July 28, 2013

Kickstarter Project Funded!

Success!  My kickstarter project ended last week, and it was a resounding success.  I was 245% funded with 135 backers.  I’m so thrilled, thankful, and excited.

I’ve spent the weekend responding to backers and beginning to work on the outlines.  With over 80 pets to make charms for, I’ve got my work cut out for me!  I’m hoping to get between 5 and 10 outlines done per day over the next week, and then move on to making the charms.  Some of the charms I’ll be able to send out as early as Tuesday! (pawprints and “Grateful” charms.  The customized ones will take longer)

As of right now, I am so sore.  I have been sitting for far too long, typing emails and working on outlines on the computer.  My “mouse” hand and shoulder are cramped and sore.  My sitz bones ache (a literal “pain in the butt”).  I’ve had way too much coffee and ate a candy bar for lunch.  But it’s been SO cool to get all these stories and images of cherished pets.

And now, I’m going to take my own doggies out for a much needed break!

July 5, 2013

Two weeks to go…

It’s getting a little lonely over here on Kickstarter

I am absolutely delighted that I made my goal in just under 5 days, and I am so appreciative of every single one of my supporters. You are giving me the opportunity to be able to grow a business that I truly believe in and feel incredibly passionate about.  I am so grateful.  I’ve already started receiving messages from backers, and requests for some animals I’ve not worked with before (a polar bear paw print as well as a cockatiel!)  I’m really looking forward to working on all of the rewards for this project.

With the incredible early success of my campaign, it was bound to slow down a bit.

But there’s still about 2 weeks left of the campaign, and I haven’t yet met my stretch goal.  This goal includes upgrading my book to hard-cover and including more pages; getting some components of my designs cast in sterling silver, rather than making them all by hand; getting some much needed new studio equipment.  But the biggest stretch goal is the one I need to most support for: putting an ad in a national dog magazine! These ads are quite expensive, but I’m certain with your support, I can make this a reality.

I did budget money from my original goal towards advertising-the usual brochures and business cards, as well as a small allotment to put an ad in the local paper and a teeeeeeny ad in a national magazine.  This magazine has a very large circulation, and a terrific readership of people who really love their pets!  I think it’s the perfect fit for me.  The ad rates have always been more than I could afford to spend, so I wanted to make sure I used a little of the money from Kickstarter to get something in the holiday edition.

When I contacted the advertising manager about the current rates, she offered me a great discount if I reserve ad space for two or more issues.  In addition, she said that by placing more than one ad, she could offer me space in one of their product showcase sections, which is in the main body of the magazine!  This is an offer I don’t want to pass up, as it gets my name and work out there to my target audience.

But…as of right now, I don’t have it in the budget.  It’s twice what I’d allotted for my advertising expenses.

So!  If you are a supporter, if you believe in what I’m doing, if you love this idea, if love your pet,  please continue to share my project PETite Prints!

With this new goal, I’ve added some new rewards: Now available, “Euro charms” modeled after the “euro” stickers people put on their cars. The really exciting part of this is that ANY breed can be done! That includes animals of land, sea or air. A silhouette of anything from an Afghan hound to a Zebra!

Here’s a completed “Euro” charm that depicts a greyhound

euro grey border

And one  I designed for my poultry-raising pal…what do you think?

chick circle

June 21, 2013

The first 24 hours

To borrow an expression from my British friends, I am CHUFFED at the response thus far to my Kickstarter Project!  In the first 24 hours, I’ve hit 28% of my funding.  Wow!  I’m hoping to keep up the momentum.  Kickstarter is “all or nothing” which means if I don’t hit my goal, no one gets their rewards, and then everyone is sad😦

I have been obsessively checking my email and phone every 5 minutes.  Every time I get a message “so and so has backed your kickstarter project” I get all butterflies in the tummy about it and shout to whoever is near me “woo hoo, I got another backer!”  I can’t wait to get started on the rewards.

