Tag Archive: artists

It’s hard to believe I can find inspiration in this mess! There are a few sketches on my bulletin board.

People often ask me if I design my pieces before I make them or do  I design as I work. I apply both methods, but more often than not a have some sort of sketch that I work from. They are usually just doodles that I make for myself rather than precise drawings. Some times ideas pop into my mind and I quickly put them on a napkin, paper bag, Post-it note or whatever else I can find, before they just as quickly pop back out of my mind!

I don’t worry if I am relieved when the finished piece doesn’t look like the drawing…




This looks like a 3rd grader did it and I don’t even care ;)

Front of Amada Daniel's graduation pendant

Front of Amada Daniel’s graduation pendant

and the back... Perfect for a soon to be Marine biologist!

and the back… Perfect for a soon to be Marine biologist!



My sister Brenda is the artist in our family. (Check out some of her artwork.) It is because of her that I started making jewelry. She was taking a jewelry class in college that was going to be cancelled due to low enrollment. The teacher asked me to sign up.

I really didn’t  want to sign up because it was a college ART class and I wasn’t good at art…. (Yeah, obviously you can tell from the sketches, that I still can’t draw very well.) but I didn’t want them to have to cancel. To my surprise, jewelry making was really fun! So after years of practice and help from a lot of really talented teachers, I can make jewelry! I don’t know if it was fate, luck, just being in the right place at the right time, or perhaps even divine intervention, but I’m really glad that I took that first class!

I was sketching as the lady that ordered the charm was telling me what she wanted.... No I certainly didn't show it to her!



Take a look at a few of these sketches and judge the drawing talent for yourself! I was doing the scarecrow charm “artwork” as a customer  was telling me what she wanted on the phone…. No, I certainly did NOT show it to her!


I love to doodle!

I love to doodle!


Below are pictures of a belt buckle I made for my Dad in 1986 when we lived in Spokane Washington. The sketch came out pretty good on this one but as you can see, there are some changes when it got to the proto type. I had to take a black and white picture to a print maker to have to prototype done. From the prototype I made a vulcanized rubber mold and then cast it in sterling silver. All this was done by hand, before I ever even thought about a computer! Times have changed and so have I. I used to worry about every detail and beat myself up for real and imagined flaws and inadequacies. (Okay I admit it, sometimes I still berate myself, but I try to tell Mary, Mary Quite Contrary to zip it!) The perfectionist inside of me didn’t strive for excellence because I wanted to improve my craft, the perfectionist was driven by the fear of being judged and not measuring up. Now I don’t worry as much about what I can and can’t do. I don’t worry if there are people out there that are better at art, more talented at making jewelry, can write a better blog post (and actually get it published once a week) or market their art like a  pro.

I love my Dad!

I love my Dad!


My goals now are to make fun art with my friends, make art jewelry that people enjoy wearing, and to teach and inspire other people to have fun making jewelry too!






This is the prototype. Dad has the Silver belt buckle.

This is the prototype. Dad has the Silver belt buckle.


Copyright © Mary M. Ehlers, Good Muse Designs 2015. All rights reserved.

"Breathe and other postcards in the works!"

The closer we get to the election here in the U.S., the louder and more frequent the noise…. Today I turned off the phone, the TV, the radio, the internet; well except for going to Marnie is my Muse to write this post and a very quick email check early this morning… I don’t want to hear anyone to tell me what to think! The mind monkeys are good enough at doing that. So today I got out my watercolors and went to work on a new postcard…..”Breathe”……. The other three were done in a class at Kaitlin’s Creative Cottage a couple of weeks ago but I had the wrong pen for the pen and ink part so I will have to re-do them before I can add color or I might try pastels in them or something….eventually they will become jewelry, I can see a link bracelet with enamel in my mind.

I am interested what other people do to escape when life gets to hectic, noisy, and so frantic that you feel like a little hamster on a plastic treadmill….. Some people actually get on a real treadmill and exercise the stresses away…. I tried that once, it didn’t work for me (just kidding.) I suggest doing something new and fun like taking a new class in painting, pottery, even a jewelry class! I would love to hear what you do to increase creativity and “Melt Stress like Butta!”

