Category: crafting/art/jewelry



Came across another jewelry artist that is worth sharing with you, by the name of Danielle Lewandowski. Her business is called Bent N Twisted Creations. She does hammered metalwork in silver and copper, and other assorted designs. Lovely, unique pieces that you know time was spent on. I recently purchased a pair of dangly copper earrings from her. I fell in love with them upon seeing them featured in a jewelry forum on Facebook. She was quite happy to make me another pair, for the initial pair had sold.

I had a chance to chat with her online, because I was curious to learn how she got into the jewelry trade. She’s been very pleased with doing her business on ArtFire, and I’ve heard a lot of positive feedback on the site.

As well as doing metalwork, she’s done marvelously clever things with antique silver forks, hammering them into pendants and bracelets, the tines worked into curls and loops. I was very impressed with them. She also created a wire cupcake pendant, which just delighted me, because I’ve never seen anything like that. It’s adorable.

I also believe very strongly in supporting individual artists, like her and others, because they work very hard at what they do. It’s a means of living for some, and for you to take interest in their work, and even purchase items means a great deal. Not to mention she is a very sweet person to chat with, and she was very obliging to allow me to do this piece about her work.


I wanted to feature another jewelry artist I met online, by the name of George A. Newman. Very pleasant fellow, works with silver and other natural materials. I thought his work deserved a shout out because i really like it and it’s very unique. It has a very organic, rustic feel to it, very simple. Strong, masculine lines to it. The pieces I’ve seen feature hand-carved bone and shark teeth. I have a set that  I purchased from him and I love it. It features a shark tooth that is held against an oval of bone with silver. The bone is enclosed with a strand of silver rope, an echo to his days in the Navy. He learned his skill of jewelry from classes and mentors, and has done this for quite some time. Another piece he did for a friend was of a heart with a tiny hand over it. The friend was a heart patient, and he made it specially for her. One story of another piece was of a wolf’s tooth pendant, which he sold to a young fellow for a lower price because it meant a lot to the kid. That I found deeply touching, because that kind of sensitivity is not so common these days. Jewelry work, especially small, independent artists, is HARD WORK. It’s their livelihood, their way of paying the bills, so it’s not something one picks up as a hobby. I’m learning that myself the hard way. They take their creations seriously, and each creation is a part of them.

I also got to know him as a person, and he’s a genuinely sweet, caring man (a grandpa!), with a gentle sense of humour. I enjoy chatting with him online, and he puts up with my zaniness with an incredible amount of patience. He’s on Facebook, and I’ll try to look up his website when I have a free moment elsewhere.

I included a picture which he so graciously sent me of the earrings I got from him. These are statement pieces, and i modified them slightly by attatching them to horn hooks so I can wear them in my stretched lobes. They make excellent weights, I have to say. I feel like a warrior princess when I wear them, and it’s a very empowering feeling, I might add.

So, if you have some free time, consider taking a stroll and look up his work. I think it’s worth the time and I know he’ll appreciate it.Image


I’m going to be featuring another online discovery that I think is worth investigating. I met this witty, sassy young woman on another online social forum and I think she has heaps of talent. She makes handcrafted jewelry and sells it on Etsy. It’s offbeat, funky, pop-culture fun stuff. Why is she so different? Picture yourself wearing little doughnuts, complete with frosting and sprinkles in your earlobes. Or chocolate chip cookies. TEENY PIZZAS. She makes these marvelous miniatures and attatches them to steel eyelets in various sizes. I should also mention these are designed for people with stretched earlobes, but just to look at them is fun enough.

One of her latest creations was waffles, I think. This is tedious work, mind you. The detail she puts into them gives you an idea of how serious she is at making them. She also makes funky cameos that she mounts on eyelets, in bright, neon colors. They feature all kinds of things. There’s a few sites on Etsy who try to rip off her designs shamelessly, but they don’t have the quality of hers. I’ve looked at them and compared.   And besides, I felt she deserved a bit of a shout out for her hard work.

