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Running with the Big Dogs–Cooper Hewitt & Jamie Bennett

Today I will be driving to a friend’s home, staying there for the evening. We will be headed into NYC to a jewelry symposium at Cooper-Hewitt on Friday. If that is not enough excitement and mental stimulation, Saturday is a one day class with Jamie Bennett. Thanks Anne Dinan for posting Mr. Bennett’s class at the 92Y.

In a way, this is what I should have done when I was 19 and studying at Parsons but the city was different, I was different and lacked the confidence to feel I was good enough or worthy to indulge, see and be seen, and participate with the big dogs.

Big Dogs, here I come! Carpe Diem

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Every Cloud has a Silver Lining

cloud necklace with a silver liningAs the saying goes, “Every cloud has a silver lining…” and that is what I have created with this cloud necklace. It has a sterling silver frame around the enamel piece. The cloud is made of several layers of white enamel kiln fired on copper, then etched to give it some tooth for me to draw with graphite pencil and lay in a blue wash of acrylic enamel. A thin layer of clear enamel is sprinkled over the top and torch fired to a sugar finish. The firing also sets the graphite into the base enamel and the acrylic enamel fired to retain it’s painterly style.

So where did this saying come from?  John Milton coined the phrase ‘silver lining’ in Comus: A Mask Presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634

I see ye visibly, and now believe
That he, the Supreme Good, to whom all things ill
Are but as slavish officers of vengeance,
Would send a glistering guardian, if need were
To keep my life and honour unassailed.
Was I deceived, or did a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night?
I did not err; there does a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night,
And casts a gleam over this tufted grove.

It was also used during victorian era as a common quote in literature. I am betting my cloud does have a silver lining…

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Intentions

I started my Intentions line several years ago. Developing my jewelry over the years I have always been fascinated with the different means of stones. I started doing some research and found since the beginning of time others have felt this power from the stone they wore. Tiger’s Eye was used by warriors into battle to protect them from the enemy. Rose Quartz is the unconditional love stone. Those are just a few of the intents. The necklace pictured to the left is rose quartz.

My brand positioning is “Jewelry with Intent” because I select a stone, design a piece or create an enamel with intent. Custom pieces are easy to find the intent but I wanted to create a top quality, inexpensive jewelry line that each person could select their intent. Some are drawn to a stone because of how it looks, others will select the stone based on the description. Whatever the reason, an individual selects a piece of jewelry with intent.

Recently I expanded the line from post and hanging earrings to necklaces too. All the pieces are solid sterling silver. There are 15 different intentions at the moment. The items are smaller and just the perfect holiday gift for a special someone. Here is a link to my Intentions, each comes on a card with the intent and in a gift box.

http://susanestler.com/product-category/intentions/

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Let It Be

A long time friend contacted me after seeing my music necklace and asked if I could make a custom piece for her granddaughter. She told me the history of her request and it is very special.

Her stepdaughter was in the last stages of cancer confined to her bed. During this time she requested  “Let It Be” be played repeatedly because it brought her such joy. My friend’s request was to create a music necklace with a portion on the score and the title “Let It Be” on it. She planned on giving it to her strong and beautiful granddaughter for her birthday.

I created the art and sent to her for approval which was signed off on promptly and I began production. I sent a photo of the finished piece which is shown here. The piece was sent off and it was given to her granddaughter as a very personal and individual gift.

This is why I love what I do!

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Liberty London’s Christmas Shop will Open Soon

What does this have to do with jewelry? Well I think jewelry, fabric, visually stimulating things are a great experience. Coming up is World Travel Market in London, the second largest travel show in the world. You can walk the floor of the show and see countries you never knew existed. It makes you realize how small your corner of the world is. The opulence by some destinations is amazing. I haven’t attended the show in 5 years but hold fond memories.

