Friday, December 18, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy - Hanukah Edition

On this final day of the festival of lights, I wish you all peace of mind, joy in your heart and warm friends.

Welcome to the Carnival...

Step right this way... Each month a group of jewelry artists use their blogs to get together online and answer the same question - each in their own way. The topic this month is:

Which misuse of a jewelry term most annoys you?

Ah, pet peeves. something I know something about. Most people have 'em. As far as jewelry goes there are folks who hate it when anything other than minuscule melted shards of vitreous glass is called enamel. Resin inlay? Painted cells? Fine. Just don't call it "cold enamel". And others who insist that Mokume Gane can only be done with various colors of hard metals. None of this polymer or metal clay stuff is the same because the technique used to achieve the look isn't the same. And it's all about the technique.

Me? I get really annoyed when folks refer to the white appearance of freshly fired metal clay as a coating that must be brushed off to reveal the silver metal beneath. Do some casting, put something in a pot of pickle - you'll see the same phenomenon. It's nothing to do with the firing of the clay specifically. White is the natural color of unpolished silver. Break a piece of fully sintered metal clay and you'll see white. I bet you'll see the same thing if you use brute force to break a piece of milled wire too. Although I could be wrong.

To bring out the gorgeous silver color we're used to seeing, the metal must be laid flat. Otherwise the surface texture that was developed while the silver was heated to such an extreme temperature remains. What happens is that during firing the metal crystals arrange themselves in such a way that they only reflect the white part of the color spectrum. Celie Fago has referred to this surface as the topography of the metal. So my story to all my students is that while in the kiln the crystals are so excited that they're jumping all over and on top of each other - when we open the door to let the cold air in they freeze (much like our dolls and stuffies do when we open our eyes in the morning) in a position that is very like the mountain tops of the Himalayas. In order to reveal the shining silver we must use some elbow grease. My first line of attack is always to use a steel or brass brush. This tones down the highest peaks until the crystals resemble the rolling hills of Julie Andrew's musical landscape.

Many people (myself included) like this surface and are done with it. Others prefer a super shiny, highly reflective look. To reach that level, we must burnish. Either by hand or with a variety of machinery. It is only then that we approach the super smooth grooming of a top rated golf course.

So People - The only thing that needs to be "brushed off" is the idea that the white is some kind of powdery accumulation. Just get out your tools and mow that metallic lawn!

Oh, and back to pet peeves - if you ever feel a little tickle at the back of your neck, don't worry. It's not an ant, it's just me tucking in the label that's sticking up at the back of your shirt. I even do it to strangers in the grocery store. Is that so wrong?

Be sure to check out what tweaks all the other carney's:

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Onwards and Upwards

Clasp with fine silver wire and Three Texture Pendant

I'm getting ready to teach my very first Level 2 Certification class in January. So this week has been dedicated to thinking about the schedule, timing, available lunch options and making the demo pieces that will demonstrate each of the projects.

Cert classes involve a lot of back and forth. Starting one project, doing some finishing work on another and planning or quick sketching a third - all at the same time. One of the things I like best about the PMCC program is that it gives the student a lot of leeway to create their own original designs, tweak the sample so that it fits their own style. But that also introduces the possibility that there will be too much time dedicated to getting the design perfect, which takes time away from the actual *making* of the piece. In a classroom situation - timing is everything, and in a certification class where the projects need to be totally finished by the end of the second day, compromises sometimes need to be made. The idea is to learn the technique. Not fabricate a masterpiece.

But if the teacher spends the time to really think about pacing, give students basic information at the beginning of the weekend which will help them to start thinking about projects that might not be started until the next day - that little bit of pre planning time will help to make a more successful, stress free and creative experience for everyone.

If you've thought about taking the Level 2, I'd love to see you next year! And if you still need to complete the Level 1 I've got one of those in April. Just sayin' :D

Monday, December 14, 2009

Getting To The Bottom...

Paper! Where does it come from? Envelopes, junk mail, bills, handouts, receipts, business cards, notes on little scraps of unrecognized ephemera...

That's my challenge for the day. Really it's a challenge every day of my life. It just seems to appear - unbidden, uncollected, unwanted. I know, I know, if only I would take care of those rectangles of white at the end of every day... If only I would simply open the envelope to see if it's something I need to keep, take care of or file in the cylindrical container I could be in charge of my life. But the paper seems to be winning.

