Custom 6 inch Copper Twig Spoons

About a week ago I received an email from a lovely woman, named Amie asking about my copper twig sugar spoons.  She was interested in a custom set of twig spoons but wanted them to be 2 1/2 times the size of the sugar spoons - 6 inches to be exact.

This was the largest set of twigs spoons that I've made yet and offered me a bit of challenge.  When I finished Amies spoons I loved how sturdy they felt in my hands and how beautiful they looked from all angles.  I particularly like the texture of the handle, that will always be my favorite part of the twig spoons.  With the black patina brushed back a bit to let some of the copper show though, you can really see all of the organic details of the twigs.

Not long after I shipped these twig spoons out to Amie, did I receive this lovely email.

"Charmaine,
Your beautiful spoons arrived today.   They are even more beautiful than the images.   Oh my!!   I love love love them and promise to cherish them always!
Thank you thank you thank you!
Amie"

 

Thanks for reading

cv

Jeweler and Metalsmith Charmaine Vegas makes her and her husbands 18k gold wedding bands in her Long Beach jewelry studio

Making Our 18k Gold Wedding Bands

Me and my fiancé (now husband) recently married this past July.

We had a small ceremony at the Griffith Observatory and it was quite lovely.  Our day was captured by Long Beach based photographers Isaiah Ryan and Taylor Cathrine.  I was introduced to their work by my cousin and her fiancé; they used Isaiah and Taylor for their engagement photos. I loved the photos and promptly sent an emailed to hire them.

A month before our elopement, Brandon and I met with Isaiah and Taylor over coffee to talk about how we wanted our day to go.  I mentioned that I'd be making our wedding bands and they enthusiastically asked if I'd like for the process to be documented.  Um...Yes. Of course I do!

They came by my studio on a very hot summer day, a few weeks before Brandon and I were to say our nuptials.  We really didn't discus much of how the shoot would go, as they set up their equipment I put on my favorite Lofi station to set the mood, sat down at my bench and began to work.

Isaiah and Taylor have disarming energy; they are calm and easy and moved fluidly around me as worked on the rings.

18k gold sheet for wedding bands
charmaine of bless the theory making her wedding bands in her jewelry studio
Bless the Theory Studio Dog Miss MoneyPenny
Charmaine Vegas of Bless the Theory Making Her Wedding Bands_ Sawing 18k gold sheet in half
charmaine vegas of bless the theory annealing 18k gold sheet for wedding band
Charmaine Vegas Annealing 18k gold sheet
charmaine vegas of bless the theory forming 18k gold wedding ring on a anvil
charmaine vegas of bless the theory annealing partially formed 18k gold wedding band
the making of a 18k gold wedding band by charmaine vegas of bless the theory
charmaine vegas making a 18k gold wedding band in her Long Beach jewelry studio
solid 18k gold wedding bands handmade by charmaine vegas of bless the theory
I am in love with Brandon's wedding band and I'll tell you why.

Most times when you see a hammered texture on jewelry it is put there as decoration.  I originally wanted to give Brandon's wedding band a light scratch finish with some intentional mars, so that it would look "old world" - like something for the 17th century; and he wanted something beefy -  solid.

After I finished his ring and had him try it on for the 4th time, it turn to be a tad too small.  Dang.  So I went back into the studio to stretch it.  I size rings up by annealing (heating the metal to relax it), then lightly hammering it to stretch the metal; I repeat this process as needed.  Doing this leaves hammer marks on the ring which can be planished or sanded out latter.

Giving the thickness of Brandon's ring and the strength of 18k gold, it took over 10 tries to stretch his wedding band; I had to use my might in each blow.  Once I got the band to properly fit Brandon's finger, I sat back down at my bench and got ready to smooth out the hammer marks.  Holding the ring in my hand and figuring out which way to start, I was paused by the beautiful texture that the stretching process put on the surface.

Each of those hammer marks were of purpose and process and  I could not bring myself to smooth them out.  They remind(ed) me of the work that we, Brandon and me, have put in our relationship.  It just all seemed too fitting.  So I left them.  And every time I see that ring on his finger I smile and want to touch it.  I like to hold it in my hand and run my finger tips over the texture.  The weight of it reminds me of our life built and the texture remind me of the work we've done and are doing.

