Sunday, January 31, 2010

new tattoo?

so you have probably seen the small, faded, purple flower tattoo on my middle finger on my right hand in some of my ring photos.

well, i got it when i was 16 years old, and not only is it not very cool, it is very faded and i do not love it any more. so, i have been working on some design ideas to enhance it. this is my current favorite:

i met with nic at your flesh tattoo in durango on friday to discuss possibilities. i am very excited about this; please tell me what you think!

Friday, January 29, 2010

like the phoenix

i've always had a thing for the phoenix. i just adore the mythology behind it. (here's what wiki has to say about it.) i love the idea that out of the end comes the beginning. that just when you think it's over, it is really starting all over again. new. fresh.

when we went to the city of phoenix in the beginning of december, i was very inspired by the city's logo, a stylized version of the bird. so i started sketching this bracelet. i've been collecting the just right stones since then, and working on it a bit at a time, here and there. this week, i felt very inspired to finish it. here it is. it is enormous.

from left to right: sardonyx, carnelian, laguna lace agate, carnelian (top), lake superior agate, laguna agate. i chose the stones for their flame-like colors and patterns.
i crafted a humungous toggle to hold the weight of it. i actually made every single component of this bracelet from scratch, even the jump rings. very zen. very therapeutic.

the back is quite personal, but i am happy to share it with you. it is my simple little mantra that i repeat to myself when things are tough. you can laugh if you like, but it is quite powerful. "i am loveable (misspelled on purpose of course). i am beautiful. i am successful. i am good.

so now it is my wonder woman power bracelet. it is a very definite presence on my wrist.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

jewelry as therapy

i have been out in the studio until after midnight 3 nights this week. aside from skiing, it seems to be the only thing that is really helping me to work through what's going on for me right now. it's simply amazing to me how therapeutic it is. i go out there full of frustration or angst or anger or despair and as i hammer and saw and torch and transform the metal into something new, those feelings are also transformed. i am just so very grateful (i know i say it a lot) to be doing what i love for a living. i wouldn't change a thing.

so tonight i finished a piece that i started in early december. i've been working on it a bit at a time and collecting the right stones for it... it is quite marvelous. i will share it with you tomorrow.

oh, and i was on the front page of etsy today! my large spiral earrings...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

sacred intricacies

the stones

the bezels

the silver

the jewelry

made with prehnite, amethyst, and smoky quartz, the "always remember who you love" necklace will serve as a solid reminder for you. it's sweet and strong and romantic, like your heart

after a record snowfall such as the one we just had, what else could i call this necklace but "snowdrift"? layers upon layers of snow, piling up higher and higher...

a gorgeous laguna agate sits in a delicate bezel that makes me think of snowflakes. because the stone is large, i used lightweight silver for the back plate, and hung it on a light chain to keep it from being too heavy.

the "pure as snow" ring. a marvelous, high dome rainbow moonstone

looking at this stone, a laguna lace agate (used to be known as crazy lace agate), i am so mesmerized. the patterns are so intense and so incredible. i find myself pondering the intricate processes that formed this stone, deep in the earth. and for that matter, all of those sacred, intricate processes that i never take the time to wonder about. all of the systems in our bodies that keep us going, all through our lives; the tides, and the seasons; and migrations and the chemistry of love; cells and molecules and solar systems... processes that rely on so many different things happening in sync. this stone is like that...

we are just coming out on the other side of a huge snowstorm, a blizzard some are saying. (my neighbor says that this is the most snow accumulation from one storm since 1958.) it was intense! the town is so so so so so beautiful! i love a snow like this.
the view of my little house from my shop window

the door to the barn that houses my shop/studio. so much snow was dumping that during the time in between my trips from studio to house, my tracks were covered completely.

luckily, my fabulous woodstove in my studio kept me toasty during the storm.

(to read more about it, check out my friend rachel's blog post 6512 and growing.)

today i did something i've always wanted to do. i skied on the river. not along the river. not beside the river. i was on it. i talked to a friend who said he'd just broken a track and i should try it out. i've always been a bit scared to do it, but he assured me that they made a safe track. so i went for it. it was so beautiful! i skied right out my front door, across the highway and down to the river.

poor little ladder. so confused.

i love where i live.

