Saturday, November 20, 2010

Commissioned Jewelry

I've been working on some commissioned orders, and this post gives you an idea of how they come about. I ask for a little information about the person, which may include their favorite colors, hobbies, interests, and challenges. Here are some of the descriptions I was given -

"For her birthday, a real Statement Piece, some sparklies, lavender and that beautiful clear peridot green, a hint of darkness, (the deepest green you can find?), a touch of sky blue for her husband's and brother's eyes, a touch of red for courage and joy." And here is what came about:

Birthday Necklace

Detail of Birthday Necklace

And here is the pair of earrings I made for this woman, (not meant to be worn with the necklace of course). The beads are handmade lampwork beads from Jodi Price at, and the earrings include sterling ear wires, and sterling chain accented with blue, red, and green glass beads.

Another description - "For my son's girlfriend - like me, she's complicated." I've had the opportunity to meet this girl, and she's not only gorgeous, but laughs all the time, and is very open-hearted and friendly, so I chose the sterling silver rabbit charm for trust and friendship, and the beautiful blue and green bead for a little mystery.

Rabbit Pendant for Trust and Friendship
For a young woman who loves orange, I made these red hot sparklies that include gorgeous round two tone orange glass beads, red and orange accent beads, and sterling chain with red and orange dangle beads.

Hot Stuff for the Woman Who Loves Orange!

For a woman who loves the beach, I made this pendant which includes a square fossilized coral bead, a carved bone bead, an amber glass circle bead, an agate accent bead, and a sterling silver sand dollar charm.

Sterling Sand Dollar and Fossilized Coral Pendant
For a young woman who loves horses, I made this pendant, which includes a puffed silver foil Millefiori bead, a red circle bead, a green jade bead, and an orange jade bead, along with sterling silver Pegasus charm.

Pegasus Pendant

For one of my sister's close friends who's going through some very rough times with several family members' health, we needed "to celebrate her strength as a woman and a daughter, so please use some red for her courage and steadiness through the darknesses." So for this very special woman I chose a vivid Picasso Jasper stone along with red agate and a clear, soft blue glass accent bead, with a strong island goddess charm to keep her grounded. This type of red jasper "grounds energy and rectifies unjust situations...[and] makes an excellent 'worry bead,' calming the emotions when played with." (Judy Hall, The Crystal Bible, 2004, Walking Stick Press, Cincinnati, Ohio.)

Red Jasper for Courage and Strength
For a woman who's a graphic designer, I wanted to make something sophisticated and elegant, but also colorful and creative, and here is the result, which includes a silver foil rectangular Millefiori bead, blue glass accent beads, a silver foil Millefiori disk bead, and a sterling silver swan charm reminiscent of the Art Deco period.

And there are several more that I'm currently working on. If you're interested in having a commissioned piece made for you, log into Dreamkeeper Creations and send me an e-mail with a description of what you'd like. It takes anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks depending on whether I need to special order beads or charms or whether I have just the right ones on hand.

Thanks for checking in, stay tuned for more goodies to come!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Signature Necklaces

I may have mentioned my Signature Necklaces in one or more of my previous blog posts, but I'll repeat the info here for your interest, and because the story is just plain wonderful.

Bear and Hummingbird Signature Necklace

I had the good fortune to be able to visit my daughter in Portland (LOVE that city, so supportive of the arts and creativity, and the people watching is sooooo wonderfully entertaining!) awhile back and while we were there we drove down to the Redwood Forest just the other side of the border, in California, near Crescent City.

I feel a HUGE connection to the beautiful redwoods, so much so that I want my ashes to be scattered there when I pass from this place to the other worlds. I made a vow there years ago when I had the chance to visit.

I found those trees so awesomely inspiring that my jaw dropped when I got out of the car and walked up to one and stretched my arms as wide as they would go, discovering that it would take several more people stretching their arms wide to actually be able to surround the tree, it was so strong and so old and so huge. I could hardly speak for a couple of hours, just being in awe of the beauty and strength and history of where they grew. The energy there was very powerful.

I made a vow to grow as straight as that tree and to try to be just as strong, no matter what should come my way, and to be true, no matter what. The reason I felt this the right place to make such a vow was because these trees, these entities, these living beings on the Earth had been able to not only survive, but thrive, some of them for over 2000 years, and I found that immensely impressive. Also as I stood inside the hollow center of one of those magnificent trees, enveloped by Earth, by sweet smelling wood and dimmed light, soft ground under my feet and the throbbing of Earth herself pounding around me and inside me, I felt so very protected and a sense of belonging like I've never experienced before. I wanted to be able to do that - what the trees were doing -  to extend belief and the protection that comes of it.

So during this wonderful  trip, I chanced upon a really special place called It's a Burl in Oregon, and there was a little shop near there where I bought a verrrry special necklace. When the shopkeeper sold it to me she explained that it was made by a Native American artist who worked locally, and the artist's wish was for her creations to inspire their owners. I wore her necklace hiking through my FAVORITE place on the planet, the beautiful Redwood Forest, so it picked up great vibes and lent me great vibes, and by the time I got home, I was feeling so inspired that I found myself making necklaces and pendants and bracelets and dolls like there was no tomorrow (lucky you!).

