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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Handmade Holidays

Recently these earrings were presented in an Treasury collection alongside many other fine and beautiful items. The title of the treasury was Lift Your Voice (in praise of handmade).

below is a link to the Etsy Treasury
Lift Your Voice In Praise of Handmade

It was created by Barbe Beaty, an eco-friendly precious metals artisan and Founder and Facilitator of a community based workshop, "Promise Project" (, for girls/women from various populations.

"During these sessions, participants engage in the design, hand-sculpting, and hand-finishing of a fine silver token which symbolizes a personal pledge made to themselves reflective of where they‘ve been, where they are, and where they wish to be on their path through life."

Through her art and her community work, she hopes to continue reach out, enlightening others to the thought that "We are all artists in the sense that we each have a story unique to tell, and we each have the ability to "design" (shape and influence) our existence."

More links to Barbe Beaty and her work

jewelry website ::
community workshops website ::
life tidbits ::
Follow her on Twitter :: njiastudios
Proud member of Etsy Metal Clay ::
Proud juried member of Trunkt ::

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mycologia: A Mushroom Hunter's Testament

I was raised on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State, a temperate rain coast which provided a rich experience of exploration and discovery. My earliest memories are hardwired with towering and benevolent Western Red Cedars, rich Edenic gardens of mossy nurse logs, shimmering alder groves and verdant glens of tall ferns. It was a warm,fertile and moist environment, ideal for my growth and blossoming. It was also the ideal environment for mushrooms.

I was raised in a mushroom hunting family. At varying points in the cycle of seasons my family would take knives and recycled bread bags and head out into the moist and fertile forests to hunt mushrooms. These forays often found my whole family hiking and then spreading out to comb the woods.

Humans are good at this hunting and gathering, we have the ability to scan a scene with a particular form in mind. Our brains can scan the environment and process the information quickly and recognize the particular pattern of attributes we are searching for . . . if those patterns are present.

Mushrooms have a general season in which they will fruit, but they are particular about if and when. Something I have learned through mushroom hunting as well as growing mushrooms myself is that they fruit when the conditions are right. If the moisture levels are right, and the temperature is within a certain range, and the lighting is just right they will fruit. Without fail. However, if even one of these elements is off, they will not fruit, no matter what time of year it is. This was evident when my family would return to a spot where we found many mushrooms the previous season to find that there were none this year, the conditions having changed slightly.

I have taken this bit of mycological wisdom and often applied it to my life. I have often repeated to myself the mantra of "When the conditions are right, it will fruit." It is simillar to the saying of "If you build it, they will come" from the movie Field of Dreams. Often when we desire change in our lives, we can liken it to the fruition of an intention. We must allow the fruiting to occur by creating conditions which are right for it to blossom. Often all it takes is acts of allowance, removing obstacles to the intended results manifestation.

And so, mushrooms and their process have been great teachers to me throughout my life. Their testament to the way of nature, the science of life, the Tao if you will have enriched my life. Sometimes with a peace of mind at times in knowing that when conditions are right things will fruit, and other times their wisdom has influenced me to shift parts of my life that are in my control, to, in otherwords, create conditions more condusive to the fruition of that which I intend to see blossom in my life.

This Companion Ring "MycoChromatic" is also titled "mycologia" and is a testament to my love of mushrooms and intended to honor and remind one of the wisdom they speak of. The Smaller side of the companion ring which is a rounded form meant to appear like a young mushroom button also has a highly polished top wherein the wearer can see himself reflected.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Unautumna / First Yellow Leaf of Autumn

Unautumna / First Yellow Leaf of Autumn

Unautumna / First Yellow Leaf of Autumn
Each year I have a habit of keeping an eye out for the First Yellow Leaf. It's a ritual which has emerged naturally from a practice of Locality Mindfulness. It fosters a sense of place and seasonality in my soul.

Autumn is such a juxtapositional time of transition, a beginning and and end. It often feels like a melancholy double-exposure. One foot is firmly planted in Summers ripeness and abundance, and the other foot is coldly planted in Winters season of silent reserve.

I celebrate many personal holy days, and one is First Yellow Leaf of Autumn. Another is First Snow. In a few months I will be longing to celebrate First Leaf, but for now, the foothills are mostly swathed in green, but the time of the turning leaf is in full blaze in higher elevations.

Large stone is Imperial Jasper, small stone is a Goldenrod Jasper.

The upper bezel is Gold and the lower bezel is Sterling Silver as are the shank and leafy design elements.

There is a light patina to this piece as seemed fitting, but the gold bezel also looks nice polished up brightly. Let me know if this is your preference and I'll polish it up before shipping.

