Reunite Gondwana Land

My father, John C. Crowell passed away on May 13th, 2015. He was a remarkable man, a renowned geologist and a wonderful father, grandfather and great grandfather.

JohnCrowell

His grandson, John Bobroskie will inherit his sterling silver Gondwana Land Belt Buckle.

Belt_Buckle

Below is the link to my father’s obituary:

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/newspress/obituary.aspx?n=john-j-chambers-crowell&pid=174928305

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Grandfather’s Clock

I was fortunate that as a child my parents read to me.  My father read to me from the Jungle Book, Robinson Crusoe and Treasure Island,  just to name a few. My mother read me what was age appropriate beginning with Mother Goose rhymes, Winnie the Pooh, classical fairy tales and even Edgar Allen Poe’s, Tales of Mystery and Imagination.

Jungle Book Cover Rudyard Kipling

Jungle Book Cover Rudyard Kipling

Title Page, Robinson Crusoe by Alexander Selkirk

Title Page, Robinson Crusoe by Alexander Selkirk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My father was a geologist and we took frequent long road trips to look at geology.  In an effort to entertain me, their only child, we would sing songs and one of my favorite songs has always been My Grandfather’s Clock, written by Henry Clay Work.

Grandfather's Clock by Henry C. Work

Grandfather’s Clock by Henry C. Work

My grandfather’s clock was too large for the shelf,
So it stood ninety years on the floor;
It was taller by half than the old man himself,
Though it weighed not a pennyweight more.
It was bought on the morn of the day that he was born,
And was always his treasure and pride;
But it stopped short — never to go again —
When the old man died.

Ninety years without slumbering

Four Generations - Library

Four Generations of Grandfathers and future Fathers and Grandfathers.

(tick, tock, tick, tock),
His life’s seconds numbering,
(tick, tock, tick, tock),
It stopp’d short — never to go again —
When the old man died.
My father recently passed away at 98 years old. He lived a rich and accomplished life and was a remarkable father, grandfather and great grandfather. He had a huge influence on my life and I will miss him every day for the rest of my life. 
Four Generations, May 1,2015

Four Generations, May 1,2015

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2015 Maker Faire Inspiration

Here are a few photos of this years Maker Faire. We hope to participate next year!

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Chameleons – Super Heros of the Old World Lizard Clade.

Madagascar Mystic Chameleon

Madagascar Mystic Chameleon Hatchling

Chameleons are just about the coolest animal on this planet. They have super powers and can make themselves invisible and look in two directions at once!  They have ballistic tongues that project with incredible speed and impact to catch prey; usually unsuspecting insects and worms but occasionally small lizards and birds.  Many of the larger species of Chameleons have prehensile tails and their unusual tong like feet (zygodactylous) are well adapted to climbing in an arboreal habitat.

panther chameleon www.factzoo.com

Panther Chameleon Eye

Chameleon tail -  http://macrojunkie.deviantart.com

Chameleon tail – http://macrojunkie.deviantart.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Chameleon is in the clade of old world lizards. There are 180 species of Chameleon and 60 species live only in Madagascar. The majority of the other species live in Africa, Southern Europe and Southern Asia. Their habitat ranges from rain forest to desert.

Jackson Chameleons http://bioweb.uwlax.edu

Jackson Chameleons http://bioweb.uwlax.edu

Zygodactylous Feet - Martin B. Withers.

Zygodactylous Feet – Martin B. Withers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Their color changing skin cells are called chromatophores. It was previously thought that Chameleons changed their color for camouflage, but scientists now believe that this is their means of communication and showing “emotion.” Males defend their territory from other males through color change and attract a female with a display of colors. If the female is wiling to mate, her chromatophores respond with a show of colors. (If I were not a jeweler, I would wish to be a biologist, researching and interperting the language of Chameleon color change in various situations.)

John with Chameleon, Zimbabwe, 2011

John with Chameleon, Zimbabwe, 2011

Our Guide finds a Chameleon, 2011

Chameleon tail, Zimbabwe,  2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am fascinated by all reptiles but Chameleons are the most intriguing. Handling a captive bred Chameleons is remarkable but finding one in the wild is even more so. In 2011, John and I traveled to Zimbabwe  where we had a close encounter of the best Chameleon kind.

Marty Magic, Chameleon Pendant, 2015

Marty Magic, Chameleon Pendant, 2015

Jackson Chameleon Pendant, 2015

Jackson Chameleon Pendant, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t know why it has taken me so long to design a Chameleon Charm, but I have just created two versions; a Jackson Chameleon and a Panther Chameleon

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Sensei – Star, Shining in our Hearts

Alisha and Sensei-Star, 2015

Alisha and Sensei-Star, 2015

Our guardian dog, Sensei-Star, passed away this April, 2015. Sensei-Star kept us company both in the studio and in the office and watched over Alisha and her family in her off duty hours.

