Ruby Lane Creative Hands Newsletter for June 2004

Creative Hands
Ruby Lane's monthly newsletter celebrating the Arts & Crafts
Welcome to Creative Hands!

o Featured Shop: Purrrls
o Something Old, Something New by Mary Blume
o The Allure Of Beading By Carolyn Oill, Call me Crazy Designs
o o June Craft Shows
o Share Creative Hands With A Friend


I truly believe there's an artist in all of us. It may be hidden
under layers of practicality and busy schedules, but the artist
within always seems to find a way to peek out at some point in
all of our lives.

I never used to consider myself an artist. I couldn't sketch,
draw, paint or even doodle to save myself. But after several
years I felt the urge to "create" bubbling from within. And, as
I soon came to realize, an "artist" deals in many different
mediums. Mine just happens to be jewelry design. So I guess,
after all, I am an artist. An artist comes in so many forms. But
we all share the same thing ~ the urge to create. It comes from
the heart and blossoms out through the fingertips. It's not
always realized early in life. Some of us take years to finally
understand the importance of having a creative outlet.

While I was in college I took a few art and jewelry making
classes but never pursued anything from there. Academics seemed
to be more important at the time. Years later, while dabbling in
several different crafts, my sister wanted me to take some
jewelry making classes with her. I vowed not to start another
"hobby," but found myself drawn back to the craft that I truly
loved. So I dove in deep, buying all the right tools, materials,
beads, etc., and it just snowballed from there.

That was nearly six years ago, and I'm still going strong. One
standard I've set for myself in my jewelry making is never to
make it feel like "work." I TRULY love what I do and consider
myself one of a rare and fortunate group for being able to do

This is probably a story that's familiar to many of you. We all
start out in life doing the "right" thing, but find ourselves
gravitating towards what we love. As we get older we realize the
importance of fueling our creative fires within. We need an
outlet for all the stresses of life, and many of us find it here
on Ruby Lane. It's wonderful to be surrounded by fellow artisans
and to actually be included in that group. So keep on stoking
those creative fires and never let them burn out!

Visit Carol's shop, Purrrls for beautiful handcrafted pearl and
semi-precious gemstone jewelry.


One might say that American culture often finds the most value
in those things which are new and improved, but I believe this
stereotypical statement holds less appeal now than perhaps it
used to. "New" can carry negative connotations: the newest diet
plan can cause serious health problems, new car models are often
plagued by bugs, and new fashion trends blaze and fade, leaving
you with clothing in your closet that a year from now you can't
believe you actually bought. †More and more, people are looking
backwards to find inspiration for the present, seeking beauty
and a sense of history in designs, elements and compositions
that are distinctly not new at all.

The old bridal rhyme for good fortune speaks to this; every
woman making ready to walk down the aisle has probably heard
that it is good luck to wear "something old, something new,
something borrowed, something blue." I believe the roots of this
rhyme can be found in the very human need to anchor oneself to
history and community, to start an important new venture (as
marriage surely is!) with a firm connection to a beloved past.
While no physical thing can provide this connection, objects
such as jewelry, a mother's wedding gown, a great aunt's lace
handkerchief, or some other such beautiful ornament stand as a
symbol of that relationship between personal past and new

This important interplay between past, present and future has
guided much of my life. Even as a child, I always loved the old
books in my home, the antique furniture with its scratches and
stains and aura of history, my great grandmother's lovely
costume jewelry (wildly unfashionable at the time, but who
knew!). Too, I am fascinated with other periods of time (the
early Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the Art Nouveau and Art
Deco periods), and have found myself drawn to the patterns and
elements of design common to each. From this love of things old,
I began designing jeweled objects for contemporary life:
brocaded bookmarks, wine rings, Christmas ornaments, and of
course jewels for the body. Somehow, it seemed sad to find
lovely things from the past (brooches, orphaned earrings, broken
necklaces) cast aside as detritus, and so I decided to
incorporate them into beautiful items with new life.

