Saturday, December 31, 2011

DIY custom size your nose ring hoop

Custom Sizing your hoop-

want a slightly smaller nose ring hoop? there's no need to exchange/buy another one if you are ok with having me lead you through how to size it down yourself.....

Supplies Needed:
Nail clippers
Nail file

1)trim a small (1/8” or less at a time) piece off of the un-balled end of your nose ring (use nail clipper- it should be strong enough to cut this thinness of silver)

2)once you have the perfect size use your nail file to sand the clipped end smooth

3) slip onto pencil point and bend your hoop closed again ( this will keep your round shape for you)

That should do the trick- I also have a little video on how to properly open and insert your nose ring - it's on YouTube at;

If you want a new sterling Nose ring hoop, I do have them always in stock in 22g and 20 g thicknesses- please visit my Etsy shop at: to see what's in stock!

and if you want to keep up with my newest designs: 
Cosmo’s Moon Jewelry on Facebook:

Ciao- Maureen

Friday, December 16, 2011

Stolen designs? Use Social media!

I'm involved in a few groups of highly talented jewelry designers and metalsmiths. Many of us sell our work online, or at least exhibit images of our work online. This leaves us vulnerable to be copied by big foreign "companies" that are trolling the internet and craft markets for designs to rip off. It is a big problem, for both the designer and the public who are duped by these scammers.

stop © theft in the arts!

Designers of course are being ripped off- their creativity being xeroxed and slapped on an inferior "product", which is equal to outright theft. Customers of these copycat outfits are partially to blame, because they have bought into the theft , lured by false promises and shoddy imitation. It's nothing new- Nike, Luis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, Pucci and Fiorucci have all had their designs stolen and sold on the street. The only real difference is that now the pirates are pillaging individual artists instead of corporations (which have the power of lawyers and the money to protect their goods and ideas).

What can a single artist do? Many of us are already undervaluing our work  and so doing are under paying ourselves. Even in good times thinking of coming up with thousands to commence a legal defense is usually out of the question.
What can we do? USE SOCIAL MEDIA to spread the word!

We are freshly entering a new era- Illustrated by global changes such as the Arab Spring and protest movements such as the Occupy movement.  One person can effectively disseminate information worldwide with very little effort in very little time.

One well written blog post that is shared, one tweet re-tweeted many times, posts in all group pages, across all social media platforms with links and images and discussions can be the starting point for illumination- We as artists can shine the light on this problem, flush out the cockroaches hiding in the corners and effectively educate and warn our communities and customers. All there needs to be is a plan.

So- this is what I propose- (as a start) ......
Anytime a piece is found to be illegally copied (ripped off) GET LOUD!
Post as many specifics that you can without opening yourself up for legal problems yourself (put the spotlight on the specific company/entity.)
Let other artists know what is going on-
ask for a re-post or re-tweet.
Artists- Re-post! the longer the chain of shares and re-tweets the more information is spread through the community, which will keep the conversation going, keep the community vigilant and bring us together as a force to be reckoned with.

Above all- don't let the assholes get you down. Copycats have been around since the dawn of mankind, it's not going away. There is even a truism that says that copying is a form of flattery. (though someone who is losing business because of these rip off hyenas certainly isn't flattered, they are irate- for damn good reason!)

Power to the artists, come together as a community- let's keep this topic on the front burner and get organized to help protect our original designs!

And customers, remember- cheaper really does mean cheaper. If you value handmade, the artist has to get paid!

ciao- Maureen BZ
Founder, "Metalsmiths Unite!"

Monday, December 5, 2011

December news from the BZ Homestead

this pic is from a few years ago- an oldie but a goodie!
Hi Everyone-

FYI: Maureen needs mending
I am going in to the hospital on Thursday Dec 8 to have surgery on my 2 ruptured discs in my neck. (an artifact from my many years of being a test pilot for ornery ponies)
This will put me out of commission for a few weeks. I am going to keep my etsy shop open but will have some delay in shipping after this Thursday (I don't know how I will be feeling about standing in lines at the post office, so I will be bribing my best friend and Husband to take packages there for least until the chocolate runs out)

RE: My holiday schedule for shipping/shop closure schedule........
(for )
I will be closing for the Christmas break starting on Monday Dec 19th.  
LAST DAY FOR SHIPPING before Christmas is December 20.
I will re-open the shop on Monday December 26.
Thank you for all of your support this year- I really appreciate it- Have a wonderful Holiday season- Merry Christmas,Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanzaa, Buon Solstice, Auguri and Cheers to you all
 <3 Maureen

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Hi Ho Holiday sale!

My  Etsy shop, "Cosmo's Moon Jewelry" ( ) Is having a Holiday Sale!! prices on Bracelets and Pendants are marked down 15% for Thanksgiving weekend! Shipping is FREE to the USA, and very reasonable everywhere else. Get your Holiday shopping done early and Choose from a beautiful variety of handmade lovelies while they are in stock!
(sale ends Cyber Monday Nov 28 at midnight MST)
I have another show on Dec 3rd, where many pieces are sure to be sold- this is your best chance to get the piece that you've had your eye on (or to send a wish list to your honey for your holiday gift)
I've also got Gift Certificates available this year as well- Perfect for that someone you know who LOVES fabulous jewelry and Loves to choose their special piece themselves.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving to all my US readers- and to those of you from afar, have a great Thursday!
Ciao- Maureen
ps- please feel free to share this post on your wall/tweet/email a link to your friends.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November December news!

CosmosMoonJewelry banner image

Open studio and Holiday Sales

Hi there- Now that the candy and costumes are behind us I thought I'd take the time to update you on the goings on here at Cosmo's Moon...

Cosmo's Moon studio has New designs for Fall/Winter 2011- This season I've added Sugar Skull designs (straight from the desert southwest) , Snails Lady bugs and Monster heads (for great kid's gifts) a beautiful Cuff bracelet featuring scenes from the Holidays in Florence Italy (available in Brass, White bronze, and Steriling Silver -by special order) and for our foodie friends a Bottle and Goblet design called "in Vino Veritas" (In wine, truth).

