my valentine

interwtining.

thats what this time is all about, inside in the winter, so cold out there kids missing school and restless inside.

me with so much studio work, john working from home with the weather…nyc hates icestorms…

so how to intertwine all these parts of my life, pondering as I forge these hearts for you all this valentine’s, intertwining two halves… as my other wee halves battle it out upstairs and I work in my studio.

sigh, more of old man winter’s lovely white stuff on it’s way, come to remind us to hibernate and await the arrival of spring.
and the full wells we will all have thanks to winter :)

gotta remember and be grateful for that part, as I am grateful to have these valentine’s orders ready to ship

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but this evening I will return to the studio, kids tucked in after stories and family games, and i will forge the gold that my darling husband picked up for me while running an errand in nyc’s jewellery district friday. cheeky clandestine dealings with my bullion suppliers ;). damn I love it when he does this.

so tonight in my studio, with salt lamps and fairy lights illuminating & warming my lovely steel, I will hammer and forge my heart. with my diamond rasp, I will create reflection of light in the light gold (14k, think cool gold), intertwining a heart for me from my man. my personal taste is for the gold to be heavily hammered, lots of diamond rasp…so I won’t need much light to work.

it will be so beautiful…the snow silently falling all around, candles and warm pink salt glow flickering off the steel in my ivory jewellery studio. and perhaps this heart will be ready for a ribbon around my neck by morn.

and a snowy one ’twill be~

may all creatures be safe and warm and well

heather

hearts…intertwining

oh, I have just made something that I am so proud of….sooo proud! one of those, “I captured exactly what I was feeling when I was forging” moments.

I present to you my little forged heart. a heart that represents intertwining, something that i seem to be doing a lot of lately.
life intertwining, all these bits of my heart intertwining together and hopefully balancing along the way.

there are two distinct halves of this forged heart as I forged each one separately. I wanted two distinct halves, just as the things in my life that I am intertwining…children, art, marriage, self (today is my 46th birthday, hence the musings)

the heart is joined only at the top, the bottom of the heart is open, ever so slightly, open…twining around the other half of the heart.

forgedheartonchain

oh, and here it is. totally different than my other trinkets, this heart is three dimensional, a bit heavier and more hammer texture, but still no bigger than a dime. the jump ring on the back is a favorite for me, (I love hardware)…it took three days of pondering before I came up with this rectangular jump ring angled on the back. because of it the chains hangs exactly as I envisioned.

love when that happens

perhaps because the ultimate inspiration for this heart (on top of the many requests to forge hearts!!!) came from a really intense moment (see that last blog post about EMT guys in an icestorm ;) … perhaps that is why I feel this way about this my latest forging.

and as I am so fond of saying, I don’t go to therapy because i have my hammers and anvils. every so often I create something that speaks to this most primitive connection I have to the world through forging. really grateful for that in this lifetime.

this is a heart that I really love…i am so pleased.

here’s to hearts…& cute EMS guys in an icestorm

this sunday we awoke to a freezing cold house. seems the boiler decide to flip itself off in the middle of the night and to top it off, we were having a rather wicked ice storm. so all 9 of us (2 and 4 leggeds) cuddled in bed while my husband contacted the boiler technician.when I finally rose out of our cozy nest, I thought to myself, damn, I must have pulled a muscle in my back, intense searing pain that literally took my breath away. next thing I knew, I felt myself passing out. apparently I did, eyes rolling back in my head, unresponsive as john slapped my face (you slapped me?!?) all that lovely stuff.

when I came too I heard my son saying, the ambulance is outside daddy…seems they called 911. needless to say, mommy fainting is not a regular occurrence and it scared them all.

when it was over and I was cozy and warm (boiler repaired, EMS men gone) I was filled with such a powerful feeling of love and thanks for my family (they totally dealt, scared as they were) for my lovely safe, warm home, for my friends who checked in on me (one sent a message saying “i was just thinking of you this morning, is everything good?”) and I decided that it was time to forge those little heart trinkets that I have been thinking about for so long. with Valentine’s day fast approaching, what better time…here is the ever so unglamorous photo of the sterling silver ingots being forged. I promise they will look much prettier by tomorrow!

silver ingots ready to roll
silver ingots ready to roll

in 11 days I will turn 46. as a cancer survivor, every birthday is a gift…after that little unexplained episode on sunday morning, I am reminded once again how precious life really is, how powerful and strong love is and how important it is to share that love.

so here is to hearts…and cute EMS guys in an ice storm :)

a difficult forging, but so happy with the results

a really wonderful client of mine has been asking me for years now to forge her a cross.

a really big cross (2.5″ long!) out of her old gold pieces. and finally we did it and man, was it a challenge for me.

cross

I don’t know if it was the forging, the white gold wrapping, or really just the enormous significance of this most iconic symbol…but it took me so long to make and in the end, I just had to say “you are finished!” and send it on it’s way.

and today she receives it and send me this:

Dear Heather,
I love the cross! It is just perfect! Thank you so much for your hard work! It is always such a pleasure to work with you.

