a little cloudy treat

April 28, 2008

I’m such a lucky girl. On a recent trip to Wellington I spied a brooch at Quoil and thought, “Gosh, if I owned that little cloud I would wear it every day and it would make me oh-so-happy.” As it turns out, my jewellery tutor Jane Dodd is the hand behind the design, and I twisted her arm into making one of my very own. Ok, there wasn’t much actual twisting involved.

In case you can’t tell, that’s an infinitesimally small flock of birds flying across the cloud. There’s something about the juxtaposition of animated cloud shape and realistic birds that seems to speak to me at this point in my life. The back is darkened which also makes me unexplainably happy. Oh, and the front is Scotchbrite’d to a scratchy perfectness.

I’m almost finished with the necklace I’ve been making from the Afghani glass beads I posted about a while back. Hopefully I finish it up by next Monday’s class and I can fiiiinally show you some images.


lisa west

April 16, 2008

Most of the jewellery out there in the world leaves me cold, or as Orangette would say, makes me utter a mild *meh*. Not so with the simple, elegant pieces of Lisa West. The things she does with silver and mother of pearl make me want to run headlong into the nearest studio and not come out until I’ve created something, anything with a flower motif.

I’ve seen her pieces in person at Royal Jewellery in Auckland, one of my favorite jewellery stores. The moth brooches are particularly compelling in person, the softly brushed metals melting together to form a perfect moth-like texture. You’ll have to go there for yourself, as I can’t get the image to load…

afghani glass

March 16, 2008


I was going to title this post ‘a man from afghanistan’, because it is as much about the man who sold me these beads as it is about the beads themselves. At the recent Auckland Gift Show the only thing that really caught my interest was a display of strings and strings of these little chunks of glass. These images I shot do them little justice. Some look like fossilized wood, some have iridescent mineral deposits, all of them emanate a mesmerizing energy that can only be described as ‘authentic’. In the journey that is my life, I have always been particularly attracted to objects and people that embody this quality.

I made a call to the number listed on the dealer’s card, and yesterday afternoon Kyle and I went to the inner city flat of Q and his family. I didn’t know what to expect, but what we found was amazing.

We were greeted by a traditional Afghan family, and in the most hospitable way, we sat drinking orange juice and chatting before getting on to the business of buying. Q and his wife had lived in Afghanistan during the Taliban’s rule. They have family living there today. Q takes trips back to buy precious stones, silver jewellery, and antique glass beads, which in light of recent events seems more than a little dangerous. Q supports his wife and 4 children by selling these things all over the world. He even lived in Texas for a while.

He pulled out cotton strings weighed down with chunks of turquoise, lapis, coral and amber. All natural, nothing inauthentic. But what I was really interested in were the glass pieces.

“They found an ancient city in the Afghan desert,” he said. “Many pieces of glassware were discovered, but many of them had been broken.” They made these pieces into beads. Two thousand years old? Very possible… I believed him.

Blowing our budget for the week, we bought three strings, and have plans to go back for more. In my mind’s eye I see some of the best jewellery galleries in the world carrying pieces made from them. But am I up to the task? Can I create a setting that will show the beauty and authenticity of these artifacts?

There was something so lovable about Q, his timid wife, and their long-lashed children (that are self-possessed beyond their years and speak perfect New Zealand english). Sitting in a room far away from our two birth countries, I wondered what he must think of me. Looking again at his business card, which didn’t even list his name (but did have the email address of his teenage son) I wondered how he found enough business to survive. I made a mental note to find a way to help.

The obstacles I have had to overcome here are insignificant in comparison.

helen britton

March 11, 2008

Jane Dodd tipped me off to yet another amazing jeweller – Helen Britton. Her pieces take me back to the years that I was an antiques dealer, searching flea markets and grubby second-hand stores for ‘treasures’ with amazing patinas and shapes.