December 05, 2011

Swag it like Paul

Nobody quite like him. Nobody.
Paul Newman. I wish I'd see this image as a kid. It would have made a formative, lasting impression. I'd have tried to live up to his cool ballsy swag and self assurance, to vibe my Jew-ness cool and easy.

Always the tomboy, I admire both men and women as personal style guides. Tough, groovy, mysterious, sensuous, intrinsically intelligent...  In women - androgynous.  In men - a bit dangerous. Those types.

To have seen this icon of all things rugged and sexy, just standing there, in his greatness, rockin' the J-Star... MAN. I feel like a kid all over again. Still forming, still dreaming, still inventing and reinventing what I'll be when I grow up.

This season, and forever more, let's vow to be all that. In our delicate nuances, and unabashed bold strokes - to be that person who eternally swags it, like Paul.

October 14, 2011

Feature: Green Siren in Black Leather... and Silver - Judith Nemes

Judith Nemes in MarLa studio - literally.
I must celebrate the official beginning of leather jacket season with this image of Judith Nemes.  One day last spring she landed in my studio. I say landed, because her superhero energy indicates she may just be able to fly.

Judith Nemes is a journailst, photographer, professor, and vigilant champion of all things environmentally protective and green. I dub her my "Green Siren". Not only is she wicked smart and true to her cause, she's full of female awesomeness and beauty. Strong but searching, determined but questioning, pushing for change and transformation but accepting her many divided roles gracefully - she's all that, and so much more. SO - run now - and read her latest article - the TOP news story in TODAY'S Crains Chicago Business.

No coincidence she is wearing "With all your heart, with all your soul, with all your might" with the "Keepsake Heart",  combined with the framed "Prutah Coin". 
The Prutah Coin is from c. 70 ad. and was struck by the Israelites in rebellion to Roman rule. I frame them in copper backed with sterling silver.

Rebel, but all heart. 

Beyond honored - she sent me the most touching validation:
"I feel like something powerful happened to me today. Our rambling conversation dipped into some corners of my life that have been dormant for a long time, and now they've been stirred again, awakened, and I'm thinking about them in a new and more thoughtful light. Thank you for that. 
You have a wise and gentle spirit.
Meeting you turned out to be about much more than jewelry ... or was that obvious?"
Wow.  So honored to be among your "Super Friends". 

September 28, 2011

New Year. New chance.

I can actually make quite a ruckus with this horn. It works.
The ram's horn makes a most primal sound. I love it. I love when ritual is raw and arresting - when it shakes me from the mundane and demands attention. The peculiar and un-lovely sound of the shofar is perhaps what I race towards all year. Pushing through time and experience to return to the sound, reset, refresh the screen, and get another chance to try again. This is the ultimate, most precious gift for which I am beyond grateful. So very grateful. Another chance to try again and make it all count.  
Ok! Bring on the horns!

A happy, healthy, sweet new year to all.

April 18, 2011

A Passover Prayer, and a Cross

Cross for NB

You know you're fortunate when, without even realizing it, you have a very close friend that seemingly came out of nowhere. Someone who casually stepped in one day, and stayed. Over time you realize how you depend on them for support, comfort, humor and their remarkable gift for recognizing the oddness and beauty of things many others miss.

You know you're lucky when your work brings you to such a friend. My friend is very modest and very private, she is a brilliant woman battling a devastating cancer.  She herself is a cancer researcher, neuroblastoma to be specific - a childhood brain tumor. She's witty and wry, compassionate and open, always the optimist, and loving.

My friend wears the "Square Cross", among several other pieces. The cross however, is her very favorite.

Our personal objects are among the things that help steel us when facing the world. We wear jewelry as emblems of ourselves, talismans for good luck, protectorates and shields against ill will and the vagaries of  misfortune. Our objects and jewelry have as much power as we assign them, as we hope they possess intrinsically, to giveback to us. We give our precious symbols the power to let us believe - and sometimes that's more powerful than a force we can scientifically measure.

On this Passover, the holiday of great symbols and miracles, I pray for my friend. I am eternally grateful for her friendship, and for the cross that brought her to me.

March 20, 2011

Chasing the Moon

Come Out Supermoon! Come out! We'll give you cookies!
I have always felt intimately connected to the Moon. An object of intellectual curiosity and visual wonder, emotional longing and universal truth - the Moon feels like my odd, cold, but comforting friend. The Jewish calendar being lunar is another personal connection to, and fascination with the moon.

According to the Jewish calendar, the new month begins when the first sliver of moon becomes visible again after the dark moon. In ancient times, new months were determined by observation.

