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February 07, 2022
When I sit down to design a new piece of jewelry, I bring the best parts of myself to the table. I have to. There’s no room for fear or doubt or broken promises at the work bench. To turn raw metal into a finished, wearable ring or bracelet is a kind of alchemy, really. It requires patience, creativity, problem-solving, and trust. (And just a little bit of fairy dust!)
That moment when it all starts to come together does feel a bit magical. When the abstract visions in my head begin to make sense in my hands, I get excited — and humble. Out of my hard work and best intentions, I have created something meaningful and beautiful to pass on to another person.
To me, handmade is more than a process. It’s a belief in human connection and community. Making something for another person, or wearing something made lovingly by hand, is to take part in a human tradition as old as time.
People like shiny things. I know I do. A vein of gold in a dull rock, an abalone shell on the beach, even the gleam of a penny on the sidewalk is enough to catch my eye. The first jewelry appealed to our sense of beauty and wonder, but it also had a purpose. We wore pieces of nature to mimic its power — to heal the sick or offer protection for travelers. Our ancestors understood the strength of symbols, and they wore jewelry to effect positive changes in their lives.
When I design jewelry I always start with a good feeling. Hope. Peace. Wonder. Power. The idea is to capture that feeling in a way that speaks to other people and harnesses their dreams too. When I designed my Desert Botanic Collection, I was overcome by the strength and beauty of the Opuntia Prickly Pear cactus. It’s a hardy plant that not just survives, but thrives, in the desert near my home. When someone chooses this design, I know they’ve haven’t just picked the first shiny thing in sight. They’ve chosen a symbol of resilience and possibility. That means something to me.
When we wear mass-produced jewelry we can copy the sparkle on a magazine cover, but I think we miss out some of jewelry’s deeper rewards. To caress a piece of hand-cast silver, to feel the movement of a wire-wrapped gemstone dangling from your ear. There’s a feeling of grounding and connection that comes from knowing that this metal was shaped by human hands with care.
Over the last 20 years there’s been an artisan renaissance of sorts in America, changing the way think about everything from bread and chocolate to clothing and, of course, jewelry. (Etsy anyone?) It seems like just when we figured out how to execute everything to cookie cutter perfection by machine, people realized that wasn’t actually what they wanted at all.
Why are we so drawn to handmade things? For the artist, I think it’s the very tangible joy of working with your hands to create something beautiful, useful and amazing for the world. Finding someone who will cherish your creation is an integral part of that process.
While factories may churn out thousands of identical necklaces (and, honestly, exploit people and resources in the process), a handmade artist works much more slowly, carefully, and ethically. She takes time to source materials and craft smaller batches of high-quality items with real people in mind. When a person buys something handmade, they are choosing to be part of this thoughtful, nurturing process. In my mind, that makes us all artists.
The renewed popularity of handmade jewelry is a return to real relationships and trust. It’s a celebration of the connection between the person who solders and hammers silver into a pendant and the woman who wears it proudly around her neck.
I hope it gives people real confidence to know that each piece of jewelry they buy from me at Lila Clare has been ethically sourced and responsibly, lovingly made. I use recycled silver and primarily source in the USA to be conscious of my studio’s imprint on the earth.
Whenever you make things by hand, you open yourself up to fate, to the little uncertainties that make life interesting: the angle of the hammer on gold, the flow of the solder, the exact wrap of your metal wire. These slight differences don’t make a piece of jewelry any less perfect, long lasting or beautiful. They make it yours.
Every piece of my jewelry tells a story as complex and beautiful as the person wearing it. Like a thumbprint, no item is exactly the same because each was born individually, from concept to work bench to finished piece. The bundled sprout designs in my Joy Collection were inspired by the lush, happy forests of my childhood. I made my Luna Collection with connection and inner strength in mind. When you wear any of these pieces, you also become a part of the story, embracing strength, joy, hope or whatever quality is that you need right now in your life. And the best part is, you get to decide what happens next.
Thank you so much for being a part of my story. If you have more questions about how Lila Clare jewelry is made and sourced, I’m always happy to talk shop. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.
April 08, 2021
Circle Symbolism in Jewelry: Shaping Connection & Hope
The sun rises and sets. Autumn leaves fade, and new life grows each spring. These are things we can count on.
