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green copper unique earrings robin kahn

Unique and Individual — Metal Jewelry by Robin Kahn

green copper unique earrings robin kahn

Texture, color, and form all coordinate into a one-of-a-kind, unique jewelry creation by Robin Kahn.

Nowadays, we are forgetting something extremely important, and thereby experiencing more problems than we need to. This is what we are forgetting:

Every single human being is unique. Though we share attributes, we do not march in mental lockstep. Every human has different experiences, thoughts, dreams, ideas, opinions. If we accept this truth and — through civilized interaction — learn from one another, we grow, both individually and as a society. If we insist, however, that 100 out of 100 people think and act the same, we relinquish creativity and life.

Jewelry designer Robin Kahn learned this lesson over 27 years of teaching special education in Florida and Washington. Now retired, she applies it to both her day-to-day living and her art.

“My students, each one special, were ages 5-10 with a wide range of developmental challenges both academically and behaviorally,” the Spokane artist says. “What I learned from these children is that each of us is unique. As I got to know each child, I could then divine and fashion an individual approach to help that child grow and learn.

blue metal earrings beads robin kahn

Blue metal earrings with beads by Robin Kahn, one of a kind and unique.

“I am now creating jewelry full time. I believe my creative process for designing jewelry is inspired by my students, each one different and unique. My jewelry is designed with no two pieces identical. Each has its own shine.”

Each has its own shine.

Hunting at the Hardware Store

Specializing in copper and silversmithing earrings, necklaces, and bracelets, Kahn is constantly focused on refining her skills as a metalsmith. Her first foray into jewelry making was years ago, a class on beading that, unexpectedly, unlocked the hidden artist within and a passion to get to know her. Since then, she has never stopped taking classes, from beading to coppersmithing, from yard art welding to ceramics. Each learning experience adds to her repertoire of creativity and ideas.

copper metal stamped bracelet beads robin kahn

Copper pendant necklace with stamped design and beads, by Robin Kahn.

“To say I work with a range of materials is an understatement,” Kahn says. “I love nothing better than hunting at hardware stores, garage sales, and auctions, foraging to find unusual materials that can be used in a unique and different way than was originally intended.

“Buttons, drawer pulls, coins, pottery, beads, car parts, keys, bullet casings, rocks, recycled copper — this is Nirvana for someone who likes to discover and give new life to the unusual!”

Not surprisingly, it requires a fair amount of space to not only store all the materials Kahn uses to create her craft, but to transform those raw materials into completed, wearable art.

Filling the Workshop with Unique Items

Initially, her studio space was a six-foot folding table set within the well equipped workshop of her husband, Marv, a retired math teacher who “can fix and fabricate most anything.”

Over time, she added kilns, a soldering station, a jeweler’s bench, storage for the many beads that she adores and accumulates, cabinets for gems, multiple tables for assembling completed pieces, display racks for shows, storage for specialized tools, and space for enameling, metal fabricating, and forming. If you’re wondering how this impacted Marv, well,

“Marv’s shop has migrated into a new space in our backyard.”

round copper earrings unique textured embellishment robin kahn

Round copper earrings with textured embellishments by Robin Kahn

It works. And they’ve each found their happy space.

Kahn’s latest focus involves enhancing individual pieces with texture, design, and patina. Using bits of lace, fibers from a lime bag, cactus or leaf skeletons, hammers and metal stamps, Kahn incorporates unconventional elements onto the metal surfaces of her jewelry pieces. Ideas ebb and flow during this process, she explains — often what she thought was going to emerge evolves into something very different.

“Being open to this evolving process is why I love sitting down to make jewelry.”

Traveling to Shows

Every year, Kahn takes part in the Little Spokane Artists Studio Tour at the end of September, and this year will also be at the Sun City Oro Valley, AZ, November Art Fair. She also attends the Tucson Gem and Mineral show which, with more than 4,000 vendors, is the largest, oldest, and most prestigious gem and mineral show in the world.

It’s been many years since that first jewelry class that started this journey, but for Kahn, every time she sits down to create a jewelry art piece, it’s a new, and unique experience.

“The process of fabricating a new piece starts out with a vision of color, texture and shape that inevitably evolves. Each piece finds its own direction, until ultimately, the final design is revealed.”

And the important thing about that final design is that it is unique, original, and one of a kind.

Just like each of us.

Wenaha GalleryRobin Kahn is the featured Art Event at Wenaha Gallery from July 17 through August 15, 2022.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

 

 

 

butterfly crescent moon necklace magical felice wiens

Faerie Magic — The Eclectic Jewelry of Felice Wiens

butterfly crescent moon bracelet magical felice wiens

In addition to creating her magical, faerie-inspired jewelry, Dayton artist Felice Wiens also creates artistic photos showcasing the work Butterfly Crescent Moon Bracelet.

If you discovered that you could fly — not on a plane, but with faerie wings you suddenly found you possessed — would you do it?

And if you were given the opportunity to make yourself very small (with, of course, the ability to instantly change back) and fly from flower to flower in the garden, would you take it?

Felice Wiens would. The Dayton, WA, jewelry artist, who creates under the name The Eclectic Beader, thinks that the world is a bigger and deeper and richer place than what we’re taught to expect. Through her necklaces, bracelets, chakras, hair clips, earrings and more, she invites others to look beyond the ordinary.

Red Faerie Wings Resin Earrings Felice Wiens

Red Faerie Wings dangle elegantly from a bejeweled branch, as if the sprites had hung them up for the night. Hand-crafted jewelry by Felice Wiens.

