Thursday, March 1, 2018

Print Music is being Posted!

The calls have been coming in and I hear you! I am doing my best to list all of my print music scores on The Bountiful Ship so you can see what is available and purchase from there. It is a slow progression but it is now happening. I listed the Haydn, Rachmaninoff, and Beethoven music minus one piano solo concertos today. The recordings were made with the Stuttgart Symphony Orchestra under Emil Kahn. Pretty impressive. The sheet music is clean and the CDs have never been played. The art song collections for singers seem to be finding homes with West Coast, NY and Texas buyers and I am delighted. As I said before, the caliber of singer that I am accustomed to coaching does not live in Charleston - there just isn't adequate work for professionals here - so I am liquidating the library. Most of the higher end scores suitable for those auditioning in Europe have been sold. I am not holding any music back for anyone - you will have to buy it when I post it or you will miss it. I am a little too busy to do holds and I hope you understand. If you need a score you can email me and I will check through my library, but the best idea would be to check back once a week. Love you all, toi -toi - toi !

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Making a Stamped, or Etched, Focal

Many of you have asked about the process to make a stamped focal. I still make them the old-fashioned way. I like the heavier weight. I think a heavier gauge of silver or copper, gives a nicer look to the finished product and, hangs better on the neckline and wrist. I forge two cuts together to get the heavier weight. For those who do not know how to smith metal, a machine stamped focal can be purchased from a jewelry supply house. They are a thinner finished gauge (because they are machine stamped) and they don't hang as well on the neckline, but they are available if you want to offer a low cost product. 

Most market and show organizers do not have a background in art and can't tell the difference between machine made and handmade jewelry: If a business starts with pre-made focal pieces and a market accepts that, it is not technically handmade, but the door has been opened and the time and effort saved on smithing from raw materials will be substantial to the business. I am not condoning being deceitful, in fact, it upsets me when I see new businesses who say they are handmade when they are, at best, hand assembled. But, that is the reality that has surfaced in craft shows and markets. It comes down to; how passionate the maker is about being authentic, the ethics of the maker, and the intelligence of the consumer.

This is my process:

Step 1. Cut two equal pieces of metal

Step 2. Forge the pieces together

Step 3. Stamp, or etch, your words or design        

  Step 4. File, drill, sand, and form the piece

Step 5. Patina, polish and finish

And that is how I make a stamped, or etched, focal. Thank you for visiting!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

New Website Tag

A quick post to let everyone know that we have moved the website to a dot org account. It encompasses more of what Low Country Studios was founded on: education, arts, and wellness. Our new web address is  and  you can still link in through as well. Thank you for your continued support. YOU are awesome!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Natural Amber Resin or Imitation Resin?

It happened again. Another show where customers told me my Lithuanian Amber pieces were too expensive because the guy a few booths down sold them a beautiful piece of amber for just $ xx.xx. When I lightly mention it to the other seller they always say, "Hey, it is a 'buyer beware' market and I expect that all my customers are educated individuals. Anyway, the color is amber (turquoise, jade, etc.) so I am not lying about the piece." 

Now let me take a minute here to tell you that a number of jewelers use a play on words when selling their goods because the US does not have a standard assaying process for jewelers. So, you really do have to trust your jeweler if you don't do your own research. Baltic Amber is a natural resin : However, the imitation resin that is sold as amber is a chemical mixture which is poured and fixed. So you see how they can use the word resin and not be lying to the customer. There are natural resins that form in nature, and there are chemical man made resins. Also, just as with any stone or metal jewelry, a piece of jewelry can be sold by its color and not its material. (Amber, Turquoise, Gold, Ruby, Silver...)  Do you understand this?

It does bother me that customers think they can get Baltic Amber, old Jade, and solid American Turquoise pieces for a low pricetag. And it also bothers me that customers think I am gouging them when I ask over $100.00 for pieces of true Natural Amber or Solid Natural Stone. So I am doing a little educational post today just to make myself feel better. 

Today's post will be on Natural Amber Resin vs. Imitation Resin. After this, if a customer wants to pay for imitation amber from a store or festival vendor, perhaps I will feel a little less upset. I am doing my part to aide the customer who chooses to be an educated buyer.

