Nice place to park it for a few hours. I know the focus required here will lead me right through the afternoon!
Teeny tiny beautiful blue 3mm Turquoise I’m chaining up for earring embellishments.
To keep me in good company, Nature has allowed two recently left- the- nest babies to hang out in the yard. All is well and All will be well.
Quick update from inside my studio.
Blue topaz, Caribbean Larimar, Blue Lace Agate, 18k gold accents and my favorite Argentium 935 silver all in play. Power symbols as charms percolating. A couple more chains on the horizon as well.
Funnily enough as I try to work and focus on the season before me, my Winterwoods collection keeps popping up with ideas for next year! Learning my process is ever creative as it is a living experience.
⚜️ #jasprcraggjewelry I call this shot “Tulipes en bulbe” This was a great morning event this past weekend. Beautiful and many colors at all phases of opening. The bulb was included to dry and plant in the fall! Money to a good cause to boot!The Field of Tulips @citycenterdc and @thefieldoftulips Next year, I’ll be there! #artjewelry #citycenterdc #artjewellry #jewelry #jewellery #studiojewelry #contemplativeartist #thisismadeindc #madeinusa #washingtondc
Wearing many hats, photography has been challenging. I never set out to learn about photography. Yet in the past few years I have grown to enjoy being present in mind to see a shot. Living with the ability to constantly snap a pic and the presence to always be on the lookout for Beauty. Product photography is a must, always learning to improve that has led to larger shots.
Color, texture, line, shape, not being formally trained, all these influences begin to speak to me through the lens. The camera is teaching me to see metal as a canvas for these influencers.
My liking Botanical Illustration and having had childhood Florist experience, have helped me to develop an appreciation and fascination for florals.
Honestly it is first my love of color. Nature’s breadth is staggering. Secondly with seasonal changes, location visits, the array is seemingly endless. I love the smaller, the better. The minute complex yet organized details fascinate me.
So there you have it. I include many photographs of our yard, neighborhood, region etc. All of the aforementioned reasons. Flowers + Gemstones and precious metals my head can be full of color, light, Beauty. Not to shabby and happy to share.
It’s inevitable. The tweaks, the adjustments, the moving around of the pieces on the board. I’ve been wrestling with the direction and balance of an online retail life. Between a modernly required active social media presence and the inner voice of the primary “Why do I choose to do what I do.” Bouncing from social site to social site requires, as we are all learning, an interval life check. What and whom is being served.
I have put my blog on the back burner for more than a few months. Digging deep and displaying inner thoughts and views in the art process needed a break. Sharing does not come forward from me easy going. Inner and external forces are always contending for attention. Between the news and my own personal distractions, I do find writing helps loosen the gears. Yet even after the thoughts expressed, while revealing and helpful, ache at being discovered. I could indefinitely leave my writing in the edit mode. Today alone as I dusted off this blog, I found four drafts, two from last year. Beautiful writing, journal worthy, yet cramped and stilted from production and publication. This was my chosen path as of late. Focused on the interaction of social media and it’s pluses and its ills. I have let it draw me from a more focused production. This served me well, my sales have surprised me. Yet, for me at this point in my artistic endeavors, sales, luckily and truly, only serve half the picture. In response I’m flipping the game plan till fall. My focus forward will be the website and blog. Less social media priorities and more creating and experimenting, aka playtime. Allowing me to focus my attention and voice on what is mine to and that which is before me. The object I hope as I am learning, is to create a more thorough and complete expression of my work within the one site. Integrating both sides of my work. The physical results of designing and making something born from the work within shared in the blog. The inner and the outer. Less distraction. I’m hoping and trying to let the work be enough in and of itself for awhile. I am trying to let the results of my time be enough on their own. Grabbing an inner anchor comes to mind.
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Facebook has ease and use written all over it, it’s one guilty pleasure that even a love/hate relationship with will not deter its faithful. Reposts will still appear from time to time through my business Facebook page. My Facebook business page, as well, includes a built-in secure link to shop from. JasprCraggJewelry Facebook
Personally I’m not on Twitter, yet I feel the need to feed the beast with copies of my jewelry posts. JasprCraggJewelry Twitter
Of course I happily can always be reached by email at email@example.com
Going forward I hope to include a site page with a “Meet the Maker” bit. An intro to who I am and what being a contemplative artist means to me and my family.