WeaselWorks…….ho?


So I am trying to start up a home business, but I have some major stumbling blocks in my path. Biggest being I have absolutely NO business sense whatsoever. I don’t know anything about how to run a business, promote it, fund it…..you see a trend? One positive step is that I created a page via Facebook to show off some of my work. Just look up WeaselWorks if you’re on Facebook. I don’t have a lot of pictures, and some of them are dreadful. I have discovered I am the world’s worst photographer, because I tried to take some additional photos of my other pieces with a disposable camera and they came out awful. I was very annoyed, to say the least. Hopefully I’ll be able to get better images with the help of my mom’s digital camera, and she’ll take the pics, because I’m just hopeless.

I seem to have a lot of positive feedback so far, though that’s only based on my friends who have checked out my work. I’ve done some one on one sales, and those have been promising. Then there’s Etsy, of which I’m trying to establish a shop, but I want to get some high-quality images before I officially present it for the public. I don’t want to come off as cheap and sloppy, and I take my owrk seriously. If I’m going to be selling something to the public, it’s going to be a s good as I can make within my own ability and means. I am NOT going to sell people junk.

I love making jewelry, and it’s one thing that gives me happiness in life. I love the creativity of this work. I know it can’t fully support me, but if it can help boost my quality of life, it’s worth pursuing. Maybe someone has ideas to help me improve this venture. I’m not going to be taken for a ride either, by some slick con artist. There’s always someone who’s going to try and rip me off with my work, so I need to be careful, and someone as new to this as I am is prime meat for some devious cretin. SO that’s where I am. Maybe you might go on Facebook (if you can tolerate it) and see my work. If you like it, maybe you’ll pass it along. So, here’s to new beginnings. I hope it’s a good one. By the way, the image you see in this post is one of my own work.


Viktor Oliva: The Absinthe Drinker. The origin...

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This is my project for this soon-approaching Halloween. I typically handle door duty handing out candy to the kids (and occasionally rude, drunk college kids). I love doing this in costume, and I frankly don’t care how old I am. This year’s idea is quite ambitious, and I would really love to see if I can make this happen.

So, this is what I want to do. I plan on dressing up as the Green Fairy, steampunk style. Now, to educate you on the Green Fairy, it’s a reference to the euphoric drink, absinthe, which is a lovely shade of green. One of its euphemisms was the ‘Green Fairy’. When talking to my sister, who is a seamstress extraordinaire, we thought it might be fun to put a twist on the character, and absinthe certainly has a niche in the steampunk genre.

The main feature of the costume I believe will be a corset. I am either going to have to have one custom made (which I know will be obscenely expensive), or find one and embellish it. My sister won’t be able to make me one, because she has her hands full already with her family, and I have no intentions of overburdening her with something like this. So. I need to come up with a style for it, what colors of green I plan to use, accessories to be used for this project. I also am pondering some kind of wings with a mechanical aspect, and that’s going to be a bit tricky as well. I thought maybe some kind of knickers with striped tights would be a fun bit, and add a bustle feature to the knickers/bloomers. I’ve only a few preliminary sketches at the moment, so I’m not anywhere with a concrete idea. One thing I think will be part of it are long gloves. I do believe I have a pair somewhere in my closet that go past my elbows, and I thought maybe cutting off the fingers to them might be a nice look. Some kind of intricate necklace or collar would be a nice addition as well, maybe coordinating bracelets over the gloves? Not sure about a hat; I thought I’d just play up my hair in some kind of tousled style with some jeweled clips. I think the metallic elements should be a brass or antiqued gold color. As for the green, I’ll need to play around with it. Maybe go based on the color of absinthe? I thought the corset might be nice with some kind of metal fasteners up the front. The wings would need some kind of strapwork which could be worked into the corset, either separately or incorparated into the design. The wings might be interesting to be rudimentary, combining the mechanical with the organic in the form of a metal frame and feathers.

