Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Loreena McKennitt Christmas.

Always makes me think of icicles sparkling in the moonlight...

Last minute Christmas gifts.

Hope you'll excuse my silence!

I've been a busy beaver in the studio the past two months, playing with gemstones, experimenting with my steel texture stamps, conjuring pieces that are sometimes more complex, sometimes drastically simpler than what I usually make. There's nothing better than zoning out to some good audiobooks* and making jewelry on drizzly winter days.

Here are a sampling of goodies still available for sale at Seattle boutiques, if you're a gift-buying procrastinator living locally. Or maybe you just want to reward yourself for getting through these hectic days with sanity intact?

Thistle Leaf crown ring (size 7 1/2) at Ghost Gallery in Capitol Hill:

Amethyst heart (they were supposed to be bees initially...) earrings at Velouria in Ballard:

Lady of the Manor ring (size 7 1/4) at Ghost Gallery:

Raw fluorite pendant necklace with 24" chain at Ghost Gallery:

And of course, there are still many delightful Dorothy Cheng Jewelry pieces at Tacoma Art Museum Store and Paper Hammer

Happy holidays, everyone!

*Speaking of audiobooks- I highly recommend Donna Tartt's The Secret History. Set in an elite and isolated liberal arts college in Vermont, it follows a tight-knit, secretive group of friends who study ancient Greek and end up murdering one of the members in their clique. It's the kind of college experience I used to fantasize about as a kid, because like one of the characters, I also had a "morbid longing for the picturesque". Obviously, murder never featured in my college fantasy, but complete immersion in an esoteric field of study with a group of like-minded peers certainly did!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dorothy Cheng Jewelry at Velouria!

Since June, I've been selling my jewelry at Velouria, one of my favorite boutiques in Seattle. It's been a bastion of independently-made clothing and accessories since 2004. I used to go as a broke college student and covetously stroke all the lovely clothes and bags and jewelry... The shop was recently revamped by Cat and Chika, the new owners, and I'm so honored to be a part of the fresh lineup of designers they've taken on since they bought the store.

This Saturday (November 10th), I'll be previewing my new collection of jewelry at Velouria.

6-9 pm
2205 NW Market St.
between N Ballard Ave & N 22nd Ave.

Here's a sneak peak:

After seeing the Scottish crown jewels, I started experimenting with colorful gemstones and big, royally bold designs. It's a big change from my usual style. In the past, I was slightly (okay, maybe more than slightly...) disdainful of gemstones, because they're so loud and attention-seeking. Gemstones easily overshadow the metal and, as a hardcore metal girl at heart, I just can't let that happen! In my new collection, I've made sure that the gems and the metal get equal attention and lovingly complement each other in every piece.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Top Five: TV Villains

And now for the second installment of Beautiful & Beloved Bad Seeds - TV Edition! For my Top Five Movie Villains - go here. This list was harder to pare down, since it's difficult to have a good show that runs for several seasons without the writers attempting to create some sympathy or understanding for the villains. This, however, often runs into the problem of the writers prioritizing the likability of the villain over consistent characterization.

This is the difference between good and great writing for me - good writers can humanize a villain but a great one will humanize him without apologizing for him.

Without further ado:

Cersei Lannister (Game of Thrones)
Oh, Cersei. I have this theory that almost any smart, proud and ambitious woman could be Cersei if she was thrown into the right circumstances. Or maybe I just feel like I would be Cersei if I was born into her life. Historically, there have been some women who have been able to wield power through the limited channels of traditional feminine roles. The Empress Matilda, for example. Isabella of France. Eleanor of Aquitaine. Agrippina the Younger.

The art of bearing children and realizing you have to weaponize them. Operating under a veneer of delicate diplomacy at all times while holding a knife to your rival's jugular. The necessity of relying on and trusting men to work for you, though society gives even the worst and weakest of them more tangible power. The rage of being forced to do all these things instead of relying on one's own abilities... The rage must be immense. Cersei Lannister, as a character, is a perfectly written Tragedy. It could never end well for her.

