Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Metalsmithing parties

Did you know that I do Parties and mini Workshops?
Yes, as a fatter of mact I do!
I have two different types of parties that offer-

The Trunk show
Aka- "I come to your place with finished jewelry to show"
I can bring my show to you while you have a few friends over for a fun night of trying on beautifully handmade jewelry. Kind of like Tupperware but way way cooler! Chat, Visit and Oogle! Find that something special for your hard to shop for friend...Fall in love with a bracelet or start building your own personal compositions with the add-a-slide bead bracelets that I created! Find that perfect pair of earrings, and the compliments will start overflowing!

The Mini Workshop

 I can come to your place, this time with tools (and a few of my own works) For those who are interested in trying their hand on metal.  I  teach the basics of handmade metalsmithing in small groups (2-4 people). You supply the Table/chairs/space and nibblings while I supply the tools, supplies and expertise- we spend a few hours together, chatting and learning- in the end you have a small piece of jewelry that you have made by hand! How neat is that?!

Interested? Book me Before it gets Busy!You can contact me, Maureen at for more details and to schedule your party

I look forward to hearing from you soon
Ciao- Maureen BZ

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Puppy Bliss

 It's a New Puppy ("Sugar Pie" or "Pi 3.14" )for the Brusa Zappellini family!                                         Here are the first moments of puppy bliss with her new BFF Daisy Doodle Brusa Zappellini.             It looks like a great match!

Friday, April 26, 2013

I Know, Don't I?

The garden of techniques in metalsmithing is vast and fascinating- Keep on exploring!

There are so many things to learn in Metalsmithing, and so many ways to get things done- I think the most important thing to learn is to use your noodle when you have a new problem- TRY not to rely on doing things the way they are "supposed" to be done (according to whom?) and instead learn how to do things the way YOU can envision things will logically work.
Of course, this tool- self confidence- comes with time and trial and errors. We all make them- it's the wise 'smith who keeps the lessons we learn ourselves to be used for future "problems".....
Yeah, I cringe when students come to the table with "I know"- because you can never be sure from where they have acquired their Knowledge.
Arrive every day at the bench with the spirit of "maybe I don't know" and you can be assured that you will learn something. Even if it is that you learn that you really really DO Know!
ya know?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Jobs, Creativity and Balance

soldering production pieces
How does one find the time to work in the studio... to have the creative energy.... after being stuck at work in a JOB all day?
One of my friends online asked today about how anyone finds the time to do work in their studio after they do their job...and if anyone else had to take boring jobs to get by while they still wished they could be creative and working in the studio...

the BZ family was founded in a Café, over espresso...
Boredom on the job??
that's pretty much how I've always made my bread and butter- just farming out my skills- as a set of creativity, I've worked as a production jeweler in various jobs- making silver forged chain, piecing together castings, cabs, and beads, making mokume, sizing rings, and now, when I am feeling strong enough, I make silver and gold pendants and earrings for a local gem cutter. Pretty stones, real pretty stones, but I'm not doing MY work, and that just irks me.

Yawn, but no coffee
Boring, yes, but I'm able to work in my field of interest, and it beats the heck out of working in cafés.(which is what I would do when I couldn't find a metals job) Working in these jobs also gave me experiences that I wouldn't have encountered if I just stayed with doing my work- I learned much about production work, about technical prowess and keeping my workspace organized. As a Barista I know how to make a pretty decent cappuccino, and I DID meet my husband while working in one of those café I guess that more than makes up for the boredom in that job...

How do I deal with the lack of time??
well. time can be pretty elusive.while I am super busy I try to do things that fit my lack of time- a couple years ago I made a series of tin foil brooches while I was too busy with everything...and my son thought that it was just brilliant, so I felt good that I inspired him in the process...

I guess there isn't really a single way to answer these questions- It's all about keeping on your toes, trying to learn something useful even when you don't see anything redeemable about the situation.
It's that Balance thing again. keep moving and adjusting to your reality- No resting on your bonny bon doon!
ciao- M

Friday, April 5, 2013

I want a Pony

Cosmo riding Trouble
Pain be damned!
When I saw the deal for trail rides at a great price in Groupon last month I just couldn't resist. It was my first Groupon, actually.
I had not been on a horse in 3 years, and that last time was just me doing an hour -walk- trot- canter- reverse- walk- trot- canter...nothing interesting, just seeing if I <> (I did- you see, I used to ride competitively on a regular basis- it was my thing---other than art)

This time I simply wanted to get on the back of a horse. I missed it, and I needed a little visit. I rode, enjoyed it- and was totally OK with staying at a walk. (for the first time since I was 9 LOL)

I wanted to make sure Cosmo got to scratch that Irish itch that I know he has. A primal love of horses. Like mother like son, we both just love them (though I got an extra huge helping of the crazy juice! thankfully he isn't half as horse crazed as I was at his age).

