As A Veteran and a Jewelry Artist, Joshua Farrally Draws on His Military Background and Young Family For Inspiration

MEET REAL JEWELRY ARTISTS: Joshua Farrally / Kansas City, MO / Paracord Bracelets

Following his own departure from the military, Joshua Farrally entered a new type of service as a full time stay-at-home dad so that his wife could continue to serve as an active duty member of the United States Air Force. But that didn’t mean he was ready to give up on contributing income to the family budget. Instead, Joshua decided to pursue the American dream of starting a small business.

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“Our goal is to always have one parent at home with the kids, at least until they start going to school – and – I really enjoy being a stay-at-home dad. So, I wanted to find a home business where I could help bring in some cash for our extra-curricular activities.”

His wife already had experience selling on Etsy, so that website seemed like a natural venue for his new business. The only question left was what to sell – the husband and wife duo put their combined experience together.

bracelets2“While in tech school with the military, a sergeant there taught us how to make a paracord bracelet. 550 Paracord, also called parachute cord, is a lightweight nylon kernmantle rope originally used in the suspension lines of parachutes. It was used to make parachutes during World War 2 and was used by astronauts to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. It peaked my interest at the time so I made a few for myself and my friends. …while brainstorming with my wife on ideas for an Etsy shop we decided this was something I could do easily. We started researching different weaves, materials and marketing ideas. My wife set up my Etsy shop and made all the graphics. I immediately ordered the materials I needed.”

After experimenting with various designs, styles and sizes, Farrally knew this was something he would  not only enjoy doing, but could also use to bring in extra income.

“I started off making a couple bracelets for my daughter. I made her the Tinkerbell Inspired bracelet and the Doc McStuffins one (both found in my store!). This opened up the line for infants, toddlers and kids. I also made a very simple bracelet for my son and a camo bracelet for my wife to wear in uniform. We enjoyed this so much, I knew this would be something I could do on the side and enjoy.”

That was it –  FarrallyManMade was open and ready for business. The shop carries a wide range of hand crafted Paracord bracelets in a variety of styles and colors from traditional military hues to brightly colored children’s pieces. But these bracelets don’t just look great – they also serve a real function.

“Paracord is made with nylon that won’t mold or rot and it’s UV resistant. It has an outer sleeve with 7 inner braided strands. Paracord is still a favorite among military professionals and outdoors men of all kinds, but it’s also become a modern style in fashion and jewelry wear.”

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As if this wasn’t enobracelets4ugh, a number of the bracelets in the FarrallyManMade line are designed for special causes and Farrally contributes a portion of the sale price for each of these items to charities.

There are plans in place to expand FarrallyManMade’s offerings. Joshua will be adding a mix of men’s and women’s jewelry including leather cord necklaces, leather wrap bracelets and some more urban designs.

Right now though, he’s happy to be able to do enjoyable work from home in Kansas City, Missouri while watching over his 2 year old daughter, 3 month old son and their 3 year old German Shepherd.

You can shop the full selection of Joshua’s artwork here:  FarrallyManMade

 

Meet Real Jewelry Artists : LISA ROSSITER – WROX designs – CORVALIS, OREGON

As promised, we’re starting our Meet Real Artists series this week. We were delayed by the robust holiday season, but are now ready to move full steam ahead. The goal of this project is to look at the work and inspiration of active jewelry artists who are not only moving the creative ball forward, but also regularly marketing and selling their own work.

LISA ROSSITER – WROX design – CORVALIS, OREGON

In my mind, Oregon is an American Degobah – a natural, almost primordial wonderland full of contrasts and alarming beauty. Think scarlet red coral mushrooms growing ephemerally from a seabed of fallen pine needles. Think shear white peaks reflected perfectly true in still black lakes. Think my grandfather carving driftwood into turtles and dragon flies and otters and me.

It makes sense to me, then, that Oregon is the homeland of our first Real Artist – Lisa Rossiter of WROX design.  After looking at hundreds of pieces of studio jewelry, with reddening eyes and a touch of cotton mouth, I came across one of Lisa’s cast rings on her blog. Its alien-tech shape stood out like a dandelion on a well-kept lawn. It refused to conform.

Lost Wax Lost Wax2

The chunky 13 gram sterling silver ring is lost wax cast. This is a jewelry production method in which the design is first carved in semi-hard wax. Once finished, the carved wax is placed in wet investment (think plaster) which then cures into a mold. The mold is kiln fired to burn off the wax (“lost wax”) and once flowing red, the molten medium metal (silver, gold, bronze, etc.)  is poured into the negative space left behind (I always thought of it as being kind of like a fossil). After a brief settling, the entire mold is dumped in cold water where the investment sparkles away leaving the newly cast treasure attached firmly to its sprue.

