Thursday, August 21, 2014

A year in retrospect...

Where does inspiration go when it's lost? How can such an intangible experience appear or disappear? Perhaps it's not lost, maybe it's overshadowed by busy thoughts, busy ideas, busy, busy busy everything.

When first I recognized inspiration, it was dressed in silence and focused obsession. On the radio the other day, a scientist reported our brain patterns, when in love, are similar to the brain patterns produced when we're OCD. Is creating a parallel to these as well? When a piece is first imagined, isn't it like falling in love? It follows your thoughts, haunts your chores, and teases with promises of long hours devoted to it. In this way, can we also neglect, forget, and devalue it when it becomes too familiar... like a relationship might after a time? With so much self centered and false busy-ness, it seemed I'd chased my inspiration away. I fell out of love.

I confess, all of that thinking and doing is a poor replacement for being. I'd left no space for anything beyond myself, instead of creating I became a persona of someone who creates. I planned with short cuts and the end in mind, it was about getting to that finish line as quickly as possible. I was tossing away the oyster in favor of the shell, never realizing it's the pearl I'm looking for. So I took a step back, a big step back. I pulled away from everything in order to find what I didn't know was missing.

Humbling myself was the hardest part. I didn't want to listen to anyone, I was an island that needed no other ships ashore, so over confident that I could plant in fallow ground. Fortunately, desperation rooted itself instead, right before help appeared.

Help is a funny thing. It can arrive as a chance encounter on the first warm day of spring or through a swarm of dragon flies on a humid August evening. It's a friend looking over your shoulder and questioning why. Why take the shortcut when the longcut takes you to some place so much better?  Why use a pre made component when there is such joy and intimacy in creating even the smallest things yourself? Well, I didn't see it that way, I only saw a sketchy idea and that finish line. I wish I could say it was an instantaneous epiphany, that at that moment I was forever changed. No such luck... you see, I'm more donkey than human. For me, it took a persistent friend, partner and active artistic collaborator, along with a full immersion back into life to wake me up.

Working through this new exhibition of pieces, the process became just as important as the outcome. There were no deadlines, no bells and whistles, no flashing lights, just time and devotion to each step and a reentry into the "real" world; the world where there is no division between the art you make and the life you live. Each piece echoes the place where they were created, the lingering and turning of seasons, the input of another artist, the playful chase of twin fauns, the ebb and flow of nature's many expressions... recognizing, no matter what I make, it cannot compare to the poetry, beauty, and brutality of this remarkable planet we all share.

I fell back in love with living, with creating. Each appliqué piece of metal clay was hand punched and placed, even though there might have been a faster way. Each section carefully hand built, even if it was redundant and could have been easily casted and re-casted right to the finish line. Each stone collected from the very place that renews me, and cut with tenderness by both artists in leu of a named stone whose origin and true cost cannot be determined. Hours upon hours of finishing work, problem solving, and barely navigated creative disasters. I wish I could say it was all candy canes and sunshine, but it was more like love is... beautiful and really messy at the same time.

So here's to the act of creating. With all it's joys and heartaches, when truly felt, the old axiom applies: Better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.

In other words, it's better to create a failure with all of your being, than to create a success of something only half felt.

Design and Concept: Tanner/ Tieken, Cabochons: Tanner/Tieken, Metalwork: Tanner

2014 © Tanner/Tieken
All Rights Reserved

Friday, August 15, 2014

"Morning Moon Flower: Harvest Moon"

"Harvest Moon"

 This ring is the companion piece to "Morning Moon Flower." I used PMC+ and PMC 960 silver, hand punched and each detail individually appliquéd. The stone is fossilized coral from our Sustainable Stones High Profile Collection 
( ) 

Concept and Design: Tanner/Tieken 
Cabochon and Metalwork: Tanner

Thank-you everyone for your continued encouragement and support.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

"Morning Moon Flower"


"Morning Moon Flower"

Bracelet Design and Concept: Tanner/Tieken, Cabochons: Tanner/Tieken  Metalwork: Tanner

This piece was entirely handmade with PMC + and PMC 960 silver, each detail was hand punched and appliquéd using several new custom tools I designed. The clasp is a seamless captive sliding pin lock. 
The stones are from our Sustainable Stones High Profile collection 
( ) and the small bullets are repurposed turn of the century glass fragments. After six months of concentrated work from concept to completion, "Morning Moon Flower," is by far the most technically difficult and complex metal and stone piece I've created. 

