laurieopal: opal (Default)

I've been working on for a while on a pendant of the tadpole galaxy for an astronomer . I've finished carving the wax and am starting to work on the stone settings which include 2 blue sapphires. It is very challenging to work on an astronomical that is transparent in many places and thinly veiled in others. Figuring out how to represent this has been fascinating. I will put up- a photo after it's finished. The shading in the polishing is going to need to be both subtle and careful.

Interestingly, I was at the Contemporary Jewish Museum yesterday and saw In That Case: Havruta in Contemporary Art  which is, in part, about dark mater. There was a a painting of the exact hubble telescope image that I'm using. (the one above.) image. I had never seen the tadpole galaxy until I received this commission, so seeing on a wall like that was somewhat surreal.


laurieopal: opal (Default)
(Cross posted from Body impolitic)

I started looking at sidewalks and their patterns as art sometime this year. The contrast between the geometric forms of the pavement and the organic designs that can overlay them became a kind of beauty to watch for. Most of my art has a complex subject that is reflected in each image. It's a pleasure to walk through the world and spontaneously come across something that I can make art from.

The pattern in the pavement itself, can be both subtle and beautiful when it's a part of a larger image.












Except for cropping some of the photos, none of them have been Photo-shopped or manipulated. So there is a reality to these reflections of my vision.
laurieopal: opal (Default)
I'm back from some very good down time and I'm mostly finished with the catch up work. Although I have a couple of ring sizings from considerate folks at World Fantasy to finish.

I'm looking forward to lots of time working in wax. Completing some very detailed commissions that needed a lot of time and precision and working  with more commissions and some new stone designs.

It's raining heavily here in San Francisco and except for a PO run with some photos for an exhibition that need to go out tomorrow, I am staying in!

California needs rain and I'm happy we're having it, but personally not so much.

Photos below are photos of a new stone and some new pearls.

Pearls are about 1.25". The color has a movement that doesn't photo well. It moves against a silvery grey background. And they are gorgeous - some of the loveliest pearls I've seen in a while. Not at all sure what I want to do with them. There are too many possibilities

Stone is about 2' high. It's called Native Paint and is a jasper from a mine that is not longer available to people. It's new to me and I love the patterns.

Looking forward to tomorrow.

laurieopal: opal (Default)
This is the pendant I designed from the two gorgeous opals I posted a while ago. It's about 3.5" high in sterling. Working out a beautiful juxtaposition between the stones was challenging, and I'm really happy with how it worked out. It's from the collection of Linda Garrett. She sent me the photo below, so I could see how well it looked on her.

My commission work is designed very specifically for the individual person. The pendant was designed for Linda mostly from photographs she texted me and from Facetime conversation. (We did meet a couple of years ago.) I've been really pleased at how well this works in the relatively new world of images. Before that I only designed for people if I could meet with them. I've relatively recently done some  commissions from images of people, their hands, Facetime etc. and they have all worked out really well. It's given me a whole new involving aspect of my work.


laurieopal: opal (Default)
Hurray the good air is back!!

This is a kyanite crystal winged dragon. When I saw the kyanite crystal stone I knew it would be a dragon's wing. I had never seen a stone like it before and I haven't since. It sparkles more then you can see in the photo.

It's sterling and about 3" high. It's from  from the collection of  Cynthia Anne Cofer.

I'm finishing up the post Baltimore work and doing some continuing work on waxes, including  an astronomical and a phoenix. They are both requiring a lot of time and detail. I'm looking forward to some down time followed by an intense period of hard work and creativity.

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I'm back from an excellent World Fantasy Con and more or less recovered.

I now have a good photo of this design thanks to Julie's husband. Sheila Gilbert from DAW press commissioned this pendant (quite a while ago) for Julie. It's from the ongoing story in her two novels, "A Turn of Light" and "A Play of Shadow". The turtles appear to be stepping stones to the protagonists who are fleeing. Then as the turtles rear up in the water, they barely make it across. The books are wonderful in their originality and concepts.

The pendant has the water as the turtle rears up. The eyes are rubies and it's sterling and about 2.5" long.

I'm doing some of my catch up work and coping with our very bad air.  I can't solder or polish til it clears.
laurieopal: opal (Default)
Everything is mostly done for my work and I'm organizing the displays etc for air travel. I'm looking forward to being in Baltimore and seeing lots of people I like!