The ring has a Nordic / Alien-Tech look to it that lends a sense of stability to an otherwise more whimsical piece —- Think Liquid Terminator meets Thor. It adds that little thrill to the hand that is sure to draw the attention, and envy, of those who see it. This is a one of a kind — but you can see Lisa’s other rings here.

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It was shipped in a custom recycled kraft box bearing the WROX logo on the cover. As we say in almost every review, we love the artisan jeweler who takes the time and effort to include a gift box or pouch with items sent by mail. It makes the gift giving process all the more special.

Although the cast ring was the first thing to draw me to Lisa’s work, it was not the first piece we purchased. Initially we opted for a simple pair of Lisa’s “Bubble” earrings. I didn’t expect much from these earrings until they arrived and I put them under the loupe. Anyone who as ever worked with silver would have a keen appreciation for the technical expertise exhibited in the construction of these earrings. The solder points are so invisible that it appears as if the “bubbles” are being held together by magnetic force. Everything is filed smooth and presents masterfully. When an artisan puts this much time and effort into a small pair of affordable earrings – you can expect greatness across the entire range of work.

Earrings2Earrings1We had an opportunity to catch up with Lisa to get some insights into her inspirations, her life and her work. She’s called several places home – Los Angeles – London — New York City (my people!) – San Francisco – and of course, Degobah (Oregon). Lisa is a natural artist but she got her first “formal” training in a metal arts class at San Francisco College. Lisa was gracious enough to answer some of our specific questions:

HR: What jewelers and/or artists have inspired your work?

Lisa:That would be a very long list! Some favorite Jewelers off the top of my head are Roger Rimel, Antonio Pineda, Nina Mann, Luisa Bruni, Art Smith, Elisenda de Haro, Kate Bajic. I am constantly looking at jewelry and art and finding inspiration. I love to work with metal and stone, but my mom’s paintings, my daughter’s paintings, the music I’m listening to, usually modern jazz or something with a fantastic beat from Africa, all spark a fire in me. I also get inspiration from place. Right now I am close to nature and I feel trees and moss and mushrooms for shape and texture, but I also long for the city and sometimes want a lot of crowded angles in my designs.

 HR: As an artist, do you ever have trouble parting with your pieces?

Lisa: Yes! When I first started selling I was so thrilled I didn’t think much about it. But one day about a year ago I sold a necklace I was really attached to. I started thinking about using more personal names after that. I decided that if I named a piece it would have more permanence for me. Like a baby that grows up and moves away, but is still a part of you.

HR: Have you ever worked in any other type of media?

LISA: I’ve tried and still try everything I can. I danced when I was young and I made movies most recently. I write a lot. I take pictures and draw even though I am not adept at either. I spend a lot of time with a 3 year old so it is very freeing to play at whatever medium is at hand and not have to worry about accomplishing anything. I love play-doh. It is a much more coherent design medium than drawing for me. I also make a lot of bread and soup. That is art here in Oregon…..

HR: Is your current collection reflective of past and future work?  Or do your styles change year-to-year or season-to-season?

LISA: I am always changing, growing. That is what being an artist is all about for me. Everything I see influences me and everything I do influences me. I don’t think it’s linear though. I am feeling like making much simpler stuff now, probably partly because I am a busy mom. I am also very calm in my life right now and that shows in my work. Sometimes I am a storm though and that is fun too. Probably in the Spring I will get wild again.

See more of Lisa’s work in her store and on her blog .  We’ve got three more artists lined up so check in shortly for the next installment of this project. 

Wendy Mink Jewelry Review : Anglo-Czecho-Indo- Ethno-Chic

Wendy Mink’s jewelry exhibits a mix of cultural influences that come together like Voltron in an unmistakable style. Though the studio is located in New York, the jewelry that comes out of it would  make you think that a 19th Century  Bohemian bench jeweler was touring mid-century Paris, after a brief jaunt in Southern Nepal, and then suddenly got sucked through a wormhole and dropped in NYC’s, recently-more-trendy, Lower East Side. We love it.

The pieces we’re reviewing this week all incorporate natural gemstones and different mediums of high-karat gold. First up is a nothing-short-of-stunning 18K Gold Foiled Sterling Silver Labradorite and Moonstone bead necklace. Chunky opalescent labradorite is sequestered by buttery 18K Gold foiled sterling beads.

