Whirlwind Tour Part II

Tombstones at the Ashfield cemetery seem right out of 'central casting.'

Tombstones at the Ashfield cemetery seem right out of 'central casting.'

As if right out of a mashed up version of Ingmar Bergman Movies, the old cemetery in Ashfield, MA. is carpeted in wild strawberries. Many of the stones text are worn from 200 years of burnishing. Their profiles elicit an eery Poe-esque tale. On my Eastern tour, I had spent time in Western, Massachusetts, a very pretty area with rural hill towns, swimming holes, several major universities and some really great bread bakers including Hungry Ghost in Northampton and Bread Euphoria (Bay area transplants) in Williamsburg. Both are just that...a pleasant delight of baked goods that rivals any in the Bay Area. 

Eye and Eyebrow inlays. 1293 to 715 BCE. Ivory, Obsidian and the eyebrow is bronze.

Eye and Eyebrow inlays. 1293 to 715 BCE. Ivory, Obsidian and the eyebrow is bronze.

Given that there are five major universities in the region, there is a lot of culture, including incredible collections at the College Museums. I had visited the Mead Museum at Amherst College which had a special exhibit on ceramic bowls from ancient to modern. The Mount Holyoke Museum of Art also had an impressive collection, most of the work gifted to the college from pre WWII alumni going back to the mid-1850's. The Smith College Museum had the most impressive collection which included plenty of impressionists from Monet to Degas, to 1920's Modernist and ancient Egyptian pottery. These museums were smaller than big city institutions making them handleable to peruse and really take the time to look at their collections. 

The old Opera House in Hudson New York is a dilapidated beauty. 

The old Opera House in Hudson New York is a dilapidated beauty. 

The grand room with the main stage in the Old Opera House in Hudson, NY

The grand room with the main stage in the Old Opera House in Hudson, NY

Hudson New York is about two hours from New York City by train and a stop on Amtrak. The town's as old main street infrastructure has always been known for it's antique shops. It is changing now into a more hip retreat for New Yorkers escaping summer. I visited Ornamentum Gallery, a conceptual art jewelry gallery that is really a destination for collectors of very sculptural objects that look like jewelry but are not necessarily wearable. The main street has several cheese shops, wine stores and a variety of boutiques. It has matured since the last time I was in town, over a decade ago. I wandered into one of the oldest structures in town...The opera house was built in the 1850's and has seen better days. The doors were open and I wandered in to look around. It was very dramatic with beams of diffused light piercing the darknes. High ceilings and beautiful old molding were somewhat intact, and there was a space where a chandelier had hung. The Opera house has seen better days in a seemingly glorious past and yet, there is a beauty, although dilapidated, in it's current ruins. 

I taught for a week at Metalwerx in Waltham, MA. a school dedicated to the art of metalsmithing and jewelry making. They have year round classes and also bring in Instructors for particular techniques. During that week I was hosted by Alchemy 925 a contemporary jewelry gallery in Belmont, MA. The gallery showcases hand-made jewelry along with textiles, ceramics and sculpture. You can find my jewelry showcased here throughout the year. The Owners Munya and Kirsty have a well-edited selection of artist made work. It was so nice to visit with them, be surrounded with the contents in their gallery and meet people who wandered in. It was a nice evening and I really appreciate their hosting this event and representing my work in the Boston area.

Wild strawberries are not noticable at first, but once you spot them, it's easy to find clusters. They are much smaller than store bought strawberries...about the size of raspberries. The Burst of flavor is fleeting...leaving you wanting more. 

Wild strawberries are not noticable at first, but once you spot them, it's easy to find clusters. They are much smaller than store bought strawberries...about the size of raspberries. The Burst of flavor is fleeting...leaving you wanting more. 

...and then there were the wild strawberries. In California, we have strawberries from March through November, they are great tasting, but over time become ubiquitous-we take them for granted with our long growing season. Out East, the fruits of the season are fleeting. The growing season is a blink and with each turn of the calendar some produce is phased out while others emerge. Wild strawberries are by chance. Walk in the woods, carefully focus and if you see one, then you start to see many. In the cemetery, the strawberries were also a ground covering...natural volunteers, tiny bursts of intense fruit--like nothing else. 

Whirlwind Tour Part I

Preparing for a trip becomes a nuisance so tedious, you just want to speed up time and let it happen already. I'm packing for a variety of situations and the very fickle mother nature, which means I'm over packing. It must be done. Shop clothes for my workshops, what if it's 80 degrees, that's an East Coast 80 which is much hotter than the dry heat out here in California or even in the Sonoran desert where I happily immerse myself in 100 degrees. It could be 61 degrees and windy, especially near the sea shore or it could rain-oh on, that's a shoe situation that I hadn't thought about, maybe I need my light hiking shoes just in case I need to tread through deep puddles. I've got neice's graduation where I'll need to play dress up, some family events, urban treking that may end in nice restaurant meals, the workshop teaching and general family visits...OH and a trunk show. There are planes and trains to catch, shuttles to call and cars to drive and the wretched penance of going all H.G. Wells...back three hours in time.

Neice ilana upon receiving her high school diploma, getting ready to fly the coop. 

Neice ilana upon receiving her high school diploma, getting ready to fly the coop. 

First off, my niece ilana's graduation from high school and family visit.  The speakers at the graduation talked of getting out of your bubble and flying, experiencing life and not worrying about having no idea what you want to be, yet. I was ready for the eye roll and instead impressed by the poignant and progressive messages. 

At Eagle Rock a portion of the 911 ruins with the NYC skyline in the distance. 

At Eagle Rock a portion of the 911 ruins with the NYC skyline in the distance. 

My sister took me to a site in New Jersey called Eagle Rock where the view spans to the NYC skyline. The park had a tasteful September 11th memorial with many honors and dedications...a quiet, respectful and somber setting. It was a murky day for the view and I bet at night it would be spectacular to see the lights of the buildings reflecting off of the Hudson from this spot.

I grew up outside of New York City, the lights in close proximity-an etheral glow eliciting all that a city has to offer; serendipitous adventure, creativity and multitudes of options

Old school turned new, with some of the old intact.

Old school turned new, with some of the old intact.