“I have always been drawn to the magical,” Wiens says. “I’ve loved faeries since I was a little girl, and when I discovered that I could make magical pieces myself — pieces that others are drawn to — I knew I found what I wanted to do.”

A Creative Haven for Magic

Working out of a space she carved for herself in the basement (“The only downside is that our three pet cats will, every so often, wander into my space and walk across my work area”), Wiens has set up a creative haven filled with artwork, candles, finished jewelry, and all the raw materials she needs to make magic. There, she winds and weaves, constructs and fabricates, twists and intertwines semi-precious gemstones, Tibetan silver charms, beads, and bronze, copper, silver and gold-planted charms and chains into wearable jewelry art that transports the wearer to an enchanted forest or bewitching beach. The goal — for both her as the creator and those who purchase her jewelry — is peace, calm, tranquility, contemplation, imagination, meditation, and enchantment.

Green Butterfly Faerie Charm Felice Wiens

Green, with all its vibrancy and hearkening to spring, is a favorite color of Wiens. Green Butterfly with Faerie Charm Necklace by Felice Wiens.

“I currently work as a 911 dispatcher for Columbia County,” Wiens explains, “and while I enjoy the job, it is extremely stressful. Being able to go down to my workspace, light some candles, put on my Missing 411 podcast and just create jewelry helps to ground me.

“I think it’s very important to have a life outside of work.”

Faerie Wings from Resin

One of Wiens’ most popular creations has been her resin butterflies and faerie wings, which she hand-builds one at a time and colors using a mixture of translucent dyes and powder pigments. The wings require patience, concentration, and a deft hand, a combination that results in an art piece that is whimsical and fanciful: the exact emotions for which Wiens is striving. Along with the fancy, or more befittingly, integrated with it, is a strong element of spirituality. This, Wiens says, is intentional.

“I use gemstones — amethyst, aventurine, obsidian, lapis lazuli — that provide different healing properties as well as symbols with the charms.

Amethyst Fairy Moon Ear Wrap Felice Wiens

A selection of charms bedecks the Amethyst Faerie Moon Ear Wrap by Felice Wiens

“I fully believe that everyone should pick the path that works best for them. They should not shun others for choosing differently, or be shunned for choosing something different.

“The world we live in today is too focused on beating everyone down into submission. Or it bullies those who refuse to give in. It’s for that reason that I create things for people of all walks of life to enjoy.”

Inspired by Faeries and Family

As a child, Wiens discovered the Flower Faerie Books by Cicely Mary Barker, and she bought copies of those books for her own two daughters. Those books and other volumes of faerie art, as well as various websites and pages on the Internet, provide constant inspiration for new ideas, new patterns, new designs. So, also, do the encouragement of her daughters and husband:

“I am married to a wonderful man who has been very supportive of my ventures. And my daughters — they enjoy coming down to the studio to make jewelry with me. Just as often, however, they wait like vultures for a piece that doesn’t turn out so they can take it.”

Wiens has sold her jewelry worldwide through her Etsy shop, and she builds her brand by regularly and steadily posting on various social media sites. Lately, she has teamed up with social media influencers who promote her work.

With a family; an intense job; keeping fit through CrossFitting, biking, and paddle boarding; and, of course, making sure that the cats are content, she keeps busy without being stressed, because stress isn’t at all magical, fanciful, joyous, or good.

“I am humbled when people buy my work and leave a great review. It makes me happy to know that something I created has brought someone else joy.”

Because joy is what makes this world bigger and deeper and richer. And magical.

Wenaha GalleryFelice Wiens is the featured Art Event at Wenaha Gallery from May 24 through June 20, 2022.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

 

 

buckskin appaloosa horse beaded suncatcher tamara reily

Winter Hawk — Beaded Jewelry by Tamara Reily

buckskin appaloosa horse beaded suncatcher tamara reily

In Native American culture, the horse represents strength, passion, and great energy. The color of the horse, also, plays a big role in its meaning. Buckskin and Appaloosa Horse Beaded Sun Catchers by Tamara Reily

Whether or not you like winter doesn’t change the weather. What does change is how you feel about it.

And while many people groan about the cold, the long nights, the snow that makes driving difficult, Tamara Reily rejoices in the season.

“I named my business Winter Hawk because I enjoy winter time,” the Dayton, WA, bead and leather artist says.

“I love the cold crisp mornings when the frost hangs thick in the air, and the earth mother is blanketed in a white winter coat of snow. It reminds me of Alaska and all the time I spent outdoors running my dog team, exploring the frozen white wilderness that surrounded our home.

“I always have a sense of contentment while being outdoors in the wintertime.”

snowy owl beaded blue white necklace tamara reily

The Snowy Owl represents spiritual growth, a deep change releasing a lower state of being and embracing a higher purpose. Snowy Owl Beaded Necklace by Tamara Reily.

Reily, whose heritage includes Pawnee, a Native American people who historically lived in what are now Nebraska and Kansas and later Oklahoma, also connects with the red-tailed hawk, which she says she knows as a brother.

“I love to watch the hawk fly above me high in the sky while I sit upon the earth mother. Whenever my heart is burdened with the stress life brings he flies out from the woods, finds me in my time of need. Just watching Hawk fly in circles and dip and dive takes my mind to another place, a place of peace.”

Many Animals — Much Symbolism

Another place Reily finds a sense of peace is her studio, where she creates bead and leatherwork art drawing upon the symbolism of not only the Pawnee people, but many other Native American groups of North America. In addition to fashioning numerous types of bags (medicine, gathering, pipe, tobacco) which we focused on in an earlier article, Finessing Ancient Skills in a Modern World, Reily also designs and makes necklaces, bracelets, and earrings incorporating the rich symbolism of Native American culture.

