Monday, January 25, 2010


Indiana's been blanketed in gray for over a week. Normally, this would cause me to delve deep into a funk that only the sun would drive away, but I've got a few coping mechanisms. First, my lovely Canadian visited over the weekend, which made the weather barely a blip on my radar. It was a wonderful visit and made me even more excited to be able to spend a few weeks with him over February. I'm not sure these next weeks are going to be able to pass fast enough!

I made him take a picture of the ice when we went down to the cabin on the lake for a game of pool and some wildlife watching. (We even saw two coyotes tracking something into the woods...) The lake was slowly melting as the temperatures had risen, and the patterns on the ice were so intriguing, I had to have a visual record. When I got back and uploaded the pictures, I realized that the patterns reminded me of this metals technique I want to learn, someday.

It's called mokume gane, a process in which metals such as gold, silver, and platinum are forged, folded, pressed and worked into a single billet which is then ground, beaten and acid etched to produce fantastic patterns like wood grain, waves and dots, or other shapes. It makes simply gorgeous jewelry...just google to see what people are doing with this.

It's not something I can learn at the kitchen table, but I'm fascinated by the results. In the meantime, I'll just bemoan the fact that pre-formed sheets are only available to people with a state jewelry license. Boo hoo.

I also made some jewelry and writing a lot: being creative always helps me get a new focus, which is useful when the weather is frightful. Surrounded by inspiring things, my mood tends to lighten. So I've been browsing online gemstone sites, looking for potential new suppliers (once I sell my current pieces, of course!), doodling in my journal and daydreaming. Color always excites me, and outside of flowers and sunsets, there's no better natural source of brilliant color than stones.

I've been looking at and working with warmer shades recently: oranges and flame reds and non-Barbie pinks. It might have something to do with my passion for sitting in front of the fire to stay warm this winter. Or the fantastic shade of ink I've been using in my journal since December: Private Reserve's Shoreline Gold. My sweetheart gave me a fountain pen for Christmas, and I've had so much fun finding inks. The gold I've been using is a shaded orange that is almost the same color as these mandarin garnets I've been drooling over in the absence of the sun:

I've already got two more ink colors on my radar: a Japanese grey-green that is the exact shade of a stormy sea, and another in an orangey-pink that looks like Shongia sapphires. Pretty soon, I can line the bottles up on my windowsill, and have rainbows of color on the floor. Just as soon as the sun comes back.

Mokume Images from Orafa ABC. The only supplier I've found online is Hoover and Strong. Gemstone photography from Beads of Cambay.

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