Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Earth Treasures Part Two

I promised a few more photos from my tour of GIA, The Gemological Institue of America in Carlsbad, CA. These are actually photos I took of photos done by Bill Atkinson. (Thanks Bill) They were hanging in a hallway where their beauty was admired by all. Enjoy! 

Anyone want to guess what specimens are?

Leave a comment.

Happy New Year to All!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Growing Up Jewish: Earth Treasures!

Growing Up Jewish: Earth Treasures!: "A few days ago I had the pleasure of taking a tour at the Gemological Institute of America in Carlsbad, California. I am going to cut my ram..."

Earth Treasures!

A few days ago I had the pleasure of taking a tour at the Gemological Institute of America in Carlsbad, California. I am going to cut my ramblings short and let the immense beauty of these gemstones, jewelry, and art pieces speak for themselves. I took these photographs, some of which accurately portray these beauties, and some, I  apologize, don't do them justice. In my next blog, hopefully soon, I will show a few photographs of photographs, which will leave your mouths open!  Enjoy!
 I regret that I did not write down the names of the artists who created the necklace and other gemstone creations shown below. If you know their names, please add them in your comments!

                                                                                     Scroll all the way to the bottom to see all photos!



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

How Can I Thank Thee?

This blog is about my personal thanksgiving. No, not for the abundance of food we will enjoy, although I am certainly grateful to be well fed with the most wonderful foods on this earth. I am grateful for being cognizant of my place in this world, with enough sense to realize how lucky I am.

Santa Fe Mezuzah
As a child, I used to wonder how I would feel if I had been born less fortunate, perhaps in another country. Would I realize what I was missing? Don't get me wrong,-we did not have much, and we struggled, but we had a safe place to live and food, not gourmet, to eat. We grumbled at times, but we were better off than most people in the world, and I somehow knew that.

I am grateful this year that my family is so nearby. My daughter has moved back into the area, and my son and his wife live nearby with their precious twin girls. Our other grandchildren, 3 of them, also live nearby and enrich our lives greatly. Their extended families have welcomed us and shared their joy with us.  I'm thankful to be a grandma and to be healthy enough to enjoy it.

Thanksgiving was closely preceded by my son's birthday which might be more special to me than to him, and 4 days later, by my own. On my birthday, I received dozens of birthday messages from my friends and family on Facebook, some known well and some newly found. What a source of fun for me on my day! I'm grateful to have a sister to share my day with-my twin, who even visited this year!

My life seems to revolve  around my work especially at this time of the year. I am so grateful that I have been able to pursue my passion for these many years, supported by my husband in both labor and love. His encouragement has never faltered and he has generously schlepped with me through hundreds of shows and exhibits, without a complaint-ever!

I'm thankful for the community of friends with whom I share my life's work -the artists, and jewelers who share my passion for creating. You know who you are!

A couple of other family members deserve my thanks. My former husband and his wife have become some of our closest friends. Imagine that being possible! Our extended families have closed circles around all the children, and we have all flourished! We now have one Thanksgiving meal instead of two, and we can all celebrate our holidays together as one family.

So, I'm thankful for the opportunities I've had, for the people I hold dear,  and for the wisdom to realize what really matters. And yes, for the food..actually, for the fun in making and sharing the food!

Happy Thanksgiving and Blessings and Hugs to All!!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Art Event Not to be Missed!!!

Pomegranate Mezuzah Case

I am going to be showing my Judaica and Jewels this coming Sunday, November 14 in Sherman Oaks, CA, along with some wonderful other artists. This is a private show but you are invited, along with your friends! This is not a Chanukah Bazaar in the traditional sense, although there will be sensational gifts for your buying pleasure!

It is sure to be a festive, enjoyable event filled with music and joy! If you are interested and would like further information, please respond here and I will send you the information!  You can also send me an email at and I will get right back to you.

I feel very fortunate that I was invited to participate in this art event by the noted artist and former Dean of the School of Art and Architecture at USC, Ruth Weisberg.
Embossed Copper and silver earrings

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

End of an Era-or Not!!

This post concerns my education as an artist. In the early days, after a brief, 6 evening class in lost wax casting, and a year or so of evening adult class/studio time in jewelry making, I was on my own for many years. Then I heard about a metal guild in Southern California, so I joined, finding fellow jewelry artists and fantastic workshops given by nationally recognized experts in various techniques. But always, it was back to my tiny studio, maybe 10x10', working by myself.

