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 | Leave a comment

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 | Leave a comment

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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Prince Celebration – 2017

I just returned from the 4-day commemorative Prince Celebration 2017 event, held at Paisley Park in Chanhassen, Minnesota. Prince died on April 21st, 2016 and Paisley Park, to honor his legacy, hosted this event on the one year anniversary of his passing. Many of you know that I am the jewelry designer who created the ear cuffs and ear wraps that Prince and his band had worn since 1998. In the photo below, by Steve Parke , Prince is wearing my Moon Ear Wrap.

Prince wearing my Moon Ear Wrap, Photo by Steve Parke

Prince wearing my Moon Ear Wrap – photo by Steve Parke

For the weeks before the commemorative Celebration 2017 event,  I noticed an increase in sales of my Ear Wrap designs worn by Prince and I presumed this was because of the upcoming celebration.  A customer and now friend of mine, Ro, had an extra VIP ticket to the event and offered it to me. I accepted her generous offer and booked my flight to Minneapolis.

Ro and Marty, dressed for the event

Ro and Marty, dressed for the Celebration

Shuttle to the Celebration 2017

Shuttle to the Celebration 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No photos are allowed within Paisley Park which makes writing this blog post all the more challenging. A picture tells a thousand words but I will try to paint a verbal picture and describe the celebration. Paisley Park was Prince’s home as well as his creative sanctuary. There are two staggered tracks to the event. Our VIP tickets are for Track 2 which begins at 5:00 P.M. on Thursday, April 20th and alternates between evening events and daytime events over the four days. Track 1 began at 11:00 A.M. and ended at 4:00 P.M. with just barely enough time between events to clear the premises and prepare for the subsequent 1800+ attendees.

Celebration 2017 - Line

Celebration 2017 – Line for the shuttle

CelebrationSchedule:Thurs:Friday

Celebration 2017 Schedule/ Thursday/Friday

Thursday, April 20th

Soundstage, Paisley Park

Soundstage, Paisley Park – Time Magazine

Each day’s schedule is divided into 5 sections beginning in the Paisley Park soundstage. Damaris Lewis, a willowy model, dancer, muse and friend of Prince is the M.C. for the event. A special video clip of an archived Prince performance begins each session and the auditorium, with a capacity of 1850, is filled. Today’s video clip is of 3rdeyegirl with Prince performing in Amsterdam in 2014. During a studio tour later in the day I will see a larger-than-life image of Ida Neilson, base player, wearing my Moon Ear Wrap on her left ear. Three floor-to-ceiling photographs from this Amsterdam show plaster one wall in the museum. The center photograph is of Prince, flanked by two other photos; Ida wearing the Moon Ear Wrap on one side and an image of the other 3rdeyegirl band members on the other side.

Each attendee’s credential badge is coded with a letter from A – G and at the end of the 45-minute video performance we follow our purple leader waving a raised “G” sign into the dining tent. As we enter the tent our phones are unlocked and we are allowed to use them and to take photographs. Earlier, when we filed into the event, our phones were secured into locking pouches and purses and oversized coats were inspected for obvious contraband. No alcohol, drink or food is allowed.

The dining tent is draped in gauzy lavender and purple fabric and two large television monitors show concert clips. The long banquet tables are covered with purple table cloths and plates of vegetarian food are at each place setting along with a plastic bottle of water banded with a Prince label.

Celebration 2017 Dining Tent

Celebration 2017 VIP Dining Tent

Reportedly, the vegetarian menu was planned and prepared by Prince’s in-house chef but the food is mediocre at best. I relish good vegetarian food but the bland and sticky scoops of pilaf, pasta and undressed salad are boring and by the time we are seated the hot food is cold and the salads are warm. Strong coffee and deserts are served buffet-style. My meal critique is simply an observation, not a serious complaint. During our meal break, most everyone is animated and excited to be attending but I notice tears welling in a few eyes. I meet fans who have traveled from the U.K, the E.U. and Australia to honor Prince’s legacy. Some guests sport outrageous outfits while others simply wear jeans and a Prince T-shirt. The majority wear some shade of purple. We sit across from Lonnie and Allen from Chicago and are amused and delighted by their outgoing personalities.

Even the Dumpster behind the dining tent is purple.

Even the dumpster behind the dining tent is purple.

Lunch concluded, our cell phones are again locked and we are ushered towards Paisley Park’s merchandise shop. The lines to purchase memorabilia are long and Ro buys so much that later she will need to purchase an extra suitcase to get it all home:) I buy a bound book of the event, a souvenir T-shirt and a silver-tone Love Symbol pendant so that I may inspect the quality. Between 1998 and 2004 I made the pewter Love Symbol pendants for Paisley Park to resell at their events. This was before China became a major player in manufacturing inexpensive jewelry and I observe that “Made in China” is printed on the backside of the pendant packaging.