I am starting with Amber because of all the baby necklaces I see on children. I can usually spot an imitation resin or plastic necklace a mile away. And the parent will always announce how proud they are that they got such a good price on the necklace. Inside, I cry for the baby who would benefit if it were true Amber. 

What follows are photos I took this morning. I made a mixture of saltwater using a lot of table salt and warm tap water. 

The first photos are from a piece that a "reputable" dealer sold me which had already been set. I didn't have the privacy or the ability to clean the item so I could "taste test" it for a bitter imitation resin taste. And I have purchased stones from this person before that were true - so I trusted him. But when I got home and had the opportunity to look closer at the piece, I realized it was not natural amber resin. I took a hammer to it and broke it out of its setting for this example.

You will notice in all of these photos that the imitation resin sinks to the bottom of the container when placed in salt water. Fake resins and plastics are heavy and will always sink to the bottom of a saltwater mixture. 

Next, I strained the same water into an identical container, removing most of the imitation resin particles.

Here you can see the strained resin and the original salt water in a new container.

Next I added my true Natural Baltic Amber beads to the saltwater.

And this is the proof. AMBER FLOATS. This is usually how Amber is found on the Baltic seashore. It floats to the top of the ocean when it breaks off from its host. And then it is washed ashore. Amber is a light naturally formed resin and it floats on saltwater. It will not sink to the bottom of a saltwater mixture like heavier commercial resins or plastics. 

So, without taking your baby's necklace apart, simply break off one of the stones and see if it floats in saltwater. This will not work if the amber is attached to anything. The weight of string, etc. will pull the amber down. It has to be a free piece of amber. 

You are welcome.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Charleston City Market will start to focus on Being Green!

As a participating business in the Charleston Green Business Challenge, and a temporary vendor in the Charleston City Market, I was thrilled to hear that the Charleston City Market would be taking steps to become a more "green aware" entity. Last year they added recycling bins at the side entrances of the market sheds. That was a huge step for this "old man" institution. Last night, at our Night Market meeting, manager Karen Williams announced that the Market was going to take steps to bring more awareness to the Market in this area. It's true folks, even in Charleston, "With God, all things are possible."

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Winning Entry

This was my 2014 Jewelry Division winner with the Folly Art Guild. It is sterling with etched copper. A beautiful work that was purchased for a Michigan collection.

OiOiAntiques Creation

This is Micah of OiOiAntiQues. He made my new jeweler's bench and I love it! Micah works from all reclaimed and found woods, so this table came from broken fireplace mantels, headboards, doorways and more. As a sustainable jeweler, having a workbench that reflects the same energy is pretty amazing. You can find Micah and his furniture at The Brick House Kitchen on Folly Road this summer. Stay in touch for the grand opening of our artist's market there.

February 23, 2017 *Note:  A number of you have asked where Micah is showing his work now. I have learned that he occasionally shows at Awendaw Green on Wednesday nights. If I learn of any other ways to contact him, or find his work, I will post it here. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Lowcountry Foodbank Fundraiser & Blueberry Jam Festival Photos

Cosmic Creations Tie Dye (Best tie dye artist that I have met.)

Low Country Studios hang out. Yes, that is our laundry detergent!

Amazing jewelry from recycled computer parts!

Spencer's pottery has a solid, grounded, earth presence to it. 

Day Art is bright, fun, full of joy and whimsy.

Pay admission, give food, pet cat.....when cat is satisfied you may enter.

Happy smiles from great folks who are always ready to help others.

Sunday it rained at the Cypress Pond. But it was so fresh and lovely that only a few vendors were bothered.

Customer Models Purchase

Nothing makes me happier than a happy customer. When my work speaks to someone and they exclaim, "this is totally ME!" I thank God for working His creativity through me. This piece is a copper and bead focal work on a linked copper chain. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sunday, May 19, 2013

How To Measure Original Art

How do I list the measurements of my artwork? This is a common question that I am asked, by students and, by other artists. It is also an important question that needs to be answered for the collector who is looking for a piece to add to their home, office, or private collection gallery. 

The confusion we encounter in measuring original art comes to us because common measurements - of hardware products, general store items, and yes, even frames that we purchase for our prints - are all listed in the standard US form of length x width x height. Isn't that also a formula we learned in grade school mathematics? Well, that common form of measurement is not used for an original work of art.

