24th Annual Balloon Fiesta Art Show

Balloon Fiesta

I can't wait to see all the friendly faces at the Rio Grande Balloon Fiesta Show.

I will be in BOOTH C22 from October 12-14, 2012 with lots of new pieces for you to see!

Moldavite Necklace

Citrine Earrings

Moldavite ring

I've been working hard in the studio touching up my displays, too.  Here is a pic of the display for my hot air balloon pendants...  cool, huh?

hot air balloon

Come and visit my booth this weekend and enjoy the Balloon-dotted skies of Albuquerque!

A Love Message Etched in Silver

I recently expanded my skill set by learning a technique called etching.

Etching on sterling silver is not a difficult process.  It does, however, require some practice as well as the collection of the proper materials.

I found that using "press-n-peel" paper worked best for the design transfer onto the metal.  I am lucky enough to live close to a specialty photography store where I was able to purchase ferric nitrate (the etching chemical) in a small amount. Combined with this extremely informative video, the etching project was a success!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHMmP7wpskI&w=560&h=315]

In this case, the etched design was a message borrowed from a love poem, later read during a vow renewal ceremony in Hawaii (Yes, I attended).

The etched ring was created as part of wedding/vow renewal ring set for two very dear friends, now married for 10 years!  Because this particular love poem was so important to the couple, you can imagine how THRILLED I was to be able to make this work.

Here are some photos of the etching process and the finished ring for the groom-

silver etching

etched silver ring

etched silver ring

The ring for the bride was created by weaving sterling and fine silver wire to set a large london blue topaz and two cubic zirconias.  The resulting piece is one of the nicest pieces of jewelry I've ever made.

This design has inspired many new ideas.

blue cocktail ring

The vow renewal ceremony was beyond gorgeous, on the beach of Hanalei, HI on the island of Kauai.  The weather was perfect, the ocean a beautiful turquoise, and even a rainbow appeared over the water.  True magic.

I am so thankful to be a part of this couple's continuing love by creating the rings they will be wearing for years to come.

Man O'War

I am always inspired by the ocean as well as it's creatures.  There is something truly magical and elusive about them.  My latest piece was inspired by this photo of the Man O'War Jellyfish.  Beautifully deadly.

I chose the Larimar gemstone for this design due to it's properties as well as it's gorgeous blue color.  I believe I was able to capture the liquid movement of the Man O'War by using chain and thick guage wire to create the "tentacles."

Larimar is a stone that is said to bring one closer to the ocean by opening channels of communication with ocean creatures.  It also brings peace and tranquility to the wearer.

Like a Man O'War lures it's prey, Larimar continues to lure me in with it's gorgeous blue hues and lightning-like patterns.  A perfect gemstone for this creation.

larimarsquid1-1900
larimarsquid1-1900
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larimarsquid3-1900
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larimarsquid2-1900

The Pleiades

My newest bangle is inspired by the Pleiades, a cluster of 7 stars in the constellation Taurus.

Pleiades resides in our galaxy, and is approximately 500 light years away from Earth.

The Pleiadians, an ancient, human-like race originating from Pleiades, discovered Earth during space exploration.

They entered our cycle and stayed with us through many of our world's transformations, guiding us to a more spiritual path.

This bangle has seven stars, representing the Pleiades cluster.  Included are 3 stars made from Blue Zircon gemstone briolettes.

Blue Zircon is said to stimulate all chakras and open the doorway to higher realms. It energizes psychic abilities and allows one to easily identify and accept spiritual guidance.

The Pleiades
The Pleiades
pleiadesedit3-1900
pleiadesedit3-1900
pleiadesedit2-1900
pleiadesedit2-1900
pleiadesedit1-1900
pleiadesedit1-1900
pleiadesedit5-1900
pleiadesedit5-1900
pleiadesedit7-1900
pleiadesedit7-1900

Building Display Walls

I've been inspired to build indoor walls for my next show, the Rio Grande Arts Festival in Albuquerque, NM.

