Murrini madness!

The whole reason I got into working with molten glass at GSS Studio was to learn how to make my own murrini (or millefiori ) and to pull glass into stringers in the colors and sizes I wanted for micro-mosaic pieces.

starting a murrini

the start, 2 layers of glass so far!

So what are murrini anyways?  Most likely, you know what it is – or you know it by the name millefiori.  It is slices of glass, cut from a rod that has a pattern in the cross section.  It is most famously made on the island of Murano outside of Venice Italy.  Often you see it in jewelry or on decorative vases or paperweights. The pattern can be anything – when it is a flower based pattern it is called millefiori (a thousand petals) other patterns are called murrini, though many would use the term millefiori loosely for any pattern as it is the more well known name.

Murrini are complex to make, involving many layers of molten glass being put together and shaped, then heated up till red hot and finally pulling the hot blob by hand into a long rod.  You have to be careful to not twist or turn the blob of molten hot glass when pulling or you risk messing up the pattern created inside!  After the rod has cooled, it is cut into slices revealing the pattern in the cross-section.


rod just after it has pulled

I buy commercial murrini made in Italy and use it in my micro-mosaic jewelry.  So why would I want to learn to make it?

While I love the murini I can buy, I just thought it would be so cool to create unique patterns myself.  Then if I’m using my handmade murrini in my handmade micro-mosaic jewelry designs, it makes the piece of jewelry that much more unique, that much more “one-of-a-kind”.  Truly, no one else in the world will have anything like it.

Most of my murrini patterns so far are abstract (my ultimate love) or geometrical.  There will be more complex designs as time goes on but so far it’s a good start!  Here’s some pics below – look for some of these in this year’s holiday collection of jewelry coming soon!  😀


New in my studio – cufflinks & a log!

What do cufflinks & a log have to do with each other?  Nothing, except they’re both recently related to my mosaics. 🙂

jc626-1-blue-cream-square-mosaic-cufflinks-mercedes-mosaics-800x600Usually in November, I’m showing new jewelry created in time for the holidays.  This year though, I’ve put jewelry making on pause to focus on developing larger art pieces.

However – I really missed making those little jewels and decided to add a few pairs of cufflinks to the shop.  I did a mix of regular and micro-mosaic styles.  I definitely see my jewelry style moving more and more towards micro-mosaic.  It is really fun working with such jc630-1-blue-yellow-white-circle-micromosaic-cufflinks-mercedes-mosaics-800x600tiny pieces and I love the extra connection that I get by pulling my own glass in a flame and making murrini.  Pics of all the new cufflinks are below.

Now, about that log…

We’ve all had those special things that thrill us to no end yet causes others to shake their heads in bewilderment.  The acquisition of a log was one of those things for me this fall.


hammer & hardie

One of the tool sets in mosaic that many people use is called the hammer and hardie.  It is a traditional tool set that has been used since ancient times.  The hardie looks a bit like a chisel and needs to be placed into something (usually a piece of wood) in order to use it.  Once the hardie is installed, you then put the bit of glass or stone on top of it and give it a tap with the hammer to break your material.

My hardie currently rests in a piece of wood that is great to work at while sitting.  But, I’ve begun working more and more while standing and needed something taller.  This put me on the hunt for a log just the right height to make a standing hardie.

m-and-log-1smOne lucky afternoon the perfect log was found after I combed through a downed pile.  It was slated to be tossed in a bonfire and had in-fact been partially burnt already.  I pulled it out, cut it to the right length and dragged it home.  It had to be de-barked and still needs some sanding after it dries a little more, but soon I’ll be standing and chopping away!

m-and-log-2smIt even has a cute little knob on the side that makes for a perfect place to grab while moving it around.  I was so tickled by finally finding the right log and rescuing it from just being burnt up.  The internal wood is really quite beautiful and it is nice to be able to give it another life as one of my tools.

Members of my household did indeed give me a bit of a head-shake about the log, especially as I was working hard to de-bark it!  But even though my extreme level of enthusiasm was not shared, they were able to appreciate how happy this acquisition made me.

Enough blogging for today – below are pics of all the new cufflinks, they make great holiday gifts (hint, hint 😀 ) and all are available for purchase in our shop by clicking here.

Hot for Hearts!

A little blog break & now back at it with the first post of the new year!  Hope 2016 has started off well for all of you!

