Mjolnir Pendants and Life After Hate

On January 6th, 2021 several Heathen symbols were front and center during the siege on the US Capitol. I watched my inclusive and largely LGBTQ Heathen (and Heathen adjacent) community become distressed that, once again, our symbols were being associated with hate and bigotry. Lea wrote a pretty great argument for defending our symbols, and that along with the conversations I saw online made me question if my sale of Mjolnir pendants could do some good.

From here on out, a portion of the profits of every Mjolnir that I sell will be donated to Life After Hate, an organization that is dedicated to helping people leave right wing extremist groups to live more compassionate lives. Their aim is to disrupt violence done by hate groups through education, intervention, and outreach. One of their core principles is empathy, which honestly feels like what the world could use more of right now.

Fellow Heathen artists, I know how hard it is to survive being a small business owner. I know how tight money is in the best of times, and how much harder Covid has made things. But if you’re able, I ask that you consider doing something similar with your art to help raise money for an anti-hate org that moves you. If we want our symbols to be associated with good, I think we need to have them actively playing a part in doing good. Personally, I can’t think of anything better than Thor’s Hammer being used to smash hate.

You can donate directly to Life After Hate by clicking here.

Making Rings When I Have No Spoons

Originally posted to the Lapidify Ko-Fi Account on 12/15/2020.

One of the hardest things for me to tackle as an artist can sometimes, weirdly, be making art. Some days I’m struggling with a pain flare up and it makes sitting at the bench difficult, and other times I might have a bad mental health day no spoons to approach an elaborate, time consuming piece. And sometimes I’m totally fine, but not creative. It happens.

When those hurdles arise (and they’ve popped up during the stress/mess that has been 2020) I usually try to give myself a little time off to recuperate. If said hurdles want to be douche-canoes and hang around despite my *aggressive* application of self-care, I try to find some kind of task that will keep let me be productive. The goal is for the task to be short, and neither mentally or physically taxing. It often ends up being a really simple task that is tedious but easy, like prepping a whole mess of hook clasps for future use or editing a handful of photos at a time. Occasionally, I’ll hyperfixate and end up making a ton of a single type of thing, like last February when I told myself I’d make a handful of pentacles and a few weeks later I had made 60. For the past couple weeks, the fixation has been on rings.

Why rings? I’m not sure. I had a custom order out of Adley’s Magical Art last month for a ring that kicked things off, and since then I think I’ve made about 20. Big ones, little ones, fancy rings, simple rings, copper rings, silver rings… it doesn’t really matter right now so long as you can wear it on your finger. I’ve tried several different styles, had a few hardcore failures, and I’ve learned a lot. The best part is it sticks to my rules about being a short project (they usually take 2-3 hours tops) that is not mentally or physically taxing for where I’m at right now. 

I think one of the most important parts about working creatively when you’re feeling crappy is using any feelings of inspiration or motivation that happen to come your way. Was I planning on trying to power through a pile of stud earrings today? Too bad, sad-pain-brain wants to make rings. Is it time to edit photos? NOPE, it’s time to make *R I N G S*. I’m going to give up an play Hades for a few hours… JUST KIDDING, BRAIN SAYS IT’S RING TIME.

While initially frustrating, I’ve come to accept that weird, hyperfixated inspiration is a gift when I’m feeling rough. Being able to physically show myself finished a pile of rings forces me to acknowledge that despite how I feel, I’ve made concrete progress. (Wearing all of those rings at once and parading around the house like a ridiculous fancy-pants noble helps me, too.) 

 What helps you work creatively when you’re feeling blah? Let me know in the comments! 

(Some of these are still available either through the Lapidify Etsy shop or through Adley’s Magical Art. )

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Fired Figments Collaboration

While lurking in the 2020 Faire Relief Facebook group, I came across Fired Figments (and immediately bought a jug for use at faire when things are less pandemic-y). Stephanie’s work was even more beautiful in person, so I reached out to her to see if she could help me up my bottle-pendant game. Oh my goodness, did she ever:

The bottles are food safe, sturdy, and gorgeous. The possibilities are really exciting: potion bottles for costuming and garb, charm and spell bottles for Craft practitioners and cunning folk, portable memorial urns for loved one’s ashes, fragrance oil diffusers… the list goes on and on! You’ll see the pendants popping up over the next couple months at the shops I sell out of, in my Instagram feed, and in my Etsy shop. You can also message me if you want me to make you one for something special.

Be sure to take a moment to check out all of Stephanie’s work over at Fired Figments. The dragon scale pieces are my favorites.

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This is going to be a bit of a long, rambling post. Here are the take home points:

  1. I am moving to Des Moines, Iowa in July.
  2. My jewelry will continue to be available at Raven Moon Emporium and Sanctuary Imports.
  3. The Lapidify Etsy shop will be closed part of June and all of July.
  4. I an not accepting custom orders until August.
  5. I will be vending at Free Spirit Gathering, Galaxycon Raleigh, and East Coast Thing.