Plus, of course I also have a new collection of my classic strap bracelet, cuffs and chain bracelets, a variety of gear pendants, unique handmade rings and one of a kind designs.

In November I will have a few events that you may want to mark on your calender.

the first it the annual Tucson Open Studio Tour, which takes place Nov 12 + 13 from 11-5pm both days. I will be there in my garden studio (which will get it's annual cleaning for the occasion) and I'll have a large selection of work for sale - in fact, this is kind of the preview to my larger sale (at the Tucson Museum of Art ) the next weekend. I will have the largest inventory during Open Studios - If you have your eye on something, you may want to pounce Now or during the Open studio event- because after Open Studios, I'll be at the Tucson Museum of Art annual Artisan's Marketplace (the TMA sale) for three days of busy craft market!

The TMA sale will be held from
Nov 18, 2011 through Nov 20, 2011
10:00 am - 5:00 pm

New this year! Tucson Museum of Art's annual Holiday Artisans' Market is newly expanded featuring more artisans, food vendors, a kids play area, a live music stage, and more! Museum galleries featuring the highly anticipated exhibition: Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present will be free and open to the public all weekend. Bring the whole family for a fun filled afternoon at the Museum!

The following weekend ( November 24-27th) is Thanksgiving weekend- I will be enjoying this with my friends and family in Tucson this year. I will have work available for sale by appointment only on "Black Friday" and throughout the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend. If you want to schedule an appointment to come and shop at my studio please contact me at and we can set a time and date!

And my final sales event this season will happen on Saturday December 3rd at the Tucson Waldorf School's Holiday Craft fair. This event is near and dear to my heart- Our son Cosmo goes to this wonderful school, and I cannot say enough about how much we love it there. This fair will be a perfect outing for the family- there will be games and activities for children, handmade crafts and family friendly homespun entertainment. This event is also a great opportunity to learn about the school and to see the beautiful new buildings on the River road campus.

After all of those events, I will be taking a break, taking care of myself and family - and will have my work available only through my online shop at through the Holiday season.

Dates to remember:
Nov 12-13....................Tucson Open Studio Tour
Nov  18-20...................Tucson Art Museum Artisan's Marketplace
Nov 24.........................Thanksgiving
Nov 25- Dec appointment and online sales
Dec 3...........................Tucson Waldorf school Craft Fair
Dec 4- sales (mailed in time for Christmas)
Thank you for your interest in my Creations!
Edgy, earthy, handmade jewelry direct from the artist's studio.
Indie design meets old world craftsmanship and quality,
influenced by the beauty of Arizona's Sonoran desert and the cobblestone streets of Florence Italy...that's Cosmo's Moon.

ciao- Maureen Brusa Zappellini- owner, designer, metalsmith

Sunday, October 16, 2011

a Horse a Horse

My kingdom for a Horse! or Queendom, if you want to be picky..:-)
I've now listed a pendant design that I am resurrecting
It's a piece I originally designed in the early 90's- I used to make these as pins- (well, similar to this, I've done a bit of subtle refining on the design. ) but now I'm re-working them and making them as pendants (because I tend to wear pendants more than pins now- not very many jackets and pins needed here in the sunny southwest- plus, I think pendants are much more popular)

I love this Horse- and I find that I can "read" it as a few different characters- the Event horse, coming off a drop fence during cross country, a Cave drawing horse, a frolicking pony in the paddock, a bucking rodeo horse, a Lippizaner performing airs above the ground, a reining horse setting up for a sliding stop.... It is the essence of an exuberant equine- and for me, that's one of the most beautiful things in the world

I wore one in brass today when I went to the TRAK fall festival. that's a really great place to bring your kids, by the way. (TRAK, by the way is short for "Theraputic Ranch for Animals and Kids", and is located at 3230 North Craycroft Road, Tucson, AZ 85712 phone #(520) 298-9808

My favorite part of the TRAK event was the "horse apple bingo"- the paddock was sectioned off in a grid, you bought a ticket for the section, at 2 pm the horses were let out in the paddock and where the first "horse apple" was "deposited" the owner of the square won a flat screen TV! I've never seen so many people excited about horses pooping! LOL , no I didn't win :-P

Monday, October 10, 2011

Tucson, we have a problem

well, I have a problem. This past year I've been struggling with pain issues due to a couple of ruptured discs in my neck. It has forced me to rein in my activities some, and I've dropped a few projects (Box a Month was one casualty).
At this point I've done everything non surgical to try to get relief from the pain that is coming from a pinched nerve(s) on my left side. It has made my left arm numb and increasingly painful. After exhausting all other therapies it is evident that I either live with constant nauseating pain or I go under the knife for a discectomy.
my "good side"
I have an appointment with a pain specialist this week, and surgery scheduled for early December (which may get moved up if they can't find a way to make me somewhat comfortable between now and then)
I just wanted to let you know what was going on- I know I haven't been posting much on my blogs lately, and this is the reason why.
I'll be fine I'm sure- but until then- I've got to rest and take care of myself so I can be a good mom for my sweet kiddo.
ciao- Maureen the ruptured disc queen

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Copper show! (call to enter)

Hi everyone-
About a month ago I was asking for people to come up with a list of artists who work primarily in copper- Here's the reason why! I wanted to get people to start thinking about this upcoming show.
It will be one of the SNAG (Society of North American Goldsmiths) sponsored shows that will be held in Phoenix next May during the SNAG conference.

I encourage you all to submit your amazing creations that feature copper as it's main (75%) material.
The SNAG shows are an excellent way to get exposure within our field and the surrounding community. Mesa arts center (where the show will be held) is already a hub of cultural activity in the greater Phoenix area, so we are thrilled that they will be a huge part of the conference- they will be holding multiple exhibitions at their beautiful venue- and they throw magnificent openings!

