Arrowhead necklace

>> Sunday, December 30, 2007

Flint Arrowhead Necklace"Arrowhead Necklace" by Lagaz Designs (Melissa Muir) December 2007.

Genuine flint arrowhead, wrapped securely with sterling silver wire. Hill tribe silver beads added for a more formal look. Genuine black leather cord, with hand-wrapped sterling silver ends. Hand-made sterling silver clasp completes this masculine necklace.

Made this for my brother-in-law Derwin for Christmas. He had gotten the arrowhead long time ago from Lower Fort Garry. It was my first time wrapping an arrowhead, plus making a masculine looking piece. I really like it, and it looks really good on Derwin. :) As I gain more experience with jewelry making, I want to be able to incorporate masculine creations also. Even men love jewelry! :)

Hope everyone had a great Christmas!!


Paisley Brooch Swag

>> Monday, December 24, 2007

Paisley Brooch Swag"Paisley Brooch Swag" by Lagaz Designs (Melissa Muir) December 2007.

Hand-crafted paisley brooch, with a button pin and swag chains. Thin gauge sterling silver wire wrapped securely around a sterling silver frame. Woven within the paisley frame are matte white glass beads, citrine rondelles, sterling silver stardust beads, hill tribe silver, with 2 Prehnite rondelles, and faceted oval clear Quartz bead. On the button pin frame, are stardust beads, citrine rondelles, some hill tribe silver and a Freshwater Pearl. Sterling silver chain connected by sterling jumprings to both pins are removable for different looks.

Made this one for my friend Kathy as a Secret Santa gift. This is for all the hard work that she has done, and for helping me out with the attendance duties at school. Love you Kathy!!

Button part of brooch was made from
Magda's button earring tutorial. Thanks Magda!!


Raven Stealing the Sun...

>> Sunday, November 18, 2007

Raven Stealing the Sun "Raven Stealing the Sun" by Melissa Muir (Lagaz). Hand drawn, then scanned, and re-sized in Photoshop. Background done in Prismacolor Art pencils, and Pearl-Ex powders. October 2007.

Here's another ATC that I did for someone on ATCards. Kevin (the person I traded with) is a big fan of my Totems, and he wanted a Aboriginal legend done just for him. He requested the legend "Raven Stealing the Sun" from the Northwest Coast tribes. I had never heard of it before, but I loved it right away.

I wanted it to have the colorfulness of my other pictures, but have a bold, eyecatching graphic. In the picture, you can see the man's hair flowing upward, where it is transforming into the Raven. The Raven flies upward over the Sun, where he takes it within himself as he steals it.

Kevin loved it when he received it. I'm glad that it made him happy. Apparently his partner Craig loves it too, and they are both looking forward to more of my work. YAY!

I really like how this one turned out, and I am positive that this one needs to be put onto a bigger canvas. Maybe done in oils, or watercolour if I'm brave enough.


Green Serenity

>> Saturday, October 6, 2007

Green Serenity "Green Serenity" by Lagaz Designs (Melissa Muir) October 2007.

Handcrafted with Sterling Silver wire frames, and delicate scrolls. Coiled carefully with fine gauge sterling silver wire, and set off with Hill Tribe Silver beads, and Sterling Silver Stardust beads. The focal is beautiful Jade colored glass pear shaped briolettes that dangle serenely off the silver frames. Genuine Peridot teardrops accompany them to add to the preciousness of these pieces. Great for dressing up a casual outfit or taking out on a night in town.

These were created for a Silent Auction that my Aunt Sharon was helping out with this weekend. I worked as fast as I could on these, but I've been sick, so I went to the last possible minute to get these in. I really like them. Very girlie looking. I wanted something thats trendy right now, and this style seems quite popular. I'm pretty good at wrapping teardrop shaped beads now, since doing this project. :)

I gave extra business cards to display with it just in case. I might get an order from it, that would be so exciting! I hope that whoever gets this, enjoys it. I certainly enjoyed making it, and even though I designed it, I still wanted to see it in real life. I love seeing how things turn out. This one came out almost exactly like my design, and I am really pleased with that. That means I getting better at doing the planning stages, and measuring my components. Practice makes perfect.

I think I have one more piece to make this weekend, for a friend of mine ;)


Turquoise Silver Cuff

>> Sunday, September 30, 2007

Turquoise Silver Cuff

"Turquoise Silver Cuff " by Lagaz Designs (Melissa Muir) September 2007.

A single turquoise brings about the focus on this cuff. Wood beads, and small turquoise set off the natural beauty of this gorgeous green-blue stone. Smooth silver & Stardust beads give it sparkle, while tiny hilltribe silver adds to the rawness of this piece.

Darla, my best friend, asked me if I could make something for her from this single turquoise bead. She had gotten it from her sister, Brandi, when she was teaching in Japan. It's a beautiful stone, and it's colouring leans towards the green end of the spectrum, which I prefer.

