Source of Inspiration – German American Folk Art

Recently I’ve found myself drawn to a local source of inspiration: German American relics.  I find it interesting how everything seems to have a little elements of decoration to it – the primary source for my sketches has been antique butter molds and stamps.

It’s interesting to think that something that is so commonplace and utilitarian in appearance (little squared-off sticks) used to be presented in such a visually stunning way.  Can you imagine cutting into a beautifully molded cake of butter?  It would feel so much more opulent than carving off a knob from the usual butter sticks we have today.

The farm / harvest motifs found on these traditional molds have inspired several little charm sets offered in my Handcrafted Jewelry shop on Etsy.

To create these hand-drawn charms, a layer of enamel is fired onto the metal surface – my kiln runs at 1440 degrees F.  After the base layer is smoothed from the heat, I sketch with an enamel-based crayon onto the glass.  It takes several firings to complete the sketches because trying to layer too much detail will cause the waxy base of the enamel crayons to smear.

One final firing adheres the enamel pigment into the enameled base coat and burns off the waxy residue of the crayon, leaving a permanent hand-drawn design.

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Mix Recipe – Amorous + Edgey

Romantic, yet fierce

She is playful and fierce and self-possessed – playful like a candy-flavoured cocktail with a very decided kick to it.  Sweet – yes.  Delicate – no.  This mix of bangles and bracelets speaks to the inner romantic in us all – without being overly fussy.

Pairing up elements that remind you of a scene from a corset drama . . .  elements like lace, ruffles, pearls, silks, ribbons are perfect.  All of these textures evoke a sense of softness, touch-able-ness and work perfectly for setting a flirty tone.

For adding to this set, you can:

~ grab a pearl necklace and wrap it several times around your wrist – this adds a luxurious element.

~ a coloured ribbon tied in a little bow around your wrist is also perfect – playing up a delicate, lady-like feel.

~ layer with your favourite timepiece/watch – this balanced out the fun with a very business like element.

~  leather plays well with the romantic look – it plays up your uniqueness and adds credibility and an industrial look to all that sweetness.

What’s your favourite mix?  Please feel free to share by commenting below!

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Fall Colors for 2012

Fall is a perfect time to pair up daring shades that echo the transitioning colours outdoors.  Chilly weather gets spiced up with some new enamel colours available this Autumn 2012 – mixed up with stately plaids and prints, salvaged leather from horse harnesses, and a few addicting textures!

New designs and accessories like drapey earrings, geometric necklaces and chunky rings will be listing in Bullfinch & Barbury’s Etsy Shop soon!

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Life Imitating Art

Long before I met rescue horse, Thor, a very similar equine found it’s way into my sketches and finally materialized in a portrait of my niece.  Thor’s distinct looks are inherited from his ancient breed – he is a Fjord horse.  The Fjord breed originates in Norway and it seems like the horses have been selectively bred since the time of the Vikings (in the famous Viking ship burials, there are horse skeletons closely resembling the Fjord).

Portrait of My Niece Kate with Fjord Horse

Thor was neglected and left on his own in a field for over a year before he was rescued.  Now he is now enjoying a new life, with new horse friends in a pasture surrounded by apple trees.  His retired halter tags have made a lovely set of charms for a leather wrap bracelet – and the look has inspired work on a collection of wearables made from antique bridles, reins and stirrup leathers.

Handmade jewelry shared by horses and their people?  Why not?  : )

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Wood + Gold + Words


Flesh toned enamel, pearls and robel wood mixed up with a snippet of one of Lord Byron’s poems:

“The great art of life is sensation, to feel that we exist, even in pain.”

This set is a really eye-catching mix of shapes – all tied together with a lovely natural colourway.  It reminds me of a treasure washed up on the beach on the morning after a storm.


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Summer Free Gift-Away : “Let Them Eat Cake”


“Qu’ils mangent de la brioche . . . “

Roughly translated, this means “Let them eat cake . . . ”  A sweet suggestion, though this famous quote made Marie Antoinette of France infamous!  This sweet little bangle will be thrown in with all jewelry orders over $75!

Be warned, this charm bangle will only be available for a limited time!  So snag yours and futher your decadent reputation in pastry-eating infamy – OR – just pair it with that new sundress you bought.  The choice is yours!

Please see my shop for additional details on how to claim your handmade bangle – and how to purchase this limited item by itself.


“Let Them Eat Cake”: Limited Edition Cupcake Charm Bangle

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Bespoke Jewels – Sterling Silver ‘sans peur’ Bracelet

Made especially for my Esty comrade, Beshka, this sterling silver banner strung on a sterling bangle reads ‘sans peur’ – which in French means ‘ without fear’.  This brave little bangle is a sweet little reminder to never be afraid to think outside the box.  Long before I was introduced to enamel, silver and gold were my prefered mediums – but I quickly fell in love with enamel and began to use copper as a canvas for bright color.

Like all of my handmade jewelry, the choice of metal / colours / finish can be altered to fit your style.

Enjoy, Beshka!

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What Does Your Jewelry Say About You?

What’s your favourite colour?

Whether it’s a soothing shade like sky blue or something more wild like marigold orange, the colours you wear can affect how others see your personality.  Many studies have revealed the impressions that people get from seeing different hues – here is a list of shades and the overall feel they exude:

– Red = passionate, vivacious, energetic and intense

– Pink = romantic, up-beat, flirtatious

– Orange =  energetic, attention getting, joyful

– Yellow =  cheerful, optimistic, intelligent

– Green = soothing, stress-free, compassionate

– Blue = peaceful, trustworthy, warm

– Violet = regal, dreamy, opulent

– White = simplicity, innocence, higher social status

– Black = power, authority, responsibility

Adding a dash of a daring shade for an otherwise business-like outfit is a classy way of proclaiming individuality.  One of the most amazing things about working with enamel is that the choice for colour goes beyond mixing silver with gold finishes.  The rainbow is at your disposal!

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B&B Social Rewards – Your Chance to Win a $25 Gift Certificate

A thanks for my social bookmarking friends . . .  for the month of February, every time you post a Facebook update, Tweet, Pin to Pinterest or post to a blog about Bullfinch & Barbury jewelry, you have a chance at earning $25 towards enameled goodies!

Each time you share B&B, you can share the link on the Official Giveaway Page – and earn chances to win!

At the end of the month, a name will be drawn at random from all the entries, and a gift certificate worth $25 (good towards anything in the store OR custom items) will be awarded.

Sample Gift Certificate

For more details and to enter, visit my Facebook Fan Page.

Best of Luck!!!

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Edmund Sparkler’s Fine Jewels

I’ve been helping out an old friend, Mr. Edmund Sparkler, by turning his romantic European aesthetic into metal and gem wearables.  Each piece was based on the lush architectural elements that adorned the buildings of the past centuries – many of them have a beautiful “Louis XIV”, French feel. 

I carved, sculpted and made molds for each design – then the pieces could be easily translated into precious metals.  Other elements are pulled from Edmund’s huge collection of checkerboard cut stones which are set in hand-forged settings.

This is my favourite design – and one I gifted to my sister, Sarah, for her birthday this past week.  The garland of flowers and fruit (in a style called a “barbola swag”) has twin alexandrite stones set beneath flowing ribbon ties.

Check out more of my and Edmund’s work on his new Etsy site:

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