I have the best clients in the world, thank you all for entrusting me with such beautiful commissions, I am so grateful

my rust studio ROCKS

the view from my new studioredding, connecticut has to be one of the most beautiful places in all of america. I am absolutely in love with my new home here with the wild turkeys, the deer, and the really large sounding bullfrog in the boggy pond (are there big bullfrogs here)?.

moving in the midst of a hurricane is always an adventure, but we have settled in so very beautifully and my studio absolutely, positively ROCKS… check it out, even my furniture and artfully neglected rusty anvil match the cool rusty toned (ahem) linoleum. I can’t help but make beautiful things with this vista.

the jewelry studio in Redding

I finished this sweet little sapphire and gold ring, right before I sent the studio off in the moving truck, all hand made 18k yellow discs soldered together with a lovely deep blue sapphire bezel set in rich warm gold. I’ll have to find the picture, as its a great example of what you can do when you melt down gold and start anew. sweet, little and rather unique, my friend beth’s design for her sister in law who just gave birth to a boy, a sister’s “push present” if you will :)

~ looking forward to receiving sue’s “disco” gold earrings to melt down and create anew. dig out that old gold. gold is good right now, brings some of this sun with you as the days get cooler ~

and I do so love melting it down into molten…

be so warm and dry

heather

the newest trinkets have been forged!!!

oh i am thrilled to finally be able to say that i have forged the first seven of my newest trinkets, the zodiac pendants!

in the spirit, size and style of my peace sign jewellery and Ohm charms, the hand forged zodiac signs join my ever growing collection of symbolic
pendants.

here they are, photographed with my favorite ball peen hammer, the rat tail rasp (round file) that i have become so enamored with while making these zodiac charms, and my anvil (which i am too embarrassed to show to my metalsmith friends… it so needs to be dressed properly!!!)

having always been fascinated with symbols, especially alchemical symbols, the zodiac charms seemed a perfect progression from the peace signs, Ohm pendants and wishbones.

the peace sign originated as the symbol for nuclear disarmament and the Ohm is the symbol of a sacred invocation to be intoned at the beginning and end of any mantra. the wishbone, well we all need to make a wish every once in awhile.

while the origins of the astrological symbols themselves seem to be lost in history, the symbols remain elemental expressions of the sun sign under which we are born. the starting point of each of our unique blueprints.

additionally, for us alchemical freaks, the twelve core alchemical processes are ruled by the twelve signs of the zodiac. (i find all this fascinating and yes, people think i am weird :)

the pendants however, are classic. not corny or literal, the twelve signs of the zodiac are universal and expressive. I am really digging the pendants on a piece of natural rawhide (with solid gold or silver lobster clasp).

on my website, however, the pendants are featured on the traditional rolo chains that so many of you have with your peace signs.

email me if the rawhide chain intrigues, i am always happy to cater to customization!

by the way, the rawhide looks great with a tan :)

starting with leo, the zodiac signs now have their own pages on the website. the remaining five zodiac signs are on my bench awaiting my hammer. so far my sign, aquarius, has been the most challenging to forge (still haven’t perfected the little bugger) and virgo, the sign of both my babies, has been the most fun.

and in closing, may i say a huge happy birthday to my many leonine girlfriends and my mom! leo is the polar opposite sign to aquarius and i do seem to attract the leonine women. the first leo pendant i forged in 18k yellow gold, in honor of all of you gorgeous lions!

be so well and radiant

heather

sterling silver orb pendant

sterling silver orb with garnet on ball chain

sterling silver orb pendant
another example of recycled silver.

i melted the ingot of silver and was so pleased with how the fine silver came right to the surface of the orb, producing such a brilliant white texture.

i set the garnet and here is the really romantic part:

he wanted the pendant to hang in a very specific spot on her chest, so he measured while she slept and i made the chain to fit.

love…

grace’s platinum sapphire water ring

i think of this as my “elfin” wedding ring, grace’s ring.
ringgrace
later i forged a wedding ring that perfectly hugs this band
this ring will wear forever, age beautifully. heavy forged platinum deep, beautiful stones.

