Monthly Archives: July 2012

Native American Designs

While I was at Renegade SF, I noticed an abundance in the trend of using Native American, and Navajo in particular, patterns. I’ve also noticed this trending big time on Etsy. Something that makers should be aware of is that recently Urban Outfitters was sued for using the word Navajo in connection to their designs, because they were in violation of trademarks (the Navajo Nation has 10) and the federal Indian Arts and Crafts Act, “which makes it illegal to sell arts or crafts in a way to falsely suggest they’re made by American Indians when they’re not.” (Huffington Post)

The issue that I’ve been having with this trend is that a lot of the people using these patterns in their crafts have no real ties to the cultures that they are appropriating from. There is a blog post on Native Appropriations about the many issues behind this, but the part that I want to express here is this idea of crafts being about an honesty in processes, and a connection with the makers. Just as folks in the handmade movement are pushing for people to buy local and handmade, I would like to push the idea that Adrienne puts forth in her blog – “If you choose to wear something Native, buy it from a Native.”

As Adrienne goes on to say, “There are federal laws that protect Native artists and craftspeople who make genuine jewelry, art, etc. (see info here about The Indian Arts and Crafts Act). Anything you buy should have a label that says “Indian made” or “Native made”. Talk to the artist. find out where they’re from. Be diligent. Don’t go out in a full “costume”. It’s ok to have on some beaded earrings or a turquoise ring, but don’t march down the street wearing a feather, with loaded on jewelry, and a ribbon shirt.”

I’m not saying that anyone who isn’t Native should not wear or own anything with Native designs. What I am saying is that just like we talk about when we say “buy handmade” so that we can support the maker directly, when you buy Native, support a Native artisan directly.


Weekend is Over

We had a great weekend that started on Friday with crabbing off the dock. Not our most productive crabbing. We were only able to keep a couple of red crabs. All the dungeness of size may be all fished out. We also pulled in this enormous starfish in our cage trap, twice. Then the folks next to us caught it as well. Finally I threw it over the other side of the dock so that we’d stop catching it.

This photo is of me about to throw it back in and a random rollerblader that stopped by to check it out.

I made a video of our Friday night crabbing outing so you can see how amazing the starfish looks in action.

Also, I should say that the politically correct name is sea star, since they aren’t fish. But, I grew up calling them starfish, so starfish they will always be to me. Just as I will probably always call an Apatosaurus, Brontosaurus.

The weekend ended with some high-speed go kart racing. Super fun, but now I’m super sore.

Silver Jewelry Care

Since this question comes up a lot, I thought I’d do a post on caring for silver jewelry.

If your jewelry is sterling silver with a satin finish and doesn’t have a patina (darkened), the best way to clean it, is to lightly scrub the surface with a Scotch-Brite pad or fine steel wool in a circular pattern.

If your jewelry is sterling silver with a shiny finish but has tarnished, rub it with a Sunshine cloth to remove the tarnish.

To help prevent your jewelry from becoming tarnished, you can store your jewelry in a zip-lock bag with anti-tarnish paper.

If it does have a patina, then a gentil liquid soap and water is best. If you need to get into crevices, a soft toothbrush will work, but be sure not to rub too hard or the patina will come off.

Also, it is normal for patinas to wear off of jewelry over time. This is especially true of rings and bracelets since they take so much abuse, but less so with earrings and necklaces. Jewelers usually use “liver of sulfur” or “silver black” to impart a patina on jewelry. These chemicals require proper handling and disposal, but one thing that most people have at home is bleach, which can also darken silver, but sometimes with unpredictable results, so use at your own risk.

Fresh off the Bench

I just finished these fun necklaces and earrings today. They are based on my basket design, but these are made from upcycled tins. The blue ones are so nautical and perfect for summer. They will be available at my booth at the San Francisco Renegade Craft Fair this weekend, and after that in my Etsy shop. Since they are made from vintage materials, each color/pattern combination will be limited.



Spirograph Basket Earrings in Process

Yesterday I started on several pairs of the Spirogrograph Basket Earrings, and I thought I’d share a few process shots.

Here are the finished earrings that I’m making.

In this photo I’m putting the solder on the steel components using an acetylene/atmosphere torch.

Next I attach the silver rings that will hold the earwires.

Here are the components with the silver rings attached.

Then I sand the pieces to clean up the firescale.

I didn’t have a chance to finish them yesterday, as I teach jewelry making on Monday and Wednesday evenings. Today I will finish them up by creating the earwires and attaching them.

Rustic Dish Earrings

Yesterday was a lovely day. I spent most of the day working in the studio. I made several pairs of the dish earrings in preparation for Renegade.

Also, my show cards came in yesterday.

The day ended with some crab fishing off the pier and watching the sunset. We caught 3 large dungeness, half of what we caught the night before, but seeing that 1–1.5 makes a big meal, I think we have plenty for the moment.

4th of July

July 4th started for me with some jewelry making. I worked on this new design for these earrings. They were inspired by helicopter seed pods. I really love the way that they look on.


Then we went putting around Lake Union on one of Dan’s boats. It’s a little aluminum Crestliner, and Dan has been working on the engine and replacing the seats in it, so yesterday was the first time we got to take it out.


Here’s a photo that I took with my phone of the massive amounts of people at Gas Works park.


Sun set and we were on a friend’s boat to watch the fireworks. I was so happy to be back in Seattle and on a boat for the fireworks display.