Friday, January 30, 2009

new computer

I now have a new computer. Not that I was in the market for one..
I got one by default after someone (not me) spilled a cup of tea on the keyboard of my laptop.
Now , after  A week of trips to the computer store, angst , tossing and turning and grumbling I am faced with a weekend of learning how to use a Mac. Yup, I made the switch. I had heard so many negative stories about Vista that I refused to be forced to get another pc. 

so....we will now see what all the hubbub is about bub.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New Rings and "Franco SonoStanco"

" Maremekko" ring

I'm introducing a duo of solid silver rings

this week in my Etsy shop.

"Paisley Silver"

these were made during my time studying engraving
in Florence Italy.
And When I met one of my many Mentors...

My instructor is known as one of Florence Italy's most versatile
Master Jeweler.
He continues today to teach stone setting and hand engraving
4 nights a week at Fuji studios (via Guelfa). He is also the head goldmith for Graziella Jewelry, Florence Italy.

His name is Franco Benevieri,
but I always call him Franco "sono stanco"
(Franco "I'm tired"...)

He would come in and teach
5-10 of us (mostly foreign) students
the art of hand engraving and stone setting

after he put in a full days work at the bench.

Sitting in the Big arched entry hall of the studio,

smoking countless "MS" cigarettes..
sometimes listening to soccer...
He would come around to the bench and do
a quiet demo...
in simple Italian
for those who didn't yet speak the language..
All the students would leave the program with
at least a few phrases..

"fai Buchi"- drill holes,

"e' torto"- it's distorted

"fatto male"- made poorly

and if you were lucky......

"Brava"( good) usually followed by..

"coolo"- slang for lucky...
and of course,
" sono stanco",
(cause the guy works all the time
and is exhausted by the end of the day)

I got to visit him last summer..

here's a pic...
Thanks (Grazie) Franco for all of those days
that you go to teach, even when
you are "stanco morto".
Your knowledge and expertise are so valuable, and sharing it
will help many other metalsmiths continue
to uphold the standards and traditions that you teach.
I hope to see him again this summer... until then..
Fai Buchi!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

special day

Tears of Joy

My inauguration day celebration... at home with my good friend and my hubby...

Our newest President and First lady

Waving the "terrible Towel" of victory

My son's class spent the day watching the swearing in, building the white house with blocks (grade -k-1 ) and studying presidents past by sorting coins..passing on history to the next generation!

even our cat, Kikka honored Dr King's memory...
"I had a dream"


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I'm Branching OUT!

Last week I started making ear Tunnels.

First in Mokume Gane, then in circus stripe copper and silver..I'm contemplating making a pair with 18 k yellow and sterling mixed metals.. and then there is etching.... I think I will be doing some plugs soon too...

I'm feeling my urban roots..listening to loud music (the CraMPS, Tom wAITS..nICK cAVE..)

thinking a lot about days of old when I was bold..Art School days..(SMFA Boston) those freezing walks behind the MFA to get to the school..slipping and sliding on the sheets of ice that often formed there. I am feeling nostalgic, a desire for those old grungy smoke filled days. Memory has got to be selective...I know I was 85% miserable for most of those years..(ask anyone, they will tell you)but still there remains the romance of the past.

OH the Joys of Metalsmithing! one thing leads to it love it love it.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

ahh.. winter in Southern Arizona!

While most of my family toughs out winters in the Northeast and Northwest, we revel in the splendor of cloudless 70 degree days here in Tucson.
I call it bragging season....

here are a few images I took this week (for my project 365 experiment)
I met my friend Kariman in the park. She was flying a handmade kite with her son

We went for a hike at Catalina State Park, near Tucson. The mountain snow runs off into a series of streams .. that eventually ends up in the Santa Cruz river. (which is dry 85% of the time)
Rhythm and texture found in the remains of a cactus..
Before you get upset about my bragging, remember to mark your calenders for late August, when the monsoons dry up and we here in Tucson are stuck with another 2 months or so of hideous heat ..(then be sure to send me a reminder of the lovely weather you are enjoying)
what goes up must come down.
Snuggle up, put another log on the fire..I'll try my best to send some warmth your way~
ciao- Maureen

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

more thoughts about pricing

I have been thinking about the pricing question.. I wonder if there is a pattern of professionals verses hobbyists..

For myself, Metals is my profession. I try to price my work in accordance with that fact. ( and I am still trying to adjust my prices to pay myself fairly..)I simply cannot give my time and expertise away anymore.(not to mention supplies and expenses...)

Still, I understand that Metalsmithing is really FUN! and attractive to many people as a hobby. So, I respect that hobbyists want to be able to sell their work too and may not price as if they are working craftspeople.

So, I guess this is the edge of the discussion about prices today in my mind.. Professionals and Hobbyists are here together and we are all working on our passion. I think that discussions about pricing are important, and we also need to respect each other's differing circumstances and experience.Climbing down off soapbox now....Ciao!- M

Sunday, January 4, 2009


It can be difficult to juggle galleries with online sales.

I have been working as a metalsmith for 20+ years and have always struggled with the gallery/artist relationship in many ways. Online sales and Etsy have given me a new market which is very liberating.

What I do is I show my more expensive one of a kind pieces at my galleries (where customers can physically inspect each piece, and they have a better understanding of it's value of craftmanship).

Meanwhile, Etsy is a marketplace for my developing production line (which I am really enjoying!)and some older one of a kinds.

With my etsy line I can be sure that I am selling and developing my work independant of any gallery owner's bias(not having to worry if my work is avant garde enough). Meanwhile with my gallery pieces I can continue pushing the envelope of my design sensabilities.

So far, this formula has been pretty satisfying. I am always learning new things about business and am grateful that we have a forum to discuss our artistic and business development online, both here in blogs, on twitter or in forums of various craft venues online.

In a sense, this online community has replaced the art organizations that I have been affiliated with over the years (like Arizona Designer Craftsmen). Because the online community is so large I find that I am able to be much more specific about what I want to discuss and who I enjoy discussing it with. And on top of that, I don't have to suffer any more art openings with crappy wine anymore! Cheers!


I'm going to try to take an image a day from my life this year.
it is an excercise in persistance, creativity and perception.

My Studio in the late afternoon light

Shadows of the cactus outside my front door

A "parasite" palm tree growing in the hollowed out trunk of a tree trunk at Himmel Park, Tucson
I wonder if I will be able to persist in this seemingly simple self assignment...I guess only time can tell


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