Along the way, I met Anthony Chavez and his staff at Bourget Bros., a hardware and building supply store not far from my home. Surprisingly, it had a first-class jewelry supply department in the rear of the store. Here, I not only bought most of my supplies, but I gathered a sizeable amount of information on the use of the tools and products they sold. I remember in the beginning, that I would sometimes make 2 trips a day to Bourget, to seek out Anthony's help for a project I had no clue how to start, or finish!

Chanukah menorah, lucite, film canisters, brass
Anthony encouraged me to try out his jewelry class at Venice High School, but I thought I had advanced too much for a beginner's class. I had also equipped my work space to such a degree that I thought I didn't need to go elsewhere to work. Boy, was I wrong!!        

I got to a point where I felt the need to shed my lonesome workspace existence, and join some kind of group. At the metal art guild (MASSC), I met Brad Smith, who was the intermediate/advanced teacher at the Venice High  Adult School, in conjunction with Anthony's class. I agreed to sign up for his evening classes. These classes, as I found out, were so popular, that students waited in line to register, sometimes for hours. The classes filled quickly with enthusiastic, happy, creative people- some just learning, and some verging on the professional. In the 3 classes offered during the week, there were nearly 150 people registered!

The was the start of something I have continued for about 7 years. Going to school 2 or even 3 times per week, I have learned so much, but more importantly, I  ave made wonderful friends, all of whom love jewelry! We worked on our own projects, or on one of Brad's choosing. It didn't matter. What we really worked on was encouraging and teaching each other. We spent many evenings problem-solving, and with Brad as our teacher, the problems got solved very quickly. We learned all sorts of skills in using tools, and even learned to make our own specialized tools. We learned people skills and the tools of life as well.

In the past couple of years, our class room space has been threatened. Venice High School needed it for other people's dreams, not ours. We fought the good fight, wrote letters, and forestalled the inevitable, but eventually we got kicked out. Brad and Anthony found us another space, at another high school with a deserted, rundown wood shop that we were allowed to convert for our needs. After hundreds of hours of volunteer cleanup and building work, mostly Brad's, the huge space was ours--but not for long. The room was so nice, that someone else claimed it, and again we received notice that we were to be  thrown to the curb.

Brad and Anthony worked hard, and found us another space at an adult school facility where we were told we now had a permanent home. We've been without a class all summer and fall, and looked forward to moving in and starting class again in January. We were all waiting to unpack the boxes and make this new place our home.

Today, we got the crushing news that this is not to happen. Budgetary cuts, other priorities, whatever. The needs of our adult art community are put aside and our community of jewelers and artists, old and young, is no more. I believe in miracles, but it's getting harder to be positive. Tools rust in storage, joints rust with disuse. We've run out of ideas. However, the Phoenix always rises, so we must continue to hope, and perhaps find a place to be reborn.

Overly dramatic, you ask? No, this was a very special community, cherished by many and certainly not to be forgotten easily. If anyone has any ideas, speak up. Until then, let's keep in touch and keep positive.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Contemporary Craft Market

I have to add the following information as a post rather than as an event, because my brain won't let me figure out how to do this the right way. Here is the information about my next event and how you can still get free admission tickets!  I will be at booth 521.

Tree of Life Mezuzah Case
The 25th Anniversary Celebration of the Contemporary Crafts Market continues at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium November 5-7. As a friend and/or customer, I am pleased to provide you with free passes. Click on the link (or copy and paste into your browser), click on one of the images of a show postcard (to enlarge it), print it, then bring to the VIP line at the show.  Each printout will admit two.
Butterflies of Freedom Mezuzah Case

While at the website preview the wonderful holiday gifts you will see at the show.
Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
November 5-7, 2010
Hours:  10 to 6 daily
1855 Main St. (at Pico Blvd) in Santa Monica

Feel free to forward this to your friends and family members. There are a limited number of free tickets available.

Note: Tthe mezuzah case above left is made from
etched brass and sterling silver.It's box is copper. The case at right is made from pierced copper and brass, with sterling silver accents. The box is made of copper and nickel. All mezuzah cases I make are lacquered.

Chanukah is Almost Here!- Already??

