The amazing micro-mosaic work of Courtney Denise Lipson

This artwork is one-of-a-kind; every aspect designed and handwrought by the artist.
 
 
To begin, a framework is constructed of silver or gold alloys to accommodate the mosaic inlay.

 
Care is given to the shape and fit of each piece of jewelry. In example, the tapered cuff bracelets are asymmetrical in shape based on the wearer’s wrist for a comfortable and unique fit.
 
 
Once the metal framework is made it is polished or textured and the mosaic inlay begins.

 
The beads range in size from 13˚ diminishing in size to 28˚ (the higher the number, the smaller the bead.) In other words, roughly starting at the size of a pin-head the beads get as small as a grain of sand. In a given mosaic, depending on the size of beads used, there can be as many as 150-700 beads per square inch.
 
 
Each bead is carefully placed with a pair of fine point tweezers.

 
Once the entire design is laid out the beads are grouted in place and the piece is given a final polish.
For more information including inquiries on pricing, available work, or commissions please contact our gallery at 1200 10th Street, Ste. 104 Bellingham, WA 98225,  info@shopwhimsey.com or 360-733-5568. Prices begin at $200.

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It’s funny, but over and over I am getting asked the same question “how are you fairing so well in such a rough economy?”.  Both customers and fellow merchants have inquired about my “secret” to success and a constantly changing inventory, ultimately my answer isn’t a secret….  It’s the same philosophy that opened my doors; “keep it local and independent”.

I chose my location in the small historic district of Bellingham (and not the mall) not only because of the quaint atmosphere but because the entire town is comprised of independent businesses and local owners.  In turn, we not only attract tourists to our community but we also attract locals who believe in supporting their community and keeping their money and loyalty local.  Another important  factor encouraging my decision is the incredible artist population in Bellingham.  There is literally no shortage of talent in this town! 

Considering both the location and the artistic options it only made sense to work with the community that I call home.  Like any small business I donate money to local charities and causes, but beyond that I always consider the artwork of local and independent artists ahead of any company or import.

While I have dealt with some larger representative companies, I discovered a few that rather than working with me during rough times chose to raise prices or order quantities; I even had one that did both….  As you can imagine that doesn’t work for well for a small business and only reafirms my belief that keeping things local and independent is the best way to go!

So my “secret” really isn’t a secret, its more of a philosophy and a way of life.  After nearly 6 years in business I have developed great relationships with my local artist community and together we have faired very well during these trying times.

A New Favorite!

March 21, 2009

I am so excited about a little collection that just came in…… I absolutely love the daintiness of this piece and the others in the collection.   These dainty designs all have a “charm” feel.  A teeny branch of orange coral, a green pearl and Thai silver OM disc make up this design.  So cute!!!

Branch Coral OM Necklace

Although frustrating, tarnish is a sign that the jewelry or item you own is truly sterling silver*.  Tarnishing is a natural reaction that occurs when the metal comes into contact with air.   Although there is no way to completely stop it from happening – unless of course,  you have no plans of enjoying what you own……  Not a good option…  Here are a few suggestions to keep those pieces you love so much from becoming dull and dingy. 

First avoid hot-tubs, pools and swimming/bathing in general with your jewels.  Also, avoid cleaning (no problem!!!) and chemicals while wearing your jewelry, this includes lotion, oils, perfumes, hairsprays etc…  Very rarely and for no obvious reason your jewelry may tarnish within a few hours of wear, this can often be attributed to something you’ve eaten and the tarnishing effects will subside once the dietary culprit has left your system.   

To clean a tarnished piece of sterling I will always choose a cloth over silver “dip”.  First, I am not a huge fan of intense chemicals and second I prefer the handiness/re-usability of the cloths.  After trying MANY cloth options I highly recommend the yellow cloths that we sell at Whimsey $4.

The best polishing cloth ever!

The best polishing cloth ever!

Once you have polished your jewelry, sealing it in an air-tight plastic bag (like a Ziploc) is the ideal way to store it.  This is the way 98% of my artists store and present their pieces and the way that I store all of my extra stock.  It isn’t nearly as attractive as displaying your pieces on a t-bar, but it will dramatically cut down the need for polishing and if each necklace is in its own Ziploc it will help avoid the frustration of tangled chains too!

One final step, if you have access to anti-tarnish strips, throwing one into each Ziploc will just increase your jewelry’s protection against tarnish.  Check in at Whimsey if you are interested in anti-tarnish strips, we may begin selling them too!

 

*To ensure that your item is sterling you can also search for a “sterling” mark or the numbers .925

Our newest addition!

February 4, 2009

It’s been a few months since my last entry…..  Here’s a quick catchup: 

In October we were adopted by a puppy – Ruby.  Like Maddi, Ruby joins me each day to supervise the shop.  She is officially in charge of greetings and will race Maddi and I to help a customer. 

Little Ruby

Little Ruby

At about the same time I began taking on the task of placing 20 lighted trees in Fairhaven’s Village Green.  Many hours and volunteers later we lighted the “forest”  in a fabulous ceremony on the day after Thanksgiving – free entertainment, carriage rides, cookies and coloring sheets – beat that big-box-chain stores! 

Holiday Forest path

Holiday Forest path

December, of course, was spent doing our best to be sure every customer found just the right gift!  It was an adventure;  between the chaos in the store and battling the snow – there were several days that Maddi, Ruby and I walked to the shop!  It was quite an adventure and I can’t say enough about my Yak-Tracks (like little chains for your shoes), they saved me more than once.

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

January, we are so excited for all of the changes happening in our country and cannot wait to see what our new president can accomplish!

Fabulous Flowers!

Fabulous Flowers!

Welcome to my blog, my name is Cami and I live in Bellingham, WA with my husband, Steve, and our dog, Maddi. We own a gallery in the Fairhaven neighborhood, the historic part of town. The gallery is called Whimsey and offers handpicked jewelry, art and gifts from a constantly evolving group of unique artisans. We proudly feature many local and regional independent artists. The gallery is located at 1200 10th Street, Suite 104 right across from the Village Green in the heart of Fairhaven. Please feel free to visit our website (http://www.shopwhimsey.com) or if you are in Bellingham stop by the shop!