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Archive for August, 2009

IMG_5792What a treat!  Today I am quite excited to introduce you to Laura Flavin, the artist behind Modern Bird!  I just adore Laura’s work!  Her nature-inspired jewelry is sweet and simple, and full of sentiment!   As a novice in metalsmithing, I am quite excited to hear from Laura, who seems to have quite a gift in this skill!

Laura was wonderful enough to be in the spotlight and share a little about her work and herself:

Your jewelry is just stunning! Where do you find your inspiration?
Thank you Kara for your wonderful compliment, it is my pleasure to share my thoughts and inspirations with you.

I find inspiration for my jewelry in many places.  When I first began metalsmithing, I drew from my love of mid-century modern design and art, accentuating simplicity in form and style.  As my work began to evolve I found that my surroundings had a big influence on my work and me.  I love infusing themes of nature in my jewelry.  Birds, butterflies, flowers, trees and leaves are my muse…..the way they fly, blossom, flow in the air, spread their wings and nest.  Nature’s inspiration is endless for me.

I work toward combining my love of modern design and my fascination with nature and my surroundings.  When I create jewelry I like to infuse meaning and energy into each piece.  For example, my Littlebird is a symbol of peace and each time one goes out to a new owner I imagine peace spreading throughout the world.  Some other themes I enjoy are love of nature, nesting, nurturing, family, best friends and personal growth.

IMG_5251IMG_5650IMG_6723Share with us a little about your creative process.
I work in my studio in Philadelphia; the space is in an old renovated textile factory. I surround myself with an array of hammers, files, pliers, dapping tools (for forming), helpful and inspiring books and vintage goodies.

Most of my designs start with a loose idea or simple drawing.  Then I begin working with the metal.  I cut out shapes with my jeweler’s handsaw; use techniques such as forming, forging and texturing. Most of my pieces include soldering to join silver together creating depth and dimension. As I work with the metal I sand and file any rough edges.  I enjoy the juxtaposition of bold design and sweetness, so I add patina to my jewelry along with semi-precious stones and sparkly crystals.

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What do you find most challenging about your craft?
The biggest challenge for me is working alone.  I enjoy being around other people and interacting.

Therefore when I am working, I tune in to a good radio station or listen to a book on tape.

As often as possible I head out for coffee or lunch with a friend.


What do you find most rewarding about it?

Finishing a day’s work with a wonderful piece of jewelry that my two hands and mind created is very rewarding!!
Equally rewarding are the relationships I have made with the people who love my jewelry.  I enjoy packaging up a necklace and writing a note to the recipient in hopes that it will brighten up their day when it arrives on their doorstep.

IMG_1059I am just beginning to try my hand at metalsmithing.  Do you have any advice for someone new to this skill?
I do have some advice for those new to metalsmithing.  First, find out who the best metals instructor is in your area.  Take a workshop or class with him or her.  If there isn’t a good Art Center near you, think about traveling a little to get some hands on training if possible.  Next, I recommend getting a few good books on the subject. Tim McCreight’s books are a must for every jeweler; Joanna Gollberg and Susan Lenart Kazmer are both inspiring and wonderful.  Finally, work and practice as much as possible.  Jump in without being afraid to work with fire or make mistakes. As you spend the time working through your ideas they evolve into something you are very excited about and want to share with others.

What is your most prized possession?

This is a tough one…..Since my husband and I just packed our whole home and moved from Tampa to Philadelphia, I am a bit overwhelmed by stuff.  So, I have to say my health, family and friends.  I don’t own them…..but I do feel fortunate to have them!

IMG_6578Name a guilty pleasure… what do you do to treat yourself?

Should I tell??  Ok.
Cheese Doodles have been my guilty pleasure since I was a kid.
I like treating myself to decadent bath and beauty products from Haunt (www.haunt.etsy.com). The sugar scrubs, body glossing oils, soaps and lip glosses are fabulous, they make me feel special and smell lovely!

What is the most valuable thing you have learned within the past year?
This year I have learned to take chances. I have surprised myself by taking a leap into the unknown.  With an open mind, some planning and faith, big (life changing) change is possible.