Well, tonight my side kick Jonah and I tried very hard to see way more than a sliver - we were hoping for the SUPERMOON - the largest, closest moon to Earth that happens once every 18 years - the Super Perigee Moon! Due to high, thin cloud cover our lakeside efforts were for naught. We saw a halo, we saw some light, we saw shadowed clouds, but not the big kahuna. Oh well!

Always being impatient for the whole moon (and obsessive!) -  I like the Moon so very much, a while ago I made one!

Moon pendant

March 18, 2011

WOW!!!! Rockin' Purim in St Petersburg!!!

Do YOU know what PURIM is??? This is the happiest, smiley-est, best-est, most delightful, most affirming, fantastically done Purim piece ever!!!!! Watch and enjoy! I veesh I nooo Rashhin!!! BUT! The translation is below... YAY, YAY and YAY for the talented, great looking, groovy St. Petersburg Hillel! With all that's happening at this time, it feels so, so good to smile.  It's ccccold there in Russia, but this is way warming. 

Hello, I'm Liya Geldman. I'm a senior student at cinema and television university in St. Petersburg. As you know Russia is a multiethnic and multidenominational country. But do Russians really know traditions of other cultures? Today we came here to find out if they know what Purim is.

- Do you know what Purim is?
- Hello, do you know what Purim is?
- Hi Julia, do you know what is Purim?
- Hello, what is Purim?
Doesn't anyone know what Purim is?

Purim! Purim! Purim!
Purim! Purim! Purim!

Celebrating Purim!
Zenit and Haiduck (Russian soccer teams),
Student and coach,
Human and spider,
Patient and surgeon,
NYC, Moscow and Saint Petersburg!

Purim! Also celebrating in Barnaul
People from Penza and Tomsk,
On Kamchatka and in Kerch,
And possibly even on the moon.

Purim! Let's put some make up on!
Whether you are old or young,
Even if you hadn't slept for 3 nights
It's Israeli mega-carnival!

Purim! We highly recommend it.
The plot is twisted,
It happened almost 3000 years ago
So it might be hard to remember
Where's good and where's bad

So choose for yourself who's good and who's bad
Here's the Mordehai the Jew, King Ahashverosh.
Where's Vashti? The Tzar's ex-wife?
But maybe Hamman could be the Bad Guy?

Imagine for a while that we're in Babylon,
Who's the star on this dark sky? Esther!
Here's a lesson for now and in 600BC
If you're brave, you've got the power!

We'll scream together Mazal Tov!
Our glass is full to the brim.
With what? Lets fill it with wine
And drink it all up.
And during this Purim we'll change the world!

Oleg Dremov

Additional thx to Evgeny Levitin, Liya Geldman, Sergey Teplov, Sonya Mladenova, Sonya i Megan, Anya, Sofa, Sasha, Vitya, Ira, Pasha, Kolya and others.

February 22, 2011

Artist Feature: Deborah Maris Lader!

In her studio - Deborah Maris Lader holding "A Bird in the Hand" - also wearing the "Sun" and "I have Found the One in whom my Soul Delights"
WOW -  Deborah Maris Lader - artist, musician, powerhouse of creation.  Founder and director of Chicago Printmakers Collaborative, and member of the indie Alt Folk group "Sons of the Never Wrong".  She is the center and force, inspiration and soul, a driving energy in Chicago's art and music scenes.

Deborah's art is shown and collected internationally. "Sons of the Never Wrong" tours to sold out crowds, and plays the coolest, most prestigious venues in the country.  After meeting her, the term "self-actualized" had a picture to go with it.

I met Deb several years ago when I was a printmaker at CPC's first location. It was in a rough space in the pre-gentrified raggedy East Village neighborhood. I loved everything about the place.  She created an oasis of artistic productivity and community, there was nothing else like it.  The newer Lincoln Square space is beautiful, more accessible and expansive in it's draw. It's become a beloved, important institution in the city's art culture - not an easy thing to make happen and sustain.

Back in December I was part of the CPC annual "Small Prints Show", selling my jewelry for the opening weekend event. Over the course of the heavily attended opening, Deb slowly acquired my work. In this pic, layering all her MarLa studio pieces, she's holding her "Bird in the Hand" pendant while the bird in her large etching peers behind her. I love this image.

As a serious admirer of Deborah and her work for many years, it is the greatest honor to see her wearing mine.

February 14, 2011

V-Day Special! Heidi Meredith Listens

Heidi Meredith wearing a Dendritic Agate One-Of-A-Kind piece, and her "shema" tatt!
Heidi Meredith. Psychiatrist, Mom extraordinaire, partner, musician, Burning Man babe, total woman of valor.... and so, so much more. Heidi listens, for a living and for life - a full, adventurous life.

