Thursday, October 7, 2010


Hello again everyone.

I have been temporarily lost but I have not forgot about this blog or all of you. I have taken a little time off to do some work on a few other projects and spending some time creating a few new fun pieces. I have a couple of shows I am going to and needed to increase my inventory a bit.

I am really looking forward to my sister in law coming here from San Diego to visit starting this Friday. I will get to try out my new BBQ and hope to have a few pics of how that turns out. Well, back to work......

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

And the winner is......

Welcome back to the 1st ever Willo Wire jewelry contest.  All the names were put into a hat and my wife pulled the winning name of...........     Sherry!   Congratulations.  Sheri, you will be able to pick any 1 item in my etsy store or one of the new items I have just completed below. Each of these are made from etched copper with sterling silver links and the one has a sterling silver spiral below.

I used liver of sulfur to darken the copper and with copper, it can darken in the future so would need to be cleaned on occasion.

Please email me your contact information or address to send your item. My email is: or

Also, since it was my 1st contest, I picked a second name and that is Artemis Demille.  Please send me your information as well and will be able to choose after Sheri has.

It is time to get back to work on more jewelry.....

Friday, September 3, 2010

It is finally time.

Downtown Phoenix behind my house

There are so many great things coming up around this time of the year.

Labor day will be in a few days (all the sales), the end of summer is almost upon us and my blog will turn 4 months old on the 10th.  I guess these are all really good reasons to celebrate and have a giveaway.

So, without further ado, lets get on with it.

As a friend of mine mentioned to me, try and make it easy.  So here are the 5 different ways you can earn an entry into the contest.

1.  Respond to this post
2.  Join this blog
3.  Write about this in your own blog
4.  Facebook it
5.  Twitter about it

You will earn 1 point for each of these you complete, up to a total of 5. Just mention how many you did in your post.   I trust you.

The drawing will be on Wednesday the 10th in the evening and the winner will be able to choose any 1 (one) item that is available in my Etsy store. I will be posting a few more items within the next few days.

I have noticed that with jewelry, everyone has their own styles, likes and dislikes when it comes to what they will buy or wear.  I would like to learn what your preferences are. But feel free to talk about other things if you want. It is up to you.

The question of the day is:

What do you look for in a piece of jewelry? Do you find certain designs more appealing? what catches your eye???

Good Luck.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Why is writing a challenge for some people (me) and not for others? I find it hard to get started and to come up with interesting things to say. Below are a few of the blogs I read and really enjoy. These writers/artists make it seems so effortless.

For instance: The writing and art of Andrew ThorntonI'd rather be blogging and Waterstone. I would love to have their skill of writing, style and being able to tell a serious or funny story that plays with your feelings and captures your attention. Before you make a decision on their sites, I suggest to read a few of their various posts. Now, because I read around 34 blogs, I only wanted to list just a few but I do enjoy them all.

Now to an update on new jewelry. I found most of the parts to these necklaces from various antique stores during my trip up the California coast. The round beads can be turned so there are 2 patterns for each one. They seem to be made from glass, ceramics or both on a few of them.

The one with the skeleton head came out of my imagination, partly due to my always running out of time. It is a talisman called "protector of time". The skull head is to scare away all who want to steal time from you. It happens every day. It is not fixed in place so the head can swivel on top of the sterling silver spiral. The clock face and gear behind it have been connected together with Sterling silver "infinity" hands (it looks close, just go with it).

I hope to put these on Etsy soon.

I have almost finished putting together the give away. I will let you know very soon.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Being organizationally challenged

The table - workshop is finished. Too bad it does not look like this now. It only takes a few projects to mess it up again. On this photo, it is a little messy but you need to have your STUFF Work Tools organized.

Next to my work area is my Mac laptop. I love my Mac and I have had a lot of PC's as well. Don't get me started on why I like them, it could turn into a LONG POST. But they are great.

This blog inspired me to change my setup and get more organized. It is Sacred Jewelry Yoga and Designs.  She has some nice jewelry as well.

