My work

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

All Hallows' Eve

I wanted to wish a happy Halloween from Cat's Meow Co. so I searched the internet for a photo of a cat celebrating the holiday with its human.

What I found was amazing. Our pets sure put up with a lot to please their humans.     

Have a safe and fun evening!

Julie Panusis

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Silvera Jewelry School

Wow, is it Tuesday already? I am still basking in the glow of all the fun I had on Saturday.

My friend, Judy, and I took a Spinner Ring Class at the Silvera Jewelry School in Berkley, California run by Joe and Anat Silvera.
Their jewelry studio is unbelievable. Your class fee includes everything, no, really everything. All your tools, flex shaft, apron and snacks. There’s no kit fee and parking is free. I was in heaven. Not only did I not have to drag my tools with me but Judy loves to drive so I didn’t have to do anything. I was spoiled rotten but hey, someone has to be. I’ll take the job.
Anat taught the class and Joe helped her. I love the way they work as a team. It is great for the students to have such a small class with lots of attention. Both of them are very good with people.
Joe Silvera is the author of Soldering Made Simple: Easy Techniques for Kitchen Table Jewelers.
They specialize in metalsmithing, enameling, cloisonne, and lost wax techniques and teach locally and all around the country including Bead and Button and Bead Fest. In fact, my friend Kumi took a class from them when we were in Milwaukee.

One of the things they have that is especially good for students is a camera that is focused on the piece that the instructor is making. The screen that the students see shows the work in closeup. You couldn't see that well even if your were standing right behind. My eyes are not very good anymore and that is one of my problems when taking a class. I just can't see even when we gather around. I have to rely on hearing and don't always get the whole process. You can see the screen right behind Anat's shoulder.
Both rings soldered
My finished ring
Our kit contained enough material to make three or four different rings. I decided to make a copper one first so I could make my mistakes on it. We also had silver sheet and more wire.
It was a great class. Everyone got at least one ring made and we laughed a lot.
Next month Judy and I are taking a Cloisonne class. It involves getting the sketch pad out and designing a couple of pieces. What should it be, a fish, a horse, a bird or Elvis? LOL

Have a fantastic week!
Julie Panusis

Friday, October 26, 2012

I Love Fall

I just love Fall and all the wonderful images associated with it. The corn, pumpkins, and turning leaves all remind us of harvest and the celebrations that follow.

As I mentioned before, one of my favorite activities in the morning is reading blogs. Fall brings lots of pictures and contests with it and lots of fun things to do.


Right now, the Knot Just Macrame Blog by Sherri Stokey is having a contest to win a beautiful Halloween bracelet. Check it out and maybe you can win.

Not only do I enjoy looking at images and other people's photos I enjoy taking photos. I guess that's my mom's fault as she was always taking photos and loved taking movies. We have movies from before I was born (over sixty years) and it is so much fun to watch them. I even have a black and white movie of Niagara Falls from my Mother and Father's Honeymoon.

Photos speak volumes and bring back memories. I have tons of photos everywhere. They are in boxes, in plastic tubs, on floppy disks, on CDs and on the computer. I often think that if the house burned I would get the dogs out and then go back after the photos. LOL

Here is a photo that I took from Sharilyn Millers Blog back in November of 2010. (Yes, I borrow them too) I took this photo with Sharilyn's camera as she asked me to help her document the class at Wire Masters.

Looking back at the photo, I realized that it was my friend, Kumi, and that was the first time I ever saw her. My mother-in-law, June, is in the red jacket and I had the seat beside her. Kumi sat behind us and really didn't talk much. In fact, Sharilyn labeled this photo as a student concentrating or something like that. Imagine how wonderful it would be if you had a photo of the first time you met all your friends and loved ones.

Happy Fall to one and all.