The city contains some of the most amazing and important art in the world, an ironic juxtaposition to the canned commercialism that has overtaken almost every portal...with a few exceptions and some old school remains. I've visited the new Whitney Museum in a neighborhood that used to stink, literally. It's funny how a city evolves from the dregs of meat packing and it's acrid stench of carrion to the most stylish. I had first visited the Whitney as a child, mesmerized by Jackson Pollock, intrigued by the conceptual idea of infinite numbers  being printed on a daisy matrix, the pages stacking up to ...well...infinite. The Highline is a relatively new destination in the city, once the elevated train, now an urban and architechtural oasis spanning almost 2 miles with the promise of luxury housing sprouting like the weeds that they've harvested to use as the natural flora along the paths. 

The Public Gardens

The Public Gardens

Marlboro Street in the Back Bay of Boston

Marlboro Street in the Back Bay of Boston

Boston is a favorite place where I had once lived and had not visited for many years. The cobblestone streets, charm and walkability still are the same. The T, Bostons subway, is as easy as ever to navigate. An urban trek led us to many familiar neighborhoods and lots of change. The Boston Gardens and Commons were as lovely as ever, flowers blosssoming, dark green grass, meandering paths and the duck pond...through the trees, the city buildings portraying many eras of this historic city. I met up with textile artist Barbara Poole of B.Felt designs (bfelt.com) who tooks me around First Fridays in the South End neighborhood, a bustling zone of art galleries, restaurants and studios. When I used to live in Boston it was a place you avoided. Of course, students lived there due to the inexpensive housing. Walking down Charles Street the familiar businesses had changed, but the quaint setting remained, the North End had a face lift, the waterfront has a new (to me) Rose Kennedy Greenway and I was relieved to see that the sea otters were still visible from outside the Aquarium. Two days was too short a time, lots of ground was covered on foot ....and Ice cream enjoyed on the stoop of an anonymous brownstone on Newbury street, a sensuous treat in the warm June air. I've sat on that stoop with Emack and Bolios ice cream many times, dare I say, decades earlier. Still home-made, the scoopers still are pierced, tatooed and have their hair dyed in kalediscopic colors-friendly outcasts in the midst of leaving their own bubbles of the comfortable and familiar. Nothing has changed. And everything has changed...A sweet and luxurious metamorphosis, leaving the bubble of the familiar for the experience of life.

For whatever reason, Boston and environs has an amazing amount of hand-made ice cream shops. It may only be a coinincidence that the city provides perfect stoops to sit on while enjoying the creamy elixir. 

For whatever reason, Boston and environs has an amazing amount of hand-made ice cream shops. It may only be a coinincidence that the city provides perfect stoops to sit on while enjoying the creamy elixir. 


Destination Known

California Poppies, the state flower, usually bloom after the rains...somehow, they've bloomed this year after enough fog. They are the quintessential California sunshine color...evoking the brightness of the sun and the colors of california that have been expressed in landscapes for decades.  

California Poppies, the state flower, usually bloom after the rains...somehow, they've bloomed this year after enough fog. They are the quintessential California sunshine color...evoking the brightness of the sun and the colors of california that have been expressed in landscapes for decades.

 

In January I looked at the scribbles on my calendar and said, "before I know it, it'll be April." Here we just past the borderline of May. All of that scribble turned into events that have already happened and pages of the calender turning present to past. This winter seemed onerous with  continuous snowstorms back East in comparison with our unusual Eternal spring of the West Coast including the Pacific northwest...a place usually know for grey skies, rain and emerald green landscapes. I'm teaching my first East Coast workshops along with a trunk show at my first East Coast gallery, Alchemy 925, located just outside of Boston. I'm excited about this trek East but seriously hope the snow is melted...and I'm only half joking. 

Here's the Logo for Center For Metal Arts in Florida, New York...sprinkled with a little bit of quirkiness.  www.centerformetalarts.com

Here's the Logo for Center For Metal Arts in Florida, New York...sprinkled with a little bit of quirkiness.

 www.centerformetalarts.com

 

Actually, my East Coast sojurn is quite busy...the entire trip is instigated by my nieces high school graduation. Aside from visiting family I'll be teaching Custom Clasps at Center For Metal Arts in Florida, NY...that's about an hour from NYC, a very pretty spot in the woods near where I went to summer camp as a kid. Center For Metal Arts has a strong Blacksmithing and architectural object program along with their newer small metals program...then a few days respite and visiting followed by a four-day workshop, Engineering Your Way Out at Metalwerx in Waltham, MA. Metalwerx is a long established school offering year round classes and workshop along with Summer With the Masters, an intense month of  workshops. During my time at Metalwerx I hope you'll join me for an evening trunk show at Alchemy 925 as a way to introduce my work to the Boston based area. This is the first gallery I've worked with in many years and I'm thrilled to be part of their well-edited collection. Alchemy 925 is also hosting the exhibition The Power and Beauty, in conjunciton with the SNAG (society for North American Goldsmiths) conference. I am honored to have two of my show pieces in this juried exhibition. The show runs from late may until June 6th so I'm going to figure out how to get there and see it in full bloom.

  This collage of 100 brooches pairs Jamie Reid (Sex Pistols’ graphic designer) with Rosalie Gascoigne (Australian traffic sign collage artist) dispersing to create individual wearable statements. Ransom: 100 Brooches created by Boris Bally www.borisbally.com 

 

This collage of 100 brooches pairs Jamie Reid (Sex Pistols’ graphic designer) with Rosalie Gascoigne (Australian traffic sign collage artist) dispersing to create individual wearable statements.

Ransom: 100 Brooches created by Boris Bally www.borisbally.com 

I bought a Pin. We metalsmiths call them Brooches. The word sounds more romantic, historical and glamorous. My brooch is part of a group of many brooches.  Wordsmith/Metalsmith, an Exhibition at Rhode Island College Bannister Gallery from May 19 to June 19th features a group of artists including the artist responsible for this composition of road sign brooches. ...and I figure, I'm on the East coast it's all so close so why not go to that exhibit as well, especially since I am the proud owner of one of the brooches that make up the exhibition, Ransom: 100 Brooches is designed by Boris Bally. This is a series of 100 brooches made out of old traffic signs. These brooches were all put up for sale and I bought one of which will eventually lead to another aspect of the exhibit-of which I'm not yet at liberty to tell. Nevertheless, the 100 brooches look pretty cool together in the picture and I want to see it live and in person. Many of them have parts of words or letters on them which in a sense are deconstructed, giving the 'piece' in the exhibit a presence evoking a lot of thoughts in many directions...depending upon your point of view.