In an unpredictable world, the circle is our constant. It’s the sun that gives us warmth, the moon that offers light in darkness, the beauty of a prickly pear flower in full bloom. Just as the wheel set the world in motion — literally — the circle has also been there as a grounding force in our lives. It’s a tangible symbol of our connection to nature and to each other.
I’ve always been drawn to this deceptively simple shape. Wearing any of the pieces in my Luna Collection, I feel calm, whole and connected — aware of my past and open to what wonders my future may bring. And I’m not alone; the circle is an integral part of the historical jewelry making tradition. I like to imagine the first time someone formed a piece of bodily adornment in the shape of a circle. How amazing it must have been to find a shape as perfect as the sun in the sky! Then and now, this sacred geometry comforts us with the rhythm of life and reminds us that we are part of something bigger than ourselves.
Circle Jewelry: A Little History
Necklaces, rings, bracelets, clasps, the individual links that form a chain — these are the building blocks of jewelry as we know it. It’s hard to separate this essential shape from the ancient art of decorating our bodies. As humans first began to cut gems and solder metal, the circle became the perfect expression of form and function.
Nature, of course, was our first teacher. The sun and moon above, the two most prominent spheres in our lives, gave human existence a cyclical rhythm that was hardly lost on our ancestors. In pre-colonial New Mexico, the Zuni created the dazzling and intricate sun face as homage to their Sun Father deity. This circular shape, often inlaid with semi-precious stones like turquoise, mother-of-pearl and coral, represented a deep faith in nature and an understanding that our fortunes were inextricably intertwined. The burst of green after seasonal rains. The miracle of agriculture. The Zuni were skilled farmers, and they understood that the lives of countless individuals depended on the singular truth of the circle.
It’s humbling to realize how adept our ancestors were at noticing the world around them. The ancient Babylonians and Sumerians were surprisingly good at observing the skies — and they calculated the length of the solar year with amazing precision. The sun, in particular, with its brilliant golden sparkle and command over the seasons, became a potent symbol of royalty, and the perfection to which we all can strive.
The famous tomb of Sumerian Queen Puabi at Ur, contains some of the oldest metal jewelry archaeologists have ever found. It’s a treasure trove of elaborate headdresses, earrings and necklaces with cascades of interconnected golden circles. From the hoop earrings and to the rings dangling from the headdress, to the circular shape inherent in the headdress, it's layers upon layers of circles. (Today, Queen Elizabeth II’s traditionally round crown, inlaid with jewels, and her gold Sovereign’s Orb made a strong case that royal sentiments haven’t changed that much).
But if you had to choose a symbol that speaks to everyone, rich or poor, royal or common, the circle would be it. In the Far East, this smooth, unassuming shape offered a pathway to personal fulfillment — not by invoking some sense of unattainable perfection, but by teaching people how to find peace and strength in a world that doled out challenges on a daily basis.
Just as the Hindu idea of karma created a cyclical framework of natural consequence without judgement, the Chinese yin-yang embraced the circle as a way to make sense of the dueling forces we contend with every day. Good and evil, feminine and masculine, light and dark, strength and weakness — the yin yang explained these contradictions as part of a larger whole. By embracing the totality of life, we didn’t have to fight or make excuses. Better yet, we could learn from the circle, and this wisdom would always move us forward.
It’s really impossible to overstate how important the circle is to us, and how much we adore the feel of this pure shape on our skin. The first engagement rings in Ancient Rome were simple iron bands, round and unbroken to symbolize eternal commitment. Today, we may have changed some of the details, but the spirit is the same. Abundance, acceptance, love, and continuity — the circle offers up everything a person could possibly need to survive, and thrive.
Circle Jewelry Today
Everything old is new again. I firmly believe that. Even after thousands of years, we still rely on the circle to create necklaces, rings, bracelets, and pendants, and we’re still in the thrall of its understated power. You may have noticed that a lot of my Lila Clare Jewelry is inspired by the circle. I adore its pure, uncomplicated strength, and I’m humbled by its ancient roots. In particular, I’m drawn to a few circle-inspired symbols that have particular meaning for me: the moon and the family.