Photo is of a new design I just finished recently. The stone is a cut and polished copper ore and the setting dark sterling. Photo does not do it justice but I thought it was good enough to post. (My internal photographer and I had a bit of a discussion about this.) Stone is far more brilliant and silver work much more subtly detailed. The white is light reflection and the whole stone is vivid copper. If you're at World Fantasy you'll get to see the difference. It's about an inch and a half high.

Back to packing!

laurieopal: opal (Default)
I've set a number of small stones and set the last two rings. I'm working on the last of my soldering which includes the small dragon and cat studs. I have some unusually vivid and deep orange to red carnelians that look like fire. The larger designs are all finished.

The two opals below are going into a commission for Linda Garrett. They are obviously gorgeous and really talk to each other. The pendant is very close to finished.

I'm really looking forward both to World Fantasy and also to being in Baltimore. I only get there very rarely and i really like it.

The larger opal is about 2". The white in the stone is a light reflection, the colors in the stone are deep blues and greens.

I'm going back to work now.

laurieopal: opal (Default)

Fern sorus, structures producing and containing spores, magnified 10 times
Rogelio Moreno, Panama City, Panama

I am always thrilled by the exquisite images from the small world. The ones we walk through our large world and never see. These photographs from Small World Photomicrography Competition are truly beauty up close. It's really worth looking at all of them. the choices were hard.

From Alan Taylor at In Focus:

Nikon just announced the winners of the 2018 Small World Photomicrography Competition, and it’s shared some of the winning and honored images with us. The contest invites photographers and scientists to submit images of all things visible under a microscope. Nearly 2,500 entries were received from 89 countries in 2018, the 44th year of the competition.

A rotting willow leaf, magnified 3.7 times #
Murat Öztürk, Ankara, Turkey


A mite on an antenna of a May bug, magnified four times #
Emre Can Alagöz, Istanbul, Turkey


Balanus glandula (acorn barnacle), magnified five times #
Charles Krebs, Issaquah, Washington


A portrait of a Sternochetus mangiferae (mango seed weevil), magnified one time
Pia Scanlon, South Perth, Australia

Invisible beauty is all around us, often in very unexpected creatures.
laurieopal: opal (Default)

I’ve been setting some new pieces for World Fantasy including an interestingly shaped fire agate ring with a great rainbow. Did preliminary polishing work work on octopi and a whole group of small silver pendants and earrings.

Have finished two commissions I’ve been working on for along time but need to email the folks they are for before i write about them here. They both came out really beautifully.

I’ve set the copper and silver pendant I was writing about earlier. Will have a photo of that up next time.

And I’ve finished adding emerald eyes to the griffin sculpture. They make a far more intense difference then I anticipated.

The tree pendant is golden agate and sterling. It’s from the collection of Martha Harbison. It’s about 1.5”.

laurieopal: opal (Default)

This a coral reef pendant that I created for Sheila Gilbert.  It was originally supposed to be designed around the early amber but when i found the fish-like pearl I called her and she loved the idea of the pearl. So, I recreated the design (very happily) to incorporate the pearl as a major element.

It's in sterling and about 3.5".

Right now I'm working on finishing the metal work from San Jose. There were a lot of individual designs that needed sizing, special chains etc. I should be emailing folks and sending packages out late this week or early next. (Barring proverbial acts of goddess.)

Among other things I've almost finished a copper stone (very vivid) set in silver for World Fantasy. And some new rings including a stunning hematite shot with ruby. I'll put up photos of them one of these days.

laurieopal: opal (Default)
I just finished, in wax carving, a pendant design of a classic 1950's science fiction rocket ship. The flame is a tear drop garnet and it looks weathered as if it has actually traveled in space. I was delighted to get the commission. It's the first time I've been commissioned to make one. There will definitely be a photo. I'm really happy with it.

And I've been working on carving a two opal pendant that's been taking a lot of time and thought.

And then there is the metal work. It's being busy.

The photo is of a floral jade set in sterling with a small diamond. The photo is very good in showing the silver work. The jade has more subtle and complicated coloring then I could capture in the photo but it does give good sense of it. The diamond is far far more brilliant. Size is about 2.5"- from the collection of Marsha Elkin Jones.


I'm going to Cid's dance concert "The All Joan Show" at the Joe Goode space in San Francisco . Saw it last night and it was fabulous! If you're going tonight I'll see you there.
laurieopal: opal (Default)
Cross=posted from Body Impolitic

These are two store widows in my neighborhood in San Francisco's Mission district. I've been wanting to do this for awhile and these were the first two that really worked for me.

Casa Bonampak

Botanica Las Tres Ninas Blancas

laurieopal: opal (Default)

Sculpture with base (rainbow obsidian) is about 6" wide.