One item in particular I have struggled with is keeping all my tools together. I found this metal stand at a goodwill store. I think it used to have a candle in it but it works perfectly.

Like I said earlier, I wish it looked like the pictures now but I am working on a few new rings based off my class I took a few weeks ago. The ring on the left is almost finished, needing a little more polishing. The ring on the right needs the silver pounded around the sides.

It makes it so much easier to work when things are somewhat organized.

Now my question to all of you, how organized is your workspace? Does it all work for you or have you thought of changing things around? ALSO, do you have any pictures you want to share or maybe post them to your blog. My email address is if you want share with me so I can post them here in a few days or your website you have put them on.

Have a great day.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It is hot outside

Just wanting to let everyone know that I am still alive and kicking here. I have my new 9 1/2 foot table in place and have almost completed moving of my computer and jewelry making stuff on it. I figure on posting a picture in a few days or so. I think it looks good so far but....

I tried my hand at a demonstration video and I know I will have to do that again since the background music is too loud and not enough light. Hopefully I will not need to hire a crew from HBO or something.

There is also a plan in the works to come up with a contest for a free necklace. I do not have all the details yet but it may involve another blog. As soon as I get that worked out, I will let you know.

My question for this post is:
How is the summer treating you so far? Any good vacations or heat inspired art creations??

For me, summertime in Phoenix means you go out in the morning or late evening and stay indoors during the day. AC RULES (aaaaaaahhhhh). 

I have not completed very much except my past jewelry classes but I am almost finished with my remodeled workspace. I also need to take some more time and post more items to my Etsy account.


Monday, August 9, 2010

Big sad SIGHHHHH. 

Unfortunately both of my classes have been completed BUT I had a great time, made a few friends and learned a lot of great things and I ended up with 2 rings from each class. I was also able to include a little drama as well. Sometimes you have to pay extra for that.

My first class was after work this past Wednesday and it was the PMC3 (precious metal clay-silver). I did have fun learning how to work with the metal clay. It does dry quite fast but it can be slowed down.  My first ring was more of a rush job because I was trying to go to fast but I learned more of what to do for the next one. My second ring I thought about before I actually started working on it and THAT is the secret to this medium. Get everything laid out ahead of time and think of what kind of design you want to do, then pull the clay out and get to work. The instructor was Donna Lewis in Scottsdale AZ. She also created these Lil Bella clay pots which act as a little humidifier to keep the clay moist. If you do PMC, you could really use one of these.


After all these rings were completed, the whole class left all the rings (about 40 or so) on the kiln to dry so they could be fired. She even took pictures of all the finished rings and had everyone sign for their rings when they were picked up a few days later. The drama decided to get involved when one student had picked up one of my rings by mistake and it was gone. Now to be honest, all the rings were pretty close in shape and design so I could see the confusion happening. Donna was able to find out who signed for the ring, contact that person and I was able to pick it up today. She ROCKS. It is all to her organization, creativity of taking photos of the finished rings and keeping track of who received their rings. I would definitely take another class from her again.

Now, on Friday, I had an all day class that I loved even more because you work with metal. It was taught by Melissa Manley who is an artist, instructor at various art retreats and teaches at a community college in NC. I really enjoyed her approach to making jewelry and am so thankful with what I learned.  I have tried making rings before but with very little success but now, watch out. I was able to complete 2 rings in that class as well. We used fine silver to make the band and then a copper band with texture on top of that. My wife's ring was filled with X’s and O’s.

I had just tried some different patterns on mine with a sterling silver rivet in the middle. The MT stands for Me Too. A phrase that my wife and I keep saying to each other because of our common love of jewelry, crafts and hobbies we share.

I was going to name my ring/quote  Lord of the Rings “One Ring to rule them all”  but then the house would be filled with hobbits, or......

Have any of you readers taken any recent art, jewelry, writing, music, etc.... type of class and just had the greatest time doing it??   Leave a comment and let us know what you enjoyed and a link to it if you want.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Trying out for teachers pet

Well, not really but I am really excited about this week.  I get to go to class this week, actually 2 of them.