It truly is so encouraging and validating to have such a positive response to this.  Thank you SO MUCH to those of you who have backed me already, and please continue to pass the word along to your friends, family, veterinarian, trainer at the zoo, doggie daycare attendant and anyone else who loves pets!

I am SO…




June 20, 2013

Kickstarter project LAUNCHED!

Finally!  After months of working on this project, and after a few set backs, a move of my studio, a trip to the West Coast, it’s finally live and officially launched:  My Kickstarter project PETite Prints 

A HUGE thank you to Jen Kahn , who paved the Kickstarter way for me.  She had a project successfully funded a few months back, and has been a wealth of knowledge, support and encouragement for the project.  THANK YOU JEN!

So, what is this Kickstarter thing?

Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing crowdfunding platform.  If my goal isn’t met, the pledges don’t get processed and I don’t get any funds (and you don’t get any rewards)! Please help spread the word, and thank you so much for your support.

banner box variable

And what is PETite Prints?

The goal of my project is to put together a “coffee table” type book for people who are passionate about their pets: PETite Prints.  Included in it will be images of my Commemorative Jewelry with photos of the beloved pets being commemorated.  It will also be filled with images of amazing animals, quotes about life with pets and comforting words for coping with the pain of their passing.

I’ve now been making pet-related commemorative jewelry for several years. In doing this type of jewelry, I discovered that all of us who own pets love to hear and share stories: our experiences adopting, or raising a young animal, the silly, playful, heartwarming antics of our pets, and our experience with the grief of losing a beloved friend.

I intend for the book to be a source of laughter, encouragement, hope and comfort. I’d like to use Kickstarter to generate more work that I can have professionally photographed by Robert Diamante.  I will then use his images, pictures and stories of the pets being commemorated through the project, and quotes about life with pets and words of hope for those who have lost their animal companions.

To meet this goal, I have several levels of rewards for those who choose to “back me” and support my project.  I even a few for those of you who want to back me but maybe aren’t so keen on having a pet image.  I can do ANY kind of pet you choose, from dogs and cats to ferrets, hamsters, polar bears and penguins!  I can even do your images of your children!! (please don’t think I’m comparing your child to a pet! Only that if you send me their image, I can turn it into a charm.)

seven sennawith frame

herb sanna

Please check out my project HERE!

I’m SO butterflies-in-the-stomach excited about this.  I can’t wait to see what this experience teaches me, and I can’t wait to get started!

Thank you so much for taking the time to check it out.



June 1, 2013

It’s Miller…waukee time!

After two flight cancellations, a 4 hour delay, completing the last leg of our journey by bus rather than plane and having our luggage spend the night at the Milwaukee airport, the day is dawning bright beyond the Miller Lite sign and Celie and I are ready for Bead and Button!  We spent yesterday unpacking and getting the classroom set up and today is day one of Gravity and Grandeur:  From River Rocks to Diamond Rings, Exploring Ring Design in PMC Sterling.  Stay tuned…


May 8, 2013

Movin’ on up

Want to know the best form of procrastination?  Make a big move of your workspace and shop.  Spend several weeks moving and sorting through all your shit, then go on vacation for two weeks.  Return, get the space set up perfectly.  Then paint.  Move all your furniture to one side.  Paint that side.  Move everything to the other side.  Paint the other side.  (It makes much more sense to paint now then when the space was totally empty, trust me).  Then, make a move into a new space.  Do this all in a 4 month period for maximum un-productivity…

I’ve felt stagnant the last few months.  I was very excited to move into my new space in downtown Syracuse.  After getting it all set up, I just didn’t feel inspired.  The building I’m in is great: There are a ton of other artists, everyone is so encouraging and creative, I was making sales.  I just felt stuck.  I’d mentioned in passing to the landlord that my space was a little larger than I really needed, so when  a smaller space opened up, he let me know about it.

