Category Archives: Uncategorized

Thank You!

Hi all. It’s been awhile since I have made a blog post & a lot is going on. It’s much easier on the day-to-day to post on Instagram, which if you’re not familiar with it, is like a running log of pretty magazine photos with less wordage. I am making this post just to share more information than usual because a lot is happening on The Prairie and that change is because of you. Thank you! 

Obicular Ryolite & Garnet Necklace Removable Kinetic Chain

Wild Prairie Silver has grown every year since the start… which was when my son was an infant, 2001. He will be 18 years old this coming winter…crazy! I have always worked out of my basement and it’s not a studio – it’s a basement. I was talking with another local jeweler and he said, “Why do they always put us in the basement?” We laughed cuz it’s true.

Learning and working, learning and working, learning and working, learning and working….there has been steady small-scale growth (my business is still microscopic) that is wonderful. Wild Prairie Silver will finally have a studio, and be above ground, joining the living by 2019… The view will be of The Prairie that I live on, out of many large windows (A WINDOW! WHATS A WINDOW! SAYS THE GIRL WHO WORKS IN A BASEMENT.) I am excited. (I am also terrified.)

Here is the first pic of the studio… colored concrete slab with some plumbing in it. The walls go up this Friday & Saturday. My husband is doing all the work himself with the help of some friends. I thank them greatly. This is a luxury I could have done without my entire life. I just about throw up looking at the cost, however, what is the cost of the sun shining on you as you work? I just keep saying that to myself. (The size of it is roughly a two car garage.)

Turquoise Aquamarine Cuff Bracelet 

The studio space is a work space, not a retail space. We will have an open studio event yearly for Christmas, but not sure it will be ready this year. We will be able to see you by appointment which really helps with ring restyles & custom designs. We will have wine, chocolate and jewelry on hand  in case you call and can stop in for a jewelry fix, plus a glass of wine and a piece of chocolate!

I have had the same 2 questions this year from multiple folks. So I will try to answer them as best I can.  1)  How to ‘have a business?’  2)  Do I or will I teach a class?

  1. I have one answer to creating a business from your art = work. I work a minimum  of full-time, usually it’s much more than that. Work time is not time on the computer. Work time is time you are actually creating something. There is no secret. I worked as an RN since I was 21 years old, until 3 years ago (I am now 43). I started making jewelry, loved it and the entire time I was an RN, I was becoming a jeweler…did both at the same time for 16 years. I ‘retired’ from my nursing career reluctantly 3 years ago and it was the best thing that could have happened. (Everything happens for a reason and nothing worth having happens easily or overnight.) Clock your time and work 40 hours at whatever it is you do. Your work day is 8-5 like everyone elses or 7-7 or 6-8… whatever it takes…. If you’re not doing this you are not working enough. If you have small children this is impossible if you are actually being a parent. I could not do this with children under 10 years old. Also take a vacation every year even if it’s an at home vacation and do not do your art for one week. Your mind needs a restart and maybe your hands need a rest as well.
  2.  About teaching classes: I simply do not have time. I have so much to do before I die. I will never get it all done. I need more classes myself. I have a family. I run a business. I am an artist. I am always thinking and creating, reinventing a wheel in my basement … and then making dinner. Leaving here to teach a class is almost impossible. I live in a very rural area that has zero hotels. I don’t/won’t ever have the space here to teach a class. When I do get to leave here I want to take a vacation with my kids/husband and not make jewelry. Once in a great while I teach at Peninsula School Of Art, Fish Creek Door County Wisconsin, which is one hour from my house. They have a beautiful metals studio with great classes and great teachers. PeninsulaSchoolOfArt.org  

Labradorite Necklace 

Cross Angel Wing Necklace 

I have to say a huge Thank you!!!!!  to all that have helped me in the past years and years ~ Either as a customer, as a mentor, as my family member, as a teacher, as a gallery owner, a friend … Wow, so many people have touched and influenced my life so I can do what I love to do.

Also I have an apprentice, she’s be a wonderful addition to the studio… Kali… She is becoming an amazing jeweler in her own right. Then there’s Skyla… the college intern… she is the organizational CEO of the studio. She has organizational skills that I was never born with. Both of these wonderful women help with all things Wild Prairie. They don’t go to shows cuz that would be cruel and unusual punishment ~ Roadies for the art shows… husband, Savannah and Wyatt (my kids who have spent countless hours at art shows)… take down and set up is a smash and grab but it gets done in record time.

***My customer…. none of this would be possible without you believing in what I make for you. I want your piece of jewelry to be everything you want it to be. I want your heirloom jewelry to be worn, be memorable and be amazing. I want the items you decide to decorate your body with to be a reflection of you, your past, present, future. That is why I love what I do. It connects us. My art connects you to memories and events and that makes it all worth any time, any failure, tons of effort… it’s the success in the finished piece that makes your face light up with joy or tear up with a memories. My very best pieces have been because of you pushing me, changing it, making me see it through your perspective. I could not exist without ya. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Diamond Ring 

And for the Jewelry… making leaps and strides with higher end pieces.. getting braver and braver. I hope to take another gem setting class in 2019 so I can be more confident in setting unusual gems in gold. Ring show is for sale but an example of how your diamonds sitting in a drawer can become something else… something you will wear.

Events coming up are Oct 6 & 7th Townline Art Fair which is held at the Fineline Gallery in Ephraim Wisconsin… Door Co. It’s a show that has been going on for decades so come and enjoy the fall colors and the beautiful harvest festivals all over Door County that weekend. November 24th, Small Business Saturday, East Depere High School 9-3.