“The many animal patterns that I bead have certain symbolisms. I enjoy sharing what they are to help people learn and understand Native cultures.

“For example, there is the Snowy Owl, which represents spiritual growth. Seeing Snowy Owl represents deep change resulting in the releasing of a lower state of being and embracing your higher purpose.

“The Grey Wolf represents loyalty and success. It is powerful, and heals humans who are sick. Grey Wolf is also a teacher, pathfinder, and survivalist.

sunrise beaded necklace summer winter colors tamara reily

The Sunrise Necklace incorporates the colors of dawn, which warm both summer and winter. By Tamara Reily

“The Tlingit (pronounced Klinket) Bear, as a spirit totem, as a power animal, can help teach you to trust your instincts and let go.

“And then there is the Horse, which symbolizes strength, passion, and great energy. In the Native American culture they also represent wealth and power.

“You will see a lot of my necklaces and patches with these animal totems on them.”

Winter Mountain Snow

Raised in Walla Walla, Reily has somehow or another managed to live in or near the mountains with appreciable winter snow. Years ago, she raised her children in the Yaak, a remote area of Montana, where she also began seriously beading (“working under lantern light as the long winters came and went”). From there she moved to Alaska to become a recreational dog musher, spending many winter nights running through the Alaska wilderness while the Northern Lights danced above her head.

Tlingit Bear beaded necklace tamara reily

The beaded Tlingit Bear Necklace honors the bear, a teacher who is often misunderstood. Bear is friendly, a symbol of strength learned, humility, and motherhood. By Tamara Reily

And in Dayton, in that studio of refuge, she surrounds herself with a “chaotic, creative mess.

“My studio is a small bedroom in the back of the house, where I put a small rolltop desk in a corner of the room. It has lots of drawers to put my treasures I have collected for years to use in my artwork.

“The beads I’m using for a project are spread all over the desk. Piles of leather and containers of crow beads and wampum sit near the desk. Drawers and containers of beads are in every nook and cranny of the desk. Even a few of my favorite rocks sit atop the desk.”

Every piece she creates has meaning, Reily says. And every piece represents a proud people whose culture should be remembered and honored.

Honoring a Proud People

“My people who passed on before me were from the Pawnee tribe, and making items from this tribe makes my heart happy.

“My pride for the Native Americans shows in my many items I make or bead.”

And although the winters of Dayton are milder than what Reily encountered in Montana or Alaska, it is the perfect place for doing what she does now, regardless of the season. All year round she beads. In the spring she sets up a tipi in her yard and invites people from throughout the area to gather and talk, teach, and share each other’s culture with one another. And every day, in every season, she finds opportunity to appreciate life, breath, and earth.

“Touch Mother Earth as much as you can. The soil is where we came from, and it is where we will go.

“We are a part of all things.”

Wenaha GalleryTamara Reily is the featured 3D Art Event at Wenaha Gallery from February 1, 2022 through February 28. Her 2D work, which includes leather and beadwork bags, is featured through February 14.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

 

 

acyrlic-pour-earrings-necklace-kristen-hanafin

Acrylic Pour Magic — Brother & Sister Create

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Colors shift and change with the light in Kristen Hanafin’s acrylic pour jewelry.

As anyone with a sibling knows, brothers and sisters agree on some things, and don’t on others. That’s the magic of family.

For acrylic pour painters Kristen Hanafin and Matt Harri, they work separately — she in her College Place studio and he in his Walla Walla one — but are constantly sharing ideas back and forth. The media itself is fascinating, employing a wide variety of techniques that invites experimentation.

“A major benefit of pours which also relates to its challenges is the versatility,” Hanafin says. “It is really only limited by your imagination.”

acrylic-pour-painting-matt-harri

Colors ebb and flow with fluidity and grace in Matt Harri’s abstract acrylic pours, such as Blue Yellow Green.

Hanafin had been interested in acrylic pour for years. It wasn’t until her brother mentioned that he was doing it, however, that she jumped into it herself.

“I invited myself over for a lesson and was instantly hooked!”

She got into making jewelry shortly after, as a means of expanding the variety of ways pour painting can be expressed.

“The jewelry making is extra special because I recycle the leftover paint from canvas pours, so there is less waste, which is something I always try to be conscious of.”

No End to Creativity

What to make is almost as unlimited as how to make it. Hanafin creates earrings, bracelets, and necklaces in acrylic pour, along with key chains, hair pins, book marks, note cards, and notebooks. Meanwhile, her brother plays with sparkle and shine in his acrylic pour paintings, some of which use white space as part of the design, while others completely cover with paint. There is a sense of fluidity and movement, a burst of color that ebbs and flows through the substrate.

And though the images are abstract, the human imagination is quick to do what it does best: imagine. One image looks like a planet in outer space, another like waves on the seashore. In still another, there is a sense of clouds in the sky.

In addition to sharing an interest in the same artistic medium, the siblings also share another important element: they are nephew and niece to Ed Harri, the late co-owner of Wenaha Gallery, and Pat, his wife and current owner.

“Ed loved color and creativity,” Pat says. “He found acrylic pour to be a unique and unusual expression of both. He would have been pleased to see Matt and Kristen’s work at the gallery, and I am pleased for him — and them.”