This time of the year always sneaks up so slowly and then BAM- it's right in my face that I have a ton of work to do! In the next month, I have 3 shows to do, plus a variety of commissions, both large and small that are coming due. Pressure is not my friend. I know it eggs me on to finish projects and odds and ends, but it stifles my creativity to a degree that is scarey at times. My brain just doesn't pop out those ideas when I'm sleepless from anxiety and when my hands and back are aching with fatigue.  Oh well.

The first upcoming show is a biggy- It's the Contemporary Craft Market in Santa Monica, CA. It runs from November 5-7. I've had a booth here for this biannual show for 7 years, I believe, and it's an important one for me, especially for the exposure. It is not in the slightest a Judaic Art show, in fact, I am the only one who shows Judaica as a core of my exhibit. Oh, there are a few others who might have one or two mezuzot or a Star of David or Chai pendant, but believe it, I have it all!!! LOL  I always lead up to this show lamenting that I don't have enough pieces to show, and then find it hard to believe when I set up that I don't have enough room to put out everything. This year will be no different.

The next two shows are on the same day! The first one is also in Santa Monica, at my own synagogue, Beth Shir Sholom. Along with me at the Chanukah Boutique, will be vendors who sell other types of jewelry, maybe some toys, clothing, knick knacks for the home, and even fancy olive oils! Again, I'm probably the only one who has mostly Judaica. Well, I'll help my husband set up early, and then I'll take off to set up at another show, not a Chanukah boutique, but a genuine art show in Sherman Oaks. More details at a later posting. This one will have paintings, drawings, sculpture, photography, and me! Can't wait!

So my friends, I have to go check on my etchings, and then start soldering some bezels, and then...

Be Well!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

To Life! A Street Festival of Jewish Art in Palo Alto

 Just a brief post today. I'm hurrying to get ready for this annual show- one of my very favorites!

  There are last minute details to be attended to- finish up some earrings and necklaces, making a couple of more mezuzot. I have a new credit card  gadget, and I want to practice using it,  and I have to charge up my generator.

Here in Los Angeles, where it hardly ever rains, it's been pouring today and yesterday. Ordinarily this would be no problem, but since I taught an etching class on Sunday, I had my pop-up tent set up in the back yard, for shade. I didn't take it down, so now it's soaking wet and filthy. I hope it is warm and sunny tomorrow, as promised, so I can clean and dry it, and get it packed up for my drive to the Bay Area.  Another problem with the weather is that lacquer does not dry and cure well when the air is damp. All of my mezuzot are lacquered, so therein lies the problem!

Sterling silver necklace and earrings-Wandering Links!

Anyway, things will work out, and I'll be all ready for the festival on Sunday, October 10th.  It runs from 11-5 and is free!

If you're in the area, please come to booth #134 and say hello and take a look!  You'll see wonderful Jewish art, jewelry, crafts, etc. There will be yummy food, joyful music, and activities for the entire family!

For more information, check out the Festival's website:

Friday, October 1, 2010

Creativity, by God!

Burning Bush Mezuzah, bronze- God spoke to Moses
I just came across a fortune I saved many years ago from a Chinese cookie. It's barely readable, but it's message is as strong as ever:

"The greatest joy is in creation"

I used to think about this all the time. Where do these ideas for art come from? What if I wake up one day and have no new ideas? What if I become a blank slate?

Well, to make a long story short, I believe that my creativity comes from the original Creator! It's a spirit that happily flows through my brain and my hands. So if I'm a blank slate or an empty vessel, I no longer worry. I know that the spirit of creativity that flows through me, through my hammer, through my saw, and through my pen, will always be replentished.  I'm not saying that I have nothing to do with this. Of course I have to work hard, and seek new ways of expressing myself. I take classes. I read everything I can get my hands on.  But most importantly, I just have to be open to receive that spirit and let the joy flow!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Special Children

Or, aren't they all special??? 

A friend of mine, Jette Sorensen, challenged me to post the following paragraph, and leave it up for one hour, on Facebook. Heck, I'll put it up and leave it forever on my blog. It bears repeating often, and reading frequently:
Children with special needs don't have an illness, so there is no cure and it's not contagious. They want what we all want, to be accepted. Most of you probably won't copy and paste this. Could you do it and leave it on your status for at least one hour? It's Special Education week and in honor of all the kids who need a little extra help and understanding every week, not just Special Education week.
 I also honor all those dedicated teachers who have devoted their lives to teaching these special need children. It takes a special kind of person to choose this road, which is often difficult and emotionaly taxing. Yet they never give up and they do it with grace and compassion!  Thank you!
BTW, my visit with my sister Gail who just retired from teaching was wonderful but way too short. Thanks, Gail, and come back soon!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

In Celebration of My Twin Sister!