Copyright © Mary Ehlers, Good Muse Designs all rights reserved.



Rock My World ring

I’m talking about creator’s block,,, kind of like writer’s block except it’s about creating tangible “things” rather than creating using words.  I often suffer from creator’s block….not creativity block where I can’t think up ideas, that is a different can of worms all together, but the actual act of getting into the studio and executing those ideas.  I can come up with a million things to do instead,,, computer work, marketing, business stuff, housework, and then there are the excuses,,,, I don’t want to mess up the studio because I have students coming, I don’t have enough time before my dear husband gets here, I work better at night, I can’t concentrate because the @##$% (insert swear word of your choice here!) Dogs next door are barking….well you get the idea…

I’ve been talking to lots of artists about the “just do it” of making art and here are the top 5 ways to make art happen, in other words, how to chip away at the old block!

1)      Do it with a friend… ask a fellow artist to join you in the studio for a work session.

2)      Be accountable… join a group, ask a friend or family member to nag you, create a challenge  like a piece a week posted to your web site or flicker photos and ask others to participate.

3)      Take an ongoing class or even a one-time workshop in your medium or even in something totally unrelated to get you going.

4)      Set up designated work times and stay away from the phone, computer, etc. during these times…then stick to it!

5)      Reward yourself for working.  This is really important for those of us that work for ourselves because we often don’t see an actual pay check from week to week for specific hours worked.  (My reward goes something like this… if you finish ABC, LMNOP and XYZ by Thursday at 11:59 PM, then you can go play at the Creative Cottage on Friday!)

I hope this helps you all get started creating lot’s more art in 2012…. If you have any other great ideas on how to make more art, please leave a comment with your suggestions!

© Mary M. Ehlers 2012 all rights reserved.

The New Year is here and I wanted to share a few of my intentions with you for upping my creativity and reducing artists block.

1.  Just get into the studio and start working…. Don’t wait for inspiration, jump right in and pretty soon art will appear.  If you don’t feel especially creative do the busy work like brushing gesso on canvases if you paint, flipping through your old sketch books, or taking your camera out and clicking a few shots of whatever….  So 2012 is my year to make more jewelry in my studio and clean it less.  My students are awesome…they won’t mind.

2. Take on only new obligations that make you happy. JUST SAY NO to things that drain you of every good thing and give back little to no reward.  (If you have a day job the reward in that is a paycheck or health insurance so that isn’t what I’m talking about here…)  I vow to choose my obligations wisely!

3. Take out the trash… I’m not talking about the stuff piling up in the can, although getting rid of that helps too… I’m referring to the mental garbage that is weighing you down so that there isn’t a place for creativity.  This might be the little voice in your head that tells you all the reasons why you can’t do something, or the committee you agreed to head up or whatever…This year no matter how hard it is I am going to take 3 giant steps out of my comfort zone, put my fingers in my ears and tell the voice inside my head “na,na, na, na…I can’t hear you!”

4. Do something FUN as often as possible.  This is really important if you work from home!  Schedule an outing once a week or at the very least plan on doing something at home that is out of the ordinary and enjoyable.  I spend my Friday’s with friends that make me laugh. We make art or in my case I doodle while we chat.  (Ok if you must know I hang out at Kaitlin’s Creative Cottage.  http://thundermoonstudios.wordpress.com/kaitlins-creative-cottage-classes/)

5. And finally, this year I am going to put some healthy food in my body and add bit more movement ….no I am not giving up anything like chocolate or coffee… I am just going to add a few more vegetables into the mix and take my old dog Kobe out for a few adventures…. I have been told that this will make me much more creative…. time will tell 😉

The earrings pictured above are from the E-Z, Artsy Earring class I am doing through Groupon and they are made from pennies….just my 2 cents worth!

Copyright © Mary Ehlers, all rights reserved.