Monday, December 20, 2010

mezuzuah project-december

Well, It's been a year and I have completed my goal of creating at least 12 new mezuzot this year. 

This final mezuzah is a conglomeration of many of the techniques and ideas that have influenced my work this year.  First of all, I have stayed true to my love of antiquity with a nod to Yemenite filigree and my love for the Art Nouveau styles.  The texture design is all my own made from a original polymer texture plate I created from a graffiti like drawing, or Zentangle, of modern and ancient Jewish symbols.  This combination of traditional and contemporary styles is just what I always strive for in my artwork.  It is a fitting end to a year of discovery.

custom work

I just completed these two custom mezuzot for a customer.  It seems that my building mezuzahs do not last long in my collection or my Etsy shop, so it's best to order one made especially for you.  It takes me about 2-3 weeks to complete the mezuzah, but you can select the style roof and wall finish that you want as well as any other personal touches you might like.  I think these can out really nice.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Do you want to learn to create with silver metal clay?

Well, now is your chance.  I am offering up a two part course in the basics of silver metal clay with me at my basement studio.  During the first day (about 2 hours or so) you will be introduced to this exciting medium.  I will teach you basic skills that will allow you to create unique charms.  You will learn how to roll out and texture clay, make a mold and make a 3 dimension piece.  Then I will fire the pieces and the next day we will learn to polish, patina and finish the charms and then add them to a necklace with gemstone accents.  The class is $165 person and includes a 28 gram pack of fine silver clay, a sterling silver ball chain necklace and the use of silver wire and many of the gemstones in my studio.  I will provide you the use of all my tools at the studio and of course let you know where you can get everything you will need should you decide to continue to create with metal clay on your own.  Classes are only for adults and are limited to only 2 students at a time. If you are interested, please email me and I can schedule at your convenience.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

mezuzuah project-november

I'm a little late again, but I think it's worth the wait.  My latest mezuzah is inspired by brown stone buildings in the cities I've lived like Boston and New York.  Hope you like it.

This time I'm getting the mezuzah professionaly photographed so it won't be in my Etsy shop for a bit.  If your interested email me and let me know.

Monday, November 22, 2010

free shipping at my etsy shop

Now until December 19th, I am offering free shipping in the United States to all items purchased from my etsy shop.
Don't forget the holidays are upon us!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

very special gift

Every time I wear my charm bracelet made with charms created by my fellow Etsy Metal Clay artists, from all over the world people notice.  It is truly an exceptional piece.  Now, you too can own one.  We had a charm swap and each made enough charms for a bracelet from each and two extra charms to make two additional bracelets to auction of and raise money for charity.  The first of these bracelets is being actioned right now on EBay to benefit Autism Speaks,  If you want a very special bracelet for yourself or a gift please bid for a chance to own this very special piece

Monday, November 1, 2010


The Best of Missouri Hands show is finally just around the corner, next weekend Novemeber 5, 6, and 7 to be exact.  The show promises to be very high quality and exciting.  All the srtists showing this weekend are juried members of the Best of Missouri Hands.
The show is at the Crestwood ArtSpace this year, which is a new venue for the show and has plenty of free parking.  The easiest way to get to ArtSpace is to take Linbergh south to Watson Road.  Go east on Watson and the mall will be on your left.  For those of you that remember it's the old Crestwood Plaza which has been turned into a creative space with art studios and theaters.  It's pretty cool, so check it out.
The show hours are as follows:
Friday, Nov 5th 4pm-10pm
Saturday, Nov 6th 10am-6pm
Sunday, Nov 7th 11am-4pm

Please come by and visit!!!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

mezuzah project-october

I'm just in time to post the October mezuzah.  I actually finished this mezuzah in the beginning of the month but didn't get around posting it until now.  This mezuzah was inspired by the floral lentil pendents that I have been making.  They are very popular (I actually only have one left to sell!)  I think it would be quite happy on a cottage style home, by a garden....oh it would really look good on my front door!