Julie Panusis

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Teachers Can Be Life Changing

I just read an amazing article on the blog, Art Jewelry Elements, by Francesca Watson. The title of the article was, The Importance of a Teacher and it was about exactly what I say all the time. I feel teachers are so important and if you get a good one it can be life changing.

Thomas Mann's Class at Art-is-Petaluma Retreat
She talked about taking a three day class with Thomas Mann. I took a three hour class with Tom on cold connections and after the class I told him that I had learned more with him in three hours than in an entire semester of Metal Arts at Junior College. He was and still is that good at teaching.
I highly respect teachers because I was one for many years and I know that the three hours that they teach is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the work they do in preparing for a class. It takes a special person to be good at teaching and to handle the different personalities that they encounter.
At the Wire Master’s Weekend I was lucky enough to take classes from three teachers that I would highly recommend. One is Connie Fox and the others are Mary Hettmansperger and Janice Berkebile.

Connie Fox is from the San Diego area and I knew her from her online store, Jatayu, where I had purchased my Lortone Jewelry Tumbler. Her prices were extremely reasonable and she gives lots of advice on her site. I also knew her from the numerous articles that she has written for various jewelry making magazines. She has video tutorials on her site as well and I had watched quite a few.

June, me and Connie wearing her cuff. 
Being an Army Brat, I have yet to meet a stranger. I felt I knew her so well that when she arrived at the hotel and walked into the lobby, I piped up and said, “Oh, hi Connie; nice to see you again.” The poor woman looked at me and her face went blank. She didn’t know me and was quite confused. I felt sorry for her because I have been in the same position. Your mind is racing into all the old files and boxes looking for a clue as to how you know this person. I just said, “We are online friends. I’m a good customer of yours.” She smiled and was very gracious but I felt guilty for putting her in such an awkward situation.

Her class, Freeform Cuff Bracelet, was wonderful. I’m very glad that I had a chance to take it from her. She now teaches in her own studio in San Diego and there is always a waiting list to get into her classes.
One of the unique features of Wire Master’s Weekend was the way you paid. One fee paid for the entire weekend and it included any and all classes you could fit into that time schedule. It was quite a bargain if you booked early which we did. That enabled us to take classes from four different people. I was expecting to get one or two great teachers. Instead I got four outstanding teachers. I felt the weekend was a start to a whole new beginning to my learning and I was right.

Julie Panusis

Friday, October 19, 2012

Let's Talk Wirewoking

As I said, I became interested in wirework a few years ago. There was very little about it online but there was a site called which was owned at that time by Preston J. Reuther. He sold a few tools and had wire and videos.
 I bought everything to start and his videos and became a Gold Member of his club and I was on my way. His style of Wireworking with the swirls and flourishes is not my favorite but I wanted to learn everything about wire so I could make my own style.


Then I discovered, Sharilyn Miller and her book, Bead on a Wire. I ordered the book from Amazon and I never looked back. I am a linear learner and Sharilyn’s teaching style was so good for me. She talks you through with photos of every step including where to put your thumb and how to hold your tool and which way you turn your hand. She leaves nothing to the imagination and I was fine with that. I practiced with my Wire Sculpture beginner’s kit and I became comfortable with the tools and wire. I still love Sharilyn’s book and I use it all of the time to refresh myself on the basics.

Imagine how excited I was when I learned that Sharilyn was going to be teaching at the Wire Master’s Retreat. I signed up for her Tribal Treasures Class and I am so glad I did.

Wireworking is like a computer. There are many ways to get to the same destination. I learned Sharilyn’s way and then became comfortable enough to do it my way. That to me is the sign of a good teacher. They get you going in a comfortable, non-judgmental environment and then you discover your own way.