In a world often fraught with uncertainty, frenetic activity,
isolation and mounting demands on one's time, it is a good thing
to be able to step outside of time and breathe in a place
between. Wearing a pair of earrings with Deco rhinestone
components or using a medievally inspired bookmark to hold your
place in a book will not cure the insanity of contemporary life,
but it will afford you a moment of pause, a little sliver of
breathing room within which you can reconnect to your own sense
of community and history. Perhaps the brides might share their
luck in "something old, something new" and let each of us carry
a symbol of interconnectedness through our daily lives, a
talisman which, by helping us remember from whence we came, will
help us see where we are going.

Mary Blum specializes in singular Hand-Wrought Jewels for the
body and home. Please visit her shop, House of the Cheshire Moon.


It took me over a year to figure it out ñ although, to be
honest, I hadn't thought much about it until recently. Why is
beading such an obsession? Apparently, I am not the only person
to feel this way ñ to work by day at a desk with a computer and
phone before me, longing for the time to go home, to be home, to
do your craft.

After the children have finished homework and dinner and are
tucked into bed, that is the time when you can give in to your
obsession, whether it be the heat of the torch and the melting
of glass or, in my case, fingering a massive collection of beads
of every size, color, material and construct, housed all day,
every day, in the too-many-to-count plastic boxes that are a
collection in themselves.

What is it about mixing these beads with those and separating
them with silver or gold spacers that draws my attention? Why do
the thin wire, crimp beads and crimper hold such allure?

It is ñ at least for me ñ a compliment to my other occupations
of mother, wife and lawyer. I love my other jobs; but they
involve other people, with their own opinions about how things
should, or could, be done.

At my beading desk my designs are my own. I am, in a manner of
speaking, Master and Commander, Lord of the Split Rings. I
choose big beads, or small. Metal, lampwork, glass, crystal or
pearl. Purple beads, red, turquoise or yellow. I can work with
wire, if I want ñ or not. When all is said and done, I have a
gallery of color and design that only has to please me. If it
pleases others, too ñ well, there's the icing on the cake. But
creating the gallery that I want is the reason I have to keep on

Carolyn is one of Ruby Lane's talented Jewelry artisan. To check
out Carolyn's unique handmade beaded Jewelry please visit her
shop, Call Me Crazi Designs.


Summer is the perfect time to go craft shows. Make time to visit
these craft shows this weekend, you might meet one of our
artisans while there!

Jun 5-13, 2004 American Crafts Festival Lincoln Center for the
Performing Arts, New York, NY

Jun 10-20, 2004 Art & Craft Show Brandon Town Center, Brandon,

Jun 10-20, 2004 Summer Arts Festival Downtown, Barington, IL

June 11-13, 2004 Contemporary Craft Market Civic Auditorium,
Santa Monica, CA

Jun 11-13, 2004 Spring Mountain Heritage Arts & Crafts Festival
Sam Michaels Park, Harpers, Ferry/Charles Town, WV

Jun 12-13, 2004 Burlington Art in the Park Washington Park,
Burlington, CA

Jun 12-13, 2004 Fine Art & Craft Show Town Center Park-Newport
District, Jersey City, NJ

Jun 16-20, 2004 Stone Arch Festival of the Arts Minneapolis
Riverfront Historic District, Minneapolis, MN

Jun 17-18, 2004 Arts Experience Plaza of the Americas Michigan
Ave, Chicago, IL

Jun 18-20, 2004 Huck Finn's Jubilee Mojave Narrows Regional
Park, Victorville, CA

Jun 19-20, 2004 Hinsdale Fine Arts Festival Burlington Park,
Hinsdale, IL

Jun 19-20, 2004 Arts & Crafts Father's Day Festival Seaford
Railroad Station, Seaford, NY

Jun 22-27, 2004 Art & Craft Show Belz Factory Outlet Mall,
Orlando, FL

Jun 24-27, 2004 Utah Arts Festival Library Square, Salt Lake
City, UT

Jun 25-27, 2004 Musky Festival Main Street, Hayward, WI

Jun 26-27, 2004 Lompoc Valley Flower Festival Ryon Park, Lompoc,

Jun 26-July 4, 2004 Kutztown Festival Kutztown Fairgrounds,
Kutztown, PA