Luna Collection: I created my Luna Collection to celebrate the mystical power of the moon and the celestial bodies that shape the rhythms of our days. The moon, in particular, guides us in ways that are both far-reaching and deeply intimate. It commands the rise and fall of the tides that brings life to our beaches — just as it guides the monthly cycle of our bodies. The moon is far enough away to demand amazement and yet close enough to show us its cratered face. It’s like a piece of heaven you can (almost) touch.
The simple handmade silver and gold spheres in my Luna collection, are my way of harnessing that fleeting celestial moment and bringing it down to earth. These pieces range from minimalist open circle shapes, like my Cynthia Five Linked Circle Necklace that offers a hint of the moon in its phases, to the interconnected weaving of circles in the Cynthia Circle Nest Necklace.
Mother & Family Collection: The cradle of a mother’s arms, the swell of a growing belly, the warmth of a family gathered around the table — these powerful images of connection and encircling love are what inspired me to create my Mom & Family Collection. In this set of jewelry, I make silver and gold necklaces with interconnected circle pendants for moms to celebrate this momentous rite of passage. And because every family is unique, I’ve made this collection completely customizable with pieces like my Custom Generations Dangle Circle Necklace.
These threads of connections are why I create circles pieces for you. Dr. Brené Brown wrote, "I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” It is my joy that I am able to create something to symbolize that connection and those relationships.
The history of this sacred geometrical shape in jewelry is an age-old one. I believe that my use of the circle in the jewelry I make for you connects us both back to those ancient people. I hope this simple, powerful symbol can be source of strength and hope in your life too. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any thoughts to share. I’d love to hear what the circle means to you!
September 15, 2019
You might have seen that the Gold Vermeil option for many of Lila Clare Jewelry's pieces. But what, exactly is gold vermeil?
Simply put, vermeil (pronounced ver-MAY) jewelry has a thick layer of gold over a sterling silver core.
Similar to the process of gold plating, vermeil requires that sterling silver jewelry be placed in a bath containing fine gold particles, which adhere to the surface using electricity. The use of the term "vermeil" is actually regulated by the FTC. It requires that the quality of gold used must be 10-Karat or higher and have a minimum thickness of 2.5 microns. This allows a much longer wear than gold plated jewelry.
Lila Clare Jewelry's vermeil is 14k yellow gold.
18k yellow and 14k rose gold are available by special request, and require a bit more lead time.
Vermeil jewelry is considered more valuable than gold-plated jewelry because of the thickness of gold and its sterling silver base. The copper and brass base metals, typical of gold-plated jewelry, are less precious.
Care for Vermeil
I highly recommend keeping your vermeil jewelry in a sealed bag when not wearing the piece swimming, in hot tubs, or using harsh household cleansers. Cleaning vermeil is a bit different from how you would clean sterling silver. You won't want to use a polishing cloth or abrasive cleansers because they may wear off the plating. I highly recommend Hagerty Silversmith's Polish. It works well for vermeil, sterling silver jewelry, and solid gold jewelry!
Questions about vermeil? Please don't hesitate to contact me!
June 04, 2019
I'm pretty partial to June birthstones because my birthday is in June! And I do love my birthday. :)
Those of us born in June are pretty lucky to get three birthstone options: pearl, alexandrite, and moonstone.
Pearl is the most traditional June birthstone. It's the only birthstone made from a living creature and only non-gemstone birthstone. Pretty special! The oldest known pearl dates to 5547 to 5235 BC. Greeks believed pearls were the tears of the gods and ancient Chinese believed black pearls were a symbol of wisdom and were formed inside a dragon's head. Most pearls today are "cultured," or farmed, by implanting an irritant into pearl oysters or freshwater pearl mussels. The mollusk with then deposit layers of nacre around the irritant. Nacre, also known as mother of pearl, is the same material that lines the mollusk's inner shell for protection, and is responsible for the pearl's luster. Most of today's cultured pearls come from China, with natural pearls found in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean. Pearls symbolize integrity, love, and - you guessed it - purity. Pearls are classic and timeless, but also today's unique shapes and color allow them to be contemporary enough to be worn everyday.