One of my favorite things to do during my off hours for years was to make a pilgrimage to Liberty London. I walked through the shop and the different floors feeling the unparalleled fabrics both in touch and visually, then soaked in the carefully curated jewelry, walked through the sweet shop and purchased a small box of something chocolate. Even the crafts and yarns are wonderful! This is my kind if shop from days of yore! Then you hit the Christmas Shop…so many decoration, not just for “Christmas” but really the season and the holidays. This is the link to their website. If you haven’t ever been and you are in London, go off the beaten track and spend some time enjoying your senses!

http://www.libertylondon.com/

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Returning to What I Love

Life has a funny way of coming full circle. I started my “career” doing animal portraits while in high school. I picked it back up in my late 20s and now I am doing little portraits in graphite and acrylic enamel, incorporating them into a sterling silver custom frame to create wearable art.

I have always loved the feeling of delivering a portrait and having the person smile broadly and delight in seeing their beloved pet immortalized in art. As some of you know I have Baldwin, my horse and three black kitties–Spencer, Sawyer and Katie.They bring me such joy! It’s a special feeling animal lovers share. This is why I am circling back and offering animal portraits, this time as jewelry. They can be found here on my website.

Great holiday gifts for friends and family members! I work from photos which you can send to me.

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Flower necklace

Enamel flower statement necklace

A friend came over to collaborate on some enamel techniques and as a thank you she left some copper shapes for me to play with. To look at the piece one would assume it would be used for fold form but I saw it as a canvas for a graphite and acrylic enamel necklace complete with dangles of some sort. This is actually the second with the same shape. Trying different techniques and color palette for a similar design. The first actually sold before it was completed. Shown here. fun technique and something to explore further!

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Life Imitates Life

For those of you looking how to bezel set a cabochon, this post has nothing to do with jewelry but more life in general. Please stop back to read some of my upcoming posts and I assure you there will be tips and pointers galore.

On Monday I was dumped from my job. It really had nothing to do with me.

Today I got dumped by Baldwin, my horse. He was a little wound up because they were doing some work on our road. Tacking him up and he was hyper. I got up on him and rode him up the hill and tried to do some 10 meter circles with him in a trot. There were a few little crow-hops here and there but nothing really. In the back of my mind I kind of thought I should lunge him but he had been doing so well just getting up and going lately. Well, I rounded the corner and 1 buck, 2 buck and then he had his head–and 3 buck. On my butt, holding the reins, I got up, dusted some of the dirt off and marched him down the hill. Called to Alan to babysit me while I lunged the tar out of him (like I should have done in the first place) and got up on him while Alan held him and walked him around the arena. I got off, ran my stirrups up, thanked Alan, marched him back down the hill (considerably more tired–both of us) and untacked him.

Lessons learned so far this week? Listen to your gut, do what you know you should do and if you do get dumped–get to a point you know is right, get back up and continue on.

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Gift Guide Post

I recently started receiving 3-times-a-day inquires with HARO (Help a reporter out) to find PR leads for my now-I’m-doing-this-seriously jewelry business. My first match I saw was a request for “Gift Under $100”. I responded with several links to some of my products and low and behold–Joe responded!

This is the link below to his gift guide. You need to scroll a while to find my product but enjoy! Cool items and you may just order something.

http://www.dailydealscoupon.net/top-deals-to-purchase-in-2017/

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Happy little accidents

For as long as I can remember growing up I have had a paint brush or pencil in my hand. My high school art teacher would always say, if something unexpected happened, that I should look at it as a happy little accident and embrace it into the piece.

I attended Parsons School of Design for either illustration or fashion design but practicality lead me to graphic design then to destination marketing but my creative side popped up and I began making jewelry about a decade ago and I have really enjoyed it.

Cloisonne and sterling silver
Cloisonne circle necklace with sterling silver tab setting.

Several months ago a new friend Dawn Lombard, a new transplant to the area and an amazing glass artist and enamelist, introduced me to enamels. LOVED it! Then she asked if I wanted to take a cloisonne class in NJ with Jennifer Park. I did the class and loved it! The ability to paint with powdered glass in vivid colors was so inspiring. The exploration has just started. Here are a few pieces I completed. I can’t wait to explore this new, colorful door that opened! A splendid, happy little accident that I am embracing into my jewelry work and seeing where it takes me.

enamel and sterling heart
Pink enamel heart with rose quartz oval beads. Sterling silver setting and findings.