I am going to put out a call for artists out there who could possibly help me with this, because I very much want to see this come to fruition. This is a serious challenge, and I really want to make it happen. I want to build this thing, but I would love some collaboration from fellow artists. Maybe we can do an exchange for pieces; I make something this artist doesn’t, they make something for me I’m not able to do. We both leave happy, knowing our work has gotten out there and is appreciated. I want to read your ideas in my comment section; pictures, what have you that you think would help me make this come to life. I’d love to meet fellow artists on WordPress and talk shop anyhow, so I think this would be a great opportunity to make some new connections.


Utopian flying machines, France, 1890-1900 (ch...

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I could not wait to get home from work so I could begin writing this latest entry, because it was just too good to not put aside. It was a charming little article about steampunk on a bass-ackwards little site called ChristWire.org. I had assumed that the acquaintance who posted this to my Facebook feed had done so for humourous reasons. Most definitely in the humour category. I thought at first the site was a parody, like The Onion or better, Landover Baptist. Amazingly, this site was entirely serious about showing the evils of subcultures to the vast unwashed. The piece was titled simply; ‘What is Steampunk?’  I began reading the article and could barely keep myself from falling out of my chair with hysterical laughter. If this site is an honest parody, they’ve done one of the best jobs I’ve ever seen, but if for real, it’s quite sad that there are people who have nothing better to do in their lives than to hunt far and wide for examples of ‘sinful’ activity.

The author of the piece wanted to explain to his devoted and uneducated flock about the dangers of the steampunk subculture. Basically it was about sexual fetishes, weird emo behavior, drug use, just a sloppy, random accumulation of things. He tosses in what some term as the godfather of steampunk, Jules Verne, and to make things worse, could not even spell the name right!!! He spelled it Julias Vernes. I shudder at the sight. Frankly, I thought his grammar skills were blasphemous, and his manners, for all he claimed to be a devout Christian, were appallingly rude. The comments section were full of outraged (and rightly so!) responses. The author’s replies were peppered with vulgarities and homophobic rants.

The article; and I think calling that assortment of poorly spelled words is an insult to all decent writers, just degenerated into raving about the amoral depravity of folks who engaged in the steampunk genere and other vague weirdness. He also kept confusing cyberpunk with steampunk, and I think there’s a distinct difference between the two. Cyberpunk, think William Gibson of ‘Neuromancer‘ fame.

In defense of steampunk, maybe there are some who channel the genre in erotic venues; I’ve seen it, so it’s not a myth. But to say EVERYONE who enjoys the subculture is a sick freak is inexcusably ludicrous and offensive. He had a picture that he claimed was some kind of steampunk erotic toy. I had no idea what the heck it was; it could’ve been a steampunk paperweight for all I know. Heck, it could’ve been a battery charger!

Tyson dear, let me offer you some advice; get a real career and stop the hack job. You’re a tremendous embarrassment to serious journalists and those who enjoy writing and good grammar. Aside from being an absurd rant on a kooky religious whackjob site, it was one of the most execrable examples of writing I’ve seen in a while. Now I admit to not being a professional writer myself; I don’t hold degrees in writing or journalism, but I take great care in what I put out. I do my best to be coherent in my posts.

This site does not deserve sympathy. I’d love to instigate a flash-mob of the piece and just bombard the comments section of that particular article with as many rebuttals as possible. This guy needs to be seriously owned, and given an education on what he supposedly thinks he knows. You have to see the site to believe it, because it really is that crazy. It’s Michele Bachmann crazy, and I derive a warped sense of pleasure reading the crazy things she says. This ChristWire site is just like her. Steampunkers of the interwebs, let’s go leave our mark. Ignorance should not go unpunished. I’d like to toss out a word of thanks to Raven Digitalis, who found this glorious little nugget of absurdity. Bravo.


Twitter logo initial

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Much as I find it very handy for announcing my latest WordPress blogs, lately it’s been annoying the daylights out of me. It has been THREE days and I cannot seem to access my own Twitter account! I have a shortcut link to it, and whenever I’ve tried to check out the latest feed, I get a blank screen.

