Saturday, April 2, 2011


Like most jewelry artists/designers I know, I am addicted to beads and tools. The tool obsession we will address in a subsequent post-- beads, however, are ingredients, just as butter, sugar and chocolate are ingredients for a baker. You need ingredients to make a bracelet just as you would to make a batch of cookies and when inspiration strikes is not the time to go to the store. You need these things in your jewelry “pantry”, just as much as Martha Steward stocks bars of semi-sweet Valhrona.

So shopping—either on the Internet or at a yard sale or an antiques mall-- is a necessary and valid pursuit of your time as an artist, as I frequently tell my spouse. Browsing is mandatory. You may not be planning to buy but you have to see what's out there, add links to your Favorites file or maybe print out some photos for your sketchbook.

I just spent a productive couple of hours perusing the fabrics on If you aren't inspired by the colorways of Kaffe Fassett's fabric line, I would suggest holding a small mirror over your lips to see if you are still breathing! And the colors aren't even the best part--I printed out no less than five or six pages on my black-and-white Canon printer as pattern prompts for future design projects.

The ingredients sitting in my studio this week are a real mixed bag-- some beads, some organizing aids, some that would fit into the category of bizarre. Here's a look:

Vintage button card from 110 Main Street, Montpelier, VT

Tentaculum rayon threads with a metal core

Polymer clay beads in various stages of antiquing-- stars? chicken feet?

Vintage thread spools from an estate in NY

Experiments with colored pencil and polymer

Japanese-style vintage button from 110 Main Street, Montpelier, VT

Wishbones collected in the wild by Bonesinger

As I constantly play around with new ideas in my polymer work, I'm always doing little experiments and making things which then lay around my studio in various boxes waiting for inspiration to strike. They, too, are ingredients. As my refurbished studio comes together, I just wish I could find a better way to organize them. The 1” high plastic presentation boxes below, from Bellandaria Designs I fit with white nubbly shelf liner so they keep designs in progress from becoming disarranged while the boxes stack neatly on my shelf. They can also be strapped into a trolley that Bellandaria sells if I need to cart them to a gallery or an appointment with a buyer.

Presentation boxes from Notable Notions on Etsy


  1. Love your collection. Your beads are so super. The ones you wire wrapped a few days ago and the article in Belle Armoire Jewelry. I am going to have to try sandwiching ceramic clay with metal and hope they don't explode. I guess if the cone is low enough it could work. It sure works with glass and metal. Thanks for sharing all these.

  2. look at all of those great pieces - all awaiting a home... i go between being overstimulated by too many interesting pieces to being overstimulated by having too many ideas at once... that is actually an incredible idea to store the projects in their own boxes... i really really like that! thank you so much for sharing it ALL! really loving the colored pencil/polymer experiment...

  3. Love the colored pencil polymer clay pieces!

  4. Oh, awesome, I didn't know you liked vintage buttons! Email me your address, I'll send you some!

    And ingredients -- when people ask me at shows if I made all the beads, I tell them I support other artisans by buying their beads, and I look at it as being a chef, buying the very best ingredients possible to cook the finest of meals.

  5. Your work knocks me out. Flippin amazing!

  6. i love to come and see whatever you post, miss christine. there is a museum quality to everything you touch, from your beads to collections of wishbones. truly magical to learn of your process and see your progress. thank you for sharing this bit of yourself today.

    enjoy the day

  7. BTW, Kaffe Fassett -- that name just rang a bell -- I think I have knitting pattern books by her, yes?