Welcome to Briarly Hill!

These are the musings and ponderings of the Artist from Briarly Designs, an online store of unique, handmade, sterling silver jewelry. I invite you to check out some of the pieces I've made and let me know what you think. Go to: www.briarlydesigns.com


P.S. - A lot of people come here looking for the whimsical "Shipping & Returns" policy my husband wrote. If you don't see it below, you'll find it in the archives under July 5, 2007.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I was checking out from Barnes and Noble last week, when I noticed some magnets hanging on a rack and started reading them. One caught my eye that I had never seen before.

“Do something scary everyday” Eleanor Roosevelt.

I don’t think it meant looking in the mirror; however that did cross my mind. Walking through the halls at my son’s high school? No? ok, I get it.

Today I did something scary, I soldered a difficult part to pin that I have been putting off for a very long time. I hate to fail, or worse waste materials. This is not good I am told, as an artist I need to take chances and try new things if I want to be creative.

So, I had this cool idea for a pin. Take apart a less than stellar (I refuse to call it failed) piece of jewelry, add a freshwater disk pearl encircled with 14K gold and wind a wire around like a safety pin. Easier –said- than -done. I have a habit of not drawing things out first, instead liking to create as I go. This can be problematic if you accidentally do an irreversible step before a more functional one. I drew a basic idea, and thought, and pondered and, it….sat, for weeks. The simple step of soldering a 14K gold bezel onto a base was excruciating, but I did it! And then the piece sat again. I didn’t know how to make the catch on the back. Several reference books later, the make do part of me took over. I came up with the idea of two tubular pieces soldered to the back, one of them would be joined to the bottom stationary wire and the other, with a piece cut away, would hold the pin part. I have no idea why I agonized soldering those two tubes in place, in the end it wasn’t very hard and “bless my soul” it works!!

I recently read a bio of artist Michael Boyd in the September 2009 issue of Art Jewelry magazine who said” if he went out to dinner and spent $50, he gave himself the same permission to trash $50 worth of material.” He went on to say, “If you can’t take that $50 pearl and cut it in half, you will never expand beyond.” I am expanding, “ to infinity and beyond” I think if I did do something scary everyday, then perhaps it might just get a little easier and maybe I wouldn’t be afraid of ruining a wad of silver… Maybe

Saturday, January 10, 2009


In this mortal existence of turbulence and joy we find ourselves in a constant state of change. Change is inevitable, whether it be physical, political, or environmental. You don't realize the rut you're in until the road changes.

Our family recently moved from Utah to Virginia. It's not a bad place. It's very green with lots of trees and wonderfully friendly people. It's just—different. My life changed in other ways as well, my Mother passed away in late April.

I have been living in a sea of creative blandness for more than six months now. My mom's death and moving 2,000 miles away from "home" impacted me far more than I want to admit. Theoretically, one can create anywhere or any time. I have been unable or unwilling to create. My muse—lost, broken, and dejected seems to be sulking in a remote corner. (Or never got unpacked from the sea of monotonous brown boxes in the first place). I went into my studio for the first time in a very long while. It's a space—my space; it's just much smaller and, well, different.

From my "studio" I have a beautiful view of an old farm with a smattering of cows; my dog is determined to make friends with said cows. I know this won't happen, but she is the epitome of hopefulness. Sometimes in the morning, the fog rolls over and through the grass and trees. I love that view, it has been a balm for my torn soul.

So, out comes the silver, the stones, and the torch. I piddle around, not doing much of anything. I become distracted and start to look at catalogs. Then, I rummage through beads and string some insignificant bracelets. Make 20 pairs of earrings. I realize how much I have spent on beads and silently vow not to be persuaded by the shiny objects ever again.

This is not working.

Several weeks later my husband and I were at a work related Holiday party. All were invited to bring a gift to exchange so, I chose to bring one of my beaded bracelets to exchange. The excitement that ensued when the bracelet was unwrapped was completely unexpected. "Did you make this?" "Can I come to home?" I cannot tell you how much I needed those comments; it was just what my muse needed to be coaxed from her dark little corner.

It is a new year. I am ready. I can be creative.