NewslettersRuby Lane's newsletters are designed to celebrate the antiques and art, vintage collectibles and jewelry communities around the world. Our Past Times newsletter focuses on antiques and collectibles. Our Creative Hands newsletter celebrates fine art and handcrafted jewelry on Ruby Lane. Our shop owners are frequent article contributors, sharing their expertise and their passions for the items they collect and create. Enjoy!
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Ruby Lane's Creative Hands Newsletter for May 2006
IN THIS ISSUE:
- It Really Is All About You!
- JEWELRY: ARTISAN SPOTLIGHT: von Walhof Creations
- Visit House of the Cheshire Moon
- Ruby Lane May Jewelry Artisan SHOP SAMPLER
- Share Creative Hands With A Friend
- Gift Ideas From Ruby Lane!
IT REALLY IS ALL ABOUT YOU!
Throughout my life, my grandmother told me quite often that even as a small child I was always focusing my attention on color and pattern structure, whether it was dressing my dolls, playing dress-up at her house, or simply when I would color or paint. Digging through her jewelry box is my first recollection with jewelry. I would layer huge beaded necklaces around my neck and put on these rhinestone type clip-on earrings, pieces that she always had for me to play with.
While living at the beach, just prior to my teen years I would make necklaces from shells that I found walking on the beach, passing hundreds until I found just the right shells that I had thought about for my necklaces.
After marrying and having a family my priorities changed, however my handcraft interests stayed with me throughout having a career, a family, attending college part-time. I managed to journey down many crafty paths from knitting, crocheting, cake decorating for several years, to painting, and sewing. Making a promise to myself, that if I continued to sew for a year, I would then invest in a top of the line sewing machine, and I did. Soon after that, my daughter Leslie, who has a fashion jewelry business, asked me if I would make a few watchbands for her in colors that were scarce. Of course, I agreed only if she would try them out first. The two bands that I gave her looked rather nice, they both fell completely apart, beads flying everywhere. I was so consumed, even after this, my desire to learn more had been ignited. About fifty watchbands later, no readily available classes in my area, and a lot of mistakes, through continuous reading, practicing, practicing and more practicing I had taught myself the basic fundamentals of beading, and yet, with a lifetime of learning still to go. I had begun making different pieces, nothing was falling apart and people were buying my pieces.
Today, with a passion for beading that is unsurpassed to any craft or hobby that I have previously experienced, it has definitely been the ultimate for me, both challenging and rewarding. Beading has inspired me in many ways, just as nature has inspired my beading creativity. Beading has helped me in reacquainting myself with the beautiful nature that lies in my own back yard, such as Ruin Creek, a creek filled with the most unique and lovely rocks. My fascination for the unusual, the rare or unique, and one-of-a kind always leads me to gemstones, and when purchasing stones, I always venture out for the rare and unique, but for the best in quality that I can find.
In many of the pieces I have created, sterling silver was added for accentuation, but many times, it has been my starting point as well. Initially, I was attracted to handcrafted Balinese, Hill Tribes and Turkish silver, because of the uniqueness and quality, but as I began to use these beads, their intricate beauty was what became so appealing to me.
Borosilicate glass beads are another one of my favorite finds and they are a more recent discovery at that. I have really enjoyed collecting just as much as incorporating them into my pieces. When I purchase them I still become completely mesmerized by the beautiful colors and designs within each bead that is created by such talented artists.
Several years have passed and many changes have taken place since this incredible journey began. I now have a small studio, zillions of beads, and I am the proud shop owner of All About You! On Ruby Lane.
The name "All About You!" was created because I wanted customers to somehow feel that sometimes it is All About You! In our hustle and bustle life we endure with careers and families, many times it does not always feel like it is about us. Through the support of my two children, Leslie age 28, and Landon age 15, they helped me in many ways to make all of this happen and will always be my rock of inspiration.
We invite you to visit Pamela's shop: All About You! Handcrafted Designer Jewelry
JEWELRY: ARTISAN SPOTLIGHT: VON WALHOF CREATIONS
The story of von Walhof Creations begins with my mother, Bettina von Walhof. In 1998 at the age of 50 my mother started a new life. On her 50th birthday she decided it was time to finally do what she had always longed to do: create. Having very eccentric taste she always loved big and bold pieces but had a hard time finding interesting subject matter in the designs. A lover of nature, especially of insects, it was difficult to find the jewelry the desired. Encouraged by friends Larry Vrba, David Mandel and Robert Sorrell she set out to create some pieces for herself that defined her personality. Though primitive in design they were full of character, packed with style and became an instant success. Her designs were so fresh and innovative she was asked by Kenneth Jay Lane to come and work for his company. Bettina von Walhof contemporary jewelry designer was born! Fame followed and customers include Madelaine Albright, Art Buchwald, Inneke Hauer and she has even been recognized by grand dame of glitz Liza Minnelli. Large became her trademark and the motto became ‘Jewelry for Confident Women'.