I'm ever so grateful for this artist's inspiration, and really enjoy passing it along to you. It is my sincerest wish that all the jewelry that you buy from me brings you joy. As I make it, I "program" good energy in, and I can't wait to hear from you about whether you can feel the energy behind it and the times you have while wearing it : ) I suppose my "programming" is based on the Native American tradition of singing while working - the teachings that I embrace from their culture teach that the energy you impart to something while you "make it" transfers to the one who receives it. There is power in this, and aware of what you bring into your environment, and assure that it has been created with, or brings, good energy. (If you're not sure about the energy, you can clear it, look for that post in the near future).

One of the things I've learned about living here in this place, our Earth, is that the thoughts we have, the ideas and feelings and inspiration in our minds, have energy, and when we bring that energy into concrete realization in some form, it begins to take on additional energy, so when we bring something close to us that has positive energy, it can lend power to the things we're working on bringing about - such as giving us strength, purpose, comfort, etc. No Eyes, in Summer Rain's books, describes these things, these "items" as "props," and she teaches that though we don't "need" them, they nevertheless, can impart energy. I understand this to mean that when we are masters, we can work with energy without "props," but until we arrive at mastery, it certainly helps to surround ourselves with positive energy however we may find it : )
Reach for the Stars Signature Necklace
 A Signature Necklace that I make is one that generally includes all or most of the following:

One Or More Heart Shaped Beads for Love
One Red Bead for Life and Vitality
Gold Beads for Wealth
Silver Beads for Purity
Copper Beads for Transformation
One or More Sliding Beads for Flexibility in Life
One Black Bead for Creativity (all things are born of the void)
Star Bead(s) to help you reach for the sky to make your dreams come true
A Few Pointy Beads Representing Challenges in Life (which you can definitely surmount)
A Cube Shaped Bead for Stability

And may include other qualities not listed, depending on the properties of the gemstones.

Thanks for checking in, come back soon!


How Does It Feel To Wear These Creations?

How does it feel to wear one of these lovely pendants?
The One That Defines Me
 Well, it feels like you have a little bit of spirit energy with you all the time. The thing is, these are tooooo fun. First you buy one, and the first purchase is a bit of a *save*, cause you want the sterling necklace chain to go with it. So you pick out a chain, and you pick out a pendant, and you're good to go (the chain will fit all of the pendants so you only need one, though you might collect more than one depending on your choices for style and length). Lots of times the first choice for your pendant is something that really means something to you, perhaps defines you in some way. The pine cone pendant above is one that I love to wear because I'm all about woods walks and have been for years, so this one is my "defining" pendant.

Oh, but after that, look out, because it's rather addictive, like candy! You get one, and you have such a good time in it, and people say, "Oh I love that necklace, where did you get it?" and it makes you feel so good, you want to spread that around and you tell them or pass along a card (thanks ever so!). But here's where the addiction starts (totally harmless, no worries). You have one pendant, but you put on an outfit and wish you had something fun in another color, so you pick up just the right color.
The One I Chose For Color
 Now here's where it gets really bad - you see one online and fall in love with it, bring it home, but this time you buy an outfit to match! (Okay you needed that lovely blouse's great for work and image is important....) I fell completely in love with the bead below, because to me it looks like a painting - of a lake with a strip of land on the horizon and the trees on the land, and the clouds above, with the setting sun throwing a beam across the water back to "me standing on the shore" - I've been on so many walks where I've seen just this image, and I love that the goddess charm somehow embodies  a being that would feel quite at home in the setting of the image within the bead. So, a new dress was purchased to go with the browns...I'm good to go (for a minute).
The One I Fell In Love With
Truth is, these pendants match almost anything. You can coordinate carefully, or you can break all the rules and wear one just because it feels sensual dangling just between your, er, well, above your sternum if you will...and it's wonderful to twirl between your fingers. I try when I make them to make sure they are not too tight and not too loose, but just right for the tactile pleasures of twirling : ) I had no idea that some of them would be so fun to play with, to twirl between your fingers - until I tried on the one below. Well, it'll never make it to the shop, but I'll try my hardest to create some really tactile ones for you. This one appeals to me not only because it reminds me of swimming in the summer, but also because the little bead on the bottom is very texturey and I love to feel the bumps on it when I'm daydreaming....
My Tactile Pleasures!
Some of them have meaning to me, like my huge six sided beautiful green gemstone bead with the griffin charm that I keep because the griffin is part of my family's coat of arms, and the glowing multicolor silver foil beads with the lizard charm that represents the guardianship of life (always good), and the large swirled bead with the eternity goddess who protects my business (also really good), and the green *signature necklace that represents so many things in life, from stability, to change, to growth, to wealth, and protection, and creativity, and vitality - you can see how this could become quite addictive.
SOLD - Signature Necklace
And that's the thing! I started making them for me, but I couldn't stop, still can't, and the interesting thing is that I can feel the energy of each of the people who will buy them - someone in need of a bit of shoring up, someone who wants to hold some special meaning close, someone who laughs all the time, or someone who wishes to give a friend some good energy. They're all about the energy.

