Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October gifts


The month when nature gifts us its colors
Fall colors in Vermont - photographed by Amy Kanka Valadarsky
when children start writing their letters to Santa
and we start looking for gifts for our loved ones.

Path in the woods behind our cabin - photographed by Amy Kanka Valadarsky
A symphony of colors - photographed by Amy Kanka Valadarsky
Like? see my photography web site
This October I already received my gifts:

A beautiful vacation in Vermont,
the starting of a new volunteering project,
a fine art photography class,
fresh ideas for both jewelry and photography.

Now, it's my turn to give.
I want to give you 2 gifts..

For those of you with little time, I will start with the tangible one.

Delicate heart necklace with a heart cutout - "you are always in my heart"
The sterling silver version is my gift to you .See gold version here
For every purchase made in my ETSY store until the end of November -

I will send you a Sterling Silver heart pendant necklace - 'you are always in my heart'

Keep it or gift it.
It's all yours.
The picture on the right is the exact same necklace in solid 18k gold.

The second gift, is one I have received and now paying it forward.

On our last vacation day, we decided to explore the 'recreation path'. A pleasant walk starting behind the Stowe picturesque church and meandering through the park.

Just at its beginning, lining the path were signs with verses from a poem by Lizzy Fox.
I loved it so much, I wrote them all down,
and now I pass them on to you.
A morning walk in the woods - photographed by Amy Kanka Valadarsky

  by Lizzy Fox

I want
to take my time
in October
slow my steps
feel each crunch
and crack
of leaves
beneath my feet

Watch trees take form
stretching skeletal
towards snatches
of sun

Bathing half-naked
in wind
and rain
and sleet
that softly coat them  
from dappled skies;

who won't decide
a color
or pattern
to hold onto.

Who bear forth
in brittle


Enjoy this month and its colors,
and get ready to welcome the colder days of November.

If you enjoyed the images and would like to see more - go to my photography web site.
There are more of them there in the impressionist, landscape and reflection sections.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Coming full cycle - from metal art to photography

It was a bit more than a year ago, when a Saturday walk on the beach inspired me to create the 'walk on the beach ring'.

Its colors inspired by the sea, its texture - by the sand. a bit of magic thrown in
with colored diamonds - the walk on the beach ring

At the time, the notion of a simple walk triggering a creative inspiration was new and surprising.
I was not used to translating experiences into inspiration.
Nothing in the 20+ years of hi-tech work prepared me for it.

Since then, a year passed, and I find myself a few days before Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year thinking a bit about the last 12 month. And very very thankful for the path I walked.

The Tanzanite and diamond flower ring. It took me a year to figure out how to create the 'lace' like look on the petals

The initial flower ring I made,
turned into a set of flower ring variations
a few of them bringing daily delight to the ladies wearing them.

With the lacy look and the random brown diamond thrown in accenting a brown Smokey Quartz
a slightly different variation of the flower ring

In parallel to deepening my understanding of metal I started to .....paint with light.
Well, on second thought it may not be so surprising, after all I had to photograph the jewelry I make.
The surprising thing is the world I discovered when looking through the lens.
I always thought photography is documentary.
I found the creativity and the art.
The magic in painting with light.

So it seems only fitting, to close this year with another 'walk on the beach'.
This time expressed through the camera lens.
Join me on a walk on Santa Monica, California beach - and lets have a look at the setting sun from under its famous pier :)

Walking towards the pier - photographed by Amy Kanka Valadarsky

 A Seagull at sunset - photographed by Amy Kanka Valadarsky

Feel the waves? - photographed by Amy Kanka Valadarsky

Running into the waves - photographed by Amy Kanka Valadarsky

Having fun on the beach - photographed by Amy Kanka Valadarsky

The pier - photographed by Amy Kanka Valadarsky

Under the pier - photographed by Amy Kanka Valadarsky

Looking at the sunset - photographed by Amy Kanka Valadarsky

I really wonder how will the post at the end of next year look ;)

For those of you who celebrate Rosh Hashana - have a wonderful year.
For those who don't - enjoy the coming autumn, and I will be wishing you a great 2015 in just a few months!


Sunday, August 10, 2014

The world in black and white - a jewelry designer point of view

Lately, I find myself attracted more and more to black and white.

Moonlight and a palm tree in our garden, photographed by Amy Kanka Valadarsky 
Months ago, when writing the post on silver jewelry, I wrote about the specific characteristic of silver that allows to turn its color to black.
I found a few pieces that demonstrated this beautifully......but did not really use this in my work.
I started spending more and more time looking for ways to emphasize the shape and texture of my pieces.
And not surprisingly, the more I worked on this, the less color I used.