I will keep ya updated on the Studio. Since my husband is doing it himself it will take a while. Again thank you all, and enjoy the weekend and hopefully see you at a show before Christmas.(Yes, I said Christmas… it’s coming…. please put in any custom orders as soon as ya can… already started on some.)

~ God Bless 🙂 joy


Christmas Show Schedule

I have not posted on my blog in a zillion years so I figured I had better for the Christmas Show Schedule… I don’t post on here very much any more because I use Instagram as a daily log of what I am doing and making. If you want to catch up on some images go to ~http://www.Instagram.com/Wildprairiesilver   

NEXT SATURDAY 9-3PM 500 SWAN ROAD DEPERE ~ I am out in the hallway in the commons area. There is a line at the door so if it’s cold come at 9:30 cuz then you won’t have to wait in line outside. Parking is impossible.

Saturday Dec 2nd Art Show at Titletown Tap Room on Broadway in Green Bay ~ 10-5PM. There is a home Packer Game the following day so I expect we will be busy. Please stop in and see us. This is the first year for this even and we could be standing there alone, listening to the crickets, but we are hoping not.

Last but not least… a get together (I can’t really call it a show cuz it is not a show but a party) A Christmas Open House in Kewaunee at 210 Ellis Street~Kewaunee WI Kali’s School Of Dance Studio is hosting us… Stop in and say hello and have some Wine and Chocolates with us so we can wish you a Merry Christmas.

We are working hard right now to ship everything the day after you order it. So, if you need something made for Christmas please email joy@joykruse.com. This is not the ‘No Season’ but the ‘Snow Season’ and we say ‘YES’ to getting it done. Don’t be shy or think we are too busy. We expect busy right now, welcome it and we are at your service. email joy@joykruse.com Website Orders http://www.WildPrairieSilver.com 

Happy Thanksgiving! Hope to see you before Christmas! 🙂 🙂 🙂 joy


Travel and Fresh Metal…

Recently arrived home from a trip to sunny Cancun Mexico. A week in the sun and the water was wonderful. After about 6 days I am ready to return home from anywhere but it was good times had by all of us. We really wanted to take our two kids out of the country as well just so they could experience life lived in was other than what they know. It was good for them. The water in the Yucatan Peninsula is known for being crystal clear and aqua blue. We snorkeled and scuba dove, swam and ski jet skied, ate, walked, toured the Mayan ruins. The Mayan ruins are one of the wonders of the world and I now have more information on that then I’ll ever need. (Our tour guide has a Phd Mayan culture.)

Mayan temple is not really a temple… it’s a calendar. The Mayans kept such accurate track of time that their calendar has a leap year every 5,000+ years. Nasa uses the Mayan calendar and developed the Atomic calendar with it. Pretty smart for 4,000 years ago. Twice per year on the Spring Equinox and the Fall… the corners of the temple create a shadow down the stairs of a slithering snake- ending at a huge stone carved snakes head which. We were there the day after the Equinox…the day of the Equinox 50,000 people there to see it.

Traditional Spanish town about half way to the Mayan ruins. This church was built in 1545, destroyed of course in battles, rebuilt in 1705, some town Mayors murdered in it and the church was painted with their blood..eeekkkk!!!!!!!! This is one of the only churches in the world banished by the Catholic church because of it’s gruesome history. I did not get an accurate story about this church either…the language barrier kept a lot of details from me.

Guy in this town making Mayan charm pendants for tourists while they wait. He is working in a space the size of a closet with people lined up out the door.

Under ground Cenote…

Just loved this Flatbed bug 🙂

Savannah snorkeling…right after this photo we saw a fish as big as we are and he was standing his ground so we turned around like a couple of chickens.

The end of our travels to Mexico… it was very hot there and actually when we got home to 35 degrees it felt refreshing but I have always loved it here in Wisconsin.

Nail Through My Heart Necklace With Handmade Chain… This photo is not the best… the stone is awesome! I love making this necklace and this is the best one yet! Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/521810847/sterling-silver-heart-necklace-handmade?ref=shop_home_active_2

Labradorite ring with Aquamarine Gemstone. This was a custom order and my apprentice made it, Kali… she really held down the fort here while I was gone. Without her it would be very difficult to take a vacation for a week. I just cannot keep track of orders, emails, shipments, and production without help. She is a great help and is also becoming a very talented metalsmith.

Palm Root Fossil and Citrine… handwoven viking knit chain. Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/506828562/sterling-silver-necklace-handmade-one-of?ref=shop_home_active_52

Crazylace Agate and Vanadinite…handmade solid cable neck wire. I just made this Thursday but it is sold. These are really my favorite pieces to make…the unexpected stones turned jewelry, the rough with the polished, the ugly and the pretty…. I am glad that you all like my crazier pieces because if you didn’t I couldn’t keep doing what I love to do, so thank you. I am at a point in my life where this is what I am and there is no turning back, just going forward and learning/evolving.

To anyone I went to High School with I will be in the Oconomowoc Art Show this year August 18th and 19th… it’s as close to Fort Atkinson as I can get so please stop in and say hello. That is a new show for me and had several of my Door Co. customers ask me to apply there because they live in the more southern part of the state. I just got news that I was accepted in. I will not be in Madison this year. I just decided I do not like the Urban environment and the great expensive of the show. I would rather be in the grass at a park then on hot pavement in between high rise buildings. Other shows are listed on my events page. Summer will be here soon. Happy Spring to all and God bless you and yours.