© copyright tanner/tieken 2014
all rights reserved

Monday, June 9, 2014

Sustainable Stones: High Profile Stones

"Promise of Spring"
 design and metalwork by Wanaree Tanner
stonework by Steve Tieken 

The last year has brought many changes, both personally and artistically. I needed to rediscover the purpose and passion of creating that first led me on this journey. I had become isolated from other artists and mediums, realizing collaboration was something I longed for. At the same time there was a burning desire to connect with nature on a deeper level. I'd always been interested in lapidary artistry, and began researching where and how rocks are collected and worked throughout the world. I discovered that in many cases, this was done with damaging effects on the environment. I also found it difficult to acquire stones with a high enough profile for my bezel work. Together with fellow artist, Steve Tieken, this led to the formation of

Additionally, I've been working on exhibit pieces and exciting new techniques I'm looking forward to sharing. May this spring season inspire and renew as it has for me.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Swivel Signet Ring

This piece was inspired by ancient signet rings, which I've long been fascinated with. Sculpted out of the new PMC 960 mix, with hand punched appliquéd detailing, I left the swivel mechanism exposed for a more modern, industrial look. I collected, cut, and carved the two stones as well.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Inspiration lost and found.

I've been getting back to the basics, this metal clay piece was all hand punched and appliquéd, the viking knit hand woven, and the stones I personally collected, cut, and finished. With over 400 hours of work this piece has become a symbol of the ongoing process of creating works dear to our own hearts.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Learning while Teaching: New Directions with Threaded Vessels!

Threaded Vessel by Wanaree

While I've always viewed my work as an living, evolving process, I'd never figured my workshops would also grow and change in that same manner. Typically, for me at least, a workshop is developed from a particular project when other artists express an interest in the techniques that develope from the creation of that piece.
In 2011 I completed "When Apart, Always Together," and after submitting it to their gallery section, Art Jewelry Magazine ask me to contribute an article on how the threading was made. After it was published I began to receive correspondances by artists who wanted to see how the entire piece was made, so I created my Threaded Keepsake Vessel class.

During the first time teaching this course I began to see the inherent issues with creating a workshop with such strict construction constraints. The demands of the techniques strangled out the organic and creative, and I realized this made the workshop one dimensional. 

Vessel by Tina Cloud
I learned this from watching one of my students, Tina Cloud, take the project in her own direction, and saw the proverbial light! It was time to rework the process, instead using the threading in the same way you'd use a component and encourage participants to go completely out of the box (or vessel!)

It's been incredible to see all the vessel variation created by the artists in this workshop, and I look forward to seeing what will come into being next. It's inspired me to work outside of my comfort zone too, and allow the piece to design itself from one step to the next. It can be a little nerve wracking, working with only a vague idea of what you'll end up with, but like so many things, the fun is often in the discovery and the mystery. 

One of my class demo pieces created during this workshop
Now I've added a must stronger emphasis on creating your own templates, shapes, and custom textures, and hopefully finding new ways to think creatively on the spot. I only have one booking of the class left this year, this time at Greater Chicago Center for Artisans (Art Clay World) in Chicago. If you're interested in the course you can register by calling 800-857-8800

There are also still a few spots open for my Silhouette workshops at Metal Clay Mojo retreat in September ( and in Pennsylvania in November contact Holly Gage at For more on my class schedule visit my new website address !Thanks for reading, hope to see you down the road!