Well I have sad news, the quick fire bronze clay that I have been so excited about is not all that it seems.  I was happy to begin a new project in the bronze clay today and I went back to my test piece take a second look.   I decided to test it's strength, and I gentle tried to see if I could bend the metal and it snapped in half with very little effort.  I spend so much time constructing the mezuzahs.  If the bronze is not fully sinstered and therefore strong it ruins the integrity of the piece.  I don't have these problems with silver clay.  I know that the material is so much more expensive, but for the time, effort and skill needed to make the piece I think the price is worth it.  I am once again abandoning the bronze option.  I just wish that the companies that make these products not use the artists as testers before they release them. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chanukah Bazaar

I will be at Bnai Amoona's Chanukah Bazaar this Sunday October 24th from 9am-1pm.  Please stop by and say hi.  Remember Chanukah is early this year, the first week in December, just around the corner.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

trunk show

Well, its finally October, and now I am busy at local art shows.  Please come by and visit me if you are in the area, and take a look at the Jewelry and Judaica in person!  I will be closing down my Etsy shop for a few weeks on Tuesday night so that everything in stock will be available at the shows.

I will be at Essential Elements at 9224 Clayton Road in Ladue on Wednesday, Thursday and and Friday this week (October 13,14 and 15).  Store hours are 10am-5pm.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Please come and see me!

I am so excited about all the wonderful things I have been making these past few months. I am ready for the fall shows and holiday gift giving season.  I have a few great shows coming out starting with a trunk show at Essential Elements October 13, 14, and 15.  I am about to send out a postcard with all the show dates for this fall, if you want to be included on my mailing list, please email me.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

mezuzah project-september

Here is the completed September mezuzah.  The Moorish tile Jewish star texture looks very different after the piece is fired and the patina is added.  It's interesting to me that the hexagons around the dark stars takes on it's own presents and a star shape too.  I didn't anticipate this, but I'm delighted with the result.
I nixed the funky shin idea for a more geometric modern star.  I think it related better to the texture and modernizes the design.  I'm very pleased with the way this month's mezuzah turned out.  Right now it is not in the shop, but you can inquired about it by email to me if you are interested.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Inspiration and possibilities

Labor day weekend was a wonderful time for me.  I was fortunate to spend some quality time with an old friend, Andrew Raftery, whom I went to college with at Boston University.  Andrew and I were both painting majors and although I went on the fashion design, Andrew perfected his skills and went on to study at Yale.  He is now a master engraver and Professor at Rhode Island School of Design.  There are many things that I love about Andrew, but what I admire about him is that he is always true to his heart and passions. Watch Andrew create a master engraving of a 16th Century drawing.

Having time with an artist and print maker like Andrew gave me the opportunity to discuss process like I haven't done in a long while.  It was so inspiring to me.  He really encouraged me to explore making more of my own texture plates.  I have been carving textures in the past, but the possibilities of making textures with photo polymer was intriguing to me.  And Andrew explained to me the process and connected me with some high quality suppliers. 

But for my first attempt I decided to go low tech.  There is no point in investing in a technique if it will not work for me.  I purchased a basic photo polymer kit from Cool tools, which allowed me to expose the polymer with an ordinary 60 watt bulb.  The hardest thing for me was creating the artwork.  I wanted to create a Moorish tile pattern that utilized a six pointed or Jewish star.  I could find the pattern I wanted anywhere so I had to draw it out and then copy a repeat the pattern (if I only knew how the use my graphic software).  I then scanned the pattern into the computer, made it into a negative and printed it (twice) on a transparency.  The process of making the plate this way was fairly easy, although I did tear the plate once while scrubbing out the polymer.  I think my second attempt will me even better.

With the texture finished, I moved on to creating a mezuzuah in silver metal clay.  Unfortunately the polymer packs that come in the kit were not quite long enough for the whole mezuzah.  I do think the texture came out pretty nice, although I would love to try this pattern on a plate that was not so deep.

Now that I have begun to construct the mezuzah I realize I have absolutely no plan of design.  The texture is very nice,  but different then I expected so I have to think about this for a while and decide what to do next. 
I made a funky shin for the piece which I think may be a nice contrast to the geometric pattern, but I'm not sure yet. 