I could never have done this without my lovely fiance... who is always so supportive of my visions.

Here are some pics of the beginning of our project.  It is a ton of work, but I'm expecting these walls to last a long, long time!

Our loot from Lowes

My studio is JUST big enough to work on the walls indoors.

Drake, the sawdust kitty.

This is one wall, nearly finished... still needs some extras for support, and paint of course!

Keep your Eyes peeled for the next set of pictures~

A Tiger Lilly = Inspiration

The fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays.

One thing I've always remembered about this summertime celebration is that Tiger Lillies are in full bloom.

These flowers are a fabulous vibrant orange that can create fields of color.

I realize we are in the middle of winter, but doesn't this necklace just remind you of a hot summer day, maybe fireworks to follow?  Who ISN'T thinking about warm weather right now?  I know I am...

Tiger Lilly
Tiger Lilly
Tiger Lilly
Tiger Lilly
Tiger Lilly Necklace
Tiger Lilly Necklace

Holiday Creations...

I was so blessed this Christmas season with lots of business! 

Thank you, fans, for your loyalty and support!

Take a look at my Holiday Creations.

Wire wrapped bracelet

Gold wire bracelet

Larimar Necklace

Laboradorite Necklace

Laboradorite Necklace

Green Gemstone Jewelry

Chrysoprase wire wrapped necklace

Sabrinah's Artisan Adornments

Blue Gemstone pendant

Sabrinah's Artisan Adornments

Ohm Necklace

Sabrinah's Art

So, the season kept me busy!  

I have LOTS more to come. 

I've re-vamped a few of my "vintage" pieces and I'm working on a pair of druzy earrings that I'm sure you'll love. 

Stay tuned for more photos!

Sign up here for my mailing list... Valentine's coupons being distributed soon!

Accepted to Red-Dot Gallery!

My first exhibition!  Opening night is this Friday, December 9th from 4:30 to 7:30 PM.

Red-Dot Gallery

Four of my pieces are in the exhibit and will be displayed and available for purchase from December 9th through January 16th. 

I'm so excited!

Because of the "Winter Holiday" nature of the exhibit, I named the pieces after the season.  It's usually difficult for me to name pieces for some reason, but this time wasn't too bad.  A little help from friends, of course!

Aquamarine earrings

druzy ring

pearl jewelry

aquamarine necklace

Thanks for reading!  Oh, and one more thing... join my mailing list!

About Red-Dot Gallery:

Check out this awesome article by Mechele Hesbrook of SantaFe.com.

The article explains the motivation behind the gallery and it's founders,  as well as some information about the Santa Fe Community College.  GOOD READ!

Radical Jewelry Makeover... continued

Radical Jewelry Makeover was unbelievably fun.  It's a good thing that I always love a challenge or two.

The week-long event seemed like it would give me plenty of time-  Time, however, became the biggest challenge!  I planned to create at LEAST five pieces, which ended up being only two.  One of which was chosen for the exhibit and sale at the Wheelwright museum (YAY)!

Day one, Friday, began the assessment and sorting process.  All the donations were individually assessed based on the materials.  Of course there was tons of costume jewelry- some beautiful and some completely CRAZY but fun pieces.  Many people also donated precious metals, including sterling silver and gold.  This was exciting as much of it could be melted down to create completely new pieces.  Even with tons of help, the sorting process didn't end until 8:30 PM!  There were SO MANY donations!  THANK YOU, SANTA FE!

The jewelry was sorted based on categories such as, "looks like silver", "animals", "natural beads", etc.  Sorting was fun until I was sorting for MANY hours.  I swear I could see beads behind my eyelids as I was falling asleep that night!

Saturday was the kick-off symposium, which consisted of presentations by Christina and Susie (RJM, ethical metalsmiths), as well as several fantastic jewelers, jewelry teachers, and jewelry students from New Mexico.  I learned a great deal about the mining of precious materials, as well as ethical mining improvements and fair trade gemstones.  What a plethora of information!