I just found a bill for my business license which was due in November and a check for work I did in October. Certainly this can't be good for my cash flow! And to top it off my file cabinet fell apart and I've just been too lazy to fix it. It's a nice file cabinet that a friend donated to me when re arranging things. It only needs a little wood glue (which I don't usually keep around the house) and a piece of metal to support one side of the files. I can get the metal thingie at Staples, but then I have to find someone with a saw sturdy enough to cut it to the right length. Arrgh... Maybe I should just rent a husband for a day. Any volunteers? Anyone? Bueller?

Anyway, all energy today will be dedicated to 1. going through every piece of pulp in the place, 2. lunch with a dear woman I haven't seen in too long, and then 3. dealing with the piles of receipt books I need to go through to prepare my sales taxes. I *will* have them done before the first of the year. Really. I will!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy - Fiona Chapman Edition

It's grey, cold and rainy in LA this morning and I felt the need for a little color to brighten up my world.

I only know Fiona Chapman through Flickr, But I'm especially intrigued with how she takes one, simple theme and expands the form to create such a variety of lovely work. I'm just starting work on the resin project for the Master's Registry and I wanted to try my hand at a "Plique a Jour" application. Fiona's perfect technique is giving me quite a lot of inspiration.

Ms. Chapman writes a blog from her home in England and more of her work can be viewed on Trunkt.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Something To Crow About!

Just how thrilled am I this month I'd like to ask! Thiiiiiiiiiiissss thrilled. Upon receiving the premier edition of MetalClay Artist Magazine, I was floored to see a beautiful full page ad from PMC Connection featuring my Woodland Altar pendant! Then I turned the pages to discover my Amazonite Hollow Ring adorning Whole Lotta Whimsy's 1/4 page ad. They had both asked permission to use the images of course, so I knew the advertisements were in the works - but holey schlamoley! I never expected to be so very honored, surprised and touched to see the final layouts. Thanks so much to Tonya, Ken and Mary Ann for this exceptional opportunity.

And if *that's* not enough, Lora Hart Jewels will now be represented by Mindful Nest Gallery in Burbank, California! The adorable owner, Amanda Vernon, ran Handmade Gallery (where I had a booth) for many, many years. When she was in the process of opening Mindful Nest, she contacted me and now the time is right for both of us. I'll be stocking my case this afternoon! *jumps up and down in glee* For those of you in the vicinity, I cannot praise MN enough. They have some of the most beautiful, charming, amusing and unusual handmade art I've seen in one place. Do come down to do a little holiday scouting. Hanukah starts tomorrow and Christmas will be over before we know it (how did that happen?).

Wheeeeeee!!!!! :D

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wherefore Art Thou?

I've been a.w.o.l. - m.i.a. Away without leave and missing in action. I'm not sure why. I just haven't been interested in blogging or reading other's blogs. Going through a period of social disfunction I guess.

I love this blog and all the wonderful friends and readers I have through it. And I promise to get back in the swing. I will say that the kitties have added to my distraction. They just couldn't be cuter or more sweet! How could I push them away when they love to cuddle on my chest and lap early in the morning. And every single time I sit down to type. Best avoidance technicians ever!

And what exactly have I been up to in the past few weeks aside from getting kitten hair all over my clothes? I've been up, up and away! Flew to Richmond, Virginia for Thanksgiving with some of my Father's cousins whom I've never met before (his Uncle Mush was just 6 years older than he was so Mush's children are closer to my own age than Dad's). We connected through FaceBook of all things and decided that cyber visits just weren't good enough, so off I went for 8 short days.

They couldn't have been more welcoming and nice, better hostesses or more simpatico! Richmond is a lovely city filled with history, beautiful architecture and a breathtaking landscape. I admit to having a little fantasy of moving there someday. Yes, I took a few pics and had a few adventures and if you're very, very good I'll tell you all about it. Until then, Have a lovely day. Thanks for sticking around!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy - Blindspot Jewelry Edition

Janos Gabor Varga is the genius behind Blindspot Jewelry. A Hungarian living in Italy, I *met* Janos (pronounced Yahnosh) through Flickr and have lusted for a piece of his ever since.

