Life has a funny way of taking you exactly where you need to go. Sometimes that means facing challenges you would never choose for yourself.
For the better part of this year, I have felt like there was a wall being built in my mind. Brick by brick each day it would grow a little larger, encircling all of the best parts of my inner self. Gradually the height reached a level where I had to strain to get a peek at what once came so easily. Finally, I was locked out completely, only to hear the joyful call of my creative energy, like birds frolicking in a secret garden, never to be fully experienced.
My words left me. I could not convince my hands to embrace my well-loved tools or even open my ears to my favorite musical muses. It was almost as if I was lost in a desert. So I wandered.
While I was shut out of my lush creative world, I began to discover other wonders; some of which I have spent my life foolishly running from or not making time for, in pursuit of what I had always perceived to be greater things. In this world that places such an emphasis on the constant hustle and monetization of every action and moment spent, we can easily lose sight of the true value in the less celebrated things in our contemporary lives. In the quiet months that I spent out of the studio, and away from the business side of social media, I found a treasure in things I once denied. I embraced this moment.
So it turns out that I had not been well (nothing major, and it's all fixed - so please no worries). At my post-op checkup yesterday my doctor said "sometimes illness creeps in and you don’t realize just how bad you are feeling until you suddenly feel like yourself again." That was exactly it.
The walls have come down and I can dig in my garden again. This time however, I will enrich the fertile soil with the treasures I gained while I was wandering. I will keep these lessons at the core of my very grateful heart.
I have a lot of catching up to do, I even missed the stores 17th anniversary! So please bear with me as I dive into work again and offer you some lovelies just in time for the holiday season. I hope to connect with you soon. Thanks for being here.
Stay Safe & Be Well
With great joy, I would like to announce that I will be slowly returning to the art-show scene by attending two shows this Summer. Details below.
Our journey in life always moves us forward and we never really "go back" to any version of ourselves. If we did, that would mean we had not grown. This past year has taught me too much to jump right back to how things once were. As my creative energies wake up from the survival-mode-slumber, I am eager to see what blooms have been silently developing, ready to emerge and greet the sunshine. I have become energized while mapping out the Summer calendar and a meaningful ambition to create has returned - a feeling that had nearly washed away. The heaviness of the past year is becoming atmospheric. It's vapors still linger all about, but the fog is slowly lifting from my thoughts. Squinting into the future, I can finally see a glimmer of hope on the horizon, ready to share my love and joy through my work in person with all of you again.
Now, this is the part of the blog post I have been writing and re-writing for nearly a month. I generally try to live with the rule of thumb “never let them see you cry”. Well, I’m not crying so-to-speak, but I have found myself at a bewildering crossroads of hopeful excitement and social anxiety. Ultimately, I realized it would be worth the risk of recording these feelings, if sharing could help even one person to know they are not alone. And so I will add “Don’t worry. Just take it slow. We've got this.” *high-five
The hope and excitement I feel as I am hidden away in the solitude of my home studio is in stark contrast to the apprehension I feel, knowing I need to slowly reintroduce myself into social settings. I have always struggled in this regard, but over the years I had carved out some comfort in the matter. Spending a year away from the world with the only face to face interaction being with my husband and daughter has only amplified my lack of confidence in group settings. The few short moments I have distantly met with friends and family in recent days, I find myself almost mute. For months I have wished for nothing more than to share smiles and conversation, and now that the opportunity is in front of me, I freeze and my mind goes silent.
So, as we begin to meet again, please bear with me as I work through these awkward moments. I might be silent. I might nervously talk your ear off. I might get overwhelmed and shed a few tears of joy. No matter how I react, please know that deep down, I am filled with nothing but love and gratitude for you and your support throughout my ever-evolving-creative-career. It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve everyone in a way that is so personally fulfilling. The understanding of what a rare gift that is, is not lost on me. As many of you know, I am a hugger (to those who are accepting of them, I try to be respectful) I would love nothing more than to greet everyone with lots of hugs and smiles this Summer to share my thankfulness. However, I will need to refrain 'till healthier days are upon us as I will be continuing to keep a safe distance and mask. Trust me though, I really do miss everyone.
Sending you my warmest regards,
~EricaDowntown Canandaigua Art and Music Festival
Main St. Canandaigua
Friday, July 16th 12 pm – 7 pm
Saturday, July 17th 10 am – 5 pm
Sunday, July 18th 10 am – 5 pm
Elmira Handmade Market
Saturday July 31st 10am-5pm
We have been delivered a new day.
As Springtime blossoms all around
Smile and greet it without hesitancy.
Do not shy in the face of beauty
Behold it with great reverence.
