Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My Very First Giveaway!

In celebration of Spring, or nearly Spring, or we are hoping and praying for Spring, here it is - my first blog giveaway!  To the lucky random winner on March 31st, 2010 -  a handmade, one of a kind pendant featuring tumbled glass, abalone shell, sterling silver and petrified wood.


What do you have to do to win?

Doing any of the following gives you a chance to win:
1.  Follow this blog (if you are already following, you are already entered once)
2.  Go to my Etsy Shop:  and post here about your favorite item.
3.  Go to my 1000Markets shop: and post here about your favorite item.

That's it!  Not hard at all - and on March 31st, the Random Number Generator will pick the winner!  Now don't you think that Spring should show up in time for it's own celebration? 

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Jar Full of Treasure

  The good yard sale stuff was spread out on the lawn, but I had decided to check out the stacks of old picture frames left just inside the garage.  There it was, sitting on a dusty shelf  amongst boxes of junk.The pint size clear glass Mason jar with the bright gold lid was clean and full and had a sticker on it - For Sale.  But it wasn't full of seashells, my usual find - these were little bits of black and dark brown - stones?  Wasn't too sure, but the price was right - so I brought it home.  I set it on a cabinet in my studio and forgot about it. 

Then, this weekend a rare event occured - both of my sisters visited at the same time.  The Pate girls, when together, seem to inspire each other, and we spent a lot of time looking at, talking about and exchanging jewelry.The little jar was brought out late one evening by Amy.  She's one of those people who has so much creative energy she can have a dozen projects, all in different media, going at once.  She dumped the jar out all over the kitchen counter and we started playing with them, her creative process sparking my own. 

I had already noticed that there were some fossilized shark teeth in the jar, but now I realized that there were many bits of petrified wood with interesting, mostly oblong shapes.  There are many places in Florida to find fossilized shark's teeth and petrified wood, including the Suwannee River, the Peace River and the beaches in Venice.  Eons ago Florida was under the sea and neat ancient things can still be found.  I'm guessing that my little bits on history were lovingly collected by someone right here in Florida. 

Petrified wood, fossilized shark teeth, glass, abalone shell, copper, sterling silver.   Design happened.  And is still happening.  As usual, my new fixation has put other projects on hold (the Strawberry Fest is only days away) but I just can't help myself!  So, here are a few of the pieces that are finished. 
Below on the left, a piece of petrified wood with wonderful texture
and a finish that looks almost like it's been pickled, holding an abalone cabochon circled by sterling silver wire. On the right, petrified wood lashed to a triangle of pale blue tumbled glass and another abalone cabochon.

Next, a sliver of green glass, deep matte gray worn stone with a natural arch holds a large pale peach freshwater pearl.  The middle picture is another piece of green glass, petrified wood and abalone, this time done with copper. 
And finally, pale blue glass, deep blue abalone, petrified wood, sterling silver.  I have many more pieces in process and have begun using the worn and broken black sharks teeth - which have sort of a boomerang shape. 
And lastly, I stumbled on a photo technique to share.  I like to photograph outside, but full sunlight has too much glare, and if I create a shadow it's a bit too dark.  I carried my pieces out to the dock in a large clear plastic bag, which also held extra batteries and everything I might need on my little photo shoot.  My dock has deck boards with wide gaps, and I always worry that stuff is going to fall into the water and be lost.  So, holding onto the plastic bag with one hand, the camera with the other, and taking out one pendant at a time and trying to position everything just so, the sunlight accidentlly filtered throught the bag onto the pendant.  It created kind of a scrim effect and let in plenty of light but cut the glare and shadow.  The results are photos 1, 2, and 4.  I think this just may become my new technique, especially when shooting in the midday sun. 

I would love to read your comments about these new pieces - I'm so excited about them I'm thinking about doing my very first giveaway with one.  But right now I need to get back to my worktable - the creative juices are still flowing! I have two of the pieces listed on Etsy (3 and 5), and watch for the others to be listed soon!