Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Bohemian Arrow Earrings

I just released several new bohemian style jewelry pieces in the shop today. Here's one of my favorites!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What To Wear Valentine's Day Edition: Floral Love

It's been awhile since I've given you another installation of my "What to Wear" series, but at long last I've got a special Valentine's Day theme edition for you.  While hearts and bold red are often used to symbolize the holiday, going with subtle romantic look is a way to accessorize that can be extended year round as well. Today I present some looks that embrace feminine floral, soft pink, and the gentle spirit of love. To shop for the look click the links below the pictures.With prices all under $100, you're sure to find the perfect gift for yourself or a loved one that's right within the budget.

1.  Pink Floral Boho Babydoll Top, $59 from Broken Ghost Clothing
2.  Pink Bobby Pin Flower Set, $24 from Be Something New
3.  Love Cuff Bracelet, $34 from Valerie Tyler's Geometric and Personalized Collection

4.Womens' pastel scarf in Liberty Wild Flowers and Dulwich Park, $74 from C Banning Accessories
5. Pink Floral Clutch $17, from Abellawear
6. Pretty Flower Phone Case, $45+ from semisweetstudios

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Valentines Day Jewelry Gift Ideas

If you are looking for the perfect valentines jewelry to give as a gift for valentines day, or to treat yourself with I have several ideas for you that are beautifully handmade, budget friendly, stylish, and even a few options that can be personalized. 

This cuff has a new look this year with the addition of a heart logo alongside the word love.  Though perfect for Valentines day, it can certainly be worn year round too to remind of a very important virtue! 

One of my best sellers, which was also featured in US Weekly as a must have gift.  This brass ring is adjustable so there's no need to worry about the sizing and it ca be customized with any two initials you wish.
Super affordable and super sweet little earrings.  They're a perfect accessory to wear for a little holiday spirit, but understated and simple enough for everyday wear too. 

This coordinates perfectly with the heart earrings above.  It's a simple and sweet necklace.


Vintage rustic meets modern simplicity in this brass and sterling necklace.
There's a cute pair of matching earrings too!

Want to get away from anything too romantic?  This simple charm necklace can fit the bill! It's minimalist and modern, and customizable with any initial.

If you're looking for something a little more extravagant for that person you love to the moon and back, consider a statement necklace from the Valerie Tyler Designs signature collection like this Celestial Emerald Mandala Necklace. $185:


Jewelry Care Tips to Keep Your Jewelry Looking Good as New

As a jewelry designer I'm frequently asked by customers and friends for tips on how to care for jewelry.  While some metals like tungsten and titanium barely oxidize or get scratches the majority of jewelry is made from metals that can oxidize, scratch, tarnish, and otherwise show signs of wear if not cared for properly.  As someone who has worked with a wide variety of types of metals and jewelry finishes I do have the following tips that can help you keep your jewelry looking good as new if you follow them:

  • Avoid chemicals (e.g. hairspray, household cleaning products, perfume)
  • Don't shower or bath while wearing your jewelry
  • Don't swim with your jewelry on
  • Minimize exposure to sweat by removing jewelry before exercising
  • Dry jewelry carefully before putting it away
  • Giving jewelry a gentle swipe with a soft polishing cloth to remove oils
  • Store jewelry in a soft pouch, acid free baggie or other dry spot.  
  • You may even wish to purchase a commercial anti-tarnish pouch or strips to store with your jewelry.
  • Remove jewelry before going to bed to avoid potential damage, snagging, etc.. 
  • This is a weird one, but avoid contact with most wood (unless a box is specifically designated for jewelry)  A lot of wood can contain acids that can cause jewelry to tarnish.  

Sometimes certain metals require some extra care.  here's a few metals I work with often and my advice for taking care of them.

Sterling Silver Jewelry/ Oxidized Silver
Sometimes sterling silver jewelry has been intentionally oxidized by a designer to give it a more rustic or industrial look or to put emphasis on a texture or design in the metal.  You DO NOT want to use silver polish to clean as it can remove the oxidation.  Use a soft cloth to gently wipe off moisture only.  At times you might wish to use a polishing cloth specifically if you've had a lot of grime build up but be aware that oxidation can wipe off with too much force, or lighten up on a piece you wear often. If your sterling is shinier be careful in choosing polishes and only use those specifically made for silver as it is a softer metal and can scratch easily.

Brass Jewelry
Brass is often a very popular material for jewelry to be made out of since it is a much more affordable alternative to gold, and as opposed to plated jewelry there is no outer coating to wear off.  It can tarnish and oxidized petty easily however.  This isn't always a bad thing.  Brass jewelry that has oxidized can often take on a lovely vintage looking patina, giving jewelry an antiqued heirloom look.  If you prefer your brass shiny and new however use brass polish or a polishing cloth to shine it right up.  For solid brass jewelry that has an excessive amount of tarnish you can sand it with super fine sandpaper (e.g. 2000 grit or if you can get your hands on jewelers polishing papers even better!) going in the same direction to bring back the original shinier color. I tend to like brass because it is so super easy to shine up.

