Getting Students to Think About Jewelry in a Larger Context

While much jewelry-making falls into the craft category, a good amount of it isn’t wearable at all and bangs on the door of where art and sculpture meet. It is an art form that could have innumerable sub-categories–wearable, commemorative, decorative, functional, etc. Since many art-historians and anthropologists point to adornment in the form of jewelry as the first art, pre-dating those French cave paintings, I wanted to step outside of skill-building and ask my young students (10-14 years old), “Why do people wear jewelry?”
Here are some of the ideas they came up with: status, wealth, ward of spirits, protection, enhance style, look pretty, intimidate, show beliefs, to relate to a group, survival, functional need, marriage. Just reading this list conjures up all types of jewelry and people over a long period of time. Thinking about this broader topic informs us of why we want to create, and how we approach it.
Next week’s question: Is there an important piece of jewelry that has been handed down in your family? If so, what is the story behind it? And now some glimpses of student work…

We prepared our own forms,  brought in meaningful objects, and poured resin to embed

We prepared our own forms, brought in meaningful objects, and poured resin to embed

Student's riveted brooch, front side

Student’s riveted brooch, front side

Backside of riveted brooch, all cold-connected

Backside of riveted brooch, all cold-connected

Do Not Eat This Corn/Trunk Show at SAM



I love looking at these funny earrings I made years ago each fall as the harvesting season is upon us…


In an unrelated note:

Mark your calendars! I will be doing a trunk sale at Seattle Art Museum December 13, 2014. The term “trunk show” always makes me picture one of those cool, old-fashioned  trunks that people used to carry onto steam ships in the early 20th century, like the QE2.

I would love to find a modern version of one of those or even just an old one that did not smell like my grandmother’s attic….if you have any suggestions about this, let me know!

You could also answer the question: Why are they so reminiscent of coffins?


Arbor Jewels 66″ x 18″ x18″ each (approx.)

I never got around to posting the sculptures made from piano strings, jute, reclaimed chandelier crystals, and wire. This installation, entitled; Arbor Jewels is hanging suspended between these big leaf maples in Boeing Creek Park in Shoreline, WA and will be up through October 31st, one of the most auspicious days of the year for me.
Doing this type of larger, installation based work is a turning point for me….I hope to make more of this ilk in the future.

Resurrected Piano


photo-2Resurrected Piano

This is the piano I recently stripped for the public outdoor sculpture project I’m a part of entitled “From the Ground Up” which will be displayed in Boeing Creek Park in Shoreline,WA this summer. The sound of cutting the wires was quite extraordinary, so I recorded it and it was featured on the Sound of the Day with KUOW on May 28th. I will be installing large-scale jewelry suspended between the trees in the park. The art will be installed late July-early August and will remain up into October. More details and progress to follow!

Artist Trust Auction


Artist Trust Auction

Sometimes the work just disappears…..
You make something for an auction, and if you are lucky, you remember to photograph it. Chances are, you may never learn who took it home. If you are anything like me, you will forget what you made. So here’s to documentation in 2013 and more blogging, about art and life!!!

Coyote Central


Welcome to 2012! I had the pleasure of teaching for Coyote Central this past fall and will be continuing to teach for them during their winter term. If you don’t know about Coyote Central, and live in Seattle, you must check them out (especially if you have children)! In brief, they are a non-profit arts organization that offers some of the most unique classes to 5th-8th graders; from composing your own movie score to welding. And of course, I must mention metal arts, as I am teaching the basics of jewelry making in their newly designed, beautiful building. Check out the student work in the picture below. None of them had ever worked with metal or used metal-smithing hand tools before! You can find out about Coyote Central by going to