Yes, I did Grow up Jewish, but my main sense of identity as a child was my status as a TWIN!  My twin sister, Gail, and I are not identical, but we would often finish each  other's sentences, and we talked  "we and us" rather than "I or me."  When we were away at different colleges, we would often purchase the same shirt, nightgown, etc. As we started families of our own, living apart became more difficult. Sadly, cousins who resembled each other did not grow up playing with each other.

Now as my son is now raising twin girls of his own, my sister Gail is coming to meet them, and I imagine we will reminisce about a shared childhood so long ago.I can't wait!

Petoskey stone and sterling silver necklace by Ruth Shapiro
As a side note, I must tell you about a special vacation with my sister. About 4 years ago, Gail invited me to come to visit, to go camping. I hadn't been camping in many, many years, so of course I jumped at the chance. We spent days searching in knee deep, freezing water along the shores of Lake Huron, near her home, for the famous Petoskey stones. We even got some young kids involved in a contest to see who could find the biggest and best examples of these fossils.* We filled pails, boxes,and shoes with the wonderful stones. You see, I had recently learned lapidary skills, and my brain was brimming with ideas for jewelry! Upon arriving at the airport to go home, I was asked by the airline luggage handler "What do you have in here, rocks?!!!!  LOL   Well in honor of my sister's visit to me, I'm posting a picture of a necklace I made from just one of those Petoskey stones, after slicing it into pieces and polishing and bezel setting each one!!
* A Petoskey stone is a rock and a fossil, often pebble-shaped, that is composed of a fossilized coral, Hexagonaria percarinata. The stones were formed as a result of glaciation, in which sheets of ice plucked stones from the bedrock, grinding off their rough edges and depositing them in the northwestern portion of Michigan's lower peninsula.
Petoskey stones are found in the Gravel Point Formation of the Traverse Group. They are fragments of a coral reef that was originally deposited during the Devonian period, about 350 million years ago. When dry, the stone resembles ordinary limestone but when wet or polished using lapidary techniques, the distinctive mottled pattern of the six-sided coral fossils emerges. It is sometimes made into decorative objects. Other forms of fossilized coral are also found in the same location.
In 1965, it was named the state stone of Michigan. (Thanks to Wikipedia!)

Petoskey stones resemble  Indonesian fossilized coral, which is found with beautiful warm colors of yellow, peach, pink, etc.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I Love My Work!!

I woke up today thinking about all the non-work-work I had to do-cleaning my house, collecting expense receipts for taxes, etc. I thought how lucky I am to love my work, and how great it will be to get back in my workshop and start something new. How few people must look forward to their "work." I used to listen to a radio psychiatrist, David Viscott, who always advised people to find what you are good at and you will have found how to make yourself happy forever!

Along these lines, I found this quote from Norman Vincent Peale:
"Think enthusiastically about everything; but especially about your job. If you do, you'll put a touch of glory in your life. If you love your job with enthusiasm, you'll shake it to pieces. You'll love it into greatness, you'll upgrade it, you'll fill it with prestige and power."

Dawn of a New Day, Brooch by Ruth Shapiro*
So, I will love cleaning my house, and then I will love even more going to my workshop!!! Have a good week!

*Sterling silver, enamel, turquiose, brass bolts,

Friday, September 17, 2010

Mind*Body*Soul Connection= Art Therapy?

Prayer Pod Necklace, sterling silver; healing affirmation is placed  inside.
I've always been fascinated by the medical sciences, and in fact was introduced to the (new at the time) field of art therapy while still in high school. All these decades later, the studies are in and clearly show the connection between the creative side of the brain and the physical body, with art and music leading the way toward healing.                                                                                                                                                                            
I came across the UCLArts and Healing Center thanks to Joy Krauthammer and her work with drumming. I thought you might be interested in this field as well! They have a blog if you'd like to read more: 

See the UCLArts and Healing Facebook page to view photographs with explanatory captions from the following programs:  Sustainable Movement, Beat the Odds Drumming, The Healing Beat, Healing and Transformation through Art, Body Talk through Art, and Music for the Soul programs.