This is part of my  problem. I am not a computer genius, so I have absolutely no clue how to fix this, and it’s irritating me immensely. I mean, I don’t have scads of followers. I have a measly 68 people following me. I’m following almost 180. I’m not famous (only in my imagination), but that’s okay. I’d rather have people following me who are actually interested in what I like to ramble on about, rather than just following me because it’s ‘cool’.

All I want to know is what the heck is going on. Has something happened to Twitter that I don’t know about? I don’t think my computer can get viruses (it’s a Mac). It could be because it’s also an old and senile computer. I see Twitter as a means of social networking; I haven’t mastered every little trick there is. I can’t even figure out how to create links on it. My one guilty pleasure on Twitter though, has to be changing my screen backgrounds via their Themeleon link. I’ve gotten so hooked on it that I’ve been tinkering with my profile at least once or twice a week, looking for cool patterns. I typically will find something and then tweak the color scheme, mixing and matching colors. Heck, if I could have a career doing this, I’d be in heaven. Ugh, only 3 days and I’m suffering from Twitter withdrawl. It’s pretty sad, isn’t it?

It makes me wonder though if anyone else has had this problem accessing Twitter lately, not being able to even see your own profile. I even Googled my own and tried to access it. Still came up with a blank screen, even though Twitter showed up in the search bar.

This is so frustrating. I’m as irate as those Angry Birds I see all over the place. If I find out that someone has hacked into my account, I’m going to find them and do what aggressive birds sometimes do: crap on them to show my indignation. I want my Twitter back so I can talk to my peeps!


Examples of my jewelry work

To be honest, I’m not sure. Right now, I am facing the possibility of moving from New York to Florida, and it’s not one I am thrilled about. I am at a crossroads, if you will, in gaining my independence and freedom. Due to certain circumstances in my life, I’ve taken a bit longer to develop, and to finish my education. It was not an easy journey, and many times I wanted to give up, but I kept at it. My parents are educators, and having a good education is very important to us all. My biggest regret was not knowing what I wanted to do in college. Having only an Associate’s Degree does put a crimp on employment options, which has been frustrating me a great deal lately.  Not to mention a deadline: between now and the fall of next year, I need to find a decent job and a place of my own. I want my own life, I want to be able to do things on my own schedule, to have my own privacy, for once. Maybe employment that will allow me to have an apartment, be able to afford rent and bills, and have a life. I don’t want to have to be forced to rely on services either, but that may have to be an option, much as it is embarrassing. I’ve looked at the job market down in Florida and it’s not looking too good. Then again, jobs are hard to come by across the country, so I’m grateful for the one I have now.

Am I a good worker? I’d like to think so. I push myself very hard at my present job, almost to my detriment, because I’m feeling so burned out lately. I work hard because it’s important to me and I don’t think people should be paid for sitting around doing nothing. If I’m going to be holding a position in a company, then I’m going to do the best I can in said position, because that’s what I was hired for.

It would be great to have a dream job, something that you love doing, but I need to be realistic. It’s a painful fact to accept. Maybe a handful of people in the world get to be that lucky. What would be mine, you ask? It would be something in the art world, or fashion. Art has been a part of my life since I was small, and still continues to be. I’d like to say I’m experienced despite not having any formal training or degree. I like putting things together, creating objects of beauty. You’ve seen my jewelry pictures; that is ME. I made those pieces, I came up with their design, I chose what colors to use, and that’s only a sampling of what I’m capable of. I’d spring at the chance for some kind of apprenticeship program, or internship. My age should not be a barrier to that and I’m still young.

Want more of me? I’m a published artist. While not a professional, I have had several pieces featured in a national newsletter for the Neo-pagan organization A Druid Fellowship about 10 or so years ago. One was featured full size on the back cover. It was one of the best moments in my life and still is. I still have the original works in my possession. I’ve had pieces in high school take top honors in art competition and even had them shown on TV. I’ve considered submitting present work, but have not seen any opportunities present themselves.