The classes are being held by Art Unraveled, which is a mixed media art retreat  that comes yearly to Phoenix. This is where my love to create and make jewelry all started from. Last year I attended a class on making engraved copper letter openers. What I learned from that was how to work with copper, etch, heat, pound (my favorite part), grind, file, darken and then polish the pieces. Once I completed that class, it gave me a better appreciation of all different types of art and the artists who create them.

This year I have enrolled in 2 different  but  same types of classes. The first class is PMC Freestyle Organic Rings , using PMC3 silver clay. I have never worked with this material before but have done some reading and it looks like fun. I started checking on the web and there are so many beautiful pieces out there. It is amazing on what you can do with it. I just hope it rubs off on me.

The 2nd class is also creating rings but I will be using copper, brass and silver. There are  a lot of texture put on these rings and I know that this will be a fun day. After competing both of these classes and a bit of homework, I hope to come up with a few new designs of my own to sell. I will post some pictures after the class, this weekend.

Next week I want to try my hand at coming up with some kind of demonstration of a process in making jewelry. Maybe a weekly or every other week type of posting.

I am now looking to to get your comments on, is there an easier way to...........?

A way to get more people to your blog and hopefully to you Etsy store. I know part of it can be going to other peoples blogs and leaving comments or tags on your site. My only issue is I will only post to a blog if what I read inspires me somehow and I have something to add to it.  A few of the different blogs I have read have hundreds or thousands of people watching them.

Now I know I just started the blog around a month ago and I am truly ecstatic that I have 11 people who follow me. I know this is a slow process but it is always interesting to learn how others have done it.
Please remember that I always enjoy any type of feedback or just a quick hello.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Above the earth these angry dark clouds hang. Rumbling intensely as they float on their way. The first drop of water hits my window with great force. Now a second and then a third. It sprinkles slowly for a few minutes and then stops.

COME ON RAIN. Get with the program already.

Living in downtown Phoenix is not always the best place for rain. It seems that with all the heat rising from the city, it pushes the clouds away and then all around Phoenix gets soaked. We really need for it to rain a little more.

I know some states around country are really getting hit and one of my friends is now living in Korea for a year and it is POURING there. I hope to go back there some day (was stationed there in 1983 and it was great)

Tonight we decided on what to make for dinner and my wife had thawed out a whole chicken for me to cook. She found this easy recipe at

It was truly a simple meal to make and it puts such a wonderful smell throughout the house. I have a few photos of how it started and then turned out. The only thing I would change is I put a little butter under the skin and think that maybe it could have used a touch of salt there.

OK. Now I want to challenge everyone who reads this blog to either:
1. tell me a little about yourself.
2. include a favorite recipe you love to make, or
3. Let me know how you like to be creative (drawing, painting, photography, jewelry... you get the picture) and if possible include a link to one of your favorite art/creative pieces that you made.

Lastly if you have any questions for me, just ask.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

It has started.


The first official postings of my Etsy items started a few days ago and within 24 hours I had my first sale. It does not get any better than this, well unless I keep selling more :).  I am just happy that people like my work.

Above is the first one sold. An old skeleton key wrapped in sterling silver wire and a recycled crystal from some antique jewelry.

I just need to get back to designing and creating other items. During our vacation to the California coast, I found some fun beads, coins, stones and other interesting items that are just begging to be made into something special.  Can you hear them as well??

I am finally going out tomorrow to play a little disc golf. I figure it should only be in the low to mid 90's then. Moving to Arizona, what was I thinking?

To be honest, it is a great place in the fall, winter and spring but in the summer...... whew.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Etsy time.

I am SOOO happy to finally announce that my Etsy store for Willo Wire has just officially opened. With everything that has been going on during this past 7 months, I was not sure it was going to happen at all. Between work, the Arizona BLAZING heat and a few illnesses in the family, it takes a lot out of you.