Give thanks for the chance
To see with fresh eyes
The petal laden path of invitation and promise.
Striving to improve with each step.
Ever forward, with care.
Sending virtual hugs.
Stay Safe and Be Well,
I am thrilled to announce my new collection “ Presence”
**** Edit **** thank you to all who participated in this collection! I have taken down the link because most of it was comprised of one of a kind items and has since sold out! Thank you again!!!
This project has been in the making for several months, but ultimately it is the product of a year. A year that has taught me more than any other. The title of this new collection is the one word summation of my lessons.
Presence marks the importance of living for the simple moments in each day. Presence is the spirit of those who have come before us, walk with us now and the see the gifts held in the future. It is the embers of hope in our hearts capable of sparking love and peace wherever we go. My greatest gift of the past year has been the presence shared with my daughter. This year spent cloistered in the house with her has been the most beautiful moment of my life. For the first time we were slowed down in a way that we began to really see and appreciate one another. We have lifted and strengthened each other in ways I never thought possible. I wanted to reflect that with some of the promotional photos for this collection. She spent a great deal of time working with me to model the pieces and help bring this project full circle.
This collection however started out on the opposite note. The initial inspiration was absence. The first pieces were born from my longing to return to “normal” life. My family used to spend a lot of time traveling to museums and galleries. Just before the shutdown we had purchased our yearly reciprocal museum membership and had plans for many visits up and down the east coast. We have spent countless hours together wandering through displays of art and artifacts, and I greatly miss it. This collection started out as an ode to the centuries of paintings, the ancient antiquities and the grand halls that house it all. That is why there is a heavy influence in this collection of “ancient glass” influenced pieces, the inclusion of painted canvases and lots of architectural elements.
As I worked on the first pieces and sat in much thoughtful contemplation on the collection, I began to make a different connection. Instead, these pieces were actually about the presence of spirit rather than my selfish sense of loss. The world has gone through ups and downs far greater that anything we have in the the past year, and yet life prevails. The beauty of artistic expression that remains is a testament to great faith, strength and perseverance even in the face of difficult times. I realized that I was not creating pieces so much as to fill the absence of art in my life, but because of the amazing gifts right in front of me - the people that are closest to my heart, the spirit of love that moves through us, the unending muse of nature’s canvas that surrounds us at every turn, and this beautiful community that shows up with their presence even when we cannot meet in person.
This year has shown me that when we are not so busy being distracted by the world and all of its flashy ways, we can see and appreciate the abundance already at hand. To see and appreciate the connections that truly matter. I am in no way tying to be insensitive to the unfathomable heartache, loss and struggle that has happened - much of which hits close to home. Rather I am choosing to look at this time with immense gratitude, for out of the darkness shone a brilliant light and my heart wants nothing more than to reflect it.
So this is where I am at now. Each of these pieces have been created with the intention of infinite love and light. They tell their story through the muse of artifacts left behind from thousands of years of human existence. With all the struggles and rejoicements, there remains a golden thread throughout history that we are just as much a part of today. Let’s shine the light together.
Stay Safe & Be Well
Sending my love to you all.
I have been radio silent for a few months on the blog. I have not even posted on my Facebook or Instagram in weeks. I needed to hibernate a little, take a breath and refill my well of creativity. There is something to be said about pulling away for a bit. I think we often blindly step into the highway of social media and not realize that our energies can get caught up and swept away in the seemingly simple act of content creation and consumption. It sometimes feels like a full time job keeping the ball in the air and not lose the momentum of the audience and algorithm. I find it builds to a point that it takes its toll on my creative flow. When that happens - poof - I make myself scarce.
With the relief that vanishing brings, the ideas, designs and the renewed interest in continuing on the artist’s path washes over me. This past month I have taken the opportunity to simply dream. I resisted the urge to jump into the studio and act upon any first thoughts. By nature, I am a person who adores the physical process. It was a challenge to not put my hands to work right away. As a maker I often get trapped in the "time is money" mentality -that if I am not physically producing, I am wasting valuable time. Instead of rushing, I rested my mind and body and set the goal to reset. It was pure joy letting the shapes and concepts marinate for a while. I turned off the tech and brought out the old sketchbook to collect the words and images that danced in my mind which are typically beaten back by the urgency of "keeping up". Time moved slowly as I would close my eyes and look inward and simply listen. From these quiet moments, a whole new collection was born. I will introduce it in the near future. I want to wait until I have a full body of work produced before I formally announce it. The final product is not the focus of today's blog post. Today is about highlighting the importance of the pause.