This ring is large, most likely a mans ring, and can be worn in either direction.

Ring Size: 11

Friday, October 2, 2009

Merging Stewardship with Artistic Vision

It's Ear Season again. You mean Deer Season? No, I mean ear season.

That's right, it's ear season again, time for hunters to keep their ears peeled for the sounds of deer in the forest, and for hikers in the woods to keep their ears peeled for hunters. Autumn is one of my favorite seasons.

There are so many reasons for me to be out in the mountain forests at this time of year. The seasonal changing of the leaves, which around here amounts to groves of Aspen trees turning golden and quite frankly transcendent or ethereal. Their yellow homage to the years dying sun is, truly, something to behold. Also, when the Aspens change color I know it's time to harvest Osha root, a powerful anti-viral and bronchial stimulator good for fighting off the flus and bronchial coughing which are also just as seasonal this time of year.

This is also the time for mushroom hunting and the King Bolete enjoys the same high altitude haunts as the Elk do. So, not only am I up there root-grubbing around and meandering through the sun-dappled sub-alpine Douglas Fir ecosystems, but many hunters are as well, listening for the rustle of something in the woods. I am a lover of silence, I have learned a lot from the deer growing up in the woods, and my movememnts and manners can, especially when in reverie at Natures beauty, be much akin to deer and Elk. Emulating these peaceful and powerful forest beings is not a wise thing to do at this time of year, however, so i often find myself whistling a tune to signal my human-ness, or perhaps the spirit of the bard overtakes me and I get a bit lyrical or compose Tolkein-esque narrative.

I found these bullet casings on the North slope of Greenhorn Mountain in the watershed of a small spring. I like to pick up any trash I find when out on my hikes and forays, but especially anything hazardous to my environment, such as batteries. I'm not sure of the potential for heavy metal contamination of our watershed from brass bullet casings, but I'm pretty sure that it isn't a good thing. I collected these and brought them home to dispose of in a propper manner, which is to . . . well, . . . I really didn't know. Recycle them I guess, but I wasn't going to take a trip to the recycle station soon, so I kept them around. Soon, I began to look at them as found objects and metal material which might be fodder for my creative outlet.

These were a quick experiment in upcycling found brass bullet casings. I brushed, drilled and added simple Sterling Silver ear wires. This hazardous waste has been transformed into a simple yet edgy pair of earrings. They make great conversation pieces for earthkeepers and deer hunters, ecologists and Outdoor Educators.

Each pair come with small rolled scrolls with quotes about nature tucked into them. Particularly I like to put a quote by Aldo Leopold on his idea of a Nature Ethic in them, but there are many quotes from Emerson or Muir which would go great in them as well.

"The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land."

"This sounds simple: do we not already sing our love for and obligation to the land of the free and the home of the brave? Yes, but just what and whom do we love? Certainly not the soil, which we are sending helter-skelter downriver. Certainly not the waters, which we assume have no function except to turn turbines, float barges, and carry off sewage. Certainly not the plants, of which we exterminate whole communities without batting an eye. Certainly not the animals, of which we have already extirpated many of the largest and most beautiful species. A land ethic of course cannot prevent the alteration, management, and use of these 'resources,' but it does affirm their right to continued existence, and, at least in spots, their continued existence in a natural state."

Leopold, Aldo: A Sand County Almanac, and Sketches Here and There, 1948, Oxford University Press, New York, 1987, pg. 204.

If you like, they can be replaced by your own special scroll,scripture, list, wish, blessing or poem.

Or, sport 'em empty . . . or fill 'em with fairy dust, essential oils . . . get creative.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Creating jewelry is a very satisfying process for me. I find it a very enjoyable way to spend my time, losing myself in the creative process. I lose track of time with favorite tunes on for hours and hours as I "work"

Because almost every one of my pieces is a one of a kind unique creation, each one is also an experiment. I experiment with materials, design elements, textures and colors, and most of all, techniques of fabrication.

I make all of my works from scratch. Aside from some earring wires recently, i do not purchase pre-made components and put them together. I fabricate all of the parts of the pieces I make from scratch; everything from finding and cutting and polishing the stones/ materials to cutting melting, forging, milling, rolling and shaping the silver and gold. I find this to be very satisfying as none of my parts are standard sizes or shapes, everything comes from the creative process of dreaming of something and then manifesting it in the "real" world.

Sometimes this process amazes me even more by surprising me with lucky accidents which later become useful as elements on other pieces or as new techniques of fabrication or assembling. Recently I had to devise my own way of attaching silver to brass since the two metals seemed to be incompatible for simply soldering them together.