What can I say, I want Lobster and I found the most avant garde image reflecting my love for Lobster. 

What can I say, I want Lobster and I found the most avant garde image reflecting my love for Lobster. 

Lobster. I must have lobster. I'm not one to make up lists of a million things I must do when traveling somewhere...I, more so, have general ideas. Except for Lobster. We in the Bay area have so many riches in locally grown food...choices of hand baked breads and pastries, hand-pulled noodles and long simmered flavorful broths. Eggs with the richest ochre yolks, wild lettuces, strawberries for 8 months out of the year. Oysters and clams from some of the cleanest waters in the world, wild salmon which is soon in season again and dungeness crabs...which are sweet and  delicious...but, no Lobster. 

So you see, I am a weather wimp. I live in the land of eternal spring. it's a delicate matter and I hope that mother nature obliges. Stay tuned for tales of my Eastward journey, 3,000 miles direct. 

Desert Bound

Cherry Blossoms on the Altamont Pass which brings you from the Bay Area into the Central Valley of California where much of the food in our country is grown. It happened to be quite green at the time.

Cherry Blossoms on the Altamont Pass which brings you from the Bay Area into the Central Valley of California where much of the food in our country is grown. It happened to be quite green at the time.

First road trip of the year...Scottsdale arts Festival, high season in the desert. Spread out over two days, it was an easy drive. Starting out over the altamont pass, the windmills waved us on through trickles of drizzle. the cherry blossoms and green grass were intense with vibrant color against the grey sky. The drizzle stayed with us through the central valley as we passed blossoms from a variety of thirsty orchards, drinking in the moisture in order to soak the dry earth. 

Windmills in the Palms Springs area with the San Jacinto Mountains peaking out with sparse snow.  

Windmills in the Palms Springs area with the San Jacinto Mountains peaking out with sparse snow.

 

The Best Vietnamese Pho in the Desert...who knew?  

The Best Vietnamese Pho in the Desert...who knew?

 

A favorite pitstop along the way, is the Vista Del Lago at Pyramid Lake, a visitor center with displays and information about California's water aqueduct system complete with three-dimensional displays including models of pipelines, there are basic explanations of the 29 facilities that make up the complicated state water project and a museum-like setting to explain flora and fauna in the region. An added benefit, the visitor center has really clean bathrooms and great views outside, it's the perfect rest area before descending into the 'grapevine' which brings you up out of the central valley, over and down into the Los Angeles basin, where you're sure to sit into traffic for a while no matter the direction. Heading west toward Pasadena, we skirted Los Angeles to the East and watched our car thermometer ascend. From Pasadena through to Riverside and on into the desert towns near Palm Springs, there's always some traffic and no real rest stops, so that chunk of time is usually a straight haul and more tense driving compared to the ease of the less frantic, Central valley. Meeting up with highway 10 traffic gave way as clusters of windmills competed for the stage with tall skinny palm trees. An early dinner brought us to Pho Vu, a delicious Vietnamese Pho joint in the desert. You would never expect such great broth in a strip mall in La Quinta, a discovery from a craft show some years ago. This is a really clean place with delicious and inexpensive food..what more could the traveler want? Very clean bathrooms too...I advise getting the small bowl, which is Huge...unless you are super duper hungry. They bring out the Pho with all of the side accoutrements: jalapeño, limes, bean sprouts, basil and then there are the variety of chili pastes, make sure to ask for them all. Tasty and nourishing, the road traveler is happy and ready to move on...We push to the border town of Blythe, leaving very little driving for our next day which is when we set up for the Scottsdale Craft Fair. 

In my booth at the Scottsdale Arts Festival..with jewelry banners larger than life.  

In my booth at the Scottsdale Arts Festival..with jewelry banners larger than life.

 

Great coffee in Scottsdale, they roast their own beans, make their own pastries...a wonderful combination.

Great coffee in Scottsdale, they roast their own beans, make their own pastries...a wonderful combination.

Waking to a crystal clear sky, it was a dry 80 degrees with a light wind, after less than two hours of driving East, the empty desert started to fill in with homes and businesses, Saguaro cactus sprinkled in between. We dropped our bags off at our lodging and drove into downtown Scottsdale to check in for the show. I love the mood of set-up, full of promise and hope as artists put up their tents, fitting parts together and sprouting up mini galleries on the sumptuous grounds of the Scottsdale Performing Arts Center. The show was a set in quintessential paradise with fountains and ponds, meandering paths, palm trees and places to get cool in the shade. The show used the grounds well by sprinkling little cafe and bar areas around the grounds for lingering, shaded paths to peruse art, food trucks and the most delicious Mexican ice pops at just the right juncture, when you really wanted one. 

Craft shows are very hard work, laborious-it can be hot/cold, windy/threatening to safety, people get sick, weather can close a show and sometimes it's perfect. There are a lot of what-ifs in this business and artists are among the most resourceful people I know, especially when disaster hits. If you forgot anything, there is someone among the crowd of exhibitors who has it.  Then there is the camaraderie among the artists, seeing each other for the first time since the last season of shows, visiting with past customers and catching up, meeting new patrons who appreciate your work, take it in and savor it. Personal connections are being made throughout the weekend which is what art of any medium is all about. I wouldn't trade it!

Flowering Barrel Cactus...colors are so bright against the dry dusty land, as if in technicolor!

Flowering Barrel Cactus...colors are so bright against the dry dusty land, as if in technicolor!

February is Upon Us...

One of the local Bay Area beaches.

One of the local Bay Area beaches.