I will post the finished mezuzah for the September mezuzah project.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

fast fire bronze-success

I have struggled with bronze and copper clays in the past.  My mezuzot never could withstand the firing process with out falling apart or changing shape.  When fast fire bronze came out I checked out the blogs of my fellow metal clay artists and was encourage by the success they had.  Last night I made a test piece, a very narrow and tall 3 sided box (like a mezuzah).  The result is perfect and the form did not contort.  Although the clay feels and acts very differently then silver clay, I do think it is worth my time to pursue.  I'm very excited and motivated to create mezuzot in this medium....stay tuned to see what I come up with.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

mezuzah project-august

Ok, I'm late again.  This time I'm just late about posting because I finished this mezuzah in August. 

This design is like one I made last year, but better now, beacuse one year means more skill.  I love the modern texture and the non traditional approach to a mezuzah.

This month I have been very busy preparing for fall shows.  I'm having a trunk show at Essential Elements in October and the Best of Missouri Show is in November.  There are some small venues in between, I'll keep you all posted.

Friday, August 27, 2010

what inspires me.....

I have been  working every possible moment I have in my studio these days preparing for the fall shows.  I have a trunk show in October and The Best of Missouri Hands show in November (more details to follow).  So I need a lot of beautiful things to sell, especially jewelry (as opposed to Judaica). 

What inspires me?  Well, my approach to designing jewelry in very different than Judaica.  For jewelry, I have to go back to my roots.

First, I research.  I look at everything!  I see what the metal clay artists are up to.  Most of this research is on the web.  I look at artists I admire and also those I don't.  I want to see what everyone is excited about creating.  I get ideas about trends in style as well as technique.  Maybe a new way to add a bail to a pendent.  Of course, I never copy, but use my own style to interpret the technique.  I always take a look at my old metal clay technique books too.  Sometimes something old looks new again.  That's also why I go through my old sketch books.  I interpreted my old wire wrapped designs into metal clay!

Now it's time to research the fashion trends.  I was a knitwear and sportswear designer for years so I am very interested in fashion.  I'd like to think my jewelry is timeless design, but I can't help to make designs that relate to whats in.  It's just fun for me.  So I look at sportswear, couture as well as accessory and jewelry trends.  My favorite places for high end jewelry designs, Barneys New York!  For real trendy, young jewelry you have to check out Urban Outfitters, (of course it may fall apart by the time you get home). Ideas can come for high and low end, so I look everywhere.

Finally, I always take some time to design for me.  It may sound silly, but some of my best sellers have come from this approach.  I just bought a new dress for the Jewish holidays.  It's a solid purple Susan Monaco,  from my favorite boutique in town Essential Elements.  The dress is understated, so its perfect for jewelry. I designed these link chandeliers to wear with it.  I think that a necklace with the earrings would be way too much, but lots of chunky silver link bracelets will look great! Stay tuned for these to show up in my fall collection.

I never make jewelry that I myself wouldn't wear.  I've tried to honor a customers request when I didn't like the idea and I am always disappointed with the result.  So trend or not, if I don't like it, it's not going to happen for rachels things.

Well, I better get back to the studio, I have a lot of work to do.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I'm featured on a metal clay blog

Check out
My whimsical house mezuzah is featured on this blog.  It's so cool to see my work accepted into the metal clay artist community.  I have admired the work of so many of these artists on these blogs and to be featured with them is a great honor.

setting goals

How do you work?  I like to set goals for myself.  Some goals are clearly not ones I will realistically be able to accomplish but I set them anyway.  Having a goal gets me on a schedule and gives me the drive I need to complete work.

I have a big show coming up in in November.  For a show you need enough work to make a nice display and give customers a chance to browse and select.  I recently purchased a large iron earring display which holds 75 pairs of earrings.  So the goal is to have at least 65 pairs available for sale.  And, I would love for them all to be different from each other....but that is the unrealistic part!  If I can have all my pieces for the show completed by the end of September then I will have the month of October to organize and style the display.