For anyone who wants to check it out, it is at  . If you happen to find something you like, just mention you saw this on my blog and I will ship for free for the the rest of July and the month of August.

Pass it on to any friends you know if you think they would like my style of jewelry. I still have a lot of items to post on Etsy. There are earrings, necklaces, bracelets, talismans and other fun items. Let me know what you think.

Alright, its time to get back and post a few more things.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Back to Phoenix

I am happy to be back home.

Our 2-week family camping vacation took us up the California coastline. It was adventurous, very scenic, and cool (55 compared to 105 in Phoenix.) We battled raccoons, awkward camp stoves, over-packed boxes and cold lavatory seats. Actually I had a great time and would like to do it again, but not for a little while.

(click on any photo for larger view)

Important things I learned about the trip:

1. It is such a nice feeling to be able to say that I really like ALL of my family - we had such a good time. Many thanks go to Michael and Jeanine for all of the mapping out and planning this trip of a lifetime.

2.  Even though we like our little creature-comforts, it really isn’t necessary to pack the entire house into the back of the car. Really.

3. The correct sized tent works wonders for your total enjoyment of the trip. Make sure everything fits properly before actually leaving on your vacation, and that there is room enough to stand up in it.


4. Unless you are going someplace where there is no civilization at all, you do not need a week’s worth of food in the cooler and pantry box. Preparing meals is a little harder when the sun goes down. But when it comes right down to it, what more do you really need than graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate anyway???

Gorgeous scenery . . . fun beaches, and great places to visit . . . A couple of fun highlights were:

- The hot, gooey artichoke bread that was baked fresh daily in the quaint little town of Pescadero. One loaf destined for dinner never made it there as we all snarfed it down right in the parking lot.
- The house of my brother-in-law’s friend -- a beautiful place with a great collection of items  -- kind of a cross between an art gallery and a museum. A few of the things that stood out the most to me are his collection of masks from around the world and the paintings done by his truly talented daughter.
-  I loved the BBQ buffalo dinner we had at the chilly driftwood-filled beach with nary a soul around ‘cept us. A few local beers, those wonderful tasty burgers, and a fire afterwards made for a perfect evening on the beach. Thanks to Sean for his generosity.

Campfire stories . . . playing games . . . eating s’mores (Mmmmmmm!) . . . When do we go again??

OK, so now I’m back in the studio. I was able to find some really great jewelry supplies (beads, rocks, and some other fun items.) So I will be posting some new creations soon!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Gardening in Phoenix

My garden has gone a bit crazy this year. I think I have planted waaaay too many tomato plants. A few years ago, we built 4 raised gardens. Each one measures: 16 foot long, 4 foot wide, 2 foot tall and 4 feet between each one. My plan was to make it easier to get to the produce and not have to bend over to get to anything.

Here in downtown Phoenix, it is starting to get hot so my spinach and basil are finished this year. The plants that are left and really like the heat are: zucchini and spaghetti squash, sweet and jalapeno peppers, gourds and the crazy tomatoes. There must be 12 plants and 4 to 5 variety of tomatoes (The varieties I planted this year are: cherry, plum, grape and heirloom.

I consider them crazy since the plants have mutated and taken over the garden. Plants were put in cages but they have ESCAPED. I find it an adventure to try and get at the tomatoes. One side of the garden cannot be walked around due to the plants growing all the way the fence.

My favorite tomatoes the past few years are the smaller variety. I have planted ones like early girl and beefsteak but they just taste ok to me. I remember when I was a child and living in Washington state, our family would go to Yakama to visit friends who lived there. I remember that it was a very hot place and now it reminds me of Arizona in the summertime.

They had these huge beefsteak tomatoes that were the best ever. One of my favorite memories of these are my mother making tomato sandwitches with them. It is very easy to make.You take 2 pieces of white bread, put a tiny bit of mayo on both sides, maybe a little mustard and then a huge ¾ to 1 inch slice of these gorgeous tomatoes and then add a dash of salt.