My latest ring, the Full Moon ring really stunned me with its surprise gift. The ring began as a nice lump of recycled silver which i textured in the brief moments while it cooled. It revealed itself as slightly moonish and so I re-melted it and re-worked it till i was satisfied with its moon-likeness. I like to have a lot of content in my pieces at least while I work. I find it very satisfying, so i began to contemplate and remember moon symbolism.

. . . ahh, the full moon, a symbol both simple and complex, speaking of completion of cycle, abundance, and symbolic of the height of power, the peak of clarity, fullness and obtainment of desire . . . and lunacy. In alchemical teachings, the moon is ...a facet of Silver.

Instead of any of the previous forms of ring shanks i have crafted, it struck me that a nice design element could be added to the piece by the mirroring of the full moons circular shape in the band. This was a great way to integrate the main of the ring with the shank, allowing the shank to be more artful on top of being functional. I decided on two large circles with a smaller one in-between which when laid out measured the requisite length to create a size 7&1/2 ring shank, a safe "average" and very common ring size for women. What I found after creating this ring astounded me.

These circles when observed from the bottom appear as another full moon with a waxing crescent moon to the left and a waning crescent moon to the right!
(this photo was taken before i brush-finished the piece)

This was a completely serendipitous aspect of it's design, not an aspect i had intended, but an unforeseen aspect manifest in the form of my design. It blew me away. I wish i could say that i had intended it to be this way, however, i am completely satisfied, and a bit in awe, with the way it came to be.

Sometimes things just happen this way and i take great joy in it.

The moon of this ring is of brushed Sterling Silver with a modicum of patina for the craters and seas. This sits atop a found White Agate which is set in lightly brushed Sterling Silver bezel.

This ring is a size 7&1/2
Main Bezel and stone of this ring measure 1" x 3/4"

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Orlin Helgoe's Visions of the Prairie

When you google the web for Orlin Helgoe, you don't come up with much. He's mentioned briefly by name a few times and, oh, there's an out of print book about him and his paintings . . . and there doesn't seem to be any copies available. It gets even worse when you search web images with his name, all you come up with is misleading photographs of other peoples paintings which would lead the unsuspecting investigator to have a very wrong picture of his work. To me, this is a shame.

Lucky for me, I live in Pueblo Colorado. Now, I haven't used that sentence an awful lot in my life, and I do not use it lightly in this instance. This is Orlin Helgoe's hometown and so there are clues about him to be found here. Many of his paintings are collected at the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center some of which are displayed through the year. The Pueblo City County Library District has a copy of the out of print book. There are other local artists living here who were students of Orlin Helgoe. His family and friends still live here.

The late Orlin Helgoe is known by some as "The Shaman of the Prairie." His work often depicts life and inspired moments on the prairie which he both loved to roam and paint. To me he was one who had absorbed the spirit of earth and sky, and took strength from the visions he recieved of the prairie. His powerful paintings exhibit that he was one who sought to pierce the veil between the seen and the unseen, to unify the outer landscape with the inner world.

His paintings are, well . . . full. Full of images and emotion and something else. Something they draw from the observer, elements which lead the mind of the beholder to translate, or fill in the blanks. Some of his paintings are close up shots of something, like the one of the dead deer he painted after killing his first and last deer on a hunt, or bleak landscapes with mysterious circles floating in the air, or some like the one these pictures come from which is an enormous painting depicting a scene which seems like a multiple exposure shot of several moments and perspectives at one level and then one finds that this multiplicity of scenes is comprised of many other smaller elements, smaller scenes and micro-mysteries.

When I found this stone the scene depicted in the picture jasper was instantly recognizable to me as Helgoe-esque. Although nowhere near as colorful or complex, it definitely reminded me of the elements in his work. When my subconscious mind sought to interperate the imagery of this stone it's only corroborating connection was "Helgoe." Here was a desert scene of mystery complete with the floating wheel within wheel orbs. No mistaking it, this piece was some kind of memorial to Helgoe and and the mystery of the wilderness of the local landscape. Were the stones speaking? Did they miss their lone wanderer? Did they miss the seeker of meaning and mystery, the "Shaman of the Prairie?"

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Integration of Metal & Stone

I absolutely love being creative!

At times I find myself wondering and wandering around the studio looking at my materials. Things are arranged in a way which to the untrained eye might look chaotic. However, to be more accurate I would have to say it is a time-spanning chronicle, more of a testament to what is and has been of interest to me for the last several months.

