More Treasures- Anne Choi Art Beads

Anne Choi’s fine silver art beads

Long an admirer of Anne Choi’s fine silver art beads, I finally just ordered some and WOW- are they gorgeous!   The urge to order now came both from seeing them in Andrew Thorton’s designs and past blogs, and a little something that’s been happening closer to home lately.

Red-tailed hawks started nesting last year in the small redwood groves near our house.  But lately, mysteriously, they are no longer around.  Coincidentally timed are the presence of large ravens in and around the same groves.  Hmmm… where did you come from?  Are you here to stay?  We’ve always had hawks, crows & such, but the ravens are nubbies to the hood.  Suddenly it seems time  to explore these amazing creatures and find something  ravenesque to start with.  (More on the Ravens soon).

So I was thrilled to find one very special raven artbead in Anne Choi’s inventory. On the sides it says “See, how the lilies flourish white and fair! See, how the ravens fed from heaven are!” by Thomas Dyches, 1800

As you see- Anne’s work is amazing;  gorgeously detailed and breathtaking in depth of design.  I was pleasantly surprised by the generous proportion of each bead- quite large as beads go; hefty in size but light in weight (they are hollow), each sterling silver piece is patinated and polished to accentuate the fine detail and shadow in the design.   I’m enjoying keeping them close; on display, or in my pocket- but close to soak up the sweet charge of each one!  On her website, Anne tells a bit about each- what inspired them, the image (elephant, raven, mandrake, butterfly,  lilly, crow-or a new creature morphed of two), and its symbolic meanings in different cultural contexts-all enriched with a personal tidbit of discovery, meaning, or irony.  Engraved on most of the beads is a sweet literary quote (Elliot, Shakespeare, Cummings, Swift…).  The quotes are written in gorgeous fonts- in either English, or Latin, or French, along one beadface.  Just exquisite.

My favorite bead & quote this week is the calaveras- a sugar skull in the Mexican Dia de Los Muertos tradition that says “It’s All Life Until Death”!  Miguel de Cervantes.  Tis the season, and I can’t wait to see Anne’s other designs.

You can read details and see pictures of Anne’s process here.

Inspiring Treasures

The Best Tibetan Beads at Pema Arts

Ok- I’m squirreling away for Fall.  I’ll start posting some of the things I’ve found this month to inspire new creations.  A friend asked me to make him a talisman, so I thought I’d start here with

Norbu at Pema Arts .  They have such an amazing collection of Tibetan beads- amber, turquoise, shell, resin, silver of varied types, dzi beads, and old necklaces made by the Himalayan tribes of Tibet, Nepal, & India.  You can feel so much history when you visit his site/booth.  He goes to all the bead shows- so keep your eye out for he/his family and their fine collection, new & old.


Filamentous dance. Curious, fully extending into

the blue. Trust, beyond their variegated halves

splits them open, taking-in whatever

passes by. Present

(or what does it mean to process the world through poetry?)

Not words.

Not the brain directing traffic

(even as amorphous mass).  Just bivalves

just opened, their minute antennae reaching out

waving.  Filamentous dance.  Curious, fully extending into   

the Blue.  Trust, beyond their variegated halves

moved to take-in whatever passes by.


in good time~   edgy electric, spiny sweet succulent

or bad~    passing shadow, memories,  stinging cells

that may slam them shut.

No matter.  “Water

never navigates the thermocline

the same twice.”  Soothes vertical.  And hunger

always erasing, invites, opens

the animal again in hope.

Just looking

for something good

to eat.

Gift for Elma

New Fall Jewelry~ Carnelian, hematite, onyx- for Elma

It’s Elma’s b-day today.  I made this for her and gave it to her last night before we took off to see the Cult (!)   Woo-hoo! fun show.

It’s made of nuggets of carnelian- a stone I can’t get enough of these days.  To me, carnelian is a harbinger of Fall;  warm and grounding.  There are also hematite chunks and rounds, jade and sterling.  The pendant is removable, etched onyx pendant with a dragon on one side

& phoenix or…peacock? on the other.

Elma is really special; a very grounded, wise, woman who is a bundle of energy & the *coolest* mom on the planet.  She’s creative (sews & makes jewelry) and is always going out to see shows and other fun cool things.

Elma- I’m so glad you were born & I feel very lucky to have you in my life as my buddy and concert date! (Thank you Mandy for connecting us~ we miss you!!!)

Green & Purple~ Succulent Gardens, songs, & jewelry

Inspiration from succulents and gardens inspires succulent jewelry. Hidden, but everywhere you look- the message of endurance in the face of all odds makes the desert an ocean full of inspiration. And of course, there is nothing more inspiring than a desert in full bloom.

One of the first things I did after coming home from our North coast CA tour was plant small succulents and cactus in little pots.  Amy inspired me.  😉  She has tiny pots of single cactus and succulents in window ledges inside, and sweet succulents artfully placed amid flowers & herbs all through her North coast CA garden.

Since I haven’t been home enough this summer to plant my own garden- others work makes me swoon and melt.  We really enjoyed just talking & hanging out with Bob & Amy in their sweet garden backyard, soaking up the Zen-ness of it all.  I so admire the hard work others do to create beauty in this world…

So once home, I planted a pot of small cacti, and placed them outside in the afternoon sun.  The next day- they were scorched!  Apparently not the hardy species evolved of the great American southwestern desert… I was informed by the nursery man that hothouse cacti must be slowly acclimated to sun.  Wow, how odd.  This never occurred to me.

I named a previous band “The Succulents” precisely because of the rich strength & vitality that pervades the desert- especially the rock solid flora & fauna of the American southwest.  Hidden, but everywhere you look- the message of endurance in the face of all odds makes the desert an ocean of inspiration.  And of course, there is nothing more inspiring than a desert in full bloom.  Besides seeing the redwood forests of Northern CA, and the Autumns of the East Coast forests, everyone should visit the desert during its springtime bloom.  As a child growing up in Arizona, I had to take the required preschoolers desert survival classes.  They told us that there was really little to fear in the desert; that if it was really so inhospitable there would be no life at all there.  And then there was the practical stuff; keep your clothes on;  build a lean-to, and fashion tools to search out certain cactus for water.

Here are lyrics from “She’s so Succulent”

Smooth on the outside/ fleshy on the in

Oh you want to touch/ but the spines lay hidden.

Never thought you’d find her/ alone in this place

(With a few havalina and some tumbleweeds

And the lizards that roam the desert seas.)


In her element (She’ll weather all)

She’s so succulent (saguaro stand tall)

Little bit o’ truculent (but you’ll never mind)

Just listen, watch, wait.


And here is a necklace & bracelet inspired from those hearty, secretly fleshy, gems of the wild-at-heart desert world!  Made of green quartz nuggets, amethyst, flourite, jade, & sterling findings and chain.

Fall Jump Start- New Pieces

OK- so I can’t wait for the rains (my Texas and Atlantic Coast friends can send their clouds our way any day),   I’m craving carnelian, and anything orange, red-orange, yellow… Found this mixed howlite in a store in Trinidad, CA.  I don’t normally get dyed stones, but it looked so cool.

I was serenaded the whole time I made this ring of Native American seed beads from Arizona, by all the coyotes y caballeros!