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I am UmberDove.

And by that, I mean an artist.  One who hears stories in the wind, who paints because it is what her soul tells her to do, who smiths because the muse moves through her fingertips, who loves nothing more than the promise of an unexplored trail, the sound of the ocean in her ears, and scent of a serious cup of coffee.



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Thoughts on Storytelling, Rock Climbing and Fortitude

Kelly Clark

If you've known me for any length of time, you know I love the story.  The why.  The tangle of experience melded with words and image.  The way these things build both the creative process and our visual vocabulary.  The way digging into our individual life stories for the work of our hands, be it overarching themes or the events of a simple afternoon, creates a richness all of their own.

Last weekend BC and I dug into the world of rock climbing for the first time.  Learning where to dig toes into crevices, how to push, pull, center and scale that rock face.  Climbing until my arms felt like a sack of mashed potatoes and I couldn't shake the grin from my lips.  Feeling muscles strain and the sweet sweet taste of hiking your body up over that last craggy face.  And the whole time, singing through my brain on repeat, was the thought, "how miraculous is the human body."  Each time I would stop and rest, shaking my arms out, feeling strong (and as the afternoon wore on, feeling jello), I'd think of the me from two-and-a-half years ago, the one so desperately ill that she couldn't walk up three porch steps without help.  And each time, I felt the deepest, truest gratitude a body can feel.  

When we returned home that evening, I thought about that intense feeling of gratitude.  About the thrill of feeling strong and the joy of perseverance, about the push of determination.  The small rock walls we climbed were no great feat in the larger world, but I felt the gift they offered me was a powerful nugget of fortitude; access to my own vein of golden truth.  And so.  I got to work.

(Fortitude Posts... sterling silver, deeply textured, layered, and adorned with 23k gold) 

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Kelly Clark

[In the spirit of my "Day in the Life" posts, I wanted to bring a "Birth of the Art" post to life.  A photographic account of where a necklace begins, how it grows and is built upon, the various (but not all) steps and phases of bringing the intangible spark of an idea to fully fledged and tangible life.]

- Nectar -

(a celebration of the sweetness of summer)


Observations, sketches, playing with line and shape.

Tracing basic shapes and sizes right onto sheet sterling.

Hand sawing out each layer and element.

Hammer engraving the floral sketch.

Caving depth and relief around the engraved lines.

Texturing the edges.

Hammering specific markings.

Fitting and wrapping the bezel for the [sun]stone.

Soldering the first and second layers.

Quenching the freshly soldered piece.

Tracing the size needed for bee wing elements.

Rolling mill imprinting real bee wings into sterling.

Initial filing, sanding and surface perfecting.

Soldering jump rings.

Deciding on chain length.

Soldering chain components.

Keum-Boo (hand applying 23k gold leaf)

Adding full patina.

Selectively removing patina and burnishing silver.

Setting the [sun]stone.


(Sterling silver, real bee wing imprint, sunstone, 23k gold)

Drink up all the sweetness you can find my friends,

- Umber