JP612 (1) White Red Dot MicroMosaic Heart Pendant Mercedes Mosaics (800x791)

JP612 – White with Red Micromosaic Heart

Had planned to start on larger size projects after the holidays – but kind of couldn’t get off my jewelry kick.  Found a few great heart shaped pendant bezels in sizes ranging from mini – standard – long – super large and decided to make up a little collection out in time for Valentine’s Day!

Some have traditional patterns, flower designs and such, others a little different.  I tried to make designs that you could wear around Valentine’s Day but that weren’t strictly for it.  Something you could wear any day of the year.

JP568 pink spike micrmosaic heart pendant mercedes mosaics (800x791)

JP568 – First Date Heart

Then there is the “first date heart” as the husband calls it.  It is pink & white with silver spikes.  He joked that it is perfect to wear on a first date – because it says you’re feminine…but with an edge.  No push-overs here!  😀

Joking aside – here’s all the pendants in the collections!  They’re all currently available in our shop.  Our prices are in Canadian $ – so if you’re in the US, you get quite a good discount with the current exchange rate (about 30%).  This morning $ 1 CDN = 0.68 ¢ USD.



Shop Small, Not Mall!

winner - shop small not mall b
It is Small Business Saturday here in North America.   The day after crazy Black Friday sales at every major retailer that unofficially signal the start of holiday shopping.

I’ve always been a hunter of unique gifts.  Those one-of-a-kind, no one else will have it, super special items.  Well they’re not found in the pile of mass produced stuff at a mall – only your local (or online!) small businesses have that.

So today, after your Friday full of big retailer shopping  – go shop the small businesses you know.  Find that unique one-of-kind gift for the special people in your life and support the little guys who create those pieces!

As a small suggestion 😉 head over to our site  we’ve got a great selection of one-of-a-kind Pendants, Rings, Purse Hooks and Cufflinks that make beautiful gifts.

If you’re a USA based shopper, your dollar goes further with us as $1 CAD = $0.75 USD, it is like an instant discount!

88 New Pieces!

JP564 - Blue Flowers MicroMosaic Pendant

JP564 – Blue Flowers MicroMosaic Pendant

They’re small but they still count!

The last few weeks I’ve not come up much for air – it’s been a time of intense work to get a new collection of jewelry done / photographed / uploaded to the website all in time for the holidays.

This year’s collection includes 49 new Pendants – 22 new Rings – and a limited run of 17 Purse Hooks.  Wanted to add Bottle Stoppers, but deadlines & supply delivery didn’t match up – something for next year!

JR584 - Blue & Gold Ring

JR584 – Blue & Gold Ring

In addition to a classic mosaic look, many pieces are micro-mosaic.  What is that?  It is mosaic using very tiny pieces, often little rod shapes, to create a picture or design.  It was a jewelry style popular during the Grand Tour of Europe period (17th – 19th centuries) yet those usually depicted popular landmarks.  The rods in my pieces range mostly between 0.5mm – 2mm wide, interspersed with larger fun patterened millefiori.  It’s been a neat new kind of mosaic to create and I’m excited to do more.

JH515 (1) Black White MicroMosaic Purse Hook Mercedes Mosaics (800x599)

JH515 – Black & White MicroMosaic Purse Hook

For the purse hooks, decided to just do a limited edition run.  I never used one before, but have started now and quite like it!  Not only does it keep your purse up off the gross germ-y floor but apparently it is also good Feng Shui!  There is a saying that “A purse on the floor is money out the door!”  Putting it on the floor brings bad luck money-wise as it shows disrespect to your wealth.  An interesting tidbit to learn!

Pictured below are a few of my favorite pieces from this collection.  All the new pieces (and then some!) are for sale at & make excellent unique one-of-a-kind holiday gifts!

A bookmark, bottle stopper and purse hook walk into a bar…..

Ok – it’s no joke, I kind of need your help in the form of your opinion (it’s easy, you just vote in the poll below anonymously).  The studio is a mess right now working on some new accessories ahead of the holidays.  Normally – I just make jewelry like mosaic’d pendants, rings and cufflinks.  But, this year I picked up 3 other options to test out: a bookmark, a bottle stopper and a purse hook.  Each one has a recessed area to put a small mosaic.