Friday, January 22, 2010

snow, glorious snow!

this is what i woke up to today, looking out of my window. what a fabulous way to wake up! we have been bombarded with snow (and i didn't even have to go dance naked in the yard to get it.) it is simply marvelous!

because sales have been a bit slow this month, i am all caught up with all of my orders and today i am going to make some things for myself! i seem to have lost my wedding ring. (remember, this one?) i have given it a few days and it has not resurfaced, so i am going to make a new one. i am sure as soon as i do, the other will appear. i think i am going to use prehnite this time. i'll share it with you when i am done. i also have another ring i am going to make for myself, with an amazing laguna lace agate. i'll probably make a couple pieces for the shop too because i have some great stones i have been wanting to use.

oh, and juniper wanted me to let you know she is working on thinking outside the box...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

feeling pretty good...

i went by the artisans gallery today to pick up several pieces that have sold from my etsy shop that are currently on display there.

because the gallery is a cooperative, every 6 months, we rearrange it so that folks get a chance to be in various locations. this is my new spot...

last month was my very best month of sales so far! there had been talk of having some clever valentine's day activities (like women coming in and signing a gift registry and then having an evening where the men artists are working and husbands and boyfriends can come in and shop for their wives and girlfriends. i thought that was a great idea.) so february sales ought to be pretty good too.

while i was there, a couple of local people from an organization called SW COmpassion came in looking for donations for a silent auction they were doing to raise money for haiti. i gave them 3 pieces; it felt really good. (also, please note in the upper right sidebar here on the blog there is a link to a paste magazine site where you can donate any amount and get access to about 300 free downloads, donated by the musicians. there are some good songs there!)

then we had lunch with patty, the lovely woman i am always talking about who is so generous with her fabulous stones. she is so very sweet, and the girls just love her! she's actually offered to watch them every wednesday morning so i can go back to working my shifts at the gallery again. i am looking forward to it.

this here is the latest contender for a new "some rain must fall" necklace! it is laguna lace agate and it is so very beautiful. i am working on grinding it down so that the size and shape are a bit more appropriate, but i believe it is going to work. i am so excited!

and this is a CRAZY rhodochrosite feather that (guess who?) patty hooked me up with. it measures an astonishing 75 x 32 x 6 mm! it is enormous and heavy and so fabulous! i am working on a design for a necklace with it... it will be a certain special someone who connects with it.
we finally got some fresh snow! this here is the garden gate next to my studio, with several inches of fresh snow. can't wait to ski friday!

on an unhappy note, i've been dealing with an extremely rude and frustrating buyer. she bought a pair of small spiral earrings from my etsy shop and mistakenly thought they were "ready to ship", even though it is clearly stated that they are "made to order" and ship in about 10-14 days. so she filed a non-delivery claim with paypal, which is such a hassle! i, of course, have already shipped them and gave her the delivery confirmation #. but she was mean and rude and, unfortunately, those are sometimes the kind of people i have to deal with. i told her to please return the earrings when they arrive and i will refund her money because i do not want people like her wearing my jewelry. is that terrible?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


    i have quoted this fabulous poem before, and used an excerpt on the back of one of my necklaces, but i have made a vow to read it each morning. maybe you would like to also?


    Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
    and remember what peace there may be in silence.
    As far as possible without surrender
    be on good terms with all persons.
    Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
    and listen to others,
    even the dull and the ignorant;
    they too have their story.

    Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
    they are vexations to the spirit.
    If you compare yourself with others,
    you may become vain and bitter;
    for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
    Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

    Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
    it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
    Exercise caution in your business affairs;
    for the world is full of trickery.
    But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
    many persons strive for high ideals;
    and everywhere life is full of heroism.

    Be yourself.
    Especially, do not feign affection.
    Neither be cynical about love;
    for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
    it is as perennial as the grass.

    Take kindly the counsel of the years,
    gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
    Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
    But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
    Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
    Beyond a wholesome discipline,
    be gentle with yourself.

    You are a child of the universe,
    no less than the trees and the stars;
    you have a right to be here.
    And whether or not it is clear to you,
    no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

    Therefore be at peace with God,
    whatever you conceive Him to be,
    and whatever your labors and aspirations,
    in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

    With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
    it is still a beautiful world.
    Be cheerful.
    Strive to be happy.