Alisha, Molly, Sensei-Star, 2007

Alisha, Molly, Sensei-Star, 2007

Sensi Star Happy Puppy 2006 Park

Sensei- Star Happy Puppy 2006 Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alisha adopted Sensei-Star ten years ago and she passed away this April, just a week shy of her ten year adoption anniversary. She was a gentle and obedient dog because Alisha treated her with loving-kindness and she knew her place in the family pack. Dogs are pack animals and need to know where they stand in the pack hierarchy and they need to have a purpose. Sensei-Star helped to raise Alisha’s two children. She was there when when they learned to walk and to ride bicycles and they racked up countless days together at parks and on beach walks. Sensei loved and was proud of her family and watched over them all.

John and Sensei-Star, 2008

John and Sensei-Star, 2008

Alisha and Sensei-Star, 2006

Alisha and Sensei-Star, 2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sensei-Star Dressed- Up

Sensei-Star Dressed- Up

Sensei-Star, Molly and Sterling, 2015

Sensei-Star, Molly and Sterling, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She came to work with Alisha most days and was a member of our “pack” at Marty Magic. She took her job seriously, announcing the arrival of the U.P.S. man and other visitors. On summer days, she would join us for lunch in the garden, choosing a sunny spot to bask in. When she was young and agile, she would follow Alisha, the alpha of her pack, between the upstairs office and the work shop but in her venerable years, not able to manage the stairs, she would wait anxiously, curled on her downstairs dog bed, ears tuned to our whereabouts.

Sensei-Star and Alisha, Hand in Paw, April, 2015

Sensei-Star and Alisha, Hand in Paw, April, 2015

Alisha’s Reflections: Sensei- Star was my first Baby. She was the most remarkable and loving dog that I have ever known. Her eyes sparkled and her playful puppy smile was contagious. She was vibrant and full of energy.

She LOVED the water. Some of my favorite memories are of us swimming in the river at the Garden of Eden and jumping in the waves at the beach. We shared so many good times
She was a gentle soul; best friends with our cat SA and sweet with our guinea pigs and our bearded dragons. I feel so lucky to have had ten amazing years with a dog that was my best friend. I will love and remember you always Sensei-Star.  Alisha xox

This morning, Sterling, now nearly five years old, whimpered to me that he misses Sensei-Star and we talked about memories. He told me “When I was a baby, she would lick my toes and make me giggle.”

Molly, nearly nine, wrote this poem:  You are a star, I love you so far, you are the best, you are in my crest, you can sing like a pop star ring. I know it is sad, I feel so bad, I love you to death, I know you miss us…I do too. xoxoxox

We all miss her terribly but will keep her shining brightly in our hearts.

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Marty’s Frogs Hop to Shedd Aquarium

Many of you know that nature is my greatest design inspiration. I have traveled to jungles and rain forests, archipelagos, coral reefs, deserts, plains and mountains. Spotting a heard of elephants or a pride of lions in Africa is exciting but equally exciting is spotting a tiny frog camouflaged in a litter of leaves on the rain forest floor or discovering a scorpion hidden beneath a rock.

Red eyed tree frog

Red eyed tree frogs

Marty Magic Tree Frog Charm

Marty Magic Tree Frog Charm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have always hoped that one day, my nature designs might be carried in aquariums and natural history museums around the world. To facilitate this, Laura, our graphic designer put together a Marty Magic, Ocean Jewelry Catalogue that just this year, we mailed to several world class aquarium gift shops. Last week, we heard from the jewelry buyer for the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. This is the largest aquarium in the U.S.A. and in May 2015, they are opening an amphibian exhibit. I am excited to announce that several of my Frog Designs will be hopping their way in time for the opening! Their catch line for the upcoming show is clever: “Get ready for a toadally ribbiting experience!” Continue reading

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Baja Inspiration

East Cape Beach, Baja

East Cape Beach, Baja

Many of you know that traveling is a passion of mine and Baja is one of my favorite destinations. As the daughter of a field geologist, I spent much of my childhood camping in both the deserts of Southern California and Baja.

Cardon Cactus

Cardon Cactus

Desert Road and Mountains

Desert Road and Mountains

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We just returned from a week at the tip of Baja where the desert meets the Sea of Cortez. The contrasting colors of blue against the sand are intoxicating and inspiring.  We live off the grid with our needs met by solar power and just as the panels are recharged by the sun, I am recharged each time I visit. This time, we took Alisha and our grand children and left the Marty Magic business in the capable hands of Alison, our finishing and shipping elf.

Sunrise, Zacatitos Beach

Sunrise, Zacatitos Beach

Zacatitos Beach Walk, Alisha, Molly, Sterling

Zacatitos Beach Walk, Alisha, Molly, Sterling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunrise beach walks, psychedelic sunsets and brilliant constellations mark the passing of each day. The pounding surf and the sharp chirp of the geckos are our nightly serenade. February is the height of the whale migration and we watched the “whale soup” from our  balcony.

