Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The List...

Groom and I were treasure troving at the Flea Market on Sunday (or if you prefer frenchy-fied, le Marche au Puce), when we ran into the gentleman of Z0L0 fame. He’s the one who misread my handwriting and thought the date 2010 said “Z0L0.”

Z0L0 King, as I now call him, was curious to discover what we were hunting for. Oh, lots of stuff, we told him. Mainly tools for our new metalsmithing adventure.

“Like what?” he asked. We mentally scrolled down the list and mentioned things like an old crock pot for pickling.

“Crockpot? Pickle? I thought you were doing jewelry, not canning.”

We laughed. A pickle is an acidic solution for removing fire scale and oxidation from doing mean things to metal like soldering and annealing. Which is why we were scouting for used items like an old crock pot, hammers –

“What kind of hammers?”

Oi, so many different kinds. Riveting, planishing, forming…

“Just make me a list,” Z0L0 King said. “Write it down and send it to me and I’ll see what I’ve got lurking around the old homestead.”

“We’re not looking for charity,” I told him.

“Would you just shut up,” he said. He’s that way. Bold, unafeared, or in his term, old school. “Just send me the darmn list.”

So I went home and did as I was instructed. I compiled a (partial) list of some of the tools and supplies we need to acquire with an interesting mathematical twist. The list is larger than our current budget. Throw in shipping, especially for the heavier items, and it makes the project of rearranging and slightly remodeling our basement into a jeweler’s studio even more daunting.

Everything we read and hear exclaims emphatically to ventilate ventilate ventilate. Okay, throw an exhaust system onto the list.

Since I spent so much time compiling the list, I forwarded it to GoatMama as GoatPapa used to work in a metal shop, is handy with tools, and is a bit of a collector himself. They said they might have a thing or two.

From there, we sent it to Groom’s brother, who is a professional contractor. He has a storage unit which I call a magic emporium and he already emailed back with a couple more very useful items on the list.

As I was getting ready for class this morning, the idea struck to post this list to all you faithful readers. As I said to Z0L0 King, we are not looking for charity, but perhaps those of you who thrift shop might give us a call if you run across some of these items. Others of you will have a thing or two lying around. Still others of you will undoubtedly know a friend who knows a guy, well, you get the picture.

Often times, used tools have a proven track record and are quality made. Two different friends have had the amazing opportunity to buy the contents of somebody’s metalsmithing studio, so I know it can happen. Perhaps you know of someone who is retiring, or used to do jewelry, or thought they might like it but actually didn’t and has things for sale or giveaway. Think of storage units, garage piles, attic treasures, basement spelunking.

You can email us at and make our day.

Oh, I should probably warn you. GoatMama wrote back to me this morning and complained that her eyes were rolling back in her head from the list. It’s long. Many of the items you may not recognize, but hey, you could turn it into a challenge to see how many of them you do!

Thank you for reading and looking it over. We absolutely appreciate it.



Heavy ball peen/light ball peen – “a popular hammer commonly used for shaping and flattening metal and for removing dents. With one round flat face and one round half-domed face.”

Planishing – “used for hardening metal and for smoothing the surface of gold, silver, brass, stainless steel and other metals.”

Chasing – “a multi-purpose hammer for chasing, chiseling, riveting or peening. With one flat face and one round face.”

Riveting - “used for forming metal and for riveting. With one round face and one chisled face.”

Plastic mallet – “useful for forming, bending and shaping without scratching or marring surfaces.”

Embossing – “also known as repousse, embossing works the metal from the back to form three-dimensional shapes. With two high-domed round faces.”

Forming - “used to move heavy-gauge metal while retaining much of the weight of the original metal. Substantial weight with a slightly rounded face.”



Engraving Ball or Bench Mate


Mini-bench vise

Wooden hand vise (aka ring clamp)

Mandrels (earring, ring, bracelet, necklace)

Alphanumeric Stamping tools (also looking for random design stamps like heart, star, fleur de lis etc.)

Stainless steel shot for tumbler

Burnishing compound

Ultrasonic cleaner

Disc cutters

Dapping block & punches

Sandpaper with varying degrees (200-600 at least)


Work bench (plus fire resistant surface - sheet metal/ drywall (or?) so the thing does not catch on fire!