ArtiGras Art Show This Weekend

Labradorite necklace

ArtiGras is this weekend in Green Bay at Shopko Hall across from Lambeau Field: Saturday 10-5 and Sunday 10-5      link: http://mosaicartsinc.org/artigras/about.php   I will be at Booth 37, so stop in and say hello. I will try and post some pics to Instagram of the weekends events. It usually is really nice to get out and see people this time of year. Above Labradorite necklace: https://www.etsy.com/listing/497592472/sterling-silver-labradorite-necklace?ref=shop_home_active_31

Sterling Silver and Moissanite Handmade Engagement Ring

I’m scrolling through pics to add them into this post and I feel like I could add pics forever just for the pure pleasure of seeing all of the work I have created for so many of you. It is such a ‘joy’… so thank you! The studio is busy, but please don’t ever think we are ‘too busy’ for your special project. I would not be here without you and without you asking me to do something for you. I’m here working away and would love to make something just for you. Ring Above link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/514379079/sterling-silver-ring-handmade-sterling?ref=listing-shop-header-3

Handmade Garnet Ring

Wild Prairie Silver this fall has had an apprentice come on board. It’s great to watch a new metalsmith work and learn. She doesn’t need to learn that much… she’s a natural. Her name is Kali and she made this ring along with several others. Welcome Kali to the wonderful love hate relationship you can now have with metal. It’s a very bipolar love affair… the Smith and the Metal…    Above Ring link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/501405074/sterling-silver-ring-sterling-silver?ref=listing-shop-header-0

Handmade Sterling Silver Necklace

This is a crazy specimen piece of jewelry…love it! It’s big and crazy and wonderful. Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/494870798/sterling-silver-spessartite-garnet?ref=shop_home_active_21

Labradorite Necklace

Labradorite Necklace & Huge Chain  Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/514346111/sterling-silver-necklace-sterling-silver?ref=shop_home_active_2

What else is new? We got a new puppy dog, named Taz. He is some kind of Boxer mix from a local shelter. He is really Savannah’s baby doll to be honest with you. He would like for you to wrap him in a blanket all day and hold him even though he’s more than 60 pounds now. We miss Dusty Dawg and his maverick ways but Taz is growing on us…literally cuz he never stops touching you.

sterling silver wisconsin charm necklace

Sterling Silver Wisconsin Charm Necklace now comes with a sterling silver heart or a solid 18k gold heart. I like this style the best out of all of them. They have been featured in Our Wisconsin Magazine so that has been a great boost!!!! Thank you Our Wisconsin!!!!!! Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/497121284/sterling-silver-wisconsin-necklace?ref=shop_home_active_2

sterling silver ring

My new show schedule is out on my website… and I will up date it on this blog as well but you can check it out at Http://www.WildPrairieSilver.com. If I don’t see you this weekend hopefully see you soon at a Summer Show!!! xo ~ joy

Ring Above link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/500470570/sterling-silver-ring-handmade-by-wild?ref=shop_home_active_6

DAILY PICS OF US WORKING AND MAKING~FRESH METAL ALMOST EVERY SINGLE DAY ~ INSTAGRAM #WILDPRAIRIESILVER


It’s Been Too Long…

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It’s been too long! 🙂 I have not been writing in my blog much and got an email from a reader asking me if I am still around and still working? They inspired me to give everyone a lengthy update. I am still around and I am working more than I have ever worked. I no longer work one day a week as nurse and it’s paying off. I was very nervous about that umbilical cord being cut but it was for the best. I have not worked as a nurse since July and it’s a relief. I miss the OR but too bad for me, because I’m swamped in the studio. I needed the extra day I was missing just so I could lead a normal life at home and not work all weekend in my studio. I still work Saturday mornings so it’s a 6 day a week gig. If I have a show then it’s 7 days a week. Speaking of shows… Yes, next week I have a show 🙂 It is the Red Bird Holly Craft Faire at East Depere High School. It’s a beautiful Christmas show that benefits the school. Hours 9-3 Sat Nov 28th 500 Swan Rd Depere WI. It is $3 to get in and yes, there is a long line outside at 9am. It is every year, the Saturday after Black Friday. I do not normally fit in at a craft show but this one is a little different… all holiday themed and super pretty. They do an amazing job.

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This is my lunch break… Walking Dusty Dawg. He starts pulling at my pants leg if I am late for our lunch date. He is a good break to get outside and let my eyes see the sun. He’s been a wonderful addition to our family.

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Over the next year I will start to work into more gold pieces. They will be 18K Gold or higher incorporated into my work. It’s a natural progression and as I become more and more skilled it’s necessary to add in more valuable natural resources. Gold is like a dream substance. I can see why ancient people used it and created amazing things with it. It’s properties are so wonderful and beautiful. These are 18K Gold and Sapphire Earrings. Each sapphire is one carat. They sparkle and glimmer like no other faceted bead would, except a diamond. Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/256759020/sapphire-18k-gold-earrings-handmade-wild?ref=shop_home_active_2

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Sierra Madre Agate, Crystal Quartz and Pearl… available on my Etsy site: https://www.etsy.com/listing/256678815/sterling-silver-necklace-handmade?ref=shop_home_active_1

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Faceted Labradorite Cuff: Link https://www.etsy.com/listing/254359565/labradorite-cuff-bracelet-sterling?ref=shop_home_active_2

Ok, so where have I been posting my new work? I have been using Instagram. For those of you that do not know what Instagram is, it is a mini blog of daily photos and some text. It’s fast and efficient, short and sweet, and you can add people to your favorites to see what they are up to. A mini, daily, report… Facebook owns Instagram. My teenagers tell me that Facebook is for old people. Instagram is the new, cool, Facebook. That is coming from a 14 and 13 year old, so take it for all you think it’s worth. I don’t care what is cool. I only care that I can communicate with my customers, my peers/colleges, any audience that cares so I can keep making jewelry. If you want to try it out, down load the Instagram app on your device and type #WildPrairieSilver in the search box.