Here is the text of the Call to Enter: please feel free to share this with any copper artists/ groups that you think may be interested. We are thrilled to have master Vessel maker/copper smith David Huang as the juror, and we are looking forward to a magnificent show!
thanks in advance for your entries -
Maureen BZ (+ Danielle Embry and Charity Hall- exhibitions committee for SNAG Phoenix 2012)

CU|29: Contemporary Work in Copper
Call for Entries

In conjunction with the Society of North American Goldsmith's (SNAG) 2012 Conference in
Phoenix, Arizona, Mesa Art Center is presenting the exhibition, CU|29: Contemporary Work
in Copperfrom April 6 to August 12, 2012.  Copper, our 29th element, is prized for its excellent
malleability, conductivity, and ductility. Arizona is the leading copper-producing state in the
This juried exhibition will feature contemporary artwork that is made primarily of copper. 
In addition to contemporary work, the exhibition will highlight exquisite copper vessels created
in Santa Clara, Mexico borrowed from several private collections throughout the region. Mesa
Contemporary Arts will be showcasing five exhibitions during SNAG and will be a destination
spot during the Friday night gallery crawl.

Juror: David Huang is a renowned metalsmith known for his raised copper vessels. Widely
exhibited throughout the U.S, David Huang’s work is in many private collections and museum
collections, including the Muskegon Museum of Art and the Kamm Teapot Collection. 
Publications include 500 Metal Vessels –Contemporary Explorations of Containmentby Lark
Books (2007) and “Inquire Within: The Holloware of David Huang” , published in Metalsmith
Magazine(2008). He currently lives and maintains a studio in western Michigan.

Eligibility: Open to any artist working in copper. Pieces submitted for consideration must be
original in design and composed of at least 75% copper. Artwork may include but is not limited
to jewelry, vessels, sculpture, and wall pieces.

Submissions: Artists may submit up to 3 artworks for consideration for a $25 fee. Entries must
be submitted as digital images in JPEG format on a CD. Image resolution must be 200 dpi, with
6” as the longest dimension.  Digital images should be named as follows:
LastName.EntryNumber.jpg  (EX: Doe.1.jpg) Detail shots should be labeled as follows.
LastName.EntryNumber a.jpg (EX: Doe1a.jpg) Limit detail shots to 1 per piece.  Also, include a
PDF document on the CD that contains Artist contact information (name, address, phone
number, email) AND the following information for each piece:
Artist Name
Entry Number
Label this file as: LastName.pdf  (EX: Doe.pdf)
Submissions and the $25 entry fee, payable to Arizona Designer Craftsmen, must be
received by November 18, 2011.

Mail entries to:
SNAG Exhibitions Committee
c/o Charity Hall
P.O. Box 3615
Tucson, AZ 85722

Transportation/Shipping:Artists are responsible for transportation of work to Mesa
Contemporary Arts. Artworks may be hand-delivered to MCA or shipped to arrive on or before 5
pm March 16, 2012. Work being shipped must be packed in a re-usable shipping container.
Artists are responsible for checking with their shipper regarding insurance and correct packing
procedures. Mesa Contemporary Arts will not be responsible for breakage because of incorrect
packing or insufficient container. Artists will be notified of work that arrives in damaged
condition. Cost of shipping artwork to the exhibition is the artist’s responsibility; MCA will pay
for return shipping and insurance of artwork within the contiguous United States, via standard
UPS only. If any other carriers are requested for the return, the artist will be responsible for the
cost and scheduling.

Liability:Insurance will be carried by the City of Mesa on all works for the duration of the show
(April 6 to August 12, 2012).  The usual exclusions will apply for loss or damage which occur by
any event beyond the control of the City.

Agreement:The artist agrees to maintain entry for the duration of the exhibition. Submission of
an entry constitutes permission to photograph work for publicity and educational purposes. All
entries must be of original design and personal execution.  Artwork may be for sale atthe artist’s
discretion.  A 25% commission will be retained by MCA on all sales.

November 18, 2011 Submissions must be received
January 15, 2012Artists will be notified of acceptance/denial via email
March 16, 2012Work must arrive at the Mesa Contemporary Arts by 5 pm
May 25, 2012Member’sVIP Reception: 6-7 pm;Public Reception: 7-9 pm
April 6-August 12, 2012 Exhibition Dates. Work will be shipped out for return during
the week of August 27th, 2012.

Questionsmay be directed to

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Put a Skull on it!

click on image to go to listing for this Skull pendant

It's the end of summer, and around Tucson the creative community begins to conjure up their creations for the annual All Souls procession for Dia de los Muertos (day of the dead, a Mexican holiday honoring loved ones who have passed away) It's a big deal in Tucson- and it also marks the time of year when we are finally able to enjoy cooler weather- essentially, Late October is our "Spring is sprung" time- when everyone rejoices in being able to spend some time outside after a very long scalding hot summer.

While NYC is the "Big Apple", Boston has chowder, and Portlandia creates "put a bird on it!", Tucson is a Skull town, with a rich Mexican traditions that permeate the hardened dusty soil..... Put a Skull on it Tucson! :-)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

In Vino Veritas

click on image to be taken to the shop listing for this piece
Perfect gift for wine enthusiasts! Sterling silver Sommelier's adornment- depicts a bottle pouring into a goblet with the words "In Vino Veritas" (In Wine Truth) engraved in the silver surfaces. This piece is a whimsical and elegant necklace that conveys your passion for fine wine and food. New design for Fall 2011

pendant Bottle- 1 3/4" x 1/2" Goblet 1" x 1/2"
strung on a beautiful 17" stainless steel mesh chain that is adjustable to 16" (Longer chain can be special ordered- please contact me vie Etsy for details)

I currently have only 2 of these on hand, and will be also posting a pair of earrings (mismatched, one bottle one goblet) later this week. This piece will also be available in other metals,I'm hoping to have them in stock for the holidays in brass and gold (gold is by special order only)

"In Vino Veritas" - "In wine, truth"- click here to read more about this ancient saying

Salute!- Maureen

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Arizona Designer Craftsmen and SNAG conference 2012

This is an AZ Metal Artist Call for Entries In conjunction with the Society of North American Goldsmith's (SNAG) 2012 conference in Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix Airport Museum is presenting the exhibition, Metals and More
February 24, 2012 – September 30, 2012 Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

To the Artist: Phoenix Airport Museum is seeking artworks crafted of metal or alternative materials from artists working in metalsmithing and/or jewelry. The artworks may include but are not limited to jewelry, vessels, sculptures and wall pieces. Artworks will be chosen by Phoenix Airport Museum curatorial staff based on how well the piece shows an understanding of the medium and mastery of techniques used.