I don't make these by myself. When I create these works of art, I invite not only Spirit to help me create for the benefit of all, but also the spirit of each owner, to fill you up with a bit of joy, because joy belongs to us all, it's part of our divine inheritance (yay!). I really enjoy being a part of being able to bring you joy and it thrills me to hear of your happiness. Sometimes a little bit goes a very long way, and I celebrate the joy of sharing beauty and the sparkle of life with you.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Twisty Talking Sticks

Twisty Vine Growing Up a Tree at The Villa
Sometimes I devote a lot of time to certain beadwork projects, and my Talking Sticks are some of those. I have a limited number (60 or so) of gorgeous old twisty grape vine sticks that I collected in a very special place where I used to go to be alone when I was growing up. The place was called "The Villa," and it was an old estate in a town where I lived for a few years. The size of the twisty sticks ranges from a few inches to over 3 feet long.

The Greenhouse Foundations
Back in the heyday of this gorgeous place, there were greenhouses on the acreage, covering a lot of ground, where they grew roses, but by the time I started going there The Villa was untended and overgrown, though there was still at least one person living in the big house. The name of my hometown was "Rose City," and that is most likely what they raised in these greenhouses (roses).

Steps to the Greenhouse
So I would sit on these steps, reflecting on things and daydreaming in this beautiful place. I was never afraid there, was always completely alone except for birds and animals, and poison ivy, which I always used to get into, still do in fact.

I would collect sticks when I walked there, am sure no one would miss them, and feel they're happy to have a continuing purpose. I think they're old grapevines, not from a cultivated grape, but from wild ones. And some of the twisty sticks are from old wisteria vines. Anyway, here's what I do with these treasures:

Twisty Stick Being Groomed
I shave the bark off, which used to take a lot of time until I learned to soak it in water for a few days - then the bark peels right off like a banana peel. After the bark's removed, I sand the stick and stain it. I love to feel it twirl in my fingers as I work with it.

Staining the Wood

I love to choose the materials I'll use to dress it. These may include fur (usually rescued from antique stores), leather, and definitely seed beads, plus some gorgeous fringe beads chosen for special meaning.

Choosing the Materials
After it's stained and dry and I've chosen the dressing materials, I begin by gluing on the fur and the leather. For this Talking Stick, the fur is silver fox (the red leather is for vitality, and fox represents camouflage - more on representation a bit further on...).

Dressed in Fur and Leather

The colors of the beads I choose are important, as they each represent something.  More on this a bit later too.

I am beading, beading, beading
It takes me about 150 hours, 14 yards of thread, and 12,000 size 11/0 seed beads to make a Talking Stick like this one, which is about 12 inches from tip to tip. Going around the curves is quite a challenge to say the least. I pass the thread through each bead twice, using the Peyote stitch. So I bead and I bead and watch the seasons change outside the window, and then at last, it's ready for the fringe.

At last, ready for fringe!
Now the fringe is the best part, not only because it feels deeelicious running through your fingers, but because each bead chosen for the fringe also represents something about the person I'm making the Talking Stick for.

Fringe on Moonjie's Talking Stick
I made this Talking Stick for my friend Moon, and sent her photographs of the progress throughout the year. She was so excited to finally receive it. She lives in Missouri, is part Native American, and uses it in ceremony with many other women.

Each Talking Stick has an Answering Feather to go with it, and here is what the fringe on Moon's Answering Feather looks like:

Moon's Answering Feather Fringe
I use commercial feathers that I buy in Oregon for the Answering Feathers. These are from birds that are not protected migratory species. They're painted very carefully to look like other feathers, such as eagle or owl, and serve quite well (they're very strong). Here's what the beadwork looks like on Moon's Answering Feather (you can see it has a bit of silver fox fur as well):

Moon's Answering Feather
The Back of Moon's Answering Feather
After I finished Moon's Talking Stick I had to start another one, this time for me to keep. It has my special colors that were given to me in a dream (red, green, blue, gold, cream) and some very special fringe beads.
My Talking Stick
So you may be wondering what a Talking Stick is all about. It comes from a Native American custom that was used when the people would gather to talk, be heard, and make decisions. If you held the Talking Stick, you had to speak the truth, and no one could interrupt you. If someone wanted to interject, they had to make a sign, and then you would hand them the Answering Feather. In this way, important things were sorted out with civility and respect. I'd guess that many could use this tool today to great benefit. In Native tradition, it's more common for a person to make their own Talking Stick and Answering Feather than to have one made, but few people continue this tradition today. For information on where I get some of my most beloved Native references, check out Jamie Sams Sacred Path Cards and Jamie Sams and David Carson's Medicine Cards. I've been using them for 25 years for several purposes, and they're uncannily communicative and accurate. In contrast to traditional European tarot cards, these are very positive, no matter which one you choose, and they share the incredibly gorgeous teachings of many tribes of Native Americans.

Look for the occasional Talking Stick in my Etsy Shop, Dreamkeeper Creations, but don't hold your breath, they take a while (it'll probably be about 2012 when the first one becomes available there - they're high ticket items, generally commissioned.)