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This is an awesome cuff. I have been making it for awhile. You would die laughing if you saw me making it. I make it with a big hammer on my concrete floor ~ Nothing but high tech equipment in my studio!!!! I do have some tools coming to make bracelets~ Durstons Bracelet Forming Kit, but I still don’t think it will help me form this 5mm thick sterling. It has to be man handled and trust me I do not have man hands. It also has to be annealed over and over again. Every time you bend it slightly it stiffens up to the point of not moving another millimeter. It’s worth the work. It is a lifetime piece of jewelry. Actually, it will last several lifetimes. It is nice to make something that will be here in 300 years. That makes me smile. 🙂 Link: http://www.wildprairiesilver.com/store/p4/Heavy_Sterling_Cuff_Bracelet_Brushed_Finish_Handmade_Jewelry_Wild_Prairie_Silver.html

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This was a great custom order. One I will not ever forget. Stoneless ring in the back ground was an anniversary band with 7, 3.25mm diamonds in it. It was valued at $4000 and looked every penny of that…. The customer was not a traditional diamond wearing person, which most of my customers are not traditional diamond wearing people…. So, she had a Twig Vine ring made from her diamonds…. It is huge… 14mm wide at the top. It had to be to put all the diamonds in it. I loved it! and so did she! If I had that many diamonds I would make one for myself.

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This is a Vanadinite and Crazy Lace Agate. https://www.etsy.com/listing/252405002/sterling-silver-necklace-vanadinite?ref=listing-shop-header-0IMG_7377

Crazy Lace and Garnet Ring ~ Honestly I love this ring..It is both of the stones… purely wonderful stones. https://www.etsy.com/listing/252597917/red-agate-garnet-sterling-silver-ring?ref=shop_home_active_4

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Ocean Jasper and Pearl ~ This is sold. I have a lot of gorgeous Ocean Jasper and I do not hesitate to purchase it. It is no longer being mined so whatever rough is out there (which I am sure there is tons and tons) that is all there is. Pieces as special as this piece will be gone first and then just the scraps will be left.

Next week is Thanksgiving. We all have things to be thankful for. I hope you have a wonderful meal and are in good company. If you are going shopping on Black Friday please save some of your money for small business Saturday… because I can see you in Depere on that day! And it’s all hand crafted Christmas items. (9-3 East Depere High School… 500 Swan Rd. Depere WI)

I will keep making things here in the middle of no where and I will keep doing blog posts. I do enjoy it. If you want a daily dose of what is at my bench, visit Instagram and search #WildPrairieSilver. If you search #Instasmithy lots of beautiful jewelers images will pop up for you to view. It’s eye candy for the jewelry lover and the jewelry creator. I will check back in before Christmas is upon us.

Happy Thanksgiving To All!


Art Show Dates and Classes 2015

Happy Spring!
It’s been a whirl wind here in the last month, many changes and its hard to absorb them all. Maybe next winter I can look back and remember what I was doing during April and now May. My jewelry business is growing nicely and that is all good. It has been a progression that was meant to be. I sent jewelry to a new gallery in New Orleans and that is exciting. The Thomas Mann Gallery:  I/O Gallery will now be showcasing my jewelry. That is a happy feeling. I’m ramping up for show season and can’t seem to keep a stock of inventory and that is also good. It’s good to be busy. I can’t believe my first show is in three weeks… I have a lot of work to do. It’s also my favorite show… Sturgeon Bay’s Fine Art Show Memorial Weekend in Sunset Park (Sat and Sun only.)
I redid my website completely after being coerced into it by my friend Tammy Rae. Her daughter helped me endlessly… I was very frustrated because maintaining a website is a full-time job. I wanted to be able to change my pics, change my slideshow, have a shopping cart, not lose my several domains I maintain, and do it easily with it looking nice. My other web designer was great but she can’t change things on a daily basis. I now have control over minute to minute changes. Well, all of that seemed overwhelming to conquer when I already had a website. I was sick of my old website. It needed a facelift, but I did not want to spend any time changing it or waste time making something I liked even less than what I had. So THANK YOU Kristina and Tammy! It looks amazing and was not as painful as I expected and I love it. It has a full shopping cart attached to paypal and square and I can update it whenever I want to very easily. Please visit it and check it out! I would love to hear your feedback. http://www.wildprairiesilver.com

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Beautiful Bloodstone Necklace ~Sold

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Pearl and Dryhead Agate Necklace available Link: http://www.wildprairiesilver.com/store/p324/Dryhead_Agate_Sterling_Silver_Pearl_Necklace.html

Other personal changes… my father in law passed away very unexpectedly a few weeks ago. He was a wonderful man. He was a father that was an example of how to live your life and love people. We will miss him greatly. His grandson spoke at his funeral and describe him as ‘warm’ and that is so right. He let you love him and he loved you back. He was a warm, loving person with a sense of humor. He was non-judgmental and rolled with the punches. I lost a Dad and a friend. His own children lost not only a father but their guide post, the foundation of their lives. We all are grateful to have loved him and we all are grateful for how he passed away… in his sleep, never sick, living and going and being right up to that moment. That is a beautiful to gift to him and a reward for the self-sacrificing life he lived. Love you Gramps.