The gold beads have a rough hammered finish that is reminiscent of Kundan jewelry and they stand between the labradorite and a length of milky white perfectly round moonstones. The contrast between the white moonstone and deep yellow gold reeks of luxury. The necklace is finished with an Eastern style hook-clasp stamped 925.

This necklace, like all of the Wendy Mink pieces we are looking at this week, arrived in a custom cheese-cloth gift pouch. We love the earthy look of the pouch and also pay kudos to designers who provide a nice gift bag or pouch with their pieces. Sans-pouch items are just too hard to gift.

Next at bat is a 30” Peach Moonstone and 18K Gold Foiled Bead, layerable necklace. If you’ve never heard of peach moonstone, don’t despair, it’s a semi-exotic, semi-precious species that is just now becoming more popular and appears to be favored by Wendy Mink.  While the beads are small, the ability to layer it twice more than makes up for the millimeter deficit. The pink moonstones are multi-faceted and interspersed with square faceted gold beads. The overall look is ethno-chic.

Last but not least we have a Crystal and traditional Moonstone necklace that is almost mono-cultural (East Indian) until you look at the Victorian style bar link chain. The pendant say’s “I was the left earring off an Indian Wedding Jewelry Parure”. The chain say’s “Wait, Wait, I was clipped of a pair of Victorian reading glasses”. Together they say “Oh boy, you’re gonna love us”. And we do. It’s an awesome understated piece that would look great with a low-cut outfit. See these three necklaces and more Wendy Mink pieces in our ebay store during the coming weeks.

ANZIE Jewelry Review

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We took a look at several pieces of ANZIE jewelry today and were impressed by the use of natural gemstones, intriguing designs and whimsical, care-free glamour that that this line exhibits. The ANZIE line is named for its founder – artist Anzie Stein, who together with her family continues to release new collections on a regular basis.

One of the things we like about this company is that, since its founding, the owners have supported important medical causes through their jewelry sales. Being a good global citizen is something important to us here at Hunter Ridge and we always pay kudos to those who do the same. Before we go any further – I have to warn you that I took the pictures in this blog myself. We usually use the photos taken by our photographer, but he wasn’t around today – so forgive me.

Now – onto the jewelry… all the items we explored today were shipped in a lovely signature gold and blue silk gift pouch. It’s a nice touch that adds something special to the gift-giPouchving and gift-receiving experience. We pay a lot attention to packaging when reviewing a jewelry line because we know that a lot of jewelry is purchased for the purpose of gift giving. There is nothing more disappointing than spending hard earned money on a jewelry gift and not receiving a pouch or box to present it in —- So – kudos to ANZIE for the splendid little pouch.

The first piece we’re going to look at is an ANZIE classic – one of the “LIFESAVER” gemstone disc bracelets that ANZIE sells to support cancer research. This bracelet is crafted from solid sterling silver and set with faceted disc shaped pink topaz,  purple amethyst and rose quartz.

Purple

All of the gemstones are 100% natural. The links are large and the stones are high gem quality exhibiting excellent color, saturation and cut. Attached near the clasp is a solid sterling silver disc that is stamped with ANZIE name and the fineness mark 925.  The bracelet is a little light weight, but it works because the design elements themselves are “light weight” –  the combination of open rings and translucent gems gives the bracelet a care-free, but sophisticated air.

Next up is a nearly identical bracelet that substitutes sea-green amethyst in place of pinks and purples of the last one.

Green

The other pieces we looked at were mostly earrings – green aventurine dangle drops, fancy cut white topaz and chrysoprase. The earrings match the quality and design of the bracelets.

Overall, we continue to be impressed with the ANZIE products that encounter. Check our eBay store in coming weeks for the bracelets posted here as well as some other ANZIE items including earrings, a few necklaces in 14K Yellow Gold and  a couple of Zodiac pieces. Following the great example set by ANZIE, we will be donating a portion of each sale to a medical research charity through the eBay Giving Works program. Look for the blue ribbon in our listings to identify the charitable listings.

Just Discovered a new designer…

We were reviewing the itinerary for the “Smart Jewelry Show” in Chicago this coming spring and stumbled upon New York Designer Jessica Surloff. Ms. Surloff is doing some very interesting things with colored gold. We are particularly fond of a Green Gold and Champagne Diamond cone shell necklace. It looks just like the shells I used to collect in the Caymans as a child. Take a look here.