I’ve been putting off writing this post for a while now, largely because the reality of things haven’t set in yet. I imagine it will finally hit me halfway to Des Moines in the rental truck. My partner has worked his butt off and been rewarded with acceptance to school there, and that means we will be leaving Charlotte and heading to Iowa at the beginning of July. I’m up to my neck in moving boxes and spending a lot of my free time searching online postings for housing listings in a city I’ve never been to.

The future feels like a big unknown. The closest friends I know will be four hours away in Minneapolis, I have absolutely no clue how to live in a place where it actually snows, and I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to do my lapidary work there yet (were still looking for a place with enough room for me to set up a studio). It’s also really exciting. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t like sitting still for long. Routines bore me more than anything. Moving to a new, unexplored city is the sort of adventure I am ready for and after being in Charlotte for seven years, I’ve been itching for a change. This will definitely scratch that itch. And honestly, I like the unknown.

So what does a move like this look like for Lapidify? For starters, I’ve worked out arrangements with Sanctuary Imports and Raven Moon Emporium and they will continue to carry Lapidify items for the foreseeable future. That means Charlotte and Rock Hill folks will continue to be able to pop into local shops to quickly acquire shiny things. I’ll also be back in Charlotte for work during the months of October and November, which means I will probably be teaching a few classes.

I had to take a hard look at what I’m doing with my time and my obligations to vend at Free Spirit Gathering, GalaxyCon Raleigh, and ECT this year. In order to have stock for these awesome events (and so that I don’t lose anyone’s stones during the cross country move) I am NOT accepting custom orders until August. That means I’m not giving estimates or working on designs for future custom projects right now, either. Sorry guys, I just don’t have the time or the spoons right now. I look forward to hearing all of your awesome ideas come August 1st.

The next important thing to note is that the Etsy shop is going to be closed for swath of time while I live that chaotic, nomadic life. It’ll be down for about a week mid-June while I’m at FSG and for the entire month of July. I really encourage you guys to get your orders in as soon as possible, partly because of the upcoming closure and partly because I can’t guarantee the goodies you are looking at will be around after festival season. The online shop should be back to normal in August.

Speaking of festival season, my events for this summer are:

I’m going to miss Charlotte. This town taught me what it means to work creatively as an adult. The Charlotte Starving Artist Market folks helped me get my feet wet when I started selling my jewelry. The Pagan community in and around Charlotte has been a safe space to express myself and has provided more inspiration for my work than I could hope to mention here. I was introduced to lapidary work in this city, and got my first formal training in jewelry metalsmithing at CPCC downtown under Jason Stein. Working at the Carolina Renaissance Festival for Arte of the Booke continues to teach me what a professionally run, artist owned business looks like.

So, thank you Charlotte. Thank you for your support, your challenges, your lessons and your friendship. I wouldn’t be who I am without you.

March 2019 Update

March 2019

The first quarter of 2019 has been very eventful, and much busier than I had anticipated! I haven’t had a single week without a custom order to fill since the start of the year. Here are some of my favorite custom pieces for 2019 so far.

In other pretty awesome news, those of you who have been asking if I sell at any retail shops in Charlotte now have a place to go! Lapidify jewelry can now be found for sale at Sanctuary Imports. The shop has a welcoming, warm vibe and the staff were receptive and helpful when I went in. It’s a really lovely space full of crystals, beautiful imported furniture, tarot decks, statuary, herbs, and jewelry. They really seem to care about supporting local artists and other small businesses, so I’d suggest checking them out if you haven’t been.

If you’re in the Rock Hill, SC area you can still check out my display at Raven Moon Emporium. I’ve recently restocked with about 20 pairs semi-precious gemstone stud earrings and lots of other goodies. I’ve also left a few pairs of adjustable Mystic’s rings for people to try on in the ring case. If you’re looking for anything in particular, just ask Raven’s super friendly staff to direct you.

This Saturday, March 30th, I’ll be vending with Queen Flea behind Amelie’s in NoDa. It’s a great opportunity to come talk to me in person about custom orders, or to just come geek out with me about metalsmithing and rocks while you poke my shiny things. The market runs from 10am to 5pm. If you’re looking for the Lapidify booth, just look for the woman who is wrestling what appears to be an octopus made of wire. That’s probably me.

A handful of the Mystic’s rings that I left at Sanctuary Imports last month.

I have decided to finally dip my toes into teaching. Yes, I know I went on a rant a year and a half ago about how I wouldn’t teach wire wrapping. After some not-so-subtle urging and encouragement from my friends/teachers (*cough Janet and Jason cough*), I have re-evaluated that position. It looks like I will be teaching an introduction to wire wrapping class next month at Sanctuary Imports. I’ll post more details about it when the plans are solidified, so be sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook to stay in the loop!