At the least it's Much le$$ expen$ive that way~~~~
I mean, really! did you know that lessons cost around 40-50/hr around here; Cowgirl country? home of the get along little doggie? It is! You have to be rich or crazy or both to afford lessons...not to mention the H-O-R-S-E itself! Not the actual price of the horse, (which I admit can be pretty steep...especially when we start talking about "Olympic Dressage horses..." and such) but what about that UPKEEP? A Set of shoes? Vet Bills? Feed? it all adds up.....
AND  hay is super expensive now too, In Arizona and the West especially because of the drought-  it's not like we have lush grasslands here in the desert.. Unlike how it was where and when I grew up, when it seemed every family had at least one funky broken down pony- now it's rare are the little kids with ponies..except for the lucky few who are born into Sonoita ranching families.
**ahhhh Nostalgia** if wishes were horses!
So, I'm counting on Groupon, and/or hoping that maybe I could qualify for some sort of theraputic riding program in Tucson...Anyone know any that take adults with nerve damage and no money?
:-) Still, (being the suburban girl who grew up dreaming to be a cowgirl) I believe Cosmo needs exposure to horses- (as much as possible)
I will be promoting every True horse opportunity possible- because I honestly believe that horses taught me some of the most important things in my life- They are like my "guri" for they almost all possess huge amounts of helpful generosity that is quite a gift!
Don't fret. I still haven't unpacked my fringe chaps. this is simply a possible scenario. Fact is, I enjoy working in my art studio so much that I found that I ultimately had to make a choice. Do I choose
the grit from the riding trail or do I choose the grit from the sanding sticks?
Art won.
And Horses are still Beautiful.
(and I still want a Pony)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring garden art

Here is a Panorama pic I took in my garden, of various neighboring plants.
I think it's a beautiful image- It's how I always wanted to paint, but just couldn't get it out!
Anyhow, enjoy the eye candy, of fruit and veggie plants: (in order from left to right) nectarine blossoms, carrots, artichoke, plum and fennel. Buon appetito!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Pain with a side of Crabby patties

How I wish that I knew why I am still in pain.
The Back story
It's been 2 1/2 years now  since my arm started throbbing- and then lost feeling. oh, followed by acid glass fire stabbing PAIN in my neck like I can't believe. poke poke stab....
WTF was that? that was 2 ruptured discs. Had the surgery. (Dec 2011) "double discectomy surgical fusion".
I went out of my way to find the "#1 neurosurgeon for neck issues"- you know, laid out all my info- waited an extra 3 months just to get an appointment then waited another 2 months to get on the surgical schedule.  I went to that day like a bride to the alter- nervous, yes, but also very eager to have it finally done, so I could start my life (Pain free!!) and be the Maureen that I know myself to be, when I'm not distracted by this poke poke stab stab of acid glass knife pain.

Woke to a "Successful"surgery declaration. X rays looked great, Doc was happy, sent me home, no brace, no pt, just a bottle of pills and an order to come to see him in a week. OK. So I just decided right there something was a bit...casual.
I bought a soft collar (to make myself feel more secure) and once I felt up to it called the Surgeon and asked if I could try PT- his response was a bland, "well, if you think you want to..." (and I thought, "what, think I want to have feeling back in my arm, or be able to turn my head, or not be in pain MotherF8cker??!!")OY. Now I knew the doc had some talent for cutting, but the bedside manner thingy? Nope, that part was missing. It was all I could do not to start screaming at him about how badly I was feeling- in front of all of his patients-- I know my temper can get red hot so I stopped before I got going- I did NOT want to get an assault charge!

Fast forward, 1 1/2 years later--->
Thankfully, my MRIs look good, the Drs (I've been to many more at this point) have all ruled out fibro/RSD (my sister has that terrible disease)
I am just struggling. I remind myself to take care of myself, to embrace my creative spirit and continue to create. I envision Frida Khalo in her full body cast, painting in bed. I understand why she did what she did. How can you suppress your spirit when your body is just a cage? Yes, you have to take care of the cage-I remind myself to stop and nap- sometimes (like today) I stay in bed all day to catch up on sleep that eludes me during the pain filled nights. You do what you can. there is no escape. what does it mean to have chronic pain? I live with constant (nothing has to happen for the pain to be triggered) grade 7-9 pain daily from wake to final embattled sleep (which doesn't come for days in a row) EVEN while on major narcotics- patches- EVEN acupuncture- EVEN Physical Therapy- Massage, etc etc..can't a gal catch a break? nope