Sunday was exciting- I got to choose the materials that I would use to make my pieces.  The categories of donations were separated into stations.  We split into groups of three and had 5  minutes to choose our items before switching to the next station.  Here is a picture of my loot...

Radical Jewelry Makeover
RJM selected items

The only possible way for me to see what I ACTUALLY had, was to disassemble it and organize it.

Radical Jewelry Makeover

So, then began the process of creating my pieces.  Challenge number two.

I wasn't used to dealing with base metals.

They are much harder and less forgiving, causing me to break two drill bits, one center punch, 3 saw blades (one went into my finger), and I ALMOST broke my dremel tool.

There were many ideas I had that just never worked out, which made me a little sad.

My first project was seemingly simple.  I decided to take a watch apart to use the frame as a sort of bezel.

Totally unexpected, drilling through the watch  to make a hole for the earring sent a tiny watch gear flying across the room like a ninja throwing star.

A bit scary.

This is what I ended up with...  Simple? Yes.  Easy? No.

Radical Jewelry Makeover

My second piece went a bit more smoothly.

I had a two-piece cuff bracelet that I sawed in half, and rolled in a rolling mill.

The mill turned the finish from a bright silver to a brushed tone, which looked beautiful.

Also included in this piece is a a piece of a chandelier earring, a pave crystal pendant, pieces to a brain-teaser game, a crystal post earring, a bezel from a ring, and a random crystal.

I attached the pieces with wire, as a main function of the piece is to be able to disassemble it easily if it would ever go through a process like this again.

I think it turned out pretty darn nice.

This is the piece that was chosen for the Wheelwright Museum exhibit and sale.  It was sold within 30 minutes of the opening event!

All-in-all the event was a huge success.  I had the great opportunity to do something good for the planet and meet lots of great people.

It was an amazing feeling to turn something unwanted into something beautiful, and see it SOLD at the exhibit.

I was asked by the filming crew to say three words that I felt described RJM.

1. "Important" - I feel that increasing awareness of mining processes and alternate methods of obtaining precious materials is crucial to the future of jewelry, as well as the future of the planet.

2. "Difficult" - LOTS of challenges to overcome when working with new materials and the pressure of completing projects in a weeks time.

3. "Fun" - Definitely FUN!  Who doesn't want to make jewelry around lots of other people who share such a similar passion?  Everyone created amazing pieces and I am honored to be a part of such an awesome group of jewelers!

LOVE YOU GUYS!  IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!!

Radical Jewelry Makeover ~ What's in YOUR Jewelry Box?

Radical Jewelry Makeover... Have you heard of this?

Radical Jewelry Makeover (RJM) involves taking donations of people's unwanted jewelry, disassembling and sorting it, melting it down, and creating new, beautiful pieces for people to wear and cherish.

 I recently learned about this non-profit, action-oriented group of "ethical metalsmiths" at my silversmithing class.  In fact, Santa Fe will be the fifth location for RJM to take place, and we are very excited about it!

Beginning Friday this week I will be participating in this innovative event, which begins in the studio at the Santa Fe Community College.  Several professional jewelers will join the students to create beautiful new pieces from old, unwanted costume and fine jewelry that has been donated by the public.

After one week of studio-intense creating, the finished pieces will be displayed at the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian in Santa Fe, available for sale to the public.

Check out this video for a detailed explanation of Radical Jewelry Makeover...

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39d_phfUnjI]

Visit the Radical Jewelry Makeover Blog for the latest RJM news...

The amount of metals and gemstones being consistently mined is staggering.  I can't think of a better way to create awareness for the public, students, and professional  jewelers as to where our metals and stones come from, and how to better protect these precious materials.

I have been totally inspired by this group of jewelers.  It is a great feeling to know that there are people out there that still have respect for the Earth, and will take the appropriate action to make a difference.  I am thankful to have the opportunity to participate in this event, and proud to be a part of something so special.