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Mother’s Twig & Vine Ring ~ This is a custom order with your choice in stones. This was made as a Mother’s Ring with her children’s birthstones. You can have your own ring made in a similar style but they will all be very different. I have made about five of these rings this month and each one is just as unique and beautiful as the next one. Link: http://www.wildprairiesilver.com/store/p181/Twig_and_Leaf_Mother%27s_Ring_Custom_Order.html 

 

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Florida Fossilized Coral and Citrine… Handmade Chain ~ This necklace is one of the boldest necklaces I have ever made, yet there is a softness about it. If you are interested in this necklace you can send me a message or call The Flying Pig Gallery and purchase it directly from them. It is on display and for sale at The Flying Pig Gallery in Algoma WI. 920~487~9902 http://www.theflyingpig.biz

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Labradorite Bullet Ring Link:http://www.wildprairiesilver.com/store/p173/Labradorite_Bullet_Ring_Sterling_Silver_Hand_Made_One_Of_A_Kind_Wild_Prairie_Silver.html

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Azurite Specimen Necklace Handmade Chain Link: http://www.wildprairiesilver.com/store/p325/Azurite_Stone_Hand_Made_Chain_Sterling_Silver_Necklace_.html

Here is the show and class schedule for 2015. I am excited that I did get into the Madison Show and Wausau Art Show. Madison is terrifying me but you have to do new things, right? Why is Madison terrifying? I have a list… It’s huge, it’s a ton of over head in $$$, it’s huge, it has 200,000 people in attendance, it’s one of the top art shows in the nation, it’s huge, it’s windy, it’s huge, I will need help, I have children that are helpful ~ thank God for that, oh did I mention that it’s huge. It is on the streets surrounding Wisconsin’s Capital building so I think I will love it but I won’t know unless I try. IT’S HUGE!!!!!!! Ahhhhhhhhheeeeeeeeeekkkkkkkkkkkkk!

My jewelry classes at Peninsula School Of Art are a little goofed up in the catalog. As I type, I am reminding myself to give them a call. The three days of jewelry making where suppose to be consecutive days. You could pick and choose but not just come on Friday only and think you can make the necklace in the photo in one day. I am a little worried that I will have a class 20 people on Friday that all want to make something awesome to wear for their weekend in Door Co. in one day and that is unrealistic. We will just do what we can with what we have but Friday was only supposed to be available if you picked one of the other days or all three. So if you come Friday only and have never used a torch or a pair of pliers in your entire life we will still have you make something amazing but it won’t be what is in the photo. We will do our best though and as always in class I hold nothing back. We can take class wherever your skill level and imagination allow. All the links to show information and classes are on my website: http://www.wildprairieisilver.com http://www.wildprairiesilver.com/show-dates–classes.html

Late little note… I started posting daily pics in my workshop as they are created on Instagram. If you want to see those pics download the Instragram app (you can go to Instagram on your computer too) and type in the search wild prairie silver. The pics are fun, spontaneous eye-candy, no extra hoopla, very little text. Hopefully see you all soon on a beautiful summer day, in a park at an art show. Take Care & God Bless ~ joy

 

Art Show Schedule and Class Schedule
Sturgeon Bay Fine Art Show May 23rd, 24th Memorial Weekend, Sat & Sun only. Sunset Park Sturgeon Bay Wisconsin Door Co.
Art On The Square ~ Art Off The Square July 11th, 12th Madison Wisconsin, surrounds the Capital building
Bergstrom Mahler Fine Art Show ~ July 19th Sunday Only, 165 N Park St Neenah WI 10-4pm.
Art In The Park ~ Appleton Wisconsin Sunday July 26th
Artstreet ~ Green Bay Wisconsin August 28th, 29th, 30th Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday
Wausau Fine Art Show ~ Wausau Wisconsin Sept 12th, 13th
Towline Art Fair ~ Ephraim Wisconsin at The Fine Line Gallery Door Co. October 10th, 11th
Redbird Christmas Show East DePere High School Nov 28th Doors Open at 9am
 Class
September 14-18th Peninsula School of Art Fish Creek Door County
Sept 14, 15th Business Class Opening Your Etsy Shop: In this class we set up your Etsy store from start to finish. If you already have an Etsy store we make it shine. Class covers social media, SEO and other business aspects of selling your work. Two half day classes, morning
Sept 14, 15th Demo Microscopic TIG welding: Over view of new microscopic TIG welder for jewelry and mixed metal artist.
Sept 16th, 17th, 18th: Three days of making whatever jewelry piece you want from sterling silver…. come one day or come all the days… open to all skill levels.

Making Jump Rings….

Making jump rings…. Why???? Number of reason ~ you just need one. It’s pretty lame to wait for the mail for just one jump ring. Next reason… You make an awesome focal pendant and you add an $10 cord or machine made chain? Ugh! I can’t even stand the thought of it. It happens, but sometimes you just need that handmade look to finish it off just right.

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Cut about 3 feet of whatever gauge you want to use. If you want flat jump rings run a piece of wire through a rolling mill or use rectangular or square wire that you can purchase.

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If you have flat/square wire: coil it like this or it will turn on its side and get all wonky… especially square wire, it turns on its side easily.