If you have a piece of jewelry you really love, but you find you have an allergy to there are a few things you can do.  Some people find that simply coating the piece where it offends their skin with clear nail polish can serve as enough of a barrier for the metal to not irritate them.  Or you can purchase a commercial product like jewelry shield to coat your jewelry.  Sometimes it's not that you have an allergy to the metals at all but things like moisture or chemicals trapped between the metal and your skin can cause a rash, that "green tinge" or itchiness.  Following the above mentioned list of tips can sometimes cut down on this.

  • Store jewelry with chalk since the calk absorbs extra moisture
  • Keep those silica packets that come in shoeboxes to store with jewelry.  They absorb moisture too! 
  • Run necklace chains through a straw and then close the clasp to keep them from tangling.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Story Behind an Artist

Nowadays it seems like a huge part of being an artist is "telling your story", which is an excellent idea in concept, but it tends to mean you see a lot of highly staged photos, hipster-style videos and lots of instagram pictures as artists try to convey to you just how exactly inspiration comes about and then is used to create art.

I feel artists sharing their inspiration is a lot more complicated then it even comes across. I admit I have my own business facebook, twitter and instagram pages (and of course this blog!) but I sometimes find it hard to convey all the backstory to how my pieces are created. I could take a picture of a twig and say that nature inspired a piece or a building and say that architecture did, but there is so much more involved than merely that.(Not that we don't find inspiration everywhere, as most jewelers are always on the lookout for something to spark creativity)

One of the toughest parts of being an artist is balancing the need to create my own individual style, with the desire to achieve things at a higher technical level than the masses are capable of, yet still balance that with styles customers can wrap their heads around so they are interested in purchasing.  Combine that with the need to make things affordable to the right person and there are a lot of variables.

My current display alone took hours of research and planning.  We took years of outdoor art show experience to try and determine how to make a display withstand a lot of weather variables yet still be something that could pack up quickly and be relatively compact and light.  Then I needed to figure out a look that represented me, or at least something that would give my work a little "pop" and stand out.

My jewelry creation involves an equal amount, if not even more thought and planning.  There have been some many ideas that were on the drawing board that never made it to fruition.  Some artists make things simply because they like to exercise their technical skill, others like to make what's trendy or popular to turn a profit, while other still have a greater artistic vision and like to create a cohesive collection.

I have to admit I struggle all the time with wanting to find a balance between all that.  I have no desire to be a starving artist who only creates things to stretch the boundaries of my skill level or to astound others, to create pieces all the time so abstract, or pricey that they're tough to sell. At the same time, I don't just want to supply meaningless "popular" pieces simply because they are the years hottest trend.

Add to that, most artists don't work with a huge team of people to brainstorm and bounce ideas off of.  So often I'm throwing ideas at my husband whose responses typically border on "it's jewelry" or "meh."  (Before I make him sound like a scrooge though, I must explain that he helps me at every show, and his carpentry skills have been beyond helpful!  He just has no interest in the art of jewelry design) That being said, an artists life can be a relatively solitary one for the most part so we do miss the benefits of frequent teamwork and brainstorming.  Of course, that also means on the flipside we miss the struggles of office politics, which isn't a bad thing. .

I will say I still don't have everything down to a perfect science.  Each day of creation and planning is a struggle to balance my own unique identity and my vision with the desire to actually sell jewelry and please others.  Each piece I create involves a small internal battle with whether I've invested enough time and effort, if it shows enough technical finesse, with whether it still could be created profitably and will be attractive to buyers. Add to that the decisions I must make how to sell my work, where to display it and how to market it.

Artists approach each day weighing the pros and cons of every little decision, every little hammer or brush stroke, every word typed on a keyboard, and analyzing every customer interaction. Our stories do indeed have plenty of pretty pictures, highlights, drama and humor, but when we "tell or story" we hope you realize that in the interest of not bogging you down with all the details we're doing a lot of editing of that story.  Unfortunately, sometimes by trying to entertain you with our stories or just giving you pretty pictures and not telling you every last detail, you miss the value of our work.  There really are truly hours upon hours of work that go into what we do.  Most artists are always "on the job" and rarely do we ever get to clock out. Even if we manage to carve out vacation time, our minds spend half of it searching for inspiration, analyzing our environments for things to use in our work, and already planning our next steps for when vacation is over.

To those of you who love art, design and craft for it's very essence and love the thought of handmade, I thank you profusely!  While the story of an artist can be complicated and detailed, a story can't exist without an audience. So thank you for listening, learning,watching, buying and appreciating. 

If you yourself are an artist, what's your story?  Feel free to share in the comments.