I simply love Brandons wedding band.  And so does he.  And that makes me proud to have made it.

charmaine and Brandon Griffith observatory elopement wedding bands

Getting Inspired at LACMA

My dads were in town this past weekend for a family wedding, and before they jetted back home to Maui, they treated me to a day of inspiration at LACMA.  We check out a few exhibits, our favorite was the 3D: Double Vision exhibit.  If you love photography and geometry and all things 3D...I highly recommend checking it out.

I love 17th century dutch still-life for many reasons, the way light is caught (usually candle or daylight is all they had to work with), and the use of color and the little details within the larger details.

The tiny details are what pull me into a childlike mind; little ants on a tulip petal, a resting wasp on the lemon leaf, a butterfly on the rim of a wine goblet, glass like water droplets undisturbed on a table cloth, curious caterpillars bending and stretching on the rind of melon.  All of these little surprises I like to think were added just for me, and I enthusiastically pointed them out as I discover each and every one of them.

It was a nice surprise to see the work of Yee Sookyoung.  Her sculptures are inspiring and resonate with me.  I was introduced to her work a few years ago - what a treat to see a piece in person.

 

I regularly visit museums and galleries for inspiration.  Art History was one of my favorite courses in college and I always find it a treat to spend time around historic art.  LACMA is a solid museum.  Of course, my favorite museum in LA is the Getty, but LACMA never fails.   They have some of my favorite collections on permanent display and they are, usually always,  presenting pretty fabulous exhibits.

The Gravel Series – Inspiration and Design

Inspiration

The Gravel Series is inspired by life and it's hidden treasures.  I think life really is about lessons.  And those lessons teach us how to heal, grown and love.   Not all of our growth is going to be easy, or smooth like a river rock.   And thats OK.  Sometimes life is rough and jagged and in many pieces, like gravel.

Gravel can be beautiful and when I think about it,  I imagine digging my hands in and letting my fingers search for treasures.  Much like what we do in life.

Design

The design process of making (anything ) does not always begin with a sketch.  I find that most of my designs are inspired from everyday life and simple daily activities; that if not paying attention, I'd surly miss.

Movement and subtle texture help guide this, ongoing, series.   The sterling silver discs are hand formed with bends and creases to speak to the somewhat faceted appearance of gravel.   A scratched texture and burnished edges are used as sublet accents.  And a dark patina, for a dramatic contrast.

I am enthused to grow this series.   Stretching it to a collection that not only our healing and growth but also one that speaks to the beautiful lessons and opportunities we find as we sift trough the gravel.

ImPerfect Circle Earrings and Slow Days

Can you feel the change of seasons coming?   I can feel the time going a bit slower.  The mornings feel quieter.

I think slow days call for simplicity.  Keeping things and actions intentional.  I dress myself a bit simpler on slow days:  jeans, lightweight tee, a white button down.  My jewelry is just as simple: a pair of earrings, a "barely there" necklace and my wedding ring.  Thats it.

In the photo below I'm wearing the ImPerfect Circle earrings.   I really do love wearing these earrings; they're lightweight so I usually forget that I'm wearing them.   I like the contrast of the dark metal against the skin.   And I love that they make a statement without looking like I'm "trying too hard".

ImPerfect Circle Earrings and Slow Days

Men’s Wedding Band

Last week was received and online order (all the way from Australia) for my Mens Flawed Wide Band and in the notes read:

"This will be my wedding band."

I always feel exceptionally honored when working on wedding rings; and this felt even more special...a flaw in a mens wedding ring?  Yes! What a brilliant idea.

Most of the wedding rings I do are commissions; meaning they are custom, made to fit the ideas of the client.  Although this order was not technically a commission, I did treat it as such.  Every piece of jewelry that leaves my studio IS hand fabricated by me; which adds a custom feel.

I was quite pleased with the finished look of this band.  The flaws that you see in my work are unique; each very different from the other - like our own flaws so to speak.

I hope this unconventional men's wedding ring reminds the soon-to-be-groom not only of his union but that he too is loved, flaws and all.

Thanks for reading,

cv

Photoshoot | Behind the Scenes

I love when talent gets together and makes magic!

I was contacted by Los Angeles based fashion and beauty photographer Michael Dirlam to be part of a photoshoot that he was putting together, and to no surprise...I said "Yes"!

