster could be another project's rescue! Of course, Courtney's idea of crushing something to smithereens sounds fun, too!
Here's my latest disaster- 2 schemes for the sea project, etching a seaweed border just doesn't look like seaweed! Any suggestions? I started by using a wallpaper design and copied the seaweed as a border, but it's just not working! Of course, I have so little time because Quinn likes to keep me busy by giving himself a shampoo with spagetti... :) Dana

Well... I think we have all had those moments of, "uh, nothing is going right!". When this happens to me I do one of three things depending on my mood. Option 1: smash it to smithereens!!!! Option 2: calmly walk away and either return to it or look at it sitting on my bench, all crusty and ugly for many many months (and most likely never to finish it). Or, option 3: in a delightful voice in my head, "well, look at that" and simply start over with a smile. Please note that option 1 and option 2 or the more frequent outcome!? All I can say is, we have all been there!!! Just don't let it get you down and wait for the moment when you are feeling really creative and everything will work out perfect!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

What do YOU do?

I am sure we all have those times, like I had last night. Where we sit down to work on a piece, and nothing goes right.

Last night I was sort of 'fiddling' rather than really 'making'. I've been a bit 'off' the past couple of weeks, low creativity, lots of stress in our house. But I finally made it to the bench last night. YAY! Or so I thought.

I fiddled with some 14ga wire, just slowly bending, allowing the shape to come together on its own, going for an organic look. But I was hating the outcome the whole time. I perservered and continued bending, tacking in spots with solder, then planished flat some of the wires, then textured some spots, then reshaped a little - then, IT happened.

I overstressed one portion and it broke.

So I quickly smashed up the other earring intentionally (I DID mention that I"ve been stressed, right?).

So, my question(s) to the group -

What do you do when you're frustrated with a piece? Walk away, push through?

And what do you do when you are in one of those 'down times' - when creativity just doesn't seem to be in large supply? Do you try to respark it or just live in the down time til it passes?


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Working out a scheme for "the Sea"

Trying to figure out what to do! Anyone else want to share? I've got crinoid fossil slabs, ammonite shells and fragments, and pearls.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Welcome to The Ladysmiths

Welcome to The Ladysmiths blog! We are a group of female metalsmiths who get together monthly to share ideas, problems, resources, have fun, and basically "talk shop". We're starting a new monthly creative challenge. The month of June's challenge is "the Sea". Each woman will create a piece of jewelry with the theme in mind. We'll publish the results here. So far, there are 2 groups of women- a Baltimore, MD group and a Fairfax, VA group. Check back often to see what's been happening at our meetings!