I recall making my list of objectives for 2014. Now it's time to come up with some goals for 2015. I'm satisfied to say that I've pretty much accomplished what I set out to, however it's really an ever evolving cycle. So, my 2015 goals mesh with 2014, they become intertwined in a system that allows me to look in the wake of the year gone by and have something to show for it while continuing to move forward. This list is not full of resolutions, more so reminders that time is going by and I had better forge ahead...a pun we metalsmiths like to use. I don't always feel like spending my day as a book keeper or trying my hand at marketing where my learning curve throws me into some procrastination slumps. At least those slumps are productive. Doing something you're either not good at nor experienced with means you're first learning prior to implementing them. And, sometimes I reap the benefits and/or disappointments from these gesticulations out into the world in the form of applications, fees, images, following the directions and the results...the awards, rewards and rejections. 

Organic tomatoes grown by Dirty Girl Produce. 

Organic tomatoes grown by Dirty Girl Produce. 

In the meantime, I'm glad I roasted and froze all of those San Marzano tomatoes in between the Spring and Summer tour of craft shows. I'm enjoying the fruits of my labor during this rainless winter. For those of you in the depths of an icy wonderland, may the ground hog stay inside and forget about his shadow. Here in the Bay Area, we are waiting to *See the sky about to rain, broken clouds and rain.

-Alison                               *Quote, Neil Young

 

Case Study #1

Glimmering Sunshine: completed

Glimmering Sunshine: completed

When creating a new piece of jewelry I always make a 'map' of my design in order to figure out how different parts will be connected. I consider movement, part of the body the work is worn on, weight of the piece, and the clasp/ear hook/pin stem. If I'm re making an existing design I've usually worked out all of the kinks. It's the new designs that need some working through, figuring out, and engineering. It's not unusual for me to complete a piece and if I don't like something I'll 'sit on it' until a better idea emerges, then I might take it apart and add something new. 

One of my 'maps' or layouts for my design and stone placement. 

One of my 'maps' or layouts for my design and stone placement. 

close-up of the tension clasp with an extra safety in place so the wearer has no tension or worries. 

close-up of the tension clasp with an extra safety in place so the wearer has no tension or worries. 

In my most recent work, Glimmering Sunshine, this necklace gave me plenty of Tsuris I set out the pieces, made my map, fabricated and soldered the forms together and then just held it in my hands and looked at it on my desk for many months. I didn't know which direction I wanted it to go, up or down. Then I decided I needed more movement so I unsoldered some sections and added hinges. Yes, that's right, nice movement on the upper body...good move. I'm happy with that change. 

The completed necklace BEFORE I decided to change out the thin chain for a thicker one which I felt was a better fit with the balance of the necklace. 

The completed necklace BEFORE I decided to change out the thin chain for a thicker one which I felt was a better fit with the balance of the necklace. 

My next step was to lay out the stones and build all of the settings. I had envisioned how the chain would be connected and that I'd use a 'key' clasp in back. I knew that all of the stones were going to be tangerine garnets, a bright orange very hot stone, emitting the vibrancy and sparkle that I was looking for. While building the settings, It's not unusual for me to move some stones around and hone in on exactly what I want. After making the settings and soldering them on to the forms that make up the main necklace, I added the chain. It was moving along nicely after many months of mentally laboring over my vision. Then I decided I didn't like how the necklace was hanging and the chain just didn't seem right. I had an idea of a thicker chain that I had, I was using the thicker stainless steel chain to hang my banners at craft shows. I took some out and put it up against the necklace and it looked much better, it seemed right. I decided it needed hinges instead of just swinging on tubing so I removed the tubing that was soldered on, soldered on hinges and added the chain. I came up with a tension clasp that kept the roundish look that I like with this stainless neck wire and added a safety latch. Finally, after over a year I was crossing the finish line. Once I cleaned up the necklace, buffed it and refined the movements I got back to setting the stones. 

This was the original clasp in the back of Glimmering sunshine. 

This was the original clasp in the back of Glimmering sunshine. 

Glimmering Sunshine Necklace is one of several examples or 'case studies' that I"ll be discussing in my Engineering Your Way Out Workshop. I'm teaching this workshop on January 24 & 25 out of my Berkeley Studio. I'll also be teaching it as a 5-day workshop at The Ranch Center for Arts & Crafts, where the class is filled, and at Metalwerx in Waltham, MA. June 17 through 20th (please visit class descriptions on my website and also register for my Berkeley Studio class at https://alison-antelman.squarespace.com/config#/pages/class-schedule|/class-schedule/2014/12/6/alisons-studio-workshops). The longer workshops depicts a more in depth case study discussion showing my process from beginning through all of the steps to completion, with the idea that pushing through to carry out your vision can be frustrating, but it's worth it considering the end results and all that is learned during the process. You come out of it just a little smarter and then it's on to the next project!

In Retrospect

-respite between shows. The road between Bryce Canyon and Escalante in Utah. 

-respite between shows. The road between Bryce Canyon and Escalante in Utah. 

Here's to New Horizons...that glimmer of hope way in the distance just between the space where the earth and atmosphere meet. With the continual movement of the sun and our yearly ritual of celebration during the darkest days of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, many of us can't help but reflect on the past. 

The desert colors are intense, this gorgeous cactus was preening on a hike to Calf Creek Falls in Escalante, Utah.

The desert colors are intense, this gorgeous cactus was preening on a hike to Calf Creek Falls in Escalante, Utah.

 

 

2014 was a busy year for me, and 2015 is no different...my calendar already has many pen marks and scratches with tentative possibilities.  My studio is open the usual First Saturdays from Noon to 5, and Thursdays from 11 to 5...always noted on my website as long as I'm in town. My first workshops are already coming up in mid to late January with two out of my own studio, (see http://www.antelman.com/class-schedule/ for the full 2015 list) and then I'm off to teach for the Creative Metals Guild in Newburg, Oregon near Portland and very soon after it's up to The Ranch Center for Arts & Crafts in Snohomish, WA near Seattle for a 5-day, already filled workshop. Soon after that in mid March I'm off to the Scottsdale Arts Festival--a glorious time of year in the desert in downtown Scottsdale, Arizona. I am waiting on most of the events for the year and will post them a they come up: http://www.antelman.com/events/ and boom, it's already April...phew! 

Wandering the bluff in Mendocino, CA you can count on the usually diffused grey days which, like the desert, makes the colors of these wild Irises pop.

Wandering the bluff in Mendocino, CA you can count on the usually diffused grey days which, like the desert, makes the colors of these wild Irises pop.

