Jewels From The Sea

I recently spent a couple of days in Nags Head, North Carolina, enjoying the company of family, snoozing and walking the beach. The sand and ocean are the world’s best rock tumbler. The shell fragments above have been worn smooth by the sand and waves, exposing their inner patterns. I am not sure what I am going to do with them yet. Drill holes for stringing? Foil and silver the edges like stained glass and make charms for a necklace? I think I’ll wait for them to talk to me before I do anything.

Enjoy the slide show

The Clay News

The Clay News is the twice yearly newsletter of the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild. Besides schedules of guild activities, guild business, member news, and a featured guild artist article, we have information on new products, web sites, book and video reviews. If you know of any product members would be interested in, a cool new web site or blog, or if you would just like to receive an email pdf copy (no, we don’t mail it out), leave a request. I monitor the comments so you dont have to worry about your email appearing on the blog (I know you already get enough viagra mail.) The dead line is August 28. You don’t have to be a member of the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild. We are always happy to make new friends. Maybe if you’re in Philadelphia on meeting day, you’ll drop by.

DVD’s from Kato, Miller and a Calder Article


Donna Kato Presents: Tips, Tricks & Techniques for Polymer Clay  is three and a half hours of Donna Kato demonstrating caning, transfers, mica shift, finishing techniques and more. The gals at video night (you know who you are) gave it a five (out of five) pasta machine rating. A bargain at $34.95. To order, press here.

I love everything Sharilyn Miller. (To see my review of her Tribal Treasures video, press here.) I just got finished watching her Ethnic Style Jewelry Workshop video, and all I can say is “Wow!” Another three and one half hours of valuable information on wire working, and instructions for making four bracelets and two necklaces. A steal at $39.95. To order it, Press here.

I wrote about the Alexander Calder Jewelry Exhibit at the Philadelpha Museum of Art in an earlier post. The latest issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist has an article on Calder’s jewelry well worth reading: “Calder’s Mobile Jewelry” by Cathleen McCarthy.

I Love Glass

Did I ever tell you I love glass? Any glass except windows I have to wash, that is.

This glass in the slide show comes from a number of sources: recycled bottles, fused Bullseye glass, scrap stained glass, and dichroic glass. Some is from bottles I smashed into shards and put in a rock tumbler to simulate beach glass. I have not made anything out of these babies yet; I am waiting for them to talk to me.

In the meantime, here are a few of my favorite glass and lampworking sites: Warm Glass, International Society of Glass Beadmakers, Paul Stankard Website, Wale Apparatus, Stephanie Sersich, Wet Canvas (lots more than glass on this site-you could spend days here) Bronwen Heilman, Kim Merriman and Sharon Peters.

Ray Kremzner Goldsmith and Bladesmith

Ray and Raoul
Ray and Raoul

Ray  was first and foremost a bladesmith.  I’m sorry I don’t have pictures of his museum quality knives to show you. Most of them are in private collections.  Ray had been interested in metal working all his life, taking his first jewelry class in high school.  He wanted to be a jeweler, but his father was mortified that any son of his should sit at a bench and work with his hands.  Never mind that Ray had talent, intelligence and a desire to find his own voice-his career plans didn’t fit in with his father’s myth.

Ray and Shari
Ray and Shari

His parents split up when he was two and his parents remarried and had new families .  There was no place for Ray. He was on his own from an early age,  but he had a way about him that made people invite him into their families almost everywhere he went. Ray settled down with my sister-in-law Shari, pictured on the left around 1993. Phil and Sandeye Jurus, who own Baltimore’s Jurus Gallery which carries some of Ray’s work, became like second parents to him. Ray always managed to appear right when Sandeye was cooking something. My own mother adored him and wanted to have her picture taken on his motorcycle.

About three years ago, Ray heard that his father had died. I think this liberated him somehow, because he started making jewelry again-this time in earnest. He also started a job as a machinist working with high tech metals for the defense industry. The proprietor and his boss was Sam who was also like a second father to him.

Here is some jewelry Ray made for Shari.


In August 2007, an SUV turned in front of him as he rode his motorcycle to work. Even though he was rendered a paraplegic, he and Shari were determined to get on with their lives when he got out of the hospital. Shari moved their belongings to a wheelchair friendly apartment. Friends offered to build him a wheelchair accessable jeweler’s bench. His friend Kelly planned to teach him how to use precious metal clay. But since the accident, he suffered from constant bed sores and MRSA infections. He never did leave the hospital. His body finally gave out and he died in April, 2008.

Those who truly knew Ray knew he was a complicated man who struggled with serious demons all his life. But they loved him anyway. I suppose this is what you call unconditional love.

I have some of Ray’s jewelry tools now and I will think of him whenever I use them. But most importantly, I am again reminded that for anyone who is hurting because he was denied unconditional love when he needed it most,  his pain will be healed if he can find the courage to give love unconditionally.