Oldies but Goodies - December birthstones

I'll admit it, I don't really get birthstones - wait, I think I mentioned that before. There are birthstones in different cultures, there are old ones, modern ones. In fact all I remember is that as a child I was very disappointed about mine being a pearl. A pearl is not even a stone. I never quite got that one.
It's a good thing we have people at JAC who are better at that and can tell us that the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge will be about the colors of turquoise or blue topaz because those are December birthstones :-D
It's amazing how turquoise has taken over this challenge, but there's also one piece that shows both colors ... do you see it?

1 and 6 MC Stoneworks
2 Cat's Wire
3 and 8 Violetmoon's Corner
4 and 9 RioRita
5 and 7 Jewelry Art by Dawn



I'm not talking of the many challenges that 2016 threw at all of us. I don't have the time or nerve to list all of them up, also I know it would turn into a big rant and I want to spare you that.
No, this is a wrap up post about the 2016 challenges at the Jewelry Artisans Community and about the pieces I came up with. If you want to see the other entries as well, just click through in the topic list at the bottom (although most of my pictures have disappeared there, but you get them here, so that's okay).
Which one is your favorite?

January - Make something that's new for you
I had never made something tassel like before and I re-found those beautiful rose beads that were a gift from a dear friend, so I teamed up rose, seed and drop beads for this one.

February - Romance
I didn't feel the romance, so I skipped that month.

March - Lariats
After a few attempts that didn't make me happy I took the opportunity of those pearls already being on the wire and had a little crochet session.

April - Spring has sprung
Beaded flowers can turn into an obsession as you can tell from this beaded necklace!

May - Button, button ... who has the button?
Now that one was a real challenge for me. I have never been a fan of buttons, not even as a child, and I avoid them until today. The ones that I do love are usually Victorian and too expensive for me to have them lying around. Then I stumbled upon a mysterious vintage button, mysterious because I had to find out its history and because I have absolutely no idea how it ended up in my place!

June/July - Zip it up
After my whining about buttons our challenge master chose zippers for those two months. Strictly speaking this is not a piece of jewelry although I had planned to turn it into one - which hasn't happened yet. It features a zipper from a vintage Barbie swimsuit and, well, I had fun with this one.

August - Cool clear water
This pendant is woven in dark and light blue wire around an ammonite that is about 100 million years old. It never ceases to amaze me that I am able to work with such old and beautiful fossils. The water is represented by the wires, but also the ammonite itself and by the pearl that is topped by two tiny crystals.
I do love my ammonites!

September - Goodbye Summer
I'm not an expert in peyote bezels, but I'm trying ;-) A sunflower picture that our challenge master took was supposed to inspire us. Can you tell?

October - Halloween Treat
No one could come up with anything due to different reasons, so there were no Halloween treats at all ...

November - Fire
I have all those bugles, but hardly ever a good idea for them. This bracelet ate up some of my stash - and my time.

December - Christmas earrings
I got these finished just in time to wear them on Christmas Day. Now I'm thinking I need to make more next year.

Please also visit these blogs:

Violetmoon's Corner
Jewelry Art by Dawn 


Oldies but Goodies - Bangles

This week we are talking about bangles. To be honest I never really thought about the exact definition of a bangle. To me it was always a bracelet without a clasp, and that's what I found in some dictionaries. Others, however, told me that a bangle is circular in shape AND rigid, not flexible. So my wire crochet bangles are not really bangles, but bracelets just because the ropes are not rigid? I know that there are others who seem to follow the same definition as mine. I'll have to check that out and let you know what I found out.

For now here are examples from our Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge, though, "real" bangles and (maybe) not that "real" ones ;-)

1 Jewelry Art by Dawn (I hope you can see all the pictures, I just couldn't pick only one spot of this fabulous bangle!)
2 and 5 RioRita
3 and 4 Cat's Wire
6 and 7 The Crafty Chimp


Oldies but goodies - That's not jewelry

About one and a half years ago I already showed you a collection of items from the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge that are not jewelry.
Some of the techniques our members use for jewelry are also useful to make other things, and there's always more than just beads and wire. I'm sure if they had thought of it, they could also have shown us how they knit, sew, draw and more. Once again this is just a small selection from this week's challenge. Enjoy!