A graduate of Northwestern's Six Year Med Program, she started professional training when most are still figuring out what to do with their first degree. Medicine however, wasn't this young doctor's singular passion. While teaching herself guitar, she picked up the bass, put on Nirvana, and had every bass line down within minutes. She played nights with her band and spent her days.... well, listening, and treating, and steadily building what's now her own practice.

The word for listen in Hebrew is "shema". It's also the first word of the most recited and important prayer in Judaism. After Heidi saw my "shema" pendant she decided to commit - in a seriously permanent way - to a tattoo! WOW!

In these pics she's wearing a magnificent Dendritic Agate one-of-a-kind piece (her then fiance, now husband) Kurt gave her as a birthday present a couple years ago. For this Valentines day he bought Heidi a combination of pendants she's eyed for some time - "I Have Found the One in whom my Soul Delights" with the copper/silver "Keepsake Heart" . Yes! He also listens. 

Happy, happy Valentines Day!

"I have found the one in whom my Soul Delights" with the "Keepsake Heart" in copper/silver

February 01, 2011

The Thing About Snowpants

In preparation for shoveling out of what will most likely be the Mama of all Snowstorms, I bought SNOWPANTS!  Now, to give a brief history, I've tried to find great snowpants for the past five years. I've attempted the boys route at Target (where I get my boys most everything) and no good.  Not a good fit. Not a good look. Not even in the heart of darkness, the grayest, snowiest and coldest Chicago's got to give - nope.  As cold as I was, I had to just say no. I've actively, and passively searched for years.  It's been lonesome.

AND THEN! TODAY! In a mad search for gloves (Target had none) -  I ended up at the Shred Shop in Skokie - a skateboarders/snowbaorders mecca!

Now, why is it, that snowpants for adults can't be this cool everywhere? Isn't there a huge "cool adult snowpants market" just waiting for exploitation? Why are they reserved for a specialty niche? I love that form follows function  - that cool snowpants come from (literally) a cool sport, but why can't this be the norm?  Why isn't walking around in groovy "winter pants" just what we do here in a cold but groovy city? Are you with me? Why aren't fantastic snowpants (or shall I dub them "very cool pants"?) readily available for people over 12?

Well, at 30% off, today was my lucky pre-megastorm, cold, gray, menacing day. Well designed, very cool pants, SNOWPANTS are now mine.  Let the winter games begin... and by games I mean, shoveling.

January 31, 2011

Welcome to the (Pretty!) Machine.

brave new cash register
I saw the future of cool commerce and its name is the ipad.... and Square.  Every once in a while I happen upon something so brilliant and intriguing I stare with wide eyed wonder - as if I'm seven all over again, looking up at the John Hancock building from it's sidewalk base.  Recently, I experienced this all too rare childlike fascination when paying at my new favorite, sleek coffee shop - Coffee Lab - at 922 Noyes Street, Evanston, IL.   

This is a pic of Coffee Lab's cash register -  an ipad with an attached device called Square.  Square is a card swipe technology that can be used with ipads, iphones, and andriod phones, turning them into little credit card terminals. The Square hardware and app are free. You just set up an account and you're in business. Processing fees are less than conventional plans, and you don't need a merchant services agreement. Yes - wow, wow, and WOW - my thoughts exactly! I now have a square for my phone.

Most importantly, it looks beautiful - much like the Jetsons world I'd imagined "the future" to be when I was seven. 
I'm still waiting for spunky round hover-cars, and responsible apron-clad robot maids... but, I've got a little cube and a phone that takes pictures... and credit cards! 

January 20, 2011

Profile: Joy DuPuis' Raw Vision

Joy making art, wearing the Hand in bronze
Joy DuPuis, the daughter of Protestant Missionaries, grew up in the international expat community of Vienna, Austria.  She vividly remembers traveling to communist Romania as a ten year old - on a mission. She was told not to talk to the border police about what they do, not to discuss anything in the hotel, car, or in public. She understood they were always being followed and taped.  Yes - Joy learned very young that a big life of meaning happens through giving - through sharing goodness, practical skills, and hard earned knowledge.
Fast-forward to now! Evasnton, Illinois  - the business is RawRah!  Joy's teaching others how to create the most unbelievable, nutrient dense, live/raw/organic, beyond delicious, meals in a passionate, accessible way.  A trained homeopath, she knows the healing power of seriously good food. In this photo Joy's wearing the bronze Hand as she nonchalantly instructs and fills the plates with, quite possibly, the very best thing you may eat - ever.