My page photos are some of the work I produced during the past 2018/19 winter months. Pleased with the turnout for it has managed to push me past reservation and into an open field of possibilities. By moving in the mental frame of creating complimentary pieces, for a winter line, I found help drawing on developing my own take on inspiration and ideas. More “why-not?” and less “why?”
If you’re still with me, thank you. Thank you for being a part of my journey. One thing I am finding, Beauty is.
It is a constant. It is present. It is available…Beauty is.
“There is in you something that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have.” -Howard Thurman
Art by Michal Dziekan
Happy Labor Day!
End of summer and excited as I head back into my studio. Curiously, as I look to enter back into a creative place this quote caught my ear by ringing true. I am coming out of a place where I am learning to allow my creative space a time to rest. A quiet space, uncomfortable at first as fears of common block enter, yet summering through reveals a time to grow, change, evolve and become. The space between seasons this year is still teaching. My first lesson has been to let go the need to control a gift. Surrender is not a losing word, yet one of possible resurrection in a larger picture. At this time of year, Autumn and then Winter always pointing to the cycles of life. My recent wrestle with my own mortality and the display of Beauty’s final fires to come in a month or so, promise to shake the dead thoughts, ideas, and fears from my limbs.
As I sit down feeling the impetus to create, my aim is to be receptive while expectant for Beauty to show herself again. The result of my handwork I hope to be loyal to the spirit in which it is sought. The breadth of these inner explorations amazes me as the handwork and journey of others I admire. I am still ever amazed at the common voice of earnestness through their writings, paintings, their art, their creations.
A “Contemplative artist”, a phrase new to my lexicon this summer. A phrase I’m still ruminating and caring for to germination. I now believe, this is where I will “find my voice” as coined by others farther along in the field. The very reason I desire to commit to any of these is here. Always from the wellspring within us all. Winter is Coming! That one is used a lot lately. I’m going to attempt a small cohesive collection of Winter White for the holiday season and over the New Year.
Inspired, this image is where I start.
Winter Birch, white topaz, white turquoise, white opal, moonstone, Argentium 935. Etched, carved, formed, set. Chains, earrings, bracelet too.
I’m off into the Winter woods.
On the FYI for those in the DMV, this is a link to feed your spirit of Beauty.
WHEW, Times they are a’changin’ goes the song. For me, keeping an inner march of seasons as a measure, makes for some inner stability. Sunrise, Sunset stretches out to the same by the seasons. Summer solstice, sunrise. Winter solstice, sunset. Large breaths. Big picture.
Our Mid-summer has arrived in DC with a couple of days breaking the 100 degree heat index. We have had heavy storms filled with the thunder and lightning shows that are expected this time of year. These, since childhood, have always been a source of wonder and amazement for myself, thus I have made many opportunities to stop in the moment and take in the power and welling awe a changing season may bring. It is in these moments that I begin to feel the inner tug to spend time with Beauty.
My Mid-summer’s Madness has arrived in a flurry of personal deconstruction and professional reconstruction. Magic seems not to care whether or not that it was summoned perhaps by Madness. Amidst the noise of a kitchen remodeling project, and the stiflingly rare high heat in the studio upstairs, body and spirit have been forced to retreat to lower, cooler areas of the house. Now, I am simplified and reduced to this challenge by a notebook and pencil. I set to task designing some new fall pieces. My natural flow being to sit at the bench in gratitude and receptivity and wait until she, (Beauty), arrives, I wait until “it” happens. Iridescence, opalescence, translucency, these qualities help my mind settle down when I sit with them. Their inner qualities work to distract from the noise of the day, good and taxing thoughts, loosen and soften.
Dancing naked under the light of a full moon has always been credo, and I, generally being a silver-lining seeker, am delighted by the magic folk’s invitation to a more structured and formal design process from an outset. These creations to come, may be my Mid-summer Night’s Magic.
⚜️#jasprcraggjewelry #wip finishing up one more earring before #summer2018 social media vacation. During this time I’ll be working on a #fall2018 release #argentium #935 #amethyst #handmadejewelry #handmadejewellery #studiojeweler #contemplative artist #madeinusa #madeindc #acreativedc #washingtondc #logancircledc
I read this last week and saved it to share. I felt it lined perfectly with my studio pursuits of Beauty that handwork out as Jewelry.
Beauty foremost from within.
