Jewelry Design

Inspired By: Barbara Bowling

I love it when I can get out of my studio and into another artist’s. Especially if the other artist also has a really cool house and a sweet dog (who is very tolerant of Lula careening around in her space), and the artist makes me lunch, and we spend all afternoon yakking.

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I’ve mentioned Barbara here before. We’ve got that 1 degree of separation thang going on that runs rampant in Boise. I love Boise.

Anyway, Barbara’s studio is top notch. She has a separate space for metal smithing…

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where she makes covetable jewelry like this beautiful brooch…

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Barbara is on a mission to bring back the brooch. (Get them while you can, she may be moving on to tiaras next!)

She also has another room especially for enameling.

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There were several enamel pieces displayed throughout the studio, many of which featured images of beloved canine family members, both past and present.

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This is Lacey, canine family member, present. Such a sweetie.

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(Lacey found Barbara, like Snug and Lula found me — at the Idaho Humane Societythey should call themselves Best Friends R Us.)

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But I digress.

Barbara has a PhD. in Horticulture which means she can tell you’ve been cheatin’ if the leaves on the blackberry bush you painted wouldn’t leave teeth marks if they bit you — how’s that for esoteric botanical humor?

Actually it means many of the pieces she fabricates are botanically correct. Which isn’t nearly as dirty as it sounds. Dang it.

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She also fabricates enamel jewelry using the technique called cloisonne which she explains on her website.

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In fact, Barbara is teaching a sold out class on enameling for Community Education for the City of Boise right now. Another will be available in the Spring (3/31 – 5/19, 6:30PM – 9:30PM Mondays) and you can find out more by calling (208)608-7680.

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Thank you Barbara and Lacey for letting Lula and me spend the afternoon with you. We are inspired!

“D” is for…

After yesterday’s post you might be a little curious about that “D” I got for my technical skills in my metals class many years ago. Let’s just say I’m not really at ease with a torch.
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Don’t get me wrong, I’m game. I jump right in there and spark that flame and get down with the flux and get jiggy with the solder. But the whole thing makes me very uncomfortable and I hate the way the pickle smells (weird I know because I really love pickles). And then there’s all the work before you even get to the part where you can seriously burn yourself. There’s the sawing, and the breaking of all those saw blades; and the chasing (that’s hammering the metal with special hammers) and getting the pitch out from under your fingernails. So I guess it’s not just the torch it’s the whole process, and it probably doesn’t help to have a voice from the past screaming “stuuupid girrrls” in my head whenever I smell the acid from the pickle or the rouge from the buffers. But I digress.

You could say that the “D” that Don Douglas gave me was for Determination. I was determined at that point to make it in the field of jewelry design and he was truly in my corner.
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Unfortunately without his mentorship it became a “D” for Defeated, and I moved on. Not so much from jewelry and it’s design, more from metal as its medium. Hence the Baker’s Clay jewelry I sold at Pike Place Market way back then, and the embroidered and beaded fabric bracelets and necklaces, and bead and charm earrings I make today.

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Jewelry is only one thing I make. Usually just a few pieces I wear myself or make for my daughter, my mom, or my best friend. And fabric and thread and beads are a familiar and comfortable medium to use. You could even say that “D” now is for domestic. No fire. No acid. There are needles. And it IS annoying whenever I prick my finger and fall into a deep sleep…What’s that? I wasn’t asleep? That wasn’t a dream? That was a Netflix marathon of Sons of Anarchy?
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Oh well, I have to have something to watch while I stitch. Who says the Domestic Arts are for the faint of heart?