I had a feeling it wasn’t going to work.  It was fully half the size of my current spot, It was dark, oppressive.  It was on the quieter 3rd floor.  The wall color closed the space off even more. I’d most certainly have to paint.  And ugh.  Those walls are TALL…and that paint goes ALL THE WAY UP and even onto the rafters.

studio 2

Skateboard mural?  Yes please!

studio mural


I couldn’t stop thinking about that window.  That beautiful old window set in the original brick.  The building is a former John Deere equipment factory and I just love the thought that 100 years ago, someone looked out those windows towards a totally different view of downtown Syracuse.  A room with a view!  There was something about the space. It was speaking to me.

I showed it to a bunch of people for second, third, fourth…18th…opinions…and the majority consensus?  “It’s too small”,   and  “Didn’t you just paint!?” and “What’s up with that mural?”

Still, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  I was concerned that moving would just be another form of procrastinating-that I just needed to be happy with the space I had and stop shopping around for something “better”. However, given that the space was half the size, it was half the rent as well.  …and I had more stuff then I really needed….and that window!

I went on one of my daily pilgrimages to the 3rd floor to try to picture myself in there, and saw this:

studio mid spruce

You mean…I DON’T have to paint??

At which point, I said I’ll take it!

Here’s the new space with a fresh coat of paint.

studio before rug

Looking bigger already…but…what’s up with that rug?  I want to see the beautiful old hardwood floors underneath!

studio before

Or….the Jackson Pollock-esque painted floors.  I actually kinda dug these artsy paint splatters, except that I literally could not clean this floor.  Brooms brushed debris into deep grooves.  Mops snagged and shredded over the larger globs dried paint.  And I love my Miele too much to subject it to the years of filth beneath that rug. What’s a girl to do?   Apply lipstick to a pig!

TA DAAAA!!studio after 2studio after 1

Can’t get away from the slanted floors, but I’m fully moved in to the new space and operational.  And inspired!  I love watching the trains go by, I have a terrific breeze, the light is amazing from 7 am to 7 pm, the 3rd floor neighbors are fantastic, there’s still room for classes and my little shop.  I’m so glad I moved on up.  And now I’m finally settled.  Probably.  You know, unless something better comes along…

But for now, the new home of  Wishlist, featuring elm harris and Commemorative Jewelry is at 501 West Fayette St, Suite 310, Syracuse NY!

January 21, 2013

The numbers don’t lie.

I decided back in November that “this is my year”.  I turned 33, which was harder than 32, as I am now solidly closer to 35 than to 30…  Which means I’m closer to 40 than 30.  I suppose even at 31, I was closer to 40 than to thirty, since time has a pesky way of only moving forward.  But I like 33.  I like all multiples of 11.  33 just looks nice too.  The numbers are graceful, round, elegant…

Screen Shot 2013-01-21 at 12.20.28 PM

I find weird significance in numbers.  For example, the year 2013.  20 + 13 = 33, which is my age for 2013.

My mom made me aware of a terrific blog post by Katwise (read it here!) and as I read through her comments, I was intrigued by a commenter who described a “personal year” in numerology.  I don’t know the first thing about numerology.  I rank it up there with astrology, tarot and reading tea leaves.  Which isn’t to say I don’t believe in it, but I take it with a rather large grain of salt.  Sure, I like reading a good horoscope as much as the next gal.  But given my proclivity to finding odd meaning and significance in numbers and number patterns,   I was compelled to click on the link  the commenter provided.

The funny thing, is as I was starting to read about numerology, I came across this sentence,

“Depending on what year it is you could be going through anyone of nine personal year cycles including a personal year 3 which is a year in which you are likely to find creative success”

and I was 100% positive I was in my “year 3”.  At the bottom of the page, you can calculate your personal year…So I entered in my birthday, and lo and behold, I was in Year 3, which has the following meanings and interpretations:

Blossoming, Expansion, Personal and Business Success

This is a very happy year during which you see your efforts begin to show fruit. You can expect delightful surprises and gratification in many areas of your life including business, career, friends and love. You exude such enthusiasm for life that others may find you irresistible. Usually during a year 3 you also find that the burden of responsibility is somehow lifted off your shoulders. The only drawback of this year is that it presents you with so many great opportunities that you might be tempted to take on more than you can handle.