Photographs from a Sustainable Movement program offered to the UCLA Staff Assembly on August 25, 2010 can be viewed at:

Company Overview:
UCLArts and Healing achieves it goals through: • Affordable, experiential education to enable people to experience the healing power of the arts with an added therapeutic dimension. The process of creative expression reveals unconscious information that can facilitate insight, emotional and physical release, empathy and group support. The arts can also be used to foster social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development. • Networking with health care professionals, mental health... (read more)
UCLArts and Healing facilitates the use of arts-based tools for mind/body healing in the community as a vehicle for empowerment and transformation.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

New Website Design!

Torah Breastplate, Sterling silver, brass, glass;  Congregation Kehillat Israel
I need some feedback (love!) on my new website design, courtesy of my talented daughter, Lauren. Thank you, thank you!!!!

It features my newest pieces with a very easy way to purchase any of them, in contrast to my "old" site that made interested customers call me first, pay over the phone, etc.   That had been my (bad) idea....

Sterling silver and blue bead Mezuzah
Anyway, the photos are better, the descriptions are better, and you can look forward to more frequent updates and ease of use. As usual, clicking on each item brings up more information.

Let me know what you think!  If you are going to be fasting this Yom Kippur, I hope it is an easy one.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Etching Class is a Go!

Etched silver earrings with amethyst
After talking about an etching class for the past two months, I've come up with the date of Sunday, October 3rd. I would have scheduled it earlier, but the Jewish holidays intervened. At any rate, the fee of $65.00 covers all materials and chemicals. You may have to bring a few simple things, such as a Sharpie, eye protection and an apron, but I'll send you a complete list as we get closer, and when you reserve a space.
Sheet music etched in copper
Tentatively, class size will be limited to 8.

Also, the class will be from 10-3 or so, and it will be in Los Angeles. The location will be revealed later.

Etched amulet in copper
The main key to success with etching is to have a good image or design in mind. The etching adds texture and detail. A few tips and tricks on how to add your design to the metal in preparation for etching, and you have it all!

Please send  an email to with any questions and to reserve a space.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Judaic Art -Where's the Connection?

Custom Torah Pointer (yod)
Tomorrow I will get together with 7 other "Judaica artists."  I know two of them-noted photographer Bill Aron, and Rhonda Kap, a metalsmith, not unlike myself. The three of us used to display and sell at the wonderful Temple Isaiah Festival of Jewish Artists, in Los Angeles. It was an annual ritual for us, every November each year. It was one of the first  high quality shows of Jewish art, and a model for others to aspire to, around the country. Artists were juried into the show, and came from many countries. That festival was a gift to the Jewish community of Los Angeles for 25 years. I was privileged to be there for about 23 of those years, and when it ended, I felt a void in my November.

So what is Jewish Art? Is it art created only by Jewish artists? Or can anyone create Jewish art, as long as it contains some Jewish symbolism or conveys a story relevant to the Jewish experience? Perhaps it is art that is principally enjoyed and understood by Jewish people. Probably it is some combination of all, with a few other definitions thrown in as well. Some of it is functional and is used for ritual purposes.Some is purely decorative, and some is abstract and emotive.  I think that those of us who create this art, and those of us who appreciate it and perhaps collect it, feel that we know it when we see it!!

So, tomorrow is the artists' reception for the Judaic Art Exhibit at the Finegood Art Gallery, at the Jewish Community Center, in West Hills, a distant suburb of Los Angeles. Los Angeles has one of the largest Jewish populations in the world. We are now in the time period right between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, real heavyweights on the Jewish calendar. Jews are really feeling Jewish now, even if they feel less so during the rest of the year. Will they turn out in droves for this exhibit? I hope so. Hundreds of years ago, patrons supported their favorite artists. The artist held a position of respect in the community, and did not have to worry about selling his (mostly) creations. Patrons made it possible for the artists to continue working just as artists, while being able to support their families. Were the artists constrained in their artistic styles? Did they have artistic freedom over what they created?  I'm not sure, but it's fun to fantasize about having a patron who will pay for all materials plus a generous salary so we can work as we desire without a care!!
House of God Mezuzah

Seriously, I hope lots of people turn out for this reception tomorrow. I know the exhibit organizers have worked hard, and I also know that all visitors will be in for a real treat!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My Point of View (Excuse the pun!)