Fast forward 6 years to 2006.
I had been working with my mother for 6 years and had become very intrigued with the world of jewelry creation and design. Like Mom, I am a collector of vintage jewelry with a special fondess for retro pieces of the 1940's and 50's. While taking care of the studio I decided to pick up my mother's tools and make a poodle pin. I wanted this for myself to wear to a party. After much trial and error my ‘Miss Priss the Pink Poddle' emerged from a jumble of metal and crystals. I reluctantly told my mother what I had done, being fearful that invading her workspace may cause tension, but I was wrong and she became my biggest fan. With a little more prodding and pushing we decided to start ‘von Walhof Creations' with the pieces being signed "B+M von Walhof". The idea was to bring interesting, affordable pieces to collectors and enthusiasts. The first collection included 4 designs (Stallion, Lamb, Poodle, Victorian Fan). Only 10 pieces of each were made and have since been retired making them highly collectible. Holiday pieces are an essential and Halloween is a favorite. We have 8 designs in this category and all are retired.
Just this year we decided to take our creations to another level with smaller specialized pieces. These are about 1 ½ - 2 inches compared to the 3-6 inches of our larger pieces. Being an animal lover and a licensed wildlife rehabilitator I wanted to combine my two loves and so started making exotic animals. With a request from one of our favorite customers, Impy the Ferret came into being. We couldn't keep up with the demand for this whimsical pin, it was unique, affordable and very high quality. Soon after, a hedgehog, chinchilla and fennec fox, to name only a few, sprang forth. We are now making special request pieces including an Ambilobe Chameleon and a Capuchin monkey. People love their pets and we can vouch for this. Dogs and cats are our number one seller. No matter how many different kitty designs we make our customers always want more. We also try to make pieces that not only look nice but will bring about awareness and discussion. One example is the Tasmanian Wolf, which has been extinct since 1936. When people see this unusual crsytal animal it stimulates the discussion of extinction.
Because each piece is handmade using only the finest Swarovski crystals, it can take up to 4 weeks from start to finish for one small piece, up to 1 year for the very large exclusive pieces. Each stone is prong set by hand and then must be soldered and finally plated giving it our signature dark hematite color. We only use Swarovski crystals unless a piece is being made with vinatge stones. Our necklace and earrings are made with rare vinatge molded glass, plastic, handpainted beads, antique china and semi-precious stones. Trips to tiny out of the way junk shops and fleamarkets are favorites, there are just so many possibilites with the treasures found. Because we do not limit ourselves to one genre or medium our designs can range from the serious to the silly. The only limit is our imagination and with two of us I don't see that running out any time soon!
We invite you to visit Michelle's shop: von Walhof Creations
VISIT HOUSE OF THE CHESHIRE MOON
Salvete! I have been fascinated with antiquity since early childhood, and one of my best memories is of a large exhibit of Scythian artefacts at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Comprising primarily beaten and wrought gold, the objects in this exhibit ranged from the delicate jewel to the battle-tried saddle. I remember wondering how they managed to create such fine mesh from gold, and what the horse must have thought of its clothes! Of course, a love of Phoenicia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome followed. I swore to myself that I would grow up to become an archaeologist, and for a long time, I studied things ancient on my own, always being drawn to the textures and shapes and colors of each cultures' artefacts, which included jewelry and glass-work in particular.
Way, however, led on to way, and I found myself completing a PhD in English literature of a much more modern period (well, Old English...still modern compared to the Scythians). I spent quite some time immersed in illuminated manuscripts, medieval art in other forms, and of course the magnificent heroic poetry of the Anglo-Saxons. Illuminated manuscripts are jewelled by pen and ink, and each page is a celebration of life from many perspectives. I learned that some inks actually came from precious stones, and that real gold leaf is incredibly elusive once freed from its sheet. I studied calligraphy and experiemented with creating illuminated pages of my own. One of my favorites remains The Lord's Prayer in Old English. From the heroic poetry, I garnered mental images of hordes of goldwork -- from the beautiful arm cuffs and torques of Wealtheow to the heap of jeweled blades in the lone survivor's barrow.
Along the way, I also fell madly in love with Modernism and the Art Deco movement, both of which focused on form as a mode of communication. Each word, each curve, each color signified intent on the part of the maker, and the finished whole spoke volumes. I think of Ezra Pound's poem, "In a Station of the Metro," and the image of "petals on a wet, black bough" standing in for the faces in a crowd of people as always delights me. All told, these various influences have whirled together and led me to create new jewels with inspiration drawn from the past.