I think people and potential employers underestimate me, because I really do think they don’t take me seriously. They only go for those with multiple degrees and piles of awards. Having all that does not necessarily make you an exemplary employee, I think. Were any of you aware I can be trained to learn a specific job, or skill? I’d like to be in a position that makes the best of my abilites and skills, rather than be stuck in a job that makes me miserable and unappreciated. Some employers seem to miss that point. They just want as many bodies to work until they get burned out, and then hire a bunch of new faces when the old one quit. I don’t see myself as a worker drone, a nameless cog in an uncaring machine.

What skills do I have to offer? I am very detail oriented, which I attribute to my artistic abilities. I look for discrepancies and errors in my present job position, and I’m very good at it. My grammar skills are very good, because I enjoy reading a great deal when I’m not working. Within the art realm, I have an eye for color, pattern, design, and I enjoy creating different combinations. In regards to my jewelry hobby, I have taught myself techniques in jewelry repair, learning about the varieties of semiprecious stones, the kinds of cuts used on stones, settings, metals used in jewelry. I have a relative who went to school for jewelry design and she considers my abilities nearly on par with anyone WITH a degree in the field. In regards to her, I trust her opinion, and I don’t think it’s anything to sneeze at.

The fact is, I don’t see myself spending my days in customer service or retail. I don’t see myself in some little cubby next to dozens of others doing telemarket sales. I have no desire or interest in it, nor would I think it would be a good use of my abilities. My strengths and skills should be worth considering, besides the fact I pick up tasks quickly. Entry-level or menial work is not going to sustain me, not if I want to live on my own. Potential employers need to accept that fact, because I’m not going to lower my standards of living. It’s a dog-eat-dog world in regards of jobs these days, and I need to be tough in order to survive. I’ll put my resume up, if that will help. People can find me if they are serious enough. I’m on the web. I’m on Twitter, I’m on Facebook,  I’m on some other social networking sites such as LinkedIn. There’s this blog, for starters. I’m trying to use the internet in creative ways to make myself known. I can’t afford to give up on improving my life.

Who is the real me? You’re reading it. This is who I am, this is what I’m like. I don’t pull punches and I’m not going to make things up about myself to scam my way into a job. You can know exactly how I feel about things by reading my  work. You can tell what kind of person I am from my words. I deserve a good job, one that respects my abilities and employers who will treat me like a human being.


I am attempting to start up a business selling my handcrafted jewelry, and these are just a few of the pieces I have made. Some of them are from my own personal collection. I’ve been meaning to take more pictures of what I’ve made since, so hopefully this will motivate me to do so. I’d really love to make this a part of my life, because art is such a tremendous influence in my daily routine.

I’ve often wondered if jewelers took on apprentices to learn the trade, because it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I have dedicated a great deal of my own time learning techniques, different kinds of semiprecious and precious gems. For someone with no formal training, I’d like to think I’ve done pretty well so far on my own. I’m not really sure if going back to school would exactly help me in this area; what I’d like to be able to do is learn hands-on experience. I’ll also admit frankly, that I am looking for a new job. Haven’t quit my present one (which would be incredibly stupid), but I’m taking a chance that someone out there might see this and take a closer look. I could be your diamond in the rough.


Ana

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I hope everyone has had a wonderful New Year’s, and looking forward to this brand new year. A conversation I had last night with my mom and some friends we invited to celebrate with got into the subject of appearance. One of the major subjects of scorn was stretched lobes, piercings, and tattoos. The other ladies were much older than I am, and therefore  a bit more conservative in views of fashion. They were complaining about how tattoos detract from one’s looks, how they uglify a person. Same with ears and piercing. My mom was griping about a student she sees in the halls at her school who has enormously stretched lobes, and how she finds them grotesque. She declared that this kid would never get a good job, or be taken seriously in life because of what he did to his ears. She was upset that the boy’s parents seemed okay with him stretching and considered it irresponsible. My mom also doesn’t like tattoos and considers them a mental aberration. People who get tattoos, she feels, have some kind of mental instability and a desire for attention. Several of her fellow teachers have tattoos, and she’s never said anything to them, but it’s clear she disapproves.