Of course we all are greatly excited about the Bar/Bat Mitzvah party that may be coming up in your family, but let's not forget the religious significance of this important event in your child's or grandchild's life. This would be the perfect opportunity to start him or her on a lifelong collection of ritual Judaica. I believe that the Jewish culture has been brought along, perhaps even saved, by the presence of ritual objects used in the home.

Have the proud grandparents or other relatives, friends, or haverim members asked what they can give to your child? They want to give something that is more meaninful and more enduring than a gift certificate to download music. Think about suggesting an exquisite silk Tallit, a a customized bronze or silver yod to use during the Torah reading, or even a small replica of a yod that can be worn as a necklace. Your son or daughter will surely need a beautiful tallit clip to hold the tallit securely on the shoulders, or a silver kippah pin to keep the kippah (yarmulke) on th head. Another idea is a wonderful door mezuzah for your child's room, which will be cherished for a lifetime. A neck mezuzah, star, or chai charm is also appreciated forever.

Have you ever wondered how to thank the rabbi, cantor, religious school teacher or other people so valuable to your child's religious education? A unique and personal option might be to present that special mentor, or the synagogue, with a lovely piece of Judaic art. Perhaps you might consider a beautiful yod, (Torah pointer, as pictured) in your child's name, or a special door mezuzah for the rabbi's office or sanctuary door. How about a mizrach or papercut for the library, or if you're feeling partiularly grateful, a breastplate or new crown for the Torah! However, don't forget to consult with the synagogue or school before you select such a special gift.

The above applies, even more so, to the about-to-be married couple. Think about what will enrich the home and the family that is about to be created. Consider the purchase of Judaic art, including ritual pieces, such as a menorah, Havdallah set, Shabbat candlesticks, Seder plate, etc. Adorn their first home with a lovely mezuzah, remembering that each doorway (except for the bathrooms) will need a mezuzah.

The art work you choose today will become the treasured keepsakes for generations to come.

Next post, I'll define a few of the terms I've used above for my non-Jewish friends!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Musings on Social Marketing

Today 's seminar by Robyn Hawk from A Fly on the Wall has come to a close, leaving me with a few questions to ponder. Yes, I learned how to start a blog and put up a few gadgets or widgets, what ever!! I learned how to make a "like" button and a "subscribe to" box. (Please don't forget to click on these!!

I learned how to tweet, I think, and how to invite friends from my facebook personal page to my facebook fan page and to my blog. (Maybe you're one of them!)

But what I really learned is that I really enjoyed working things out, in person, with the friends who joined me today- Rona, Jette, Brad, Nancy, and Sonya, in addition, of course to Robyn, our teacher, who gave so generously. It's the friends who give of their time and skills, in person, who enrich my spirit. I think one can forget that although a few sentences online from a friend is wonderful,  a living, breathing person whose facial expressions add meaning to the uttered words is quite another!

That brings me to another thought to ponder. I've given up trekking to many of the "shows" where I used to display, in favor of an online presence. The airlines are difficult, the shows are expensive, and yes, I'm getting older. Yes, it took awhile to build a customer following at those shows. It took a lot of time and hard work to drag (schlep) my stuff around the country. It will also take  a lot of time to build up an online business. Maybe I won't have to schlep as much, but my reach might be further. It won't happen overnight. However, I must tell you that this will not be as satisfying. It won't have that face-to-face contact that is the bread and butter of a working artist. Gone will be much of the give and take between an artist and the patron. Feedback, that is part of the artist's field of inspiration will be lacking. So my friends, please take a moment, and write a comment that might very well enrich my creations. Be part of the process! Share your thoughts.

Be well,

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New Obscession or will it be an Addiction?

Well, I finished the repousse class I took last weekend, and have to seriously talk with myself to get my work done before I indulge in my new found obscession-hammering! I've done all sorts of metal working before, and can pretty much transform a piece of silver, copper or other metal. But...repousse is magical in the way a flat piece of metal rose before me, to unimaginable heights! Awww, too dramatic? No, really, it did, err, I did it!!!

I'm not good at this yet, -far from it- but I can see the possibilites are enormous! The only disadvantage is the time involved, time I don't have right now. There are blogs to write, sales calls to make, deliveries, and bench time to crank up before the holidays. So I'll have to practice restraint, and give myself a few minutes each day-like dessert at the end of a meal, -so I don't give in to the addiction!!

