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.

Posted in Celebrity, Jewelry | Leave a comment

Celebration 2017

Nearly a year ago on April 21st, Prince died at his recording studio and home in Chanhassen Minnesota. In honor of Prince’s life and on the first anniversary of his death, a four day Celebration will take place at the Paisley Park complex between April 20 – April 23. Celebration 2017 organizers write: “ bringing together of musicians, creative personnel, special guest and friends who worked closest with Prince and knew him best, these four days will feature live music, panel discussions and presentations on Prince’s tremendous talent, influence and importance as a composer, musician, producer, live performer and filmmaker.”

Celebration 2017 Event Poster

Celebration 2017 Event Poster

Many of you know that since 1998 Prince wore ear wraps that I designed.  My Crescent Moon Ear Wrap morphed into his iconic Crescent Ear Wrap set with 7 CZ’s. He also wore pairs of my Dolphin Ear Wraps, Comet Ear Wraps and Wave Ear Cuffs. I have been especially busy over the past few weeks, making and shipping many of the ear wrap designs that Prince wore. I surmise this is because of the upcoming Celebration to honor Prince’s legacy.

Crescent Pendant set with Purple CZ's

Crescent Pendant set with Purple CZ’s

As a special request from a customer, Ro, I created a Crescent Pendant set with 7 Purple CZ’s. She intends to wear the pendant to the Celebration. Last week, she contacted me to tell me she had an extra VIP ticket to the Celebration Event and asked if I would like to attend? It was a very generous offer but I needed a little time to consider and rearrange my schedule. My schedule is now cleared and my plane ticket purchased and I am looking forward to attending the Celebration as well as looking forward to meeting Ro and making a new friend.

Stay tuned for a follow up blog post, post event.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_(musician)

 

Posted in Celebrity, Jewelry | 6 Comments

Troll Adventure

Art and I recently traveled to Seattle to attend a memorial celebration of a dear friend; but this blog post is about a troll, not the memorial.

Trolls on Parade

Trolls on Parade

In looking through our hotel’s brochures of attractions in the Seattle area, a thumbnail photo of a huge troll under a bridge catches my eye. This monumental cement troll sculpture lurks below the Fremont bridge, a Volkswagen Beetle gripped in his enormous hand. (Apparently he grabbed the vehicle when it passed above him on the bridge?)  As a child, I had a wonderful picture book of the The Three Billy Goats Gruff and my mother would read to me. Although, I have misplaced the book, the story of a troll lurking under a bridge and the clever goats that outwitted him, has always been one of my favorites.  With friend and family to visit, I doubt that we will have time to make the pilgrimage to visit the Fremont Troll but it is on my list.

Three Billy Goats Gruff

Three Billy Goats Gruff – Illustrated by Marcia Brown

On our last day in the Seattle area and on the way home from visiting family in Edmonds, Art asks Siri to take us to a Warby Parker store which by happenstance is in the Fremont district. (Warby Parker sells stylish and well priced prescription glasses and Art’s glasses have recently broken.) As we park, I connect the dots or perhaps follow Hansel’s and Gretle’s bread crumbs and realize that we are in the district where the Fremont Bridge Troll resides. After doing retail damage, Art and I  begin our Troll hunt. After a few circuitous wrong turns, we hike uphill below the Fremont bridge and I am delighted to meet the Fremont Troll. There are several other people taking selfies with the troll and after waiting my turn, Art takes photos of me, sitting  between the fingers of the trolls gargantuan hands.

Marty Fremont Bridge Troll

Marty and the Fremont Bridge Troll

Since a young girl, trolls have never scared me, only amused and delighted me. My father, a geologist, traveled extensively and my mother and I would accompany him on his adventures. For three months, when I was nine or ten years old, we lived in a thatched cottage in Gilleleje Denmark north of Copenhagen. From there, we took several trips to Norway and Sweden and with money that I had saved, I purchased a large carved wooden troll sculpture. Some fifty years later, my Norwegian Troll, when not exploring in our fern garden, still sits sentry on a high shelf in my office.