Surf, Zacatitos Beach

Surf, Zacatitos Beach

East Cape beach

East Cape beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zacatitos Sunset

Zacatitos Sunset

I love designing jewelry, inspired by the more unusual creatures inhabiting our planet and we encountered some odd and wonderful desert critters that might just inspire a new charm or pendant. Last year, we spotted a fever of devil rays hunting just off shore. The water churned with their frenzied jumping as they corralled a school of fish. I will definitely be adding a sting ray charm to my line before fall.

Baja Burros

Baja Burros

Curious Burros

Curious Burros

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baja House Gecko

Baja Gecko

Whip Scorpion

Whip Scorpion

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking Stick, Zacatitos, Baja

Walking Stick, Zacatitos, Baja

 

 

Spider

Spider

 

 

 

 

Art and Marty, Tropic of Cancer, Baja

Art and Marty, Tropic of Cancer, Baja

 

 

Santa Rita Hot Springs

Santa Rita Hot Springs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marty, writing, Zacatitos

Marty, writing, Zacatitos

Art, Marty, Punta Gorda Tide Pools

Art, Marty, Punta Gorda Tide Pools

 

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Paradise Lost

Bird of Paradise Flower

Bird of Paradise Flower

Lost wax casting is a challenging and often an uncertain process.  I spent two full days carving the original wax for my Bird of Paradise Pendant but unfortunately the wax did not cast completely. The photo below right is of the original, unpolished casting in sterling silver with the sprue attached. A sprue is the channel through which the molten metal flows to fill the casting. I am grateful that it was only the stem of the flower that failed to cast but I will need to recreate the longer stem of the flower in wax, cast and solder the replacement stem onto the bloom before making the mold. I am still hopeful that I my Bird of Paradise Flower Charm will be blooming by early April.

Bird of Paradise - Incomplete Casting

Bird of Paradise – Incomplete Casting

Bird of Paradise Wax

Bird of Paradise Wax

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Soaring with Dragons

This gallery contains 13 photos.

Our beloved bearded dragon, Show Off, died this January. He gave us great joy, was our Marty Magic mascot and will be sorely missed. He came into our lives when John was in 4th grade, a pip-squeak of a lizard. He … Continue reading

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Sneak Preview of New Designs for 2015

Marty has just completed the wax carving for a new Wave Ear Wrap. We are taking pre-sale orders for the sterling silver version that will be availalbe in late February. A powerful and graceful wave crests over the top of the ear and another gentler wave caresses and cradles the bottom ear lobe.

Marty's new Wave Ear Wrap in wax. Visit our Facebook  page for more information about how to enter to win a free bronze version of this ear wrap.

Marty’s new Wave Ear Wrap in wax. Visit our Facebook page for more information about how to enter to win a free bronze version of this ear wrap.

Our favorite part of the year is the off season when we have time to create new designs – so here’s a sneak preview! Each year, Alisha and I make a list of design ideas that inspire us.  First on my list will be a Chameleon Charm. 7 years ago, our son, John, carved a Chameleon Charm that has a primitive charm and I have hesitated to create a version of my own….but John’s Chameleon will soon have a new friend.

I’m excited to sculpt a dramatic Bird of Paradise Flower pendant.  I have not added any flower designs to my collection recently and this exotic flower will make a stunning, slightly wicked pendant. Also on the horizon to add to my “Monster Collection” will be Big Foot and Cyclops pendants. Can you feel the ground trembling?

Sasquatch, image by Rowdy Robert

Sasquatch, image by Rowdy Robert

Cyclops, photo by Ray Harryhausen

Cyclops, photo by Ray Harryhausen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alisha is already working on a series of one of a kind, Sea Turtle Pendants. These Sea Turtles will be cast in sterling silver and each will wear a unique Australian Boulder Opal for it’s shell.

Alisha's Sea Turtle in Wax - Australian Boulder Opals

Alisha’s Sea Turtle in Wax – Australian Boulder Opals

I have a growing collection of remarkable opals and fire agates and this year hope to design many one of a kind pieces that incorporate these intoxicating gemstones. Alisha, and I want to attend the Tucson Gem and Mineral show in February of 2015 but unless we use many of the stones that we have been hoarding, we will not have the excuse to go and buy more. If you’re so inspired, you can help me downsize by commissioning a Custom Piece!

The current state of Marty's Opal and Fire Agate Collection

The current state of Marty’s Opal and Fire Agate Collection

 

Alisha has plans to design a Cuttlefish pendant that will incorporate a dichroic glass bead as the Cuttlefish body. Sculptural tentacles combined with sleek iridescent dichroic glass will make the quintessential cuttlefish. She hopes to pusuade Wayne Robbins to custom make the dichrioc glass beads with scalloped edges to mimic the undulating body of the cuttlefish. Her new Cuttlefish design will be available in the summer of 2015.

This design will be a companion piece to her Fossilized Ammonite Pendant which has been a big hit!

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