Wenaha GalleryKristen Hanafin and Matt Harri are the featured Art Event at Wenaha Gallery from June 8 through June 27, 2020.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

 

 

bridal jewelry necklace earrings bling sharon demaris

Bride Beauty: The Romantic Jewelry of Sharon Demaris

bride jewelry necklace earrings bling sharon demaris

A necklace and earrings fit for the bride, and for the days to come. Jewelry by Sharon Demaris of College Place

It Started with the Bride Doll

Children’s toys are not insignificant, transitory things. Many people remember a favorite doll or truck, lucky marble, board game, or set of blocks. Long after the toy has been broken, lost, grown out of or disused, its impact remains.

Jewelry artist Sharon Demaris recalls such a treasured toy — a Bride Doll that she purchased at Montgomery Wards in Walla Walla, WA, when Demaris was five years old.

old new borrowed blue necklace earrings bride sharon demaris

Something old, something new, something blue — for the bride or the bridesmaid, or the woman who simply wants to look classy and elegant. Necklace and earrings by Sharon Demaris

“I loved her beautiful satin and lace dress with all of the sequins and pearls,” the College Place, WA, artist remembers.

“That has really stuck with me through the years — I guess that’s the reason so many of my designs lean toward the bridal theme, with all of the whites, creams, and gold.”

And how she loves crystals and pearls, the shimmer of gold, the sparkle of gems. They catch her eye, capture her attention, create a clarion call of siren bling that she is not remotely interested in resisting.

Beads Pique Her Interest

“Throughout most of my life, anything artistic has piqued my interest,” Demaris says. She started, under her grandmother’s tutelage, with crochet and embroidery. Then came ceramics, into which she jumped, with enthusiasm, until the local ceramics outlet closed. Following upon that, bright and shining, arrived a true artistic love, one that connected with that bride doll of years gone by:

“Christmas being my favorite time of year, then came The Ornament. It involved beads, lace ribbon, trim, and sequins on Styrofoam balls, then later seed beads, crystal, and other fancy beads. I also got into bead weaving making covers for glass balls.”

winner fire mountain gems beads swarovski contest bride jewelry sharon demaris

Intricate and exotic, this is one of Sharon Demaris’s winning entries in the Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Swarovski Contest

But the romance with The Ornament reached its limits when her Christmas tree could no longer hold all that she created, even after she sold and gave away a substantial number of beaded beauties. She needed an outlet for her creativity that was unlimited to the size of a tree or the few weeks of a holiday season. And that’s when she discovered jewelry. It completed that long-ago connection with the Bride Doll, fulfilling the childhood desire for sparkle and romance, magic and beauty.

A New Passion

“Designing jewelry has become my true passion: what started out as a hobby has become an obsession.

“Most of my jewelry designs are originals. When I see a design that I feel that I would like to make, I do my own version of that design.

“Eventually, my  designs became so fancy and intricate that I started entering the Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Swarovski Contests, and all have been successful.”

winning entries swarovski contest jewelry sharon demaris

The walls of Sharon Demaris’s jewelry design studio feature her winning jewelry in the Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Swarovski Contest

This contest, which attracts jewelry makers from around the world, promises treasures for the winner: generous gift certificates, the winning work featured in ads in various bead magazines as well as in Fire Mountain’s catalogs, and exposure via social media and the company website. To date, Demaris has garnered seven major awards: “Crystal Falls” took the 2019 Gold Medal for Accessories, and “Queen Anne’s Lace” won the Grand Prize Bronze. Her work has been featured in Fire Mountain Gem ads in two British magazines, Bead and Jewelry and Making Jewellery, as well as showcased on the back cover of Bead and Button Magazine.

Her Happy Place

Demaris’s studio, which is filled with organized beads, crystals, gems, and findings, displays the award-winning works in professionally shot photo presentations, neatly framed. Demaris spends hours of concentrated time in this spare bedroom turned design studio. Generally she works on several pieces at one time.

“It’s an old habit, but not a good one,” she says of multiple, simultaneous projects. She sells from an inventory of jewelry that she has made, which has at times included up to 500 pairs of earrings, and also creates custom pieces on commission.

“I am a self-taught designer. I have never had a lesson.

“For me, there is nothing more rewarding than to finish a design and have it turn out the way you envisioned it. It makes me feel like I have really accomplished something great.”

And it all started when a five-year-old girl, in love with her Bride Doll, imagined the possibilities.

They were endless.

Wenaha GallerySharon Demaris is the featured  Art Event from Monday, February 24 through Saturday, March 21 at Wenaha Gallery.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

 

 

 

jewelry necklaces earrings bracelets treasures andrea lyman

Treasures from Treasures — Jewelry by Andrea Lyman

necklaces andrea lyman jewelry vintage

A selection of unique, handcrafted necklaces by Andrea Lyman, featuring found, vintage, and unusual treasures from around the world

She creates treasures from treasures

Anyone who creates with their hands knows how long it takes to make beautiful things. Whether it’s a lace doily, woven basket, knitted scarf, or beaded necklace, handcrafted treasures require a lot of literal, hands-on work.

Jewelry maker Andrea Lyman treasures these treasures. On her global travels, she is on the prowl for what she calls “vintage ephemera” — the beads, antique buttons, and scraps of lace and trim and fabric that are sometimes all that is left of a project made long ago and now residing in a thrift shop. She ferrets out the unusual, the rare, the handmade, to incorporate into one-of-a-kind necklaces, beads, and bracelets.

jewelry necklaces earrings bracelets treasures andrea lyman

Fashioned from found and vintage treasures from all over the world, Andrea Lyman’s jewelry is literally one of a kind.

“I use a lot of vintage materials,” the Moscow, ID, artist says.

“I do this first, because I love them and find them unique and beautiful, appreciating their detail. But I also like the idea of recycling or repurposing things.