Bits and pieces of stone large and small, found and oxidized metal parts, scavenged circuitboards, interesting and very old bits of glass bottles, sea glass, even sticks and wood scraps and old bits of burl lay about the large table I built for the shop. There are old watch parts, half made pieces of jewelry, stones already polished sitting next to custom bezel cups awaiting their setting, un-nameable iron fragments from machines and mineral composites from steel making processes, owl and turkey and finch feathers from recent hikes, sketches of pieces already manifest and pieces still in the sea of possibility.

Often when seeking some new inspiration I arrange stones in different positions, place them on top of one another, shift them around slide them over next to metal bits, looking for patterns of recognition on color compatibility or texture or composition. All of this process and analysis, to me, is felt and "seen" on a more instinctual level than those previous words let on or allude to.

According to the inner critics schedule, this is "Work" and can be thus seen to him if that is what he needs in the moment. That satisfies that "adult" and responsible part of me which is intent upon being efficient.

But to me, the real me, the little boy inside, this is merely playing, a natural pastime of exploration and creation.

During this sacred play time I often become aware of my subtle shifts of interest. Shifts in interest turn the compass for me and change the world I see. Soon I am sailing my ship in new directions to chains of small islands i have never been to but love.

On one of these islands I found a lovely integration of textured silver and amazingly textured stone. The rare bit of Hematite, reminding me much of the frog pond when it drys out toward the end of summer leaving only cracked mud, had an amazing texture. Unlike most Hematite you will find on the market, usually made into rings, this piece is not as dark and doesn't have the polishes black chrom-like aspect one usually sees. Instead this piece is a chocolate and more natural or organice color, a warm and rich darkness which alludes to it's story. history and ...mystery. This stone has been sitting in eyes-reach of me when in the studio for several years and has had this small orange Carnelian cabochon sitting atop it for nearly as long. I have often known these two would be mated, but it was still missing something.

For months and months now I have believed it was another stone, something which would pair up with this amazing stone and somehow compliment the things I see in the texture of the Hematite. But on this new island of creativity I realized that instead it would be I who creates that component of the piece through the fires of silversmithing and the esoteric arts of texturing and patination.

My work nearly always involves the integration of metal and stone, however this piece and the process in creating the front section for it takes it to a new level and a new field of play. I was able to experiment and create a texture process through amazingly simple methods (Using fire and stone and cedar wood grain and knot whorls) to create a piece which would refer back to the deep lines and sectioning found in this particularly interesting piece of Hematite.

The result is not only a very satisfying piece and a great sense of completion for a stone pairing which has been waiting years to be set and completed, but a confirmation that indeed my course of discovery and creativity lies in this direction for awhile ahead.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Inspiration Is Everywhere

"Sometimes you get shown the light/in the strangest of places if you look at it right."
-Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia

Inspiration is everywhere!

Yes, as a jeweler it can come from checking out other jewelers art, but for an artist with an eye for the abstract, the microbiological and the organic miracles of life on planet earth i also often find paintings to be inspirational, giving me a sense or a feeling or triggering a memory associated with color or texture.

Periodic synesthesia and, as Rimbaud would put it " . . . a long derangement of the senses," can help the poet become a visionary for sure, but "sometimes you get shown the light/in the strangest of places if you look at it right."

Such as reading the Sunday paper.
In particular, the New York Times Book Review.

There has always been a love in me for the sweeping and feminine forms of classic cars, and those fins and often creative tail light placements capture my attention.

It's something that is missing from todays car designs. An it's something that I miss.

I have no idea what the inspiration was for car designers in the last 25 years, but it definately wasn't aerodynamics, the female form or even the contributions of the ever-phallic rocket ships.

Oh well . . . we still have classic cars and we still have the history of them captured on film.

This inspiration is still in it's initial experimental and embryonic design stage, but i have a feeling it will fruit something beautiful and modern with roots in the classic.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Wheels within wheels of Sterling Silver hoops and a red Coral sphere bisected with an ear wire axis of Sterling Silver. Simple yet as dynamic as any two planets trajectories.


Like planets,
we orbit a common source

we range far out,
on our lonesome

at other times we come so close
. . . passing in the night
with the knowing glint of starshine

this silver flashing lining
so momentary in the velvety bed of night
a warm and welcome touchstone
of unity.

main hoops measure approximately 1"

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Midnight Inspiration

The inspiration for these Sterling Silver and Coral earrings came to me at midnight. Not a typical tale for me, for you see, i am a night sleeper, a dreamer. But, alas, this particular night found me awake and restless. The heat of the day had subsided with a miraculous rainshower earlier, and so . . . out to the studio i go.

