Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Custom Cross Pendant

I have been wanting to make a cross in my Byzantium style and yesterday I finally got the opportunity. It was my turn working as "shop girl" as my part of being a member of a Co-op gallery, Port City Pottery and Fine Crafts. After a long day of restocking my work, making sales and wrapping packages, a customer came in and asked if I made any crosses. I didn't, at least not yet.....

I have had one in mind for a long time, but custom orders tend to take priority over creating new work. So these crosses never got made. I tried to guide him to other jewelry shops in the Cotton Exchange, but they didn't have what he had in mind. I decided that this would force me to make a piece that I've been wanting to do for 2 years. So I asked his price range and I it was enough for what I had in mind. I sketched what I have been thinking about for so long and I was excited when he liked it too.

Tonight my customer picked it up and was thankful that I made it so quickly. It was just what I needed to get this piece out of my imagination. I got to meet his sister when he visited the Cotton Exchange and I loved talking to her about goats and kale. It is very rewarding to do something that is so meaningful. I just knew it was the right thing to do.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holidays are nearly here!

  1. I have a heart full of gratitude and joy as I pack up three sets of wedding rings ready in time for Christmas. I am so grateful for my customers--that you trust me to make rings for your special day. I am excited to complete two more custom orders to arrive in time for Christmas-each one of these are pieces that I will enjoy making.

I go on and on about this because on December 21st I'm going to have surgery. I have another herniated disk--this time in my neck. I will be so relieved to be out of the intense pain that I've been suffering with for the past 2 months. I have been able to work due to the double blessing and curse of strong painkillers. Apparently this is a common injury for someone who hunches over a workbench. (Insert here a plug for good posture! ha!).

This injury has forced me to do things differently. I need to learn to take time for myself and to not push myself. I will have to change the way I run my business and I might have to rely more on online and custom orders. I do love to do retail, because I love to meet and talk to my customers. All of this thinking has made me realize how grateful I am for my loyal customers. I really do have the best customers in the whole world. To all my customers, I thank you for a wonderful year and I look forward to a beautiful New Year!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Home for a few weeks...

I am home for a few weeks after an intense marathon of doing four back to back Art Shows. I do enjoy meeting all my customers and seeing their faces light up when they find the right piece.

ART SHOW Highlights:
At TACA in Nashville, Tennessee I met a woman who commissioned me to work with her on designing her wedding band with diamonds from her family. We decided on a tidal pool type of ring with a wide band with the diamonds set in rose gold. I am so excited to begin work on this.

At the St. James 4th Street Art show in Louisville (where I won an honorable mention prize), I met a lovely woman and cancer survivor and who unbeknownst to her just happens to be my new muse. (insert a smile here) She has incredible creative energy and I immediately connected with her and her daughter. She bought a hammered organic circle pendant with a champagne diamond in an 18k gold bezel. My mother and sister live in Louisville, so it was nice to get to visit them.

In Waynesboro, VA at the Fall Foliage Art Show I was thrilled to win 1st prize in the jewelry category. Its wonderful validation when your work gets recognized in a public way. Plus prize money is always a bonus! I don't know who does it, but the kettle corn popcorn at the show was the biggest and fluffiest I have ever tasted.

Stockley Gardens Art Show in Norfolk, VA was a great show and I got to room with fellow jeweler, Dolores Fawkes and her sister Pauline, who specializes in lampwork beads. The Virginia shows are closer for me to do than the Asheville NC shows, so I'll be looking for more shows in that area.

Now that I am home, I have taken my art show pieces and have them for sale at Port City Pottery and Fine Crafts located in the Cotton Exchange, Wilmington, NC. If you are in the area, stop by to see my larger pieces of work. On Tuesdays, I work in the gallery as well--so feel free to come by and say hello! Now I will have to get to work on my commissions. :D

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ring A Day Book by Lark Books!

I just got back from doing two back to back art shows, and was so thrilled to open a package with my "Ring a Day" book inside! "Ring a Day" is a beautiful book full of images from cover to cover. With its field guide type of feel, this book is brilliantly edited by Marthe Le Van and demonstrates the project's breadth and endless variety of rings. Some rings are novel, some are funny, some beautiful, some challenge practical notions of what is a ring.