“My mother used to crochet, so I know the care and time it takes to make beautiful, handmade things. I love the idea of keeping these things circulating around, bringing joy to others with their beauty and good energy.

“Every piece of lace, every button, every old bead — these treasures delighted someone, were loved by someone, so I want to spread that love around!”

Treasure Hunting around the Globe

As a Director of Waldorf Music Teacher Training, a broad-based educational method developed in the early 20th century by Anthroposophy founder Rudolf Steiner, Lyman travels regularly around the world. And while teaching music in some form has been her career “day job,” fashioning jewelry is also a lifelong passion. The two forms of art, both requiring creativity, skill, and an eye for detail, complement one another, she feels.

“I have been making jewelry most of my adult life,” Lyman says. “At first, it was just for me. Then it turned into gifts for friends, relatives, then small commissions. Eventually, friends convinced me to start selling it at fairs, their small shops, and so on.”

earrings jewelry andrea lyman treasures beads findings

A wide selection of earrings by Andrea Lyman features treasures found from all over the world

Everywhere she has lived, Lyman carves out space for working on her art. Sometimes, this is no more than a corner of the room, but it is a well-used and well treasured corner. Right now, she has a studio in a spare bedroom, with an area dedicated to jewelry making, another to sewing and a third to painting.

“I make jewelry in spurts (when I have time, since I am quite busy), and am always reminded how much I love doing it!”

Lyman has sold her treasure creations throughout the U.S. and Canada and Mexico, as well as Ecuador and Europe. She operates under the business name of Awe and Wonder, which she says encapsulates her views on life and her art.

“It describes my personal world view, and it’s also something I would hope people feel when they see, experience, and wear my jewelry.”

Every Jewelry Piece Is Unique

Lyman especially loves commissioned work. It is an opportunity, she explains, of fashioning a piece or set unique to the person requesting it. During the entire creative process, Lyman focuses on thinking fond thoughts about the client, thoughts she hopes are imbued into the final piece.

bracelet jewelry charm beads andrea lyman

It’s a charm of a bracelet, featuring unique and unusual beads and finds from Andrea Lyman’s world travels

But whether the work she is making is commissioned or not, Lyman allows the materials themselves to speak, adding their voice to the final work, the finished treasure.

“I have all my materials very meticulously organized by color and shape.

“I may be inspired to ‘visit’ the pink and purple department/drawers; then things will catch my attention.

“I consider various aspects and start trying out a few things, and soon, I end up with the perfect combination or style it wants to be.”

No Duplicates

This is where the treasures that make up the finished jewelry truly shine: the vintage, the odd, the unexpected. They are the results of forays into flea markets, second-hand stores, artisan shops, and markets.

“I always have my eyes open to possibilities — even seeds or stones lying on the ground.

“My jewelry is fashioned from a huge variety of materials — found materials, vintage findings, beads and beads, semi-precious stones, felted wool, tassels. I also imprint and enamel brass pendants for my jewelry making — each and every piece is unique.

“I’ve never made two of the exact same thing!”

Wenaha GalleryAndrea Lyman is the Featured Art Event from Monday, December 2, through Saturday, December 28 at Wenaha Gallery. She will be at the gallery for the Christmas Kickoff Art Show Friday, November 29, from 2 to 6 p.m. Lyman will be joined by Colfax rope basket creator Nancy Waldron and Kennewick photographer Nancy Richter.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment.

 

polymer clay bead jewelry nostalgia journals dawn moriarty

Nostalgia Journals and Chic Jewelry — The Art of Dawn Moriarty

polymer clay bead jewelry nostalgia journals dawn moriarty

Jewelry and Nostalgia Journals by Dayton artist Dawn Moriarty

Yard sales are places to find unexpected treasures, but when I stopped at one last year I never knew the treasure I found would be a new artist for Wenaha Gallery. I mean, I was just looking for little boy baby clothes.

There weren’t any. But what there was were colorful, unique, and trendy necklaces and earrings — an entire tableful.

“Did someone make these?” I asked two women sitting in chairs nearby.

necklaces beads gems jewelry dawn moriarty dayton

A selection of necklaces and earrings by Dayton artist Dawn Moriarty

“She did,” one replied, nodding toward the other. “She creates all this amazing jewelry and didn’t know where to sell it. I said I’d put it in my yard sale.”

And so I discovered Dawn Moriarty, a geriatric nurse at Booker Rest Home in Dayton, WA, who prolifically fashions in her spare time not only chic jewelry, but nostalgia journals assembled from repurposed paper products. She works out of a “woman cave” studio in the basement of her home, and many years ago turned to both jewelry and paper crafts as a means of bringing a peaceful balance to her life.

Not wanting to fuss with a website or Etsy store, she stored her art in boxes. When one was full, she took it to work and sold to friends and coworkers.

“The positive feedback there would ‘fuel my fire’ and keep me inspired to create,” the Dayton artist says.

Selling Nostalgia Journals and Jewelry to Co-Workers

But at some point, there was more artwork than co-workers, and Moriarty looked around for other places to share her wares: hence, my fortuitous discovery at the yard sale. An added bonus were the nostalgia journals, a high-demand item that Moriarty brought into the gallery on a whim, unsure of how they would be received.

“She asked me, ‘Do you think anyone would be interested in these?'” gallery framer Savonnah Henderson recalls. “I said, YES! Do you think you can keep us supplied?”

nostalgia journals vintage notebooks repurposed paper

Vintage style nostalgia journals by Dayton artist Dawn Moriarty incorporate all forms of repurposed paper, textiles, and lace

Quite fortunately, Moriarty loves spending time in her woman cave, dividing time between the journals, jewelry, and yoga. When she isn’t in her domestic subterranean environment or working, she’s on the hunt, scouting out raw materials. This activity she describes as being as fun as creating the art.