Although creating jewelry from raw materials is my job, I will definitely be paying much closer attention as to where my materials come from, how they are extracted... and of course, I will be doing A LOT more recycling!

One great thing about Santa Fe  is that precious metals and other materials have been recycled as a way of jewelry making for hundreds of years.  Taking my silversmithing class has taught me how to recycle my silver scrap to create sterling sheet and wire, which I then use to create new designs.  Read my post, "A Day with Jerry Faires" for details as to how this is done.

Although I will never stop creating new jewelry, I am anxious to be a part of an event that will help save the planet, as well as set a good example to others in my profession.  Stay tuned for photos and updates from RJM Santa Fe!

This is my donation.... What's in YOUR jewelry box?

Radical Jewelry Makeover

A Day with Jerry Faires

I was fortunate enough to witness a day-long demonstration by Jerry Faires, a well known silversmith and musician from Santa Fe.

He came to my silversmithing class with a bag of sterling silver spoons, some tools, and his guitar.  We had been told by our teacher, Greg Harris, that we wouldn't want to miss this day of class, and boy was he right.

I was intrigued from the moment he walked into the studio. He wore a plain gray tshirt and  jeans with a hand-sewn back pocket. He was decorated with numerous turquoise necklaces, a concho belt buckle, and two GORGEOUS  thick turquoise bracelets.

Jerry is what a silversmith would call a first phase smith, meaning he creates his jewelry pieces using the same techniques as silversmiths used in the early 1900s.  Conchos were routinely used to adorn equine tack as well as belts and other jewelry.  Here is an example of some conchos made by Jerry Faires:

Jerry Faires

As Jerry slipped on his blacksmith apron with brown leather with fringes, he told us he would be creating a bracelet.  As he gathered his tools, he began to recite a poem- the first of many that day- describing old west trade, silversmithing, and love.  Totally captivating.

Jerry began the process of creating the bracelet by melting his sterling silver spoons in a crucible, then pouring the molten silver into a mold.  He ended up with a long rectangular band, which he hand-filed smooth and straight.

Using a large hammer and a chasing tool, he pushed the edges of the silver outward, creating high ridges on the outer edges of the band, as well as in the middle.  Believe me when I say he made this laboring work look EASY.

chasing

metal chasing tools
chasing tools

He then used a type of metal stamp to create a rope-like appearance to the raised ridges... he eyeballed the distance between stamping- I estimate each side (and the middle) required between 30-50 stamps...

He stamped to a "beat" with the rhythm of tap, WHAM...  tap, WHAM.  The stamp to silver like a knife in butter.  Truly amazing to watch, and also perfectly spaced.

He used a chisel and large hammer to cut through the silver between the middle ridge and outer two ridges.

He then used a special tool to separate the bands, creating two open splits in the bracelet.  The "silver separator" is a retired tool that orthopods formerly used to break apart plaster casts, how interesting!

cast splitter

When watching Jerry, one can tell that he obviously has a relationship with each of his tools.  Most of the tools had been handmade either by Jerry or one of his close friends.  Several of his tools were decorated pieces themselves, with coins and stones, and he had a story to tell about each one of them.

During our lunch break, well...  We had a live music session...  Jerry's music is just as well thought-out as his jewelry.  I could tell that Jerry's musical inspiration had come from his own life events.  What a great way to learn more about a person...

After lunch it was time to set the stone.  Jerry created a silver backing for a large piece of Colorado turquoise (that he cut himself) from the end of a silver spoon.  He annealed the spoon (heated it) and then rolled it flat with a rolling mill, creating a flat circle.

He then made his own bezel, the piece of silver that surrounds the stone, by rolling another piece of silver out long and flat, then cut it to size with leather shears.

His soldering capabilities were incredible- to say the least.  From start to finish, this gorgeous piece of jewelry was created in 5 hours.  AMAZING.  And it looks like it stepped out of the beginning of the 20th century.

Turquoise Cuff, Native American Jewelry

Jerry Faires

It gets better... Jerry gives lessons in his shop...  bet you can guess what I'll be doing this fall!

