Tag Archives: Indiana metalsmith

Making Amunet Amethyst Goddess Earrings

My friend, Lisa Zimmerman of Soul Level Solutions, is calling this month “Rocktober” due to all of the planetary influences she feels will come to bear. I wonder what this month has in store for all of us, planetarily and otherwise. That remains to be seen!
What I do know is that I’ve been under the creative influence. Following these urges feels like playing hooky, since I have custom orders for which my lovely peeps are patiently awaiting. Yet at times I get in the grip and nothing else will come from my hands. This is how Amunet came to be.

When the creative influence takes over, it is often sparked by the materials sitting on my bench.

Then the assembly begins – these earrings, simple though they seem, had seven separate soldering operations.

Soldering complete, these earrings are ready for oxidization and gemstone setting. And, of course, some handmade earwires.

My works often name themselves, and as I was in the process of making these earrings, the name “Amun” came to me out of nowhere. Or, maybe it’s because I’m learning to speak Egyptian Arabic. Anyway, after doing a bit of research, I discovered the female counterpart to the Egyptian god Amun is Amunet, “the female hidden one”. Although at 2 1/4″ inches long, you won’t stay that way while wearing these!

According to gem lore, the amethysts gracing the earrings possess a spiritual quality and enhance dreams, purification, healing, love and peace. That’s a lot to enjoy! Please do.

A Love Letter to Indianapolis

A recent sunny day less than two weeks ago saw me tired but happy and home from a part-time job at the Indianapolis International Airport. This job is based upon being available on an irregular schedule – a call comes in for a gig and I get to say yes or no. This job had a mandatory component, however, called “Super Bowl Duty.”
Working with a group of professional people in short bursts of highly coordinated activity is a rare and powerful experience. It’s been my pleasure for the past six months to be able to have these experiences, with one particular one topping the list. Helping Super Bowl visitors get back to their homes.
They were our guests from all over the world, come to witness a world championship game and a world-class city. They witnessed a city transformed and enhanced by more events than you could reasonably name here. They received TLC from a well-coordinated volunteer cadre of over 6,000 Hoosiers in and around the Super Bowl Village. They witnessed everything from the ribbon cutting at the Chase Near Eastside Legacy Center to the art experience at TURF/IDADA Art Pavilion in the Old City Hall. Locals saw our own big-city sparkle during the opening montage of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. I personally made visits to the Super Bowl Village, the zipline, and had my own encounters with my cheerful blue-and-white stripe scarf-clad smile-bearing neighbors. All of these things made me proud of my city.
But it took several hundred random encounters with complete strangers over sixteen hours to nail a lesson home, over and over, on these terms: It’s the people who make Indianapolis what it is. We really ARE friendly, and that quality is highly valued, appreciated, and sought-after. We know how to put on a party, to thoughtfully and intelligently entertain people in meaningful ways, create rich experiences, making people feel cared for, feel like they want to come back again. They LIKE us, they really LIKE us! Channeling that long-ago academy-award acceptance speech by Sally Field, our lacy slip of self-deprecation caused us to collectively put it all out there. The reward? Indianapolis is a world-class city of people who care. And that matters just as much as a beautiful coastline, tropical temperatures, or purple mountain majesties.
Thanks, Indianapolis, for being my home.

Pressure Creation, or, How I Overcame my Fear of Working with Shibuichi

Poppy Season, Shibuichi project progress

My “Poppy Season” necklace is made from Schibuichi, Sterling Silver, Copper, a German clock gear, and a little blue tourmaline.

Shibuichi Sword Guard

Shibuichi is a metal alloy of sterling silver and copper, originating in Japan, the source for so many colorful metal alloys and patinas which were used in the fine art of sword-making for centuries. The word actually means “one-fourth” in Japanese and refers to the original formula of one part silver to three parts copper, although metalsmiths of today have taken great liberties with the composition. You no doubt get the idea that this and other Japanese alloys have a rich and beautiful history.
In January of this year I got to attend a Winter Workshop with Juan Carlos Caballero-Perez in Daytona Beach, Florida. Months before the workshop, I was already preparing for it. Then I attended, and it was, of course, wonderful, and many things were learned. One of them was to make my own Shibuichi alloy using a lamination process.
Homeward bound with a couple of very precious pieces of metal, I was full of hope. Winter has become spring, spring now summer, and my precious Shibuichi still sat, gathering dust. Still full of hope but now tinged with the dishonor of fear and scarred with an abandoned idea. I had made a deep cut into one of the pieces of metal, only to get afraid and set the work aside. Argh!

Eventually, opportunity knocked – I had a request for more of my narrative pieces from one of the galleries that carries my work. Yes, it was time. A design had been sketched and the metal was already practically cut, so I went ahead and completed the cut. As soon as that was done, it was like a weight had been lifted. Something else needed to happen, and I decided to trash the original design and let the metal guide me, and flow out the way it wanted. Yeah, it always takes longer that way. But it tells it’s own story and becomes something that creates itself. These journeys are scary. There is no “me”. All objectivity is lost. You follow where this thing leads, and try not to screw it up.

Poppy Season Necklace, Shibuichi and Blue Tourmaline, by NLee

Have you ever completed a “challenge course?” It’s where you and a bunch of friends or co-workers gather and perform feats that you would never do on your own, or never believe that you could do on your own. You might scale a high wall with shouts of encouragement. Or don a helmet and harness and climb a 30-foot telephone pole, then try to stand on the top. And realize that the only way you can stand up is to lean so far over on the palms of your hands that you lose balance, and then you have to scoot your feet under your hands the minute that balance point comes. You have to let go in order to win.

Let go, and let your flower bloom. It’s now Poppy Season.


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