Thursday, June 14, 2018

First Breath

14mm by 10mm - Mosaic gold in sterling silver
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I have a ritual every time I come to Santorini. Planes here disgorge their occupants on the tarmac, not through a tunnel, and I like to stop at the top of the stairs briefly and take  a deep first breath. The air smells different here, a bit like salt, sand, and memories not yet made. It smells like home. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


22mm each side - Mosaic gold, filati in sterling silver
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I have left Cairo, indefinitely. This crazy city that I called home for the better part of the last year has been imprinted indelibly in my mind. Friends were made, meals were eaten, tears were shed, songs were sung. So I made these little pyramids, one for me, one for Blythe to commemorate our time there. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

A Hero Falls

On Friday, I found myself crying in an airport as I read about Anthony Bourdain's suicide. I am still struggling to not cry writing this now. I've never been a celebrity worshiper, and I am can't say I often wish I were more like someone. But Tony's passing makes me realize that this man was my hero, and I have a hole in my chest.

Anthony Bourdain informed my life far more than I realized. I travelled to Singapore just to eat, and to eat at the places he ate at. I ended up in Penang because of him, and sought out specific bahn mi stalls in Vietnam. 

He was unabashedly authentic, a traveller who wanted to get the real experience of a place, and did so through its food. Seeing the world through the filter of Tony made it shrink, and become less scary. He managed to find truth everywhere, and had a deep abiding empathy for humanity, wrapped up in layers of sardonic wit. He travelled in all senses of that word, and sucked the marrow out of life like I only wish I could.

And that is why his leaving as he did hurts all the more. That life sucked his marrow in return. That someone who seemed to have such a good time living, who truly seemed to love the human experience, needed to leave. 

He made the world a smaller place by being in it, and made the world a smaller place with his leaving. 

Tony, thank you for gracing us with you for as long as you did. I hope that wherever you've journeyed to this time, you are sat on a low plastic stool, hunched over a bowl of noodles, sipping a beer. 

Friday, June 1, 2018

Drop Dead Legs

30mm by 30mm - Mosaic gold in sterling silver
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This is Blythe; long time reader, first time blogger. I'm the guest writer today because, well, it just makes sense that I tell this story.

So here's the thing: Margo has great legs. Like, I'm talking model-in-a-magazine great legs. Just like when when we say someone has 'great hair' or 'great lips', we can all picture what 'great legs' look like. Stems. Pins. Gams. Whatever you want to call 'em, Margo's got 'em and they are great. Now, I have told her this for years. Margo 'didn't see it' until about a year ago. She sent me a photo of her legs one day back in June, 2017, with the caption: I see it now. Since then, she has continued to send me photos of her legs, in various positions and situations: beach legs, bed legs, bath legs, boat legs. Couch legs, balcony legs, deck legs. Legs in jeans, legs in leggings. Single leg. Even grape stomping legs! We call these 'Leg Photos'.

So, when my brother Hamish and I traveled down to upper Egypt at the end of April, I took some of Margo's jewelry with me to take photos 'on location'. Seeing some great hieroglyph legs at the Hatshepsut (or as we like to call it, Hot Cheap Soup) temple in Luxor, I had to do an obligatory 'leg photo'. So now you not only know the story behind this photo, you know the story of Margo's great legs.
The original leg photo

Wednesday, May 30, 2018


16mm diameter - Mosaic gold in sterling silver
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Today we reach back to the annals of Ancient Egyptian history. 

So the Ancient Egyptians always had a multitude of gods, that is, until this dude, Amenhotep IV, decided that Egyptians should worship just one god, Aten, a sun disk. Did he do this because he was a religious zealot sunbather? Did he wanted to wrest power and riches from the high priests? Did he have a short attention span and was sick of attending a million rituals? Whatever it was, he forcibly imposed monotheism, AND got the chick: the stunning Nefertiti, long thought to be one of the most beautiful women who ever lived. 

Of course, once he died, everything got changed back. His fancy new city Amarna was abandoned, and all the Aten temples destroyed. His son, Tutankaten, changed his name to Tutankamun, who we all know as King Tut (and we only really know about him because he had this tomb that was barely robbed, compared to all the other tombs, otherwise, the kid was pretty unremarkable).

There's probably a moral to this story somewhere, but I got nothing. 

Careful with messing about with people's religions. You might get your face scratched off.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Looking Forward

28mm by 7mm - Mosaic gold in sterling silver
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I have spent almost 8 months in Egypt between February 2017 and today. To quote a famous book opening, "It was the best of times, and the worst of times." There have been highs and lows. I have a bit more time in this great country, and I am still very much enjoying that, but I admit I am looking forward to a change. Looking forward to new and revisited horizons, and unforeseen possibilities. Looking forward to the sea. I am ready to move on, and excited to see what unexpected treasures the future holds. 

Monday, May 28, 2018

Bruised But Not Broken

45mm by 15mm - Mosaic gold in sterling silver
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I love to jump in waves that roll in off a sea, an endless amusement. I love to get tossed about, sometimes with just a touch of danger, getting a bit battered, bruised, but always standing up laughing (after adjusting the bikini to make sure no one gets an unexpected peep show). I love to catch a wave just so and body surf into the shore. When I find good waves⏤not too tame, not too raucous⏤I can stay out there until I'm a prune-y, salty mess. 

Unlike those happy, carefree waves, he came thundering down on my soul, unceasingly. But you see, I have practice and experience with waves, and I can ride them. So while I may have gotten caught in the undertow for a while, I'm back up on my feet, bikini sorted, a few bruises, but far from broken. 

Friday, May 25, 2018

Ferris Wheel

50mm diameter - Mosaic gold, filati, vintage Venetian cabochon in sterling silver
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Big ferris wheels are obviously a thing, as I have noticed so many in a variety of cities on my travels. While on a very brief trip to Dubai, I saw at least two, though one was under construction. It seems that ever since the London Eye was built, no city can be without a ferris wheel. Humans may have a problem with going around in circles. I sure know my brain does from time to time! 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Welcome to the Jungle

28mm by 7mm - Mosaic gold, smalti in sterling silver
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So Egypt is, well, a certain special kind of crazy. It's hard to explain the traffic, and a video, doesn't quite convey the level of sphincter squeezing that occurs when trying to get anywhere, either by car or foot. Perhaps the best way to explain it is an anecdote from Canada.

The whole family (six adults) is piled into my dad's minivan, one a road trip from the Fraser River Valley to Seattle. The Father is driving. Suddenly the entire family, save me, jumps in unison, with loud cries, "Whoa!"

I look up, completely confused by everyone's sudden reaction. Turns out a car had gotten too close for Canadian comfort. I, however, was completely non plussed⏤that car wasn't close! I quickly realized that I had a new level of what passes for "too close" thanks to Egypt. 

So be careful, it's a jungle out there.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Under the Sea

20mm diameter - Mosaic gold in sterling silver
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There are days when I'm inspired simply by the brilliant colours of gold in my repertoire and a combination I create with them, rather than by something I see or experience. The creation of this piece was one of those times. 

Trust my friend Blythe to come up with a great name and explanation, "It reminds me of when you're under the water, looking up to the sunlight. You know how it looks so different from when you look at water outside the water?"

Yes, yes I do. "Under the Sea" it is.