Respite between shows...in Portland, Oregon there are random pianos scattered around town for anyone to play. This spot happened to also have a tiers bicycle totem. 

Respite between shows...in Portland, Oregon there are random pianos scattered around town for anyone to play. This spot happened to also have a tiers bicycle totem. 

Outside at 10 Speed roasters, I wish this falafel truck was open. 

Outside at 10 Speed roasters, I wish this falafel truck was open. 

Then there is my work, many projects large and small, scattered on my desk and on boards with notes across work tables. Hot pink post-it notes with stick figure drawings of design ideas jotted down during last summer's show circuit are still scattered among the parts; tubing, stainless wire, model earrings, stones, and silver dust on my desk. Some ideas have come to fruition. Horizon earrings have all been sold and new parts have been set out to make them again. It's always a good sign when a new design sells out (see horizon earrings http://www.antelman.com/earrings/horizon-ears). Then there are the long-term projects that have finally been completed such as Glimmering Sunshine and The Long Horizon necklaces. Some projects call for more thinking than actual fabricating and these pieces gave me those challenges that are frustrating but really move you forward (these challenges are the focus of my workshop, Engineering Your Way Out). Finally, these two show pieces are both ready for their close-ups. I have a few more ideas I'm playing around with on my desk...and there's always more. There are more ideas in my mind than I can physically create in any given time. ...hence the hot pink post-it notes. 

10 Speed Coffee Roasters in Mount Hood, Washington.

10 Speed Coffee Roasters in Mount Hood, Washington.

There are so many beautiful places I visited in 2014 while traveling to shows and teaching, with built in respite-I even had time for hiking and hanging out in cafes. These experiences are always fulfilling and energizing. Whether it's taking in the scenery by hiking through grasslands or slick-rock, meeting local people, discovering something new, breathing in roasting coffee beans, sampling the local cuisine...and/or local beer (aka: beer brewing capital, Bend, Oregon during Art In The High Desert) ... it all contributes to broadening our horizons as we look back in the rear view mirror or forward into the distance. What's new over the horizon is filled with promise, hope, possibilities and adventure on the open road. ...and lots of rainbows.

Seriously, I saw lots of rainbows during the summer craft show travel stint. Above is a double rainbow, the second one is faint but if you look for it, it's really there. This was on a cut through road from I-15 below Salt Lake City to I-70 towards Colorado. 

Seriously, I saw lots of rainbows during the summer craft show travel stint. Above is a double rainbow, the second one is faint but if you look for it, it's really there. This was on a cut through road from I-15 below Salt Lake City to I-70 towards Colorado. 

Happy New Year: welcome 2015!!


Art Appreciation

16th Street stairs in San Francisco, CA.

16th Street stairs in San Francisco, CA.

Art is actually all around us...well, here in the Bay Area anyway. I look for it and always find it elsewhere too. Finding it doesn't necessarily mean going to a museum. It's out and about on the streets, stairs, grassy fields and is found within many incarnations. It's not always a stationary object...it could be an organic transformative experience that is here and gone. For me, I love when it's serendipitous--glancing over to the triangular Island in the middle of a busy road, a statue of Ghandi or Sojourner Truth or even Lenin. 

The 16th Street Stairs in San Francisco allow you to experience the art by walking up or down the stairs...each landing affords a view of the whole theme for that section and provides a necessary resting place to catch your breathe--these are steep stairs built into a hillside. 

 

Olympic Sculpture park in Seattle, WA. 

Olympic Sculpture park in Seattle, WA. 

I'm exhausted from the month long Open Studios, and while I love to see beautiful objects, I don't always want to have a PHD to understand what I'm looking at. Sometimes just taking it in is enough. There is something to say about beauty in structures and configurations, as well as their settings, ie: Site Specific.

To me, the sculpture park in Seattle, seems as if was exclusively made for this Calder Sculpture. The chairs nearby are coordinated, in the exact same shade of red to go with the sculpture. Alternate views from any direction ensure taking in the full sculpture visually and within its setting. The viewer walks all around and through the piece, allowing every rivet and angle of the structure to be seen-even the underbelly. This piece might not look so great in a crowded downtown surrounded by department stores and skyscrapers but definitely commands the space at the sculpture park.

 

The Conservatory at the Chihuly Glass Gardens

The Conservatory at the Chihuly Glass Gardens

Apparently Dale Chihuly, the glass blower, has always been taken with glass enclosed conservatories. So much so, that he worked with an architect to design and build one at the Chihuly Glass Gardens in Seattle. Not only are the glass sculptures, chandeliers and gardens remarkable, but this structure, the conservatory is equally extraordinary. All glass enclosed, you could enjoy the outdoor gardens in any direction while staying warm inside. The ceiling of the conservatory is laced with a spectacular floral sculpture, stretching out the full length of the ceiling. 

Outside at the Chihuly Glass Gardens in Seattle, WA.

Outside at the Chihuly Glass Gardens in Seattle, WA.

Wandering outside, the view to the conservatory is beautiful as well. While perusing the gardens you see the conservatory from various angles. The Gardens are literally that, plantings of flora among the glass sculptures. The glass upstages the planted flora -as they are meant to. The actual flora is really the backdrop for the Flora-like glass sculptures on these spectacular grounds. On a bright sunny day the colors are electrified and with each turn on the path you are surprised by glass blossoms in a kaleidoscope of hues. These gardens were such a pleasure to visit that soon after I paid the hefty entrance fee, I completely forgot about it and was taken in with the beauty of the shapes, color and juxtapositions of these astonishing and over-the-top creations. 

I know if I wander around in San Francisco, I'll come across murals, tile projects, sculpture, architecture and other oddities, just there for the viewing...it's not hard to find Art, we live within it every day. 

 

Cacophony: a Symphony of Time and the Search for Idle...

Acme Bread...breaking bread never smelled so good.

Acme Bread...breaking bread never smelled so good.

I'm getting really confused lately and often feel that I need to stop, close my eyes and concentrate. Square up, Square space, artful home, stripe, art jewelry today, scheduling workshops, metrics, online registration, open studios, 2015, the need to create really big earrings, and when to schedule time off...Time off usually goes on the back burner. 

Alison's home made cookies for Berkeley Artisans Holiday Open Studios. 

