Sometimes I have a morning when I just don’t want to get out the door and go to work. Just tired or unenergetic. Today was one of those. But I got up, out the door and biked to work with my dog running alongside me. It’s cold out; autumn is in full swing and that means frosty mornings, white capped peaks and crispy leaves.
Almost immediately after opening, I had one of my friendly customers drop in to buy a gift. And while she was here another friendly face walked in to ask a jewelry question. And then a happy third joined in. Everyone was cheerful, chatting and smiling and I thought….I am so grateful for these wonderful customers. They make my work totally worth it.
Lately I have been cutting jade to use in my jewelry, working on custom elk ivory projects, and making carnelian and mookaite jewelry for the shop’s inventory. I also just hosted a really fun artist reception for Bailey Russel and Ryan Parker, two contemporary photographers working in the antique wet-plate collodian process. Their work will be up for the month. Online, I have been working on an etsy outlet for my jewelry (isabeljewelry) because so many people like to shop on etsy so I figure it might be good to have a presence both here and there; there may be variation in what’s on each site.
On a painting note, I have been painting quite a bit this year with gouache on paper and you can find my recent work here. I’m exploring the light spectrum, gems and minerals in this new work that is an evolution from sketches and paintings for the public sculpture I installed last year.
I hope everyone is having a nice autumn!
Pictured above: Bailey Russel photos on wall of gallery, jade jewelry on the workbench, jade earrings, above Fremont Lake in October.
Pictured at the top of this post: carnelian bracelets and necklaces.
I very happy to announce my 2016 gallery schedule. There’s a great lineup of five exhibits this year including photocollages, painting, drawing, and mixed media and small sculpture. At this point I’ve shown over 20 Wyoming artists and while I don’t by any means limit my boundaries to Wyoming, it just happens to be who I have shown. I like to find artists making present-day work whether they are reacting to our amazing wide open spaces or considering our regional politics. This week I am opening the 2016 season with Adrienne Vetter and Colleen Friday’s photocollages; their artist reception will be Saturday, May 21, 2016, 5-7, please come.
Also new for the year will be the opportunity to buy the exhibited artwork online here on the isabeljewelry.com website. Since Pinedale is very remotely located I wanted to find a way to get these amazing artists’ work in the hands of people that are not able to make it here. There will be a tab at the left of the website “Gallery Artwork” where you can find each exhibit’s work for the duration of the show. I will ship to you! Consider buying a piece of artwork this year, it truly makes your life better to have artwork in your life…it’s good for your brain and eyes spend quality time with an interesting piece.
In the last few weeks I have been working on some special wax carving projects. I usually fabricate most of my jewelry from sheet, wire and various metal stock but sometimes a project calls for unusual curves or shapes so I carve a wax model to be cast in silver or gold.
I just carved a setting for the pear shaped citrine pictured above. This stone is a large gem and I wanted to have some interesting cut-away areas to allow for light to pass through the setting and brighten the stone. Faceted stones need a “seat” to sit on inside of a setting, you can see that I carved out a step down for the stone to be able to sit evenly all around. I will be adding a bail to the top of the drop so that this can be worn as a pendant.
Another project I am working on is developing a fun line of stacking rings in various textures. I’m enjoying working with geometric and repeating patterns. I will be offering these in both silver and gold in a range of sizes.
And pictured above is a one-of-a-kind wax carving for a large flat stone. My customer desires a signet style ring and I will be adding Masonic symbols that he has chosen as well as carving words on the inside of the band.
Carving waxes taps into a free-form sculptural style. Fabrication with metal is also sculptural but more architectural in its approach, building blocks put together with connecting angles.
Summer passes quickly at 7,000′ above sea level, we’ve had snow on our mountain tops this week and a very rainy August.
In the shop I have been busy splitting my time between jewelry making and working on a public sculpture for the In|site:Ex|site, Pinedale Fine Arts Council’s public arts program. I am drawing inspiration for the granite peaks of the Wind River Range and mixing in my love of gemology to create a beautiful outdoor sculpture. Granite is compromised of quartz, feldspar and mica; each of those minerals has its own shape, habit and color. While the colors of the feldspar can vary from one mountain range to the next, ours is a pinkish color. When you go up into the mountains here with eyes pointed towards picking out the minerals, the granite proves super interesting. You can see lines of black mica flakes, jumbles of quartz, and chunky facets of feldspar.
(veins of black mica within the quartz and feldspar, spotted colors of pink feldspar and white quartz)
Earlier in the month I had the good fortune to get into the mountains for five days. I went backpacking to the base of some of these enormous peaks so that I could look at this granite up close. I brought a couple of small samples back with me.
(above, vein of golden mica flakes within the quartz)
(rugged Wind River Range peaks are solid granite rock)
Now I am in my workshop laminating together large blue foam sheets so that I can carve the shapes for the sculpture. I will use these pieces for molds and innards of some of the shapes. It’s all a new process for me and I’m using new materials so the learning curve is pretty steep. As usual I am finding that good tools and experienced advice from other artists can help alleviate some of those difficulties.