Steerpike (BBC's Gormenghast)
Jonathan Rhys Meyers' best role, I think. It kind of went downhill for him after this... Steerpike was my favorite villain of my formative years. He's practically a working class hero, really! How can it be wrong for a poor kitchen wretch born into drudgery and hopelessness to hope for something more? To be worth a damn. To have responsibilities and expectations. Especially since the young Earl was an ungrateful little prat who wanted to run around in the mud outside instead of shouldering his duties.

Livia (I, Claudius)
Another prime iteration of the Cersei type, I think. Though with less rage and disappointment and more tar black humor. Though both of their sons were monstrous, she was luckier than Cersei Lannister- her husband had some decent qualities. Livia also had the ability to believe herself working for a larger picture, for the greater good. Whether or not that's actually true is, of course, debatable.

Alice Morgan (Luther)
Perfectly written red-haired sociopath. Hilarious, straight-talking and scary as hell. Paradoxically, she represents both Detective Chief Inspector John Luther's attraction to the dark side but also the light of truth in his life. His perfect half, you catch yourself thinking at times, but then again... WAIT, she's a coldblooded murderer. Though he's not such a pure snowflake himself...

Tony Soprano (The Sopranos)
The Sopranos was a hard show to watch. I expected the show creators to create more sympathy for Tony as the show went on. I thought they might make the Mafia lifestyle a heartwarming male homosocial bonding fest. But they didn't. And that's the beauty of this show - Tony Soprano becomes more and more fully a villain as each episode unfolds. He is fully human and fully villainous at the same time. His self-delusion, his sentimentality, his well intentioned lies are all things we can recognize in ourselves, but the actions resulting from Tony's weaknesses are both encouraged and made justifiable by the system in which he operates. I think it's fascinating that loyalty is supposed to be hallmarks of both Tony's biological family and his criminal family, but for all their hearty demonstrations of love, their relationships are governed above all by fear and self-preservation.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Edinburgh, in a baker's dozen.

Sir Walter Scott Monument
In one of the tiny side-streets off the Royal Mile.

On the Royal Mile
St. Giles Cathedral
16th century wall paintings commemorating the birth of James VI.

Jewelers' bench from John Knox House.
Firefighters' helmets from the 19th century, from the collections of the Edinburgh city museums.
Bakery and deli in the New Town
Detail of a page from a copy of the Mainz Psalter
Raven over  the ruins of Holyrood Abbey

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Textures of Iceland.


Brand-marked door at Skogar Folk Museum


Beach at Vik


Friday, September 21, 2012

Icelandic geometry.

Stripped down rib vaults inside the Hallgrimskirkja, the Lutheran parish church of Reykjavik. 
From the  observation tower at the top of the Hallgrimskirkja.
The Sun Voyager by Jon Gunnar Arnason.
Harpa, the concert hall and conference center. A glass and steel building with the most stunning light.

├×ingvellir, where the Icelandic parliament met annually for hundreds of years.  More organic version of Harpa, perhaps?

Cats of Reykjavik.

Here is a sampling of the native cool cats of Reykjavik...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Summer jaunts.

A summer packed to the brim! Too many memorable moments to share... some of which were experienced sans camera (like watching the family of freshwater otters eating breakfast and playing in the lake next to my Orcas Island campsite one morning. Absolutely spellbinding- so much so that I couldn't bear to leave to get my camera.)

 But excuses don't make blog posts! So here are a few that I did manage to capture-

Bagpipers in full regalia in Port Townsend:

Hanging out with my sister, Valli, on giant piles of driftwood:

And also on mountaintops:

Delightful naps on a secluded dock, with the sun warming me right into the bones:
My sister took this!
Corgis and other adorable pups at the Highland Games in Enumclaw! I almost passed out from the excitement of seeing so many cute dogs everywhere.

Picking 14 pounds of raspberries with Rob and Valli:

And the summer's not over yet. Rob and I are off to Iceland and Scotland for two weeks starting Tuesday, so I'll be back totally stuffed with inspiration. Castles! Windswept highlands! Stark volcanic landscapes! Steaming natural hot springs!