To get there i must step out onto the back deck, my feet feeling the rain wet wood. I step down into the garden, following the straw lined path now very cool and wet, nearly squishy to my bare feet. In the day i have to be mindful not to step upon any creature for the rolly-pollys and ants are busy moving from the garden across the concrete patio between the studio and the garden.

I do not put music on, but opt to listen to the music made by the wind in the trees. A cool night breeze this is which blows through making my tall carrot flowers sway sleepily. And as i sit to meditate for a moment and take in this nights present moment, i am filled with inspiration and begin to look through my materials and my silver to manifest this complex sense of the night . . .

. . . and these earrings "inspircoral" are born . . .

. . . there is something in them of the sacred circle, the path of planets, a cool night breeze and my neighbors backyard wind chimes...the striving of the life force in the sea...the transformation of extreme forces, met with grace and peace, a creation somewhere between allowing and dreaming...

The silver swerve and circle are free to rotate around the axis of the ear wire. The coral bead is free to spin.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Upcycled Innovations

Human kind are story tellers. From connecting the stars in the night sky to create images of our mythic understanding of the seasons and our own cyclic nature to the stories we tell through television and new media we express ourselves and our dreams, our fears and our hopes.

The pendant pictured above is Sterling Silver and upcycled television circuit board material. Once finished and about to be given a name, i suddenly noticed that it has circuit solder points which reminded me of the constellation Orion. "Orionic" is the first in a series of upcycled creations using circuit boards.

When i saw the broken television someone had dumped in a parking lot, i was immediately struck by the turquoise like hue of the circuit board. I didn't even think twice about harvesting one mans trash. The neo-primitive urban hunter gatherer in me took what i could use and cleaned up the rest of the mess.

I remembered my fathers code of "Leave it cleaner than you found it." This bit of culture would come out when we arrived at the place we would camp after hiking through the Olympic Mountains and we would scour the immediate area for pop lids or any trash.

These days i impart this "leave no trace" on to my children as well as emphasizing a lifestyle of recycling, precycling (making consumer choices which reduce the need to recycle, such as buying produce from a local farm instead of in a plastic bag or a can or jar), and upcycling (taking a piece of trash or found object and using it as a raw material in the creation of something of greater value).

I am glad i have found this piece of circuit board, it feels like the perfect upcycling material to integrate into my work.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Recently i made some lovely little Jade earrings. Getting back out into my studio after a hiatus was so much fun. This particular Jade was a lighter color than most of my material, and although not that milky sea green color, it is a beautiful shade of green.

My friend Kate said that they remind her of old styled "hippie glasses" which made me wonder about the subliminal influences. Has the muse gone all misty eyed and nostalgic on me . . . perhaps. Whatever the influence, they came out well and quickly found a new home with someone who loves them dearly. Another happy story.

There are many shades of Jades out there, and i have my favorites. But the fun is in the variety. I have some lovely rare "chrome" Jade which i prefer to call "juicy" Jade.

I also have a lovely darker and mysteriously marbled jade which my father sent me from Washington State. It was unearthed in a construction project near the place i come from and i am excited to use it in some upcoming pieces.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

David A. Martin Interview with Fresh Peaches at Such Cool Stuff blog!

I was recently interviewed by Fresh Peaches for her Such Cool Stuff blog. It was fun to answer the questions and hopefully everyone will find it lively and entertaining.
The interview asks me questions about myself, my craft and things i love and love to do.

There's a link at the bottom of my blog to her blog, or paste the link below into your browser bar at the top of your screen to go to her site.

I am featured on Sunday, March 8th.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Stones From The Pools of Time

I gathered several small stones (as well as fallen bits of wild honey comb and several large Great Horned Owl feathers and Wild Turkey feathers) from Little Owsl Canyon with the intention of creating some jewelry to auction off as a fund raiser for the Friends of Little Owls Canyon.

This stone, when found immediately spoke of a starry night caught in a lightly reddish/purple stone. A canyon night with its ambient canyon colors and white specks. I cant wait to see what this one looks like smothed and polished.

Another favorite is this simple grayish stone with its ghostly footprints (well, that's what i see, a series of whitish markings in a line, to me this always feels like the print of movement, as in my The Path Illuminated ring.) "Ghost Dance" whispered the stone, or was it the wind through the owl feathers i had found, or the canyon itself, or perhaps . . . my inner shaman.

And this stone, so exemplary of much of the canyons colors and form. The play of sunlight and shade. The line of the canyon rim and the sky as seen from below. The corners and cracks and shifts in color and layers of geologic time of this canyons tale.