The photos show one of the pieces I started. I deliberately left all the hammer marks and random  scars of a beginner. Later on, I hope to show you the finished work. I also show the drawings of the various tools I used-I had to name them so I would remember which ones to use at each course around the piece. Later on, that should be 2nd nature for me.

See my notice on my FaceBook fan page, Growing Up Jewish, about my upcoming etching class, date to be announced. I posted a photo over there of an etched brooch I frequently wear.  
                        Night, now!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Growing Up Jewish: Hammering Away!!!

Growing Up Jewish: Hammering Away!!!: "This weekend will be my first workshop in a long time, learning, not teaching, a new technique from famous jewelry designer and metalsmith V..."

Hammering Away!!!

This weekend will be my first workshop in a long time, learning, not teaching, a new technique from famous jewelry designer and metalsmith Victoria Lansford!! I must admit that I've dabbled in this technique before, but with home-made tools and very old supplies. All I'll say now is that I'll be hammering for two days straight, from the front and the back of the piece of metal, and when I'm finished, I'll magically change a flat piece of copper or silver into a 3-dimensional shape, worthy of a fine piece of jewelry. BTW, if you are in southern California and you're making jewelry or other metalwork, and want to join a community of the nicest people around with similar interests, look into the Metal Art Society of Southern California. The website is

Wish me luck this weekend!

Another BTW: The silver bracelet pictured here is not done with the method I'll be learning this weekend, duh...It's a combination of fold forming and hydraulic press forming, plus a lot of sawing and filing. It's one of my favs!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day4 Growing Up Jewish by Ruth Shapiro

Just a few photos today to celebrate the pomegranate as a very potent symbol in Judaism. I have used it extensively for the past 25 years, in Torah crowns and rimmonim, mezuzot, and in jewelry. Keep checking back for more examples. Secret tip: if you or someone you know wants to get pregnant, use the pomegranate as an amulet, and wear it around your neck! Count the seeds and pick the one with the most-but be careful what you wish for!!!
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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Day 3 Blog

I went to the downtown jewelry section in Los Angeles to pick up some supplies and velvet pedestals for a show. Even though I was there and gone before noon, one could see the heat  rising from the pavement.  My sandals felt as if they were melting into the asphalt! I stayed only 20 minutes, and watched the temperature drop 11 degrees as I neared the beach!
Packed up an order and used Paypal to print a label for the first time. Very slick. Painted a wall in the garage, and finally gave up with the sweat dripping into my eyes.
Check out the mezuzah I sold today. It's from a drawing I made many years ago of a tiny palm tree growing up from the cracks in the stone pavement  in a doorway. I carved the piece in wax and then cast it into bronze. It is protected with a fine lacquer.
That's all my friends, stay cool .  Bye for now.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Blog Day 2

Just finishing up in the studio, waiting for lacquer to dry on a bronze mezuzah. Not too dissimilar to waiting for paint to dry!! Actually, I wanted to finish painting an area of my garage today, but the paint I had saved from another project had dried up in the can! Off to the hardware store tomorrow!

I'm one of the featured artists in a Judaica Art Show at the Finegood Art Gallery, in West Hills, CA. I'll put up a link. The show begins Sept. 2, and the artists' reception is on Sunday, Sept. 12 from 2-4pm.  I have to deliver the work that was selected to the Gallery on August 30. Each piece has a bright yellow card that must be filled out in order that labels will be typed.Thank you to whomever must do this task! It's extraordinary how much work is involved in setting up such a show. That is, aside from all the work involved in creating the pieces to be shown...

I will be showing some of my larger, more complex works, such as spice boxes, Miriam's Vessel, Torah pointers, etc. They are made of large amounts of sterling silver, and who knows when I'll be able to invest in that much silver again!  Whew!!!!

Let me know if there is something you would like me to discuss. I'm new at this, and value all suggestions. Perhaps techniques, history, jokes, etc.!!

Be well and stay cool!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Blog Day 1 by Ruth Shapiro

Please be patient- this is my very first blog ever! I'm finally coming into the 21st century, kicking a bit, but looking forward to this new chapter in my on line life!

Here's a little of what I do: I create and hand make Judaica, including mezuzah(s), Torah pointers, tallit clips, and a variety of jewelry, both Jewish-oriented and not. Come back often and let me know what you would like to see at this site. Also, go to my website at and see some of my newer work at my Etsy shop,

I have a fan page on Facebook, titled, of course, GrowingUpJewish.

Now, take a look!