Moonstone's name comes from it's moon-like iridescent glow, known as Adularescence. It has been admired for centuries; in fact, Romans believed moonstone was formed from moonbeams and both the Romans and the Greeks associated it with lunar deities. Moonstone is thought to be calming, enhance intuition, and provide balance. Found in a wide range of locations, the best sources are India, Sri Lanka, and United States.
Alexandrite became an alternative birthstone for June in the 1950s. It is known for its striking color change effect called Pleochroism, which means that it appears to be a different color in different light. In Alexandrite's case, the most valuable stones are bluish-green in natural daylight and purpleish-red in incandescent light. Natural alexandrite is extremely rare, and, while first discovered in Russia, is now found predominately in Sri Lanka, East Africa, Brazil. Alexandrite is thought to bring luck, good fortune, and love, and brings balance between one's physical and spiritual world.
Celebrate June birthdays with pearls in Lila Clare's Joy Collection!
March 01, 2019
Here is my second Lila Clare Jewelry video!
This video features the Luna Collection. Inspired by the moon in our night's sky with each of her lunar cycles, the jewelry also has themes of interconnection of all sentient beings and the all-encompassing love of a mother for her children.
See the heart on the top right of the below video? --> Show me some love and click on it (FYI, you will need a Vimeo account)! -->
Model: Callie Valocchi, @callievalocchi. Callie's smile shines like the sun! She radiates in this video.
Videographer: Jimmy Song, @jimmysongphotography. Jimmy has a great sense of space and how people move through it. I love how the surroundings are as integral to the video as the model and jewelry!
Location: Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA), Scottsdale, AZ.
February 01, 2019
As a bride-to-be, you put so much time and energy into the process of planning a wedding. From booking a venue to drafting invitations, deciding on a photographer, flowers, catering, music, seating charts, finalizing bridesmaid dresses and groomsmen tuxedos, and of course, choosing the perfect Dress, the task can feel herculean.
But, come wedding day when the dust has settled and you’re walking down the aisle toward the person you’ve chosen for life, suddenly all of the time and effort seems to fall away because it’s all more than worth it.
As a jewelry artist (and a guest at many weddings!), I often think about the pieces a bride will select for herself and her bridesmaids. Instead of worrying about what to wear to a wedding, I find myself fantasizing about the gemstone that would complement a particular bridal party color scheme or the delicate shape of a sterling silver pendant that would best echo the architecture of a bridal gown. Custom wedding jewelry for brides and jewelry for bridesmaids adds such a personal touch to the day. Plus, it adds so much meaning for a bride to select custom wedding jewelry that speaks to her and her bridal party.
I love it when I have the opportunity to collaborate with a bride to create her ideal bridal jewelry set for her and her bridesmaids. And I want to make the process easy and enjoyable.
The process can be as simple as a customer choosing handmade Lila Clare Jewelry pieces that are available for immediate purchase for her and her bridal party. Other times a bride-to-be may ask for slight modifications to existing pieces from the Joy, Luna, or Botanic Collections - like including an extra sterling silver petal, adding a gold circle, or inlaying a gemstone. We can even go the extra step and review color palette, bridesmaid dresses, and wedding gown, and customize jewelry so that it’s entirely unique to her vision for her special day.
Each wedding jewelry project is an honor for me to be a part of. I’m continually inspired by the brides I work with and the pieces we co-create. I’d love to work with you to create meaningful jewelry for your wedding day.
If your style is simple and classic with an emphasis on nature-inspired silhouettes, contact me to get started on your custom wedding jewelry set!
Special thanks to:
Carmichael Studios, Kennleigh Photography, Soho 63, Front Paige Events, AZ Florations, Interprintations, AZ Wedding Affair, Charmaine Brinegar, Scottsdale Farm Tables, The Boyer Bakery, Fancy Lou Designs, Beyond Bridal Beauty, Ariels Closet Full of Dresses
January 01, 2019
I'm so thrilled to release my first Lila Clare Jewelry video!
This video features the Joy Collection. I named it Joy because of the sheer joy I felt (and feel!) designing and hand making jewelry. It's only fitting that the video is shot at the Tucson Botanical Gardens, as the leaf pieces in this collection are inspired by nature.
