New Studio – Tour

Laurel O’Brien Jewelry

Last October I made a big leap and rented a real studio! A set of offices outside of my home! For many years I have been working out of a room in my apartment, before that an unheated porch and before that a table in my Dad’s garage. Each space had its perks and I am always grateful to have somewhere to work but none of them had what I needed.

Last fall I realized I had to find a new space again and jumped at the chance to rent a space downtown in Ithaca. The space wasn’t pretty but was affordable, functional and full of potential. I signed the lease, bought paint, put up shelves and got to work. I probably put more time and energy then needed into fixing it up but I was (& still am!) so excited about it! I spend a ton of time working and am grateful to be in a creative and fun space.

Welcome to My New Studio!

The best part has been the chance to spread out and have real designated work areas! As I make each piece of jewelry it goes through a series of processes.

Every step is so much easier and works better in its own space. I have an area for cutting, sawing, grinding, sanding and soldering. I even have a place for shipping! I also have a great little area to make tea and sit.

Tool Room

This is the messy room! I’m taking raw materials and starting the process of making it a finished product. The metal comes in sheets or wire and I need to cut the metal. Everything needs to be sawn, ground, and sanded so it can take the shape of the jewelry.

Hammering Hall

This is where the jewelry gets the form, texture, and defined shape. I spend a lot of time hammering. The hallway has natural light, which I love, and the hammering is my favorite part of the process so I wanted to use the space that way. I also use the light for photographing the finished pieces. I frequently incorporate gemstones into my work and I want to make sure you can see how the stones play with the light.

Utility Room

It’s not an attractive space but it’s very productive! The last step in my process happens here: polishing and oxidizing. So everything looks beautiful and sharp.

Shipping Lounge

It’s a multipurpose room where I have a counter dedicated to shipping supplies for my Etsy shop and a comfy sofa for working on the Etsy listings and other computer work. At the counter I have little cubbies for business cards, envelopes and polishing kits. There’s cabinets with the boxes and packaging. And I string up a wire for all my ribbon choices!
The sofa makes it feel like you are lounging in your house or a nice coffee shop with throw pillows, blankets, and twinkly lights. Who says you can’t enjoy the space you work in?

Coffee Shop

I spend a good amount of my time at my studio and it was important to me to have a location to take it easy, rest my feet, and refuel. So I have outfitted my sitting area with a French Press, delicious coffee and tea, mugs made from my local artist friends (Julie Crosby & Hannah Graeper) and many snacks! I’m a sucker for chocolate so if you have any favorites, let me know!

I am loving having space to grow and all the potential new projects that can happen now! I am considering teaching a couple of classes and am hoping to have a pop up sale sometime this spring.

Studio updates

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Lots of great things have been happening in 2018 including visiting the Gem and Mineral show in Tucson, AZ this past winter. I found some beautiful stones including the natural labradorite featured in the new pieces above. I also fell in love with all the cacti!

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I was excited to invited to be a part of the ongoing  sweet Bough Wedding collective !   This is great finger lakes region resource if you are getting married or know someone who is!

In the meantime I  am continuing to keep busy with making jewelry, attending  shows and being a part of Handwork Cooperative and Sundrees.
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Late Summer and fall shows are scheduled and I am working on creating some new styles and projects. Hope you have a had a great 2018 so far and thanks for following!

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Studio Tools and Summer Projects

As summer shows wind down I wanted to say Thanks! Thanks for following along and gratitude to everyone who came out to shows and shops. It was nice to see so many people in person!

I also wanted to share some unseen aspects of handmade jewelry. Each piece is made with hands and tools. Here are a few of my favorite tools… my hammers (I love the most!) Each hammer creates different textures and can change and form metal. My classic jewelers saw cuts out shapes and creates silhouettes inside those shapes as well if I choose. I also use many more pliers and mandrels then shown. I hope to do a virtual studio tour next….

Flower Shop Pop-Up!

The Ithaca The Flower Shop is tucked away in the the Fall Creek neighborhood of downtown Ithaca. As much as I love the studio I was pretty excited to be offered a pop-up shop by Stacey, the shops owner! Tuesday was sunny outside (a bit of a miracle for Ithaca in february!)  but inside was the real treat. The Ithaca Flower Shop has an amazing collection of plants, flowers, artisan ceramics and other little surprises.

Spending Valentines Day in this flower shop was a fun experience! The shop smelled of flowers and an exquisite stream of beautiful arrangements, stems and plants flowed through. Thanks to everyone who came out and visited me! For those of you in the area who missed it, my jewelry wont be there but I highly suggest a visit if you need a mini vacation from winter….             http://www.ithacaflowershop.com

Thankful

November is coming to a close, leaves and snow have fallen and the studio is strewn with projects in process. It is always a challenge to take a day off for Thanksgiving. As much as there is to do I know how important it is to take time to reflect on how much there is to be grateful for, spend time with family and eat good food!  I feel so very grateful for the enthusiasm, support and encouragement I receive from my customers and my community, so thankyou for being a part of it!  I have to pinch myself that I have so many wonderful people in my life and supporting my work. Wishing you happy and grateful hearts and belly’s this Thanksgiving.

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Summer Shows

 

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Hand Forged Brass with Turquoise

After the long winters in central New York, summer is always sweet. This year has been hot and dry with lots of sunshine. As the warm days skip by  I am grateful for an hour or two to get in the garden, go for a hike, check out a new waterfall or swim in the finger lakes.

Most of my summer is a made up of making jewelry and preparing  for art fairs. I always feel as if I am in a marathon of late night forging, hammering, soldering and polishing followed by early morning tent set-ups. The shows I attend are sprinkled arounds NY state and I love meeting new & returning customers and artists. It is always fun to see what work fellow artists have made, try out a new food truck or explore a different city. It is also just fun to be out of the studio for a bit (as much as I like it here).

I am always working on concocting new ideas for jewelry designs but summer can be a bit of a challenge with so many shows.  I have recently created a botanical series I hope to expand and have some new forged silver pieces. Also a newly updated show schedule is up! Hope to see you out and about!  I wish you long, happy and relaxed summer days!

If you can’t make it to a show or just prefer ordering online you can use code SUMMER16  for  10% off my etsy shop. I am also have my work available Sundrees in Trumansburg and at Handwork Coop in Ithaca.

Online Shop: https://laurelobrien.patternbyetsy.com

 

 

 

Spring Workings (or late winter happenings!)

 

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I appreciate that there is usually a lull in shows, sales & business during the winter. This allows me a bit more time for creative projects, updates and new ideas. I almost missed that opportunity this year, my schedule stayed full with plans, re-ordering and catching up on overdue projects. Last week I felt Spring was here! However we have winter again in Upstate NY! I can’t say I am excited about the snow but I am excited that I finally have some new things to share. I got a few snow filled days to start and complete some long awaited projects….

I am happy to say I finally have some new pieces in my Etsy shop, (and I am trying out a new Shop format). I am Thankful to Olivia Royale who I hired to do some photography on models! Now you can get a better sense of how the big the jewelry is, how it will look on and how it hangs and falls. I also updated the retail locations page to include Mint Velvet Vintage in Corning and Little Button Craft in Rochester (Check them out if you can!). I am working on updating my Craft Show page but hoping to get a few more show acceptances first…keep your fingers crossed for me! Additionally I have been been busy working on some new designs that I will share as soon as they are presentable! Thanks for following along!

Here is the new shop look, still being  worked on…..http://laurelobrien.patternbyetsy.com

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