Eligibility: Arizona artists working in the metal arts field that are members of Arizona Designer Craftsmen (ADC) and/or SNAG may submit a maximum of four artworks for consideration. Completed and/or proposed works may be entered. Original artworks by artists working in the metal arts field will be considered.

Submission: Submissions must be received by Friday, October 14, 2011 and include the following:
A cover letter of intent listing artworks for consideration along with descriptions, dates, dimensions and materials Artist contact information including name, address, phone number and email address Images of completed and/or proposed artworks (on a CD and printed out) Brief artist statement about the particular work

Questions may be directed to or 602-273-2105
Images: A maximum of 12 images may be submitted – four artworks plus two details per artwork. Images must be digital; on a CD in JPEG format, 200 dpi and sized approximately 4 x 6”. Include a print out of all the images. Digital images must contain artist’s last name and title of artwork in the file name.

Transportation/Shipping: Artists are responsible for transportation of work to Phoenix Airport Museum. Artworks may be hand-delivered to the Museum’s off-site facility or shipped. Work being shipped must be packed in a re-usable shipping container. Artists are responsible for checking with their shipper regarding insurance and correct packing procedures. Phoenix Airport Museum will not be responsible for breakage because of incorrect packing or insufficient container. Artists will be notified of work that arrives in damaged condition. Cost of shipping artwork to the exhibition is the artist’s responsibility; Phoenix Airport Museum will pay for return shipping via FedEx unless otherwise indicated by the artist at time of acceptance.

Liability: Insurance will be carried by the City of Phoenix on all works while in possession of Phoenix Airport Museum.
Agreement: The artist agrees to maintain entry for the duration of the exhibition. Submission of an entry constitutes permission to photograph work for publicity and educational purposes. All entries must be of original design and personal execution. Phoenix Airport Museum reserves the right to refuse an entry if upon arrival the work is found to be poorly executed or inappropriate for public display.

October 14, 2011 November 18, 2011 February 3, 2012 February, 24 – September 30, 2012 October 1 – October 12, 2012

All submissions must be received Artists will be notified by email of acceptance/non-acceptance Accepted works must be received Duration of exhibition Return of artwork
Send submissions to: Phoenix Airport Museum 3400 E. Sky Harbor Blvd.
T-3, L-3, west mezz. Phoenix, AZ 85034

Friday, September 2, 2011


A few weekends ago we took a trip to Arcosanti Arizona. Arcosanti is a remarkable living laboratory project that was conceived by Italian architect and sculptor Paolo Soleri (b 1919). In this blog post I will give a short review of our stay and point anyone interested to the Arcosanti website for information about this inspiring project.

A view of the main building holding the Bakery, Cafe, Gallery and Reception area

The most simple way to describe Arcosanti would be that it is an experimental city being constructed by volunteers from around the world (most often architects, artists and free thinkers). It is currently housing between 20-100 residents, who live and work there year round as volunteers and students of the philosophies of Arcology .The Website for Arcosanti will also tell you about their beautiful silt cast bells and has a detailed schedule of their exciting performances and events .

a selection of bronze silt cast bells available in the shop

A short history:
 "In 1970, the Cosanti Foundation began building Arcosanti, an experimental town in the high desert of Arizona, 70 miles north of metropolitan Phoenix. When complete, Arcosanti will house 5000 people, demonstrating ways to improve urban conditions and lessen our destructive impact on the earth. Its large, compact structures and large-scale solar greenhouses will occupy only 25 acres of a 4060 acre land preserve, keeping the natural countryside in close proximity to urban dwellers." (from the Arcosanti Website

We decided to visit Arcosanti after hearing about the incredible performances that are held there on a regular basis.Not being a huge fan of crowds I thought it would be interesting to go there during a "down time"- in the heat of the summer- to simply experience the setting (and to "cambiare aria" (change air) before settling into our school routine for the year. )

Daisy by the pool. Note the "pod like" artist studio with circle windows in the distance

I think it was a good choice, because we had a peaceful few days, however, the heat was quite oppressive so I'm thinking that we would not go in August again. I really have a hard time dealing with extreme heat (though I live in Arizona) so I did more reading than hiking. (Cosmo and his Dad hiked in the early mornings).

There is also a pool on site that we very much enjoyed at the end of the long hot days. I look forward to going back in the cooler months to experience the trails and landscape more completely. I could even see going by myself for a few days in order to retreat and work on a project.
MBZ in the "vaults" - the largest performance/meeting space at Arcosanti

One idea I have is for interested participants of next year's SNAG (Society of North American Goldsmiths) conference to take a field trip to Arcosanti to observe their foundry and daily silt cast bell production. At the very least, I would recommend a visit to the Cosanti foundation (closer to the conference, in Scottsdale) which is Paolo Soleri's home and sculpture studio. (Cosanti is also open to the public and has daily tours.)

Arcosanti Arizona is located about 35 miles east of Prescott and a little over an hour north of Phoenix. (It took us about 3 1/2 hours to drive there from Tucson) For more information see
and you can also find the Arcosanti project on Facebook at

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

New colorful Designs that don't break your piggy bank!

I've just started listing some new pieces in my etsy shop that I've designed to be perfect for every day "go to" pieces - and I've made sure to keep them in the economical "perfect for a gift" under $40 range.

Here are a few new pieces- Colorful disc earrings (soon available in many more colors)
Copper, brass and sterling disc earrings, colored with durable powder coating enamel paint

Another new design are these small forged sterling silver hoop earrings with disc beads. These earrings are great for both men and women (and will soon have a large variety of colors as well)

And, have you noticed how expensive silver has become? I thought it would be a good idea to give my customers a less expensive option- I have been stocking things in bronze, but have now decided to make these pieces also in yellow Brass- which has a great bright yellow color. 