Exhaust device and /or bench top smoke absorber (Back draft, not overdraft)

Flux, flux brush

Solder (hard, medium, easy)

Soldering tripod with steel screens

Soldering picks

Third-hand (tweezer-like apparatus affixed to a base to hold piece while we solder)

Charcoal brick/magnesium/honeycomb brick to melt solder


Copper tongs (or big copper tweezers)

Pickle/Citric Acid/Sodium bisulfate (Sparex?)

Plastic basket for pickle

Container for water (to plunge red hot metal into)

Stainless steel binding wire



Optivisor or loupe

Bench pin

Bench Shear (Metal cutter / guillotine) Beverly Shear

Flex shaft

Container for liver of sulfur

Liver of sulfur gel patina

Caliper (mm gauge)

Two-hole Metal Punch (up to 18 gauge)

Soft brass brush (special, not like in the hardware section)

Steel wool and plastic brillo pad

Cut Lube/ or bees wax (Bur Life)

Tap to thread holes in metal for miniature hardware

Wire and lead bender

Leather aprons/natural fiber aprons

Lights for working in basement

Heater for working in basement

Smooth flatnose pliers

Steel burnisher

Polishing papers

Tube cutting jig for tube rivets

Shape templates (circles, rectangles, etc)

Alligator tape


Precious Metal Clay and supplies/tools – (which is an entirely other long list)

Digital Paragon kiln

Enameling supplies

Copper foil tape dispenser

Soldering iron (Weller 100 watt for stained glass: 700 degree tip and 600 degree decorative tip)

Scrap metal

Old license plates

Old round type-writer keys

Miniature hardware (rivets, washers, etc.)

Mini cookie cutters also known as aspic cutters (teeny teeny tiny)

1/8” cutter corner for lamination

Renaissance Micro-Crystalline Wax Polish

I’d like to say, “That’s all folks,” but every day we learn something new which dictates adding something new to the list. However, this will get us started.

Oh, and by the way, the fact that my birthday is rapidly approaching is totally coincidental.

Again, thank you very muchly!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

And Then…

I didn’t realize how heavy the burden of wanting to “become a writer” was until I put it down. I’d been carrying it around with me since cognition and an internal voice constantly chided me to produce produce produce; it was exhausting and caused resentment.

Any time I did anything other than write, a feeling of resentment would rise within me, mocking my actions and convincing me I was a waste of time. Here I was over 40 and had not published anything other than a few newspaper articles. The internal dialogue was harsh and critical and made creating jewelry more of a slave task than a joyful one.

Do you remember me saying that we took a year’s leave of absence from making jewelry? That was in 2005. Without the jewelry to make, I was splitting my time between doing hair and wanting to write. So then I started resenting hair because it was taking me away from my fantasy career. When I finally decided to take a leap of faith and devote all my time to writing, guess what? I imploded.

What does imploding look like? Well, as a self-disciplined individual, I had never had any trouble before coaxing myself into making deadlines; in school, in college, or designing for the art shows. But as I finally had all the time in the world at my disposal - Groom and I agreeing to live off our savings while we got our writing careers on track - I could not make myself write.

I allowed and invented every excuse in the book to prevent me from writing. Oh, first I had to get my writing space just exactly right. Next I had to do a bunch of research, organize my papers, rearrange my files, and look over my notes. Thereafter, a scrub down of the house lead to a voluminous yard sale and in between if I ever did play on the computer, I couldn’t sit still for five minutes.

I’d start a novel and switch to an idea for an article and then an inspirational piece and then a short story and then about one of our travel adventures and I’d start a squabble with Groom because we were sharing the computer, so that definitely cut into my writing time and the Internet was too slow and I lamented I needed my own computer and thusly I managed to efficiently squander our year’s leave of absence from creating jewelry by complaining, whingeing, whining, diatribing, digressing, crying, weeping, swooning, pretend-fainting (okay, no, not that one) and otherwise wasting a perfectly good writing opportunity. That’s what me imploding looks like.

By 2006, I was thrilled to be making jewelry again. In the convening years, the lovely Hannah Goldrich instructed me to learn metalsmithing, we bumped up against a shifting economy and more competition, rules started changing on the playing field, we got our hands on cameras and began incorporating our images into new jewelry ideas.