Norwegian Troll

Norwegian Troll

Posted in Fantasy, Travel | Leave a comment

Cloisonné Adventure

In October, John and I took Merry-Lee Rae’s week long cloisonné workshop. Merry-Lee  is one of my dearest friends and it was a privilege to experience and immerse myself in her creative environment. In addition, it was a joy to sit elbow to elbow with my son and make jewelry together. Below are the two cloisonnés that I created in the class, set in 18K gold.

Fire and Water Cloisonne

Fire and Water Cloisonné with pear Apatite drop. 

Lotus Cloisonné

Lotus Cloisonné with trillion Paraiba Tourmaline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With Christmas quickly approaching and John’s December birthday, I decided to create one of a kind settings for both of the cloisonné’s to give to  John and Alisha. December was a crazy busy time for Marty Magic so although I completed the wax settings, the pieces were not cast time.  I gift wrapped the cloisonné’s and their wax settings along with promissory notes.  Both would be cast in 18K gold and Alisha and John could choose gemstones for the bottom accent drops on our trip February trip to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.

Posted in Design projects | Leave a comment

Tucson Rocks!

2017, Tucson Booty

2017, Tucson Treasures

The photo above is just a portion of the booty we returned with. Alisha has already designed two butterfly pendants that will incorporate the matched pairs of triangular stones pictured. Stay tuned!

Alisha and John, Fossil Crocodile Skeleton

Alisha and John, Fossil Crocodile Skeleton

Alisha, John and I returned last night from the 2017 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. We had a great time and a successful treasure hunt, ferreting out all kinds of gems, minerals and fossils. We did our best to stick to our shopping lists but we strayed some and returned home with many unusual pieces that will inspire our creativity and take us in new directions. Boulder and Korite opals were on both Alisha’s and my list and over five intense days, Alisha hand picked beautifully patterned cabochons to set in her turtle backs and her frog bodies. I too searched through thousands opals to find a few exceptional stones suitable for one of a kind designs. Just to list a few, we returned with opals, fire agate, druzy quartz cabochons, stalactite slabs and tiny trilobite fossils.

Amethyst Crystals

Amethyst Crystals

Choosing Boulder Opals

Choosing Boulder Opals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The megalithic Tucson gem, mineral and fossil show encompasses much of Tucson.  It’s tendrils reach into every motel room and parking lot alongside of Interstate 10, in addition to convention centers and enormous tent sites throughout Tucson. Even with five full days to shop we were not able to visit all of the venues.

Trilobite Fossil Slab

Trilobite Fossil Slab

2017, Trekking through Tucson

2017, Trekking through Tucson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am blessed to have a close relationship with my adult children. We laughed and played with dinosaurs together and shared our excitement over our various finds.  Over dinner we would discuss philosophy, art, design and business. As many Master Card advertisements remind us, times like these are “priceless.”

2017, Tucson, Lizard Eye, Owl Ring

2017, Tucson, Lizard Eye, Owl Ring

Tucson, Playing with Dinosaurs

Tucson, Playing with Dinosaurs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come on John, just this last tent!

Come on John, just this last tent!

Too Large for a Pendant?

Too Large for a Pendant?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Jewelry, Travel | Leave a comment

Python Ear Wrap worn by Sofia Boutella in the Remake of the Mummy

In April of 2016, the costume administrator of Sarcophagus Films in the U.K. ordered several of each of my Python Ear Wrap, Cobra Ear Wrap and Snake Ear Cuff. I promptly shipped the order and didn’t think much more about it.

Sofia Boutella, wearing Marty Magic Python Ear Wrap

Sofia Boutella, wearing Marty Magic Python Ear Wrap – Universal Studios

A week later I received panicky e-mail informing me that  that the package had not arrived in spite of the official notice of delivery conformation. My antenna’s perked up when I was told that my ear cuffs and ear wraps were slated to be worn by an undisclosed actress who would be the Mummy in the upcoming film; Remake of the Mummy, with an expected release of June, 2017. Sarcophagus Films was somehow related to Universal films and Tom Cruise would star in the film.

Sarcophagus Films arranged for a courier service that came to my studio and picked up a replacement order to expedite the shipping of my ear cuffs to wherever? I retuned to my routine of designing jewelry and running the Marty Magic business.