Here are a pair of my gorgeous Ying Yang hoops, now available in brass!

OK- that's it for today- I will post my next batch of new offerings soon- I'm stocking my shop for the winter season- trying to get everything done and on line before I go back to work as a goldsmith for my winter-spring job. (when I have much less time for creating new designs)

Thanks for looking- I hope you are having a great summer
ciao- Maureen 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Newpaper Feature

The Tucson newspaper (The Daily Star) ran a feature article on me last Friday-
my studio- draped for summer coolness

I thought I'd share it with you- here is the link . There is a good image of my signature strap bracelets and an artsy picture of me working at the bench (yes, I like working in a darkened room)
Thanks for reading- please feel free to share this with your creative friends:-) ciao- Maureen

Thursday, July 14, 2011

the hissing of summer lawns

Well, it's monsoon season again in Southern AZ- last week we had a series of storms every afternoon- it was exactly the thing that us Tucsonans long for at this time of year- Clouds and rain!

I know, it's strange to love clouds and rain- especially if you are from another part of the planet- I remember when I moved here from Boston (almost 20 years ago)that I thought I could never get enough sunshine...and the old timers would shake their heads and give a knowing laugh...
"Oh, just wait , little Yankee Girl..that sun will get you!" And they were right.

It's almost cumulative- those first few years here I think I was still thawing out from my years in New England. I was outside all summer long- be it 100* or more- riding my horse- hanging out with friends by their pool (they were in the shade)...and enduring each drive in my non-air conditioned 66 Plymouth Fury with a sense of adventure. Hey, I was innocent! I had yet to arrive at the crossroads- I was still thawing out.

Around 3 years in- I finally had enough. enough heat, enough HISSSSSS of the cicadas hanging out in the mesquite trees, enough of being burned by my steering wheel. Enough already of the heat! I was ready to move on- go back to New England- and perhaps get a Masters degree. So- I lined everything up- get tickets to fly to Boston to scout out living possibilities-  and you know what happened? Two weeks before I was scheduled to fly, I had a chance meeting with a very handsome Italian Physicist. He worked for the U of A- we were married within a year, and have now have been listening to the Cicada Symphony for 16 years together.

I have to say I still mind the heat- 100+ degrees - even if it is a Dry Heat- is still 100+ degrees. an oven is and oven is an oven. I even "cooked" a kid  in the Tucson summer- Cosmo will turn 9 on July 24.

But there is a certain weird camaraderie between Tucson's summer society. we give each other "knowing" looks as we scan the skies for clouds.
It's a Tucson thing, you may not understand......however.....
You May be from Tucson if.....................
  • You can pronounce”Saguaro”, “javelina”, “San Xavier”, “Ina”, “Tanque Verde”, and “Cholla”
  • from June-October you can fry an egg on the hood of your car
  • Bragging season? October-April
  • Whining season? May- October
  • You think someone driving wearing oven mitts is clever.
  • You think 60 tons of crushed red rock makes a beautiful yard.
  • Vehicles with open windows have the right-of-way in the summer.
  • You no longer associate bridges or rivers with water.
  • You know a swamp cooler is not a happy hour drink.
  • You can hear the weather forecast of 110 degrees without flinching.
  • You can make sun tea instantly.
  • The best parking is determined by shade…..not distance.
  • You know that “Valley Fever” isn’t a disco dance.
  • Hotter water comes from the cold water tap than the hot one.
  • You actually burn your hand opening the car door.
  • Sunscreen is sold year round, kept right at the checkout counter.
  • You put on a hat and fresh sunscreen just to go check the mail box.
:-) ciao ciao- Enjoy the Monsoooooooons- MaureenBZ

Thursday, July 7, 2011

June's Box a Month

Here are a few images of the latest in my "Box a Month" series 2011. 

I have given myself a personal challenge to create a handmade metal box or container every month this year- It is a challenge I created for myself to stretch my metalsmithing and design skills to a different (larger than jewelry) scale. I also am keeping my pewtersmithing skills sharp by re-visiting my pewter bench on a monthly basis. I'm enjoying the challenge of working bigger, and am hoping to continue this project throughout the year. My wish would be to have a show that exhibits my box a month collection at the end of the year.

"Octo Krakken Portal Box" June 2011
It's hand fabricated in pewter with a domed and patinaed copper hinged lid. and resin coated pewter tentacles
This piece has a hidden compartment inside the box (a box within a box) to hold secret treasures/ valuables.
Measurements are 4 1/2"x 5 1/2" round

opening the portal

This container has a hidden "Box within a box" compartment, shown here- I always love to make a little surprise in these pieces- I feel that it adds a special-ness to the object (similar to how cool it was to find a hotwheels car with doors that know that feeling, right?) here are a few images that show the hidden compartment...

Oh, and one more thing about this piece...I developed a latex allergy halfway through completing this box. I found out about it after spending 20 minutes with latex gloves on (while working with the resins on the box's tentacles). I worked those 20 minutes- closed my studio and went to bed- when I woke up the next morning my hands were bright res and blistered! I've heard of allergies "coming out of nowhere"- and now I believe it!

Anyhow- here's a pic of my hands (and the bottom of the box) one week after the initial reaction...Yikes!   I'm happy to say that my hands are now looking much better- 10 days after the fact. I've thrown out my latex gloves, bought some nitril gloves instead, and am looking into allergy websites to get information on what I should now avoid because of this new reaction.

I'm learning something new all the time! All's well that end's well-
ciao for now- Maureen

PS- yes, I will be listing these box a month pieces in my etsy shop soon- I will announce their posting in my Facebook fan page at!/cosmosmoon
Come join Cosmo's Moon fans by clicking "like" on the Facebook page, where I reveal sales, open studios, Etsy discounts and coupon codes and introduce "sneak peeks" of my latest designs!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

featured on

It's such a nice surprise to be featured on another website-

This week I was honored to be featured at "Pocket Change" at a shopping resource site called Click Here to see the page
Thank you to whoever picked my page for the feature- I always appreciate the exposure!