My month of dreaming was also spent looking at how I will continue the business moving forward. 2020 flipped all of my goals and aspirations for the business on it’s head and left me scrambling with a perpetual “make it work” moment. This year is looking to be just as unpredictable when it comes to the art shows. That kind of uncharted future harbors a great amount of stress, leading to creative drain. I can’t do another year with the anxiety and mental weight of constant questions like “will the art shows happen, will they not? If they do happen, how - as one person- can I possibly handle keeping people socially distanced in a tent , and even if I succeed, will enough people even get to see me and would I be able to make enough sales to cover the cost of the event? Etc, etc etc. There are a million logistical questions and problems to solve that ate away at my time and energy last year.
My answer for 2021? Exhale and let it go. I am planning on operating 100% through the website this year and put all of my efforts into making the online shopping experience the best and fullest it can be. Just typing this proclamation feels like a boulder has lifted off my shoulders! I know this is a huge bummer to many - and who knows, I can’t see into the future, maybe an opportunity or two could happen at some point, but I’m not going to plan on it. I need to move forward in the one direction I have some control over and that is the online store.
My past month was well spent learning the importance of turning off my auto-pilot, landing the plane, taking the much needed time to ground myself in the important parts of life and only after that was complete could I create a new flight plan in hopes of soaring to new heights through this next chapter of life.
With renewed energy, I am very excited to be back at it. Thank you for being part of my journey ❤️
I can’t believe Adorn is 16 years old!
In some ways, time has flown in the blink of an eye, yet when I reflect on all that has happened, it feels like I have lived several lifetimes in that space. 2020 has been such a quiet year, it seems odd celebrating such a big anniversary. In preparation of this announcement I took a trip down memory lane, going through scores of old photos and boxes of mementos. At the bottom of this post, I thought I would share the highlights with everyone. Thank you, because it is YOU who made all of these great memories come to life. In celebrating this anniversary, I am actually celebrating this fantastic community. How wonderful it has been to spend the majority of life here among so many wonderful people who have strengthened me and helped form the person I am today. It has been the honor of a lifetime to work with individuals to design and create meaningful jewelry for them. It has also given me the chance to travel and show my work, hold big celebratory parties and fundraisers, give talks to younger people, meet the press, and receive some pretty incredible honors along the way, for which I am incredibly humbled by. My heart is overflowing with memories of pure joy, friendship, major transformations and so many dreams come true. I cannot even begin to express how thankful I am for all of you who have supported and followed me on this creative journey.
When I opened the store back in the Fall of 2004, I never imagined that it would take me on so many wonderful adventures. To think, in the beginning, I was barely out of college. It would be another year before I was married, and Audrey was not even a thought yet. It is hard to believe how different my life was when this all started. To everything there is a season, indeed. It has been a special experience to grow and adjust the business along each step of life’s path. From the “big time” that the move to Main St. brought, to the quieter present day celebrations working in my home studio has afforded me. Everything has been in it’s right place at the right time.
I never imagined the transition that 2020 would demand. Being forced to operate in an online-only scenario was never part of my plan. I am forever grateful that, thanks to you, Adorn has been able to undergo yet another metamorphosis to accommodate the constraints of a pandemic as well as the weight of motherhood in such times. It has been the greatest treasure being home to help my teenage daughter successfully navigate these uncertain waters of 2020 while still keeping the business alive in the online world.
Don’t get me wrong, it has been difficult not seeing everyone out at the shows and pop-up events. I truly miss you, and can’t wait to safely get back out there. In the mean time, I am hoping you will share my message of gratitude with your friends, and help keep the dream alive.
To share the love and celebrate Adorn’s Sweet 16, from now through November 7th, with every order of $16 or more, use the code: SWEET16 to receive 16% off your entire order. As always, everything ships free!
Your support means the world. Thank you for joining me in my celebration.
PS: Every artist/maker I know has had a very rough year. Here is a link to a blog post I made back in the Spring that highlights a bunch of my creative friends. I am betting they would all love if your browsed their work for the upcoming holiday season. Shop local, shop small, shop indie. Even small purchases make a big impact. :)
We are all searching
for the light in the dark.
Seeking out the tiniest of sparks.
Even a simple smile
could send a wave of joy.
Beam the love to all you meet.
Be the light in the dark.
Just a tiny thought for an ordinary day.
Wishing you small but fulfilling joys for the weekend.
Stay Safe and Be Well
Simultaneously focus in and filter out.
Abstractions convey the essence,
The impressionistic energy of any subject becomes clear.
This is what I hold dear.
Follow this current through all aspects of life
And find beauty without getting lost in the overwhelming details.
We feel buried with difficulties right now.