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Round wire: does not matter just hold with your fingers.

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Cut the coils off the mandrel. You can use almost anything round for a mandrel ~ like a pencil. I use Pepe brand jump ringer and there are several brands out there to choose from. These coils are 14g and 16g sterling silver.

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This is a saw blade. It fits in a safety housing. I hate the thing because it’s dangerous, it’s expensive to replace, it has to be loaded correctly or it breaks. I’ve had students smoke several of them up in one day at $12 a piece. If you use it properly it’s fine. I’ve had the same three blades for a few years. That being said I don’t use this. Don’t use it… There’s an easier, cheaper way.

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You need need this thing. It holds the coil perfectly. It keeps the cut perfect. What’s it called? I don’t know… I’ll call it a Gizmo…

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Anneal you coils before you cut them… That makes for nice pliable rings without tension in them. It’s much easier now, than when you have a hundred separate rings. Pickle them as well.

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Use this… Cut off wheels available at Home Depot. Put a coil in the Gizmo. Oil oil oil 🙂 or the blade will break and so would the dangerous metal blade. You’ll know if you forget this step… Smoke and breaking blades. I use mineral oil available at your grocery store in the laxative section..(nice, huh?)

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Tighten Gizmo lid… Firm not too loose and not squashing the coil. Cut coil with fast flexshaft motor speed and slow steady hand speed.

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Open up Gizmo: All nice and perfect… Wash with dawn dish soap and hot water rubbing in your hands.

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Now, go make some awesome chain…..

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See you you all soon at Artigras in Green Bay Wisconsin. It’s the first weekend in March and gets us all out of hibernation. Winter has been good to us this year though…. I hope my friend Roni in New Jersey is ok and not snowed in. Being snowed in isn’t all bad though….. Once in awhile. Hope you’re ok Roni!!!!

New Instagram pics, fun app…. #wildprairiesilver


Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!! I am grateful for so many things that my list could go on and on…… I will start here: thank you ArtBeet for helping me get this machine!!!!!! It’s amazing!

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I have attached some pics of my new PUK welder. I traveled to Chicago to get some training on it and here it is set up in my humble little workshop. It makes some very difficult tasks very easy. In the first few moments of use we have realized what a great tool this will be!!! We welded a pile of jump rings in  a few minutes with no solder, no flux, no pickle, no solder seam. We hammered the jump rings… no visible sign of the join at all, amazing. Tomorrow (yes, on Thanksgiving) I am going to try some antique repairs. That is what started my interest in this unit in the first place.

I will have to have my Artist Guild, ‘ArtBeet’, over for a trial and error on the unit ~ show and tell. Because of them it was possible for me to get the machine. I could not have done it without them. I hope to show this machine to other artists and have them see first hand what it can do and open their eyes to the possibilities of how they can create with it.

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This is a picture of the view through the microscope. I took this with my phone…. go iPhone… great pic.

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This is my dragonfly I have been making for years. Why I never made it like this I can’t say? I love it this way best and it never crossed my mind to do this? An old friend in a new form… love it. Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/212894427/sterling-silver-dragonfly-necklace-wild?ref=shop_home_active_2

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Rhodocrosite Necklace also new today….Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/212892239/rhodocrosite-stone-sterling-silver?ref=shop_home_active_6

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Feather Cuff Bracelet… new today… It wraps perfectly around half of your wrist and looks beautiful. Link:https://www.etsy.com/listing/212887728/sterling-silver-feather-bracelet-wild?ref=shop_home_active_4

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These are all photos from the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. We were tourists a few days after I picked up my welder. These amazing creatures, jellyfish, wild looking little fellows… again photos taken with my iPhone ~ I can’t believe the quality in the photos from a phone. If you have never visited the museums in Chicago they are worth the trip. I could spend an entire weekend at the Field Museum.

Last Show This Saturday 9-3 at East Depere High School ~ 500 Swan Rd

See you there? Happy Thanksgiving everyone and I hope you stay home tomorrow instead of going shopping. Tell those stores they can wait a day.

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Last Show, Custom Work and Artist Meeting

It has been a flurry around here and can’t believe I haven’t posted in such a long time… seems like yesterday I was warming myself in the sun and now it’s snowing out. I still am little gun-shy from last winter. I can still feel it’s scorn. I have PTSD from last winter and I don’t think I am alone in saying that. It was bad. Actually, the worst winter ever recorded in several different ways. My friend Maggie calls it ‘The White Death’ and I am beginning to think the same.

My last show will be Nov 29th in Depere Wisconsin at the East Depere High School ~Holly RedBird Craft Faire. It is the Saturday after Black Friday from 9-3pm. Come early, there is a line to get in and it’s swamped with people the entire time. It is a craft show and there is a lot of Christmas items and homemade goodies… yes, homemade candy, yum… I made this little rack card just for the event. It is a picture of the front and back side and covers all my custom initials, crosses and angels wings that I have made and sold for many years. The initials~ I tried to stop making one year and got a lot complaints so I made more based on the complaining ~ sorry about that!

I have never had a marketing thing like this before and I hope it helps bring it all together? We will see? I made it on Vista Print in about 10 minutes if you are an artist and wondering? Picture is of two cards lying side by side, front and back.

Custom Keepsake Jewelry by Wild Prairie Silver Jewelry Co.

Custom Keepsake Jewelry by Wild Prairie Silver Jewelry Co.

