Friday, April 29, 2011

A Journey of Making: How I fell in Love with the Handmade

Dear friends, I would like to introduce to you my friend and shop assistant Erica Delp, who has joined the blog writing team for Layne Designs. She will be sharing lots of fun stuff both technical and creative. -LF

by Erica Delp

Even before I began developing my talents as an artist, I was always enamored with handmade work. Each piece I came across seemed almost like a unique being with its’ own fingerprint and personality. Over the years, I have collected many handmade treasures and have lovingly placed them around me at home, at work and even on myself because seeing and touching them brings me so much joy. I let my imagination capture me as I think of the people that made them, the years of their life they have devoted to their craft, what their process is, and how they dream up their creations. I am astonished that human beings are capable of producing such beauty and I feel incredibly lucky to have even a small piece of this.

Now that I am producing my own art and have a “behind the scene” perspective, my respect for the handmade industry has increased significantly. Each piece that I produce is not only an idea born in my mind, but also the combination of knowledge, practiced skills and the physical efforts of my body to flesh it out and bring it to life. As my hands work to mold and shape the metal, I get the poetic notion that the work begins to claim its’ own identity and I wonder if I am making the art or if it is making itself. I think in the end, it’s a little bit of both things that are happening. When I leave the studio, often my fingers are sore, my eyes are weary and my mind is tired. But there is no better feeling in the world than when I hold one of my new creations and think about that I can now bring beauty and inspiration to someone else’s life just as so many others have done for me.

My first pendant!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Rock Review: Uvarovite

In today’s rock review, we shine the spotlight on one of the rarer members of the Garnet family, the sparkling Uvarovite. Uvarovite has been known to the world since 1832 when it was discovered by Germain Henry Hess, a doctor and chemist who also pursued an interest in geology in his spare time. He chose to name it after Count Sergei Semenovitch Uvarov, a Russian statesman who also had a love for minerals and rocks.
The presence of Chromium accounts for it’s consistent Kelly green color which makes it very sought after by gem lovers who are looking for a true green with little variance. Occurring mainly in clusters of fine sized crystals, you’ll most often see this gem as druzy rather than a cut gemstone. It’s luster is Vitreous, meaning that the stone bears a clear and glassy appearance.
It is a 6.5-7 on Moh’s Scale of Hardness and therefore is durable; however, it is important to remember that as a druzy, special care is needed in its cleaning and maintenance so that the crystal deposits remain undamaged. Be sure to use only mild cleaners and avoid bringing chemicals in contact with the gems. You’ll get the most out wear out of Uvarovite, or any druzy for that matter, as a pendant, brooch, pair of earrings and other pieces that are less likely to incur abrasion.
This stone is mainly found in Spain, Russia and Canada, but also has made an appearance in a few other countries, such as Finland, Norway, South Africa and even in California. With luck, this stone will continue to be found in our jewelry boxes and on our persons as well for many more years to come!