I hope you all are having a great summer-

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

red hook

red hook  by cosmosmoonjewelry
red hook , a photo by cosmosmoonjewelry on Flickr.
Here I am Modeling my embossed and spray-painted aluminum "hook" earrings- They are a new style that I'm really loving to make (and wear) I love big earrings, but don't like the feeling of being dragged down by heavy earrings. I can recall some very sore earlobes in the '80's when I wore a pair of big blue glass and brass earrings that were amazing, but super super heavy. That was 20+ years ago and I STILL remember it!
These earrings are also versatile - they can be worn hooked front (like here) or back- and because they are aluminum they are big but LIGHT! (sterling silver ear wires)
I'm listing a few of these tonight (in red and green (they glow in the dark too!)
I mean, come on....who doesn't like Glow in the dark? :-)
I hope you are having a great summer- We are facing 111* here in Tucson tomorrow... I am setting up the pool tonight!

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Trail Ride bracelet

A unique and artistic Horse and Nature Bracelet. Inspired by the many hours of trails I rode on when I was  kid. And dedicated to the great trail horses in the world who give us their best with generosity that literally shaped civilization. Think about it- where would we be without the assistance and devotion of horses?
click on picture to be taken to this bracelet's Etsy listing
They certainly brought me on a journey in more ways than one! yes, I learned responsibility,  devotion, a good work ethic, humility, and gave me a profound love of the natural world. (and while I'm at it, to be truthful, they also did a number on my vertebrae...which I am dealing with currently- actually, I only blame one bratty pony for my current tender neck...his name was Sprite- and he used to throw me after every jump by yanking his head down for grass....little brat!)
me, on pony- NO HELMET! (it was the early 70's) and my sister Amanda. My first riding lesson :-) 

Anyhow- I do love my equine friends- and I miss the ritual of the end of the day, going out to the barn while my horse munched on hay- and just listening to the munch munch munch of contented horse teeth.

please give your ponies a smooch on their velvet nose for me!- <3 M

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Confession and regrets

OK- it's been about a week since the SNAG conference in Seattle- last week at this time I was dining with a group of fabulous people from the conference in a great restaurant- trying to figure out what exactly a "dunkle" was..(lol, I still don't quite know, but I think it's like a turkey duck chicken thing)

Anyways- I'm writing this because I have a regret and confession- While I did go to the SNAG conference I feel like I really didn't even see half of the speakers- and I don't know why! Well, one thing was that I was kind of at the end of a longer trip- I went up early to teach a the end of the week I was missing my family and dog really acutely. so, there's homesickness... And then my !!*^)^?***&(* neck started acting up again. (disc issues, long boring store- suffice to say OUCH!)

I'm really baffled how I could have gone to the conference- and not have seen so many things! I don't know- I think I kind of "checked out" when I saw how many people were there (over 900 attended).
I don't like crowds- but I've never been really phobic (I don't think) but maybe that had something to do with it- feeling a little displaced, hurting and kind of tired....OY VEY I'm kind of angry with myself for missing out on so many tidbits!

well- I did have a really good time- Maybe the trick will be to actually stay IN THE SAME HOTEL as the conference- even though I was only about 5 blocks away it was a disconnect- perhaps I could have left my heavy laptop in my room and returned every once in a while if I needed.

Le so< I guess what I want to say is- I'm sorry I didn't get to see/do everything I wanted- and I know there were more than a few people I really wanted to connect with but for some reason didn't. 

OK- now that this is off of my brain I'm going to stop beating myself up about it and move ahead- Next year is the Phoenix conference- and I'm working on getting a few things together for that one- I will stay at the hotel- will most likely have my hubby and son with me and if we can- I'm bringing my Daisy dog too- she's my rock.

If I missed you at the conference- sorry- I hope you had a delightful time! And I'll look forward to seeing you online , at the Yuma Symposium, and/or in Phoenix next May!
ciao ciao for now- Maureen
PS- have you heard the Whaley studios interviews from the conference?
Jay did a great job chatting with a bunch of interesting SNAGsters-
I even got a shot at the mike- My interview is about 3/4 of the way through the DAY2 interviews (right after Rachel Timmins and before Andrea and Les from NC Black) check out all the interviews Here

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

post SNAG hangover

Last week I attended the SNAG conference in Seattle Washington with about 900 other metalsmiths. It was one of the largest conferences ever- and incredible to see that quantity of talent in one (big) room together.
I considered Blogging during the conference but decided that it would be better to simply direct you to some friend's blogs, who were diligently working on blogging the conference. so...
here are a couple of links....

 fromWinona Johnson-
The semi- official Flickr group-
The Crafthaus blogs from Jillian Moore and Katja Toporski found here- (on Crafthaus)

I will hopefully be rested and ready to re-start myself in a few the mean time, I'm hanging out with my kiddo and relaxercizing in the Arizona heat.
ciao- Maureen BZ


Monday, May 23, 2011

Pewter Workshop

Yesterday I taught an intro to Pewter workshop for a lovely group of people up here in Seattle Washington. (I was introduced to them by a client that has become a friend- who is now hosting me at their gorgeous home on Camano island- just north of Seattle)
Me and the Northwest Creative Spirits guild
I really enjoy teaching- especially when I can delve into more detail with a subject. We spent the entire day on Pewter- and we could have gone for another few days easily- The entire group got a taste of working with pewter, and left the class excited to go try some stuff on their own. 
demonstrating simple pewter casting

I'm hoping to bring pewter to more curious metalsmiths in the future!
Do you have a class that is curious about working with pewter? I'd be happy to schedule a workshop!
ciao- Maureen BZ aka "your Pewter tutor" :-)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Taking risks

next weekend I'm one of the participants in the Society of North American Goldsmith's trunk show-
And I've been wondering how much experimental work I should be bringing to the trunk show-
I'll bring my one of a kind work, which is interesting and "sale-able" but the multi media stuff is pretty risky.....and I love it! in fact- I'm really feeling a move away from my more traditional metalsmithing work towards my more eclectic sculptural pieces.