There are also a few gourds this year. I have tried to grow them before but with no luck at all. I know my wife will be able to use them for creating wonderful bird houses and feeders.

Back in the shop, I have tried to create something different and with some color using only different metals.  Here pictured is an old key that was used to wind up a clock with a sterling silver heart and patterned brass, copper and steel wire to hang below. I am back to the drawing board to come up with some different designs of jewelry. Hmmm, I think it is time to get back to work.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Time to start the ride...

Welcome to the Willo Wire blog. My name is John Dearden and I reside in downtown Phoenix Arizona in the Willo district (which is part of the reason why I used Willo for my business name and blog).

I love to create jewelry from old, recycled/found items, combine it with the new, and add a little dash of fun. This is all very new to me-the jewelry making, blog writing and setting up my Etsy shop (I will start posting items in 2 to 3 weeks). During this journey into being more creative, I will be looking for what “my” style, voice and artistic soul looks like. Part of this site is for me to find and talk about my creative side and about all those other things that have captured my interest. Over the years I have found many. I would also like to share what I will learn during this adventure of finding myself and also to learn from those who wish to participate here.

I received my artistic spirit from my mother who was fearless in trying new things. My father was a great wood carver and an inventor of useful creations. I also want to include my wife, Vivian, who has opened my eyes the most due to her very creative spirit, art projects, bird houses and other wonderful items she has made. Below is her Hopes & Dreams box that she made.

My creative adventure really started last year when we participated in a class at a venue called, Art Unraveled, here in Phoenix. (For 2010, it will be held between August 3rd to August 10th; I will be there for 2 classes). My instructor was Richard Salley and that started me on my way. I never had such fun -- There was etching material, soldering pieces together and a little old fashioned beating the daylights out of the metal. That was a blast and I have my wife to thank for that.

I  participated in 2 craft shows so far (Coffee, Cookies and Crafts in Phoenix and 2nd Fridays in downtown Mesa) and that was a lot of fun and also challenging at the same time. Some of my thoughts at the time were: (will they like my work, will they think it is stupid, is the price too much, should I stop wasting my time with making jewelry, am I even a real artist?)
Copper bracelet with steel, brass rivets and sterling silver links in between.

Now that I have been creating jewelry for a little while and love it, I have decided to open my Etsy shop - Willowire - to sell some of my pieces. Now, I have a lot of experience in selling on Ebay but I was not sure about creating an Etsy store. So I was asking myself where to start? Unless you have some really creative friends who know what to do or know someone who is already selling on there, it is a little difficult and scary to start this process. I wondered to myself if this was the right thing to do or for that matter, what to do and how.

So now I also have another special person to thank and I have only seen her pictures and art online. Her name is Kelly Rae Roberts. My wife found this inspiring E-class through her searchings on Facebook. Kelly Rae’s 5 week class is called, “Flying Lessons” and is exactly what I needed at this point in my life. I have just finished week 1 of the class and it has given me so much in the way of inspiration and a feeling that I can do this. On her website is a brief description of what the class is all about.

  • Week 1 & 2 will be about creating an effective online presence via blogs, website and social networking.
  • Week 3 & 4 will focus on selling strategies online and off and finally,
  • Week 5 is about recharging ourselves, our souls and other creative ways of income.

This is just a very brief description of what the class is about but you can go to it at:

IT IS NOT TOO LATE TO SIGN UP. There is so much information to read and there are wonderful links. You can meet others around the globe who are also taking this class. The fee is only $99.00 and after only 1 week, I have received my money's worth! (And I still have 4 more weeks to go....)

Since starting this class, I have decided that: I am going to set up a Blog and eventually a website. I am going to start posting on Etsy in 3 weeks. I am willing to take chances on my artistic ability now and in the future and that I AM AN ARTIST. It may not be in a style that everyone else thinks or likes but it is who I am.

So onward to the future and what ever it brings for me and to all those I have yet to meet. Thanks for checking me out and I hope to hear from you who also have a passion to create.