I have about 40 pairs of earrings completed, 15 more in clay state, drying and then off to the kiln, and 10 more to complete this weekend.   After the earrings, I will make more necklaces and bracelets.....but they take a lot longer to make!

Friday, August 6, 2010

so many houses for sale......

Yes, it's a buyers market, there are so many houses for sale in my neighborhood.  But these are different kinds of houses.  They are my handmade, one of a kind, tiny fine silver pendent necklaces, which depict some pretty special fantasy buildings.  Check out the new varieties in my ETSY store.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

mezuzah project-july

OK, I know it's Auguat 1st, but last month was crazy.  I won't go into the gory details, but I was really out of it for most of the month.  Let's just say that I wasn't physicaly able to produce any work, so the mezuzah for the month is debuting a little late.
I am vey very proud of this mezuzah. I actualy started working on it in June and I spent more time on this piece then any other.  The mezuzah is an art piece which depicts a whimsical house with a front stoop, tree, and hanging swing.  As with many of my designs it is meant to be hung indoors as there are cut out windows. The mezuzah probably not like any other you have every seen, and like all my designs is made individually by hand is is one of a kind. 
You can find this mezuzah for sale, as well as others, at my etsy store.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

craft alliance emerging artists show

I made these earring at a metal class I took last fall at Craft Alliance in the UCity loop.  It was a great experience, I highly recommend  taking metal , clay or glass classes there.  My daughter who is 11 took 2 excellent classes there this summer, one on metal and one glass bead making and she loved the experience.

Anyway, I submitted these earrings which I made the "old fashioned" way and was please to be included in their Emerging Artists Exhibition.  If you are in the area stop by and check out the work and also the wonderful gallery store, which always has something worth buying and has a great sale going on right now!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

flower chain necklace

I've been crazy busy in the studio this week making all sorts of things to get really for the fall and holiday shows.  Here is a new necklace that I just added to my Etsy shop.  It's a delicate looking chain of fine silver flowers, perfect for a strapless dress or a wedding gown.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

woodland cross

I made this very special cross for my new godchild Harper Elizabeth.  It's my first real attempt at making a cross so I hope I did it justice. The design was inspired by her beautiful room which was designed by her talented mother Liz, my very good friend.  I made it look like two twigs which form the cross surrounded by tiny flowers and leaves. 
I am honored to a part of Harper's life and hope that she will always have her faith to guild her.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

the mezuzah project-june

Well, I've spend the last few weeks helping my kids, finishing the school year, going on a great family vacation and then getting them off to summer camp.  Now, it's finally time to get serious, get back in the studio and do some real work.
I am especially excited about this mezuzah which inspired by woodland flowers and also art nouveau.  I have been working on this piece for a while and also have a secret keeper necklace based on this design.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

emc charm swap

The wonderful group of artists that I am a part of (etsy metal clay team) recently had a charm swap.  22 artists participated and each of us created 24 identical charms (or close to identical) made from any kind of metal clay.  The swap means that each of us got each others charms and we have enough left to make 2 additional bracelets which will be auctioned off for charity.
When I received my package of charms I was overwhelmed at the talented group that I was a part of.  Each charm showcases the artists spirit and unique technique. I wanted to make a bracelet that reflected the handmade charms.  Luckily, Catherine Witherell, posted a great tutorial on the emc blog so I followed the directions and made this fine silver fused link bracelet.  I made it exactly like the tutorial except I used heavier 16 gauge wire.  I really loved the way it turned out.  It looks great with all the charms. 
I loved the look so much I decided to make more chain so that I could them attach the bracelet to it and turn it into a necklace.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

triple flower earrings

I've added additional flowers to my periwinkle earring to make this chandelier style.  It makes a real statement! Check them out on Etsy!