This was a fantastic shoot with a talented team of professional artists!  I learned a few things about what a professional photoshoot looks like and how it flows.  For example: when you need to fix something on the model you say "stepping in"!  This lets the photographer know that someone will be walking in front of the lens.  I think I "stepped in" quite a bit...had to make sure the jewelry was just right!

Here are some behind the scenes shots of that day:

The Dream Team:

Model:  Nelo Offor

Makeup:  Marlu Soria 

Nail Artist (and my Bestfriend):  Sheila Monaus

Photographer: Micheal G. Dirlam 

Jewelry:  Bless the Theory

A few weeks after the shoot, Micheal sent out an email letting the team know that the all of the images were picked up by Feroce Magazine! How great is that?  You can see more finished photos here!

Thanks for reading!

cv

P.S. *If any local (or non local) creatives want to get together and collaborate on a photoshoot please reach out  I'm always looking to meet other artists and make magic together!

 

Charmaine Vegas_Bless the Theory featured in In Her Studio Magazine

Featured in ‘In Her Studio” Magazine

I'm back from my Oregon trip and am slowly returning to my daily routine.  While sipping coffee and going through my mail, I was pleasantly surprised to find my 6 page feature in the premier issue of "In Her Studio" magazine, by Stampington & Company!

You guys know how much I enjoy my studio, so I was quite taken aback when asked to submit photos and a story to this wonderful concept of a magazine!  In the article I talk about how I got into metalsmithing, how I get out of creative ruts and of course; my studio - it's glories and its challenges.  I also give some tips on setting up and organizing creative spaces!

Not only am I honored to be featured in the magazine but I'm honored to be showcased alongside some very talented female artists.  I truly enjoy learning about other creatives and how they find inspiration and move through their practice.  The editors of In Her Studio did a lovely job of curating a cast of women whom work in a diverse set of mediums - the stories are beautiful and the photography is eye-candy! You are sure to be inspired!

This issue of In Her Studio is out now and you can order a copy here on the Stampington & Company website!  You can also find a copy at your local book retailer! *I've been told that a few people have picked it up at Barnes & Noble.

thanks for reading!

cv

P.S....If you are a female artist and are interested in being featured in In Her Studio magazine; they are taking submissions for the next few issues...you can learn how here.

Books I’m Currently Reading: Alexander Calder

Its been a while since I've last written a blog post.  But it's all for good reason; I've been prepping for summer travels and getting new inspiration for some ideas that have been floating around in my head these past months.  As a metalsmith and artist I tend to float from jewelry to objects, and this month my mind has been totally on occupied with objects.

I never had the chance to dive into sculpture during my college years, nor did I truly have the interest.  However, as my practice  has grown, I've notice my focus has widen, and sculpture has become part of that focus.  My eyes have been attracted to movable sculptures lately and with my appreciation for simplicity and thoughtful design, I'm sort-of not surprised that I've been playing with the idea of making mobiles.

With most ideas and inspiration...I tend to get a little scared to dive in, because I know most things have been done before.  But eventually I do give myself freedom to explore my thoughts no matter what others are doing.  So I (per usual) checked out some great books on Alexander Calder.  I haven't finished them yet so I won't dare attempt to "write about him" and my thoughts on his work until I do.  But here are the books I'm currently reading on Alexander's work and life:

#1 Alexander Calder; Performing Sculpture

#2 Calder and Abstraction from Avant-Garde to Iconic

#3 Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art; Form, Balance, Joy

Spring Marketplace at CAFAM

I participated in Spring Marketplace at CAFAM a few weekends ago.  It was my first time visiting the museum and being part of the curation of talent for this event.  I met so many great artists and collectors during this 2 day show; it was truly a fun and exciting weekend!

Saturday was the busiest! I watched some of you leaved with pieces that were labors of love and pieces that were the beginning of the Flawed collection....I won't lie; it was bittersweet.

Sunday was a bit slower, but traffic was steady.  Because of this I was able to spend more time talking to some of you guys - which I truly enjoyed - it's nice to share the inspiration and process of my work.


Thank You, to everyone who came out to support us artists!  My next event will be at the Irvine Studio Arts Festival, June 2nd.  This is a bigger show with over 100 artist and admission is free! You can learn more here! Hope to see you there!

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