I am very excited to get to this series of projects because of its timely relevance and to the local flavor of its spirit. More time in these canyons is my intention for the coming good weather.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

David A. Martin Jewelry in Treasury

Marta Sanchez has included me in another Etsy Treasury, this one tickles me pink!

My Magical Mystery Projects

Sometimes i just don't know what to do with some ideas.

Take for instance, this ever increasing (albeit small now) collection of larger stones that have natural hollows within which i cannot help but place other small stones.

I love the combination of these stones colors.

The green cratered Ciefenite and Carnelian i could definitely cut for a pendant or another prominent stone in the series of bold Ciefenite rings i have going.

But what about that gray stone with the natural white crystals in it's hollow?

The turquoise stone has been sitting in it for over a year now. I mean, i could cut it, but it would make a kind of tall stone for a ring or a pendant, even for my bold work. It seems to be fine just the way it is. Perhaps a paperweight, i know that it has been a good deskmate for me at my jewelry bench for awhile. Something about it i find soothing, it makes me feel good. Can't put my finger on it, it's just a sense i get when i see it in my periphery or actually take a moment to look at it.

All part of the creative process when working with the beauty and wonder of natural objects.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Wisdom of the Council of Saws

I had a realization one day. It was a culmination of the wisdom of the various saws i have worked with during the course of my life. I have used saws for cutting wood, metal and stone and each one has spoke of a different relationship, a different path towards the creation of the new thing.

I was able to glean a bit of wisdom which transcends the physical realm of cutting material things and which is useful in social relationships as well as to the individuals spiritual life.

What i found was that the softer the material one wishes to cut through, the larger the teeth of the saw and the greater the space between those teeth in their arrangement on the saws blade. When cutting through hard materials, say metal, the teeth are quite small, and there are very many of them. When you get to cutting stone, well the "teeth" of the saw are now comprised of abrasives, usually diamonds.

When dealing with simple matters of the social arena, say helping a friend move furniture, only a few people are needed and there are a limited number of actions to take. But in larger more difficult social matters, say social progress or cultural change, it takes many people and many small actions working in alignment towards a unified vision. I am thinking here about things as wide ranging as community legislation to radical social revolution.

In matters of the individual as well, say in self improvement or refinement, the easy change like changing ones clothes or eating a meal is done rather swiftly and in single event increments. But harder things, like losing weight or dealing with emotional issues or learning a new skill, these things take time and are achieved in a long line of tiny actions repeated over and over. It is a much slower progress, a gradual chipping away at the stone. This should be understood and considered when setting forth ones intentions as well as being aware of this and having compassion towards ones self, loving ones self with the knowledge that change takes time.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Marrianne Ring

"The Marrianne"

The Marrianne ring was inspired by my friend Marrianne Von Fange. She and i discussed the ring for awhile, going back and forth on ideas for the material. She knew what she was looking for, especially color wise, it was up to me to satisfy her request and make her ideas manifest. I think it went very well. It is definitely one of my favorite pieces.

A lot of creativity went into the evolution of this ring.

The Marianne

This is definately one of my favorite creations!

This Companion Ring was the first triple stone Companion Ring and was inspired and commissioned by my friend Marianne Von Fange. She had some ideas about the colors she wanted and i went about finding stones and consulting with her as to her likes and dislikes and this is the ring that manifested. The large green oval stone is a very veined piece of Turquoise and the two smaller rounded cabochons are semi transparent brown Pigeons Blood Agates.

This ring, especially the green Turquoise remind me of the sea, the veins resembling the luminous underwater reflections of light caused by the waves above on things below the surface. This is only apt since the root of Marianne’s name would be "the sea" this coupled with the meaning of Ann being "Grace" i find both Marianne and this ring to be a testament to the "Grace of the Sea," or perhaps "Sea-Grace" or "Sea-Like Grace"

And all of this brings another bit of poetry from Pablo Neruda to mind:

The lichen on the stone, mesh
of green elastic, enmeshes
the primal hieroglyph,
stretches the scripture
of the sea
around the round rock.
The sun reads it, barnacles fade it,
and from stone to stone
the fish slither by like shivers.
Silently the alphabet goes on
spelling out its sunken syllables
along the immaculate hip of the coast.
On his loom the moss weaver
goes back and forth, higher and higher,
carpeting the caverns of air and water
so that no one dances but the wave
and nothing follows but the wind.
from Stones of the Sky by Pablo Neruda

Friday, February 20, 2009

Little Owls Canyon

Well, even though today was a bit blustery, i went out for my hike anyway. This time i made my journey to the Little Owls Canyon. Little Owls Canyon is a magical place and has welcomed nature lovers for ages as is evident by the petraglyphs or rock art gracing its walls. It has been a rock climbers hidden gem for decades. There are rare salamanders here, and i have heard frogs singing up in pools i have yet to explore.