Friday, May 21, 2010

special gifts

I was honored to make some personalized yads last month. I've made yads (pointers used to read from the torah) before, for Bar and Bat Mitzvah gifts. This is a unique way to honor the event and if given before the service the Bar Mitzvah can use it while he reads from the Torah. Adding the name of the child and the date of his or her Bar Mitzvah make it a very special keepsake.
This month I was ask to create a yad for the "teacher" of the Bar Mitzvah. What a beautiful gift to give a teacher. The customer chose to personalize the yad with the name of the teacher with gratitude and love from his student. I am told that the teacher was extremely touched by this very special gift. It was for him one of the most favorite gifts he had received from a student. I am so happy to be a part of this wonderful journey.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

kate mckinnon-sculptural metal clay

Just received my signed copy of Kate Mc Kinnon’s new book, Sculptural Metal Clay, so I thought I’d write some of my thoughts I have about this book.

As many of you know, I first learned about metal clay from Kate when she was living here in St. Louis.  The book is set up much like a workshop you would take from the artist herself, the emphasis being on techniques and not on projects.  This is the real difference that I see between this book and most other metal clay books on the market.  Most books have set by step instructions on how to make a ring, pendent etc.  Instead, Kate describes the techniques she uses to make components, which you can incorporate into your own jewelry designs.  She discusses, among other things, ring bands, rivet posts, prongs and box building, 19 elements in all, a wealth of information. 

There are also 10 projects in the book, but even if you were to copy these projects exactly, they wouldn’t turn out exactly the way they are in the book.  Kate used her favorite beads from other artists in the projects and it makes them easy for you to personalize.

As with any book or class with Kate you are going to hear a lot about safety.  She feel it is her duty to warn others about the dangers of firing metal clay incorrectly and working with it without respecting safety issues.  Personally I think the beginning of the book is a little preachy, but that is Kate’s way.  She works very clean, advises artist to make clean cuts and never sands or uses slip.  When I first started working with metal clay, I was so nervous about handling the clay too much I swear my heart pounded the whole time.   I have since experimented myself and worked with other artists and therefore I am not freaked out about rehydrating or sanding from time to time.  But if you have never tried it Kate’s way, I suggest that you give it a shot.  If you work the way she suggests not only are you handling the medium safety, but your pieces will look more organic, they will look like metal clay pieces, not like refined silver that mass produced jewelry looks like.   Why not take advantage of the possibilities of this incredible medium. Embrace it. 

I wish that she would have added even more information of work hardening and finishing pieces.  Although Kate writes more than most authors do on the subject, there is never enough information for me on this subject.

In conclusion, this book is a welcome addition to every metal artist’s library.  The beginner will learn to basics and safety issues and the novice will get the opportunity to learn an important metal clays artist’s point of view and pick up some great techniques along the way.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

the mezuzah project- May

This month's mezuzah is a variation on some of my past designs.  It featured the Hebrew scripture texture with a ribbon "tied" around the scroll to reference the way the torah is tied when it is stored in the ark.
As usually the mezuzah is solid fine silver and is available in my Etsy shop.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


I had a wonderful afternoon at St. Louis' Nishmah conference on Women's health and Spirituality.  They had a vendor section and there was a nice of people at the conference who were checking out the artist and other associations and vendors present.  It was nice to meet up with old friends and meet new ones.  And making some sales was great too!
I meet Israeli and Kansas City artist Limor Katz-Evans who makes really fantastic original designed t-shirts other garments with inspirational Hebrew motifs.  I bought a couple for my girls, check out her website, the t-shirts are really excellent quality too.

Monday, April 19, 2010

a charmed life

I am so happy and honored to be participating in the emc team, Etsy Metal Clay, charm swap.  If you don't already know, the emc team is a group of extremely talented etsy artists who specialize in working in metal clay.  I was juried into the group last year.  The artists lend support to one another by promoting our shops and also exchanging ideas, techniques and resources.
For the charm swap we were required to make 24 identical charms, 22 to exchange with the other artists, and 2 additional charms that will be made into bracelets that the group auctions off for charity.  Honestly, the last bracelet that was made (a year ago) was incredible and really priceless.  The charms  had to be in metal clay, silver or you could use bronze, copper or a combination.
So here is what I came up with.  They are not identical, but pretty close.  They are silver.  I decided to make a 3 dimensional charm since I love to construct my pieces.  I just send the box of charms off,  and I should get a box back next month with 22 different charms from all over the world.  I can't wait to see all the different techniques and points of view.  I might make a bracelet out of it, or maybe a charm necklace.  Oh, by the way, this one will not be for sale!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