Hey, I figure if I don't show it at the SNAG conference (which will be loaded with creative people with developed aesthetics) where would I consider showing it? It's kind of a leap- but I'm going to go for it- at the very least I'll be the girl with the crazy stuff on her table....(and I'm sure I won't be the only one)
Safe schmafe, I'm laying it on the line at the:
SNAG Member Trunk Show and Sale
at the Westin, Seattle

1900 5th Avenue, Seattle, WA
May 29th from 3PM until 5PM
in conjunction with the 2011 SNAG Conference - showroom location off main lobby


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Deluge

Hi there Metalsmiths -
is your email box flooded with new emails from all of your new groups? mine is!
As much as I love my groups and getting mail I find swimming through those emails in order to find "real" emails a bit of a mess, so I've decided to turn off the email notices from a few of my groups.....Don't worry- you will still get Facebook notifications- they just won't send stuff to your email account :-)
sometimes you just have to tweak things a bit...

Adjusting your email and notification settings- with the "upgraded" groups
here's the way to do it:
for those who are part of this group or would like to be, but don't want your mailboxes flooded with notifications...

  1. go to Edit Settings(top left of this page) and deselect Email notifications. then save settings

You're not done yet!- in order for you to really turn them off you need to jump through a few more hoops......

2. Under the "email notifications to: youremail@blah blah blah" you will see
 "to turn off all emails, edit your notification settings"- (click there)

(you will be taken to another larger window with a long list of settings for your Profile, Groups, Pages...etc)

3. scroll down to "groups"-then click "change email settings for individual groups" ( it's the last thing listed-in blue text)

4. there you should go to another window that has a list of your groups- The groups that you want to get emails from , check the box- the groups that you do not want to get emails from Uncheck the box.

5. at this point you need to click "save settings" and that should do the trick...until Facebook changes around more things, which will drive me crazy once again....

Please forgive me if you have had too many notifications from this group- it is Facebook's doing- I'm simply the humble metalsmithing messenger :-), trying hard not to get to the point of introducing my Mac to "Mr Hammer...LOL

ok- that's all for now- I'm off to slay the dragons!
ciao- Maureen

Facebook Flubs it again

Dear Facebook users-
Click the image to go to the "original" Metalsmiths Unite group
re: the archiving of your already established group....(I just went through this with my group of over 1200 members, Metalsmiths Unite)

if you are an administrator of a "group to be archived"
I just wanted to let you know how the whole thing worked out for us- because you may save yourself a lot of hassle in the long run.
last week:
  • we were informed that our page was to be archived
  • and told that if we didn't update that we would lose all of our members and most of our recent posts.
  • then we weren't given an "update" button for our group- only a link to making a new page.
Not having a date of when they would archive the page led me to believe it could happen at any time- and that I would lose the membership and information that our group had accumulated over the past 3 years....

So......I made a new group- invited my friends, notified all the members of the old group....and started re-establishing the community.....
Click on this image to go to the "new" Metalsmiths Unite 2.0 group

a week went by....and guess what? Facebook then added an "upgrade" button to the original group- making all of the re-organization absolutely a waste of time, and essentially dividing my "metalsmiths Unite" group.  (Which is now cut in two- as "Metalsmiths Unite" and Metalsmiths Unite 2.0)

Needless to say I am really irked by the way Facebook fumbled this transition- if they had given a schedule to the upcoming archiving I wouldn't have been afraid of losing my group, and if they had put an upgrade button on the group in the first place I wouldn't now be sitting on a divided group.
And I know for a fact that there are many many more groups out there that are going through the same thing-
it's as if Facebook had NO CLUE as to how to transition to a new format- and no clue as to haw to inform their users how to make the transition.

They yelled "Fire" into a crowded theater....waited as  people panicked, blew out the candle then opened the exit doors

Nice job, Facebook.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

April 2011 - la Fiorentina piccola10

Here is my piece for April's "Box a Month" (BAM!)
Hand fabricated embossed pewter box with tooled leather interior. 4" x 5" x 5".
The surface embellishment is roller printed from a pattern I created this Christmas while spending the holidays with family in Florence Italy. (I couldn't keep myself away from my makeshift studio that I maintain at our apartment)
This piece represents the refinement and rustic nature of the center of Florence- (Minus the graffiti) I will be making one with graffiti soon, I'm sure.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Metal Prices and the effect on Craft

The number says it all- today Silver prices shot up over $45 dollars an ounce. I've never seen it so high- well, never have been really tuned in when it was high before...

In late 1979 I was in 8th grade, in Durham New Hampshire. We had just moved there from Newark Delaware a few months before. One of my memories of that time was a discussion that happened in one of my classes about the rising cost of silver- This was the time when "the Hunt brothers" (Nelson and William Hunt) attempted to corner the world market in silver. Prices from Sept 1979 to January 1980 silver prices rose from $11.00 and ounce to $50 an ounce.

I recall one of my classmates very excited by this because he and his brothers had been given silver stock as a confirmation gift earlier that year. At the time- the rise in prices didn't mean much to me- it only left me with a pang of "missed opportunity" and a renewed interest in my mother's jewelry box.
(don't worry, I never took anything- I just would dream of each piece of silver making me "rich" like Richie Rich, the comic book character) 

However- this price increase that we are going through now is making me think very differently- I am now in my 25th year of working as a silversmith- I use silver every day, and it's price makes a huge difference to me and my business. I have a couple of shops online where I sell my silver and mixed metals designs- I chose to work in silver because it was an affordable way to start a career in jewelry. I also love silver's color and workability- It's one of my favorite materials- and it keeps getting more and more expensive to buy! which, in turn forces me to increase my prices in my shop...

Why? because I have to think about replacement cost of my work- if one piece sells, I need to replace it- even if that piece originally cost me $20 to make, with the increase in metals prices on the market, my replacement cost increases as well. In essence, if I sell a piece for the material cost when the silver prices were in their $20's, I would take a loss- because the piece couldn't be replaced for that price would be replaced at the current price of metals (plus manufacturing cost)

Wait....what? Manufacturing cost? That's right!- Manufacturing cost is added to metal when we go to the silver supply store and buy silver. You see, the metal has to be alloyed (alloying is when you take a pure metal and you add another metal to give a certain characteristic to the metal- for instance sterling is 92.5% pure silver mixed with 7.5% copper), Then the manufacturer makes the alloyed metals into forms, like sheet or wire. We metalsmiths in the US usually buy our sterling in these manufactured forms. (there is an argument also for making your own alloys, but that's a different subject all together, which I will leave for another time)-So, if metal prices are at 40$ an ounce- we are paying $40 plus manufacturing cost (which is variable, depending on the manufactured form) for our supplies...that's a great deal different than a few years ago when we thought $10 an ounce was outrageously expensive! 