The health of the canyon's waterway and wildlife is being endangered by an irreverent and irresponsible mining company which is still in operation despite its permit violations, EPA violations, and various other sundry violations of law, ethics, and environmental stewardship. They have been running a mining operation for years, having leased the mineral rights to land which is now a growing community of home owners. This mining operation is seeking a special use permit to expand their operation onto even more peoples land. A grassroots organization of rock climbers, land owners and land lovers has sprouted up in opposition to the granting of the special use permit.

Despite the gradual encroachment of the mining company and its pollutants i was blessed with sightings of much wildlife. Deer and elk tracks, bear and coyote scat. I saw one coyote, many little birds unknown to me (some that were defying gravity and walking underneath rock ledges upside down), a little woodpecker (nutalls) or sapsucker (yellow bellied), found feathers of wild turkey and great horned owl. The small boulder pools were mostly frozen with a light sciff of snow, enough to just make out see coyote tracks clearly, although beneath some i could hear the trickle of the creek.

My most amazing find today was of a mass of wild honeycombs hanging from a shaded section of stone high up a cliff face. I climbed up to get a closer view and took photos, but they seem a bit blurry to me even though the camera should have focused on them.

My love for this canyon and its healthy natural state has led me to attend the local county planning commision meetings, write letters, make phone calls and gather with others to discuss actions we can take to increase awareness of the situation.

One thing that has come up is the cost of legal representation for the landowners. At the last meeting of concerned citizens i proposed that we all do a little towards helping by focusing on our own areas of expertise. There are many artists involved, and i suggested that we make and donate artwork for an auction to raise money. We could make t-shirts, musicians could donate music or even write new music for a compilation cd to be made and sold to raise awareness and money. For me, i have decided to work a jewelry angle.

On my recent visit i collected a few select pieces of stone which i intend to work into a series of pieces which could be sold or auctioned to raise money to help in the raising of awareness about the Little Owls Canyon and its plight.

And in an epipheny (or was it the mushroom whispering) i realized the series would be called "Stones from the Pools of Time" and when i found certain stones they too had names, names which will follow them into the pieces i create (ie. Little Owls Canyon Night, Ghost Dance etc.)

This hiking trip in congunction with local happenings has really inspired me toward a new series of work with great local, social and environmental relevance and resonance.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

From Pieces to Pieces: Local Upcycling

My friends, Kate and Shane Jarrett, who are the resident potters at the Sangre De Cristo Arts and Conference Center make absolutely wonderful work. Aside from their seasonal sales and my favorite, their Kiln Opening event nights, their work can be seen and purchased or sampled at Wireworks Coffeehouse down on the beautiful Historic Arkansas Riverwalk.


Yep, sampled. That's because Wireworks Coffeehouse exclusively uses Jarrett Pottery for all their coffee mugs, cups, and demitasse's, saucers, plates and bowls. This comes from the business and community ethics of the owner, Ann Chenu, who wants her small, local business to be a part of the local economic circle of small, local, and ethical businesses like hers. There are many reasons to support your local and small businesses, for one, their your neighbors. Another reason is that it allows you to enrich your community by supporting the parts of it you want to see thrive. But, like i said, there are inumerable reasons for keeping it local and low scale.

Well, Wireworks Coffeehouse goes through their share of Jarrett Pottery, for as any restauranteur knows, breakage is a major expense. Mugs are especially vulnerable to being dropped or knocked off tables or bonked against the edges of counters.

I have been collecting the Jarretts work for some time, mostly in my home where it now comprises the majority of my crockery. I love their rich warm colors and lustrous glazes. They have a wide variety of color combinations, but i have my favorites.

But i have also been collecting the broken crockery from the coffeehouse. I plan to cut the broken pieces into "cabochons" i can set in silver for rings, pendants and bracelets. I am especially in love with some of the glazes used around the rims of the mugs and edges of the plates.

This will be very attractive jewelry which will place portions of the Jarretts work into silver time capsules where they can be admired and cherished on into the years. It is a great way to recycle or, rather, upcycle local resources. It will also give Wireworks lovers a wonderful memento to remind them of the times and warmth and laughter they have shared, the plans and friends they have made down at the coffeehouse.