Here they are in the pic below – I’m trying to decide which of them might be a good new offering but my libra indecision brain is having a hard time.  Frankly – because I like them all and have someone in my life for whom each one would make a perfect gift.

I’d love to solicit your opinion!  Vote in the poll for the ones you think are a good to add as a new sales offering (you can vote for more than one) and my libra brain will rest easy knowing it has some help on the way.  🙂







Shop Small, Not Mall!

I don’t intend to make this blog all about promoting the new web shop – but felt I’d be remiss if I didn’t post something for the USA Small Business Saturday!  Just a little nod to small business today, the malls and their big stores are great ( I go there often! ) but today, let’s celebrate the little guy.

For my part we’re offering a USA shipping special.  Any USA jewelry order placed by end of day Dec. 2nd will ship for $6.  Your order will ship out on Dec. 3rd via USPS Priority Mail.  Don’t forget, our prices are in Canadian dollars, right now the USA dollar is worth more – about 12% more – so it is like getting an instant discount!  Shop our store at:

shop small 3


Ring a ding ding!

Taking a break from the Geisha this week, she’ll be back next week when I’ll show you the 2nd in the series – the neck (a little insider note – it is my favorite of the 3 🙂 ).


using styrofoam as little ring holders to keep the bezels upright while working in them

This week is focused on another project from the past few months – a boatload of jewelery!  The summer sun was just too delicious to not enjoy, so I tried to work outside as much as possible.  But lugging loads of tile in and out of the house each day isn’t ideal.  So I picked some smaller stuff to work on that was easily transportable.

Only intended to make a few rings and a couple cufflinks – but got going and couldn’t stop.  The end result of the project yeilded 34 rings, 12 pairs of cufflinks and 4 new necklaces!

Making mosaic jewelry isn’t my main focus – but I really enjoy doing it.  It is a fun challenge to work in a small space and see what can happen.  It is also a quick little satisfying hit, they don’t take weeks to finish like a wall piece can.  Plus – it is fun to play with jewelery.  😀

Some “in-progress” pictures as well as a few final pictures are below.  I’m not putting in final pics of all 50 pieces, but they are getting uploaded onto the main website in a couple weeks so you’ll be able to see the rest over there soon.  Now to figure out what to do with them all!


Thank goodness I save my garbage!

Don’t panic, I don’t save my actual gross kitchen garbage – but I do save for a bit the garbage pieces of glass that occur when I’m cutting a particular shape out of a bigger size piece.

This happened a lot while I was working on the pendants and there was quite a large garbage pile being generated on the table.  My husband is a bit of a neat freak, and though he tries to leave my workroom alone, he made some comments about the mess and noted that it had been there for some time.  I ignored the comments, politely of course, and thank goodness I did – otherwise I wouldn’t have come up with this:

Peach and Black Triangle

I really love it, yes it is uber simple, but that craggy little slightly curved bit of the peachy color fit just right in the bezel and the black around it set it off perfect.  It reminds me of a line from an old Prince song – “color you peach and black, color me taken aback”, because that’s how I felt after seeing it come to life, a little taken aback!  The husband really liked this one too – after getting some oohs and ahhs, I told him it was born from the garbage pile and said if I’d listened to his request to clean it up, such beauty never would have been created.  😉   He was slightly saddened to know that my desire to save random bits of stuff was reinforced that day.

In all seriousness though – I really was happy I’d not cleaned up the garbage pieces, it wasn’t just this little peach/black one that came out of the garbage but several others pictured below too.  Sometimes inspiration comes from bits that didn’t seem to be worth much at one point, they’re just waiting for their moment I guess.

Shiny / Pretty pendants

This week’s pendants differ from the slate ones, they are much more shiny / pretty.  The bezels that I found are really nice and deep-set with a fantastic shiny silver finish.  They worked perfectly with several different types of glass.

It was never my intention to make so many – but I started doing them and they were really kind of a fun, quick bit of gratification.  Normally the mosaic projects take a fair amount of time from start to finish with the planning, executing, etc..  But these, I could sit down with a pile of glass in front of me and just play and create without any pre-planning.  I just went with where the glass took me!

Below is a first little set of pictures to share with more to come in another posting.  Click on one to enlarge the gallery.  Be sure to check back next week – and I’ll show you what beauty can come from garbage….(don’t worry, its’ not gross!)