Simultaneously focus in and filter out.
Find the current of what holds dear.
It is a twirl, and a dance.
A cycle and pattern.
With everything somehow connected.
When you find your way,
Hold a mirror to the sky and shine your beacon to all.
Share that beauty and brighten the lives around you.
Together, let's be painters of life and love
Go out and color the world you touch.
Sending virtual (((hugs)))
One of my favorite things to do when I'm designing is to come up with an element that I can make a bunch of and use in many different ways. This week I started working on new variations of the cherry blossom design. This is a pattern I created a couple of years ago, but until this week have only made the basic drop in sterling silver. Lately I have really been in the mood for the warmth of the golden brass. To me it just kind of glows with happiness.
Today I want to share the process with you and to show that sometimes designs look deceptively simple, yet are actually quite work intensive. This is what you get when you buy handmade, dedication and love of the craft. It takes years to build the skill and collect the necessary tools to create with. You get a lot of hard work for the money. In this case, these pieces all hover around the $30 price point. Pictured above are a couple behind the scenes shots, and the finished product. Below I created a list of the many steps it makes to create these little flower pieces as a way to describe the process and help you understand what goes into creating a piece of wearable art.
1. First I create the pattern.
I often create my patterns on adobe illustrator as a vector line drawing. That way I can easily scale any pattern to a desirable size to fit any project.
(For example, I actually use the same pattern that I created in a much smaller size to create the "Pretty Petals" and "Rosebud" collections. It is the same design, but I manipulate the metal in a different way and scale to create a very different look. Go check them out.
After the pattern is created,
2. I print it out and glue it to my metal sheet.
In the case of the cherry blossoms I made this week, I used a sheet of brass.
3. Then I carefully hand saw the shapes. This can be very tedious. That is why very often, I will set aside a day where all I do is saw out project blanks. I like to get that part out of the way and then I can use those blanks as I need in the future. (you can see a handful of unused blanks in the background of the top photo that I plan on making more variations with in the near future)
After the pieces are cut out, the fun begins. I love my hammers and I love hammering :) It is almost like a form of therapy - pounding on things - and in these days we are caught in, a lot of hammering is just what the doctor ordered.... right? lol.
4. For these pieces, I use a hammer and center punch to create the dotted texture as well as to create the guide for the drill bit.
5. Drill Holes, this varies from design to design. As you can see from the finished jewelry photo.
6. Next I use my dapping set. It is a nifty steel block (you can see that in the top photo) that has a variety of concave cuts, and then there are corresponding punches that look like steel balls on a stick. Together you can use them to hammer concave (or convex, depending on the finished piece) shapes into the metal. I find this works perfectly to create the curvature of a flower.
7. I knock the prong elements of the design straight up at a perpendicular angle to the rest of the flower.
8. Sand the edges and surface (file if necessary)
9. Oxidize the pieces (putting them in a liver of sulfur solution to darken the metal)
10. Flat sand the surface again to brighten up most of the metal leaving only the indented details darkened. This really gives the piece depth.
11. Burnish the elements in a tumbler with steel shot to give the whole piece a nice satin finish and also to work harden the metal so that it won't easily become mis-shapen.
12. Choose and set the glass pieces in the center using a prong pusher to form those little petal bits over the glass to hold it into place.
13. Use what is called a beading tool on the tips of the prongs to round off the points. We don't need pokey jewelry. :)
14. Paint on the clear coat (this is something I use on the brass so that the finish will not tarnish or react with your skin)
15. Add the chain, ear wires, or bead dangles to the pieces as needed.
You can check out the details of the new designs here:
Thanks for reading this far. I hope you enjoyed my little process tour. I may do some more of these step by step descriptions from time to time if you are interested.
Wishing you a super day.
Sending virtual (((hugs)))
I had this blog all written earlier today. It was one that I was unsure about. It felt right to me on a personal level, but was not necessarily a feeling I wanted to promote to the world. It was a little heavy and sounded very sad. I was going to publish it anyway because I had spent a good part of the afternoon working on it.
My computer crashed, and took the blog entry with it.
It became clear to me that I was writing in a round about and emotional way to say something that could be stated much more simply.
Trust your gut.
I should have listened to to that feeling about the blog post, this one is much better.
I should have listened to another feeling a few days ago, it would have spared me an unsettling position.
Trust that instinct. It is there for a reason.
So I will still leave you with the photo of the pretty morning glory, but will spare you the melancholy prose attempting to tie in the delicacy of fleeting moments, blah,blah, blah.
When in doubt, always trust your gut.
Wishing you a great weekend.
Stay safe and be well.
Sending virtual (((hugs)))