the blog of jewelry designer

November 26, 2013


It's a quiet week, a week for gratitude.  I guess it takes cresting my forties to realize how true it is that we're only as good as the company we keep.  My friends inspire me, they shape my day, inform my preferences; they surprise me and make me laugh.  

This Thanksgiving, I'm celebrating the company I keep.  

For Style and Substance...

I started designing many, many years ago, making wire-wrapped jewelry for my friends.  While my own aesthetic has developed (a lot!), I still design with my friends in mind, knowing that if they can wear my jewelry, it'll look perfect on every woman, everywhere.  

And yet there are those people whose style is something… different, you almost can't put words to it -- in fact, they can't put words to it, so effortless is their look.  

Kathleen Cook-Hunter's style is in her quirkiness.  She doesn't follow trends, she creates them.  Her brilliant use of color is unconventional and deep.  This kind of saturation is what I strive for in the colored stones I choose every season.   

Kathleen with Christie, both in Elizabeth Showers
Karen Bates Novakowski is not only a friend, she's worked for me for years, and there hasn't been a day she hasn't delighted us all with her effortless chic, even in workout clothes!  Karen is a study in layers, and is the perfect muse for the way my jewelry can be worn together. 
Karen and me at the Couture Jewelry Show in Vegas, 2009
To explore distant places…

My most intrepid friends are hands down, Ann Alford and Erin Fenstermaker, both of whom have the tenacity to pick a spot, map its highlights and challenge me to go there with them.  They don't hesitate, ever, and it's with them that I've scaled boulders, bathed elephants, shot rapids and jumped from cliffs, and extended my own borders in every way.

For their taste buds...
Christie Coker introduced me to Pickapeppa sauce.  It was a childhood tradition, she doused it over cream cheese on tortilla chips, I think it got her through high school.  (Simple solutions!)  I've refined my own Pickapeppa tradition to accompany hummus on gluten free crackers.  Maybe a tad less "high school," still pretty decadent!

Coveting their Closet...

I have to include my sister Susanna in any conversation about friends -- especially when I'm thinking about closet influence.  The 5050 Boots from Stuart Weitzman (I'm wearing them today!) were Susanna's picks years ago, and I've passed them on to countless others.  So sleek and sexy, my pair is literally on their last leg!

For Popcorn and Culture...

Jennifer Stagen and I go to the movies together, and - I'm not proud - our recent obsession was with the Twilight Saga.  While I probably shouldn't call it Culture (not with a capital C), the power and energy of the characters, their interaction with nature - it speaks to me. 

Alice Cullen, the vampire world's greatest friend!
Their Eye for Art... 

My favorite pieces of art are those that are made especially for me.  Kristan Vinzant created Bark Art, made from tree bark applied to canvas.  I am using tree texture in more and more of my jewelry.  I'm surrounded by it! 

"BARK ART," Kristan Vinzant, 2009
A Friend on the Ground...

I've just moved to a new neighborhood in a new town.  Only 30 miles from where I've been, I wouldn't know where to start without Kim Boyd.  They say moving is up there with the top most traumatic life experiences, and without Kim's rapid response as my friendly City Guide, her tips for a masseuse, a dry cleaner, great restaurants, a tailor, a nail salon, and way more -- I would feel lost.

My new home, Fort Worth

And Words of Wisdom From Friends...
"Date someone for all four seasons before you decide to marry him."

"Rejection is God’s protection."

"Nothing in this world happens by mistake."

"Practice the 3 M’s to stay sane:  Meetings, Meditation and Masturbation!" 
 … Priceless! 

With friends: Ronda, Christie, Kristen, Ann, Christie
Go on, celebrate the company YOU keep!

Feel beautiful!

November 22, 2013


Dealey Plaza, Dallas, this morning
The world has its eye on Dallas today, the 50th anniversary of the death of JFK.  I love my city, and on this day, I'm proud of it.  With all the media coverage and editorial - non stop - on TV and radio, it wouldn't be a wonder if Dallas just buckled.  It's a lot of responsibility to be this city, the one on whose soil Camelot was lost.

And Dallas didn't deliver the perfect day today, no sunshine or warm temps.  Instead, it's raw and intemperate.  Like it's an actor in a play.  Dallas reflected the world's temperature.  
Lee Park, Dallas, this afternoon

On my corner, flags are at half staff.  The leaves have fallen all at once.  
A nest in branches, such a symbol of resilience 
It was a sad day, and yet even in it's winter-ness, there's life, and hope.  
I'm proud of Dallas today.  

"One person can make a difference, and everyone should try."

Feel Beautiful,

November 2, 2013


A big part of design, in art of any kind, is the study of the Iconic.  

I've recently been in San Francisco, and while its physical beauty is undeniable, what really hits me this trip is something beyond beauty.  It's this Iconic characteristic -- so elusive, yet as I head into my studio to start the process of designing my next Collection, Iconic is a characteristic I'm thinking lots about.

Iconic is a sense, a feeling - it's something that captures the imagination, once and for all.  San Francisco has snagged the heart and creative soul of so many of my favorite people; they come, they stay!  

As Rudyard Kipling once said: "San Francisco has only one drawback - ’tis hard to leave."

A favorite oil painting of a hilly street looking down at the Marina in San Francisco

My relationship with San Francisco began when I was young.  Almost every summer, my mom put me on a plane to spend time with her close childhood friend, Linda Bacon McBurney.

Mom and Linda shared the artistic muse.  And yet, with that muse, they went very different directions, Mom to Dallas to pursue the rigor of interiors, and Linda - west - to bohemia, to live the painter's life.  

Linda's studio, always so inspiring to me.
It was through Linda's lens that San Francisco came alive for me, from age 9 onward.  I was absorbed into the fabric of her incredible artistic, fun and funky family, and I am sure that her influence is alive in my designs to this day. 
"Might as well smile", oil on linen by Linda Bacon
This trip, I came to San Francisco with my own art, and the privilege of being hosted by Linda, her daughter Starrs, and Marcy, another friend from those old San Francisco summers.  They brought me into their world to show my art, my jewelry.  
What goes around, comes around!  

Feel beautiful!

With Starrs and Marcy, then and now!