Our bedroom window. The drape is almost transparent.
The beautiful shadows almost invisible ... unless shown
in black and white.
Photographed by Amy Kanka Valadarsky

Color has a way of demanding attention to itself. And rightfully so, since it can be sooooo beautiful - but this comes at a price. It steals attention from the more subtle aspects, the ones that do not shout, they only whisper...

In parallel to my jewelry work, I started to photograph.
Not just my jewelry pieces, but really start using the camera to get another angle of the world.

Unlike working on a piece of jewelry, that can take days to complete, in our digital era, 'creating' a photo takes seconds.

Results are immediate, there is no real cost of making a mistake ( ...most of the time).

So here I am, camera in hand, finding myself photographing light. Trying to capture the essence of places, of people. And slowly.....moving from color photos....to black and white.

My beloved adopted granddaughter, Alma. Look at the beauty of her eye-lashes.
The delicacy of a single strand of hair on her forehead.
Nothing, including the pink dress distracts you from seeing it - in a black and white photo.
Photographed by Amy Kanka Valadarsky

There is nothing like black and white to emphasize light and shades, the purity of a contour, to make us look, really look at the picture without being hijacked to the 'ah....what a beautiful sunset'.

My stepdaughter, Ayelet.
Would you notice the freckles if you would have the sunset colors in the background?
Photographed this one evening on the beach

 Sterling silver pendant

Back to my jewelry workbench - molding a dry cactus leaf into necklaces.

Realizing for the thousand's time how nature is the best artist of all.

How can I show these artful veins to their best advantage? You guessed right.

Black and white.

Working with silver, oxidizing it to a pitch black shade, then polishing it to reveal the shiny silver color on the upper part of the veins - and here it is.

Another version of the cactus leaf pendant
Immediately grabbed by my dear husband :)
Nature's art -
I'm just there to make it wearable.

Did I mention I am falling in love with black and white????
How about you?

Until next post,
Have a wonderful time


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Gentle Strength - A fine jewelry collection from AKVjewelry

"Nothing is so strong as true gentleness, nothing is so gentle as true strength"
      Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Inspired by the delicacy of natural lines
as well as its interpretation by the great Art Nouveau artists I admire so much

After months of drawing, creating models, experimenting with metal curves
photographing and even painting the stands for exhibiting the collection....

I am proud and happy to introduce -

Gentle Strength - a jewelry collection

Watch a short video, capturing the essence of this collection

Also....marking the official launch,for the month of July only - 20% off on this collection including custom orders based on the collection pieces. Use coupon code GSJuly on checkout to receive the discount.

Here is a link to the participating items in my ETSY store:
Gentle Strength by AKVjewelry on ETSY


Monday, May 19, 2014

Personalized jewelry - A post on wedding gifts, jewelry design and ....Paris

What does Paris have to do with personalized jewelry?
 Read on and find out :)
Let's start with a question:
What combines aesthetics and message with an intimate touch?

More intimate than a work of art,
more resilient than a written note,
a piece of jewelry can do what very few objects can.

It can dazzle the eye, at the same time keeping a wish or message close to one's heart.

No wonder jewelry makes such a popular gift.
Especially when the gift is made especially for you.

Rather then talking about personalized jewelry, I would like to 'walk my talk' this time and show you how I created a gift that touched hearts.
Sarah and Benjamin wedding invitation, November 10th

It started with a wedding invitation we got - which it a very good start given the wedding took place in France and enabled to sneak a few days in Paris (...see the connection now? :))

As a wedding gift, I decided to create something special for the bride. Something that will always remind her of this day and our wishes for many happy days together.

As research is something I love to do, the first thing I did was to start collecting pictures and researching symbols I could use.

Here is a link to the Pinterest board I created then.

When it comes to wedding/happiness/connection symbols, I discovered the sky is the limit.
From Celtic knots, to infinity signs, to Chinese symbols - you name it.
Eventually, as this is a young Jewish couple I settled on pomegranates, a symbol of abundance and fertility.
What better wish for a young couple than having as many happy years together as the seeds of the pomegranate?

After days of sketching pomegranate pendants, and not being really happy with any of them, I looked at the wedding invitation again ... and flipped it to its backside.

Bingo!!!! The bride and groom designed an interlocked version of their initials:  B and S.

What better way to surprise them than creating a lasting version of their design?

Few days later, and pendant is ready - glistening in sterling silver, featuring a stylized version of the bride and groom initials and 3 pomegranates. Two set with rubies, one engraved with the wedding date.

Complementing the pendant, I thought a pair of pomegranate earrings will really make this a nice gift, so back to the studio....and here is the result!

...I liked them so much, I posted these in my ETSY shop

Packed in a handsome box, the necklace and earrings traveled to France and after the wedding ceremony went to Sarah, the beautiful bride.