See the heart on the top right of the below video? --> Show me some love and click on it (FYI, you will need a Vimeo account)! -->
Model: Devonne Husband, @devonnepaige. It was so fun to work with Devonne, who shone during the entire shoot. She's an RN, and I soooo appreciate her compassion and spirit.
Videographer: Jimmy Song, @jimmysongphotography. I've worked with Jimmy on several photoshoots, and now video. He really captured the feminine, inspirational feel of my jewelry. I appreciate his passion for videography, and how amazing the video turned out!
Location: Tucson Botanical Gardens, Tucson, AZ.
September 04, 2018
Do you ever feel as if you’re going nonstop, with each demand on your time as urgent as the next one? Maybe you feel like your day is spent putting out fires with little time left for planning, perspective, and much less, presence? I have certainly been living in this space for the past year, trying to give my all family and business, and feeling like I’m failing at both.
Our “go go go” culture can leave us feeling as if we’re being pulled in untold directions, each with its own, unique sense of importance. With all of our demands (both real and perceived) and the noise those demands stir, it can be hard to even find the time to take a look at our experience through a macro lens.
I try to remember to step out of the chaos as often as I can, but it’s definitely not easy. Distraction abounds, new demands arise, and despite the best of intentions, a day that at first seemed spacious and intentional can easily get derailed before I’ve even finished breakfast.
When the walls feel like they’re closing in and I’ll never possibly get “it” all done, I literally pull myself up out of the stress and drop myself right back down in the middle of nature. A quick walk with one of my dogs, checking on the garden, planting my bare feet on sun-soaked soil, or spending time beneath the branches of a tree are my go-to stress relievers. And they all take 10 minutes or less.
That’s why this quote from spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle, really called to me.
The symbolism of trees has been explored for many centuries; known for their majestic qualities of immortality, their resilience, their embodiment of life as one great big, connected circle, their representation of the family unit, their depiction of strength, power, and rebirth. There’s no denying the influence that trees have on us and our world.
As a generally tired and overstimulated society, I can think of no better an exercise in practicing presence. Give yourself the opportunity to enjoy that time beneath the canopy of a nearby tree. Consider it a gift to your soul!
August 30, 2018
I’ve loved gemstones for as long as I can remember. My fascination began when I was young, looking at jewelry and gemstones at art fairs, and grew when a metaphysical store opened in a neighboring town. How I loved pouring over the raw stones, and the tumbled ones set into jewelry.
I’m not alone in my attraction to them. Crystals and gemstones have long been revered for their luster, their luminescence, and their intricate patterning. Beyond their aesthetic allure, these enchanting descendants of our natural world boast myriad metaphysical properties that are said to aid in the physical, mental, and emotional healing and well-being of their wearer.
Pink Amethyst, is the soft-hued, feminine version of darker purple amethyst. But don’t mistake its softness for weakness; this stone is full of powerful effects and you can expect any of the following influences when a pink amethyst is nearby:
In addition to each stone’s external beauty, they represent something meaningful and significant symbolically as well. Pink Amethyst’s qualities are different than Aqua Chalcedony’s which are different than Chocolate Moonstone’s.
It’s my hope that you select a stone that speaks specifically to you. If you aren’t certain of the metaphysical meaning of a particular stone, select one or two that enchant you most, and then research the meaning of each. You just may find that the stone you chose offers precisely what you need at this very point in your life.
Explore the Lila Clare Jewelry gemstone selection:
July 10, 2018
June 28, 2018
When I first came across the artwork of Angela Schwer, I fell in love with the natural, organic and feminine forms she creates. I've long been fascinated with the inspiration behind other artists' work, especially when their artistic creations so clearly mimic natural surroundings.
It's why I created the Nature & Art series.
Angela's sculptures are an absolute treat to admire. I particularly appreciate how she honors the clay's natural coloring by keeping it free of highly glossy lacquers and bright colors. She lets the medium speak for itself and for me, it speaks quite loudly.
Read on as she shares what brought her to create these exquisite pieces, what inspires her designs and motifs, and how she's come to embrace the process just as much as the result. I certainly can relate to that!
LCJ: Angela, if you had only 3 words to describe your art, which words would you choose?
AS: I'd say my work is patterned, nature-inspired, and evolving.
LCJ: I can absolutely see that. For those reading, can you briefly explain the type of art you create?