It will aslo keep all that Jarrett Pottery from filling our local landfil . . . although, a landfill full of Jarrett Pottery wouldn't be such a bad thing. Beautiful, in fact! Ah, if only that were the case, we should be so lucky.

to contact Jarrett Pottery

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

David A. Martin's Earthship Studio Mentioned in Such Cool Stuff Blog Interview with Marta Sanchez

Marta Sanchez has been recently interviewed by the Such Cool Stuff Blog. The blog is published by Fresh Peaches, and it's about, in her own words, "Artists, Crafts, Sales, and other cool stuff I find as I meander through this crazy internet thing."

My Earthship Studio on Etsy was mentioned as one of the shops that Marta likes. Check out the interview by using the link below in my Blog Roll, or simply pasting the link below into your browser.

Fresh Peaches interview with me will run on March 8th 2009, a few days before my 40th birthday, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Others Art as Inspiration

painting by Randy Wix

I find other peoples art to be such an inspiration to me. There are so many new ways of looking at things, so many expressions of emotion, so many textures. I'm glad that for a small city such as the one i live in, there are a lot of artists, some quite accomplished, and some quite good in my opinion.

Wireworks Coffeeshop for the last five years has kept a rotating monthly showing of local artists work.

Ann, the owner of Wireworks Coffeehouse gets a lot of feedback from customers about the art. She says she's always surprised by what art different people like or don't like. She has recently turned the coffeehouse's art direction over to Randy Wix.

Randy Wix is a local artist who's work has shown several times at the coffeehouse and is an artist who is quite busy painting these days to keep ahead of the demand for his work. His works are mixed media contemporary abstracts.

One of the things i like about his work is that it has lots of texture. I can enjoy his work froma distance, but i often find myself getting up close to check out how its all done, the grooves and squishes, the drips and scratches.

detail of a painting by Randy Wix

Sometimes i find a lot of joy and inspiration in just a small part of a piece of art. I find this to be true for artists such as Breughel and Dali or , as it is for Andrew Wyeth or local contemporary artists such as Randy Wix, Justin Reddick or Ann Chenu.

detail from a painting by Ann Chenu

The above painting by Ann Chenu gives me vast imaginative teritory to explore, to me it is an archaic map of a mythic coastline, complete with deltas and canyons, deserts, mountains and islands. This painting is in my studio and often after stoking the woodstove i will take a few minutes to relax and gaze at it, letting my eyes follow the coastline and my mind to discover its stories.

And then there are painters like Robert Venosa whos intricate works, such as astral circus pictured below, give one a virtual playground, a myriad of luminous images in a magestic managerie to explore. Works such as these give one much to think about due to the often associative and symbolic or archetypal forms.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Passage of Time

I haven't worn a watch in years. Not since i left my job at K2, moved into a van i remodeled into a traveling bedroom/camp kitchenette/library/home. "Van Go" an old bronze Chevy Van. I was on van time, mesa time, sunrise time, forest time, spring buds popping up down by the creek time. I no longer needed time in the old way, had no schedule. One thing i learned then was that when i ditched the watch and the clockwork orange schedule, i suddenly knew what time it was. If it was time to eat, i knew it. If it was time to drink cold clear well water, i knew it. If it was time to run through the woods when it was raining or catch snowflakes on my tongue i knew it, i was in tune with the moment.

And it all got me to thinking . . . about time . . . for the last, oh, say, 15 years. Time is strange. Humanity has come a long way through its course. We have old ways and new ways; old ways that are hard to shed and new ways that are hard to adopt. It seems like we are always in a mode of adaptation, and we're good at it.

Then along comes a guy named Albert Einstein who posits mathematically that energy is mass and time is a physical property, if you will, relative to ones perspective.

And then there is the ancient view of the dreamtime, the eternal moment, each moment a moment of genesis, of creation. That events don't follow each other one after the other, in a linear fashion, but exist all at once right now. That all of time just IS, and we are only seeing one portion through one set of eyes. That perhaps we are all these eyes and all these moments, that there is really only one unified field, one thing, one singularity that has been fragmented . . . the awareness of this "one thing" entity, this One, fragmented, by time.

And there are those who speak of a coming time, say 2012, where we will come to the end of time, and without time, we will have all this space and a new sense or awareness devoid of the constraints of time. Just this awareness/energy/space, no longer fragmented by time . . .

. . . yeah, it got me thinking, and yesterday this piece emerged in my mind, two elements i have been toying with for some time now, this antler button and this magnasite. Well i read that magnasite is said to help open the third eye, the eye of consciousness, a mind's eye . . . and well, it suddenly all just fell into place . . .

. . . i had found my new timepiece, something to wear and remind myself of all these intricate, interesting and important ideas about time and the glorious implications they have to me.