Tag Archive: sterling

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.

Hmmm, the stone doesn't fit!

Hmmm, the stone doesn’t fit!

I love it when a plan comes together! I work for hours and hours on a vision that I have in my mind. I spend the time to sketch it out. I dream about what it will look like when it’s all done. I obsess over it like Gollum does for “my precious”  from J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Finally, I painstakingly put my plan into action. I calculate for ring size and stone size. I execute my design. I refine the delicate filigree, I fuss, it breaks (hey it happens), I fix it and I refine some more (after all the devil is in the details) and then I re-refine again. Only after hours and hours and yes, even more hours, the piece goes into the kiln with a prayer to the kiln gods that it doesn’t collapse in the firing, because syringe filigree can be fragile. I anxiously wait for the kiln and the cool down. I peak into the kiln…. “my precious” is in one piece and looks intact. I breathe a sigh of relief…When I finally take it out of the kiln…………… my heart stops……………. The shrinkage has happened in all the wrong places…..JUST MY LUCK! It’s just like buying a new pair of jeans hoping they will shrink in the waist only to have them shrink in the length. It really wasn’t supposed to be quite this big around and the plan was for the stone to fit at the top of the piece…. <Sigh> How did this happen…. Metal clay shrinks proportoinally! Well, it always has before.

No it wasn't supposed to take up half my hand!

No it wasn’t supposed to take up half my hand!

Does it look horrible? No, but it sure doesn’t look anything like the plan I had in my mind! Am I disappointed? YES! (Understatement) But, there is always plan “B” I’m not exactly sure what that involves, but I’m sure it will be much more complicated than I want it to be…and I really hope that it will also be much more rewarding (ok …. I’m really trying to find the silver lining here…) when I finally have a finished (better than it would have been IF plan “A” had worked out the first time) showpiece ring! I’ll keep you posted on my progress….. It may be a while…don’t hold your breath ;D

The outside of the unpolished ring.

The outside of the unpolished ring.












Copyright © Mary M. Ehlers, Good Muse Designs 2013. All rights reserved.

I received this photo from Sharon Hessoun  www.crystalbeadbeauties.com and this is her version of Red Flirt!  For those of you that don’t know I challenged everyone to come up with a piece of art inspired by the prompt “RED FLIRT!” Here is a link to the post: http://wp.me/p27TWN-1m Sharon is an awesome beader!

Copyright © Mary Ehlers, All rights reseved