1, 9, 12 Violetmoon's Corner
2, 8, 10 Jewelry Art by Dawn
3, 5, 7   The Crafty Chimp
4, 6, 11 Cat's Wire


Oldies but Goodies - Sparkly

You will have noticed that I don't have an advent calendar on my blog this year. I just didn't make it and I don't like doing just half.
That doesn't mean we can't have a bit of holiday feeling, however, this time with lots of sparkle.
I have to admit it, I love it sparkly. I can sit in the dark with just my reading lamp on, hold a strand of crystals, twirl it, move it and stare at it hypnotized by the sparkle. The other day I made a bracelet of black and silver lined red bugles and gave it away as a gift, but only after I admired the beauty of the beads in the light for a few days. I know I'm not the only magpie out there!
Here are some of the pieces from the last Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge. I just wish my blog had the right light for them to show their true sparkle potential ;-)

1 and 8 The Crafty Chimp
2 and 6 Violetmoon's Corner
3 and 7 Cat's Wire
4 and 5 MC Stoneworks


Oldies but Goodies - Cranberries

I remember a time when you didn't get cranberries here in Germany. Now they are everywhere. Frozen or dried like in the quite addictive cashew-cranberry mix I just had for a snack.
The first time I met the cranberry was in a fruit punch (that was simply fabulous). Around these parts we are more familiar with the lingonberry. Both kinds are easily confused as you can see on the aptly named site Botanical Accuracy which was a relief for me because that means for once I don't stick out with my pathetic botanical knowledge ;-) Both kinds go well with meat and are popular on Thanksgiving and/or Christmas. I don't eat meat, but potato salad and caraway bread with lingonberry sauce, mmmmm.

The Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge asked for cranberry colors this week and this is only part of we came up with.

1 and 6 Violetmoon's Corner
2 and 4 MC Stoneworks
3 Jewelry Art by Dawn
5 Cat's Wire


You know you are a jewelry artisan when ...

This was a game we used to play at my jewelry forum (before it was even JAC) and now we made it the topic of November's blog carnival at the Jewelry Artisans Community.
I'm sure it is the same for all creative people. Their minds are working differently. A musician probably notices sounds that I would not necessarily pay attention to (did you know that trees make music?). A painter or a photographer will see shadows and light from his own creative point of view. How does a writer listen to a conversation? Does someone who sew look at other people's outfits and get a new idea from it? Does a dollmaker dig into the depths of the own childhood or listens to children? Of course I could go on and on and on, but then there are jewelry artisans.

You know you are a jewelry artisan when you can't look at stones, keys, shells, baubles, glass etc. etc. etc. without wondering if you could use it for jewelry.

You know you are a jewelry artisan when you change TV channels and suddenly you have the feeling you need to make something with giraffes, but don't really know why. You start on the giraffes and a few days later when you go through the channels again, there's a sitcom on - and there's that boy who is wearing a shirt with giraffes on it! And then you remember that's exactly the same scene you passed last time. True story.

You know you are a jewelry artisan when a burger recipe makes you think of  a new design. Again, true story, but nothing to show for it yet.

You  know you are a jewelry artisan when you watch a quiz show and instead of listening to the questions you are trying to find out if that one lady's bracelet is beaded and what kind of beads those are (I didn't find out until the end).

You know you are a jewelry artisan when you see a top with beads on it and you hate the top, but you'd love to have those beads.

You know you are a jewelry artisan when you go to the garden department although you don't have a garden or even a flower pot just to see what kind of wire they have there.

You know you are a jewelry artisan when you go to the museum, see an antique chest of drawers and think how well it would work for your supplies.

You know you are a jewelry artisan when you have a collection of gift ribbons although you don't wrap gifts.

You know you are a jewelry artisan when you are crazy enough to write about how you know you are a jewelry artisan!
This could turn into an endless post, but how about reading the other JAC members' thoughts on this topic? Check them out here.

