Secret Garden Egg - opens up for a surprise!

Sue McNenly – Secret Garden

I first met Sue McNenly at a Metal Clay conference a couple of years ago.  I’ve followed her blog for years as her fanciful vignettes and creations are just so fun and whimsical!  Recently Sue invited me to participate in an Around the World Blog Hop where we write about our work and link to other artists and creatives to share eye candy (photos), processes and thoughts.  I jumped on this opportunity to kick start my blogging and participate in a fun hop!

1. What am I working on?

I am currently developing jewelry lines for wholesale where I sell to retailers and they sell to the end customers.  I also do some retail/craft shows but find that wholesaling fits my temperament and time schedule better at this stage of my life.  This means coming up with designs, ensuring they are repeatable and cost-effective, creating line sheets and catalogs, and all the other fun things that go with marketing and selling.

Fanciful Short Leaf Bellflower Earrings by Red Tree Studio




Tendrils and Dewdrops

Tendrils and Dewdrops

Nature's Palette triple triangle necklace in Bronze yellow, green, blue on sterling silver snake chain necklace

Nature’s Palette

My main medium is metal clay which contains microscopic particles of silver, copper or bronze and works like ceramic clay to make textured and sculptural components.   When fired in a kiln the metal particles fuse and the piece becomes solid metal.  This allows me to incorporate a lot of texture and sculptural forms in my work.

A couple of years ago I also found a local Geology Club where I can cut and polish my own stones.  I am working towards doing some one of a kind pieces incorporating these stones.  This is one of my favorite pieces to date, I left the one edge natural and it’s a one of a kind piece.

Crazy Lace Agate stone set in Silver

Crazy Lace Agate stone set in Silver – Red Tree Studio

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I always struggle with this type of question because as an artist you’re always striving to be different but also realize that everything is a riff on something that’s been done in the past.  So I generally put my head down and create things that I prefer to wear.  My jewelry is characterized as nature-influenced with subtle textures and simple, elegant designs.


New Growth Ring – Red Tree Studio

3. Why do I create what I do?

Studio Minion

Studio Minion!

Why do birds fly?  Because they were born to…and so was I born as a creative.  I haven’t always been actively creating but throughout my life I’ve played music, sang, danced and just made stuff.  Even on the technical side (I’m also an engineer) I’ve preferred designing websites and being part of the development process.

Why jewelry?  I started in late 2010 when I felt overwhelmed with work, and having two young toddlers in the house.  “Yes!  Let’s add more to the pile,” I said to myself.  I was lacking balance at the time and needed to do something for myself and allow my creativity to flourish again.  Admittedly I rarely wear jewelry (though I try to more often these days), but I needed something that was small enough to fit in my house and I could pick up and put down at any time.  I found a tutorial on creating a pair of Chinese button knot earrings in wire and became hooked.

Now my girls are starting to grow up I’m sharing that love of creating with them.  Plus, hopefully I’ll have some helping hands in the future!  😛

4. How does my creative process work?

Sketching is not in my wheelhouse so my design process is more off the cuff.  I try to start with a texture or a specific technique I want to work with.  Then I’ll start creating around that texture or technique and come up with different variations.  Variations can be in size, color, shape, metal or repetition.

Vickie Hallmark - Meadowlark Earrings

Vickie Hallmark – Meadowlark Earrings

I love collecting and learning new techniques but suffer, as many artists do, from a lot of collecting and not as much implementing.  So, I’ve slowed down on the learning and started focusing on the doing.  Next up is incorporating more traditional metalsmithing techniques into my work and what I’m most excited about is fusing with Argentium silver (a variation on sterling silver) because I can integrate my metal clay work with the sheet and wire.  Vickie Hallmark, a fellow “Around the World Blog Hop” participant, is a prime example of work that melds Argentium silver and metal clay.


Who is next in the blog hop?

On or around December 22, my friends Anna Mazon and Carol Scheftic will be next stops in this worldwide journey.  I have also followed both of their blogs for years.

Anna is from Poland and I met her at a retreat in England.  Her work is influenced greatly by mythology and nature.  Her sculptural work is just divine!


Anna Mazon Eye pendant

Carol I met a couple of years ago at another Metal Clay conference in Kentucky.  I admire how she combines different metals together in a very textural manner.


Carol Scheftic woven pedants

Also, because they’re cool, please check out some of my other friends who have already participated in this Around the World Blog Hop

Michelle Loon Mermaid cuffs

Michelle Loon Mermaid cuffs

Michelle Loon


Helga van Leipsig Furrows and Ridges ring

Helga van Leipsig


Vickie Hallmark Sprig stud earrings

Vickie Hallmark

Thanks for reading!

Tags: , , , , , ,


Trackbacks and pingbacks

No trackback or pingback available for this article

Leave a Reply