Janos works with iron, sterling silver, copper, marble, lucite, old coins... whatever sparks his flame. His designs are totally unique, some based on ancient axes or oil lamps, some inspired by the many reference photos he's collected of door knockers. Others spring from his imagination fully formed, articulated, multi functional and spectacular.

His pieces are at once strong, ancient, familiar and completely contemporary. I love the world he lives in.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Techno Dope!

Dope can mean a few things. Other than the illegal definition, it might mean less than intelligent or knowledgeable. In the popular slang of a few years ago it meant cool and desirable. In this instance - for me - it means the former. I'm absolutely sure that for some of you - it will mean the latter.

Granted, this was sent to the Orchid forum as an advertisement but it's also sooo coool that I thought I'd share. It's a moot point for me. I have no cell phone. Well, I have a disposable one for emergencies that lives in the glove compartment of my car, but that's it. No apps for me. But this one almost makes me wish.....

"Victoria Lansford announces her latest release through publishing company Spiral Publications: iMakeJewelry for the Apple iPhone.

iMakeJewelry is the ultimate app for jewelers and metalsmiths. Use it to check precious metal prices, calculate sheet, wire and wax weights, ring blank lengths, find alloy recipes and information on stones. Use it to calculate weight conversions from wax to metal, silver to gold and weight conversions from English to metric. Also included are tables for drill bit sizes and B&S gauges.

Compatible with the iPhone and the iPodTouch. Requires iPhone OS 3.1.2 or later. Cost is US$3.99 and is available through Apple iTunes or iPhone App Store."

Oh Saaannntaaa... Santa Baby? Got a little somein' for my stocking?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I think I may like this jewelry selling thing! I loove teaching, but my second attempt at selling my silver live (as opposed to cyber selling which I have *not* mastered) was so fun that I'm going to attempt it again in June. And maybe sooner if I can get in to a good show or two.

The Contemporary Crafts Market allows exhibitors to set up their booths a day in advance (quite a luxury from what I hear), so Thursday was all about building my curb appeal. And I think I did a really nice job. Of course I forgot my camera that day. And then on Friday I discovered that the batteries were dead. So I went to the store after the show and got some. But left them on my couch when I left the next morning. So... no pics. The booth was almost exactly like it looked in June with a few improvements though so hopefully these old photos will suffice. : \

The first thing to go was my hinged pendant. I only made it a few weeks ago and hadn't tired of it yet, so I was a little weepy when it chose a new owner. But she really fell in love with it - so at least I know my little pendant has gone to a good home.



The riveted rings were a huge hit. Must make more. And I'm thinking of having the shanks cast and perhaps vermeiled. Wouldn't they look pretty in gold?

Interesting thing about shows. I was blasted with tons of traffic one minute and then suddenly... silent as the tomb. I don't work on jewelry during down times so I was intermittently bored. Might have bring a chain to crochet or something simple next time. But the people watching was amazing. The get ups some folks wore was so entertaining, and the gorgeous art clothing others donned to come to the fancy craft show was inspiring.

There were 5 times as many jewelry artists there as any other craft. Par for the course I guess. The range of styles was impressive. Of course there were quite a few traditional gold and sparkly gem jewelers, dichroic glass artists, found object users (some paired with perfectly fabricated, gleaming metal and some completed in a more abstract style), beaders, enamelers and a couple of other metal clay artists.

I got great feedback and lots of oohs and aahs. The economy is still quite a deterrent to selling higher priced things but I had great custom and am most happy with my profit. I'll be going to Richmond, Virginia during Thanksgiving to visit long lost cousins who have offered to put on a home show for me, so I have to get busy right away making more pieces. And there's a shop in Burbank that is interested in carrying my work! Huzzah. So after yesterday's lounge and today's back to business/cleaning up day it's right back into the studiolo for me. No rest for the wicked!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

It's Showtime!

This weekend is my big show at the Contemporary Crafts Market at the Santa Monica Civic in Santa Monica and I'm as ready as I'm ever gonna be. That doesn't meant that I think I'm ready, just that I have no time to do anything else. I think it'll be okay though. At least it will be a fun weekend.

I sure wish you Angeleans would take a little drive down to the beach side and come visit my booth. I'll be in the lobby. Miss Christine has generously offered to sit with me Friday, but I'm on my own Saturday and Sunday. That really interferes with my shopping! ;D

And as a special surprise to you all, the first person who can tell me what movie the title of this post was taken from - as well as the actor who delivered the line will win a little prezzie! It's one of my favorite movies of all time. Anonymous folks remember to include your e-mail addy in your comment.

Have a great weekend. Hope to see you! Here's a printable get in free ticket!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Power of Choice

I just got a shipment of half drilled pearls especially to use with this pendant, and now I can't decide which color I like better. They really "feel" different to me.

Which do you like? Help me choose. I'm leaning towards one. Let's see if you agree.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ring a Ding Ding

Finished some of those Roman/Riveted rings I started last week. I'm having a lot of fun choosing which stones to use. But drilling out the holes to fit a 16 gauge wire has been... um... challenging shall we say.

I'm using diamond coated twist drills, starting with the one with the smallest diameter on all the stones then changing to the next larger bit and doing them all again until I reach the correct size. I did fracture a couple of tourmalines before I got the hang of it. You have to drill using water as a lubricant and stop after about 20 seconds to take out the bit and clean it off so the flutes don't get clogged.

I'd actually prefer using larger gauge wire, but will have to make my own silver focal beads or look for some gem ones with big holes to start with. Which wouldn't be an easy find. I was able to get 4 ring bands out of a single 16g package of PMC3.

Here's hoping they get some attention this weekend at my show!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Quick and Easy

I love old Roman Rings and have always wanted to make myself one but never did. Then when I was trying to come up with a riveting project for a class, I looked at my friend Dona's hand and saw this. Well, one like it. Hers was a forged band with three brass beads riveted in place.

Perhaps taking pictures in the early morning light is not such a good thing.

So cute. So easy. I'm spending the rest of the day making more to take to my show at the Contemporary Crafts Market the first weekend of November. (Sans fabulous woven PMC paper barrel bead)

This one's mine. I drilled the first holes too low and the ring didn't fit.

I'd love to see some of you there! Click on the link above for a get in free ticket!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy - Liz Steiner Edition

Liz Steiner is a new Flickr discovery for me. I recently happened upon her photostream and fell in love. Beach Cycle consists of black sand; beach stones or salt sewn into delicate, transparent fiber pouches and jagged bits of slate bound with string. The collections of nature's flotsom and jetsom, Cad/Cam designs and sun printing/cyanotype experiments in her pages are equally fascinating.

I don't know her at all yet. Haven't read any of her commentary, just found her blog five minutes ago and don't know what the inspiration behind her work is, but this quote from her blog gives me a hint into her process:

" I only make brooches and neckpieces. Large neckpieces. I think this is because I love these things I work with so much and what they represent to me, that I literally want to wrap my self in them. Cover myself. Swathe my self in them like a favorite blanket. I love these things and I want them on my person. I want them within reach."

I so agree! I want them within reach too. ;-) I'm so happy to have discovered her imaginative; thoughtful and unique gems.

Drop by Paige, Christine and Michelle's blogs to see their sweet treats too.

Welcome to the Carnival...

Step right this way... Each month a group of jewelry artists use their blogs to get together online and answer the same question - each in their own way. The topic this month is:

"Out of all the pieces you've created, which one means the most to you and why"

This one's easy. I still have three of the pieces that mean the most to me. They're battered and scarred, but I treasure them because they changed my life.

For 17 years I had been a make up artist doing commercials in LA when the actor's strike of 2000 hit. I ended up being out of work for 6 months. Besides being broke, I was bored out of my mind and was doing anything and everything I could think of to both entertain myself and pay the rent. During the span of the strike a couple of events converged that helped me imagine my life in a new light.

Luckily, a friend who was an Imagineer at Disney needed help on a big project and hired me to create some props for a Sinbad ride that was going into the new park in Japan. I painted children's toys in exotic designs ( I especially loved a small horse on wheels - wish I had a pic of it) and strung miles and miles of crystals, gem chip beads and plastic pearls into the strings of bling that spilled out of the many treasure boxes in Sinbad's cave. After the job was done I was cleaning out my couch cushions and found quite a collection of goodies that had migrated into the depths. I couldn't just throw them away - so I made my first piece of beaded jewelry with a focal piece that I bought at the local bead store. Which I had never stepped toe in before. Fun!

Being a make up artist consists of a lot of running around the set - back and forth to the trailer, over to craft services and sneaking in front of the camera to powder noses. The strike was wreaking havoc with my non exercise work out regimen! So I started to take a long morning walk around my neighborhood. I live very close to a charming yet touristy Main Street shopping area and early morning window shopping seemed just the thing to take my mind off the fact that I was actually doing something healthy.

About 3/4 of a mile down there was (and is) a storefront with pretty jewelry in the window called Precious Metal Arts. A jewelry making studio! Oooh! I decided to go back when they were open to enquire. I did. But found out that classes were around $400.00 and as I've said before - I wasn't makin' much money. Disappointed, I walked back out the door when I noticed a piece of paper far down the window that had $50 printed on it. Well, that was worth stooping for so I took a look at the description of a class on something called Metal Clay. Hm. What did that mean? So I went back in, asked and signed up on the spot for my first experience with the great grey goop.

Well, I fell in love, started making beaded jewelry with PMC focals - mostly words and custom initial earrings - and selling in Farmers Markets and craft shows around town. A few years later someone at a show suggested that I start teaching and the rest is history.

What happened to my make up career? Honestly the strike couldn't have happened at a better time. I was never good at the networking thing, was tired of the egos and the long hours and decided to let that phase of my life mosey off into the sunset. I got calls for work for a couple of years, but wasn't doing any active campaigning for jobs so when they fizzled to an ember - I let the job die a natural death. And I've never been happier. I totally miss the money. Any job in the industry pays stupid big wages, and craft service (a table loaded with food at all times) was fun, but the lack of stress, addition of sleep coupled with the ability to set my own hours making beautiful fine silver jewels? Priceless!

Be sure to check out the other carneys to see what they have to say:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Rose By Any Other Name

There's an interesting thread being discussed on the Orchid Forum over at Ganoksin - again. (to follow the thread keep clicking on the blue "Thread Next") "What Makes a Goldsmith?" It's a question that is repeatedly raised and I'm not sure that there will ever be a definitive answer. What are we? What term is the proper one to define what we do?

Van Eyck, The Goldsmith's Guild

Strictly speaking a smith is one who smites metal with a hammer. A Silversmith is one who uses hammers and stakes to form 3 dimensional objects like sugar bowls, trophies and platters (no matter what kind of metal is being used). A Bench Jeweler is one who is skilled enough in so many aspects of jewelry making that they can set stones and do repairs on just about anything. A Stonesetter is an expert who specializes at setting every kind of stone in every type of setting. A Jewelry Maker is just that. Someone who makes jewelry. An Art Jewelry Maker is one who uses alternative materials or works in an unconventional style. To the best of my understanding an art jeweler and a studio jeweler are the same thing. One who works for themselves in their own studios, creating their own designs.

A Jeweler is one who works with every kind of metal from copper to titanium to silver to gold, sets stones, perhaps casts, fabricates from scratch, does repairs expertly. I think of a Jeweler as one who makes what Maggie Bergman described as red, white and blue jewelry. Ruby, diamond and sapphire. The types of pieces you might find walking down the red carpet or in the cases at Cartier or (gasp) Zales. A Goldsmith is the creme de la creme. A master with years of experience behind them. One who can do all of the above and then some. A Master Goldsmith is skilled beyond even that.

It's a little easier to understand the nomenclature in Europe where they've had guilds that have defined each technical level since the middle ages. In America the terms Apprentice, Journeyman and Master are used in theory only. In Europe they are very highly regarded, much regulated and guarded.

And what about the term Artist? Are you an artist because you think of yourself as one? Because you work with your hands and imagination? Or is it an honorific that others bestow upon you (collectors, customers, fans, so called experts)? Are you an artist because someone else views your work to be exceptional? Or because you do?

I consider myself an artisan. A maker of art jewelry. I do some smithing when I forge wire. I know how to solder, admittedly not very well. I know how to set cabochons so that they stay put. I'm (arguably) an expert with metal clay. I'm not by any stretch of the imagination a Jeweler.

So, what do you call yourself? What do you put on your income tax form where it asks for profession? (my accountant insists I list 'jeweler' and I've acquiesced - but feel it's a fraud) Do you think the entire discussion is much ado about nothing or is it food for thought?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Back in the Saddle

I was in a bit of a funk last week and got absolutely nothing done. Wahhhh. Okay. Those are enough tears. Especially since it's only mid morning and I've finished one necklace and am 3/4 through another one. Maybe I'll have some new things for the Contemporary Crafts Market in November after all.