Alison's home made cookies for Berkeley Artisans Holiday Open Studios. 

Everything is more accessible than ever, leaving no down time. Wi Fi is even allowed on flights these days, although I pretend it doesn't exist and use that time to start a novel or catch up on the conveyor belt of New Yorker magazines that keep accumulating. Waiting in the Acme Bread lines in Berkeley is a great way to catch up on idle time....there's good people watching, you might strike up a conversation with another bread liner, then there's the bread; an assortment of every shape and size, dark, light, sweet and savory...however, it's the aroma that is intoxicating and worth it every time the line moves up enough so you can scoot inside while waiting your turn...Edible Schoolyard for me, if they have it. Otherwise, I settle for something equally exquisite. 

Devil's Teeth Bakery's Chocolate Cake and espresso.

Devil's Teeth Bakery's Chocolate Cake and espresso.

My phone rings while I'm hiking, and I pretend that there are no cell bars, but I check it just in case. Emergency's usually happen at less convenient times. And, somehow, I find time to bake cookies for Berkeley Artisans Holiday Open Studios, (weekend #3 coming up). I relish the time and focus baking requires. It's all chemical reactions so if you don't use your ingredients correctly, you might not have success. Chocolate chip cookies are pretty straight forward, I gather all of the ingredients so I'm good for the duration of the event and every Friday, I get to work. It's O.K. since the protesting here started, it's better to get inside by 5 p.m. ...maybe put on an album...although I've been missing out on getting to the gym--another great source of a mental break from the cacophony of life. 

Ocean Beach, San Francisco!

Ocean Beach, San Francisco!

And then there's cake and worthy pilgrimages...The Pacific Ocean is just out there...NOTE: I'm pointing West. Driving there ends up being a full day trip. A few weeks ago, heading Westward landed me a few blocks from the beach at Devil's Teeth Bakery, a laid back, completely unpretentious cafe. The cakes and pastries looked and were, divine, they were not show pieces for magazines or award banquets, they were more rustic...chocolate cake, simply, along with a perfect espresso to go with it. My search for idle time or a day off or even a half day off, for respite, ended nicely...that day. I had my cake, I ate it and walked over to the beach where the balmy weather and fog seeped in to my skin, allowing me to close my eyes, breathe and think of nothing too important. 

Why I like Open Studios

Beautiful downtown Crested Butte, Colorado where i exhibited last August. Many weather patterns pass through these mountains in a day, up at 8,500 feet. 

Beautiful downtown Crested Butte, Colorado where i exhibited last August. Many weather patterns pass through these mountains in a day, up at 8,500 feet. 

...throughout the year I travel to juried art shows mostly in the West. Some are two-day drives, others part of a circuit if I"m lucky. The circuit is a lot of fun because there is built in down time, usually in beautiful places, between shows. There are always farmers markets and decent grocery stores in order to eat healthy. Travel is also a nice break from the daily rigamarole. However, if I get a custom order, it has to be delayed until I'm back in my studio. 

One of the many hats I wear, literally and figuratively.

One of the many hats I wear, literally and figuratively.

Here I am in my Berkeley studio, in the historic Sawtooth Building at the start of Berkeley Artisans Holiday Open Studios. The studio floor has been vacuumed, additional cases are out, flowers and cookies garnish the set. At show-time I flip the switch, casting a warm glow of halogens and LED's onto my displays. The CD player is loaded with open studios appropriate music spanning from Big Band and jazz to Cuban and by the end of the day Tom Waits. Each studio you visit has it's own flavor, many visitors point this fact out. 

This antique tool chest sits on my work desk, spilling with tools I use daily.

This antique tool chest sits on my work desk, spilling with tools I use daily.

One of the 'maps' I make to keep me organized.

One of the 'maps' I make to keep me organized.

People wander in, I show them my process, chat and give them space so they can take it all in. I have a demo process board that exhibits how I create my hollow forms and clasps...just a little bit of information to help the viewer understand how my work is made. If they're really interested and I'm not too busy, I can really get into it... pulling out my jeweler's saw, my favorite goldsmith's hammer and showing off my little torch. Sometimes potential students come in and we talk about the possibilities, I have many samples of clasps and other workshop projects that I've made throughout the years to show. 

Then there is the idle time-which I relish since it's usually so rare. I often play around with new design ideas, sometimes there's an epiphany, other times I'll get paperwork done, apply to a show that I've been meaning to, and sometimes I'll actually get to work...soldering, filing, fabricating my hand-made hollow forms. After all, this is a real working studio, what else do you expect to find here?

www.berkeleyartisans.com is where to go to download a map for the 24th year of this event. Many of us are open year round. please visit my 'events' page as I add 2015 craft shows and I'll see you in the studio or somewhere on the road.

The splendor and discovery of serendipity

Now that all of my preparation for Berkeley Artisans is all done, what next? I've sent out over 1600 snail mail postcards, emails are done, now I must prepare my studio for the big event. I like to take over more space in my studio for display, so crowds can filter through and see my hand-made jewelry in spacious comfort. After I attempt to defeat the dust bunnies, I'll set up the cases that I use for craft shows along with a place for home-made cookies and refreshments. Unlike most craft shows, I don't have to worry if a storm or tornado is coming, I don't have to weight down a tent and batten the hatches. It's a luxury being inside. I just have to clean up, prepare the cases, and aim the lighting in the correct direction creating a nice warm setting...cue music. 

 

 

If you walk through the long narrow corridors of the Sawtooth Building, on any given day, you'll find many doors closed with people behind them working. During our annual Berkeley Artisans Holiday open studios event, those doors are open and the first thing you'll notice is the beautiful light filled spaces that are streaming with activity. Concrete floors, 30 foot ceilings, diffused natural light beaming in...the spaces are grungy and suitable for industrial work, but they are also, well... very pretty--in my eye. When I see one of these spaces I think about all of the possibilities...As you walk through, I hope you'll engage with the artists, ask questions, look at our work and enjoy it. 

Please visit me in my well-lit studio, see my work, and we'll chat about process. Wander through the building and go with it, just ask and someone will direct you to the next place, or use the handy map...which you can download at www.berkeleyartisans.com 

The Marathon

Berkeley Artisans Holiday Open Studios begins on November 29th, my sister's Birthday. I've been participating in this event since 1995 and it's a favorite for me to do. Why? I get to present my work in it's habitat of origin. Along with showing people my process I can pull out a hammer, show off my jeweler's saw and the skinny blade that cuts metal and YOU can see where I create my work! 

