I just got finished with one of my favorite types of custom work. My client brought me a beautiful, long strand of ivory-colored carved beads, and gave me no deadline, and no restrictions on what I could do with them. She had been told they might be ivory, but I think they are carved ox-bone from China.
This is the first necklace and earring set. I added raku donuts, ceramic donuts and fancy jasper. At first, I didn't realize that the raku beads didn't have holes in them. I ended up attaching them by making loops of seed beads closed off with crimps. The second piece has a carved bone donut in the center. I attached it in the same way.
Here is the completed second piece:
And here are some fun skeleton heads that I made for a new shop in downtown Fredericksburg called Horseshoes and Hand Grenades. It's the type of shop that I loved to go to when I was in college. It has all kinds of vintage clothing items, records and cool retro home furnishings.
It is a little unsettling for me to go in there, though. Most of the vintage items were brand new when I was in college! I guess that makes me vintage, too!
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What is real?
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real." "Does it hurt?" asked the rabbit. "Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt." "Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?" "It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand." -By Margery Williams, from "The Velveteen Rabbit"
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I love hunting through thrift stores and salvage yards to find inspiration for my pieces. In most cases, I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for, but I know when I’ve found it because of the little jolt of excitement that I feel when I see it. It’s fun to find items that have been cast off because they are no longer beautiful or useful to their original owner, and give them a new identity. Once I sit down to start an altered piece, I feel like I am solving a puzzle as I try to fit parts together into a cohesive whole.
My finished pieces feel "real" to me in the Velveteen Rabbit sense of the word.