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The Middle Eastern Puzzle Ring

Middle Eastern puzzle rings have been a part of my life since childhood. My father purchased two of them in Pakistan in the early 1960s when he was in the merchant marines. They bore the rough texture of sand casting in several places and they were very thin in the back.

Mom's puzzle rings
Puzzle Rings purchased by my dad in Pakistan in the early 1960s.

So thin in fact that I had to repair them for my mother several times over the years even though she rarely wore them. This was a design flaw in my opinion, but perhaps they were produced for tourists like my dad. After all, he only paid one American dime for each of them. He immediately threw away the instructions and entertained himself on the ship by trying to figure out the puzzle.

My mother called them “trick rings” and kept them hidden away for the most part. (With five children, I would do the same.)  In my early jewelry career, I wanted to recreate them and asked to borrow them. They had such sentimental value to her that she wouldn’t let them leave the house. So I spent some time drawing each individual ring as well as how they were assembled. It was necessary to study the “puzzle” of how they fit together – taking apart and reassembling them many times. Then I went home to my shop and spent about 12 hours creating my first puzzle ring. Continue reading The Middle Eastern Puzzle Ring

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The Anti-Aggressor Battle Fan 3000

This past Fall I tried something different to market my work and exhibited at a boat show.  It seemed like a good fit and that experience itself will be the subject of its own blog post later, but part of the experience helped launch a different project.

Coriander Woodruff is an artist, photographer and the daughter of my best friend, Patricia Woodruff. She was helping me out at the boat show, along with my good friend Anita, former proprietor of Sparkle’s Jewelry of West Melbourne, FL. We are three people experienced in sales of this kind, yet it was astounding to us the amount of “free advice” we gals received from the male businessmen whose booths surrounded us.

The interior of the vending tents was stifling for October. Coriander carried a metal framed martial arts fan that we all shared at times. First it just seemed like a sturdy accessory that helped to cool us, but then we realized that it could act as a barrier and deterrent to the “man-splaining” we were finding ourselves subject to hearing.

Continue reading The Anti-Aggressor Battle Fan 3000

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Jewelry of Ideas

Lovely awning detail at the entrance to the Cooper Hewitt.

About 4 years ago when I returned from a study abroad program in the UK, I realized that part of what made that trip such an amazing experience was the fact that where ever we went, we found jewelry to look at. In galleries, museums, schools and artist studios. I missed that and, upon my return, suddenly realized that it didn’t take a lot of effort to continue that experience here in my own country.  Since then, I’ve tried to make an effort that whenever I travel, I look for museum exhibits and galleries that feature art jewelry, innovative craft and opportunities to connect with other jewelry artists.

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Is Hand Made Jewelry really made by hand?

The artisan jewelry market is growing in recent years with more and more people turning their jewelry making hobby into a side business. One only has to walk through the craft section of a book store or the jewelry making aisle in your local craft store to see how popular it is to make jewelry.

So what is hand made jewelry? Continue reading Is Hand Made Jewelry really made by hand?

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Where does inspiration come from?

The inspiration for jewelry design can come in many different areas. Nature, architecture, even the human body itself can offer ideas and forms for creating a piece of jewelry. Because the jewelry is usually an expression of the person wearing it, design is as varied as individual people.

The nature of wave forms and my visualization of the way they travel through water and air has inspired much of my work in recent years. Doodles and sketches in the margins of my notebooks end as a labyrinth that grows organically to eventually take over a the entire page.

Continue reading Where does inspiration come from?