A few weeks later, back at home, we got a really nice note (...in French of course :)

"....your gift, so thoughtful and personalized shows your generosity ...."
You see, this is the essence of personalized jewelry to me:

You do not have to say it,
the recipient knows it was designed and created especially for them.

.......and will probably cherish it as such for a long time

Next time you want to give a truly personalized gift, invest a bit of thought and it may go a very long way towards making a loved person very very happy.

Here is the link to the English version:
To help you do exactly that, I wrote a short guide and published it on my ETSY store. It is free (well 20 cents, as you can not post free listings on ETSY....)

There is an English and a Hebrew version - pick the one you are more comfortable with - download, read and let me know what you think of it.


Friday, April 11, 2014

Gentle Strength - A jewelry collection by AKVjewelry

Gentle Strength

....the kind of strength that comes from within and manifests itself as radiance and joy
......that comes from living your life from the inside out
.........when thoughts, words and acts are aligned

Gentle Strength - expressed as pieces of wearable art.
The birth of a jewelry collection

Sterling silver and Yellow diamonds necklace

....where the sinuous lines create the flowing appearance as well as the structural strength
........where we are reminded of the greatest strength of all -
the regenerative power of nature,
symbolically represented as leaves, buds and spirals

Buds, leaves and sinuous lines - The pure silver necklace

Understated strength,
the kind that does not need to shout to assert itself,
represented by a monochrome palette of colors:
silvery grey, the quiet shine of colored yellow and brown diamonds

A peek of emeralds, a silver spiral
And a touch of color - Emerald green.

Emeralds with the most beautiful, intense and radiant green.

The color of life and springtime,
the color of Venus, the Roman goddess of beauty and love.

Gentle Strength.

Slowly but surely, like a budding tree - out of sketches new pieces are born.

A ring sketch
A few already in full bloom - shining with precious stones.

Many more in bud, sketched ideas
needing more time to gather strength before opening up to the world

The beginnings of a jewelry collection.

Gentle Strength

Available pieces:
Pure silver necklace
Silver and Yellow diamonds necklace
Silver and Emeralds necklace
Silver post earrings

Wishing you a wonderful day,

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The story of a jewelry collection, "Gentle Strenght" - The concept

Nandina buds in my garden 
For most of us, the first encounter with a jewelry collection is when we see it in a store, boutique or gallery.
For the maker of the pieces - this is the last mile in a fascinating journey.

Starting to work on a new collection, and decided to document the process.

Every collection has a starting point. An idea, an inspiration.
This collection is a bit different, as it is a personal statement rather than a design exercise around a theme.

"Gentle strength"
Lalique at its best - hair adornment
so delicate, yet functional and strong 

Its starting point?

The deepest source lies in my memories of father's gentle strength and calm. 

It is influenced by my love of nature. Looking at the tiny buds on the trees – you can only wonder how can something so delicate and fragile, face the spring winds – and still blossom.

It definitely has something to do with the deep admiration I have of Art Nouveau jewelry, and the genius of Lalique – but this is not new to those who read my previous post.

I believe that jewelry, as a piece of wearable art - can be more than aesthetically pleasing.
It can reflect our beliefs as well as our style.
Jewelry can talk.

It can tell the world, in graceful lines and precious metal that true strength does not have to be aggressive,
Or pushy, or loud
That shouting – is not the only way, maybe not even the best way to make yourself heard

That if there is a lesson to learn from nature, it is that strength comes in many shapes and forms

To quote Henry David Thoreau:
“The finest workers in stone are not copper or steel tools, but the gentle touches of air and water working at their leisure with a liberal allowance of time.”

So there it is,
The root concept, the design compass for the emerging jewelry collection

“Gentle strength”

The graceful shape of ' snow bells'. When I was a child in Romania -
a close relative of this flower was the first to emerge from the snow. 
Who do I envision wearing it?

A woman who intuitively understands that delicacy and gentleness can be signs of strength.
Who does not feel the need to show off, but wants to express herself - 
in what she does, what she says, and yes….also in the choice of jewelry she wears.

A woman who will not spend 20,000$ on a necklace, but will also stay away from a cheap pair of Chanel imitation earrings. 

A woman who is gentle and strong at the same time.

Do you know such woman?
It is with her in mind, that I start designing the pieces in my new collection.

“Gentle strength”
Drawing in the studio

Returning to my workbench, to sketch (I have pages of sketches already…),
make models and start molding this concept in precious metal.
Will share the ideas in the next part ....

As always, comments, thoughts, stories ideas – welcome to share with me either here or on my facebook page www.facebook.com/akvjewelry

Bye for now,

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Venice reflections - inspirations and insights from a magical city

Helen Keller said once that "Of all senses, sight must be the most delightful"
For most of us, seeing is an automatic act.
We just need to open our eyes - and we see.