Art has a measurement category all its own. Remember that art is not a tool, or a piece of furniture (that is, unless you are purchasing reproduced "furnishing art" from Target or another retail outlet.) Art is, most often, an investment in the emotional, or experiential, statement of an artist with hopes for: increase in value; a mental or spiritual retreat during a hectic day; or, a visual spark for a dear memory one holds for a place, feeling, person or time in one's life. Art is amazing, and amazing isn't measured the same way you measure a bookshelf. (Although I have seen some very amazing bookshelves.) 

So, how do we list the measurements for a work of art? Art is listed by its: Height x Width x Depth (HxWxD). It took me a while to remember the order when I started out so I made up a saying, using my first name, that would help me remember: "H-anging W-ith D-olly."  I know it isn't grammatically proper,  but it works.  Make up a saying that will help you remember the order for yourself.  

When you purchase your next house and ask your interior decorator to find an original work to hang over the parlor room sofa, remember that the first measurement you give should not be 72" unless you have extremely high ceilings! 

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Monday, May 6, 2013

Recent Copper from the Bench

Recent works from the bench. All in pure copper.
The bottom bracelet was one of many made for the Summerville Italian Festival. It says, "Dolce Vita" translation, Sweet Life.  The Italian bracelets are similar to my "Words To Live By!" bracelets (also shown here). However, instead of the Carolina gemstone and a native shell, these bracelets have Malachite (green), Howlite (white), and Coral (red) stones added to represent the colors of the Italian flag. I still have some fun Italian bracelets left and would be happy to make bracelets for you in other languages, too. 

Copper bracelets, hand tooled by DL Paul.
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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Liquid Detergent

I have been getting emails asking about a liquid detergent instead of powdered. I don't like the mess of liquid but some folks believe it does a better job of dissolving and washing cold water loads. So here it is. I would love your feedback.


2 gallons of hot water
1 bar of soap (I prefer Ivory)
2 cups baking soda


1. Melt bar soap in a pan with just enough boiling water to cover. Stir until the soap is completely melted. Do this on a low setting.

2. In a large pail or bucket pour in 2 gallons of hot water. Add the melted soap to this and gently stir.

3. Add in the baking soda and stir well.

Use 1/2 cup per average load. Use more of your detergent mix for over average or heavily soiled loads of laundry.

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Make-It-Yourself: Laundry Detergent

I have already had four people ask me how I make my own laundry soap this year, and we are still in January. So "Making It Yourself" entries are going to find a place in this blog. Low Country Studios is about making lives better with the arts and natural approaches to daily life - so, a "make-it-yourself" addition  makes sense.  

This laundry soap recipe is easy to make. I find that it works wonderfully - especially for my massage linens. You can customize the scent yourself, and it is less expensive than major brands. Also, if you don't like my recipe, there are many, many other sites on the Internet that offer liquid recipes and other dry combination recipes.

Step One: Gathering

1 box of Borax (I use 20 mule Team Borax because that's what my mother used.)
1 box of Washing Soap (I like Arm & Hammer - again the brand doesn't matter.)
1 cake of Soap (I find that Ivory works best for me because of scent sensitivities.)
1 good size, Close-able Container in glass or plastic (A large Shedd's Spread butter container or large sour cream container will work well. I happened to have had this large rectangle container around the house and chose it for this purpose.)
Wooden Spoon or Plastic/Rubber Spatula for stirring (From too many chemistry classes I have learned to avoid metal spoons when I am mixing anything other than food. Metal can act as a catalyst and alter, mostly weakening, your products.)
Grater If you don't have a grater, you can use a mandoline and then chop the thin slices with a knife.
Large Mixing Bowl

Step Two:

Carefully grate your soap into your mixing bowl or, if this is your first batch, your container.

Step Three:

Add in one (1) cup of Borax. Sometimes my Borax is clumpy. I use the end of my wooden spoon to de-clump it before pouring it out of the box.

Step Four: Add one (1) cup of Wash Soda

Step Five: Stir, a lot, until you have an even dry mixture.

Step Five: If you want to add another batch to your laundry wash container, make the new batch in a separate bowl before adding it to previously made batches.

Step Six:  Label what you have made clearly. This is especially important for make-it-yourself products because you are recycling already used containers.