Lapidify in the Charlotte Observer

I spent last weekend hanging out in the mountains outside of Asheville. It was really peaceful, and one of the best parts was that there was no cell phone signal. Forced to ignore work and social media, I took in the sights.

20180317_1122211834316778.jpgSights included this fantastically creepy abandoned bus. 10/10, would stare at again.

After emerging from the woods and hitting civilization, my phone began to explode with Etsy and Facebook notifications. At first I was confused and alarmed, and then I started googling my business name to see what exactly was going on. Last month I gave a brief email interview to Vanessa Infanzon of the Charlotte Observer, and it was published on Sunday! You can read the online version of the article by clicking here.

20180320_1233371349750047.jpgThe last of the pieces featured in the article, “Heart of the Iron Wood,” packaged up to be shipped out earlier today.

As of writing this, two days after the paper was published, I have sold every item I had featured in the article. I am totally blown away and grateful. Thank you  so much for supporting your local artists, Charlotte. You can find more great local artists and designers by reading Vanessa’s “CLT Made” articles in the Style section of the Charlotte Observer or by checking out the CLT Made Pinterest page.


Oh man. You guys, my partner surprised me right before we left town for the holidays with a brand new flexshaft. Which meant that for two weeks, I had to live in a horrible limbo state where I knew I both had an amazing shiny new tool to use and that I was hundreds of miles away from said tool at the same time. It was rough.

This is what my “SOON” face looks like.

But now, I’m comfortably back home. I set up the flexshaft and jumped right into experimenting with it. Strangely, my first project wasn’t on metal or even on stones. It was on shells.

I spent a few days doing some beach combing in Sarasota. I used to have to hope I could find shells with naturally made holes in exactly the right places. While it is pretty awesome when that happens, its pretty hard to find them like that. This time, I brought home a handful of spiny jewel boxes and cockles and made the holes myself. After I finished that, I smoothed out the sides of a shattered shell using a few filing attachments.

The things I did were small and not super impressive, but hugely satisfying. I wish I could explain how insanely triumphant I felt at the end of working on a handful of shells, but I don’t think I can. This tool opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for me as a jeweler, and I can’t wait to keep playing.

Why I Don’t Teach Wire Weaving, and Resources if You Want to Learn

“You should teach classes.”

Probably once a show or festival, someone says this to me. I usually have a handful of reasons on any one given day for why I don’t teach. When people used to tell me to offer classes, I used to smile nicely and say “Thanks, I’ll think about it.” Now, after having heard it so many times I laugh and respond with, “Absolutely not.” That’s jarring for a lot of people. I understand that. I’ve had at least one person angrily call me selfish and storm out of my booth since I started responding in such a way. I promise, there’s a good reason for why I have such a strong stance.

The main reason I do not teach wire weaving is because there are dozens of fantastic resources out there already (you just need to look for them!). From an ethical standpoint, I do not want to take business from the artists that I learned from, and from a practical standpoint these teachers are so good that it would be silly for me to do something similar. There’s no need for me to reinvent the wheel.

What I am more than happy to do is to direct you guys to the aforementioned resources. Here is a list of a few of my favorites:

  1. Fine Art Wire Weaving by Sarah Thompson- This book lays out weaves, tools, and techniques as well as supplying projects in varying levels of difficulty from beginner to advanced. The pictures are very helpful. I wish I’d had this book when I started weaving.
  2. Go Art Yourself by Nicole Hanna- A Youtube channel with extensive tips for weaving. She also records herself making full projects and gives commentary as she goes.
  3. Copar Aingael Tutorials by Julie Hulick-  Some of my favorite tutorials on the internet. Tutorials like these are helpful because you can learn specific skill sets from them and apply them creatively to new pieces.
  4. Lisa Barth Tutorials by Lisa Barth- Tutorials full of helpful, large color photographs. Some of these integrate beading. My favorite tutorial, the Celtic Knot Bail, includes several versions of the bail and suggestions of different situations in which to use it.
  5. Wire Wrap Tips and Tutorials Group on Facebook- This is a community of people of all skill levels sharing their projects, ideas, and resources.

Pendants based on the Interlock Bail Wrap tutorial by Copar Aingeal: https://www.etsy.com/shop/CoparAingealTutorial

I learned the hard way, over a decade of struggling, that spending money on tutorials and books really helps you develop your skill set. Trust me- there’s only so far that free tutorials can take you. Paid tutorials and books are often far more comprehensive with many photos and clearly written instructions that allow you to work at your own pace. If you feel like you’ve hit a plateau and have only ever used free tutorials, give the paid tutorials a try.

A final piece of advice: like most skills, there isn’t a magical shortcut to getting good at wire weaving. At the end of the day, what it takes is actually sitting down and doing the work. I’m pretty fond of telling people that my secret is that after I get frustrated and throw a piece across the room, I pick it back up and keep working. Though I say it to be funny, it really is true. So try your best, learn from your failures, be kind to yourself, and most of all: