Playing with Dinosaurs at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show

Our annual trip to the Tucson Gem and Mineral show is one Alisha and I look forward to. This year,  just the two of us went and we missed the input and company of John, Scott and Shari who accompanied us in 2017. We had 4 1/2 full shopping days and shopped until we dropped.

Stalking Dinosaur

Stalking Dinosaur on a hotel lawn

If we aren’t attacked by dinosaurs, we handpick gemstones and fossils that will inspire our season’s creations. The Tucson Gem and Mineral show is spread throughout Tucson. Nearly every hotel, parking lot and exhibition hall hosts an event.  The Tucson venue is extensive but after many years we have learned a systematic approach to the show that suits our needs.

Alisha beside Canadian Ammonites

Alisha posing beside Canadian Ammonites

Canadian Ammonites

Canadian Ammonites

Ammonite Shard

Ammonite Shard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am always looking for Opals; both Mexican and Australian. I believe I have a good eye for these and I need high quality opals for my one of a kind 18K gold designs.

Marty and Alisha Mexican Opal Booth

Marty and Alisha Mexican Opal Booth

Australian Boulder Opals

Australian Boulder Opals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scouring the vast event is exhausting and exhilarating and inspiring.

Marty and Alisha at a crystal exhibition

Marty and Alisha at a crystal exhibition

We are never so serious or too tired to have fun!

Alisha peeking out from the teeth of a gold plated dinosaur skull

Alisha peeking out from the teeth of a gold plated dinosaur skull

Alisha; How about this for a ring?

Alisha; How about this for a ring?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alisha and I have a great time together! We are so fortunate that this is what we do for work.

Marty posing beside huge amethyst crystal

Marty posing beside huge amethyst crystal

Selfie of Marty and Alisha below a Tucson lizard sign

Selfie of Marty and Alisha below a Tucson lizard sign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seemingly every parking lot and hotel room has rocks, crystals or fossils for sale.

Tourmaline crystals for sale

Tourmaline crystals for sale

Tuscon mineral tent scene

Tuscon mineral tent scene

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The AGTA show is a wholesale only show and where the big boys and girls come to sell and to shop. Many of the booths rent safes to store their inventory in after hours. The quality and sheer quantity of gemstones is overwhelming.

AGTA Show, Tucson

AGTA Show, Tucson

Breakfast and lunch is on the run but at the end of each day, we treat ourselves to a good dinner and look over our day’s booty in our hotel room. I will be posting photos of our high end opals and fire agates on my web site as time permits. Below is just a sampling of one day’s treasures.

Tucson booty

Day one – Tucson booty

Alisha - After hour Margarita time

Alisha – After hour Margarita time

Posted in Museums and Shows, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Gail Project – An Okinawa-American Dialogue

Having heard that my husband Art was born and raised in Okinawa Japan, Shelby Graham, director/curator of the Sesnon Art Gallery at U.C.S.C. contacted him. The opening of  The Gail Project: An Okinawan-American Dialogue would be the following week. ‘The Gail Project is a collaborative, international public history project that explores the founding years of the American military occupation of Okinawa. The project is inspired by a collection of photos taken in Okinawa in 1952 by an American Army Captain: Charles Eugene Gail.’

This past summer, a group of UCSC students travelled to Okinawa to re-visit and document how the Okinawa landscape has changed and to record the oral histories of both the Okinawans and the Americans still alive 64 years later.

A few days prior to the opening, Shelby came to our home to talk with Art who was born in Okinawa the year that the Gail photographs were taken. We attended the opening of the show, a festive event in the Sesnon courtyard and the upstairs art gallery. Professor Alan Cristy, Shelby Graham and a number of other key players spoke at the event.

The Gail Project - Gala Opening

The Gail Project – Gala Opening

In observing the Gail photographs, I felt an intimacy as if I were looking through Art’s collection of photographs from his childhood.

The following week, Art was invited to be the guest speaker for the Wednesday evening dialogues. During the days prior to his talk he scanned many of his childhood photos and outlined his presentation. The dialogues are intimate events attended by a core group of students and faculty and Art was articulate and focused in discussing his memories in relationship to the photographs on exhibit. I attended along with our son John, daughter Alisha and her husband Sterling and we all have a clearer picture of Art’s 18 years on Okinawa.

Art, speaking at the Gail Project

Art, speaking at the Gail Project

Art, speaking at the Gail project

Art, speaking at the Gail project

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The four photos below are from Art’s childhood and were a part of his slide show presentation during the informal Wednesday night dialogue.

Art's parents, Wako and Arthur Bobroskie

Art’s parents, Wako and Arthur Bobroskie

Art's mother Wako during the war, Okinawa

Art’s mother Wako during the war, Okinawa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art and his mother Wako, Okinawa, 1952

Art and his mother Wako, Okinawa, 1952

Art and his brothers atop the family car. Okinawa, 1954?

Art and his brothers atop the family car. Okinawa, 1954?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two weeks following the Wednesday dialogue, four students came to our home to record a podcast of Art’s oral history. I imagine that there will be future podcasts to come.

The making of a podcast, The Gail Project

The making of a podcast, The Gail Project

Posted in Family, Travel | Comments Off on The Gail Project – An Okinawa-American Dialogue

Picturing Prince: Photographs by Steve Parke

Intimate portraits of Prince by photographer Steve Parke will be on display at the Proud Central Gallery, the Strand, London. November 9th – December 3rd, 2017.

Steve Parke, Picturing Prince

Steve Parke, Picturing Prince

“Proud will be commemorating the genius of a man whose creative expression continues to unfold.”  Steve Parke, photographer and art director for Prince from 1988 – 2001 will be present for the opening of the exhibition, ‘Picturing Prince’ to include a book signing of the fully illustrated book published by Parke in collaboration with Octopus Publishing Group.

Prince, image by Steve Parke, Crescent Ear Wrap designed by Marty Bobroskie of Marty Magic

Prince, image by Steve Parke, Crescent Ear Wrap designed by Marty Bobroskie of Marty Magic

Picturing Prince, image by Steve Parke, Moon Ear Wraps designed by Marty Bobroskie of Marty Magic

Picturing Prince, image by Steve Parke, Moon Ear Wraps designed by Marty Bobroskie of Marty Magic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The image on the cover of the book titled ‘Moon in the Mirror’ is an image of Prince wearing the Moon Ear Wrap that I designed.

Moon in the Mirror. Photo by Steve Parke. Moon Ear Wrap designed by Marty Bobroskie @ Marty Magic

Moon in the Mirror. Photo by Steve Parke. Moon Ear Wrap designed by Marty Bobroskie @ Marty Magic

The exhibit reveals the unique collaboration between artist and art director, and captures intimate and unvarnished images of Prince’s flamboyant persona, his sexual expression, and gender fluidity.

Connecting the dots: In the fall of 1998, Steve Parke—who was photographer and art director for Prince between 1988 – 2001—came to the Maryland Renaissance Festival and purchased my Wave Ear Cuff in sterling silver. When he returned to Paisley Park, the Artist “formerly known as Prince” apparently took note of the ear cuff that he was wearing and sent Steve back to my fair shop to purchase samples of my other ear cuff designs. (Steve has since told me that Prince asked him to photoshop the Wave Ear Cuff onto his ear. I am anxiously awaiting these iconic photos!)

Prince's guitar and Moon Ear Wraps. Photo by Steve Parke

Prince’s guitar and my Moon Ear Wraps. Photo by Steve Parke

Dolphin Ear Wrap, Crescent Moon Ear Wrap and Moon Ear Wrap. Photo by Steve Parke

Dolphin Ear Wrap, Crescent Moon Ear Wrap and Moon Ear Wrap. Photo by Steve Parke

Posted in Celebrity, Jewelry, Other Artists | Comments Off on Picturing Prince: Photographs by Steve Parke

Fun and Games at the Maryland Renaissance Festival

Just last week, my husband Art and I traveled back east to attend the Maryland Renaissance Festival. I have had a shop there for over 33 years and attend one weekend each 9 week season. It’s great fun and I love seeing all my Maryland friends and fans.

Marty and friends at the Maryland Renaissance Festival

Marty and friends at the Maryland Renaissance Festival

This is the Festival’s 41st year and the forested medieval village is a wonderful playground and shoppers paradise. Raise your glass in one of the many pubs while listening to bawdy mistrals. Enjoy the royal procession when the King and Queen make their appearance. There are countless stages and performances to suit all tastes. So ladies… lace up your corsets and gentlemen, knights and scoundrels, get outfitted and partake of the fun!

The King and Queen and entorage

The King and Queen and their entorage

Minstrals at the Maryland Renaissance Fair

Minstrals at the Maryland Renaissance Fair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The photo on the left is of Steve Parke, one of Prince’s significant photographers and the connecting link to how I came to make Prince’s ear cuffs and ear wraps. When Steve is not doing book signings for his recent book, Picturing Prince, he plays and sells roses at the Maryland Renaissance Festival.

Marty with Steve Parke

Marty with Steve Parke

Steve Parke - Picturing Prince

Steve Parke – Picturing Prince

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The photo below left is of David, a talented jeweler who forges dragon, bat and spider jewelry from brass. Check out the amazing head-dress that he is wearing. If he had a web site, I would link it here but unfortunately he does not.

Marty and David of the Brass Dragon

Marty and David of the Brass Dragon

A Venetian Gondola and Marty, in front of the Marty Magic Shop

A Venetian Gondola and Marty, in front of the Marty Magic Shop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are many wonderful performers at the festival. Gabriel Q’s persona this year is that of a Venetian Gondolier. He literally floated throughout the show, singing and allowing passers by to peep into the windows of his miniature Venetian city. There is much to see inside the windows, both naughty and nice.

Leah and Allen both work at the Marty Magic shop. Leah is in training as the next manager should her fabulous mother, Laura ever choose to retire. Allen adds style and flair to our extraordinary sales crew.

Leah, Marty, Zoe, Marty Magic Shop

Leah, Marty, Laura, Marty Magic Shop

Beautiful Leah and Handsome Warrior, Allen

Beautiful Leah and Handsome Warrior, Allen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art modeling Marty Magic Jewelry

Art modeling Marty Magic Jewelry

Wooden slide in the forest

Wooden slide in the forest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are just 3 weekends left in this season’s Maryland Fair so we encourage you to get to the Faire and when you do, be sure to stop by the Marty Magic shop!

The final weekend is October 21-22. Get thee to the Fair on time!

Posted in Marty Magic Shows, Renaissance Style | 1 Comment

Behind the Scenes with Thomas Eakins

Just last week, my husband Art and I traveled back east to attend the Maryland Renaissance Festival. I have had a shop there for over 33 years and attend one weekend each 9 week season. It’s great fun and I love seeing all my Maryland friends and fans.

I always piggyback a few days of museum visits to my East Coast trip and this year we flew into Philadelphia for three nights and two culturally rich museum days in Philadelphia. Prior to our trip, I contacted PAFA, the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts to request a visit to the student painting classrooms and galleries that are not open to the public. Thomas Eakins, one of America’s most important ‘realist painters, photographers, sculptors and fine arts educator,’ studied and was a professor and director here from the early 1880’s. ‘Owing to Eakins’ devotion to working from life, the Academy’s course of study was by the early 1880s’ the most “liberal and advanced in the world.” (Wikipedia)

The Crowell Family on their Avondale Farm

The Crowell Family on their Avondale Farm – Photo taken by Thomas Eakins

His sister Frances Eakins Crowell is my great grandmother and many of Thomas Eakins’ paintings and photographs are of my relatives, the Crowell family. He would visit his sister and her brood of 10 children on their Avondale Pennsylvania mushroom farm where my grandfather grew up and I remember my grandfather telling stories of his uncle Tom.

My grandfather's recollections of Uncle Tom

My grandfather’s recollections of Uncle Tom

2003, The Crowell Farm Avondale, Pennsylvania

John and a Crowell relative, 2003, The Crowell Farm Avondale, Pennsylvania

The Crowell-Eakins Graves at the Avondale Farm

The Crowell-Eakins Graves at the Avondale Farm

Frances E. Crowell's grave at the Avondale farm

Frances Eakins Crowell’s grave at the Avondale farm

 

 

 

 

 

 

My great grandmother, Francis Eakins Crowell

My great grandmother, Francis Eakins Crowell

Mentioning my maiden name Crowell immediately gained me a private entrance and tour to the working classrooms. The PAFA Museum is open to the public and houses a wonderful collection of art including Thomas Eakins’ monumental work, The Gross Clinic. Our tour of the PAFA studios and museum was for 1:00 P.M. on a Thursday and Collin, a current painting student escorted us through the upstairs painting and sculpture classrooms, a few of the student work spaces and finally into the museum. I had visited the school previously in 2003 with our son John who at that time was just eleven but I wanted to share this experience with my husband Art.

I am fascinated by Thomas Eakins life and work and although I am aware that many a skeleton hides in our families closets, I am proud to be of the Crowell/Eakins lineage.

Marty, PAFA Plaster Cast Hallway

Marty at PAFA, Plaster cast hallway

Animal Drawing Class at PAFA

Animal Drawing Class at PAFA

Plaster cast drawing class, PAFA

Plaster cast drawing class, PAFA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marty in one of the classrooms. PAFA

Marty in one of the classrooms. PAFA

Drawing class, PAFA

Drawing class, PAFA

PAFA Museum Foyer

PAFA Museum

Marty, Gross Clinic, PAFA

Marty, beside the Gross Clinic, Thomas Eakins, PAFA Museum

This Leopold Seyffert oil is one of many delicious paintings in the PAFA Museum.

Laquer Screen, Leopold Seyffert

Laquer Screen, Leopold Seyffert

The day before visiting PAFA, Art and I met with my friend, Elizabeth who works for the Philadelphia Museum of Art and spent several wonderful hours touring this world class museum that has a substantial collection of works by Thomas Eakins.

Thomas Eakins, Self Portrait

Thomas Eakins, Self Portrait

Margaret in Skating Costume, Thomas Eakins' sister

Margaret in Skating Costume, Thomas Eakins’ sister

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wall of Thomas Eakins Paintings, Philadelphia Museum of Art

Wall of Thomas Eakins Paintings, Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Agnew Clinic, Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Agnew Clinic, Philadelphia Museum of Art

Although our focus was on art, we spent a morning in the heart of Old Philadelphia visiting Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Elfreth Alley and a few independent art galleries. A surprisingly wonderful find was the Arch Enemy Gallery. We were tempted to purchase a painting by Kit Mizeres but our favorite was already sold. The gallery bathroom had wonderful murals on it’s walls.

Kit Mizeres, Devour You Whole

Kit Mizeres, Devour You Whole

Kit Mizeres, That Time You Told Me You Could Bear This Humidity No Longer

Kit Mizeres, That Time You Told Me You Could Bear This Humidity No Longer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Their gallery manager suggested we visit the Barnes Foundation Museum which proved to have a marvelous eclectic collection of Impressionistic paintings, Pennslavania Dutch furniture and metal work, and odd surprises curated in an intimate setting. No photos were allowed inside the museum but the grounds were beautiful and their reflecting pool filled with tethered plastic swans.

The Barnes Foundation Museum

The Barnes Foundation Museum

 

Posted in Museums and Shows | Comments Off on Behind the Scenes with Thomas Eakins

A Toast to My Collectors

Although I have been making jewelry since I was a young girl, I consider the official beginning of  my business to be 1978 when I first sold my jewelry at the Union Street Art Fair in San Francisco. At that time, I had no idea that I would be in business 39 years later. It is thanks to my many loyal and long time customers that my business has flourished.

Over the years, many of my collectors have become my friends who inspire my creatiivity and challenge me to design more complex and elaborate pieces.

Mina and Kim holding the Gold Dragon Marty Magic Jewelry Box

Mina and Kim holding the Gold Dragon Marty Magic Jewelry Box

Kim has an extensive collection of my jewelry including many 18K gold, one of a kind dragon creations. She is such a dragon fanatic that she and Mina named their gluten free bakery Ducks and Dragons Bakery. The delicious treats they have brought to me at the shows are mouthwatering. Her personalized license plate is DRAGON8.

Kim wearing the 18K gold, Crystal Illusion Dragon.

Kim wearing her 18K gold Crystal Illusion Dragon.

Christian bedecked with Marty Magic Dragon Jewelry

Christiana bedecked with Dragon Jewelry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christiana, an avid dragon collector,  is pictured above wearing an extensive array of Marty Magic Dragon Jewelry. Although I am not using last names in this post, let it be known that her last name is a derivative of Dragon. Lucky Gal!

An Ocean of Rings on her Fingers Judy

The Octopus Bracelet and an ocean of silver rings on Judy’s fingers.

Michiko wearing the Gold and Diamond Rose Bracelet and Jeweled Crown Ring

Michiko wearing her Gold and Diamond Rose Bracelet and Jeweled Crown Ring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judy has been collecting Marty Magic Jewelry since the early 1980’s. Her quick wit, big heart and her Marty Magic ring collection can’t be rivaled. Michiko has diverse tastes in what she collects. She is drawn to my romantic designs as well as dragon and ocean themed designs.  We have enjoyed watching her and Ralph’s boys grow from babies into young men.

Tracey's Marty Magic Vintage Collection.

Tracey’s Marty Magic Vintage Collection.

Tracey wearing Vintage Marty Magic Jewelry

Tracey wearing Vintage Marty Magic Jewelry

 

 

 

 

Tracey's Marty Magic Jewelry collection

Tracey’s Marty Magic Ring Collection

 

Tracey's Marty Magic Jewelry collection

Tracey’s Marty Magic Jewelry collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tracey might need to start Marty Magic Jewelry Anonymous meetings. The photos above are just a small part of her extensive collection. Not only does she shop martymagic.com but she scours ebay for vintage Marty Magic Jewelry.

Dragon and Phoenix Tiara

Dragon and Phoenix Tiara

I custom designed this Dragon and Phoenix Tiara for Carson to wear on her 11/11/11 wedding in Las Vegas.  The phoenix is cast in gold and the dragon is cast in sterling silver. Both phoenix and dragon are embellished with stunning opals. Bringing this tiara to fruition was both challenging and rewarding.

Mary's 18K gold, Rainbow Prism Opal Ring

Mary’s 18K gold, Rainbow Prism Opal Ring

Gloria's 18K gold Fire and Ice Octopus Ring

Gloria’s 18K gold Fire and Ice Octopus Ring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I custom designed the above Rainbow Prism Opal Ring for Mary. She came to the house to choose an opal and we discussed the ring design. When she received her ring she sent me the following e-mail: “O. My Gosh, The package arrived this morning while I was out….I came back to this…magical, mystical, fantastic, phantasmagoric…work of art. The indirect light from the skylights in our kitchen and family room open the depths of this opal, inviting sheer blissful contemplation and serene daydreaming. I may never accomplish one more task. Thank you so much! – Mary”

Abel rocking the Moon Ear Wrap

Super Prince fan, Abel, rocking the Moon Ear Wrap

Alberto wearing the large bronze Bat on hat with Natalia and Frida

Alberto, beside Natalia and Frida, his hat embellished with the large Bronze Bat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are many men who collect my work and wear it will panache! Thank you Abel for the heartfelt Facebook and Instagram posts and Alberto and family for bringing the Marty Magic crew homemade tamales at the festivals when we are too busy to leave our booth.

 

Gloria's Tentacle Twist Ring Martini Toast

Gloria’s Tentacle Twist Octopus Ring martini toast

Gloria has an extensive collection of my one of a kind designs including the Fire and Ice Octopus Ring pictured earlier in this post.  She posted the photo above on Facebook, where she is wearing a gold Tentacle Twist octopus thumb ring and enjoying a martini.

I toast to all of my fabulous friends and collectors who have supported and challenged my creativity to blossom throughout these many years.

Although there are many of you who I have not mentioned, I love seeing every one of you and hearing about your lives, adventures and milestones. I am honored that 39 years later, there is a third generation collecting my jewelry and parents and grandparents are passing their Marty Magic Jewelry down through the generations. Thank you all for enriching my life.

Posted in Jewelry | 2 Comments

Time Travel Back to 1967 – The Summer of Love

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, 1967

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, 1967 – De Young Museum

The Summer of Love officially took place 50 years ago in San Francisco in 1967. 100,000, mostly young people opposed to the Vietnam War and wanting to make social and environmental change, converged in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, wearing ‘flowers in their hair.’  For the most part, the ‘hippies’ were anti-consumerists and seeded new trends in art, fashion, poetry and music. There was a dramatic shift in traditional values and sex, drugs and rock and roll became the mantra during the Summer of Love and the hippy scene that unfolded.  In many parts of the country, the birth control pill had been recently legalized giving women more sexual freedom. A drug counterculture emerged and hallucinogenic drugs, although illegal were available to those who sought them out. Timothy Leary, a Harvard psychologist encouraged students to “turn on, tune in and drop out.”

Influential Literature 1960's

Influential Literature – Then and Now

Poster Art for The Gathering of Tribes Event

Poster Art for The Gathering of Tribes Event

Acid Test Poster

Acid Test Poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hallelujah -The Pill

Hallelujah -The Pill

60's Album Cover Art

60’s Album Cover Art

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1967, I was just 16 and living in Santa Barbara, California. Although I wasn’t part of the Summer of Love scene in San Francisco, I was deeply influenced by the new trends in music, art and fashion. The first rock concert I attended was in 1967;  a Jefferson Airplane ‘pillow concert’ at the Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara. My parents deemed me too young to go on my own and although I was somewhat embarrassed, my patient father took me and we sat and on pillows on the floor. My father put several pillows over his head and ears, while I sat swaying to the swirling lights and pulsing music. I can still feel the vibrations of  Grace Slick singing the White Rabbit.

Summer Love Experience - De Young Museum

Summer Love Experience – De Young Museum

DeYoung Museum Summer Of Love Exhibit

DeYoung Museum Summer Of Love Exhibit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A couple of weeks ago, Art and I sojourned to San Francisco to see the De Young Museum’s, Summer of Love Show, a celebration and retrospect of the fifty year anniversary since the Summer of Love in San Francisco.  Although there were the expected exhibits of psychedelic poster art and mannequins wearing authentic 60’s garb, the exhibit felt superficial. The ‘establishment,’ the De Young Museum was putting on a counterculture exhibit in a predictable established manner. Why were we served 60’s elevator music instead of being engulfed in sound? Why was the ’light show room’  a washed out experience accented  with a half dozen modern bean bag chairs rather than an intense time travel light show transporting visitors back 50 years?

60's Mod Fashion

60’s Mod Fashion

60's Hippy Fashion

60’s Hippy Fashion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although Art and I felt the exhibit was bland, I am glad we went to see it. No drugs are needed to appreciate the mind blowing poster art from that era. It was fun to see the authentic hippy fashions on the many models and after an archival dig in my closet, I found my tattered embroidered jeans and a purple crochet poncho that I imagine the De Young would have been happy to have on display. Surprisingly, the 50 year span between then and now feels just like a blip in time. Since the official start of my jewelry business in 1978, I have created many Peace Themed Jewelry designs; undoubtely influenced by the art, fashion and music of the 60’s.

Marty's embroidered jeans and crochet poncho from the late 60's.

Marty’s embroidered jeans and crochet poncho from the late 60’s.

Jean Embroidery Detail

Jean Embroidery Detail

Posted in Museums and Shows | Comments Off on Time Travel Back to 1967 – The Summer of Love

The Stressful Process in Creating a One of a Kind Design

Considerable time goes into creating every new design  but designing a one of a kind piece is especially time consuming and stressful. There are reasons that my one of a kind designs are priced the way they are. There are five major steps, and many smaller steps, in designing a one of a kind creation.

Elemental and Firesong Dragon

Elemental and Fyresong Dragon Pendants

#1 It all begins with hand picking the inspirational gemstones that will be the focal elements of a unique creation.  This process is great fun, but requires a trip to the Tucson Gem and Mineral show each February. After years of attending the show, I have learned the the lay of the land and how to to attack the many venues. Initially, I seek out my favorite vendors; ones who I have purchased from previously and who I know have quality gemstones. I take notes and snap photos of potential opals and fire agates; noting the show and the booth number. Not having an unlimited budget, but an eye for the very best, I think seriously about what treasures I will buy. Traditionally, I travel to this show with Alisha and/or John because 4 or 6 eyes are better than two and my apprentices are already well trained in what to look for. Between traveling and shopping, the buying trip takes 5 days and requires the expected expenses of air flights, hotels and meals out.

#2 My one of a kind designs require anywhere from fifteen to fifty hours of wax carving. I puzzle out and sculpt the proposed design in wax, not on paper. This is a 3-D exercise and I manipulate the wax so that the freeform opal can be set securely and so that any prongs or structural elements are incorporated into the design. As the design progresses, I refine and add detail. I relish my wax carving time. It is a methodical and meditative process and I listen to books on tape as I work. With an engaging book on tape, the hours can fly by but a usual wax session is between 3-6 hours. I find I need at least 3 hours to get into the rhythm of the wax but after 6 hours, my shoulders ache and my eyes tire. I am a regular at the public library, and my taste in literature is varied. Alisha and I both enjoy a good ‘who done it’ but I try to mix the mysteries up with some classical and foreign literature and an occasional comedy.

Firesong Dragon Wax back view

Fyresong Dragon Wax back view

Firesong Dragon Wax in Progress

Fyresong Dragon Wax in Progress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3 After my wax carving is complete, I double box it and ship it to our California caster. About 25% of the time, my wax arrives broken and they must return it to me for repair. This is always disheartening but seldom  irreparable. All of my original carvings require careful spruing and a dedicated flask for the casting. I am sure that this is an especially stressful process and that my caster dreads the occasion when she may need to call me and tell me the casting failed. It’s been years since they have lost a master wax but it has happened and the many hours of my work is lost.

#4 When the completed master is successfully cast and returned to me to be polished, I will spend several hours carefully hand finishing the casting and preparing it for the stone setting. Most of you think of me as a jeweler, but I am more of a sculptor. I can manipulate wax or clay and can see things three dimensionally.  Although I do some rudimentary bench work, I am not a bench jeweler so I hand off my castings and the treasured gems to Dave with clear instructions as to what stones are to be set where. Prior to this I have calculated dimensions of any accent gems and ordered appropriate findings to bring the piece to fruition. Opals are fragile and there is always the slim chance that a stone will crack during setting. My one of a kind designs are created around organic stones so should a stone break in the setting process, all is lost.

#5 I hold my breath until the piece is finally finished, a process of 2-4 months. Even then, the process isn’t complete until Alisha, my daughter, jeweler, photographer and office manager takes photographs of the finished piece and our talented graphic designer, Lisa, edits the photographs and posts the images on Marty Magic, Etsy and Amazon. I write and add the ‘copy’ for all of our online listings, explaining the materials and telling the story. Happily, I enjoy writing almost as much as designing jewelry.

Because of the time and the many steps involved in creating a one of a kind piece, my one of a kind designs may seem ‘pricy,’ but they are actually extremely reasonable considering all that is involved and that my band width is limited to just a few each year.

Posted in Design projects, Jewelry, Wax Carving | Comments Off on The Stressful Process in Creating a One of a Kind Design

The Race to the Gargoyles – 2013

Recently, a collector of mine purchased a vintage Marty Magic Gargoyle Pendant on eBay. She e-mailed me, asking the story behind the piece.

Plique-a-jour Gargoyle Earrings

Plique-a-jour Gargoyle Earrings

Plique-a-Jour is an enameling technique similar to cloisonné but where there is no backing so that the end result is that light can shine through the enamel giving the illusion of stained glass. A temporary backing is used before the enamel is applied within the cells but after firing the backing is dissolved by acid or rubbed away. It is a challenging technique with a high failure rate but the results can be stunning.

Gargoyle Pendant

Gargoyle Pendant

Vintage MartyMagic Gargoyle

Vintage MartyMagic Gargoyle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have visited Paris many times and each time, I make sure to climb the Notre Dame tower to visit the gargoyles. In my youth the climb was an easy one, but the ancient stone tower stairs seem to get longer with every visit. In the late 1980’s, I traveled to Paris with friends of mine, Nancie and Terry. While Terry and I climbed the tower, Nancie perused the gift shop and purchased two gold plique-a-jour rose window medallions. That evening, she and Terry generously gifted me the pair of transparent Notre Dame rose windows. Their instructions were that I was to design myself a pair of Gargoyle earrings incorporating the stained glass medallions. I began by creating a full bodied gargoyle with the intention of adapting the piece as the settings for my gargoyle earrings. I treasure the pair of earrings and the memories they ignite.

Marty with Notre Dame Gargoyles

Marty with Notre Dame Gargoyles

Notre Dame Gargoyle

Notre Dame Gargoyle

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the summer of 2013, Art, John and I visit Paris for a few days before attending a friends wedding in Loudon, France. It is our last morning in Paris and we have a 12:23 p.m. train to catch to Loudon. The wedding is the following day. I have the alarm set for 7:30 and we shower, pack and check out of our tiny Maris district hotel.  We walk briskly towards the river and Notre Dame. It’s a beautiful sunlit morning with white clouds dotting the sky and although Art and John wish for a leisurely breakfast at our usual café, I am set on getting to Notre Dame before lines form and to climb the tower to visit the gargoyles. When we arrive at 9:00 A.M. we walk straight into the majestically cathedral and as in the past, all my senses are stirred. I inhale the scent of frankincense and candle wax and my eyes follow the soaring lines of the gothic arches, splashed with rainbows of color from the stain glass windows.  Immense lighted chandeliers illuminate the interior and we circumambulate the cathedral more quickly than I would like.

A Prayer for Nancie

A Prayer for Nancie

Interior Notre Dame

Interior Notre Dame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tower climb opens at 10:00 A.M. and when we exit the cathedral at 9:40 there is already a significant line to climb the tower. We scurry to the back of the line and within a matter of minutes the line extends beyond my view.  We sit on the stone wall encircling the cathedral, leaning back against the iron rails of the enclosure. Tourist cafes across the street sell coffee and crepes and I bring three scalding cups of café crème back to our place in line. My next foray is for ham and cheese crepes and we eat and drink and wait in line for the tower to open.