“To find the material for my journals, I go to antique stores, junk shops, yard sales, estate sales, secondhand stores, library sales — anywhere I might find objects that I can re-purpose and reuse,” Moriarty explains.

“Once in an antique store in La Grande, OR, I found an 1889 original almanac, and in the spine was an old sewing implement, kind of flat, metal with engraving on it and some brown wool thread in the eye — it’s beautiful!

“I look for used paper products from tags, receipts, stationery, old sewing patterns, diaries, textbooks, ledgers, and so on. I also look for vintage textiles from fabrics to trims and lace.

field notebook nostalgia journals dawn moriarty

Field notebook nostalgia journals by Dayton artist Dawn Moriarty feature soft, flexible covers

“I use rusty metal bits, broken watches, the list goes on and on, and it’s a never ending treasure hunt.”

Vintage Chic and Fashionable Nostalgia

That’s just for the journals. For the jewelry she routs out vintage glass and metal beads — she has a selection that were once on a beaded curtain in an old shop in Seattle. Gems and semi-precious stones she sources from Shipwreck Beads in Lacey, WA, where she makes a yearly trip to stock up. And the polymer clay beads she creates in her woman cave, a happy place of relaxation and inspiration.

“Working with polymer clay is a great stress reliever. There is a lot of squishing and squeezing going on.

“Then you take your lumps of conditioned clay and mix, twist, layer, and press to create something pretty.”

Each piece, whether jewelry or nostalgia journal, is a statement, Moriarty says, and the basis of that statement is the vintage status of the materials she uses. Not only does this ensure that each piece is one of a kind, never to be replicated anywhere, it also adds feeling, significance, and humanity.

“I love knowing that each piece has a history,” Moriarty says. “I wonder about the lives that it touched. There’s a connection to the sentimental value of each item, whether it’s jewelry or a journal.

“And with the journals, it’s an awesome feeling knowing that there are people out there writing down their thoughts and storing their memorabilia in books I created.”

Wenaha GalleryDawn Moriarty is the Featured Art Event from Monday, April 22 through Saturday, May 18 at Wenaha Gallery.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment.

 

 

happy place necklace earrings murano lampwork glass bead jewelry venita simpson

Murano Glass — The Lampwork Jewelry of Venita Simpson

happy place necklace earrings murano lampwork glass bead jewelry venita simpson

Happy Place, lampwork Murano lampwork glass beaded necklace and earrings by Richland jewelry artist, Venita Simpson

It started out as a palette full of wood and screws and instructions, delivered from Costco. By the time Venita Simpson had finished with it, however, the 80-square foot storage shed had turned into a fairy tale cottage, its inside painted cheery yellow, the path leading up to it bedecked with flowers, windows and glass door inviting in light and view.

desert sand necklace earrings jewelry murano lampwork glass beads venita simpson

Desert Sand, necklace and earrings set by Richland jewelry artist Venita Simpson, featuring handcrafted lampwork beads from Murano glass.

“It’s a sanctuary to leave the world behind and become the artist I dreamed of being for a long time,” the Richland jewelry artist says of her DIY studio. A computer programmer for more than 30 years, Simpson turned to glass jewelry making in 2006 as a mental antidote to the rigidity required by high tech. Now retired from programing, Simpson spends uncounted hours in her studio sanctuary, fashioning her own one of a kind beads using Murano glass from Italy and a flame torch.

Lampwork Murano Glass Beads

Employing a technique called lampwork, Simpson melts the glass at temperatures reaching 1200 degrees. She then forms the molten glass into shapes by using tools and hand movements. The beads are then placed in a kiln to anneal, or gradually cool.

“Working with molten glass requires a steady hand, attention to detail, and a healthy respect for a 1200 degree torch,” Simpson says. “Mixing colors and chemistry of glass results in wonderful reactions in the glass.”

You only burn yourself once, she adds.

sandstone turquoise desert earrings necklace jewelry lampwork murano glass bead jewelry Venita Simpson

Sandstone Turquoise Desert, necklace and earring set by jewelry artist Venita Simpson of Richland, WA, featuring handcrafted, lampwork Murano glass beads

After creating a series of beads using lampwork from the Murano glass, Simpson assembles the finished pieces, generally consisting of necklace and matching earrings, in a spare room in her home. Seasonal colors drive her design and color choices, and she showcases the finished work at Girls Night Out parties in her own home of that of others.

Murano Beads at Girls Night Out

“I’ve sold my work at craft fairs, but I really enjoy explaining my process in a more casual setting,” Simpson says. “I love bringing people into my studio so they can see first hand how the glass is melted. Girls Night Out is a way to bring women together in my home, to enjoy each other’s company, network, and have a great glass of wine.”

The glass that forms the basis for Simpson’s unique accessories is made only in Murano, Italy, a Venetian island that has specialized in the process for centuries. The beads adorn not only the necks and ears of  varied clients — “I like to travel and have been known to sell my jewelry right off my neck to a flight attendant or two!” — but also those of children battling a serious illness, through a program called Beads of Courage at the Children’s Hospital in Orange County, CA.

dreamy blues necklace earrings murano lampwork glass beads jewelry venita simpson

Dreamy Blues, necklace and earring jewelry set by Richland artist Venita Simpson, featuring her handcrafted lampwork, Murano glass beads

“Each time the child goes in to receive a shot, an appointment, surgery, x-rays etc., they are able to choose a bead and add to their necklaces to show how each milestone gave them hope,” Simpson explains. “Some of these treatments were painful episodes, but each bead told a story of the brave children and their courageous achievement.”