We spent November of 2009 in the studio, sort of like mad scientists, thinking and plotting, planning and experimenting with the new jewelry ideas and took the tools we had on hand and came up with something fresh. Oh, don’t let me leave you with the impression that it was all beakers and crazy concoctions and dry ice and romantic Bride of Frankenstein and Madame Curie stuff. No, no, I definitely explored the emotional scale on this one.

It began with a question (what’s something new we can do?) and then it got exciting, difficult, impossible, hopeful, downright grave and depressing, then enlightening and much like childbirth, voila! a new integration of materials was born and I was riding the skyrocket of joy.


Until a Director of an Art Show told us that they were not good enough. She gave me many compliments on the idea of it, but said the execution was not good enough…YET. She suggested we look at the process as a marathon and not a sprint and take this year to go to school and learn some metalsmithing skills and by next year, with the new ideas, we quite possibly might jump tax brackets.

Hmmm, there it was again, “Get some metalsmithing skills,” told to us by people in the know.

Now I could have had a mini-meltdown (have you noticed I might have a little bit of what’s referred to as an “artistic temperament?”), but the funny thing was, after all that work and experimentation, I wasn’t even tempted to curl up in the fetal position after being told the work wasn’t good enough.

I was inspired.

Looking in the college catalogue, we found two classes that suited our fancy: Metalsmithing and Enameling. We sent in our greenbacks, got our student I.D.’s (hey, they’re great for various discounts) and started the new adventure in January. Wait, that’s this month.

We’ve been pouring over catalogues, getting redeye from scrolling through page after Internet page of websites offering tools, supplies, hints, tips, video lessons, eeeeeeee!!! a confusing tangle. What will we need and where will we set it all up in our doll-sized house?

Oh, one thing for sure, bandaids. As a delicate flower, I am not used to burly tools, hammers, drills, kilns, torches, grinding machines, things called flex shafts, in other words, lots of metal equipment with sharp or hot moving parts.

The first day I hammered my left digits, didn’t realize the metal could get so hot (ouchy-wah-wah!) and sliced my finger. Um, glass is sharp, man. The work scratches the heck out of my skin, requiring mass doses of hydrating cream, and my neck has been out for awhile now.

But guess what? I looooooove it!!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a question that has plagued me my entire life. When I was a wee lass, a niƱa chiquita, I had it worked out three ways. I was going to become an artist, a writer and an actress.

Before I could spell my name, I often scribbled on scraps of paper, line after wavy line of brilliant, imagined prose. As I didn’t have a paintbrush, I constructed my own from a clothespin and a playing card, making big, broad imaginary strokes of vibrant color on the wall. I played dress-up by the hours, my grandmother commenting that she’d never seen another little girl change clothes so many times in a day.

After graduating high school, I studied in Japan and decided I wanted to become an English teacher living abroad. I attended college in the States, earning a degree in English literature with the intent of returning to The Land of the Rising Sun, or as I call it because of the diet of gluton-y rice and gluttony of snacks, The Land of the Rising Belly.

That’s not what happened. I met Groom and started making jewelry while finishing my last term of college. Immediately after graduation, I was invited to share a booth at the Saturday Market and then we started doing Art Fairs and Festivals and now a skosh more than 18 years later, we’re still making jewelry.

One of the best gifts of 2009 was the realization that maybe designing jewelry was our thing.

Let me back up.

While in school, my career goal - the carrot dangling at the long end of the college stick – had been to return to Japan and resume the life I had made for myself. Groom’s career goal had been to become a teacher as well, that’s how we met. Through a series of events, including a ballot measure that eliminated the program, it did not happen.

Instead, we sort of fell into making jewelry.

Making jewelry did not fit into our plans. It was not what we studied or why we pulled the all-nighters to make the grade and switch the tassel. In other words, we never took it seriously; we were only creating jewelry until we discovered our true calling. Throughout the past 18 years, we have tried to quit. A woman offered to buy our business, and once we put everything into storage and took a year’s leave of absence.

In 2002, I got a wild hair and decided to juggle the Art Fairs and Festivals while attending beauty school for 18 months. After logging 2300 hours of what I acerbically call “community service,” I received my hair and aesthetician’s license. Nope. Turns out that was not my real thing either.