For the reader--it is a book of inspiration, imagination, and a visual snap shot of the creative process. For me, it is eye candy. I have several rings in the books as well--so I'm slightly inclined to be in love with this book!!! Enjoy and be inspired!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sunday, August 14, 2011

"unconventional" engagement ring

Custom Wedding Ring by sarawestermark
Custom Wedding Ring, a photo by sarawestermark on Flickr.

Another custom piece that I made for a bride-to-be. I liked it so much, that I made one for me too!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Mother's Necklace

Mother's Necklace by sarawestermark
Mother's Necklace, a photo by sarawestermark on Flickr.

I was thrilled to do a commission for my dear friend for a "Mother's Necklace". I really wanted to work in a silver/blue palate. I used the birthstones for each month of all the children. The top gemstone is an Australian bi-color Sapphire for September--it looks like aqua with some flashes of green. Small bi-color stones when they are set typically flash back one color with lively flashes of the other color. The square middle stone is a raw diamond for the month of April. I was thrilled to use cut and raw stones in this piece. The bright blue cabochon on the bottom is a Boulder Opal for October.

The silver is hand cut with a jeweler's saw and is from my Roman Ruins collection. This was one of my first ideas that I continue to explore. I didn't have words when I first did it, but one day I was describing it to a customer and then I realized how personal this design was.

My life so far has not gone in the direction that I planned after graduation from my Master's Program in Voice Performance. I had planned on making a career by singing art song and opera. I got married just after graduation, and truth be told for many of the wrong reasons, but mostly because I was scared to be on my own. After 4 years my marriage dissolved--but I have a beautiful daughter from it who is the love of my life.

I was 30 and a divorced single mother. Not the way I had planned it at all! I had no singing career and was working 3 part time jobs to make ends meet. As fate would have it, I met my current husband and soul mate not long after my divorce.

We married and I began to work at the community college teaching voice lessons. I began to dabble in making jewelry as a hobby. In a year we had a new baby boy and adopted my 10 year old niece. So my family went from 3 to 5 nearly overnight. I took the next big leap and decided to stay at home with my son and make extra income by making jewelry. I just kept on making and making and working the business.

Six years later, I am incredibly blessed with 3 children, a loving and supportive husband and a career.

For me this piece is about celebrating beauty in our brokenness, wrong turns, and twisted paths. It is about acceptance and trusting in my higher power. I am on a path to live as beautifully as I can. At moments I get glimpses of incredible love, beauty and peace. This would have not been possible if I had not made my "wrong turns". So I celebrate the duality of my life--the good and the bad. It is through being a jeweler that I became a whole person again.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Men's Jewelry

I have been busy making custom pieces this week. This square band is typically part of my wedding set, but I wanted to add a champagne diamond to make it stand alone.

It makes me think about making more jewelry for Men. It is very heavy with a hammered and brushed texture.

Bottom Left: Men's Link Bracelet
Fabricated by hand out of sterling silver. Its got a nice heavy weight to it. Each link is 6x2mm in height and depth.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Project Runway 9-2 Ceylon Necklace

This weeks Project Runway challenge was the Pet store challenge. Initially I have to confess that I was not excited about it--sometimes I doubt my ability to manipulate unusual materials. When I saw this dog bone--then I was excited! I was thrilled with how it turned out! I took a rubber dog bone and cut it with my jewelers saw. I connected them with a rust resistant steel wire I got at Harbor Freight. (I bought a pound of it for $5--that's how it was packaged too!)

I may even keep this piece. I made earrings to match--but its a bit busy with the necklace. They touch.

If you want to play, come and check out the EtsyMetal Blog for details!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Project Runway 9 "Come as You Are" Episode 1

Project Runway 9-1 by sarawestermark
Project Runway 9-1, a photo by sarawestermark on Flickr.
5cm x 4cm x 3cm
sterling silver, repurposed

I took this Project Runway Challenge as an opportunity to examine my bench--which is quite messy at the best of times. As I searched for scrap silver on my bench, I cleaned as I went along. Once I found enough silver, I melted the scrap and then rolled it out in my rolling mill. I loved how my blob of cooled molten silver turned into an organic freeform shape. I knew what I wanted to do next. I heated the surface to produce a partial reticulation, which in turn created texture. The hole in the middle naturally formed when I rolled it out.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Art Fair on the Square

I am absolutely thrilled to be invited to be a part of Art Fair on the Square in Madison, WI this coming weekend. (July 9-10) Its a far drive, but I think that the trip will be worth it. I have never been to Madison, and I'm anxious to visit. I hope that if you live nearby that you will stop by and see my work! I'm booth 351, just in case.