Jewelry Art by Dawn 
Violetmoon's Corner

And if you have a moment time and do something creative of whatever kind, tell us how you know you are a writer/painter/sewer/clay smoosher/felter ...........


Interview with the artist - Cindy from illustris designs

I am really excited about today's interview. Please welcome Cindy, a lady most talented in the art of wire wrapping. Actually this is pure understatement. These suncatchers can brighten everyone's day, even without sun! I am sure you will agree with me, so I'll leave the stage to Cindy now.

Couple wire tree sculpture

Tell us a little about who you are and where you come from.

My name is Cindy and I was born in Amsterdam, but currently live on the coast in Den Helder, the Netherlands. I have got a huge travelbug and I love to travel all over the world. But I also love just to be at home, curl up with my book or work in my own small veggie garden.
But most of all I have a creative mind and have been artistic all my life.

What's your craft and how did you get to do it in the first place?

My craft is making wire art. I have my own style and every design is my own. I make Suncatchers, wire candleholders and recently started making wire sculptures as well.
How I came around to this craft has been a long road filled with disappointment and pain, but ultimately led to my biggest passion ever! I have been creative all my life, but my craft was mostly clay sculpting, drawing and painting. Several years ago I suddenly found myself in a medical stream and learned that I have got arthritis and neuropathy, this means a lot of muscle and joints pain. It became very difficult for me to express myself artfully in the forms that I used to. For an artistic person not being able to express myself in a creative way was a very difficult time. But suddenly I came across a picture of wire art and it just lit up a spark inside me. I use little hand tools that are easy to use for me. It started by making one Suncatcher and from there on the sky is the limit :)

Christmas Reindeer candle holder

Is there a story behind your shop name or why did you choose it?

Yes, there is!! My wire art brought me back that creative spark and passion. Every single piece has been made with so much time, love and passion that I hope a buyer will enjoy it just the same. But also every piece has been made with such quality materials like crystals, Czech glass and Swarovski crystals. These materials reflect the light in a most stunning way. This is why the name "illustris designs" felt so fitting for my work. In Latin it means bright, shining, sparkle.

I think this is one of the most asked questions - where does your inspiration come from?

Yes, I do believe you are right! This truly is the most asked question I have gotten so far. I have made so many suncatchers and wire candle holders and truly make an effort to create something new every single time. I do not copy someone else's work, all the designs are my own! I get my inspiration out of life. I truly love nature and travelling. I have made water works that have been inspired of my snorkling adventures and made a stunning tree which I saw in Trinidad or a bird who flew just here around the corner. I also love music which inspired me to do a music themed one, but truly anything that touches me can be one form of inspiration or another. I also love fantasy and mythology. Life itself gives me more inspiration on a shelf that I can handle :) I always say, look around you and see a beautiful flower, let your imagination go with it and it can turn into the most stunning art!

Dragon wire sculpture

Have you ever told a story with one of your pieces or is there a special background story to one of them?

Oh my, that is a very difficult question! Every single piece has been made with so much passion and holds a story of its own. There is so much happiness in a lot of them. It always touches me when a buyer tells me a story about the reason they purchased my art. Most precious stories about it being a wedding present or for somebody's baby shower. I always feel so honored that my art can be a part of such a private and personal eent.
But the one that stands out the most for me is the one I ultimately ended up giving away to my parents. I always want to experiment with new materials and different designs. I came up with the idea to make a Suncatcher that would stand on a foot instead of hanging in front of a window. I told this idea to my parents and they spontaneously said, oh some Japanese Cranes would look stunning. I got excited working on this theme and it took me ages. In the meanwhile we all of a sudden got the crushing news that one of my parents has colon and liver cancer. When I finished working on the Japanese Cranes project, it only felt right just to give it to them as a little light in the darkness and the light on their faces when I gave it to them said more than a thousand words.

Tell us a fun thing about yourself.

I am a bit crazy with a capital C :) :) :)

Do you do other crafts, if yes, what?

I used to do a bit of mosaic work as well, but the last couple of years my passion has been completely into the wire work. I do however expand my wire art more and more. It started out just being Suncatchers, later on also candle holders, and now I am starting making wire sculptures as well.