I got read the riot act for mine, told I was stupid, irresponsible, unhinged and sick for doing so. My parents grumbled about one of my younger sisters getting one, plus she got her nose pierced, but were not quite as harsh on her as they were with me. Maybe it’s because she’s not suffering from depression? I don’t know.

What the ladies last night were commiserating over was that they felt anyone with extensive piercings and tattoos would never get far in life. No company would ever want to hire them, or anyone take them seriously because of their appearances. Is that true? Is there any concrete facts to support that accusation? Have any of you been turned down for employment because of extensive tattoos and piercings? What jobs were you forced to take? Were any of you treated differently than others? Did people consider you less intelligent? They said it was okay in other cultures, like in Africa and Asia to have enlarged piercings and such, but not in America, because it’s not publicly acceptable. According to them.

I think there are different levels to ideals of style, beauty, fashion. What we consider attractive here in the States may not be in other parts of the world. This country, and Europe, keeps trying to force the standards of Western beauty on the rest of the world, because we think this should be the worldwide standard.

So what qualifies someone to be socially acceptable by the public now? Does having a great deal of tattoos and piercings automatically make someone unworthy of intelligence, kindness, the ability to be a parent, teacher, skilled professional? Should we view these people as sick, psychologically disturbed for doing these things to their bodies? The people I’ve met who have body modifications, piercings, tattoos, have generally been intelligent, NORMAL people. I’ve met some weirdos too, but by far, they have been very down to earth folks.

People who look down on this will often dredge up obscure bits from the bible about not defiling one’s body with cuts and such. What about surgery, then? Does someone needing life-saving surgery risk spiritual condemnation? They also say someone who modifies themselves is just desperate for any kind of attention because they didn’t get it as a child. Or the person is acting out against a repressive society by being defiant, being deliberately provocative in appearance, acting outrageous. Sometimes they accuse these people of being perverted, for having all those piercings and the like.

I have never been truly comfortable with myself in regards to my looks, because of the surgeries, the scars, the emotional imapct. I knew people would stare at me openly when I was younger, wondering if I was in a car accident, or if I had Down’s Syndrome. It made me very angry and bitter towards everyone. My parents asked me why on earth would I do these things to myself after all I’d gone through. I was making myself uglier, in their view. Really? So because I chose to stretch my lobes and get tattoos, I’m a sick freak. I’m a loser, baby. I know my limits, thank you very much. I’m not as stupid as they consider me at times. I did my research to prepare myself. I took a lot of time to consider what I wanted to do. I didn’t get a butt-ugly tat of a cartoon character, or some misspelled phrase. I chose my images very carefully. I considered placement, and how it would look over a long period of time.

I see this world we live in as growing more global, as we embrace different cultures. Look at America–we are no longer all white WASPs. We are a culturally and ethnically diverse nation that cannot be classified into one simple category. As for standards of beauty, I think we need to change that too. Instead of these sickly, wasted twits tottering down the catwalks, we should be embracing the idea of a healthy body and mind. Thinner doesn’t mean better. I don’t think appearances equate ability or intelligence either. I think it’s wrong to judge based solely on one’s looks, or lifestyle, or even religion. We can have our dislikes, but we shouldn’t be forcing them on the unwilling.

I’ve had my share of prejudice towards things in terms of body art and modification; there are some kinds of piercings I will never appreciate. There are tattoos I will never like because I just find them incredibly tasteless and unattractive. I have to wonder about the person how they will feel when they get older. Will they want to maintain stretched lobes when they are elderly, or whether those full sleeves they got as a young person still look good when they are in their 70s? It’s nothing to sneeze at. It’s common sense, and being practical. I know I’m going to retire my stretched lobes when I’m older, because it just won’t look right.

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