Groom has a sideline as a Site Inspector for construction loans and has also written a book called Why Doesn’t He Get It?, but while he certainly enjoys it, it’s not his real thing.

I wrote last week that for some, identity and clarity come easily. For us, it’s been an adventure, trying this, experimenting with that. While our journey unnerves some people (“When are you just going to pick one thing and settle down?”), it has inspired others.

I remember a woman I worked with at a hair salon. Realizing I was stinking miserable, I finally summoned the courage to give my notice (it was a pretty big deal at this point because I had already invested three years of my life and had $14,000 in school loans). She came up to me on my last day and said with tears in her eyes that she, too, was miserable and in physical pain. Because she was so successful and her family depended on her income, she felt trapped and could not quit. She expressed her admiration for me accepting that I didn’t love doing hair and getting out before it was too late.

In that moment, I did not know it really was too late for her. She died less than two weeks later, falling off the back of her husband’s motorcycle. That conversation haunts me. She felt too committed to her family and customers to follow her heart and yet they all must learn how to live without her income and mad hair skills anyway. Life is too short indeed.

So while some people would prefer that we pick a course and stay with it, we can live more at peace with ourselves knowing that we have taken risks and tried new things. (If you click on the photos, you can enlarge them to for better detail and then simply hit the back button to return to the blog. If you do this to the photo with the Paul Mitchell signage, see if you can spot me.)

Two years ago, a well known goldsmith who has been following our work, stopped by the booth to deliver a message. Born in Europe, she said in her beautiful accent, “You must take your jewelry to the next level. If you combined metalsmithing skills with your ideas, there’s no telling where you could go.”

Her cadent words stayed with me.

In the next couple months, we bumped up against a rude surprise. With the “economic downturn,” more people than ever are returning to the arts and crafts for potential income and this means greater competition in the Market Place. The category for jewelry is already deluged with applications for the few booth spots allocated in the show circuit, but add a few thousand more applicants and the competition to get INTO the shows has increased exponentially.

With the influx, rules in the industry are changing which only adds to the steep climb. Groom and I have been facing a moment in our evolution; we either quit the business or adapt and grow. We spent 2009 with this question snaking its way into everything. What shall we do? What’s our real thing? While reflecting (read questioning, railing, obsessing), we thought back on the ways in which money has most easily flowed: Writing and designing jewelry.

While going through the entire process of writing, editing, publishing and marketing Why Doesn’t He Get It? we both came to the realization that neither of us truly possesses the passion for the business of writing. Yes, I love creating this blog each week, but it is enough. My itch for combining and rearranging words is thoroughly scratched every seven days and it leaves me completely sated. I have no desire leftover to write anything else and that tells me a lot.

But we love creating things with our hands. If we quit our business, what else would we do? In what learning curve would we invest time, money and ourselves?

Uh-oh, I can see that I’m running out of room. Guess I’ll have to pick up that thread next week. Stay tuned…

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Confessions of a Name Junkie

“What’s in a name?” queried a frustrated Juliet. Shakespeare’s famous question aside, what IS in a name?


A name represents who we are and very few of us enjoy it when our name is the object of ridicule. The schoolyard mantra of “sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me,” is great in theory, but is usually repeated when unkind words have been splattered like mud on a brand new shirt.

Names have power. I remember a bully from church camp. Her rampage of brutality did not last long after I discovered her last name. It was gross. I had never heard the term for yucky and vulgar as a last name before and a smile very deep and wide spread throughout my body when I made this discovery. I knew she would not torment me a moment longer, for I had the power over her name and thus, over her.

As an added bonus, the first name she was given morphed easily into “Piggy” by a single vowel. The next time she tried to corner me near the swimming pool and say something cruel, I chose not to use my fists to end her tyranny, but my words. I looked her straight in the eye and said something like, “I seriously doubt a girl named piggy gross has anything more to say to me.” She stopped in her tracks. In that moment I had the power and we both knew it. And that was the simple end to her bullying me.

Names hold power. Top tier celebrities need only one, corporations go to great lengths to protect theirs, items can be made with the right one, and people given odd ones can have a more difficult time on the playground. Johnny Cash’s “A Boy Named Sue,” springs to mind.