I’d like to think the numbers don’t lie.  And even if they do, I’m deciding to believe that this is true, that this is the year to really grow as an artist and with my jewelry business.  The groundwork is already laid.  I just have to decide to follow the less traveled road, and not wander off on the easier, excuse ridden path towards another year of “I could have been successful if only…”

So, it’s time for me to sign off, move the last of the boxes into my new studio space and get this year started off on the right foot!

November 5, 2012

A little help from my friends…

I know people say that “Time flies when you’re having fun”.  But it also flies when you’re rushing toward a deadline.  I’d venture to say time flies even faster when you’re having agita over the amount of work you need to accomplish in a small space of time.  My most recent deadline was for the photo shoot that took place this past weekend.  I wanted to get some photos of my friends (who are also loyal customers!) wearing my jewelry.  I mentioned this idea to my photographer friend K.C. Uthus and she totally ran with it. (Running.With.Camera).  I was thinking of just getting a few girls together, putting on our Sunday Best and taking some pictures.  But K.C. enlisted the help of a makeup artist (Jillain) and clothing loaned from a beautiful boutique (Heidi) and all of a sudden, a real, live photo shoot was born!  With the added excitement of having a photographer, makeup artist and high fashion clothing contributing to the event, the pressure was on to start making some new pieces.  All else went onto the back burner this past week in a frantic effort to create more More MORE!

Naturally, I didn’t get as much done as I’d hoped, and I was still putting on clasps, adjusting chain and patinating the morning of the photo shoot.  But it was such a great time!  Mimosa’s and modeling, what a treat.  It was so nice to spend the day with some of my close friends, chatting, laughing and getting pampered.  And it was surreal to be playing “stylist” with my own jewelry!  Matching necklaces, earrings and rings to gorgeous tops and sweaters…Heidi’s line of Beyond Vintage tops blended beautifully with my vintage lace inspired jewelry.  This is something a girl could get entirely used to…and if it means I’m making a lot more jewelry, well what a great motivator!

Please check out and “like” K.C.’s Facebook page to see some of the photos from the day right HERE.

One of the new pieces I made used a vintage mother of pearl button set behind a vintage French watch crystal, set in sterling silver.  I LOVE how this piece turned out!

Vintage mother of pearl button set behind vintage French watch crystal by elmharris.com

Here is the same piece as photographed by K.C. (and it looks even better on her page, please check it out and give it a “like”)

I’ve been thinking a lot of my tag line (or my elevator pitch)…”I make reliquary vessels for newly sacred objects”.  That should elicit “What does that mean??”

I am inspired by the mundane-turned-sacred.  An old button takes on a whole new shine when viewed behind glass and set in silver.  A scrap of an old, worn shirt, soil from a favorite place, hair from a beloved pet: These all take on value and meaning when they are viewed as cherished relics and enshrined in a piece of jewelry.

Before I lost my dog Gonzo, I cursed the black hair that he left on every light colored surface…the dust bunnies that seemed to settle back down as soon as the broom was put back in the closet. After he died, every time I found one of his hairs, my heart broke a little bit.  The hair that had been the scourge of my vacuum, was now something to be treated with reverance.  I couldn’t bear to sweep up the vestiges of my beloved pup-to do so would be to erase part of his memory.  So I collected the hair in a little vial, and then set that hair into a reliquary.

Often, it is the smallest, most insignificant objects that become our most treasured possessions.

A huge thank you to K.C Uthus, Jillain and Heidi for their contributions (and for inspiring me to make some new work!)  And of course, major thanks to my models, Casey, Amber and Courtney.  You gals look mah-va-lous!

And now, time will hurtle towards the next deadline, my Craftcast class on making bells!  I will be teaching my technique for making bells with a fired-in-place bail, and giving tips and tricks on getting the best sound out of your bell.  The class should be a lot of fun, I hope to see you there!

October 15, 2012

Cows need to be heard too

Have you heard the one about the interrupting cow?

