Tag Archives: vintage glass

blaugust #06: sparkletalk.

I made a little deal with myself last week. The boxes of glass beads have been languishing lately. My time for making things is much more restricted than it was a couple of years ago, and when I sit down for a design marathon I tend to let the more popular urban legend designs take all my time. Leaves of Glass is my first venture, though, and still my true heart. I don’t want to let it slip away entirely.

Last week I decided I’d make at least one piece of vintage glass jewelry a day. Sometimes my only hope of succeeding at a challenge is NOT to publicize it. Talking about it can work as a catalyst for doing it (Blaugust is working that way for me, so far), but it can also work as creativity-stifling pressure. I’ve lost momentum from sheer panic before. This was a little challenge, and not really in danger of being derailed. But it was also a challenge from me, to me, for reasons of my own affection. So I kept it quiet and just forged ahead. I did well! I didn’t miss any days, and on a couple of days I made more than one thing. I posted most of them on Instagram, and several pieces were sold straight from there. For me, that’s the most rewarding design-to-sale format, and I’m always excited when it happens.

This is a gallery of my favorite pieces. The ones that are still available are listed for sale in Leaves of Glass on Etsy. I got my nimble glass fingers working again, and there will be more grit and sparkle to come this month.

(This is my sixth post for the Blaugust initiative.)

sparkle tango.

photo 3As I begin typing, I realize that 1) I’m only using the word tango here because I’m listening to one, and 2) there is not actually any literal sparkle in the work I did today. I’m practicing not fussing over every little thing, though, so I’m letting it stand.


I listed a few new things at urban legend this morning, but lately I’ve had the itch to go back to glass. It’s been a long time since I sat down and just played for several hours. I’m rusty, and slow, and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. As it happens, nothing really surprising came of it today, but I made pretty things. The colors and textures make my heart sing, and I’m happy with them.


The three pairs of earrings shown here were in today’s crop. Combining tonal variations of reds is something that pleases my eyes very much, and I love this pair of earrings, with its subtle differences in shades and elegant floral textures. The orange and blue earrings above feature my very last pair of hollow faceted orange glass beads. These are virtually weightless and so rare and spectacular. I love the way they play with the translucent and opaque aqua flowers. The very odd painted lacy finding in the third pair of earrings is also the last of its kind. I orginally had six of them, and I did something different with each one. This summer, I’m drawn over and over again to iterations of navy blue and chartreuse, so that’s what I used here to set off the bold white of the metal pieces.

I also started working on a bustling cha-cha bracelet of leaves and flowers in true old school costume jewelry style. The bracelet pictured here was actually made a few weeks ago, but I keep forgetting to list it for sale. So it’s appearing here to remind me! I love the contrast of pure white vintage milk glass beads with the shimmering, almost oily-looking oxidized chain.

photo 5

Not an enormously productive venture, but a good day. I plan to spend some more time playing in the sparkle fields. Possibly with actual sparkle next time.


wear your story.

One of the most rewarding things about designing jewelry is hearing from a customer who identifies something I’ve made as their signature piece. Reaching for the same pair of earrings day after day because it makes her feel like herself. Wearing a particular necklace because she knows it will make her smile when she looks in the mirror. Putting on a custom bracelet as a reminder of her strengths before starting a difficult day.

Bracelets have always been my favorite pieces to design and make. To me, they’re more narrative than any other form of adornment. ID bracelets, medic alerts, friendship bracelets, mourning armbands, cuffs – something about wearing that encircling form on our arms speaks to identity and sense of self in a very powerful way. They can be a mark of possession or self-possession, a talisman to the wearer – intimate, kinetic, sometimes hidden. You can’t look at a whole bracelet at once when it’s being worn – it’s in constant motion, with different focal points as it moves. The story is in motion.

Here are some of the stories I’ve been working on recently for Leaves of Glass. This week I’m making handcuffs – but that’s a story for later.

workingworking, plus color friends.

It’s been an almost normal week of creative work, as I find my way back into doing my thing. Working with glass again has felt like coming home, and I got to make some pieces for the new collections that I’ve been thinking about for months. Shana and I put together several color pairs in the last few days. It’s amazing how much easier that is when we’re sitting right next to each other. No more late-night badly lit phone pictures to try to coordinate colors and lines. It’s so much nicer when I can just poke her and say, “Is this awesome or horrible?” We did one this week that I think is my favorite colorfriends effort ever.

One of the collections I’ve had in mind is a series of jewelry designs inspired by fairy tales, and my contribution to this colorfriends is a pair of earrings in vintage glass and vintage metal. I used glass beads in black and wasabi green, and added vintage metal birdcage charms that I patinaed in a matte, aged white. They’re odd and distinctive and lovely. Shana made a yoyo necklace in matching colors with cotton and silk, and in a truly inspired move, used a print with a text pattern that added a whole other layer to the fairy tale idea. Together, they’re beautiful. We’ve called the pair Bird of Sorrow, after a Turkish fairy tale. You can read the full text here.

Shana’s necklace is available in her shop, and my earrings are listed at Leaves of Glass.

You can read her post about our other colorfriends pairs on Shana’s blog. Stay tuned for more new designs in both my shops, and more colorfriends.

please stay tuned.

I’ve been taking my product photos the same way for years, and I had the thing down to a science. I get fidgety with my styling, but I’ve been able to get the same clarity and color for a long time. And now here I am in a new place with new light from new directions and the backgrounds I normally use are packed away who knows where, but I’m doing new work and it needs to be photographed. IT IS NOT GOING WELL, people. I took three sets of photographs of the new pieces I made this week, and none of them are singing to me. It’s going to take a lot of experimentation and practice to get them back up to standard, I think. In the meantime, I have work to list so I’m using the third set of photos. My sense of pride in presentation has taken a hit, though; so consider this an excuse post to salve my ego. Argh.

In less frustrating news, I’m enjoying working with vintage glass again and have several new pieces that will appear over the coming weeks. I’m adding to my occasional Holy/Shadow series, and am doing new interpretations of some older designs. I’m hoping to start work soon on a collection inspired by {bloody, dark and grim} fairy tales.