All the world's waiting for you

I am completely, totally, and faithfully in love with this first bracelet.

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And these other ones are incredible as well.

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If God didn’t want you to have it, He never would have let you see it.

Well, alrighty then.

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Gogo Borgerding combines her love of vibrant color with her passion for bold design to create sterling silver and anodized aluminum cuff bracelets. Borgerding fashions the top layer of each cuff in silver, and then rivets the silver to a bottom layer of colorful anodized aluminum. The result is reminiscent of 1950’s picnic-ware– bright silver melded with luscious roses, golds, and reds, each cuff a refreshingly timeless piece of jewelry.

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Fiber Jewelry by Susan Sanders

silkworm necklaces

Susan Sanders has always been an artist. Ever since she was old enough to think about such things, she knew that one day her job would be to make things, with her own hands, and sell them. She was right. Susan Sanders is now the experienced and accomplished designer of three distinctive jewelry lines: one in gold and precious stones, one in stone inlay, and one in fabric. Being a sewer and a hoarder of fabric, I couldn’t help but be drawn to her fiber work.

necklace in progress

I visited with Susan in her Torpedo Factory studio while she was in the middle of creating one of her “silkworm” necklaces. She starts out with narrow strips of hand-painted silk that she sews into tubes, and fills with a certain kind of cording. Then, depending on the look of the final necklace, she gathers the silken cords together unadorned, or first embellishes them with ribbon, yarn, or anything pretty and colorful from her stash of notions.

Her collection includes all kinds of fabric trims from fiber artist friends of hers, shiny and textured bits she finds at local fabric stores, and a treasury of unique velvet and satin trims she found during a trip to Korea.

black silk and colorful trim

The result is a soft, lightweight, textured piece that can be worn a number of ways. The cords can be twisted or worn flat. The necklace can be left long, wrapped double around the neck like a choker, or tied into a knot. Susan also makes the unique magnetic clasps out of cast resin, and paints them to match each necklace individually. Every single necklace is one-of-a-kind; it would be impossible to replicate any of them exactly.

rust colored silkworm necklace

Susan’s fiber jewelry is an evolving line among her jewelry collections. The latest incarnation utilizes hand-cut ultrasuede in rich, saturated color. The unusual texture and three demensional quality of these necklaces speak for themselves! When I asked if she planned on adding embellishment to the ultrasuede necklaces as well, Susan merely shrugged and said: “Who knows?” Considering the idea for her fiber necklaces came to her in a dream, who can say what she will dream up next?

handcut ultrasuede necklace

As the daughter of an accomplished seamstress and a graphic designer, Susan has been making things her whole life. Her mother passed on her sewing skills to her at a young age, and her father gave her an appreciation and an eye for architectural lines. She ended up studying architectural design in college, knowing she wanted to end up making something three demensional with her hands, but not knowing exactly what that would be. Upon graduation, she was offered a job designing refrigeration components in a remote town in Kentucky. At the same time, the Torpedo Factory was just opening in Alexandria, Virginia as a newly renovated haven for artists, complete with studio and gallery space. Susan was faced with an interesting (if not difficult…) choice: move to the middle of nowhere and make refrigerator parts, or move to Washington, DC and make jewelry?

magnetic clasps

Her fellow graduates had found jobs that utilized their design skills very well, but hardly engaged their imaginations: diagramming linoleum floors; constructing the weave of plastic chairs; designing tire tread. Nobody was terribly excited about entering the professional world, except for Susan. She knew she was lucky to have found the Torpedo Factory, and jumped at the chance! She has maintained her studio there since the Art Center opened in September 1974.

worn choker style

You can find all of Susan’s jewelry (not just her fiber work) at her Torpedo Factory studio, at local galleries, and at juried craft shows in the DC area.

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On Starting Small

I Eat Locally Tee by ameliapmorris

I am incredibly goal-oriented and deadline-driven. Give me a deadline and while I may be a procrastinator, I will also be wholly motivated to meet it — even if at the last minute. Give me a challenge that needs conquering and I will become obsessed with accomplishing it.

It’s probably these inward tendencies that make me particularly fond of the Eat Local Challenge, a movement that as of October 1st entered its fifth year.

[Read more…]

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Conflict-free diamond Eternity band

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SingleB Studio: My metals are all recycled and conflict free diamonds can be had upon request. So relax and enjoy your jewelry.

I like to make beautiful things with my hands. I especially like to make beautiful things that serve a purpose. That purpose (I hope!) is to make people feel happy and beautiful. I make everything by hand, by myself (well, my pug does snore away the day in my studio, keeping me company).

I like to work with silver and gold, and precious and semi-precious gemstones. I read a lot of books about ancient jewelry and this informs my design process. I like to think that my jewelry could be worn at any time in history! I love the fact that jewelry is one of the oldest arts, and that (almost) everyone likes to participate in this art, either by making jewelery or wearing it. Dressing up is an art in my mind.

I am beginning my journey to become a real goldsmith and I am loving every minute of it. I love jewelry, especially old jewelry…really old jewelry. Egyptian and Roman especially. I eventually aim to be able to make modern jewelry with an ancient feel.

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Interview with Carlee, Carleeglass

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Carlee has lived in Phoenixville, PA, for about 25 years. Phoenixville is about 5 miles from Valley Forge National Historical Park and the area is mostly country, with a few small villages nearby. Carlee and her husband have been married for 54 wonderful years! They have 2 grown children and 3 grandsons, 9, 11, and 15. “They are practically perfect in every way!!!“, she says.

Carlee describes herself as a happy person who does not like to be idle. She loves jazz music, The Manhattan Transfer group, Harry Connick, and her grandchildren. Carlee says, “Most people don’t know that if I had it to do over, I would love to be a criminologist or a TV cameraman. Crime and lawyer type shows are my favorites.” Be sure to check out all her work at Carleeglass.

[Read more…]

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  • Illustrations by Alli Coate
  • Aisles and aisles of tiny boxes