A week or so later, Sarcophagus Films placed another order and sent a courier to my studio for pick up. Awake now, I asked about their intention for my copyrighted Python Ear Wrap and Cobra and Snake Ear Cuffs? I was told in confidence that “The Mummy” would be wearing these pieces. I was also asked to keep this information in confidence which I have until now. I now have permission to disclose this.

A few days ago, a friend sent me a link to the image above! Sofia Boutella, the slated Mummy, is wearing my Python Ear Wrap in this gorgeous photograph that I credit to Universal Studios.

I know little about this film except that it presents us with a New World of Gods and Monsters and that we will meet a Mummy Princess, wearing my Python Ear Wrap who will claim ALL that she has been denied.

The gorgeous photo below is of my Python Ear Wrap, photographed by Jeremy Bot and  modeled by Teresa Maher.  http://jeremeybot.com

Python Ear Wrap and Alpha Omega Snake Ring

Photo by Jeremey Bot, Model Teresa Maher

https://www.martymagic.com/python-snake-ear-wrap-bronze/

https://www.martymagic.com/python-snake-ear-wrap-silver/

 

Posted in Celebrity, Jewelry | 2 Comments

A Cloisonne Workshop with Merry-Lee Rae

Merry-Lee Rae, 2014 Saul Bell Award, First Place Enamel, Bobcat Secret

Merry-Lee Rae, 2014 Saul Bell Award, First Place Enamel, Bobcat Secret

In October, John and I took Merry-Lee Rae’s week long cloisonné workshop. Merry-Lee  is one of my dearest friends and it was a privilege to experience and immerse myself in her creative environment. In addition, it was a joy to sit elbow to elbow with my son and make jewelry together.

View of the cloisonné classroom

View of the cloisonné classroom

John in the studio

John in the studio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Japan, Merry-Lee Rae would be considered a national treasure. In the United States her reputation as a world class cloisonné artist was recently recognized in 2014 when she was awarded the Saul Bell Award for best in enamel.

Each of Merry-Lee’s coveted workshops consists of just ten students. Although ours was a beginning enamel class, all of the students in our class had previous art experience.  On the first day, we were all so immersed in our projects that we didn’t break for lunch until 2:00 P.M. Many of us lingered on long after the official ending of the class and it was only Merry-Lee’s yawns and her shutting down of equipment that alerted us that we had overstayed our allotted time.

Applying Enamel

Applying Enamel

Spoonfuls of washed enamel for the Lotus project

Spoonfuls of washed enamel for the Lotus project

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the class we were assigned and completed two enamel projects. The first of the projects was a Lotus design of Merry-Lee’s and all of us worked on the same design and learned the many labor intensive steps involved in making an intricate piece of cloisonné jewelry.

Early stage of Lotus project, waiting for pieces to cool.

Early stage of Lotus project, waiting for pieces to cool.

View of the cloisonné classroom

View of the cloisonné classroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was interesting to compare everyone’s finished lotus cloisonné and to note the subtle variations of wire work and coloring. Surprisingly, skimming over a seemingly simple step of the involved process could make or break the quality of the final piece. Most of the class finished the lotus project by the end of the second day and by the morning of the third day we were all prepared with to scale colored drawings for our own project.

The completed Lotus Cloisonnés

The completed Lotus Cloisonnés

My expertise is mostly in three dimensional and sculptural design and I had difficulty creating a two dimensional colored line drawing to scale. John on the other hand had sketchbooks full of drawings and it was difficult for him to narrow down his choices. Since many of my jewelry designs have wave motifs, I borrowed and revised one of John’s drawings for my final project. John, who like his mother loves reptiles, sketched a chameleon on a branch for his project.

Early stage of my Wave cloisonné

Early stage of my Wave cloisonné

Early stage of John's Chameleon cloisonné

Early stage of John’s Chameleon cloisonné

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We prepped and domed our fine silver blanks, played with fire to flash and purify the surfaces, counter enameled the reverse sides to prevent warping and spent hours bending intricate wires to conform to the our line drawings. We washed our many colored ground enamels in distilled water and learned in what order to apply the various colors to achieve both depth and transparency. We laboriously applied layer after layer of enamel and kiln fired each layer, impatiently waiting for the piece to cool before returning to our work station to apply yet another layer of ground enamel and to repeat the process. Eventually, the layers of enamels reached the top of our bent wires and we pumiced the surface by hand to expose the wires and polish the enamel smooth.  A final firing gave our pieces a glass like finish and for most of us, gave us satisfying results and a great appreciation for the cloisonné process.

