Monday, March 30, 2009


This weekend, I was excited to attend CraftBoston (presented by The Society of Arts and Crafts), a show of contemporary art, craft, and design.
I go to CraftBoston each year for design inspiration, to interact with other artisans, and to check out the various booth designs and layouts. I encountered artisans from around the US and had the pleasure of chatting with some local artists whose work I have admired from afar.
As I bounced from booth to booth I found my heart beating faster and my mind spinning with ideas awakened.
The number of talented and imaginative artists was endless, but I found a few that really lit a fire in me.
Kimberly Morris, fabricates silver and copper jewelry then adds colored pencil to embellish each piece. The result is a line of jewelry that has unexpected depth, interesting details and bold colors.
zpots is a pottery studio run by a husband-and-wife team in Vermont. I admired their Classic Large Mugs that were comfortable to hold, and their thoughtful Home Bowl, which would be a delight to put out at a family gathering.
Donna Veverka, of Donna Veverka Jewelry, handcrafts jewelry inspired by architecture and ornament. I was excited to try on some of her structural rings that, while substantial, weren't overly heavy or uncomfortable to wear. Check out her website to view some of her one-of-a-kind pieces. Unique and fantastic.
I left CraftBoston with a stack of postcards/business cards in my hand, and a catalog if inspirations and ideas in my head.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

3-Day Necklace for Breast Cancer

I was recently asked to design a piece that would be auctioned off in a fundraiser for The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer 3-Day.
The assignment was to design a necklace that would reflect the strength and spirit of the 3-Day. I did my best to create a piece that matched that description, but I also wanted it to reflect the journey of a cancer patient/survivor as well.

I got some great feedback on the finished necklace from a cancer survivor and as a result, I was inspired to offer it in my shop as a fundraiser piece. The "3-Day Necklace" is made to order and HALF the purchase price goes directly to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer 3-day.

The 3-Day team my piece was donated to is These Boobs Are Made For Walking (aka Team Boobs!). Their goal is to raise $10,000 as a team.
To learn more about this team, and the fundraiser I am participating in locally, visit .
For more info on the necklace, click here

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Unexposed Talent: Treasures from Hawaii

While many of us are stuck in limbo waiting for the weather to start acting like it's spring, some lucky folks live in a year-round paradise.

Dava, from Treasures from Hawaii , is rightfully inspired to capture the riches of her homeland. She takes fine-art photographs of her surroundings, sharing with us the grand beauty as well as the tiniest detail of the natural world around her.

She also creates beach-in-a-bottle items for the rest if us to covet. She fills each bottle with sand, shells, coral, beach glass and other unique items that she personally collects from Kauai's seashores.

I'll take a beach-in-a-bottle and her TrueLoveBetweenThePalms,HawaiianStyle photo and hold on tight until mother nature decides to let the north easterners among us have a taste of paradise too.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Working with Scraps Helps Make Us More Resourceful

A friend sent this article to me and I thought I'd share it as companion reading to my previous post, "Artist Challenge"
The article, by James Glaser, originally appeared in the Tallahassee Democrat.
click here to read full story.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Artist Challenge

Create at least 2 new pieces using only your scrap materials (this works for most mediums)

There I was, 2 weeks from a deadline and short on money to buy the necessary materials. I scanned my bench, staring hopelessly at my slivers of silver sheet and snippets of wire. Then I saw it. A castaway that called out to me, a scrap that screamed to be used. The unintended form inspired its own design, so I followed where it lead me.
The resulting necklace was a refreshing departure from designs typical of me, and that little discarded fragment has taken me down the path of creating a new line.

1. Using materials that would otherwise have to be refined to be use again
2. An exercise in creativity
3. Saving cash. It's like money in your pocket to make profit from your discards.
4. Breaking from designs that would be expected from you

So go for it. And be sure and share what you come up with with me and everyone else!

I'm Etsy seller of the week!

