Friday, September 25, 2015

Inside the Studio with Mary Harding Jewelry

Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you'll leave comments! As an incentive, we offer a prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard and tell us what you think. The following week a winner is chosen at random from all eligible entries.

Congratulations to Deb Stewart!  Yeah!! You've won a $25.00 gift certificate from  Please send Heather your address and she will get your prize right out to you. 

Welcome to the studio of Mary Harding Jewelry.  I am so happy to have you visit today.  I have begun with a photo of some new pieces in my Etsy shop since that has been one of my projects for the last two weeks.  We have had such wonderful warm summery weather lately that I have been very distracted by the pull of the river for swimming and the deck and chaise for reading, that my inventory has sunk quite low.  Gradually I am building it up.  Above are a few of the new pieces in my shop.  
I have been working on making more of my hollow two sided beads like the one of the Maple Seed Wings in the lower left  hand corner in the collage above.  I love making these although they are very time consuming.  I am indebted to Claire Maunsell for teaching me the technique in polymer clay, which I have adapted to ceramic clay.  If you are not familiar with Claire's work I suggest you visit her Flickr stream!!  The beauty of these beads is that they have images on both sides.  I try to make the images related.  One of these beads is published in the current issue of Jewelry Stringng Magazine-in their Ultimate Shopping Guide.

Two sided hollow bead by MaryHardingJewelry  side 1

Two sided hollow bead by MaryHardingJewelry   side2

To move on, the bead in the upper right hand corner is a new plant for me.  I love its puffy succulent leaves and how gracefully they fall.  It is a common weed which you may know of, called Purslane.
Purslane Pendant MaryHardingJewelry
It is everywhere in every one's gardens and surprisingly it is very nutritious and good in salads in the early Spring.  I will be working on more pieces with it in the future.

The buttons and the clover are old standbys that I have added due to requests.  I am happy to have a good image of the clover since for some time I had difficulty painting that one.  Not quite sure why, but this one came out well, I think.

Cobalt wash on some disk beads before glazing and firing in the kiln

In addition to stocking my shop, I have also been having a wonderful time experimenting with cobalt wash. I have used it in the past but am finding new ways of working with it that are exciting.  The picture above shows some pieces with the wash on them.  It is a kind of sick pink color out out the jar which needs to be diluted with distilled water.  Like many things in ceramics, what you see is not what you get!!!  Depending on how much you apply to the clay and what colors are already on the clay, you get different shades of Cobalt Blue.  Some shades are very dark, some are like denim and some are like  Delft pottery from Holland.   All are beautiful!!  Reportedly VanGogh told his brother Theo that
‘Cobalt [blue] is a divine colour and there is nothing so beautiful for putting atmosphere around things…"

Collage of several pieces I have made using Cobalt Wash  by MaryHardingJewelry

I began by telling you how distracted I have been by the unusually sunny and warm weather here in the
 Northeast.  But I have also put my distraction to good use.  I have been storing up the warmth and color to nourish me for the long winter ahead.  It seems that the end of summer, early fall is a great time for keeping ones eyes peeled to the plants and leaves as they make seed pods and turn amazing colors.  This year has been especially beautiful and has been a color inspiration everywhere I look.
                                                                Rosa Rugosa Rose Hips 

Which brings me to my question:  How have you and your art been spending these dog days of summer and early autumn?  I would love to hear.  Please leave a comment below and you will be automatically entered to win a $20.00 gift certificate to my Etsy shop. 

Thanks so much for stopping by.


baymoondesign said...

Since I am going on a 3 week camping trip, I am trying to finish up some of my pieces. I am very close to getting my piece done for Sept. ABS done and I am running out of time! I am also trying to get ready for some holiday shows since they are right around the corner after I return. I am very busy!

Sarajo Wentling said...

I'm loving those blue pieces, Mary! Lovely! I'm sad to say that I've missed out on some gorgeous early fall weather stuck in my studio making jewelry. This is what happens when you only start really producing for your biggest show of the year a little more than a month in advance. Oops! The show is this weekend and I hope to take a little time for myself and relaxing after I survive it.

Terri said...

Keeping busy....Planed a big hero 6 party for some of the mothers and daughters in my congregation. Made baymax; mugs, earrings, book markers for party gifts. Decorations and games. Working on ABS challenge, Earrings every day challenge and tackle that bead stash challenge. Made a banner for my cousin for her first grand baby Leliana. Help my frien Niki with a jewelry project. Bib necklaces where you glue on beads to a metal blank..she loves them. Took some fall foliage that had lin my stash to a friends house to help her with her fall decorations. And just trying to get things in my every day life done while enjoying these last days of summer into the first days of fall.

Mary @ said...

It has been true dog days for me as I have a new puppy. He has been quite a distraction from building up inventory and photographing what I have.

Anonymous said...

Loving those cobalt wash beads! Your color palettes are so deep and rich. If you mean 'dog days' like my dog spends them...then I'm laying in the coolest possible spot in the house. It's been in the high nineties for too long this September. This week is spent gearing up for Holiday Markets and reevaluating existing inventory with a critical eye before adding anything new. Thanks for your morning inspiration!

Karen Z said...

Like you, I sit still in the studio only when I must. A few commissions, some jewelry for a local shop. But mostly sketching and beach-reading at the shore whenever possible. Throw in some serious grounding while digging in my gardens, and *poof* the summer is turning to fall.

Alice said...

Right now I Am busy making jewelry for the shop that I consing with. Where I live it still seems like summer. I need some inspiration for fall.

Karen L said...

We moved this summer and it is only the last couple of weeks that I have started setting up my studio room. As I put items away in their new homes I have been contemplating how I will use them. I'm very much looking forward to taking a few days just to create in several weeks.

Unknown said...

On vacation in Florida at my parents. I am collecting photos of colors, textures, and critters. WWhen I get home I will clean and then make another mess and lis on Etsy.

Julie Wong Sontag said...

Mary - those two-sided hollow beads are simply amazing. I just love the way your work is so intimately connected to nature and all the beautiful inspiration around us..... I always look forward to reading your posts and seeing what you've been up to. xo -- julie

Carolyn said...


Have been working on challenges and getting ready for holiday sales.

Love your cobalt beads.


Erin S said...

Most of my summer has been spent working, not playing. (sadly) Time in the studio has been scarce, and it seems only when it's an assignment for someone else rather than working on a cool idea of my own. I gotta fix that soon!