One of the best parts of what I do is meeting people at shows and crafts fairs. Because I bring a mini-version of my studio with me, I'm able to work on pieces of jewelry between customers. And I get a lot of questions! Here are some of the most frequently asked questions, and my answers.
How long does it take to make a piece?
Wire weaving is time-consuming, no doubt! It takes me about 4-8 hours to make a typical piece — some longer, some shorter. I make everything by hand - the settings, chains, chokers, clasps etc.
Do you draw out your designs first?
The answer is no. Sometimes I'll start a piece with "no direction home," as Bob Dylan says. I follow my instinct, and my brain as I weave. Sometimes, a particular piece of sea glass or pottery will spark an idea for a design in my head. But that's just a starting point. Once I start weaving, who knows where I'll end up! So, each piece is unique.
What material do you use?
The sea glass and beach pottery are the starting points. The weaving is all done with tarnish-resistant brass or silver-plated wire in various gauges. I do use bronze and copper wire from time to time, but they present certain challenges (copper oxidizes, for example) so I don't use them as often. I've started weaving leather cord for a lot of my pieces as well for a more casual look.
How are the pieces held together?
Everything is held in place by the wire weaving. I don't use any glue or solder. I don't drill holes in the glass and pottery for chains or chokers. It's just the way my art has evolved, and the way I prefer to create!
Do you use a rock tumbler?
I get this question from time to time. A tumbler is a machine that spins and shakes stones, glass or pottery in a mixture of water and sand, small stones, or some other abrasive material to smooth and polish the object. It takes days or weeks of constantly running, and is widely used by folks who work with gemstones. I've used a tumbler on extremely rare occasions. In fact, there's only one piece in my current collection that includes a tumbled piece of red glass. And I'll always indicate if a piece includes an object that's been tumbled. The vast majority — all but the one mentioned — represent the glass or ceramic just as Mother Nature intended.
Where do you find your sea glass?
Ha! People always ask, and I am always coy about this. The truth is, sea glass can be found on almost any beach! Yes, there are some places richer than others. You can search on line. That's how I learned about the beach in California where once stood a famous hotel. We almost had to buy an extra suitcase to get home! But let's face it: humans are litterbugs, and we've been dumping our trash into the sea for thousands of years. There's no shortage of sea glass. Unless you're talking about red sea glass.
In other words, I'm not going to tell you where I find my sea glass, except to say "Everywhere I look."