Since moving from California to the Tri-Cities, Simpson has also donated her Murano lampwork glass beads to Beads Behind Bars at the Benton Franklin Juvenile Detention Center, which, in coordination with Allied Arts of Richland, provides incarcerated juveniles a creative outlet in learning to make jewelry.

murano glass lampwork bead jewelry necklace earrings Venita Simpson

Natural Wonder, necklace and earring set by Richland jewelry artist Venita Simpson, featuring lampwork Murano glass beads

Right Brain Left Brain

In between her career in computer programming and retirement, Simpson took time off to earn her certificate in commercial and residential interior design, and for several years freelanced and did side jobs in a field that used what she calls the right side of her brain. But finances called her back to full-time programming, and her left brain demanded total attention. With retirement, her full brain joins with hands and heart as she enjoys the slower pace of the Pacific Northwest, four definite seasons, and freedom from corporate life.

“Programming makes you very rigid in that you have to test for every scenario, test for every system hiccup, and document each step,” Simpson says of her former life. “I was process oriented, following strict specifications to complete tasks, so it’s been challenging to come out of the box sometimes.

“But since retirement, I’m making great progress with my imaginative side of my brain. Using both sides of my brain has become an asset, firing up both burners, so to speak.”

It’s a jewel of an opportunity.

Wenaha Gallery

Venita Simpson is the featured Art Event artists at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, August 13, 2018, through Saturday, September 8, 2018.  

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

 

bracelet colorful bead jewelry mary calanche dayton

Beads, Beads, and Beads — The Jewelry of Mary Calanche

bracelet colorful beads jewelry mary calanche dayton

A selection of bracelets, beaded using various techniques and beads, by Dayton jewelry artist Mary Calanche

It sounds like one of those alarming math story problems people avoid if they possibly can:

“How many beads — of all sizes, shapes, and colors — fit into a 12 x 20 storage shed, with room left for the artist to work?”

finger weave jewelry beads blue bracelet mary calanche

Finger weave bead bracelet with blue and aqua beads, by jewelry artist Mary Calanche of Dayton

Beading artist Mary Calanche of Dayton, whose studio is in such a shed, doesn’t have the answer, but she does know this:

“It’s stuffed full!”

Insulated, wired, and lighted, Calanche’s unique workroom is a place for intense concentration, meticulous attention to detail, and now and then, judicious use of the vacuum with a nylon stocking over the nozzle — one of the best ways to remedy the calamity of a flipped tray of tiny, tiny beads.

“If you haven’t ever dropped beads, then you’re just getting started into the craft,” Calanche, who has been creating beaded jewelry and other items for 25 years, says.

beaded necklace blue green beads mary calanche dayton

Beaded necklace by Wenaha Gallery artist Mary Calanche of Dayton

Beads, and This n That

Under the business name, This n That, Calanche fashions earrings, necklaces, and bracelets using  a variety of techniques: stringing beads onto wire or thread, weaving, wirework (which involves coiling, looping, and twisting wire that holds the beads), and bead embroidery (using a needle and thread to attach beads to a surface like fabric, suede or leather). She also experiments with finger weaving, metal work, and kumihimo, a Japanese technique of braiding silk strands to create colored cords.

“This is why I chose This n That as my name!”

Calanche started her foray into beading shortly after marrying her husband, GrayEagle. Watching him do projects for his dance regalia, Calanche decided to give it a try, with her first project being a flat, beaded rose. It remains a favorite piece because of its leather backing, which came from the last deer her father shot.

“It took a long time for me to finish,” Calanche remembers. But from that point, she was unstoppable, poring through books and magazines for project ideas and teaching techniques. There is no end to potential projects, Calanche says.

blue beads necklace bracelet earrings jewelry mary calanche

A selected of blue beaded jewelry by Wenaha Gallery artist Mary Calanche of Dayton

Beads of Every Shape, Size and Color

“New beads of every shape, size, and color come out constantly,” she explains. “You can take an old pattern and change it up. Or you see a new project and change it into something of your own.” Sometimes, if enough time and learning curve has gone by, she revisits something that was once impossibly difficult and discovers that, somehow, it’s not so impossible anymore.

“My favorite project is whatever I am working on! It doesn’t matter if it is a new project or one I’ve done before, I just love to bead!”

The process is soothing, she adds, describing her time in “the shack,” with the family Corgis to keep her company, as crucial me time. Even when a tray of beads drop, or she must undo an “oops,” or the beads on a project are so small that it’s difficult to see the holes, it’s simply an opportunity to practice yet another skill — patience.

“Patience is something I need to practice, and beading is a marvelous instructor.”

black white beads bracelet mary calanche jewelry

A black and white, patterned beaded bracelet by Wenaha Gallery artist Mary Calanche.

Beads around the World

Calanche has entered her work in the Columbia County Fair, and maintains inventory at both Wenaha Gallery in Dayton and Divine Serendipity Spa in Walla Walla. She has sold her creations to buyers as far away as South Korea, Australia, Scotland, and Thailand. When she isn’t beading or learning a new technique in beading, she continues to tackle her storage shed studio, which she describes as being in a state of turmoil ever since she took it over.

“I have painted, changed the tabletops, built shelving. In between all that, I have tried to organize and tidy things up — I think I will get it done in a few years.”

