Friday, August 30, 2013

What I did this summer: My Day Job

I took this summer off from jewelry making to take care of some personal matters and also because it is the busiest time of the year for my day job.  I work at Woodlawn Museum, a small historic house museum in my town.  The house is full of wonderful pieces and I fell in love with it as soon as I started working there.  After I had been there a few months, I wrote a blog post for my Metal Clay Heads Team about the inspiration I get from some of the pieces in the museum.  I have made a few pieces and have a few more in the works, but didn't get much time this summer to work on them.

Our biggest event of the year at Woodlawn is the Ellsworth Antiques Show.  There are 27 antique dealers from all over the country with everything from books and jewelry to furniture for sale.  The evening before the show starts, there is a Opening Night Cocktail Party and Dinner.  This year I think we had more than 200 people in attendance on Opening Night.  As you can imagine, with four year-round employees and two seasonal ones, a lot of work goes into the show each year.  In fact, I will soon begin the preparations for next year's show.  Last year was my first show and I decided it was just too stressful to try and manage doing jewelry and craft shows and get ready for the Antiques Show as well, which is one of the reasons I took this summer off.

The 2013 Antiques Show is now past us and it was a great success, in my opinion.  Attendance was up, we had wonderful weather, and because I had one show under my belt, I knew what to expect and wasn't quite as stressed out.  I even scored some beautiful vintage jewelry.  I don't usually buy jewelry, but I do love vintage/antique jewelry and these pieces appeared to be handcrafted and, I assume because they were not by big name jewelry designers, they were quite affordable.  So I bought myself some early birthday presents.

This bracelet was the first piece to catch my eye.  It is sterling silver and I loved the way the pierced pieces were also domed so the flowers stand up above the borders.

I was also intrigued by the way the links were attached (and will remember this technique for future reference) and love the way, once clasped, you can't tell (without looking carefully) exactly where the clasp is since it looks just like the links. 

The other two pieces are filigree.  I love filigree and have dabbled in it so I have a good idea of how difficult it can be to do well.  I was pleasantly surprised that these pieces were also within my price range.  

This is a very delicate locket that does open.  You can see through the filigree so I am thinking of putting a piece of black fabric or a black stone to accentuate the filigree pattern.  

I am amazed by the filigree in this butterfly.  It's a large piece, almost two inches across, and is marked "Peru" on the back.  I was told all three pieces came from an estate and date to the 1920s. 

During my break from jewelry making, I still had to quench my artistic thirst and so I took up calligraphy because there is a gift I want to make for a friend.  I'm not good yet, but it's very relaxing to practice and is a bit more portable so I don't have to go into my studio to do it. n Unfortunately, it has given me another obsession:  Pens and ink, especially fountain and dip pens.  I purchased on Ebay a fountain pen and inkwell desk set from the 1940s which I do intend to use.   Right now my collection of calligraphy pens are fairly low quality.  Someday, when I get better, I would love to get some better nibs, maybe even some old ones.

I am, however, looking forward to getting my hands dirty with clay though.  For those of you who are local and have visited my studio, I will be starting Open Studio nights again on Tuesdays from 3:30 to 7:30.  If you like to work in the company of other metal clay-ers and have some fun, come along!  If you want more information, please feel free to email me at