I made the sculpture for Nancy Jane Moore

Her father brought the camoes back from Italy. He was part of the invasion of Italy and was stationed there for a time. When she inherited them Nancy wanted to have something created with them for memory, but was not interested in jewelry. The sculpture was perfect.

It took me a long time. The concept of how to sculpt the metal work developed slowly. Making an aesthetically harmonious and powerful sculpture with cameos, influenced by 1950's brutalist art was very challenging. The contrast is as effective and as complimentary as I hoped.

I am extremely happy with it. And I'm very appreciative of the opportunity to do this piece. It is very different from any other sculpture I've done and is very special work.

laurieopal: opal (Default)
Crossposted from Body Impolitic

I saw these photos first in the Guardian. This seems to be a time when I'm finding stunning photos of creatures. Not sure why, but it's having a modest effect on how I see.

These images are from the Bird Photographer of the Year competition. It celebrates the stunning artistry of these photographers. The contest promotes conservation by contributing directly to the British Trust for Ornithology to support their conservation research.

Aside from their beauty, when I look at them I am reminded of the fact that birds are dinosaurs. And some of the photos evoke that alien quality.

These are some of the winners that struck me.

Greater Flamingo, Phoenicopterus roseus, by Fahad Alenezi, Kuwait
Photograph: Fahad Alenezi/2018

Starling, Sturnus vulgaris, by Alan Price, UK
Photograph: Alan Price/2018


Little Egret, Egretta garzetta, by Sienna Anderson, UK
Photograph: Sienna Anderson/2018

Western crowned-pigeon, Goura cristata, by David Easton, Singapore
Photograph: David Easton/2018

Common Ostrich, Struthio camelus, by Salvador Colvée, Spain
Photograph: Salvador Colvée/2018

laurieopal: opal (Default)
I'm back from Worldcon and more or less back in the world. Starting to work on new designs.

The pendant below is a semi-black opal and a dark blue small opal in sterling silver. Size is about 2.5 ". The quality of the stone is exceptional and stunning. Photo only gives a sense of it.

From the collection of Bayla Fine.

laurieopal: opal (Default)

Really looking forward to seeing lots of people I like that I don't see nearly as often I'd like to. Working on last tasks and it's going well. As always, bless my cat sitter.

Pendant with amethyst crystal is one of the new designs for San Jose. It's in sterling and about 1.75" high. Image is a bit large but I loved the detail in the crystal.

And the final sculpture commission is packed!!

laurieopal: opal (Default)
I have finished the new designs for Worldcon. There will be lots of photos going up this week.

I've been setting lots of stones in the finished designs and still have a fair number left.  And some very nuanced polishing on a sculpture.

Still have designs I'm working on that are very much in process.


The photo was sent to me by the writer S. Qiouyi Lu. The owl that they are wearing was made by me for the Octavia Butler Scholarship award. I made the original many years ago for Octavia Butler. It was her totem.

The snake below was heavily influenced by all the reading I've done over the last couple of years both about the pre-columbian Mayan civilization and my fascination with the Mayan script. I've had the jade curved piece on the bottom for many years. I was waiting for exactly the right design and this was it. It's vintage Chinese but it's the same color of nephrite jade that is found in Mayan work as are the modern jade beads.

laurieopal: opal (Default)
The jewelry is mostly packed, and I have one more stone to set in a sculpture.  I've photographed my commissions for Worldcon so I can put up photos after the people they are for see them.

Unfortunately the griffin sculpture, which is just beautiful, is not at all photographable. I made a couple for my records but they don't reflect the sculpture. Oh well.

I just went over my rings and I have an even larger variety of stones than usual. I'm really counting down the time before I leave for Worldcon. Tonight I'm going over the stones that my lapidaries sent me. I love looking at stones!.

The saguero earrings are in sterling with emeralds. I put up the photograph of the matching pendant a while ago.  They are about 2" high and are from the collection of Wendy Czarnecki.

I'm going back to looking and sorting out beautiful new stones.
laurieopal: opal (Default)
I'm almost finished with all the jewelry for Worldcon. Still doing the final work on one sculpture. But I feel surprisingly on top of things. Undoubtedly something will happen to change this but i should have enough time for it when it does.  And, of course there is, among other things, the very careful packing of everything.

Photo below is one of the new designs. It's gem silica with chatoyant malachite in sterling. I love the stone - it's a painting.. The "wave" design felt really right. Actual size is about 2.5".


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