To all my friends who are living with chronic pain-
How about you? did you go through hell and high water to get a diagnosis? or is this just the way it goes- we sit in limbo, scared to death about all of the news reports about pain killer overdoses and deaths.. scared that our lives will never be "normal" again? Oh, then we have to find peace with that onerous term, "the new normal"  UGH! I guess I ate some crabby patties today, but man, this sh*t is getting old!

thanks for all of your support-
for this, I am so grateful
ciao- Maureen

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Tucson Gem show 2013- Early February

 Ahhh, February In Tucson!
It has something special, really,
something for everyone- but the one thing
that I am really clued into is exciting for my line of work-
I am a Tucson resident (year round, have been for 20+ years) and a Metalsmith- I didn't move here for golf

No, it's not because of Rockabilly Valentines ball at Hotel Congress or the latest biking gadgetry being welded into art at BICAS , the fabulous make your own bike collective down near the train tracks....
Great hiking trails to enjoy here!

All of that is great- it is pure Tucson-however,  I moved here to get away from the Boston winters and to be close to the incredible culture of metalsmithing that has developed here as a result of the mining, cowboy and native American traditions as well as the Gem Show.
or, should I say,
"THE Gem Show(s)

So, I thought I'd do a insider's report from the front lines:

A report about the Gem show's subtle effects on my life. Subtle? Yes, I work in jewelry some of the time, but am lately much more inclined to using a piece of reflector before a faceted garnet. Also, I've lived here for years, so really, I have enough back stock of things from years ago, when I overindulged on things I just thought were beautiful, but didn't have a clear plan for.....

in short, I've been there enough that I really don't relish going anymore- and the Gem show(s) have instead become for me the time when a whole bunch of my friends and fellow metalsmiths are in town! And since I founded the group Metalsmiths Unite back in 2008 my pack of metalsmithing friends that visit town keeps growing and growing.

MU Chill Lounge 2011 (during the freeze)
I always look forward to the Metalsmiths Unite Chill Lounge night during gem show (4th annual this year!) If you are a Member of MU you can find out about this year's gathering on our home page on Facebook- (just look under the "events" tab on our FB page and you will be brought to the page with all the info- any problems, contact me via private message)

Other than getting together for the group gathering I get to visit with out of town friends---
In fact,  I get to see Lisa Slovis Mandel tomorrow- she's another Pewter person- in fact, she wrote the book on it! here's a link :-) The Pewter Studio by Lisa Slovis Mandel(it's a great book BTW- just wish I had met her before it went to print, because I would have loved to have had a couple pieces in the book...oh well, there's always volume 2!)

ciao for now-
Happy trails, and May the Flux be with you!
Maureen aka "Bzap" and
Daisy Doodle
Anyways, Gem show visitors, we Tucsonans are very happy to have you grace our fair city once again- Thanks for coming and bringing all of the great business! We do appreciate it! I hope you can wait just one more year for the streetcar project to be finished downtown. (it's going to be great when it is finished!) And we wish you fabulous weather during your stay. Please pass the word around about how much fun Tucson is to visit in the wintertime! We love getting the business!

PS- here is a handy link to the Gem Show Guide-
It is the BIG directory of all of the things happening at the shows in Tucson- you will need it, believe me! :-)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Filigree set

Filigree fans, how about some eye candy?

This is part of one of my most treasured possessions. I bought it maybe 20 years ago for a really really great price- It wasn't super cheap, but I know I got a major score. In any case- I love it-
This is a detail shot of the central sugar bowl- it is part of a set.

In complete it is a 6 glass 1 sugar bowl on a tray. All Filigree, all silver. Stamped, makers mark and all.
I bought it in Tucson from an old Mexican family (they are wealthy, don't worry I didn't take advantage of anyone) (the Madre is a collector, she had just brought it from a recent trip in Mexico, where she frequently shops for antiques for her store in Tucson) I'm pretty sure it is from Mexico  (I know I could verify that relatively easily by researching the maker's marks) I confess, I enjoy the mystery of the object, so I haven't done any research other than just staring at the metalwork with amazement.

I've never had it appraised- But I keep it very safe and sound, because it is worth so much to me because of the incredible craftsmanship. The tray alone will boggle the mind. forget it if you are learning how to do filigree, this thing will make you cry.

For anyone thinking they may get to see it while whey are in town
for the gem show, I'm sorry- it's not currently in Tucson.  
Wishing everyone a peace filled week-


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