 

Love Symbol Pendant, Made in Chinajpg

Love Symbol Pendant, Made in China

Love Symbol Pendant

Love Symbol Pendant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our third event for the day is a panel discussion with members of Prince’s band, the New Power Generation. They talk and share stories of what it was like being on the road with Prince. My take-away is that performing with him was a huge high for all but it had its price. Touring was intense and Prince demanded such perfection and executed such control that even free time was not theirs to enjoy as they wished.

Our G group gets a tour of the ground floors of Paisley Park, now mostly a museum. We will not see Prince’s private upstairs residence. We pass by his piano and visit the sound stage and recording studio A. We pass through the atrium; light and bright and look up to where Prince’s ashes rest behind frosted glass. Adjoining the atrium is a room designed as a diner. Two restaurant booths are built into the space and it is here where I imagine Prince took many of his meals. In another room his Purple Rain motorcycle is on display and the 1986 video of “Under the Cherry Moon” is screening. Further along is a costume hall where a Paisley Park photographer takes each of our photos in front of a purple piano, several gleaming guitars and mannequins wearing his costumes.

Tonight’s event ends with a an hour and a half George Clinton concert in the main auditorium. Even though our V.I.P tickets include reserved concert seating, Ro and I arrive too late and not wanting to be pushy, we stand at the side of the stage to watch the concert. The music is wonderfully funky and the many band members are exuberant performers. Their costuming is all over the place. George Clinton wears a sequined jacket and cap and a scantily clad red haired dancer wears a white bikini impossibly laced  down to furry white leggings. There is much hair tossing and both male and female gyrating. I enjoy watching the crowd as much as hearing the band but the event seems overly crowded so as a precaution, I scope out the nearest exit signs in the event of a fire or other unexpected emergency.

Friday, April 21st

Today marks the anniversary that Prince died. Track 2 begins at 11:00 A.M. and Damaris is again the M.C. This morning’s video concert is a poignant one performed and filmed on this very stage on April 16th 2016, just 5 days prior to Prince’s death. Prince plays and sings at the piano; a kaleidoscope of rotating lights illuminating the screen behind him. He is gaunt and wears a loose and flowing magenta tunic and pants. One sleeve of his tunic is decorated with moon orbs and another full moon circle is on the chest of his tunic. Dramatic candelabras decorated the stage and flickering candles add to the otherworldly ambience at one of Prince’s final private concerts.

Following this emotional video is a panel discussion with the Revolution. Although not all 5 members of the band are present we hear from Wendy, Lisa and Matt about the evolution of hand picked characters that made up Prince’s entourage. Matt tells us that he was plucked from the pancake house that Prince frequented. They began the filming of the 1983 Purple Rain movie in a warehouse on a rainy Minnesota day under an ominously purple clouded sky. In preparation for the film, all were required to take ballet classes, acting classes and practice Jane Fonda workouts. They talk about the grueling work ethic that Prince demanded of both himself and his band but that the more they rehearsed the more fun they had.

Soul Album Cover, photo by Steve Parke

Soul Album Cover, Prince wearing the Moon Ear Wrap – photo by Steve Parke

4Ever AlbumCover, photo by Steve Parke

4Ever AlbumCover, Prince wearing the Crescent Ear Wrap with CZ’s – prince.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For me, a highlight of the event is the Prince Iconography panel discussion. Three photographers are on the panel and Steve Parke, who was the conduit that connected me to Prince is on todays panel. In the fall of 1998, Steve Parke who was artist, graphic designer and photographer for Prince came to the Maryland Renaissance Festival where I had a booth and he purchased a single Wave Ear Cuff in sterling silver from my shop. He was from the Baltimore area and was good friends with my fabulous and long time manager, Zoe. When Steve returned to Paisley Park wearing my wave ear cuff, the Artist, at that time his name simply a glyph, liked it and asked Steve to photoshop it onto an image of his ear. Apparently the photoshopping was a hit and Steve was sent back to the Maryland Renaissance Fair to purchase samples of my other ear cuff designs.  At the close of the panel discussion I timidly walked up to the stage and re-introduce myself to Steve. He steps down and gives me a big hug and tells me the story about the photoshopping of the wave ear cuff. He tells me that he wrote about me in his newly released book and that he wants me to talk with Karen White, a Paisley Park executive who is on the premises. He calls her from his cell phone which unlike mine, is not locked into a secure case. A few minutes later, Steve introduces me to Karen as the jewelry designer who created the ear wraps and ear cuffs that Prince wore. I pass Karen my card and she seems genuinely happy to meet me and to connect some of the missing dots of the Prince and Paisley Park history.

Today’s closing concert performance is the Revolution Live. Having had the Revolution panel discussion earlier today gives me a  better understanding of this band and their music.  The music is spirited and funky and Ro and I have third row seats and dance and sway to the beat of the music.

Saturday, April 22nd

Our track for today’s event doesn’t start until 5:00 P.M. so Ro and I take the opportunity to do some Prince sightseeing. I have a rental car and we ask Siri for directions to the Purple Rain House.  The small, two storied house sits in an unassuming neighborhood and we take photos of the house from both the front and the back. In the brief time we are there, a tour van and several other groups of Prince fans arrive to pay homage. Someone on the van tour notices my Moon Ear Wrap and I tell them that I am the one who designed Prince’s ear wraps. Suddenly, everyone wants their photo taken with me.