I have been very busy with custom work and that is a good thing. I know a lot of artists that do not do custom work. I feel bad for them as they are really missing an opportunity to connect with a lifelong customer. They are also missing a huge part of a niche income and it is often a great challenge to make things you did not think up, but someone else did. I really enjoy it. It is a large part of my business. This year has not slowed down for me from Christmas time last year. I usually have a lull from Jan-March. I had to make adjustments in work load, scheduling and priorities. I have a helper consistently one day a week and sometimes two days. (I could use her everyday but I can’t afford it, shucks.) Also on the subject of custom ordered work… I am an artist but I also consider myself a jeweler. A jeweler makes things for other people and provides a service. I provide a service and I want a relationship that is lifelong with my customer. An artist can do whatever they want. They don’t have to provide a service. They can make what they want to please themselves. They can sell it, or not and for whatever price they want, or not…. It is two very different things. Blending them together makes a career a little more obtainable. Not all artist want this because it forces them work outside of their art. If you can make it as just an artist and earn a full-time living (a living where you can afford health insurance, a car, braces, new roof on your house) God Bless you and I love you and I wish I could do that. I don’t know many that can.s I really enjoy serving people and making them happy by providing a service doing what I love. That is not for everyone, however. It must be the nurse in me…pleasing people is part of my nature. (I wonder if my husband thinks that??? – Ha!)

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These are 18k white and yellow gold rings I made for a couple’s wedding… Wedding is this coming weekend. I am wishing them the best. They have been together 22 years…. The rings are a surprise as they were not going to get rings but one of them had these made in secret. The interior of the ring is stamped with a custom saying. These rings are made from 2mm thick white gold. I think they could tow a car. I could not have made them without a ring bending vise as the white gold is so tough to bend. You can hit it with a hammer (a big hammer) and nothing happens, super strong.

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Labradorite Cuff… Custom order from Australia.. This is something I would have never made without the customer asking me to make it, so, thanks customer, it was a great project with a beautiful turn out.

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This is a tool that a friend gave me to try this year. It is a foredom hammer hand piece. It connects to your flex shaft. The tip of the tool hammers up and down like a mini jack hammer. It has saved my hands and wrists from fatigue as it sets stones without me using any force. I did not think I would like it and I love it. There are two brands of these hammer hand pieces, foredom and bedacco (spelling?)… the bedacco hammer is a lot more expensive but you can adjust the strength of the hammer, so it might be a better option? Like I said, mine was a gift and I really love it and it is a foredom brand available at any jewelry tool seller.

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Made this today… Jasper Stone and Rose Cut Garnet. link:https://www.etsy.com/listing/210985526/sterling-silver-jasper-garnet-necklace?ref=shop_home_active_1

Also working on a Captured Glass Bead Necklace…. another custom piece.

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Beads will be captured within the links of the chain so they can spin freely… Don’t try this with just any glass bead. These are borosilicate glass which is pyrex glass. They will take the heat ~ and a lot of it, but don’t point your flame directly on the glass, and allow them to cool slowly. Soft glass will break immediately near the flame. All my boro glass comes from http://www.glassbytammyrae.etsy.com

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Sideways Cross another custom order from a very good customer. I have made these tiny and huge. This is tastefully a medium size and I like it best. Link to sideways cross: https://www.etsy.com/listing/210551211/sterling-silver-sideways-cross-necklace?ref=shop_home_active_5

See you in Depere… the last Saturday of November for last show…. And wish me luck as I head to Chicago next week for my welder. I am going for one day and leaving at 4am and probably returning at midnight (4 hour drive.) My husband will be holding down the fort with the kids. I will share as much of that experience as I can with you. I can’t wait to see it join sterling, gold, stainless steel next to plastic and or paper and weld a prong on, right next to a stone… I don’t think I believe it. I have to see it.

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This cross is my most popular item. It’s strong, simple and understated. It looks great on men, women and children. The chain is new and improved, super heavy. I am glad I found it because it looks so nice with it. I cut the chain to your specified length and add a large, easy to use, swivel lobster claw clasp. I never purchase chains already made. I always make them to the customers desired length. https://www.etsy.com/listing/174470340/sterling-hammered-cross-pendant-handmade?ref=shop_home_active_24

Extra Event: November 25th 530-730PM ~ I will be doing a presentation in Green Bay at NWTC Artisan Center about artists selling their wares…. A gallery owner will also be there for group discussion. I will be focusing on online sales and art shows.

~Mosaic Arts, has partnered with the NWTC Artisan and Business Center along with the ARTgarge in a series of monthly meetings for artist of all levels and disciplines. Artisan Exchanges features an educational presentation each month and provides an opportunity to network with other creative people. Our November 25th meeting topic is ‘Sell Your Work’ ~ Nov 25th 530-730 informal panel discussion. NWTC Art Center: http://www.nwtc.edu/academics/ProgTeamSites/ArtsAtNWTC/Pages/AbouttheArtisanCenter.aspx~

~ Be Well & Stay warm ~ Hope To See You Soon


ETSY Shop Class & Metalsmithing Class Great Success

IMG_2893Great week at Peninsula School of Art in Fish Creek Door Co. Two day class, ‘Lauching Your Etsy Shop,’ was a great success. It had in my mind a potential to bomb… I had to rely on technology hooking up to screens and wifi working for every student and students bringing their own computers/ipads: all different with all different programs on them for photos.

Hooray! It was fine. Everyone opened a shop. Everyone edited pics. Everyone made a banner. Everyone worked their way through the site and created listings, shop policy, shipping criteria, etc… It was fun to see every student get a way to sell their work. We all had different artistic backgrounds as well: painter, vintage collector, and jewelry.