Swan wire suncatcher

Which one of your pieces is your absolute favorite?

Pff, that feels like having to single out a favorite child :D I think it is a tie between my Couple wire tree, Fairy suncatcher and Phoenix candleholder.

Which one was the hardest to make and why?

My wire Angel sculpture has been the hardest because it truly is the first wire sculpture I have ever made. I wanted to express love and loss and combine heaven and earth, in a beautiful, not in a sad way. It is a large sculpture of an Angel whose legs turn into branches surrounding a blue crystal ball (the earth). The entire sculpture sits in a open hand with lots of flowers and little butterflies.

Angel wire sculpture

Is there someone whom you admire and who inspires you, artistically and/or for life?

In a world filled with stereotypes and strife for perfection I admire anyone who has the guts to stay their own unique selves.

If you had free choice of one supply you need for your work, no matter how expensive, what would it be?

Oh my, wire, wire, wire ... every single gauge size and color they come. Silver and real copper and every color of the rainbow.

Peacock candle holder

Do you sell online, if yes, where can we find you?

YES!! You can find me on Etsy (with a 10% discount until the end of 2016, too!) and DaWanda at illustris designs.

Do you do custom orders?

Yes!! The first custom order was local and I was a bit nervous the first time. Would the buyer like it and will I be able to create what they had in mind? In the end I LOVED making it and bring to life what somebody had invisioned. Now I have made custom orders all over the world, from Australia to the US. For any questions or information please feel free to contact me.

Famous last words ;-) Is there anything else you want to tell us?

I just hope my story and passion will re-ensure anybody who finds themselves between spaces in time to keep hope and faith that "when one door closes, another one will open".

Cherry blossom wire tree
Thank you so much, Cindy.
And guys, if those pictures don't make you head over to the shops to see more, I don't know what can!


Oldies but Goodies - Wood

We all know that jewelry has been around for thousands of years. In the early days before gems and metals humans used what they could find, plants, feathers, shells, bone, stones - and wood.
None of these materials has disappeared from today's jewelry.
This week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge was about wood, treated or untreated, painted or in its original color.
Do you like wooden jewelry? Tell us about it!

1 and 7 Jewelry Art by Dawn
2 and 3 Cat's Wire
4 and 6 Violetmoon's Corner
5 MC Stoneworks


Oldies but Goodies - Topaz

"Honey yellow. Fiery orange. Cyclamen pink. Icy blue. In warm or cool tones, topaz is a lustrous and brilliant gem." This is a quote from the website of the Gemological Institute of America. Another one is the reason "why we love this gemstone - topaz comes in some of the gem world’s largest crystals: the largest are kilos, not carats". Wow.

Here at the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge we are not offering you kilos of topaz. In fact I don't even show you all colors, and not all of it is even real topaz.
The choice of topic was inspired by topaz being the birthstone for this month. I'll admit that birthstones confuse me sometimes because you get different lists. For example I read on one page that the golden topaz is the stone for November and the blue variety for December.
Just to be on the safe side I stuck with the golden color. I hope you'll enjoy my selection.

1 and 5 Violetmoon's Corner
2 and 4 Cat's Wire
3 and 6 MC Stoneworks
7 Jewelry Art by Dawn


Oldies but Goodies - Gothic

I know I have been neglecting this blog lately and I'm still quite a bit away from being able to dive back in fully, mostly due to health reasons that are cutting both in my computer and my creative time. There haven't even been Oldies but Goodies although the challenges themselves did not take a break.
At least I'll be trying to bring you some pictures until I'll be fully back.
Let's start with this week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge, please enjoy the topic "Gothic".

1 and 5 MC Stoneworks
2 and 6 Cat's Wire
3 and 8 Violetmoon's Corner
4 and 7 Jewelry Art by Dawn


Tackle that stash - Beaded sunflower pendant

From the Jewelry Artisans Community "Our September challenge is in honor of the end of summer. Many of us are ready to say goodbye to the extreme summer heat and are looking forward to the cooler days of fall. But, summer isn't only about hot days; it brings us beautiful flowers, sweet juicy fruit and colorful vegetables. One of the ways I know that the end of summer is near is when the big, bold sunflowers make their appearance. In recognition of this, your challenge is to use this sunflower photo ..."