Knock Knock…Who’s there?   Interrupting Cow….Interrupting cow wh-  MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO


I had the opportunity today to visit with my “sister wife” Sue McNenly.  She was taking Celie’s bronze clay class. I’d expected to spend the full 4 days of the class visiting with her, but there were extenuating circumstances and it didn’t happen.  Which meant we had very little time to squeeze in a LOT of catching up.  And I kept interrupting her. Luckily, she and I are kindred spirits…and we like the same spirits (hellOOOO Bloody Marys!)  and I actually think our interruptive way of conversing worked quite well.  We were both sort of falling over ourselves in our excitement and words were just tumbling out, but we got a lot said in a short period of time.  And then Sue literally fell over.  Probably because Y and R was on every TV in the restaurant, and Sue has been without Victor Newman for the past 4 days.

August 31, 2012

The (dreaded) Artist Statement…

“My work explores the relationship between Jungian archetypes and UFO sightings.

With influences as diverse as Kierkegaard and Joni Mitchell, new variations are generated from both orderly and random layers.

Ever since I was a child I have been fascinated by the ephemeral nature of relationships. What starts out as undefined soon becomes finessed into a carnival of lust, leaving only a sense of undefined and the prospect of a new synthesis.

As undefined forms become clarified through diligent and academic practice, the viewer is left with a statement of the limits of our future.”

Huh? ?  Many artists hate writing their artist statement.  It’s so loathsome a task that websites  have cropped up that poke fun at the endeavor and give you the opportunity to create some pretty ridiculous statements.  The above  was created at  “artybollocks.com” and the statement below was from a “Mad Lib” style format on the Artist Statement Generator :

Through my work , I attempt to examine the phenomenon of Spongebob Squarepants as a metaphorical interpretation of both Van Gogh and carousing.

What began as a personal journey of creeperism has translated into images of mallow cups and ears that resonate with Gullah people to question their own blueness.

My mixed media baskets embody an idiosyncratic view of the pope, yet the familiar imagery allows for a connection between Elvis, clothes dryers and apple fritters.

My work is in the private collection of no one.

I am a recipient of a grant from Folsom Prison where I served time for stealing mugs and tie clips from the gift shop of The MOMA. I have exhibited in group shows at Bob’s Big Boy and Furniture Gallery, though not at the same time.   I currently spend my time between my kitchen and Berlin.

What a load of dreck.  But the punchline is that many artist statements ARE unread-ably dense and esoteric.  So the challenge becomes to filter the statement down to the basic facts:  Who is this artist?  Why is this artist?  What better way to drive home the point of brevity than with a Haiku?

erin’s aesthetic

neolytic relic

esoteric rhetoric

The problem with many artist statements is that if you don’t have immediate access to a dictionary or a Mensa level IQ, many of the words are going to trip you up and the point is lost.  Neolytic?  Extant heirlooms.  Huh?  What is this artist saying?  Who are they?  What do they DO? 

Ann Robinson D Davis sent me a really funny link this morning about humblebragging by artist Robert Genn.  My favorite part of the article was at the very end, where he said:

“Full humblebragging baloney often comes with the well regarded institution of the Artist’s Statement:  My folks were very poor.   I was born in an old paper bag in the middle of Highway 401.”  Truly noble heights are attained when artists write about themselves in the third person:  As a child Joe Bloggs was always interested in mud puddles, hence his current fascination with marine subjects.”  “Mary Pinnacle’s father was an undertaker–she grew up surrounded by flowers.   The Canadian painter Ross Penhall is a quiet guy who doesn’t have much to say about his art.  A tattoo on his arm reads, “Shut up and paint.”

I love that sentiment.  Shut up and paint.  Shut up and make.  Shut up and do.  I hope not to offend you with the crassness of my demands, but seriously… Keep It Simple Stupid.  Just tell us what you do best and let us enjoy it.

And now, the distilled statement:

erin’s raison d’etre

creating metal vessels

petite remembrances.

I believe it’s time for me to shut up.  I’ve got jewelry to make!