Or . . . not.

What matters is that there is room for the beads and all their accoutrements, and time to transform them into something unique and beautiful. Story problem or not, it’s not the number of beads, but what you do with them, that counts.

To purchase Mary Calanche’s jewelry online, click on this link.

 

Wenaha Gallery

Mary Calanche is the featured Art Event artist at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, May 21, 2018, through Saturday, Saturday, June 16, 2018.  Calanche will be in the gallery in person during a special Art Show Saturday, May 26, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., as part of Dayton Days.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

 

leather billfolds shelby sneva nanna grandma inspiration Bellingham

Leather Craft — Handcrafted Beauty from Bellingham Artist Shelby Sneva

leather billfolds shelby sneva nanna grandma inspiration Bellingham

Handcrafted leather billfolds by Bellingham artist Shelby Sneva, who credits her Nanna Grandma for opening up the world of art and sewing

It doesn’t matter whether you call her Nanna, Nona, Gramma, Grams, Babushka, Abuela, or any of the thousands of  variations of “Grandmother” — if that woman makes a positive influence on your life, she makes a lasting one.

Leather designer Shelby Sneva, who creates hand-crafted wallets, clutches, cuffs, shoulder bags, and jewelry from fine and reclaimed leather, credits her artistry today to a Singer sewing machine gifted by her Nanna when Sneva was six.

colorful bracelets by bellingham leather artist shelby sneva inspired by nanna

Colorful leather bracelets by Bellingham artist Shelby Sneva. It all started with the gift of a Singer sewing machine by Shelby’s Nanna Grandma.

“I always thought it was the most fantastic hunk of metal, gears and knobs!” the Bellingham artist remembers. “I fumbled around on that machine for several years, making outfits and teaching myself to be a crafty little stitcher.”

Nanna’s Lasting Gift

From crafty little stitcher, Sneva eventually graduated to professional artist, earning her BFA from Western Washington University with a primary focus on painting and sculpture. Ironically, despite taking every studio art class available at the university — from photography to fibers and fabrics, from papermaking to welding — Sneva didn’t discover her particular niche until her mother, an interior decorator, passed on some leather samples from her furniture business.

“That’s when the passion of  leatherworking was ignited,” Sneva says. Like many passions, it had been burning underneath, but so steadily and quietly she hadn’t recognized its importance. She simply accepted its existence as normal.

Leather and Sewing Are Timeless

Though Sneva had initially fallen in love with oil painting, to the point of moving to the East Coast to apprentice with landscape oil painter Curt Hanson, she never stopped the sewing she started when she was 6, and found greatest pleasure in creating fabric wallets and gifts for friends and family.

leather wallet handcrafted shelby sneva bellingham artist inspired by nanna

Handcrafted leather wallet by Bellingham artist Shelby Sneva, whose first art forays began with a gift from her Nanna Grandma at 6

The discovery of leather, then, was a momentous one, and in 2004 Sneva opened her business, Sown Designs, which she markets through Etsy, her online website, the Bellingham Farmers Market, and her studio in downtown Bellingham at the Waterfront Artists’ Studios.

“Thanks to the online marketplace,” Sneva says, “I have sold wallets all around the world — from Switzerland, Germany, London, Norway, Canada, and all over the U.S.” Sneva’s work has been juried into and vended at shows like Urban Craft Uprising and the Fremont Fair in Seattle, and is featured at more than a dozen gift and retail shops in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, California, and Alaska.

The Aroma of Leather in Bellingham

“I love the smell of leather,” Sneva says, adding that her studio exudes the aroma. “I am always learning new things, new techniques with leather work, so I am never bored!”

leather earrings by bellingham artist shelby sneva

A collection of leather earrings by Bellingham artist Shelby Sneva

From the discontinued leather samples passed on by her mother, Sneva has added a number of local stores and leather distributors to provide the materials for her work. The combination of working with local resources as well as reclaimed materials is a benefit to suppliers and clients, as well as to the environment, Sneva believes.

“It is my priority to connect with suppliers/buyers who also appreciate the effort, quality, and uniqueness of handmade pieces,” Sneva says.

“The great thing about my accessories is that they are all one of a kind. That makes it unique for the owner to have something no one else has, and it makes it fun for me to create without feeling like a factory.

leather cases by bellingham artist shelby sneva inspired by nanna grandma

A collection of leather cases by Bellingham artist Shelby Sneva, who began her art career at age 6, sewing on a Singer machine given to her by her nanna grandma

“I really pay attention to details with each wallet, using my sewing machine like a drawing tool to draw stitch patterns and make designs with leather geometric shapes and colors.” For her wallets, Sneva chooses upholstery leather, which she describes as durable and soft, acquiring a beautiful patina over time. Hand-crafted art, Sneva believes, becomes a part of its owners’ lives, adding dimension and beauty to the day.

A Nanna Aphorism

Quite recently, Sneva enjoyed one of those rare, but memorable full-circle moments that we all treasure when they happen.

“I was a presenting artist at our Bellingham Museum for Art Career Day,” Sneva explains. “As I spoke, I remembered participating in similar workshops with Spokane (where Sneva grew up) artists when I was a high school student and young aspiring artist.”

In effect, what goes around comes around, a timeless aphorism that sounds like something one’s Nanna, or Nona,  or Abuela, Babushka, Baba, Yaya, Oma, or Gram would say. But that only makes sense, because the things that woman says and does really do make the difference of a lifetime.

Wenaha Gallery

Shelby Sneva is the Featured Pacific Northwest Artist at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, July 17 through Saturday, August 12, 2017. 

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

 

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