Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Several months since I've shared here...several tumultuous, roller-coaster-of-emotions, crazy-train-riding months.

And I don't even want to discuss them...the details still hurt. I will tell you that there's been a big, and unexpected, betrayal of sorts (emotionally at least). Promises made and not kept. Professionally, my skills and abilities derided. A dismissal. Heartbreak.

It sounds so dramatic...and some of it has been. I try to live a very no-drama life, striving to enjoy the moments, both large and small, that life presents: sunshine stealing across the bed in the mornings, the absolute silence of the neighborhood and house in the middle of the night, the temperature dropping several degrees as fall approaches (or rising a good bit as summer arrives). A new pair of shoes for my birthday. Unexpected moments of bliss.

The disruption of the life I strive to create, the atmosphere in my home, the surroundings in which I design, has been difficult. Interestingly though, I think it has fostered a bit of growth, an evolution (or at least expansion) of what I'm creating. Which didn't happen all in the last few months, of course. Often it's only by looking back in the distance that we can see the changes more clearly.

In April 2013, I started with this:

A simple design, born of my desire for three things:

1. to allow the beautiful, colorful gems I love to be the focal point of my designs.

2. to practice my side-by-side soldering skills, which sorely needed work

3. to Keep It Simple, both a design and a life mantra for me

The pendants above sold immediately, as did several others in the same style.

It could have been the turquoises. I'm well aware that some of my customers buy these creations because of the gems. Which is totally fine - that's part of my own love, and what I enjoy buying and using in my designs. But since I started this collection, I've had comments and compliments on the metal work, too...which as you can see by the photos above, wasn't exactly complex. That doesn't mean it's easy, because it's not. But it wasn't crazy, bold, or grand.

What I wanted, originally, and what my skills could accommodate at the time, was gem-focused items with some metal detail. I didn't want to just have plain cabs with a bezel around them. I wanted more. This was my solution.

But always, while I am designing, I am thinking about, "What else? What's next? How would I...? and What if?" It's a striving, a curiosity that never ceases.

The next step in the evolution was to make the metalwork more complex:

From last fall. More joins, more wires to shape, more playing with asymmetry and balance...

and then to this summer:

Adding more gems, still playing with balance (I'm always playing with balance. My love of asymmetry can get carried away if I let it). :)

and then, to this:

Oh yeah. Taking a big ol' hunka hunka gem and embellishing all the way around it...and then adding embellishments as stand-alone design flourishes, to build a handmade chain. NOW we're talking.

Also, I think I may be moving out of the "keep it simple" realm. ~wry smile~  It's still a part of how I approach design, but sometimes it's apparently good to kick it up a notch. Or three. :)

I can't tell you how happy the above neckpiece(s) make me. It feels GOOD. And despite all the other turmoil that's been in my life, every day I can't wait to get to the studio and see what's going to happen next...I think next year is going to be an earth-shattering year...

Be well, all y'all. Enjoy the change(s) in seasons. Stretch, strive, be as drama-free as you possibly can. And when you can't, be good to yourself. Work on healing...work on happy.

- Jill 

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