Blue chalcedony, quartz and aquamarine on the chain and pearls to come. Gotta take a trip downtown.

Black star sapphire and pearls. Might have to keep this one. There's a small flaw on the stone.

I might have been in that funk because my beloved kiln is in sad shape. I might need a new muffle. Must get off the computer and call Paragon. They were so nice when I called with my problem. I sent off a million (or maybe only 10) pictures and Paragon will research it and tell me if there's something I can do on my end or if the kiln will have to be sent back to the factory. And if that's the case - do I do it or simply buy a new kiln (which I can ill afford). After the new part charge, the labor charge and the shipping charge it might run to around $400-500 bucks!!! Damn thing is only 4 years old. Say a little prayer for me won't you?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy - Sarah Hood Edition

I first became aware of Sarah Hood through Lark's 500 series. Her work has been featured in Pendants and Lockets, Earrings, Necklaces and Enamel.

One of the things that really intrigues me is how she has taken a single interest, nature, and explored it in so many mediums and styles. From actual leaves, pods and spices to model railroad scenic props, to iconic Hindu imagery. Whether she's fabricating a one of a kind showpiece or casting multiples for a more universal commercial line - each design she creates speaks to every other.

Her pieces are playful, thoughtful and energetic. A delightful example of natures gem's translated into precious jewelry.

Be sure to check out Paige, Michelle and Christine's blogs to see their great eye candy.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Home Sweet Home, Part 1

Well, I went to San Francisco - but although there were no flowers in my hair I had a fantabulous time! Miss Catherine picked me up at the Oakland airport and then we drove into the city where we met up with Ruth, Jennifer and Sue for lunch. Velvet Da Vinci was wonderful and I so recommend it to anyone going to Northern California. We spent about two hours looking at all the work , and then looked at it all again and again and again. The sales person was really nice and showed us many pieces, allowing us to try on, examine and dream a little dream of ownership. Sigh.

Catherine, Moi, Jennifer, Sue, Ruth

Later on Catherine and I went to the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park to get our culture on. There were galleries with wonderful art of the (south) Americas, glass, and 18th century oils.

At one point I looked from one gallery into another one and saw a taxidermied swan hanging on the wall! As I walked closer I was flabbergasted to discover that it was a trompe l'oile oil painting. The photo below does NOT do it any justice at all.

Sadly I neglected to note the artist. Bad !

We saw a couple of contemporary sculpture/works that I've seen in magazines. Karen La Monte's Glass dress was un believably beautiful. I soooo wanted to touch it. But the guard was right there. Fooey.

And then there was the striking sequin ... sculpture? suit? artwork by Nick Cave. Even more amazing than the photos in Ornament magazine promised.

I was even lucky enough to see one of Georgia O'Keefe's glorious flower paintings.

Of course the De Young has many fabulous Museum Stores which Catherine and I just had to visit too. And somehow, magically, our wallets opened and green paper floated out of them and into the coffers of the De Young. How did that happen?! In exchange, we each went home with earrings by one of my favorite jewelry artists, Eric Silva.

Antler and ruby. Mine!

All in all, I had a grand time. Must go back soon.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Weekend Wanderings

Hi All,

I'm going to San Francisco this weekend to co teach a Level Two Certification class with Mary Ellin D'Agostino. Something I have to do before I can teach one myself. I haven't been to "The City" for twenty years or so and I'm so happy to be going back.

One of the things I'm really excited about is that I'm going to meet up with some of my Etsy Team Mates and go to Velvet Da Vinci Gallery and out to lunch! Catherine Witherell is picking me up at the airport in Oakland at about 10:15 (Diety willing and the creek don't rise). Then Jennifer Smith-Righter, Ruth Baille and Sue Urquart will meet us at the restaurant and we'll begin our adventure.

I've always wanted to go to Velvet. They represent some of the most amazing jewelry artists on the planet. And I wanted to share the experience with y'all a bit, so today's Eye Candy is taking a little trip too. Do be sure to visit the online gallery yourself to see more of the glorious jewels that live in the city by the bay.