The event is a self guided tour, so you'll want to download a map at www.berkeleyartisans.com OR you'll be able to find the entire map on the pages of the East Bay Express. It really is possible to visit most or all studios in the four weekends available. However, if you can't make it to all of those that you desire, just contact the artist any time during the year to arrange a visit, including me. If you're overwhelmed by the choices, peruse the list online and preview the event by visiting our websites from the comfort of your own laptop (or smart device) at home. 

During the event it's usually too busy to get much work done, but as we wind down you might catch me in the middle of soldering one of those tiny hollow forms that I use in my work. Never idle, I'll be making parts to use in future pieces-there's so much labor involved that if the parts are completed than I can focus on design and play around with physical pieces allowing me get the full visual. 

I'm in The Sawtooth building with about 25 artists who are open too, and the entire event has about 100 artists within a close proximity. You'll often find, during open studios, I enjoy wearing my hats which are made by Lauri Chambers of Acme hats. Laurie is participating in the KPFA art fair which takes place during the third weekend in December in Richmond, CA. (just about 10 minutes north of my studio), so you can go visit her and tell her hi for me and get yourself a show stopping chapeau. 

Oh, I'll also have cookies...home-made...This has become a tradition and I know some of you stop in for cookies and respectfully look at my hand-made jewelry too. I look forward to seeing you...Less than two weeks to go....Let's the Marathon begin!!

In Process...

My process  begins with parts, stones, thoughts in my head and butcher paper 'maps' that allow me to plot out my concepts into physical pieces. The image to the right shows my 'map' or guide which may change within the evolution of the process.  The parts with sharpie marks will be hollow forms that I first fold-form--a process of folding and unfolding the metal (silver in this case) in order to create creases which you see in the finished pieces. You'll see in future posts, how this necklace has changed completely. This will be a necklace called Glittering Sunshine...something we see far off in the Horizon just before sunset. 

 

This is the "Phoenix" necklace. The map helped me keep all of the stones in order, I used it as a layout and guide for when the necklace was completed.  

Another purpose of using the maps is if I want to recreate or use part of something previously made, I'll know what size forms and how many were used. They give me a history to draw from. 

 

Here is the finished Phoenix. This necklace was a challenge due to the thin wire, I wanted to make sure that the piece didn't' flop over and sat on the neck with out moving around too much. The key clasp in the back pivots so it is contoured to the neck. 

 

 

This is the Jardin Necklace. After creating this piece I used a smaller scale for similar earrings. The idea is to keep everything in balance aesthetically and with the body. In this piece the large stone and the metal forms become unified. 

 

The Finished Jardin Necklace is set with Vesuviante in 18 and 22k gold along with a faceted teal tourmaline that pops against the darkness of the oxidized silver. The wire dropping down is 18k and has some flexibility. The neck wire is stainless steel. Due to the curve of the tubing that holds the neckwire, the piece sits on the body without too much movement, but enough to be flexible for a "live" person. 


If I had a hammer....

As a metalsmith, I have many hammers: planishing, forming, mallet, raising, and my beloved Goldsmith's hammer used for most of my tiny hollow forms. My hammers are used to move metal into different shapes and forms, they can also be used to stretch metal by sinking and raising the interior. There is also a beauty in old hammers, their shapes, the history that we project upon them and the fact that you can really get something done with a hammer. 

Hammers are one of humanity's earliest tools. The earliest hammers were made of stone and probably didn't have the handles that we have today. The handle was a great modification. It gives the user more leverage and keeps your hand away from the impact.

Hammers are also used for cooking in food preparation, to tenderize your meat.

I've only just discovered, there is a Hammer Museum in Haines, Alaska. The Hammer museum claims that the hammer was the very first human tool.  www.hammermuseum.org

Voting box from 1960's

Voting box from 1960's

  

Tin Voting box from the 1890's  

Tin Voting box from the 1890's

 

Our last U.S. presidential election turnout out was 61%. The reports for Mid-Term elections are not favorable for large voter turnout. Let's prove them wrong. Bring your hammer, bell and song to the voting booth Today!

Hammers have many uses throughout societies...the Gavel is brought down on a block of wood as an audible presence for a judge. It is used as a form of power by a judge to control the courtroom and establish Justice.

The Hammer Museum in Haines, Alaska

The Hammer Museum in Haines, Alaska

The song, "If I Had A Hammer" written by Lee Hays and Pete Seeger in 1949, was most famously performed by Peter, Paul and Mary in 1962.  The lyrics focus on the hammer symbolically and idealistically...about freedom, justice and love among fellow human-kind. In the final verse, the listener is reminded they have all that they need: a hammer, bell and song, it's up to them/US as to how they/WE use these items. 

Playskools, My First Voting Booth: cardboard fold-ups that serve their purpose, in utilitarian style. 

Playskools, My First Voting Booth: cardboard fold-ups that serve their purpose, in utilitarian style. 

This is the type of voting booth my mother used. She took me to the local elementary school and let me pull the lever. When it was time for me to vote, I was dissapointed with the cardboard voting booths--no glamour, no pomp, but still, acting upon my civic duty is all the glamour we need. 

This is the type of voting booth my mother used. She took me to the local elementary school and let me pull the lever. When it was time for me to vote, I was dissapointed with the cardboard voting booths--no glamour, no pomp, but still, acting upon my civic duty is all the glamour we need. 

In 1919, the 19th Ammendment gave women the right to vote, well, it was ratified in 1920. However, Women could vote in New Jersey, provided they could prove that they had property rights. Originally voting was reserved for Caucasian property owners. Several Amendments were passed to open voting rights to other U.S. Citizens. The 14th gave rights to born or naturalized citizens, 18 years or older. 15th got rid of certain discrimination: Race, color or other servitude. Then there is the voting rights act of 1965 which basically states that you can't be denied the right to vote as long as you are a U.S. Citizen, 18 years or older.

There are so many laws, amendments, acts, put in place, why can't all those who wish to vote, vote? What's all the tsuris about? Use the tools that you are rightfully given and Go Vote!! 