It was during the writing of my dissertation, through a confluence of two events, that I came to jewelry making. I was deep in the throes of revision, to the point that the focus of the work had changed so much that I could really on begin again, and I feared I would never pull the odds ends together into a cohesive whole. Around that time, I was in Venice for a short time and found some beautiful and truly vintage Murano glass art beads. I decided to use them to make a jeweled bookmark from some old brocaded fabric I had; it wasn't a wise use of time -- I really should have been working on my dissertation -- but it was a turning point for me, a moment when I needed a creative project that I could control and bring to fruition. That bookmark set me on a road that has paralleled, though not replaced, my research...it was from there that I began my career as a jeweler.
Time and again, I find inspiration for my jewelry in images from the past. This last summer, I spent two weeks researching World War I poetry in London, and had time to spend in the British Museum. The collection of Etruscan jewelry was captivating and I passed many hours absorbing the various pieces. Etruscan goldwork is gorgoeus, and incorporates mesh, chain, wire and jewels into patterns and forms that seem both contemporary and archetypal.
In short, I strive to combine vintage components, glass from Murano, semi-precious gems and pearls, and intriguing pieces to create jewelry that is timeless. The House of the Cheshire Moon is my home beyond the present. By day, I teach Latin; by night, I dream jewels; and, as a friend of mine remarked once when I was in the midst of a creative whirlwind, I am the mad woman in the attic. My workshop, which looks out over San Francisco, from the tip-top of the Golden Gate Bridge to the peaks of Potrero Hill, is a place where times collide and where I renew myself. My next step is to study goldsmithing with a Florentine master, and perhaps one day create my vision of the jewels that Beowulf brought back with him from his quest to destroy Grendel. At this time, though, I derive much pleasure from designing and making jewels that delight the sense. Valete!
We invite you to visit Mary's shop: Mary Blum for House of the Cheshire Moon
RUBY LANE MAY JEWELRY ARTISAN SHOP SAMPLER
Visit these Ruby Lane Artisan Jewelry shops to find wearable art that matches even the most unique personality:
PMC Studio Art Jewelry by Carol Augustine: Fine Designer Art Jewelry - Anything but Ordinary!
Fine Silver and Enamel Butterfly Pendant
Handcrafted fine silver butterfly pendant with applied glass enamels. The bail is situated on the back of the left wing allowing the butterfly to ...
Elite Repeats Fine Vintage and Artisan Jewelry: Quality Vintage Jewelry-Imaginative Handcrafted Artisan Jewelry-Reasonably Priced
Great Color Vintage Choker Matching Bracelet
Great color on this matching choker and bracelet set! Vintage plastics molded "C" shapes in brilliant sunset gold each accented with a triple rope ...
Fancy That! Artisan Jewelry Design by Cheryl: Handcrafted beaded jewelry by artisan Cheryl O'Malley for women and men! Free U S shipping!
Mangano pink calcite and amethyst necklace
This double strand necklace features Mangano pink calcite in a long marquise cut and square, faceted cushions. Each piece of calcite is enhanced with...
Designs With Attitude: Fused Dichroic Glass Pendants, Necklaces, Pins Brooches, Necklaces Bracelets
Fused Dichroic Glass Pendant Necklace
The center of this piece has an intense slice of coral like salmon color that is very unusual. The blues, greens and pinks that complete the piece ...
Sundancegems - Handcrafted Jewelry: Handcrafted Semiprecious Gemstones, Pearl Crystal Jewelry One-of-a-kind designs, limited editions
Amethyst and freshwater Pearl Two Strand Bracelet in Sterling Silver
Bright purple Chevron Amethyst Hawaiian (large) chips and lustrous purple freshwater Pearls (dyed) are paired together in this pretty two stranded ...
Out of My Mind ~Mosaics Jewelry: Artisan Designer Jewelry and one of a kind Shard Art and Mosaic pieces
Lapis Blue Bliss Out of My Mind Collage Bracelet
This was quite a challenge! But great fun! I've taken my cue from the teachings of Eni Oken to create this gorgeous one of a kind bracelet. Lapis ...
Soli Creations Unique Beaded Jewelry: Exquisite, Original, Hand-Made Beaded Artisan Necklaces, Bracelets, Earrings and Anklets
Avalon Mist Beaded Bracelet - Violet and Silver Shimmer-Biwa Pearls, Freshwater Pearls, Silver
Shimmering shades of silver and violet make this bracelet dance. I've taken a sterling silver Thai bracelet of beads and chain and added a second ...
SHARE CREATIVE HANDS WITH A FRIEND
Did you enjoy this issue of Creative Hands? Do you know others who would enjoy receiving it? We invite you to forward this issue to those you know who also appreciate and enjoy arts & crafts.
GIFT IDEAS FROM RUBY LANE!
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Ruby Lane can streamline the process for you by sorting gift ideas by the type of person you're buying for and their preferences, along with the price range. Ruby Lane's Gift Ideas Search tool will then suggest a wide selection of matching items that are currently available throughout the site.
We invite you to visit Ruby Lane Holiday Gift Ideas .
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