What’s my Dodo

I am completely in love with a line of Italian jewelry and I simply must share with you.

Dodo is a line of animal pendants from the esteemed Milanese jewelry house, Pomellato. Named for the funny, furry bird, made extinct thanks to the Dutch settlers on Mauritius years ago, Dodo is a whimsical line of pendants and charms (with some ever so affordable gemstone rings) designed to speak to your inner animal.

And we all have one :)

my dodos!

I think animals represent the purest connection to spirit, the connection we strive to reach, the connection to the earth. Animal totems speak to our archetypes and connecting with our archetypes allows us to better understand and express ourselves (yes, I have been reading Joseph Campbell again…).

Dodo has captured this essence and the result is a most whimsical, yet solid collection of pendants and charms.
As quoted from the Dodo site, “The Dodo pendants are a happy company of animals who speak the language of feelings and emotions. Each Dodo reveals a little bit of who we are and what we want to say. It’s a gift that can speak for us if we are a little bit shy…”

Each Dodo comes with a little message about your animal. I love that.

And making Dodo even cooler is that they donate a portion of their sales to benefit the WWF Italia.

Seriously, how perfect is this for me?

So what animal will be my first Dodo?

The wolf. Debuting this spring (with the lamb), I knew as soon as i saw…

I have not yet decided if my wolf will be worn on their beautifully finished black rawhide, or on a hefty chain bracelet.
Either way, will look absolutely sublime with my heavy forged pieces.

Happy Spring everyone,

It really is here!

be green,

heather

24 karat warmth

the 31st of january is my birthday,
i want sunshine and i want warmth
chances are, i am not getting it….
so i bought myself the warmest gift i could think of
and thought i would share for valentine’s day
working gold in the studio
a wee hunk of pure, stunningly bright
24k yellow gold (ethically mined)
ever so rich and warm

’twas thinking of taking my little ingot and forging
7 hearts for valentine’s day

solid bright warm 24k yellow gold hearts
hand forged buttery smooth
a wee hole pierces the center
for a delicate gold chain, perhaps a ribbon of lace
a simple piece of natural leather rawhide
we discuss…

i may layer my heart on a platinum chain
with another trinket
a warmth amulet, if you will

if you have never seen pure 24 karat yellow gold,
the rich, warm color is absolutely stunning
feels like pure gold butter
it is lovely and soft, i may wear mine on a silk ribbon…

24k yellow gold will be my sunshine
and perhaps it may be for your valentine

i will post photos of my little ingot
when it hits my anvil and update
the progress of the hearts for valentine’s

for my birthday,
whilst i dream of diving
with the whales in cabo san lucas
may i request a superbowl win

lucky stairway to seven
with love from
sixsburgh!
go steelers!!!

heather

Help me donate to the St. Bernard Parish Animal Rescue!

finally!

a month ago i wrote about wanting to run a fundraiser to help people in the gulf affected by the bp oil spill and hurricane katrina, people who are struggling to keep their pets.

to me, this is a devastating thought, having to relinquish your pet because you can no longer afford to care for them….and this is happening to so many people in the gulf.

unfortunately, spay and neuter programs are scarce as they are lacking the funds and “no kill” shelters are few and far between in the gulf right now. too many mouths to house…so to speak and so many people out of work are struggling to keep their four legged children.

thanks to all who responded when i asked for advice on this. i had been researching organizations, but not really getting the “feel” for any of them.
(thanks also to those who raised my awareness about the mis-allocation of funds by some larger orgs– i didn’t know!)

one of the kind people who responded to my post had just seen a segment on the Saint Bernard Parish SPCA, a shelter doing amazing work in really challenging times, and after checking them out online, i am really moved by their passion and mission. Please check out

Friends of the Animal Shelter of St. Bernard Parish!

not only are they actively working with their community to help people care for their pets in a time of crisis, they are also ardently working to achieve  another ideal of mine when it comes to animal rescue, a “no kill” status in their shelter.

“We will not give up until our shelter achieves a ZERO euthanasia rate for every healthy, adoptable dog and cat in their care. Warehousing animals will not work; less pets born and more adoptions will! You can be a part of the solution, too!”

as a former non profiteer (the jarvis reilly foundation, san diego 2000-2007), i think this shelter  is really making a difference, so

30% of all  jewellery purchased from heather-reilly.com/shop will be sent directly to the Friends of the Animal Shelter of St. Bernard !!

all custom commissions (wedding rings, too!), all ready to wear wishbones, om pendants, runes and peace sign jewellery, from now until i don’t know when– 30% of the sale will go to animals in the gulf through the Friends of the Animal Shelter of St. Bernard.

