Let There Be Pearls

Posted by Rebecca Stone on March 2, 2011
Mar 022011

Spring is getting closer. I can smell the blossom scent in the wind — unless, of course it’s a Santa Ana wind that visits from time to time around here and can nearly rip the hair out of your head. But I digress.

pearl and crystal necklace
Cream and rose freshwater pearl combine with fuschia Swarovski crystals and a smattering of sterling silver in this Springy necklace. A wild rose cloisonne bead sits at its heart.
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For some reason, I recently felt like doing something with pearls — freshwater pearls to be exact. They’re just so darn creamy and, well, Springy-looking. They called to me, saying, “Put us together with some sparkly Swarovski crystals!” (As if Swarovski crystals could ever be anything but sparkly. But these are pearls talking…) Anyway, it sounded like a good idea. So I did.


Pearl, Swarovski, black onyx and sterling silver necklace
This time, I paired the same pearls with black onyx, black Swarovski crystals and sterling silver for a high-contrast look. After all, Spring is full of contrasts! A black cloisonne bead with a mallow type of flower resides dead center.
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I threw in a touch of sterling silver here, and a touch of gold-fill there. And I had perfect little cloissone beads, that added just the right touch dead center. Each necklace reminds me of a little whisper, a gentle touch, a delicate bouquet from the Spring that will soon arrive (even for those of you in the Midwest, East Coast, and — right now — Pacific Northwest). Take heart! Take a necklace! Be happy! And be sparkly!

Pearls with Swarovski and red
Finally, I had to try the deep red (Siam) Swarovski side-by-side with the delicate pearl shades. Punched up with gold-filled beads and the central cloisonne pink and red “hibiscus,” I think the piece has a kind of noirish playfulness — if that’s possible.
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The Best Therapy

Posted by Rebecca Stone on March 31, 2010
Mar 312010

Suffering the heartbreak of a relationship gone wrong? Grab some beads and beading wire and start stringing. Laid off from a longtime career? Great time to learn about precious metal clays. Lose your boat to the bad economy? Start wirewrapping like there’s no tomorrow. This week I discovered the therapeutic value of jewelry making.

My boat, the Ricky Jane, taught me the value of patience, determination and a good first aid kit.

My boat, the Ricky Jane, taught me the value of patience, determination and a good first aid kit.

I admit it: I’m a sentimental romantic, but as I sold my precious wooden trawler this week, I’m proud to say that I kept my wits about me. Since being laid off as managing editor of a boating magazine last year, I’ve been “sort of” (reluctantly) looking for a potential buyer for my beloved boat. It had to be exactly the right person. Well, this week he materialized: a licensed captain, surveyor and all around wooden boat guru. Plus, he’s a friend of a very boatwise friend. As he toured her below decks, it was just all too perfect. At 6-foot, 4, he was able to stand up straight without hitting his head, and as he walked around checking her out, I could see “the look” in his eyes. He was smitten. Believe me, when a big guy like that walks around your boat saying things like: “She’s just so cute!” or “She’s definitely a keeper!” you know he’s a goner. How could I resist? It’s getting to the point that I can no longer afford a slip fee and, physically as well as logistically, I just can’t keep up with the maintenance. The marine environment is harsh and wooden boats require constant attention. I’ve often pictured myself as if I were in a relay race to keep the boat afloat. At this point in my life, I can’t go any farther, so it’s time to pass the baton on to someone else. It was a done deal.

The Ricky Jane is no “yacht.” Basically, a ’60s fishing boat, she was a mess when I bought her 14 years ago: rotted aft planks and forward gunwals, non-working engine. But I was completely under her spell. They say wooden boats can do that to you as soon as you get that first splinter. They get under your skin. She became my home and my constant, daily mission to bring her back from the brink of disintegration. Every morning, I’d pour a cup o’ joe and get in a little boatwork before I went to work. Every evening after work, I’d pour myself a glass of wine and start scraping, sanding, filling or whatever the project du jour called for. She gave me seven years of living on the water, where I could watch the wildlife (both animal and human) go by. People would motor up to her transom in their dinghys  on sunny mornings for coffee and a chat. Those of us on my dock who loved to read formed our own dockside lending library, trading novels back and forth. I even had about 25 people at one time on my 33-foot boat for Christmas dinner one year (much of it cooked on a single-burner hotplate).

When I eventually moved back to land, I resolved to make the boat less a home and more a, well, boat. Work began in ernest on the engine, with my boyfriend spending hours of quality time down in the engine bay, affectionately known as “the hole.” More than anything, though, the boat became a sort of zen getaway for me as well as a floating art studio. With her rocking gently under me, the sound of halyards in the marina slapping in the breeze, I began my first fledgling attempts at jewelry making.

The day after I sold her, I finally burst into tears. I knew I’d done the right thing, but, hey, I’d had her for 14 years. I was heartbroken. But numbly, I sat down with some 22-gauge silver wire and started wrapping. I wrapped briolettes, nuggets, chips, drops — practically everything in sight. OK, not the cats…

combwirewrapfinal

Wirewrapping therapy included sodalight, labradorite and pearls, tourmalinated and rose quartz and lots of Swarovski crystals and sterling silver.

The point is, I wrapped my way through my grief and into a new design (for me, anyway). I think it’s a keeper.

The great thing is, I’m getting wonderful practice creating beautiful designs by putting curves in wire as I work out the kinks in my heart. I guess I have the boat to thank for that. Calm seas, Ricky Jane.

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