My first plan was to crochet a pendant with wire and seed beads. I had made a big yellow flower pendant before, now I wanted to make a smaller version of it. I'll make it short, it didn't turn out the way I would have liked it to. A flower, yes, a sunflower, no.

I had to think up a plan B, but maybe you know how it is, if something doesn't work out and you don't already have another plan up your sleeve, it's sometimes hard to find the motivation to go back to the project.
Instead I amused myself with this and that, and through one of those "thats" I found a mahogany obsidian cabochon in my stash. Wire was out of the question this time, but that meant ... that's where the project almost died a quick death right there and then ... a peyote bezel.
Fact is that I'm not a friend of peyote. Don't ask me why, don't try to convince me, some techniques stick, others don't. Peyote didn't. Time to give it another try? I'm not ashamed to say that the first attempt almost drove me up the walls. Peyote and I didn't suddenly become best buddies, but we did our best the second time around ;-)
For the petals, however, I went back to brick stitch because I wanted them to be stiffer and sturdier.
I need a break now, but who knows maybe peyote will be back? I still have those rivolis that a friend sent me ........


Oldies but Goodies - Colorful

This morning I woke up and was cold. For a moment I tried to remember where I was - which is not always easy after the strange dreams I tend to have - what day it was and why it was cold. After coming to my senses - as much as that's possible - I was glad to realize it was not winter yet. It's fall which is fine with me.
Nevertheless winter is lurking around the corner, with the cold, the darkness in the morning and in the evening.
What's better to fight those thoughts than some bright colors and lots of them?
Colorful was the topic for this week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge and colors we got, in all variations.
As always I hope you'll enjoy my little selection!
Shhhh, just as a reminder, if you make jewelry as well, why not come over and join our next challenge?

1 and 8 MC Stoneworks
2 and 3 Jewelry Art by Dawn
4 and 10 Cat's Wire
5 and 7 Violetmoon's Corner
6 and 9 The Crafty Chimp


The Hook

Time has been running again, can you believe September is almost over already?
You know what that means, another Jewelry Artisans Community blog carnival which this time is about tools.
Now I do have a few tools. I have a hammer, a file, mandrels, pliers ... and I have the hooks. Some of these hooks make up a big part of my life as a jewelry artisan, so I decided they should get the spotlight.
One of them, to be exact. The Hook. The One Hook. The 1.75 mm Hook that started it all.

So my original plan was to call this post "Ode to The Hook". Then I remembered that I suck at poetry, even if I don't try to rhyme.
My next plan was to tell you The Hook's story. Where he came from, what he had seen, what he expected from life, but then I remembered that I have no idea where he came from. He was just there. There is a chance that he was used for The Baby Shoe. Yeah, I never liked crocheting with yarn. The Baby Shoe stayed a single and lived at home with me for a very long time because somehow I couldn't get myself to throw it away. Until The Baby was about 25 or so. Chances were low she'd fit her feet in there. I'm digressing.
So maybe The Hook made The Baby Shoe. I don't know, that was so long ago that I still lived in another town then.

What counts is that Hook was there when I needed him. Now you may wonder why Hook is male to me, but in German the crochet hook is male which is kind of funny thinking about it (all hooks are, so obviously Hook can't be an exception). And when I needed him, he didn't find some silly excuse like "I can't, there's a soccer game on" or "I have to finish this computer game" or the worst of all "I'll do it, eventually".
Not Hook. He did his job and stuck with me through thick and thin and some incredibly ugly practice pieces. He was never jealous, not when some fatter old dudes (2 something mm ones inherited from my ex-MIL) came along and not when a new case with shiny new hooks came along and finally took over, younger and slightly slimmer than he was.
He didn't take it the wrong way, didn't feel betrayed.
Instead Hook retired gracefully and is now hanging out standing up in wire or thread spools with some of his also retired pals (the fatter old dudes, in fact).
Maybe it's time to make him work a little again ...