John's completed Chameleon and my completed Wave cloisonné

John’s completed Chameleon and my completed Wave cloisonné

Grinding out an imperfection in the enamel.

Grinding out an imperfection in the enamel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I thank Merry-Lee for sharing her techniques. Her studio is enviable; equipped with tools most of us only dream of and she was patient and thorough in teaching us the cloisonné process. I am richer for having taken her workshop and although I don’t imagine that I will be pursuing a career in cloisonné, this workshop has expanded my creativity and technical abilities overall.

Merry-Lee Rae’s website.

Posted in Jewelry | Leave a comment

The End of the Marty Magic Show Season

Mime, Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival

Living Statue Street Performer Half Moon Bay Festival

Giant Pumpkin Carving, Half Moon Bay Festival

Giant Pumpkin Carving, Half Moon Bay Festival

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival was our final California show and it ‘Rocked’ in spite of the wind and the rain. We came prepared with a 40 ft sheet of plastic sheeting to cover and bridge our two canopies together. We also came with a positive attitude and a sense of  humor which made setting up our 20 foot booth in the dark with the aide of only solar and head lamps more amusing than stressful.

Rainy Day Shoppers Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival

Rainy Day Shoppers, Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival

John and Jackie, Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival

John and Jackie, Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rainy Day Shoppers, Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival

Rainy Day Shoppers, Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival

 

It was very windy on Saturday and our plastic rain cover acted like a parachute but we were well weighted and John or Alisha would occasionally jump up and grab the canopy struts when gusts of wind threatened to take our booth to the Land of Oz. In spite of the weather, serious customers came out to shop and sales were good!  At the end of the day my competent crew of John, Alisha and Jackie lowered the canopies and wrapped our booth as securely as possible to protect it from the nights rain.

Waterfall Show Time

Clear the way! Waterfall showtime!

Clearing the Pools of Rain

Clearing the pools of rain from our canopy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, we arrived at dawn and were delighted to find our booth intact and relatively dry. It drizzled and rained all day and multiple lakes of water continually pooled in our overhead plastic canopy cover. At periodical intervals, John or Alisha would climb onto our table, warn nearby shoppers and announce a waterfall show as they prodded and pushed from below to move and empty the pooled water towards the outer edges of the canopy resulting in our waterfall shows. In spite of the continual rain, the inside of our booth remained quite dry and serious shoppers took shelter within our booth taking ownership of numerous purple boxes stuffed with Marty Magic Jewelry. Miraculously, the sun came out at pack up and between the four of us we had our double booth loaded into the van in record time.

Marty and the Loaded Van

Marty and the loaded van

End of the Season Toast

End of the season toast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We arrived back at our home studio just after dark and popped a bottle of champagne to toast to  a successful end of the season show!

The nine week Maryland Renaissance Fair closed just last week and my Maryland crew has buttoned up our shop until August of 2017. I have a fabulous and seasoned crew but the weather is always the wild card. Between near 100% humidity in early September and a threatening hurricane, the crew sweated and slogged through rain and mud for much of the season. Happily, the weather on the weekend that Alisha, John and I attended was perfect and it was wonderful to see so many friends and collectors.

Marty Magic Shop, Maryland

Marty Magic Shop in Maryland, closed for the season. See you in 2017!

The show season may be over but the Magic team is now preparing for the onslaught of online holiday shopping so stay tuned for our five day Cyber-riffic Sale, our biggest of the year!

Posted in Marty Magic Shows | Leave a comment

The Magic Family at the Maryland Renaissance Festival

A Wicked Smile

A Wicked Smile – Marty Magic Shop Maryland

Our costumes are unpacked and put away for another year but the memories and photos of last weeks trip to the Maryland Renaissance Festival are fresh.

Marty with customers at her shop

Marty with customers at the Marty Magic Shop

Marty, John, Alisha and her two children, Molly and Sterling attended the fair. While Marty worked, the family played hard!