Each name carries its own vibration, meaning and sound. Some are pleasant and carry strength while others are grating and weak. I didn’t used to love the name Leroy until I heard it in French; LeRoi means “the king.” Cool beans, man. I have a friend whose last name is Strong and she is. I sort of envy all those last names, which express the current of wealth. You know, names like Finegold, Goldrich and Richman.

Okay, fine you say, but what does that have to do with anything?


In the last year, this blog has taken several twists and turns. For those of you who have been following it from day one, you remember it started out as a vehicle for my Frida doll that was handmade by Vickie Getchell and presented to me by Kate McKinlay. The occasion was to celebrate a photo taken of Kate, her mother Gay McKinlay, Kimmmm Still and myself on Frida Kahlo’s 100th birthday when we dressed up as an homage to the great artist Frida. This photograph found its way into the hands of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), and they included it on their Legacy Wall when they held a retrospective of Frida Kahlo’s artwork.

As Groom and I traveled around the Pacific Northwest selling our whimsical line of postage stamp jewelry, we took Frida doll everywhere, photographing her like the Travelocity Nome and I wrote of our adventures through her eyes. We named the blog “Frida Chiquita Kahlo: The Everyday Anthropologist” so I could write about my observations of human behavior.

Then, in September, after much fun and frivolity with our new cameras, we grew bored of only taking photos of Frida doll and began posting some of what we consider our arty shots. Our weekly entries then transitioned into a photoblog. We toyed with calling our new line of photography, to distinguish it from the jewelry, “The Language of Light.”

The transition seemed logical and linear to us, making sense as we came to these adjustments a little at a time.


Until I finally had an afternoon to play on the computer. This is a rare event indeed. A friend of ours, Octavia Hunter, has a fantastic website and photoblog called and she had just completed an amazing food shoot for a magazine. Her work is stunning, I can’t encourage you enough to check out her work.

Perusing her website, I started laughing. Hers is so straightforward while ours takes a meandering path. When people who know us log on every Wednesday to see and read the next installment, they understand the how’s and whyfor’s, but I finally looked at our website through the eyes of a brand new person and a dozen question marks appeared over my head like a cartoon character.

Our website, called Cinderella Lucinda, is for our jewelry. The blog site, however, is called Frida Chiquita Kahlo: Everyday Anthropologist and the “About Us,” describes The Language of Light photography. What the heck?

I am laughing at myself (or is it with myself?), my rubescent cheeks blushing red with embarrassment. I admit, humbling as this is, that I have had a bit of an identity crisis and looking back on my history, I see that I have expressed the various stages of my life through name changes.

Yes, I am a name junkie.

I could spin doctor that and simply claim my Native American-ness and tell you that I am participating in my cultural heritage and while that may be a factor, the reality is that in 18 years creating jewelry, we have changed our business name four times.

It started out as a “Wearable Art,” line, but too many people thought we made clothes. Then, feeling that strong anthropological pull, I wanted to emphasize how many different cultures we represented with the postage stamps plus my Native American ethnicity, so we tried Tribal Rhythms. This was fine, to a point, until we realized everybody thought we made pow-wow jewelry. Duh. Didn’t think that one through.

Then I tried what I thought would be a simple approach, just using my last name. Nope, too hard to pronounce and nobody could remember it anywho.

Aaargh. Then, while my sister was tracing our ancestors back to the Reservation, she discovered a great-great relative from the 1800’s by the name of Cinderella Lucinda. Bam! That’s it. Humorous, fun to say, easy to remember, is part of my Native American background and represents the whimsical nature of our jewelry line.

And the best part? My entire life is a Cinderella story. If you’ve read that fairytale, then you know my life. Which as I’m typing this, brings me to my actual point. Since my life is straight out of Grimm’s imagination, why fight it? There is no need for an identity search or further diversification. If anything, focus would be best.

This is why we are transitioning from Frida Chiquita Kahlo: Everyday Anthropologist to Cinderella Lucinda: Once Upon a Time…This Week for a more streamlined approach so that everything aligns, our jewelry, photography and blog.

We still intend to share our photos and our weekly adventures, but desire cohesiveness. Pardon our dust while we remodel and we appreciate your patience as we discover who we are.

Some of you are blessed to know right away while for us, it’s as the Beatle’s describe, it’s been a “long and winding road…”