Curls and corners

I will be trying out some hand painted botanical T-shirts at the June 26 FAM (Falls Art Market— 4th Saturday of the month all summer).

I have 6 designs: this one is Curly Fern & Bleeding Heart, and there is also Daisy & Dandelion, Eucalyptus & Boxwood, Larkspur & Grapevine, Roses & Buds, and Tulip & Violets.

Don’t miss the Falls Art Market season opener after the farmers market May 22! (My T-shirts will be at the June 26 FAM.)

Check out bronzeageartcasting.com

It’s beginning to feel a lot like…normal

Kristi and Janet hedged out everyone else in being the first Community Ed students of the first Post-pandemic class in JOE’S Garage 2021 Season!

Spin It! is the Spinner Ring de Jour in the longest running class of JOE’S Garage. We have made spinner rings in several styles and in various metals, in small groups and for larger parties.

Jewelry Designer’s Dream Templates


There are few shortcuts to beautiful handmade jewelry. The design process is painstakingly meticulous. Planning, measuring, creating test pieces, and mock-ups before ultimately holding the final piece in your hand. I love this, and I fight this. I believe in the process, but I want to skip to the good stuff!

As a graphic artist, I created these half-sketched design blanks and templates to facilitate and jump start my own design process. I wanted to make them available to other jewelry artists, too. Use these true-to-size templates to quickly sketch your ideas, and have organic design shapes that don’t look machine made.

These templates are just one of lots of great perks my Patreon Benefactors receive. Please consider becoming a sponsor! Click on the Patreon link to read about all the levels and what benefits come with each one. Thanks for checking it out!

Sketch on them, use them as sawing patterns, or sheet stock mock-ups.

Jump right into designing the fun part! From basic to nearly fully developed—begin sketching on a template blank from a point of precision.

Each template sheet has many blanks to sketch, cut out, and build on.

Each template is filled with options. You are welcome to photocopy yours for your own use.

See all the template options Here!

Please share this link with anyone you think may like a shortcut to BEAUTIFUL design.

Blank bands, shanks, and mounting areas get you to your finished vision.
Imagine planning a surface texture on various widths of bands. The widths are true to scale, as are the size 7 ring circumferences.
Work with gem dummies in 6 and 8mm widths, to keep your sketches, and mock-ups accurate.
Wax carvers, and casters will appreciate the 3-perspective planning space on an assortment of ring bodies.

Une Table Pour Une Personne

I’m on day 144 of my Duolingo French training. That’s what I did during Covid. That, and I learned to cook. Anyway, I learned basic things like: dry your meat before you brown it, and never over cook it. The cheery owl in the track suit expands my mind, and Dinnerly expands my waist. C’est la vie, or C’est ma vie.

Spring is around the corner, and I have set a table for one…and deux. All of my classes are naturally spaced at extreme ends of my 8 foot work table for small groups of like-tribe—as we refer to those we maintain hugging status with. A few more than 2 may also work. Serendipitously, we often wear protective eyewear, masks, and gloves anyway, so it’s all good!

Bienvenue! Welcome to the Garage. On the menu this season is Soldering with a side of Dandelion Seed charms, a refreshing New Leaf Enameling exploration, and the House Specialty: SPINNER RINGS. All through Sioux Falls Community Ed.

Bienvenue!

Welcome to the Garage.

Silversmithing classes for the more serious, the connoisseur, are available á la carte, by the hour, and in a veritable feast of courses to accommodate your tastes and schedule. Sorry, take-out, and delivery are not available, though you can stop by for a taste anytime! Please call ahead!

Lent Fabric Painting

Meditative Mantra Mandala—that sums up the goal, vehicle, and choreography of this focus on Jesus’ Temptation from Matthew 4.
A lovely group of ZOOM attendees followed a path to complete a painted dish towel that will hang as a memory of that event. My hope is that focused meditation, aided by simple repetitive brush strokes, will forge our prayers in other parts of our brain (and heart) through the motions, and our other sensory experiences. Beyond reading and hearing, by seeing the symbols formed by the painted strokes, praying while smelling the acrylic medium, searching for understanding and enlightenment while being aware of others completing these same steps, I have faith a deeper connection is made.
I am moved by each artist’s devotion. It was challenging, and scary, to present a class with such an important message.

WWJD? He would, he did, sacrifice all.

Black T-shirt version

Screw Winter

My good friend, Andy, shared her nieces during the spring of covid. You can’t see it, but I added a face shield to my glasses in order to speak during classes.
Ali takes a shot at a guerilla birthday during Covid-19.

Hello my Friends,

I have had so many false starts since Covid hit, I gave up and crawled under my rock. I managed, I persevered…I had no imminent reason to fear the worst, and yet, the looming continued for all of us, anyway. The cycle of dread, paranoia, and inexplicable imperviousness left me feeling adrift. 