Murphy’s Law…. second day of class: ETSY changes the format to about half of the sellers shop pages. ETSY had announced they were going to make some changes months ago and gradually launch the changes…. Ha!!!!!!! Tricks on me 🙂 Half of us had pages that looked very different from the other half…. essentially it was fine. Same content just different look and different icons. I just chucked at the irony that it took place mid-class. This class will be offered again next year. It will be two days from 9-1pm. Not sure on the dates yet. The time (9-1) was perfect because you can only stare at a computer so long.

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Wednesday Thursday Friday: Metalsmithing Class at the same school 

Peninsula School of Art Fish Creek Wisconsin Door County

What a great great great great time 🙂 I now feel have three new good friends. Thank you Joan, Kate and Terri. This is why I teach…. wonderful human connect with these three women. All of us coming from different backgrounds and all of us completely in tune to what we are there to learn: new ways to create with metal. It was one of the best classes I have ever taught. Super energy!

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Kate’s piece without the stone in it…. Hey teacher don’t eat in the studio 🙂 Yes, those are my grapes….

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Ocean Jasper… The back plate of this sterling silver was put through a rolling mill with dried corn husks ~ thanks Joan for bringing them and telling us how great it looks.

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This is Terri… She was in my class last year and was really ready to advance beyond where she felt she was stuck. She wanted to make a birch tree like piece… Well, she did and it was fantastic!

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Her necklace without the stone… it swings on the branch 😀 Love it Love it Love it. I would buy this from her if she would let me.

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This is a terrible photo but it shows Joans piece…. I wish the pic was better because it was stunning. The rough agate matched these pearls… The pearl components in the chain are double sided so the same cupped square is on the reverse side with a pearl in it. We made these component from scratch and yes, even the pearls have a little tiny post in them. There are five different tiny little soldering jobs to do in one component of that single pearl chain link. (You are awesome Joan and you did it!) When her chain moves around the pearls in the chain are never flipped the wrong way. It’s beautiful all the time. Oh, and Joan hand made every single jump ring in that chain, soldered them all, and hammered them all. By  Friday she was ready to not make any more chains but she knows now that she can…   🙂

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Pic off the the far left was just a piece that was just started in the last bit of class time…. we did not want to leave it out.

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A lot of students want to visit my studio. Well, I hate to tell you it’s just not that impressive. This is it. It’s like galley kitchen… narrow with countertop/benches on each side. I have another room with my larger equipment in it in the concrete walled part of our basement (rolling mill, hydraulic press, buffing motor, large anvil ~ this space is even less impressive, downright ugly.) This basement room has windows and it’s where I spend most of my time. But it’s not anything fancy and it’s not what I would call a ‘studio.’ It’s just the space that I have… I try to make it as inspiring as I can with goofy signs… etc…. I would love an inspiring studio separate from my house. I have often joked about this with my husband and tossed the idea around about building some kind of ‘workshop.’ After last winter I cannot image doing that. I cannot imagine heating and shoveling another building. It’s just not realistic in my head…  I would love to have the space to have another person work or students work or clients stop in… but I just don’t think it’s worth the winter time work with maintaining another building. If I had elves it would be doable….

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I have two torching station setups ~ with three torches connected to two propane/oxygen setups. One of them on the bench on the far left will be replaced with my new welder when I finally get it. I have plans to travel to Chicago to a jeweler who is going to spend a day teaching me how to use one. I plan to do that as soon as I can… I haven’t got a date yet. I wish it was today… I’m ready. If you are ready to purchase a torch, my setup is my favorite and I think I have used a lot of different torches and gas sources. I use the Little Smith Torch and the Smith Versa Torch. I have them setup on propane/oxygen tanks with a flashback arrestors and Y-Adaptors. The Little Smith Torch is tiny and very precise especially for gold work. The Versa Torch is my 90% of the time torch but mostly because my jewelry is so big…. That torch melts things fast… heavy ring shank… takes seconds to solder. When I use the schools’ Acetylene without oxygen torches I feel like it takes all day to solder something large, even with the largest tip on the torch. However, it’s just what I am use to. I know a lot of jewelers and they use either or, and seem to love whatever they are use to. It comes down to ‘heat’ … have you got it?? Is your flame hot enough? At home Terri is using a ‘CopperHead Torch’ with propane only. She stated in class there are several things she just cannot do because there is not enough fire power. Same with several hand held torches (butane or propane)… They are cheap and handy but often not versatile enough to do any job.

Terri is taking the picture so she’s not in the photo… Kate, Joan and myself 🙂 at Peninsula School of Art in the Metals Studio working/playing the day away….

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Next show is this Saturday Sept 27th at The Settlements Shops in Fish Creek Door County Wisconsin. It is 10-5 Saturday only… It’s small (only 20 artists) but nice and the Door Peninsula is starting to turn gorgeous with Fall colors.

Huge show after that is October 11th & 12th also in Door County. I will be at the Fine Line Gallery in Ephraim. The show is called ‘Townline Art Fair’ and has been running for almost 50 years. It’s a beautiful show. The Peninsula has several festivals that weekend. It is the busiest weekend of the year for tourism there…. Pumpkin Patch Festival draws 70,000 visitors if it’s good weather. Last year I sold out several items I always have in stock and it’s was raining. I won’t be able to believe the crowd it if it’s good weather…. New post soon with upcoming work. Have a great weekend!


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