How would you like to be remembered by future generations?

I would like to be remembered as someone who loved fully and accepted love from others fully.

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Thank you Laura for sharing a little about your world at Modern Bird!  You can find Laura’s work here and here!

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Picture 5Help support a special cause by purchasing from KaraAnnisJewelry! We will donate a portion of the profits from your jewelry order to our current charity of focus. All custom orders and orders placed online (through our website or through our Etsy shop) are eligible.  Let’s make a difference together!

Our current Charity of Focus:
Ronald McDonald House,
Greenville, NC
When considering what charity to choose as KaraAnnisJewelry’s next charity of focus, I felt a strong desire to benefit a local organization, one that is touching lives in my local community.  Since moving to Eastern North Carolina, we have encountered a number of families who have been served by the Ronald McDonald House in Greenville, NC.  While visiting some friends staying in the house, I got a first hand glimpse of the difference our local Ronald McDonald House makes in the lives of families with hospitalized children and the importance of their services.

The Greenville Ronald McDonald House welcomes families of seriously ill or injured children who are hospitalized or receiving outpatient treatment at area medical facilities.  Located right across from the hospital, the house provides a clean and comfortable place for parents/families to stay where they can be immediately available should their child need them.

Check out The Greenville Ronald McDonald House website to learn more.

Past Causes:
Dulce Reugio Childres Home, Aguascalientes Mexico
This children’s home in central Mexico received a portion of all jewelry sales from April 1 through July 31 2009.  The money donated will help with the construction of a new home for the children and to meet the needs of the children being cared for at Dulce Refugio.  Learn more here.

Future Causes:
If you have a charity that holds a special place in your heart, please let me know.  We are searching for charities to feature and support in future months!

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Yay! I have all the equipment I need to get started with my soldering!
We’re in the process of setting up my studio – an exhaust fan and lighting have been installed, and we’re going to move furniture and equipment out to the studio this afternoon!
All I need now is the solder and silver – and an order has been placed for that too!
I’m getting excited!

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More Photographing

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This week, I am continuing to experiment with my camera.  I am playing around with different angles and different props to create interest.  I love the texture of the vintage books and pottery I’ve used in the shots above.   I love collecting old books – the look, the feel, the sense of history – and I am quite excited to give the few I’ve collected a new purpose.   (Pride and Prejudice an A Good Samaritan have been used so far).  The pottery in the shots above also has a story – my father made these pieces back when he was in school.  I am delighted with the interest that these pieces, sentimental and full of character, add to my photos!

Enjoy!

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We like to focus on having learned a skill or on having made an artwork. This attention to final form ignores the fact that creativity lies not in the done but in the doing. ~Julia Cameron

DSCF1428_2Last week’s challenge was to be inspired by a child.  My husband and I spent the past two weeks at the beach with his family.  It was an amazing time of relaxing and reconnecting.  While there, we were surrounded by our nieces and nephews and their uninhibited imaginations!  I spent time building sandcastles, chasing crabs, swimming with the fish, listening to stories they’d created, pretending to be mermaids… and learning from their creative freedom.  Their creativity lacks rules, guidelines, demands for perfection.  Their creativity is fun and freeing and genuine.

THIS WEEK’S CHALLENGE:
Set up a creative space.
This week I will be setting up my soldering studio.  As I gather my supplies, organize my creative space, and hook up my equipment, I will aim to establish an environment that inspires creativity.

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Photographing

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This week, I have been playing around with my camera settings and staging.  I have to admit, photographing my jewelry is my least favorite part of the creating process.   Thankfully, photos get better with more practice and more experience!

This week, while on vacation, I had my brother-in-law, photographer and owner of Kite Strings Studio, give me a few pointers for shooting jewelry.  Here are a few photos from our experimentation.

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aaliciaI just love this delightful designer from London, England!  AAliciaAccessories’ felt floral garlands and corsages are fresh and feminine.  Each and every petal is cut and stitched by hand! Amazing!  And even better,  AAlicia is offering free international shipping this summer!

Enjoy!

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