Line to climb the Tower

Line to climb the Tower

When it opens the line moves up suddenly but at 10:07 it hasn’t moved further and I walk to the front to investigate. The attendants explain that they let 20 people in every 5-7 minutes.  I walk back to our position and shake my head glumly telling John and Art that there is no way we will make it to the front of the line in time to make it to our train.  John goes forward and counts and tells me that there are exactly 60 people ahead of us. Another group of 20 is let in and we count again. It is 10:20 and we are now number 37, 38 and 39.  I wait anxiously and then suddenly they let 36 people in, cutting the line off just before Art.  Art tells the “gate keeper” that we have a train to catch and amazingly, she lets the three of us in! There are 400 stairs to climb but the climb is surprisingly easy since it is orchestrated into three stages.  I forget to count but guess that the first part of the climb is about 150 steps up to the ticket counter and gift shop.  We must buy tickets here and I watch the clock anxiously as people fumble for their credit cards or money. Eventually our group is ushered onwards and upward to the gargoyles. We emerge at bell tower level and step out on the extremely narrow, wire enclosed promenade around the tower. We have the option to descend or to take an additional flight of spiral stone stairs to the very top view tower of Notre Dame.  I am watching the clock and mutter that it might be best to descend, but Art starts the up the stairs and John and I follow him.  It’s a short flight of less than 100 stone steps but the spiral stairs are narrow and as much as I want to be exploring, I am anxious about the ticking clock and the train to catch.

Marty & John Notre Dame Gargoyles

Marty & John Notre Dame Gargoyles

Caged visitors to the Notre Dame Tower

Visitors to the Notre Dame Tower

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notre Dame Gargoyles

Notre Dame Gargoyles

View of Paris and the Seine

View of Paris and the Seine

 

 

 

 

 

 

The view is more dramatic from here but just as on the previous level, one is not allowed to ascend or descend at will, but only with the group.  This tower climb is so popular that in order to accommodate the hordes of tourists they have up and down access to the stairs carefully timed.  We circumnavigate the tower taking photos from all directions but it is now 10:55 A.M. and I am no longer enjoying the experience.  Our group is finally allowed to descend at 11:00 A.M. and we raced down the ancient spiral stairs, emerging street level at 11:05. A.M. (Although we have paid our bill, our bags are still in our room and check out is at 11:00 A.M.) The first leg of our train trip to Loudun is at 12:23. John and Art sprint ahead towards our hotel and I fast walk from I’ll de la Citie over the bridge to I’ll St. Louis, crossing over the Seine at a cardiovascular pace. I make all the green lights and then pause in confusion, wondering which left turn will take me to our Marias Hotel.  I walk a block further and see Rue du St. Paul, make a left and am relieved to see Hotel du 7th Art up on the right.  John has carried the luggage down from our 3rd floor room and within a minute all three of us are wheeling our bags towards the Bastille metro, a direct connection to Gare du Montparnasse.  It’s 11:30 and we are good with plenty of time to spare.

John hands us our metro tickets just as we comprehend a sign telling us that this metro stop is closed for rennovation. Adrenaline surges as we carry our bags back upstairs in search of bus #5 which will supposedly connect us to the Montparnasse trains station. Place du Bastille is an immense square with many streets radiating out and we lose a precious 5 minutes trying to ascertain which direction we should walk to catch the bus. Some anxious minutes later we sprint across the street to find three #5 busses waiting.  We board the first one, confirming with other passengers that it does indeed go to Gare du Montparnasse.  The bus deposits us at the station at 11:55 and we wheel quickly into the station and towards the SNCF ticket counter.  Because this is our first train trip, I must have our Eurail passes validated before we can travel. There are 40 people in line ahead of me but Art tells me to relax since there are 10 open windows.  I reach the window at 12:12; have our passes validated and we wheel quickly to our platform and board our first class car to Orleans with 15 minutes to spare.

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Pirates at Work and Play

The Magic Crew had a great time at the 2017 NorCal Pirate Festival! It’s one of our favorite shows and we love getting dressed up and walking the plank at the Vallejo waterfront. Each day there is a ship to shore cannon battle and  music and entertainment is plentiful. Thanks to all our regular customers and collectors, our hard work was rewarded. Here are some photos of this years event.

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