So- as each trip to the silver store gets more and more expensive, I find myself faced with a dilemma- do I buy more silver? will it go up even more? can I afford to invest in more supplies right now, or do I have to re-consider my materials?

Well, I'm doing a little of everything- I'm not swearing off of silver completely- It is really a necessity for certain items like rings and earrings- But I'm not "stocking up" either.

It's a game that many 'smiths are engaged in right now, whether we want to be or not- the silver lining (no pun intended, but it's a good pun, huh) is that the rise of metals prices will have an effect on the value of skilled work. Hobbyists who have been flooding the silver jewelry market will be looking at their hobby supplies differently- due to the high "start up" cost of silver.

I believe that in the coming months there will be a further separation of professionals vs hobbyists, similar to the separation between those who work exclusively in gold vs those who work in silver. Effectively raising the perceived value of silver as a metal, and the idea that it is a metal mostly used by professionals.
I could be wrong, but that is where I see the trend heading.

That being said- I don't believe that this augmentation of silver prices will make "silver smithing as a hobby" become a thing of the past- it's just becoming more expensive to "start"- and therefore less new (inexperienced) craftspeople working in silver on the market.

My hope is that those of us who continue our silversmithing will raise the level of silverwork to a new level of craftsmanship- Therefore giving "new polish" to one of humankind's oldest crafts.

and, with that off my chest- I'm heading out to my studio to make some beautifully crafted pieces... in silver!
ciao- Maureen BZ

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

deadlines, good bad and ugly.

 Well, not really bad..

There are still a couple of days left for a few important deadlines-

one, we in the US know is that *taxes* thing (which is actually due on the 18th this year)

another thing you may know about is the deadline for VIDEO submissions to the SNAG Seattle (click here for more info)...which has had a DEADLINE EXTENSION until April 29th (Yay!) 

and finally-...--
the deadline which I know you are all working on (right?) is for Exhibitions proposals for the SNAG Phoenix 2012 Conference....."the Heat is On"
and that one is the most pressing, due on APRIL 15th!  Friday! 

****find out more about submitting proposals at the PDF link found HERE, under Phoenix conference**** please submit proposals! I'd love to have Metalsmiths Unite represent in Phoenix- my home state!!

(**ps, full disclosure, I'm on the exhibitions committee for the Phoenix conference)

check out the fabulous brand spanking new logo for SNAG Phoenix!

isn't that a super cool logo? or, is it Hot?

:-) ciao- Maureen

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Open Studios

It's time for the Spring Open Studio tour here in Tucson!

to find a comprehensive list of participating studios please go to Zocalo Magazine online- where you will find maps and info about the studios that will be open to tour.

I will have my space open on SATURDAY ONLY-
I'm tidying up my studio today, so that it will be spiffy clean - believe me, you don't want to see it in it's normal unruly state!

 If you are in Tucson, come on by next Saturday (the 16th) from 11-5 to see where all the magic and metalsmithing happens :-) I'd love to see you!
ciAO- Maureen

Saturday, April 9, 2011


It's patina week here on Mabel street- I brought in a bunch of samples and did a little demo in my class Wednesday morning- then today, I had a client ask about putting a patina on a pair of gauged grommets.
in short, it's the vapors that do the reaction on the metal- makes it grow a surface of blue crud aka "patina"

I thought it might be interesting for my readers to see as well- give a peek "inside the studio" for non-metalsmiths as without further ado...... Here's a quick look at putting a beautifully textured blue patina on copper-

Here's a fun project- if you have a piece of copper (you can get a plumbing part from the hardware store) take a handful of sawdust, put it in a ziplock bag- add a bit of non-sudsing ammonia (to get the sawdust damp-(not too wet) add about a 1/4 teaspoon table salt....then mix it up (shake the bag around)

put your clean copper in the bag, cover it with the sawdust solution and SEAL the bag shut to keep the ammonia vapors inside, doing their magic...every hour or so go and check on it...

take it out of the bag- and lightly rinse- being careful to not rub the surface- pat dry, put it under a light bulb to warm up and dry completely.. the piece will appear that it hadn't changed much at first, but with drying you will see some patina/changes in color.
continue to bury the piece in sawdust mixture and check every hour or so to check the color development.
stop when you are happy with the colors-----be careful not to build too heavy of a patina surface, because it will tend to chip off. (the sawdust will get pretty grungy looking after a while.. that's ok, as long as it continues to have a strong ammonia odor)
Once I'm happy with the patina color I like to seal my patinas with either clear butcher's wax , renaissance wax, or a light application of clear spraypaint/fixitive (very light application only)

it's best to experiment with patinas on small sample pieces before you dive in and try to patina an important piece-

remember to use good ventilation, the fumes are really strong!

This is just one way to develop color on metal- there are many tutorials online and in books- There are many patina recipes and techniques- and many opinions... :-) it's up to you to decide which works for you, and how you want to use it.

Patinas are surface color only- they don't go "into" the metal, they cling to the surface- When you design a piece for patina make sure you don't use them for anything that will get lots of wear and tear (like a ring) or, if you do put it on an exposed area, you need to put a protective structure on top of it to avoid abrasion...

take lots of notes, do some variations (use distilled water/add more/less salt/ammonia, change sawdust type to different coarseness/wood type) and enjoy watching your metals morph into something beautifully colorful!
top right piece is unpatinaed copper- then clockwise, blue patinaed copper with liver of sulfur base, the three samples on the left are all copper with an ammonia, salt and sawdust patina.

Have fun-
may the flux be with you- ciao- Maureen


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