Tonight I'm in the studio finishing up some custom pieces. I always get nervous before a show and the best way I know to combat my nerves is to keep busy. Its quiet in the house and everyone is asleep. Pretty soon, I'll sleep too.

I feel such joy and hope when I think about this show. I'm excited to see what adventures lie ahead! See you at the Fair!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Seven First Finger Rings

7 by sarawestermark
7, a photo by sarawestermark on Flickr.

I have always had a difficult time with my bezels. Today I took my time and didn't rush any of the sanding or measuring. The extra time I took at the beginning saved me much more time in the end.

This weekend I'll be showing at the Southport NC 4th of July Festival on Franklin Square. Next weekend (July 9-10), I'll be in Madison, Wisconsin for Art Fair on the Square.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fall Show Schedule--Back in the Saddle!

After my back surgery at the end of February and my burnout from last fall, I took some time off all my online communications and re-connected with my family, did physical therapy for my back, and am slowly but surely getting back into the studio! My husband Hans built this lovely pergola and Tuscan style dining table for our backyard. He is training grape vines to grow up the supports. Its been lovely having this time off, but I'm ready to get back into the studio!

Show Schedule 2011

JULY 2-4 NC 4th of July Festival Art and Craft Show, Southport, NC

JULY 9-10 Art Fair on the Square 2011, Madison, WI (Booth #351)

JULY 30 International Day Festival, Waynesville, NC

AUGUST 20-21 Mt. Gretna Outdoor Art Show, Mount Gretna, PA

SEPTEMBER 2-4 Queeny Park Fall Art Show, St. Louis, MO

SEPTEMBER 24 Artsfest, Winston-Salem, NC

SEPT 30-OCT 2 St. James Court Art Show, Louisville, KY (Booth Fourth St #729)

OCTOBER 9-10 Fall Foliage Art Show, Waynesboro, VA

OCTOBER 15-16 Autumn with Topsail, Topsail Island, NC

NOVEMBER 20-21 Wilmington Art Show, Wilmington, NC

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ring a Day Rings for Sale

I'm cleaning out my boxes of inventory from the past year to make room for new ideas. I've decided to part with many of my one of a kind rings that were made for the Ring a Day group project on flickr. Most are size 6.5 because that's the size of my right ring finger, but some are larger.

You can see the sale section here.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sale on Stacking Rings!

I am cleaning out my studio and I'm listing the remaining inventory. The sizes are listed and no custom orders (sorry). Originally the stacking rings were $48, but now they are on sale for $30 each. Each ring is fabricated from sterling silver with a square hammered band and a 3mm faceted gemstone.

Some of the gemstones are garnet, peridot, citrine, amethyst and blue topaz. Buy early to ensure greater selection. Click here for the Sales.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New Pierced Settings! "Jagged"

I have been working on a new way to set stones. The new "Jagged" collection will premiere at the Fourth Friday gallery opening Friday, January 28th at Port City Pottery. Louise Giordano and I will be the featured artists for February, so we are bringing in all new work. Louise and I will be donating a portion of the proceeds of our work at Port City Pottery for the month of February to the American Heart Association.

Left: Pink Sapphire in Fabricated Sterling Setting
Right: Prehnite in Fabricated Sterling Setting

I hope to see you there next Friday for some wine and cheese on Friday, January 28th from 6-9pm!

Go to my flickr photostream to get a sneak preview of my latest work.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Want to Make a Difference?

I find that after the big holiday rush, I have some time where I reflect about my year's accomplishments. This year was much busier than most years for me and I felt that many of my endeavors did not work out as I had hoped. Also I'm getting older and I have a need inside me to give back to my fellow human. I feel that one of the main reasons we are here in earth is to give back to our fellow humans and to help those in need. And I believe that we only get to keep what we freely give away.

I decided that I would start a team on Kiva (microlending for 3rd world entrepreneurs) and invite all of my fellow metalsmiths to join. You do not need to be in etsy or etsy metal to participate. The smallest loan is $25. I made a donation of $25 to be put with other money to make a loan via paypal. Its super easy to do.

Check out to see if you would like to join.

So please consider joining if you would like to make a small difference in the world of poverty!