To Use: I add one (1) to two (two) tablespoons, of my homemade dry laundry detergent, to the wash tub as it is filling with water. It is important to know that this is not a high suds product that you have made. And, that it will rinse more easily because of its low suds action. I have been told, by high efficiency machine sales persons at Sears, that this homemade product is safe to use in their high efficiency washers because of it's low suds action.

I like to add a couple drops of essential oil to my laundry. For extra sanitizing I use tea tree essential oil. I always add tea tree essential oil to my massage linens. It is also nice to add if someone has been sick, or has a skin concern within the family. For a nice feminine scent, you can add a drop or two of lavender essential oil - which also acts as a disinfectant. There are other essential oils that you can select from your local health food store.  Remember, a drop goes a very long way with essential oils! Experiment and have fun with your homemade laundry detergent. 
Your comments are welcome. Thank you.
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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Thank you Golf Digest and Matt Ginella!

It is always nice to be recognized for one's work. Imagine my surprise when a colleague told me that I had been acknowledged for my massage skills in Golf Digest!

In Detroit my clientele included members of the Detroit Tigers, Pistons, Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Michigan Opera Theater.  After moving to Charleston my focus has been on expanding my work to Golf and Tennis Pros.  Finding my name in Golf Digest made my day.  My thanks to Matt Ginella who mentioned my work at the Sanctuary Spa in Golf Digest July 2011.
What a nice surprise to be recognized for my work by Matt Ginella in Golf Digest July 2011. Thank you Matt! You made my day!

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Holy City Artist and Fleas

The first Holy City Artist and Flea Market of 2011 was a success. Eye Level Art was packed with original art and crafts, along with vintage pieces, this past Saturday. Stella Maris, of Polyester Stella, does a fabulous job of bringing in great local artists and vintage brokers for this event. It is held the second Saturday of each month, February through December. 

I sold all of my little animal "saint" paintings, the vintage Campbell's Soup Doll - she has been up on Etsy forever and I'm so glad she has found a new home - and a number of copper adornments (jewellery designs.)  Charleston collage artist, Jim Goulah, purchased three of the vintage comic books I had on display: I am curious to see how he will use them in his artwork. If you are interested in seeing what I have available in comic books I am always listing them in my vintage etsy shop The Bountiful Ship.

In years past, I always looked for collectors to buy my vintage music, books and jewelry. Now, I am more excited when a child asks a parent to buy a vintage item - just because they like it - or an artist buys an item to use in a future work. That makes me happy.

If you are an artist, or collector, of things from another time, please be sure to watch my Etsy shop for new postings; The Bountiful Ship on Etsy.

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Comic Books

I started taking pics of my comic books to price and put up on my Etsy shop: The Bountiful Ship. It is taking more time than I anticipated but I am having fun.  I remembered reading this page when I was a little girl and being so excited to see that this show was going to start on my birthday. Nice memory. What were your favorite comic books when you were young? Do you still have them? 

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Creation Station

My metal working table.
I feel so good after getting this up on my little studio wall today. I don't know if you can see all the tools on the pegboard - they were all on the table and I would have to push things around just to finish a piece. Having tools up on the wall in front of me, where I can see everything, is going to make my work so much more pleasant. For years I've been looking for a pegboard (non-wood) that I could afford. Sears had this on sale last month and I finally took the step and ordered it. I can't stop staring at it. A girl in love with a tool rack. Weird, right? It just feels so, so good to be able to see most of my tools now as I work. I'm happy.

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Inner Mouse with Hibiscus

"Inner Mouse with Hibiscus" by DL Paul All Rights Reserved
Finished this week. Gessoed wood panel, acrylic and assorted mediums. Thank you for visiting!
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Friday, January 14, 2011

Photo walk

"Red Shutters" all rights reserved

"Black Shutters" all rights reserved
I couldn't get away from windows during my last photo walk. Windows can be so much fun to photograph but you must approach with caution. Can you imagine looking up from the TV to see someone with a camera pointed at your window? (hahaha)  I think the iron work on both of these windows was the visual draw. Somehow a delicate swirling pattern made out of a strong material like iron is very intriguing.
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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Daisy Blue Sky

"Daisy Blue Sky" All Rights Reserved
This is a photo that I took at the Columbia Zoo. And to this day, it is my favorite photo. Everytime I look at it I feel wonderful. I am hoping to paint or draw this at a later time. Thank you for visiting today!
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