Woo hoo! I'm Etsy Seller of the week on the Treasures from Hawaii blog. I have recently made Bloggy/Etsy/tweety friends with Dava, from "Treasures" even though we are 5 time zones (I think) away from each other. That's the beauty of this craft community. No competition, just people helping other people succeed. I feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Unexposed Talent

It's no secret. One of the goals of this blog is to increase exposure of my jewelry. But another goal is to increase the exposure of other artists' creations as well.
While I have been making jewelry for a few years now, I am pretty new to the world of Etsy, blogs, and other social networking venues. Trying to figure out how to increase sales on Etsy is like searching for El Dorado. So in an effort to help myself and others get a little piece of the action, I am starting a new Friday feature:

Unexposed Talent
It's a showcase that will feature Etsy shops that have few sales -- 20 or less. If you'd like to have your shop included in this weekly feature just let me know by leaving a comment and your link. Do you know someone who deserves a little recognition? I'd love to hear all about them...

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

It's a great time of year. Spring is upon us and the seed catalogs are showing up in the mailbox. It's a time of anticipation and hope for gardeners, and the time of year I turn to my favorite books for renewed inspiration, insight, and advice. So now seems like the right time to share my favorite reads on sowing, growing and attempting to live more sustainably.

I have so many "favorite" books on this topic, but one, in particular, stands out:

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
This is what the book's official website says about it :
"Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, this book tells the story of how our family was changed by one year of deliberately eating food produced in the place where we live."
...and I'd like to add that it is packed full of fascinating tidbits about gardening, delightful reflections on family, and insightful observations on politics.

If you like that book, you'll like these ones as well:
This Organic Life by Joan Gussow
The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Openings Available

Openings Ring
Graphic yet earthy, the contrast of the free-form cutouts against the oxidized interior is stunning. This wear-everyday ring features a polished silver dome with organic-shaped openings cut out. Measures approx 3/4" in diameter

Click here for price and more details

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Easy Listening

You're sick of all your music. You can't bear to hear the top 10 on the radio again. You have heard enough bad news on talk radio, and you just can't do daytime TV.
Don't despair, you are not out of workshop-entertainment options.

Discover podcasts -- the perfect companion to the lone artist/crafter. There is no better way to pass your studio time than listening to an engaging, educational, inspirational, and informative podcast.

I discovered a couple great ones a while back and now look forward to going to my studio to listen and learn while I work. I have heard interviews with well-respected metalsmiths, and listened to inspiring conversations with folks living creative and artful lives. I've learned what goes on behind the scenes of my favorite blogs and websites, and I've been schooled time and again in the business of art.

The topics are endless, the benefits are boundless.

You can play most podcasts online or subscribe to a podcast via a feed or on iTunes.

My two favorite are Craftcast and Craftsanity , but the choices are vast.
Here's a very short list of a few more crafty podcasts:
Indie Quarter
Hello Craft
Craft Borg

Happy listening!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Blog Debut

The first blog post!

This is a good time to let you know what AGA Elemental is all about:
my influences
my interests
my jewelry

Or, to be specific: nature, metal, all things handmade and local, fashion, sustainable living, books, the craft world, gardening, design, creative inspirations and last but not least, trying to make a living through my craft

Please join me as I explore this vast world of crafts and the Internet in an effort to nurture an awareness of handmade crafts, inspire people, promote my own work and the outstanding work of others, and become entrenched in this community of bloggers and crafters and tweeters and...

Hello and welcome to the Elemental blog!

Here's the who, what, why, how, and when about me, my jewelry, and the blog:
In short I am a metalsmith, supporter of handmade goods, voracious gardener, wife, and mother.

I have been an artist all my life, but discovered metals as an adult. I took a metalsmithing class on a whim and one class turned into two classes, which turned into see where this is going, right? I was hooked on the tactile--and even physical aspects of bending, filing, sanding, and soldering metal into beautiful jewelry. I have always been curious about the metamorphosis from raw materials to finished forms and making jewelry from metal sheet and wire opened a new avenue of expression for me.

My jewelry designs reflect industrial and organic forms, showing that this marriage can be both fashionable and artistic.

I spend much energy seeking independent designers and/or local goods and foods. There's something about having the opportunity to feel connected to the artistry or craftsmanship of an item by being connected to the maker that makes it all worth the extra steps.

My husband and children are a constant source of inspiration and motivation for me. I also draw from my personal pursuits of rock climbing, organic gardening, reading, and fine art.