You want to know what my fellow JAC members have to say? Check it out here. I knew their posts would be slightly more serious than mine ;-)

Violetmoon's Corner
Jewelry Art by Dawn 


Interview with the artist - Michael from Truewood Wands

There are several reasons why I'm happy about this post.
It has been months since I was able to have an artist interview on my blog and it really motivates me to get back into it. Even better, however, is the fact that our artist today is not just a fellow cat lover, but also a smart and talented man.
I'm so glad he agreed to answer some questions and I hope you will enjoy this as much as I did.
Welcome, Michael!

Medium Bubinga pendulum

Tell us a little about who you are and where you come from.

I'm Michael Zimmerle. I was born in Oregon, USA, but have lived most of my life in Colorado. I grew up in the Denver area and have lived for the last twenty odd years in a tiny town in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado called Paonia with my wife and four cats (of course). I'm fifty one and a bit odd in general.

What's your craft and how did you get to do it in the first place?

I'm a part time craft woodworker and general putter-arounder. I like to experiment with different things including making odd things that make noise, from wind chimes made from old plumbing pipe and aluminum tent poles to cigar box guitars and lyres. My items for sale are mostly things I have made from wood on the lathe.

(Here's just one example of Michael singing an original song of his and playing on a handmade cigar box guitar, by the way.)

My father was a kind of renaissance man in that he could do a vast number of things. I had a book when I was a child: My Daddy Can Fix Anything. That's my dad. Toys, appliances, cars, furniture, if it needed fixing, dad would at least give it a try. One of the things he had (still does) was a multi-tool called a Shop Smith. It's a variable speed motor mounted on rails that will accomodate a number of attachments. One of those was a lathe. He would occasionally take my brothers and I out to the garage and show us how to turn wood into interesting things. There were candlesticks, a couple of bowls, and other things that he had made around the house. "Dad, how did you make this?" "Come out to the garage and I'll show you." That is the way I grew up.

Several years ago, about the time J. K. Rowling released her fourth book, I tried my hand at making a few wands. I didn't have a lathe, and made do with a drill and plain wood chisels. The results weren't great, but it did reignite my interest in wood turning. My dad got me a mini lathe for my birthday that year. I've been having great fun turning ever since. I don't get to do as much of it as I would like. 

12 inch walnut wand

Is there a story behind your shop name or why did you choose it?

I had been considering names and looking at other wands on the internet. One thing that struck me was the number of wands made out of synthetic materials. That's fine, particularly for prop recreations, and even for those for whom a wand is a serious magical tool, the synthetics can be useful if that's your thing. However, I noticed that some people were making it obvious that the wands they had were all wood. I have an affinity for wood as do most practitioners I know, so this seemed like a good thing to point out. Truewood Wands seemed like a good way to get this out in a simple way. I also like the way it sounds.

I think this is one of the most asked questions – where does your inspiration come from?

Part of my inspiration comes from me not being as good at my craft as I could be (laughs). I start a wand with a square length of stock. The first step is to turn it to a round profile. Because I'm a little sloppy sometimes, the result is a little irregular. Most times, these irregularities suggest contours that might look good on the wand. Sometimes there is a feature of the wood that a shape might accentuate or enhance. One wand I made for my wife had a pinhole knot. I considered trying to eliminate it with a groove, but instead made it the center of a bead/ball shape. Instead of being a flaw, it became an interesting feature.

Now, this is the part where I get esoteric. Each piece I work conveys something to me. I might have a wand tell me what it wants to look like. Sometimes the general “feel” of the wood suggests curves, rounds, sharp “V” shapes, and etc. I don't think I've ever made two wands alike.

(Actually I understand that very well, after all I like to say the wire and hook take over.)

Rowan wand made to order

Tell us a fun thing about yourself.

I've been told by friends that if I were in solitary confinement, they would have no worries about me. I can entertain myself with practically anything. A piece of string, sand, dust on the floor, a spot on the wall.

People in groups don't interest me much, but I really like most individuals I meet. There is always something delightful to discover about a person. I have run into exceptions, but very few.