AS: I create sculptures that are generally nature-based. You know, see a flower, make a flower. But also, I enjoy making clay tiles with repetitive patterns of textures and shapes that really start with no direction and finish when something about them just kind of feels good enough for me.
LCJ: When did you realize that this is what you wanted to do? I'm curious what compelled you to get started to begin with.
AS: What compelled me to start was a drive to find a way to be home with my children. I knew that if I could turn what I enjoyed making into a source of income, however small, it would help buffer the dip in finances our home was taking without my working. This being the main focus helped me push through my fears of putting my work out there. I'd always been so self-critical of my art, even while needing to make it, that the idea of letting others have access to it to judge (because believe me, you'd think some people knighted themselves All Holy Art Critic) was terrifying. I had to make the decision, that no matter what, I wouldn't let potential low sales or the opinion of others be the deciding factor for whether I would pursue my art as a business. If I really wanted and needed this, I had to get behind the material and just start making.
Before I branched out on my own, I completed a yearlong internship in 2004 teaching art alongside my college professor. We taught elementary and middle school students in the Mill Vally, CA school district. This was the first time I got to play with clay. It was such a great experience, teaching and learning about all of the various mediums too.
LCJ: Nature is very evident in your work and you speak about its influence on you. What is it about nature, specifically, that inspires you?
AS: I'm specifically drawn to the patterns you find in nature. A flower isn't a flower, but a sequence of all its individual pieces working together to make up the whole. I will sometimes pull apart a flower* from each individual petal down to the center to see how each petal or seed has grown in a sequence of identical sections. It's pretty interesting to see how perfectly balanced nature is up close.
Aside from this, have you seen what designers and seamstresses can do with fabric manipulations lately? Wow! I could read about or look at fabric designs and sewing techniques all day long, and every now and then, it will spark an idea that leads to a new shop design. In fact, my Folded, Layers and Flow Tiles were all inspired by fabric techniques.
*No live flowers were hurt in this experiment.
LCJ: That's so fascinating! So, it sounds like clay is the primary material you work with. Can you tell us more about that?
AS: During my 2004 internship, I had the opportunity to explore different mediums and though I did enjoy using earthen clay while there, from a tactile perspective, it wasn’t for me. My medium of choice is polymer clay or a plasticized modeling compound. There's a different feel texturally to polymer, and while polymer and earthen clay work similarly in many respects, they have completely different malleabilities to them. It became clear to me that polymer was the material I would work with. It is versatile, easily accessible and has a resiliency that can withstand upsets during the design process. It is a material that begs manipulation and texture and is very responsive to change.
I also believe that using a medium that is easy to obtain is important today when art is being kept from the hands of some potentially masterful artists. Materials shouldn't be stuffy or exclusive, they should be easily attainable and uncomplicated.
LCJ: I fully agree. Can you walk us through the process of how you create one of your pieces starting from the inspiration to planning to application to completion?
AS: There are no monumental shadows playing over a canyon sunset that inspire a new idea. I'd actually have to have the time for that! There IS an occasional walk through a park or trail where a new plant will catch my eye because of its unique design that I hadn't looked at before. But most of the time, it's me, sitting in my living room and just playing with clay. I spend hours and days repeatedly playing with designs or textures, only to flatten them all back down into a ball at the end. At first, I felt defeated. So many hours upon hours with nothing to show for them. I'm pretty sure I could add up half a year of my life in time just spent building something, only to destroy it!
But once my perspective changed, and I realized time and failure meant experience honing a skill, that time suddenly became valuable. I know, now, the importance of doing something, even on days when you have nothing to give, for the sake of pushing through. And it's the possibility that this time something may happen that keeps me going. Failure has been good for me. You can't take yourself too seriously when your failure to success ratio is 15:1.
As for color in my work, I'm not a fan. It may have something to do with me being the world's worst painter (check my trophy shelf), but I just hate how much depth the pieces lose in color. White has a way of reflecting light pretty nicely, and the shadows that are created in the nooks and crevices of the pieces make them seem more lifelike and interesting.
LCJ: I genuinely love that you keep your pieces in their natural coloring. What sparks your creativity when you’re feeling uninspired? As an artist, let's just say I can relate to the moments when inspiration feels nowhere to be found. What do you do to get back into your flow?