Sweet Treat, Molly

Sweet Treat, Molly

Sterling, Knight in Training

Sterling, Knight in Training

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The weekend’s weather was perfect and there were throngs of attendees and many walked away wearing a Marty Magic ear cuff, pendant or ring.

Magic Molly

Magic Molly

The Maryland Magic Crew

The Maryland Magic Crew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And when the kids and grandkids were out of control, there were the stocks:)

Alisha, Far From Slothful

Alisha, far from Slothful

Molly Gossip

Molly Gossip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flash back to thirteen years ago when John was just ten years old.  John is just getting into different types of mischief:)

Then: John in the Stocks

Then: John in the Stocks

Now: John in the Stocks

Now: John in the Stocks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are games of all sorts; the favorite being the Jacob’s Ladder challenge.  John mastered the art of climbing Jacob’s Ladder many years ago and now it’s time for Molly and Sterling to learn the balancing act. This season, John excelled by climbing it while balancing a full beer. Should I be proud?

Beer and Jacob's Ladder

Balancing a Beer on Jacob’s Ladder?

Sterling Jacob's Ladder

Sterling Climbing Jacob’s Ladder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have a remarkable Maryland Crew and after many fair hours on our feet, I treat the team to dinner. This year it was Chinese.

The Phenicie Family Team

The Phenicie Home Team

Alisha and Kidlets

Alisha and ‘Kidlets’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leah and Molly

Leah and Molly

Jacqueline and Kelly

Jacqueline and Kelly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have had my shop at the Maryland Renaissance Festival for over 30 years. The fair has expanded around me and we have a strong following of collectors who come each season. I am grateful to have such a competent sales crew and such a loyal following! Thank you All!

Marty Magic Customers

Marty Magic Customers

Marty Magic Shop, Maryland

Marty Magic Shop, Maryland

 

Posted in Jewelry, Marty Magic Shows | Leave a comment

Cataclysmania Inspiration

Cosmos Ring - Side View - Wax Original

Cosmos Ring – Side View

Cosmos Ring - Wax Original

Cosmos Ring – Wax Original

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having just sculpted a new Cosmos Ring, I am reflecting on where my inspiration for this design came from. Van Gough’s Starry Night, thick with swirls of cosmic paint, and one of my favorite paintings is an obvious influence. However, the greatest influence to my work, style and choice of subject matter comes from my mother.  Below are just a few illustrations from a short narrative poetry book that my mother began writing and illustrating in the early 1940’s while attending Pomona College in Claremont. Many of the pen and ink illustrations are of whirlpools, waves, fiery comets, and ethereal cloud-engulfed landscapes.

Cataclysmania - Betty Crowell 'Celestial Cosmos'

Cataclysmania – Betty Crowell ‘Celestial Cosmos’

Cataclysmania - Betty Crowell "whirlpool"

Cataclysmania – Betty Crowell ‘Whirlpool’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cataclysmania - Betty Crowell 'Exodus of the Animals'

Cataclysmania – Betty Crowell ‘Exodus of the Animals’

Cataclysmania - Betty Crowell 'Sore-line Ripples'

Cataclysmania – Betty Crowell ‘Shoreline Ripples’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prior to my mother’s passing, my husband Art diligently formatted my mother’s prose and illustrations to be published in book form. Unfortunately the book was not printed prior to her passing but she was pleased that the project was progressing.  Several years later, Alisha spent hours carefully formatting her grandmother’s original pen and ink drawings into an archival notebook.

Alisha archiving the original illustrations for Cataclaysmania

Alisha archiving the original illustrations for Cataclaysmania

John was so taken by his grandmother’s artwork that he choose one of her drawings as a tattoo. I don’t know if his grandmother feels honored about this or is turning over in her grave.

Grandson John - Wave Crest Tattoo

Cresting Waves Tattoo

Cataclysmania - Cresting Waves

Cataclysmania Illustration – Cresting Waves

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Inking - Cataclysmania

The Inking – Cresting Waves

 

 

Betty Crowell - Early 1940's

Betty Crowell – Early 1940’s

Posted in Design projects, Family, Jewelry | Leave a comment