But what happens, when we start actively looking at things, rather then just seeing?

Here is an ordinary picture taken from a speedboat.
My husband and I making our entrance to Venice on a taxi - boat that takes us from the airport to the hotel.

Lots of fun, but the picture itself ...
nothing special, not even too pretty ...

But here is what happens, when the photographer (my husband :) ) raises his eyes a bit -

Oh, yes - THIS is NOT boring.
Now look at the previous picture.
See it? The reflection was there all the time....you just had to look and notice it.

Last week, I've been immersed in history, art, carnival and colors in Venice, Italy.
And I had the privilege of having a wonderful photographer guide who taught us difference between passively seeing and actively looking for different and interesting angles.

Take the costumes for example. They are stunning. Beautiful. Amazing.

Venice Carnival 2014
But look what happens when the costume is photographed with its the shadow on the old church wall.

Costume and Shadow at Basilica di San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice, Italy 

Seeing the reflections in the canal waters - I finally understood what Monet and Degas painted.

They did not paint water ...

They painted the light, the trees, and the colors reflected in the waters, blurred by the soft motion of the waves.

Just look at these photos - don't they remind you of their paintings?

As majestic as palaces are -
they become even more so, seen with their reflection on the wet stone floor.

The Doge Palace, Venice on a rainy day. 
This short 5 days vacation filled me with inspiration and insights to last for years.
The first thing I did when we came home, was to create a short video to capture these in a way I could remember and share how I see this wonderful city.

... and right after this - ran to the sketchbook and workbench to work on my new jewelry collection.
If all goes well, maybe I can share a bit about it on the next post ...

If you would  like to see more of what inspires me, as well as my work - join me on Facebook.
That's where I post ideas, get your feedback, share things on a more frequent basis. www.facebook.com/akvjewelry

Wishing you an inspiring day, and don't forget to look around you ....


Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Hug - One of a kind, fine silver jewelry with a story

"You know that moment when you hug somebody, when your heart feels warm and high in your chest and tingly? When you feel just for a second like a baby in a womb...that nothing matters?
That's how I want you to feel."
- Jake Vander Ark, The accidental Siren

Jewelry pieces that
....adorn the body
......inspire the mind
........and uplift the spirit.

Just in time for Valentines, here is 'The Hug'
a new one of a kind necklace
with a heart warming message

...watch the video

and see more details about it in my ETSY store

"Never underestimate the power of the words 'I love you' or the comfort of a simple hug."
- Elizabeth Bourgeret

If you liked this, you will enjoy the "Gentle strength" collection launch
read it here.

Until next time,
a big hug to all my blog readers :)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Einstein, dancing dogs and thoughts about memorable art

We all know "A picture is worth a thousand words"
Sometimes, the answer to a complex questions can present itself in simple and unexpected forms

Or, as a very wise man said...

From complex laws governing the behavior of our world

... to leadership wisdom from Alice in Wonderland:

...and what does this have to do with dancing dogs?
read on and find out :)

I have danced for years.
Swan lake - the Bolshoi ballet dancers
To be precise from the age of 4 when my parents enrolled me to a ballet class, hoping I would loose some of the baby fat ...( did not help much ...)

Since we lived in Romania, classic ballet was on the cards from the start.

Until the end of high school, I went to dance lessons, twice a week - mostly classic ballet, with some seasoning of modern dance and flamenco.

In university while majoring in software engineering, I continued to dance - Waltz, Tango, Cha-Cha, Rock'n'Roll.......red dancing shoes, flowers in my hair..

Many years passed since.
Dance remained a passion, but a passive one.
I love watching great dance performances, there is nothing like a beautiful performance of the Bolshoi ..... right?

The Bolshoi stages new modern dance show

Nowadays, after 25 years in the software industry, I am spending most of my time experiencing the world of art and design.
Designing a .... bead :)

Whether studying great works of art, trying to master photography, creating new pieces of jewelry in my studio, I am surrounding myself with art.
Trying to find my own voice.

One of the questions that keep coming up, is how can a work of art go beyond being beautiful and be truly memorable.

I could probably write an essay with all things that came to my mind...
starting with the finest ingredients,
combine them in ways that make the whole more than their sum ....

but in this particular case, I got the clearest answer in form of
have you guessed yet?
...a dance show.
Specifically - 'Shadowlad' by Pilobolus.

Building on great dancers, very little costumes - a fluency of movement used to create naive pictures
for the 90 minutes of the show, the answer to my question was right there, in front of my eyes

I will always enjoy a good classical ballet performance, look for a good Flamenco show.
But its the Shadowland performance I would never forget.

After all these words, I think you deserve a taste of it, don't you think?
Click on the link ....and look for the dancing dog :)

Pilobolus Dance Theatre "Shadowland"

Until next post :)