AS: Creative mental blocks are an everyday battle for me. It's a full-time job being so successful at having nothing to show. I'm half joking when I say this, but honestly, the only way I come out of a creative fog is typically unexpectedly and after putting in the fail time. I guess the key to me is discipline. Even on days I feel brain dead and starved for an inspirational morsel, I still try to make something. Most of the time I end up scratching my head and wondering what I was thinking to make such a piece of junk, but every now and then, something makes the cut. Those are the good days when all that fail time was worth it.
LCJ: That's such a helpful reminder to any artist or enthusiast. It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be done. What's your all-time favorite piece that you’ve made or maybe even one you're continuing to make?
AS: My all-time favorite piece has to be a knotted sculpture I made a few years back. It's currently homed at Zinc Art + Object in Edmonds, Washington. I'm pretty certain I'm the only one who likes it, but it was a lot of fun to make with differing knotted designs. It's pretty random and I'm certain I could never replicate it. So, I imagine it will sit on the Only One shelf all my life and I'll tell stories as an old lady about my favorite work being something that no one ever liked!
LCJ: I'd say that's awfully humble and most definitely unlikely!
A big thank you to Angela for sharing her process and passion with us. Her vision is evident and her pieces are truly remarkable.
June 18, 2018
Well folks, it’s finally here! We’re officially entering my favorite time of year - summer!
There is so much that I love about this season, even in the blistering Tucson heat. While that tenacious heat fills the air here (bring on the monsoon season, Arizona!), I know that summer is so wonderfully different in different parts of the country. Growing up in the south, I loved how the vegetation was verdant and flowering all around. In San Francisco, summer brought fog and chilly evenings. Regardless, there are endless activities to keep us busy like swimming, hiking, biking, camping (or, glamping as I prefer these days), getting hands dirty in the garden, floating on the lake and in the ocean - the list goes on. There’s every reason to enjoy all the parts of this season in every part of our beautiful country.
But, if you're someone who’s inclined to wear her valuable jewelry year-round, it’s also helpful to understand how to best protect your jewelry against the - at-times -harsh elements that are present during these warmer, more active months.
What are the culprits?
Being that summer is often synonymous with time spent outside, keep in mind that the following are all things that can damage your jewelry:
Ok, so we’ve identified the culprits. Now let’s get proactive about how to protect your jewelry around these elements! Follow these 4 simple tips to keep your precious pieces protected and leave you with peace of mind.
Avoid Heat & Moisture
Do your best to store your jewelry in cool, dry places free from moisture. Keeping them out of direct sunlight and away from excessively damp areas (I’m talking to you bathrooms!) will improve their shelf life. It probably goes without saying but this also means no swimming or hot tub soaking with them on either! Packaging them individually is always a wise idea as well, especially when traveling as it will keep them from bumping up against one another and scratching, denting, or breaking.
Get Ready In Stages
When going outside for the day, always apply your moisturizers, sunscreens, bug sprays, etc before putting on your jewelry. Be sure to wait long enough for said lotion, spray, or gel to become fully absorbed before your jewelry goes on. This will lessen the likelihood that these pieces become “gunked up” with excess residue. When the day is done, remove your jewelry before washing up and applying night lotions and creams.
Clean & Polish
You ought to clean and polish your jewelry every 3 to 6 months, but during the summer months, when jewelry is exposed to particularly harsh elements, it’s helpful to break out the polishing cloth and fine jewelry-specific cleaning compound every week or two to give your pieces some extra TLC and shine. At times, washing your jewels gently in warm water with an approved solution (like a few drops of mild dish-washing liquid) will do wonders to maintain the quality of the piece(s). Have your jewelry cleaned professionally at least once every year. The end of summer is a perfect time for that!
When In Doubt, Leave It Out!
If the activities on your agenda are really threatening to your precious pieces, the best way you can protect your jewelry is to simply not wear it. I know it’s never ideal to go through a day feeling bare, especially when our jewelry is such a wonderful aspect of our self-expression, but if the event calls for excessive exposure to any of the above culprits, go ahead and give your jewels the day off.
How do you keep your jewelry protected in the summer months??