” You don’t have to be pretty. You don’t owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend, spouse, partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don’t owe it to your mother, you don’t owe it to your children, you don’t owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked ‘ female’.”
Here’s hoping your Sunday pans out as below: Sulli my studio assistant rests on Sundays, hmmm actually thinking about it, he rests everyday. He’s Beautiful from within.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
During my seasonal rituals of reading and reviewing all things rough and right of 2017, especially in a year where my own community has come under direct attack, and while struggling with my own ideas and needs for the substance of Hope, I came across this. I read it, then I re-read it. In it I found a fixed point of truth, if you will, that Hope is a constant. It isn’t wispy like smoke. It is not for the weak and lost. It requires courage and solidity. It has the substance of history and heroes. Well known “A light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:5).”
Today is the Winter Solstice. This occurs during a season where there are many celebrations of Hope the world over. A personal day of celebration as I’m always trying to move in time with the seasons. Today being the shortest day of the year I celebrate the constancy of the returning of the Light. The earth reaches its farthest point and begins its cyclical return movement. This constant and evidentiary promise points to fixed points of Light, Truth and Hope. May they always be yours and may you know that they are.
From the blog, “But beyond the specificity of this light is a universal yearning for hope, equality, and justice that transcends the lines of belief. Which is why the menorah in the window offers us all hope in the face of despair. A reminder that light does indeed shine even on the darkest of nights.”
Hoping the place in you that sings daily in Beauty is your source of direction to these inner gifts and for the prosperity of your new year.
“Our light will outlast their flag”
A couple days ago I posted a black and white photograph of a menorah in a window across
the street from a building displaying the Nazi flag. It was taken in Kiel, Germany in 1932, and while it is a famous picture, I had never seen it before. I remain mesmerized.
A blazing menorah lit in open defiance of the Nazi regime is a powerful image, one that speaks to history as well as our modern day. What’s painful, is pondering the millions of innocent Jews who would be slaughtered in concentration camps between the time the photograph was taken and the end of World War II. This, and the festering of hate in our own day.
What struck me most, beyond the visual, were the words hand-written on the back of the photograph: “Our light will outlast their flag.” I wanted to know more about the photograph and the person who wrote these words so I did some research.
The menorah belonged to Rabbi Akiva Boruch Posner, the spiritual leader of the small Jewish community in the German town of Kiel. The Posner’s home was directly across the street from the Nazi party headquarters. The photograph was taken on the 8th night of Hanukkah by Rabbi Posner’s wife, Rachel, on a cold December night.
Yehudah Mansbuch, the Posner’s grandson later shared the story of the picture:
It was on a Friday afternoon right before Shabbat that this photo was taken. My grandmother realized that this was a historic photo, and she wrote on the back of the photo that ‘their flag wishes to see the death of Judah, but Judah will always survive, and our light will outlast their flag.’ My grandfather, the rabbi of the Kiel community, was making many speeches, both to Jews and Germans. To the Germans he warned that the road they were embarking on was not good for Jews or Germans, and to the Jews he warned that something terrible was brewing, and they would do well to leave Germany. My grandfather fled Germany in 1933, and moved to Israel. His community came to the train station to see him off, and before he departed he urged his people to flee Germany while there’s still time.
This prophetic understanding of the wrath that was to come, saved most of Kiel’s Jewish community. Eight Jews were killed while the vast majority escaped Germany before Hitler’s systematic slaughter.
Divine light always transcends human flags. Even as we sing, “And our flag was still there,” flags of the nations, no matter how powerful, will one day come down. But the light will remain. The presence of the Lord will abide. Or, as the prophet Isaiah boldly proclaims, “The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand for ever” (Isaiah 40:8). For me, this photograph, and the Posners testimony, stands as a witness to this light.
On Christmas Day, Christians will read the prologue to John’s gospel. And in this poetic introduction teeming with the language of incarnation, we will hear that “A light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:5). For Christians, this is the Light of Christ; of God entering the world in human form.
But beyond the specificity of this light is a universal yearning for hope, equality, and justice that transcends the lines of belief. Which is why the menorah in the window offers us all hope in the face of despair. A reminder that light does indeed shine even on the darkest of nights.
May you find light during this season of hope and expectation, recognizing that it often arrives in unexpected ways. Wherever and however you worship, may your life be illumined by the divine light that never dims.