(i just cleaned the studio before diving back in (took the kids east for a grandparent holiday!) and have a few “sample sale” items appearing here over the next week that will be fair game, too)

for lots of us right now, life isn’t leaving much extra to help out the people, animals and organizations who need it in the wake of the gulf oil spill.  i would send millions if i had it already, but as a jeweller who is also a full-time mom right now, i need your help to send anything.

need a unique gift? time to spoil someone you love? early holiday shopping?

include yourself here :) and help me make a difference!

be beautiful and be so well,

heather

PS the direct link to my online store is heather-reilly.com/shop !

peace sign earrings

i almost forgot about making these entirely, since I don’t wear many earrings myself and I hadn’t had an order for them since we switched over the site from the old marketplace one to the new blog set-up, and the old earring listings came down off the net.

anyway, shortly after we got the peace sign jewelry page of the new shoppping cart set up here with WordPress, I was very happy to hear from a repeat client saying how much she wanted another pair of these! (she had been unable to find my old listings on Google this year and had lost email info, but came across the new site- finally. John assures me this will never happen again…)

so now i like these better than i remember liking them before, so up they go.


peace sign earrings
peace sign earrings

my original small peace sign earrings in sterling, with a simple sterling wire, now available exclusively online at heather-reilly.com!

Moving the jewelry studio- and the family- to Pittsburgh!

Yesterday we were working on the “moving specials on jewelry” page when we realized I’d made no “official” announcement about our move here on the blog or to my subscribers’ list of friends and fans.

So, we’re moving to Pittsburgh at the end of the month of August!

John will continue a couple of his San Diego projects both online and in person– he’s got an office space he’ll be keeping, and a few other things going on- follow him on Twitter to keep up with all that.

We’re moving on to a big simple mid-century home in the Pt. Breeze neighborhood of Pittsburgh, just a few minutes from where my Mom grew-up and a bunch of my cousins, family friends and their kids, too. (I was actually born in Pittsburgh though I grew up mostly in CT).

There’s a perfect open kitchen and big family room as well as a sweet room for the jewelry studio looking out over the backyard– another great set up for work + kids–> we are very fortunate!

So even though, my jewelry doesn’t take up any space, I started a moving sale online because I have a handful of pieces that have been around for while and I’ve been cleaning up the bench– yesterday I found a ring that reminded me of the engagement ring I just wrote about last week, maybe from the same time period. It has a pretty green beryl set in a yellow gold bezel on a sterling silver flat bar ring, flanked by two little diamonds– check it out!


green beryl ring
green beryl ring

Here’s a partial screenshot of the sale page, click the image to see everything.


screen shot of jewelry studio moving sale page
screen shot of jewelry studio moving sale page

new jewelry photo galleries up!

there’s a lot of uploading left to do, but all of the basic photo galleries of my hand forged custom jewelry are now up and running thanks to John and the guys at Dutch Monkey who developed the DM Albums plug-in for WordPress that we are using now–> great functionality, DM crew– we’re very grateful!

These galleries, divided into the same groups as my static portfolio site www.heather-reilly.com, are reachable through the links in the header.

We will be filling them with more pictures and identifying captions over the next few weeks, so really this is a “sneak preview” announcement for anyone paying attention right now– check it out and be sure to comment where you feel like telling me what you think!

WordPress for my online custom jewelry portfolio

custom jewelry portfolioafter a lot of experimentation and research into what works best for publishing pictures and information about my custom jewelry work, and what has worked best for my followers and readers, John and I have decided on WordPress as the best foundation for a complete and easy to use online portfolio of past work, from engagement and wedding ring commissions to my ready to wear peace sign, wishbone, and om pendants, soon to be available online here in clean, easy to use online shopping interface.

forged platinum ring with marquis diamond

platinum ring with marquis diamond

One of my favorite rings ever, this forged platinum ring features a most gorgeous marquis diamond. The diamond was originally set in a 14k yellow gold cocktail ring.

so NOT my client’s style…yet she loved the diamond and wanted something that she would wear everyday.

not wanting to cover the diamond completely with a bezel setting, we opted for this prong setting which would allow maximum light and sparkle to come through.

such a stone deserves such treatment!