A chronicle of the meanderings, false starts (which in retrospect, while sort of embarrassing turned out to be highly instructive), epiphanies, selective apathy (still evolving), wild mood swings, opinions (subject to frequent change), and life lessons of an inveterate dabbler (and her latest dabblings).

Friday, August 14, 2009

Premonitions of Autumn

The weather has been cold, wet and dreary in northwest Montana the last several days; it feels just like October. The high today is 61, and snow is expected in Glacier Park. Some of the maples are even changing, confused by the cold weather. The market is filling with every kind of apple conceivable, from the deep cabernet-hued Red Delicious to the winter-sun-yellow Golden Delicious to the delicate rose-and-green Pink Lady.

The pendant below is a premonition of fall and the apple harvest, coppery autumn leaves and hot cider. Right after I bought this lovely strand of apple jade the weather turned and I knew some burnished copper was in order. I created a hammered, three-dimensional spiral in heavy copper wire (inspired by Sharilyn Miller's ethnic jewelry tutorial), lightly oxidized to an autumn glow, and hung it from a strand of generously sized multi-colored apple jade roundels in shades of red delicious, golden delicious, braeburn and pink lady, and a scattering of button pearls in the same hues. Garnet heishi anchor the piece in a deep Red Delicious tone.

I was having so much fun with this wonderful jade (which I'd never heard of before) that I kept going, finally finding a home for the big brass bead from Happy Mango I'd been hoarding all summer. The brass reminded me of the mellow golden sunlight of autumn and seemed a natural match to the jade as well.

I had made a couple of copper spirals, the second a little smaller, and as I was digging through my stash of supplies I came across the strand of copper rose rice pearls I had bought several months before and thought they would be the perfect complement to the pendant. I had used a few of them here and there, but they were so striking they needed to be used in luxurious quantities in one piece to really make the most of them. I had a pile of awesome copper beads I had gotten here and there as well, and finally settled on the exotic snakeskin flat rounds I had gotten here in Whitefish at Brought to Life Beads. I hung the strand from some copper chain I had made and oxidized with some Midas solution (I have since discovered ammonia fumes work just as well, the finish is more durable, and it is a no-mess approach). I like it so much it makes me wish I still wore jewelry. (I lost interest in wearing it when I started making it, go figure).

The remains of the strand of the first strand of apple jade I bought are all in tones of caramel, apple cider, eggnog, and the pale, buttery color of apple flesh. They will be paired with golden brass, warm wood beads and soft green and taupe pearls. I bought the last strand of apple jade today when I went to the bead store to buy pliers--it was full of merlot, pink, pink-and-green, and the pale green of unripe Golden Delicious. Earrings! And maybe something with cherry quartz. I also have a big trapezoid of deep pink coral I've been carting around for months. Nothing seems to do it justice, but this just might. I KNOW I can change public opinion to make pink an autumn color. Pink cheeks, Pink Lady apples, pink tights...

The back-to-school advertisements are on the television now, and I know some children have already begun school again. If I had children, I would be jumping for frigging joy that they were out of my hair, so it's a great time of year. For quality of life, and for jewelry. Bring it on.


  1. Your pieces are just beautiful. That "apple jade" is really outstanding - I'll have to keep an eye out for it in my bead shopping. I'm jealous that you get an actual "fall" season. We get fire-and-intense-smog season from now until January when it will rain for a couple of weeks and then go back to being hot. BORING!

  2. Boy, I tell ya, I could almost live without the seasons. Summer is about two months long (July and August--except not this August, we had a week of autumn), autumn is like two weeks (just when the leaves reach their peak it starts to snow and that's that), winter is about 8 months long, and "spring" is a muddy, slushy mess (i.e., late winter) that lasts for about a month and a half. Snow runoff didn't finish this "summer" until July. Sometimes summer is only one month long. Depends. But I don't envy you the smoke and smog!