Oh yeah. I'm a singer in a Blues band. HooDoo HEDZ. We are a bunch of old white guys who love the Blues. We gig around locally a couple times each month.

Do you do other crafts, if yes, what? 

As I mentioned before, I putter around with a lot of things. As far as turning, I do some bowls and other serving items. I bead a little in a very limited way. Very limited way. I also like to experiment with things that make noise. I also make boxes, mostly for utilitarian purposes. I don't think I consider any of the boxes I've made as anything to be proud of.

I've also developed an interest in making things from recycled material. I have vague plans to work with pulped egg cartons and paper, recycling plastics and maybe doing some metal casting. That one is a way off.

Which one of your pieces is your absolute favorite? Which one was the hardest to make and why?

I really don't think I have a favorite. While I have made wands for myself, most of what I make I intend to send out into the world. I've been pleased with quite a few of my pieces, but I don't think that one stands out for me as a favorite.

There have been a couple of wands that have given me trouble, but I think that has mostly come from my own state of mind and not the piece itself. Years ago, I was working with a piece of wood. I tend to think that most good work comes from a place of love. Well, I was going after this piece (I don't even remember what I was hoping to make), and I wasn't in a good head space. I swear the wood said, “Love? You're not even being nice!” I put down my tools and set it aside.

Medium oak pendulum

Can you tell us a little more about the wood you work with? 

I work with a variety of woods, both domestic (USA) and exotics. I get most of my wood from local, large-scale wood shops as scrap or cast offs. On two occasions, I have been given some wonderful stock. Once was a craftsman who also did small scale logging and tree removal. I asked if he had any scrap. I went to his shop with a box. He sent me home with a truckload of absolutely gorgeous maple, apple, walnut, ash, juniper and a few others. Another time I stopped by a specialty cabinet shop and came home with purpleheart, wenge, mahogany, cherry, bubinga, and oak.

Each of these woods have special characteristics in both energy and the way they work. Strangely enough, even two pieces from the same board will sometimes behave differently. It's really fascinating. That's one of the things I love about this work. Nothing is totally predictable. There is always some interesting challenge.

I have a description of the various woods I work with on the shop page for those who are interested.

Is there someone whom you admire and who inspires you, artistically and/or for life?

I've been inspired by a lot of people. Too many to name, really, but I suppose my first inspiration comes from my parents. They are both people of exceptional intelligence, creativity, and character. They both have a kind of “go for it” attitude that makes exploration and experimentation a virtue.

What really inspires me is the sense of possibility. I see some works or people who simply ignore convention. It's like they have no concept of “the box”. Like, if you said, “Think outside the box,” they would reply, “There's a box?” We often have such narrow ideas of what art is. I love it when someone does something nonconforming. I don't always find it aesthetically pleasing, I don't always “like” it, but I always admire it. And it can be anything from wood, to music, to painting, or practically anything.

I'm also inspired by patience. I don't have a lot of that.

12 inch Bubinga wand

If you had free choice of one supply you need for your work, no matter how expensive, what would it be? (in your case I would guess wood, so maybe choose one you like best ;-)) 

Truth is, I have quite a lot of stock and most of the tools I need. What I really want is a year round shop. Right now, I'm working out of our carport, which my wife would like to actually use for the car. It means I don't have a place to work effectively in the cold months or in poor weather.

So, what I really want is space. And time.

Oh, and some ebony. That's a wood I have always wanted to work with.

Do you sell online, if yes, where can we find you? Do you do custom orders?

You can find my current offerings on Etsy at Truewood Wands. Keep an eye out for more listings. Right now, there isn't a huge selection, but I hope to get more wands up soon.

I love doing custom work! It's more fun when I have someone with me while I work, but I love being able to put the perfect wand or pendulum into a customer's hand!

Large Purpleheart pendulum

Famous last words ;-) Is there anything else you want to tell us?

Create! Make stuff! Find the magic in yourselves and your worlds! And love. Love lots.

Thank you so much, Michael.
I am looking forward to seeing more of your work and wish you a lot of success with your new shop!
People, head over to Truewood Wands and check it out ... you know you do want a wand or a pendulum as beautiful as Michael's pieces!