Read more about Jerry Faires at  http://www.JerryFaires.com

jerry faires

Jerry Faires singer-guitarist-storyteller of Santa Fe, New Mexico...

this poet and performer has created a portrait of the world and it's people with heart and humor, wit and wisdom. An artist in precious metal and beautiful stones as well as melody and words, Faires' long journey from South Texas, through Oklahoma coffeehouse days, inner-city St. Louis to Santa Fe's hippie honky-tonks has provided him with a rich and colorful pallette for a poet-singer

Super Special Celestial Bangle

My Super Special Celestial Bangle

by Kimberly Becker Long on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 7:25pm

This beautiful Celestial Bangle was specifically created and personalized just for me.  The creator of this masterpiece, Sabrinah McCaffery, accepted the challenge of piecing together a unique design based on my interests and needs. After discussing my request with Sabrinah, this is the email she sent me about her ideas.

I can’t tell you how eager I am to create this piece of jewelry  for you.  I believe that gemstones contain very strong healing energy to those who will accept it.  YOU are the reason I love creating jewelry and I know that I can make something that will be very meaningful to you.

I have a small rainbow moonstone gem that has a face carved into it.  It is quite interesting and I think you could benefit from having moonstone as a part of your jewelry.   It will help you unite with your inner goddess as well as keep you calm. Moonstone soothes emotional instability and stress and provides deep emotional healing... not to mention it focuses on alleviating disease related to the female reproductive system.  It also helps to eliminate toxins, and is an excellent aid for conception, pregnancy, childbirth, and breast feeding

It is highly energized and activated during a full moon, which I am sure you will find interesting.  From what I’ve read about moonstone, you may want to leave it in the moonlight during the full moon as opposed to wearing it during this time.  It will give it time to “recharge.”

I immediately thought of this stone after reading your story as well as your interests... However, I did not realize that moonstone contained so many qualities relating to your request.  These “coincidences” (although I believe them to be “intentions”) make me feel that I am doing what I am meant to do with my life.  Thinking back, I truly feel that when I purchased this stone it was meant for you- I just didn’t know it at the time.  I am so glad that it has found it’s way to you!

My idea is to incorporate this stone into your bracelet as the actual moon-  with some stars surrounding it.  I was thinking I would use blue zircon for the stars.  Blue zircon is a vibrant teal blue, but also has transparency.  Zircon is known for it’s healing properties.  It should help you overcome your loss and make way for a new beginning.  Specifically blue zircon balances, uplifts, and stabilizes the mind and emotions.

Just reading Sabrinah's ideas moved me to tears.  I was so touched that she was willing to take the time to design a masterpiece specifically for me.  Sabrinah sent me pictures of the completed bangle and I was once again moved to tears.  I couldn't have asked for anything more perfect!

My bracelet arrived in the mail today, beautifully packaged I might add, and I couldn't be more pleased!  When I placed the bangle on my wrist, it felt like it was meant just for me.  It fits perfectly, and feels so wonderful against my skin; I can barely tell it's there.  The bracelet is so stunning, I can't help but continue to look at it on my wrist.  I look forward to the healing and soothing powers of the stones Sabrinah specifically chose to meet my needs.  I am so touched, I can hardly find the words to describe it.

If you are looking for "that" piece of jewerly for yourself, or someone special, I highly recommend the artistic and creative talents of Sabrinah's Artisan Adornments!  God has blessed her with a wonderful gift and she is using it to do wonderful things.

celestial jewelry, Moon and Stars Jewelry

Celestial Jewelry

Kim,

I wish I could express to you how absolutely amazing your story is to me.  I am honored to have been selected to create this jewelry for you.

Thank you for believing in me, and in my art as a form of healing.  I am sure that your bangle and gemstones will bring you great joy, not only through their beauty against your skin, but also for the benefits they will give to you freely.

I have a strong feeling that they will exceed your expectations.  I look forward to hearing some very good news from you!

~Sabrinah