~Max Ehrmann

and, these little sweeties forgot to go south. they were hanging out yesterday, in the snow, when we went skiing...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

safety nets

so, as a blog writer, i made a decision to "keep things light" here. i vowed to make this only about my business, not so much my personal life. but the truth is, it is a very fine line between the two. my business IS very much a part of my personal life. it's all about balancing and meshing and making both things work. and, increasingly, my time in my studio is the perfect therapy for me when i am having a hard time. my troubles and challenges come through in my work, and i feel the need to share that with you. and, i have started to feel a bit deceptive. if i am only sharing with you, dear readers, the high times and happy things in my life, you are not getting a true and accurate picture of who i, kristi marcille-smith, a.k.a. silver sparrow designs, really am. if it is okay with you, i would like to remedy that. this blog has come to mean a lot to me. i look forward to posting and sharing, even though i have no idea who is out there, reading it. it is sort of like a public journal, something of an oxymoron.

i had a bit of a meltdown last night. (there, i said it. not so hard...) it really was pretty bad. one of those late at night, extremely lonely, what-is-my-purpose-in-the-world-and-what-is-the-meaning-of-life? kind of breakdowns. do you know what i am talking about? have you experienced this? and when it was sort of over, i found myself really thinking about the constants in my life. who do i know will be there? what is consistent? what can i count on? who is reliable and who is flaky? safety nets. who and what are they for you?

more and more, when i am feeling depressed, my time in my studio is my lifeline. i have been going through a VERY trying time with my "family of origin". (i've never really liked that term, but if i use it, you will know what i mean.) when i go out there, i am able to truly be who i am and to express myself, through my silver, in a way that is totally unique for me and that works. usually, but not always (because sometimes things don't go how i planned for them to and things melt and ideas turn out to not be so good, etc.) , i leave the studio feeling so much better, so much more in touch with what is so for me.

today was like that. i made this, the "safety net" ring.

the teardrop shaped rutilated quartz forms a perfect webbing for a safety net at the bottom
the base plate is made from 16 gauge silver, heavy. it's luscious

you see, i could have very easily just posted a photo of the ring, along with these photos (and video) from our sledding excursion yesterday. and you would just think everything was hunky-dory as usual. i feel so much better having been honest and sharing with you. please let me know your thoughts, either by commenting below, or by e-mailing ,

but now, after all that heaviness, here's a bit of lightness. we went sledding yesterday!

glenn had to go first a couple of times, to break a track, for safety purposes of course.

and here is the sound of hazel, and june, and myself, having a good laugh.

i hope you are having a lovely sunday. i look forward to our new relationship!

p.s. in the spirit of truth and honesty, i just sent this convo to a customer. i know, it is totally unprofessional. can you guess which necklace i am referring to?

hi there, ******~
i hope you do not feel like i am harassing you. i am SO sorry if you do. however, i just need to write to you. i have never done this before. the truth is, i really regret selling that necklace! it was one of those pieces that was made at a time in my life where i needed some therapy and the creating of it did it for me. when i decided to sell it, i was trying to prove to myself that i could un-attach myself from my work. the truth is, i didn't un-attach myself from that necklace. i so often find myself thinking about it. is she wearing it? does she love it? does it do for her what it did for me? does she REALLY appreciate it? you probably think i am completely insane (which, in some ways, i am). and, of course, if you really do love it and cherish it, i very much want you to keep it. but if there is any part of you that regrets purchasing it, or thinks maybe it's a bit too big, or something about it is just not right, please tell me! i would be happy to exchange it for another piece, or to refund your money, or whatever you would like. i feel so very weird sending this, but you seem like the kind of person who just might understand. i've always been a bit too honest... i look forward to your reply (in fact i will probably be obsessively checking to see if you have...) best,

Friday, January 15, 2010

an amethyst sort of day

i did quite a bit of work on my taxes this morning (oh, joy!) and then allowed myself some time in the studio, followed by a lovely sundown ski. i felt purple today i guess...

the purple power ring

and the first pair of ear fleurs. love them!

you are maybe starting to get bored of my skiing photos, but until you tell me to stop, i am going to continue sharing them with you... today was a great one! right at sundown...

oh, and, glenn...