the mezuzah project-april

This very special mezuzah has a lot of detail and personality.  I am especially proud the raised scroll design as I carved the the design myself on a rubber block and used the carving to texture the metal clay.  I think that this mezuzah is a perfect example of how I try to create modern art which has great reverence to antiquities.
Please remember to check my etsy shop for new designs (this mezuzuh will be featured there soon), and visit me at Artrophy or Monday evening at the JCC in St. Louis.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


This week is very exciting because I am finally getting my * together and I am showing my artwork ad jewelry in 4 venues during the next two weeks. 
I have a private studio art tour visiting my home and studio on Tuesday.  I will tell you more about it later this week.  On Saturday I am participating in Artrophy.  The spring show of handmade arts and crafts sponsored by Showme Etsy.  These are a great group of local St. Louis artists who also have Etsy shops.  I am really looking forward to being in this show.  If you want to enjoy a wonderful St. Louis day and check out Lafeyette Square neighborhood, head down to the Squires Restaurant and check out the show.  There is truly something for everyone. Show runs from 10am to 3pm.

Coming up I will be at the JCC for Yon Haatzmauit and the Nishmah Women's  Health and Wellness Fair.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

and now for something completely different.........

I created this multi-strand necklace for my good friend Linda P's 40th birthday.  She is very girly, a bit trendy and into classic looks.  I made my version of the popular ribbon necklace that are a must have this year.  The colors are golds and pale pink.  The materials are pearl, tourmaline, rutilated and and pink quartz and gold fill chain.  It was a challenge to make and allowed me to practice my wire wrapping skills.  Oh, and she loved it!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

the mezuzah project-march

For my March mezuzah I decided to make a mezuzah that looks more like an actual house and less like a  traditional mezuzah.  The stone texture is unique as I created it myself and made my own texture sheet and mold.  This literal design approach is a little different than some of my previous designs. I'm not sure how it fits in with my other work, but it was challenging and fun to make.
You may notice the beautiful professional photograph of the piece.  I had some pieces photographed by local St. Louis photographer Don Casper, who did a beautiful job.  I hope to use these pictures to get into Juried shows and professional associations.  Thanks to Don Kelly, a wonderful silversmith artist, who has helped me with these pictures and connected me with Don Casper.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

what should I call this necklace?

This silver pendent necklace was inspired by a silver needle holder I picked up years ago in Hong Kong when I was designing sweaters.  The tiny tube shaped vial measures about 2" tall from the top of the knob on the lid to the bottom of the fine silver loop where 4 semi-precious stones dangle. The cap stays on because the 32" necklace chain secures it together.  I don't know what you would stash in the vial, but use your imagination, maybe a special note from a loved one.  I haven't listed this on Etsy because I am preparing for 4 shows and special events next month.  If you are interested on anything listed on the blog that is not in my Etsy shop please contact me.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

now- smaller jewish stars

I used to make small delicate jewelry.  I few years ago when I did a lot of wire wrapped gemstone jewelry, most of my work was the kind of things that you really appreciated up close.  And, although many people loved it, I did get comments that some customer wanted bigger bolder pieces.  When I started creating jewelry with silver metal clay, it was much easier to work bigger, and so it was a natural progression for me to make my pieces bolder.  The star of my classic  Jewish star necklace measures about -7/8" which is pretty bold and although many customer love them I have gotten some comments that people would prefer a smaller more delicate version.

Well, I have been working on this I have come up with a smaller design, still unique to me and very modern. The star has the same two level design as the original star but only measures 5/8" across.  So far I have only made an applique heart version, but I promise to work on the rockin star (the one with the rivets) in the future.  These also come in a smaller price than the original star, which is also nice!