For a schedule of group classes you can email Joy at

Joy's blog:

January 16, 2011

Model Feature: Jessica

Jessica wearing Double Hammered Discs, Beauty.Kindness.Compassion & Hand
Just yesterday,  I was describing my close friend (and model) Jessica to another friend.  While doing this, I realized how all my models are strong, somewhat fearless, individuals who crafted their lives in brave, compelling ways. They inspire me. That I got all of them together one hot June afternoon, on time, and ready to shoot, still amazes me.  Over the next few months I'll feature each of them, and my very incredible photographer - Pixie Spindel.
For now - it's Jessica!

We first met in a vegetarian restaurant at the self serve counter. She had a toddler boy on her hip and was having an animated conversation with an old friend she'd just bumped into. As he was telling her good news, she swung her dark brown hair to the other side, readjusted her son, smiled big with her blue eyes twinkling, and exclaimed "Mazel Tov!!!".  Well, from then on, I was in serious girl-love with my soon to be friend - my "Mazel Tov!" queen - Jessica.

Right out of college, with a degree in theater, she founded, directed, and managed a theater company whose audience was children - in hospitals.  Quickly her unusual troupe won donations and recognition. As a young single Mom she completely retrained herself. Quietly, and with great discipline, she gathered and practiced the skills necessary to succeed in law school. With a grounded sense of idealism, tenacity and passion she entered law school and graduated in the top 10% of her class.  I watched in awe as she was raising a school age son, reading hundreds of pages a night, writing hundreds of pages, taking grueling exams, rarely sleeping, and still looking lovely, composed, and energized.  She passed the Bar last summer and is applying for jobs while continuing her Masters in Law - specializing in international trade.  Her goal - to one day feed the world through fair agricultural trade laws.

For graduation I gave her the long necklace she's wearing in the pic - Beauty, Kindness, Compassion with the Hand. It's her. 

An honor to know you, Jess. MAZEL TOV!

January 08, 2011

The Definition of LOVE

Kyan and Daliah
One warm, sunny day, three summers ago, I had the gift of meeting Daliah Medhi on Halsted Street. I was selling my work at the HUGE Boys Town extravaganza know as Halsted Street Market Days, for the extraordinary design boutique - ID.  Daliah found me in the early morning calm - before the party started.  Before the immaculately cut, shirtless waiter boys nextdoor at mini bar started strutting their stuff to the ever present club beat, before the throngs of people crowd the street curb to curb. She wandered over, looked at my work, and asked if I could create a piece that would define her love and her family. WOW. A tall order. An honor and a challenge.

She had a particular phrase in mind from the Book of Ruth, "Where you go, I will go".  She explained it's the only time in the bible where a woman makes a commitment to another woman - Ruth (newly widowed) commits to Naomi (her mother-inlaw) that she will not leave her. As she told me the whole story we both teared up. Oh Yeah - we're crying over bible stories while the shirtless boys in dangerously low board shorts were setting up Bloody Mary service. Two gals crying as Donna Summer remixes reached acceptable club levels.

Beautiful. Done. Where you go, I will go.

Kyan was an infant when I met Daliah. Our lives have changed a lot since then. I owe much of the newest collection to Daliah and Kyan - the love and commitment pieces.

Here is a picture of Daliah, and her breathtakingly cherubic Kyan, when they stopped by the studio this week -  he's now two!  Daliah has a new piece - "Light before darkness, darkness before light".

I'm forever grateful to them, the definition of love.

January 07, 2011

Kristy Cammeron - Lincoln Square Style Phenom, in her MarLa studio

Kristy Cammeron wearing her toggle necklace
Kristy Cammeron manages Belly Bum, a gorgeous concept boutique for moms/babys/kids in Lincoln Square. She called me one frenzied pre-Xmas morning in serious want/need of a toggle necklace. Understanding the urgency, (jewelry emergencies are real) the MarLa-mobile swung by the very next day.  As soon as I saw Kristy I had a "wow" moment!  OOOOH! It's her! The incredibly cool, stylish, intriguing, hipster chick I've seen in the 'hood before!  She saw the necklace on the owner - Ellen Sternweiler - after Ellen bought it from me at Chicago Printmakers Collaborative (incredible place which I'll blog about soon!). Unfortunately I missed seeing Ellen at my drive-by-drop-off or she'd be in the pic too.
AND... Yes - Kristy is as real, fun, funny and terrific as I imagined her.  A  most happy, satisfying ending to a very cold, busy day.

January 01, 2011

Rethinking Hardware - Cyclus

Electrical plug and receptacle used for securing messenger bag flap
While browsing the goodies at Base, on Lincoln Road in South Beach, we were electrified (zzzzzzaaaap!) by the re-purposing of this simple hardware store staple! It may take a few more seconds to open and close than an ordinary magnetic clasp BUT so much much more interesting. Isn't it worth it?
Cyclus makes super cool messenger bags and purses made from rubber

Here is the entire bag.  Latex is indeed pretty.