Back view of Purple Rain House

Back view of Purple Rain House

Purple Rain House

Purple Rain House

 

 

 

 

 

 

Group touring the Purple Rain House

Van tour to the Purple Rain House

 

We ask the tour guide what other stops are their itinerary and follow his directions to a Prince mural in the vicinity of Paisley Park.  Painted on the backside of a Chanhassen theatre is an immense purple tone portrait of Prince with soaring white doves.

Prince Mural

Prince Mural at the Chanhassen Cinema

Today we share a taxi to the event rather than taking the provided shuttle which has been frequently late. The opening 1985 video is of  Morris Day and The Time, the Afterworld Concert, filmed in Miami. Our evening meal follows and as I file into the dining tent, I see a woman wearing my Dolphin Ear Wrap. She has come all the way from the U.K. and is thrilled to meet me. A flurry of other guests overhear our conversation and I am inundated with women wanting to have their photos taken with me.

Prince Fan wearing my Dolphin Ear Wrap

Prince Fan wearing my Dolphin Ear Wrap

Prince Fans with Marty

Prince Fans with Marty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prince wearing the Moon Ear Wrap, 2000 Calendar, photo by Steve Parke

Prince wearing the Moon Ear Wrap, 2000 Calendar, photo by Steve Parke

Prince in Purple wearing the Crescent Ear Wrap with CZ's - photo by Steve Parke

Prince in Purple wearing the Crescent Ear Wrap with CZ’s – prince.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three members from The Band Time enter the tent and sign autographs. I take advantage of a brief break in the crowd and have my photo taken with two of them. Behind this photo is an image of the album cover of the 2009 LOtUSFLOW3R triple album set; Prince with a lotus flower unfolding behind his head. I now understand why my new Lotus Flower Pendant design is getting so much attention.

The Time

The Time

Two panel discussion follow our meal break. The first is an in studio discussion with sound engineers, Susan Rogers, Chris James and Dylan Dresden. They discuss the period between 1983- 1988; the Purple Rain tour to Hit and Run Phase 2. My take away from this is that Prince had all of the tools to create music at his fingertips. His hand picked talent and his state of the art recording studios were available to make his dreams come true and in so doing, he made his fans dreams come true.  The subsequent panel discussion was about the opening of Paisley Park on September 11th, 1987. Paisley Park attracted other musicians and Madonna, the B-Gees, REM and many other performers rented and made use of his state of the art recording studios. There is mention of the Vault where all of Prince’s recordings are stored and that barring a direct nuclear hit, it’s contents are secure for eternity.

Tonights closing concert is Morris Day and The Time. Morris is very full of himself which is a part of his stage persona and his act draws and references his character in Purple Rain.  Half way into the concert, I notice a number of women being quietly pulled from the audience and a conga line of women are ushered onstage and a funky, shake your bootie, dirty dance party unfolds. This is followed by another conga line of both men and women and the auditorium reverberates with funk and gyrating booties.

Sunday, April 23

This is the final day of the Celebration and instead of taking the shuttle, we drive to the event and show our  passes for VIP parking.  The opening morning video is from a 1990 Nude Tour concert, one of  56 concerts throughout Europe and Japan. The mornings panel discussion is with Donna Grantis of 3rdeyegirl, and Shelby J of the New Power Generation. Shelby tells about her ‘audition’ with Prince; that he acknowledged that she was a good singer and asked her to learn a list of songs in the following few days and announced that her first concert would be preforming with him at the Miami Super Bowl a week later. We follow our purple leader into the NPG music club and listen to Prince stories recounted by David Z, his Minneapolis based music producer and Robert Cubby Colby his sound engineer. They recount 12 hour rehearsal days and grueling concert tour schedules. During one of these panel discussions it is mentioned that shortly before Prince died, he said that he had accomplished all that he had set out to do.

Most of the talented people Prince worked with had a 4 to 10 year run. I feel extremely fortunate to have had an active 8 year run creating his ear wraps, custom pieces exclusively for Prince and to have had the opportunity to make the Love Symbol and Rose Symbol pendants for Paisley Park. Beginning in 1998, Revolution and the NPG  band members wore my Moon Ear Wraps and there are photos as recent as 2014 of Ida Neilson of 3rdeyegirl wearing my Moon Ear Wrap. Although Prince’s costumes changed regularly, until his passing, he continued to wear the Crescent Moon Ear Wrap that I designed. Throughout the Celebration I see the moon motif repeated in his costuming, jewelry and in the Paisley Park decor. A banner hangs in the main soundstage of a crescent moon and upon closer inspection, one notices that the crescent is actually Prince’s silhouette.

At the end of the four day Celebration, I have a much better appreciation for Prince’s creative process, a grasp of his genius and the price that he paid to make his magic happen.

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