A fuzzy photo of me with Sharilyn
We went out to dinner with Sharilyn one evening during the retreat and got to know her as a person. She loves her art and loves to try different things. She has written quite a few books. She has a book about Rubber Stamped Jewelry and one on Copper jewelry; she also has many self-published books. I have purchased a few from Amazon for my Kindle.
I love her DVDs because they have the same detailed teaching as in her books and you can stop them any time you want to catch up.
Sharilyn also gives retreats at her home in Idyllwild, California called her “Wild Wire Woman Retreats” that look like a blast. You get a small group together and she will teach a subject that interests your group. She does wirework, metalwork, etching, enameling wire, etc.
Check out her blog at

Well, I have to run. My studio calls and there’s fun awaitin’.

Julie Panusis


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What, Me Worry?

I couldn’t sleep last night. All my pent up future blogs kept rolling around in my mind and then there were the questions, should I share that and should I post this? I can see that I have given myself a lot more to think about. What, me worry? LOL.

I mentioned that I have done most crafts and for over forty years they were mostly in the fiber arts field. When we lived in the Seattle area I worked in a fabric store and a fiber arts store where I taught knitting classes and eventually became a sales representative for the Bond Knitting Machine Company.

Later I worked at different sewing machine stores selling and teaching. I taught how to use a sewing machine, how to use a computer embroidery machine, many sewing arts classes and lots and lots of quilting classes.

I was forced to retire early because of illness and my sewing and quilting just stopped. I’m very surprised but I no longer have the desire to sew. Not that I don’t read about it every once in a while but I don’t actually do it.

I think what happened was a good thing because it gave me a chance to go back to College and pursue a lifelong dream of making jewelry. A friend once said to me, “You are so lucky to be disabled!” I agree with her. I have always felt lucky and blessed.

Teacher became student again and now I treat myself to lots and lots of classes. Not only do I learn about different techniques, I learn so much about myself and I make new friends who are interested in the same things that I am. There is no down side to that.

Weekend with Wire Masters at Dana Point, California
 October 2009

After three semesters in Community College doing Metal Arts I started getting interested in Wireworking. None of my Metalworking friends seemed interested so when I spotted an ad about the Wire Master’s Retreat in Southern California I talked my Mother-in-law, June, into going with me. She loves crafts and was a willing recruit. She lives in Seal Beach so we only had to drive about an hour from her house.


It was a magical time for me to have all those people around me that were interested in the same thing I was. I took four wonderful classes and connected with four talented teachers.

Dana Point is just north of San Diego and it is right on the ocean as you can see. It was October so the weather was a bit cool and on the day we decided to hit the hot tub, it rained but that didn't put a damper on our fun. Pun intended. LOL
The best thing that happened was I met my dear friend, Kumi, from Kauai and we have been having fun with jewelry together for several years now. Kumi took a class with Heidi Kingman who has become a wonderful internet friend for us both.

It’s funny how your path crosses with so many people but you don’t find connections with many of them, except at a Retreat.

That’s all for now.

Have a super day!

Julie Panusis

Monday, October 15, 2012

Tonight's the Night

I have heard that when you do any public speaking it is better to start out with a joke. I don’t know if it is true but here goes.
A man went to a medical conference and was attending a lecture on Human Sexual Experience. The Presenter was asking the audience for a show of hands when he came to how often they had sex. When he asked who had sex once a year the man leaped to his feet and was shouting and cheering.
The presenter was taken aback and said, “Thank you for being so honest but why are you so happy and excited about having sex once a year.” The man shouted back, “Because tonight’s the night!”
That’s sort of how I feel. According to Blogger I set up my blog in February 2011 and I added the background and a few graphics in June 2012 but I have never blogged. You really can’t say that I rush into anything.
Reading blogs is a daily ritual for me sort of like some people who read the newspaper daily. I really enjoy hearing about other people’s days, what they are working on and about their new dog, cat or horse. It’s almost like having your morning coffee with a small group of friends and learning more about them each time you get together. I really like people but should I get bored with their subject or I disagree with what they say, I can always delete them with no hurt feelings.
So, this is my blog and I hope you enjoy it but if you don’t just press delete and we will both be fine.
Julie Panusis