 

My Non Sequitur Halloween Tales...

Happy Halloween everybody! Please join me for some fictitious horror along with outrageous beauty.  I figured, there's enough scary in the world, I'd rather share some quotes from literary horror stories in conjunction with phenomenal specimens from the National Gem Collection at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D. C. 

When Poe was originally buried in 1849, he was placed in an unmarked grave. Over the years, the site became overgrown with weeds. Reports of Poe’s anonymous and unkempt grave began to circulate, first privately then in the newspapers. The new monument was dedicated on November 17, 1875. Then, there was some confusion about the original burial site...

When Poe was originally buried in 1849, he was placed in an unmarked grave. Over the years, the site became overgrown with weeds. Reports of Poe’s anonymous and unkempt grave began to circulate, first privately then in the newspapers. The new monument was dedicated on November 17, 1875. Then, there was some confusion about the original burial site...

In honor of Halloween I want to make sure I bring on the scary, I've got some quotes for this Poe season from some of his Tales and Poems.  Side note: there is a NEW statue in "Poe Square," in Boston, MA.,  dedicated to Edgar Allen Poe....apparently, Poe and Boston had a contentious relationship...the Boston Globe calls it "stormy." Apparently, during the dedication, the "air was crisp and sunny" making it" inappropriate for Poe's personality."

Enjoy the language and the horror of it all, and the beating of his hideous heart ....Once upon a midnight dreary, while pondered, the weak and weary...

Horror and fatality have been stalking abroad in all ages. Why then give a date to the story I have to tell?

True!--nervous---very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses --not destroyed--not dulled them. 

During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country...

My immediate purpose to place before the world, plainly, succinctly, and without comment, a series of mere household events. In their consequences, the events have terrified --have tortured--have destroyed me. Yet I will not attempt to expound them. To me, they have presented little but Horror-

There are certain themes of which the interest is all absorbing, but which are too entirely horrible for the purposes of legitimate fiction. 

I looked; and the unseen figure, which still grasped me by the wrist, had caused to be thrown open the graves of all mankind; and from each issued the faint phosphoric radiance of decay; so that I could see into the innermost recesses, and there view the shrouded bodies in their sad and solemn slumbers with the worm. 

And now, as if exhausted with emotion, she suffered her white arms to fall, and returned solemnly to her bed of Death. And as she breathed her last sighs, there came mingled with them a low murmur from her lips.

*All quotes are from Tales and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe.*

NON SEQUITUR: Rock collection from the Smithsonian Institute. These are truly amazing expressions of mother nature's "Best Of."

Tourmaline Specimen at the Smithsonian

Tourmaline Specimen at the Smithsonian

Dom Pedro Aquamarine at the Smithsonian. 10,363 carats. 

Dom Pedro Aquamarine at the Smithsonian. 10,363 carats. 

purple is a rare tourmaline-Elbaite, dark green is Grossular tsavorite, Hydroxyl Herderite

purple is a rare tourmaline-Elbaite, dark green is Grossular tsavorite, Hydroxyl Herderite

This clear crystal ball is phenomenal...flawless! This is very rare.

This clear crystal ball is phenomenal...flawless! This is very rare.

...may the flawless crystal ball evoke images of ideas and dreams that are just over the horizon.

I leave you with one last Poe-ism: Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before...

 

Not exactly like landing on the moon

Well, I've been waiting for this, for quite some time. I've saved this image to my desktop long ago at a time when my new website a hopeful vision. Now that it's come to fruition I'm very pleased with the ease that technology has provided...that and a lot of grunt work. I've proofed all of the text umpteen times and I'm sure there are typos. Striving for any type of perfection is a burden worthy of Sisyphus...that boulder sure is heavy. You just have to come to terms with it and jump in. I suppose that's what running your own business is about too. I've just been accepted into the online, hand-made, site called Artful Home. In conjunction with the tedium of typo fear, I've been inputting images, descriptions and many details there too. This is new for me, I'm used to selling my work in person. The Artful Home site allows me to sell the same type of piece, which is something I fear since I've never worried about getting the same stones. For me, it's always been, whatever strikes my fancy. Again, I just have to jump in and give it a try-getting orders and spending more time in my studio, bathed in natural light, is a good situation. Aside from my website and Artful home I'm also gathering images and text to apply to a publication. Along with that, Berkeley Artisans Open Studios is coming up and I'll need a new postcard for mailing-yes, I still believe in snail mail. 

The open studios event starts after Thanksgiving, which means giving my studio the twice over; first with a broom in order to find those stones and small pieces of gold that I dropped sometime since the last time i swept, and then, with the big Shop Vac, that I fear will open, spreading it's contents all over the floor and causing a dust eruption. Then I set out my cases which are used for craft shows throughout the year, allowing me to spread out and make a nice display. And every year I bake cookies...it's how I spend my Friday nights in December. Cookies worth the calories. Once open studios rolls around, there are still many other balls in the air; applying to next season's craft shows, firming up workshop dates, applying to gallery exhibitions or whatever else is presented. An endless process, always in motion. And now, my brand new website with a shop, blog and lots to do while you're visiting the site. I know, I know...it's not exactly like landing on the moon!

The Launch

Announcing the launch of my brand new website www.antelman.com. I’m excited about the new features. First of all, now you’ll view images of my work on any smart device. Second, Shop from the comfort of your own smart device-how convenient is that? All of your Jewelry needs are fulfilled with the click of a button. My online shop is easy to use and peruse. In addition, my site offers a gallery of pictures showing the possibilities for custom jewelry. This has been a long time coming and it’s finally here! I welcome you to visit www.antelman.com

The physical creation of forging jewelry out of raw materials is a labor-intensive process that I constantly explore. The materials evolve through a process of puzzle solving, and the manipulation and movement of metal, creating hand-constructed jewelry. I am drawn to the relationship between the metal, stones, movement and form, and how they transform the wearer. 

The physical creation of forging jewelry out of raw materials is a labor-intensive process that I constantly explore. The materials evolve through a process of puzzle solving, and the manipulation and movement of metal, creating hand-constructed jewelry. I am drawn to the relationship between the metal, stones, movement and form, and how they transform the wearer.