Early on I went through the motions of staying uninfected, and my husband and I continue still to fly under the radar. In late December our three living parents were not able to, and caught the covid, though each of them came through well, I am very happy to say. Like everyone, we look forward to the day we can hug and hang out again.

During optimistic paranoia, I revamped my studio to accommodate a limited number of students in relative safety, and then cancelled most of my classes. Then I reconsidered, and added classes. Community Ed then issued guidelines to cancel…and so it went, back and forth.

During a bout of imperviousness I substitute taught as an art teacher at Roosevelt High School, filling in during the fall for a soon-mom-to-be. Great experience! Loved it.

In the space between, I have been thankful for evil screens that connect me to family, growing grandsons, grocery shopping, and church; for computer-based freelance work, big windows, and the safety of the capsule of a vehicle. I miss touching, and I’m not even all that touchy-feely. 

I have been blessed to be able to continue with my creative loves. And I have been humbled to know with certainty that given the chance to apply myself wholly to an endeavor of worth I will ultimately miss my mark. AND that hope springs eternal, and here we are…

I am looking forward SO much to spring, and our new world, and fresh direction. I plan to open my studio garage again this April with a focus on casting and private classes. Let me know you’re out there, share your journey. It’s been too long! Forgive me for dropping the ball, and thank you to all of you who picked it up. You know who you are.

I’m still at the same site. Stop by and leave a message, or drive by and toot or text!

Screw winter! Spring is Coming!

Love to you,
Natalie

Studio Evolution

Where Magic Happens

I’ve see it! This space has held creativity and I’ve watched it ignite. It has been the backdrop to that spark that flares in the presence of an aesthetic challenge.

Jump ahead to see 2 sites every creative person will love!

It boggles my mind and can drain my enthusiasm at times, but my happy little garage has played the part of storage container, she-shed, party room, studio, and even garage…sometimes in frighteningly fast succession.

Covid-19 surreality, is a mental, political, logistic, economic, and health crisis that we WILL overcome. Still, nearly everyday I catch myself planning things that would tempt fate. Craving to create with others safely has launched JOE’S Garage into a studio evolution.

But gone are the days of quaint rafters and bare sheetrock. No more elbow to elbow crafting under one big fluorescent light. Social distancing brings a new opportunity to clean up and reinvent.

It has taken several false starts to settle into my current more open floor plan. The drawing board that I kept returning to was not a figure of speech. I rearranged every post-it note fixture over and over. One plan allowed 8 students spaced out along the walls, one allowed a car.

It started with a fresh coat of paint. I wanted a sky of tiny rice lights against a comfy blue ceiling, while still able to flood the work areas with excellent lighting surrounded by a clean and friendly glow.

I removed all non-essential everything, and replaced many buckets and stacks with cupboards and drawers. The result is wider passage and happier tools. Tim finished off a hidden mystery door into a anteroom for canvases and my own fuse box—very convenient. I have added wheels to several pieces allowing flexibility, too.

I settled on 2 work stations, plus my hutch bench, with wiggle room for more.

Yes, I’m breathing easier now, with my studio’s cosmetic upgrades, and from my new extractor ventilation fan moving over 400 cfm! I have been wanting this for some time. We can comfortably and safely solder all winter with the garage door up or down.

You will see most of my CLASSES listed as before. What has changed is class size. Think intimate: small groups of one or two, and each class will be individually scheduled, so you can choose a time that works for you.

You can’t see it very well, intentionally, but I’m wearing a full face shield.

Today JOE’S Garage is more inviting than ever, safer than ever, and open for business! 🇺🇸

I will continue teaching through Community Ed, and utilizing ZOOM, and Youtube to reach those beyond my studio.

You have been my light at the end of this tunnel. I hope you will find your path through with the help of creative outlets, from the support of other humans and the comfort of furry friends, and from the confidence we all feel from level-headed doers who jump in and care for us, or protect us, or plan for our safe and secure future.

I’ve felt your support over the past months. Know that I am here for you, too! Thank you especially for Kim York, who supports me on Patreon; Ali Ecklund, Deb Haar, and Nancy Hurley for helping me feel the creative love whenever that spirit calls, as well as Andy Bacharach for that and all the ways she keeps my studio producing and populated! And I am thankful for Sioux Falls Community Ed (and Melanie Erickson—remember the Bead Co.?), that shines above all my twinkle lights to spread healing to our distance-weariness.

I’m also thankful for these creative roads less traveled that never disappoint. These websites always take me somewhere I never imagined, and leave me contemplating something new. MyModernMet and Christies.com

I’d love to hear what you’re thankful for!

Stay well, my masked crafters!