I figured a beautiful open cuff would do this one justice, and I'm always willing to make something for Darla ;) It turned out great, and when I was taking pictures of it, I tried and tried to find something that would really set it off. It looks very Aboriginal in design, and so my sister Jacquie suggested trying some cedar cuttings. Cedar is a Sacred Medicine, and since turquoise is one of many sacred stones, I thought it was appropriate. The picture turned out gorgeous, and I hope Darla likes it :)

Now I'm thinking I have to make something similar myself!


School is starting soon...

>> Wednesday, August 29, 2007

And I won't have alot of time to update my blog. This past little while has been getting stuff ready for school/work for me and my daughter. It's just been crazy. Plus I've been doing more of the ATCs. I'll be posting those in a few days. I want to update regularly. Hopefully at least every couple of weeks, less would be ideal. I just have to make some time.

So don't worry, I have stuff to update, I just haven't had time to. Will post more soon!!


Crosshatching Technique -> Updated

>> Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bollywood Bride"Bollywood Bride" by Melissa Muir (Lagaz).Hand-drawn, then colorized in Photoshop. August 2007. Photoreferenced from ©

So I've done some more ATCs. Only three of them though. I decided to try my hand at crosshatching. I've never done it before, and had no idea where to start. I figured if I used a photo-reference, and shifted it to gray-scale, it would give me a better idea as to where the values are. So that's what I did with these pictures. It was really hard. "Bollywood Bride" was my first one. I had to make them bigger than the standard ATC size, so that I could get the detail that I wanted. I think they turned out pretty good, for my first tries.

I wanted to add some colour to them, but I didn't want to screw them up. So I just coloured parts of them. I think it really gives them more pop and showcases my crosshatching =).Serenity

"Serenity" by Melissa Muir (Lagaz). Hand-drawn, then colorized in Photoshop. August 2007. Photoreferenced from ©

This image I really like. She is so pretty and I love lilies! I like how her lips and the flower are accentuated with the color. It gives it a "soft" feel, especially with the colours that I had chosen.

Sailor Pin-up Girl"Sailor Pin-Up Girl" by Melissa Muir (Lagaz).Hand-drawn, then colorized in Photoshop. August 2007. Photoreferenced from ©

I love the look of pin-up girls. So sexy, yet have that air of innocence. My sailor girl is really cute. I had real trouble with her hair though, but it turned out okay. Her coloured flower gives it a playful punch.

All these images I referenced, I got from They have beautiful pictures there, check it out!


Bellydancer in Red"Bellydancer in Red" by Melissa Muir (Lagaz). Hand-drawn, then colorized in Photoshop. August 2007. Photoreferenced from

Here's my latest one. This one was harder to do, as there was a lot of shadows and detail going on. I love the flaring skirt, it is so pretty!

So much art, so little time!


Turquoise!! Updated!

>> Sunday, August 19, 2007

Turquoise Silver Weave Ring"Turquoise Silver Weave Ring" by Lagaz Designs (Melissa Muir) August 2007.

A Turquoise bead, set upon a sterling silver oval bezel. Wrapped securely onto a silver wrapped ring shank that sparkles.

I made another ring today. For my twin sister, Jacquie. I had just bought some turquoise beads the other day, and they were the perfect shape to make rings! They are really pretty looking, and smooth. The beads are towards the green end of the spectrum, but I like them better that way.

I wasn't sure how to set this bead, as it is oval shaped, and the hole is drilled length-wise. I would have preferred width-wise, but you have to work with what you got, right? Jacquie wanted the bead to sit a little higher, and was thinking of a nested bezel of sorts. She didn't want it messy looking though. I suggested making a oval ring bezel that sits underneath, that way it gives it the height she wants, and it would also solve my dilemma about how to attach it to the ring shank. She thought that was a good idea. Turquoise Ring Back

I really liked the style of Pippi's ring, and wanted to do something similar, but I figured something a little more simple looking would be good for Jacquie. Since she does her nails quite often in bold colors and whatnot, they would compete with each other.

It looks really nice, although I could have wrapped it tighter I think. Jacquie loves it, and it suits her hand very well. Now I have to get a move on with my other rings that are waiting to be made!

Light Turquoise Silver Weave Ring"Light Turquoise Silver Weave Ring" by Lagaz Designs (Melissa Muir) August 2007.

UPDATE! I made myself a turquoise ring. This one is lighter in hue, has a tigher wrap, and I added some hilltribe silver beads around to accent the bezel. It has a kind of raw look to it, because the tiny beads look a bit haphazard, but I like it!


Seven Sacred Grandfather Teachings...

>> Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Seven Scared Grandfather Teachings ATCs "Seven Sacred Grandfather Teachings Series" by Melissa Muir (Lagaz). Prismacolor Art Pencils, Pearl Ex Powders, & Ink. August 2007

I have finally done it! I am finished making my first set of ATCs! They are based on the Seven Sacred Teachings, and I am so proud! These guys may be small, but they have a lot going on. Alot of colouring went into these, but they look beautiful. So colourful and the lines reminscent of movement. I've posted them at
my gallery at I've gotten requests for trades already! How exciting!!
I'm going to be sad when they go, but they will go to good homes. But I saved scans of them, so I can print out ones just for me =)

Oh, I know it's just a bunch of cards,and you're probably wondering why I am going to all this trouble? Being creative and the love of ART is why!! Plus it a way to get my work out there, right?


Artist Trading Cards (ATCs)...

Dolphin & Hummingbird Totem"Dolphin & Hummingbird Totem" by Melissa Muir Hand-drawn, colorized in Photoshop. August 2007

I have discovered another way to show my art! It is called Artist Trading Cards. Basically, you make your art in any medium, sized 2.5" x 3.5". Then you trade it with someone else. No selling/buying involved. Its a great way to see the different ways art can be produced, even if it is on a small scale. I thought that this would be a great addition to an after school art class that I'm helping my friend Darla with. Doing art at this size, probably wouldn't be so much of an intimidation, as a larger scale can be. At, they even have a list of which members do trades with children.

I wanted to try it out beforehand, to see how easy the trading can be arranged. My first trade is with Jenn. She saw my "Eagle - Love" card (Part of the Seven Scared Grandfather Teachings series that I am doing. Will be in next post), and asked to trade for that. We discussed, and so decided that we would do a 2/2 trade. I make two cards, she makes two cards, and we trade. So she gets my Eagle card, and another card.

I made her the Dolphin & Hummingbird card, as I wanted to give her a totem card. I asked a few questions so that we could figure out what would be relevant to her. The Hummingbird was definitely her, and the Dolphin seems to be in her life recently, so I included that also.

Properties of Hummingbird:

  • Ability to heal by using its mouth (Communication)

  • Endurance

  • Joy

  • Happiness

  • Love

Properties of Dolphin:
  • Communication Skills

  • Bringer of change

  • Wisdom

  • Balance

  • Harmony

  • Freedom

  • Trust

  • Understanding the power of rhythm in life

I wanted to try my hand at Northwest Coast style again. It is not easy, especially when you are not exposed to it very often! So this is just my interpretation. I think it came out wonderfully. I am very proud of it. I did a hand drawing of it first, then scanned it into my computer, and cleaned it up in Photoshop. Then I just coloured it in. So much easier than trying to erase over and over again! I showed it to Jenn, and she loved it!

Lobster Totem "Lobster Totem" by Melissa Muir. Hand-drawn, colorized in Photoshop. August 2007.

This is an extra card for Jenn. When I asked her questions about certain animals showing up in her life, she mentioned a lot about her father, and that she dreams of lobsters. Her dad being a commercial fisherman, this made sense. I thought it would be a good idea to make one for her Dad. So it's a surprise, and I hope she likes it.

Properties of Lobster:
  • Concentration

  • Coordination

  • Understands when to follow not lead

  • The power of simplicity

  • Ability to transcend the mind/ego

If everything goes well, I will definitely be making more cards to trade!


Paisleys are all the rage...

>> Friday, August 10, 2007

Paisley Pendant"Paisley Pendant" by Lagaz Designs (Melissa Muir). August 2007

A paisley-leaf frame in sterling silver, hammered and wrapped in thin silver wire. A wire-wrapped circle encloses a Freshwater Pearl, with Peridot & Aquamarine giving it a splash of colour. Tiny Hill Tribe silver beads adorn the outer frame, and a single Stardust bead gives it a hint of sparkle.

Ahh, to be 18 again. My niece Alyssa is turning 18 this weekend, and this is her birthday present. You only turn 18 once, right? So I thought she should have something just for her. Something special. It's so pretty, I just love it! It's a small pendant, and perfect for almost any occasion. I hope she likes it!

I have never done a paisley before, but I have seen
Magdalena's, and I love them. So these have been inspired by Magda. On the Bead & Button forum, I've seen quite a few members try their hand with this shape, in whatever medium they use. They always come out so differently (which is good!). I love going on the forum, so many ways to be inspired!

Happy 18th Birthday, Alyssa! May life be full and exciting for you!


I've finally tried making some Rings!!

>> Thursday, August 9, 2007

Amethyst Sterling Wire Wrapped Ring"Amethyst Weave Ring" by Lagaz Designs (Melissa Muir) Done July 2007.

Handmade sterling silver ring, with a thin wire weave throughout the shank. A genuine 26 carat Octagonal Checkerboard cut Amethyst sits atop this sparkling piece.

I've been wanting to make some rings for a long time. Unfortunately, I haven't got a proper ring mandrel. I do, however, have some gemstones, that are just begging to be made into some flashy jewelry. I did the Amethyst Weave ring as an experiment, and I just used things at home to shape the ring shank. It turned out pretty good as a my first official ring. I did make a prototype with craft wire to see how I would be able to set the gemstone. The initial prongs that I made, just weren't holding the stone securely, so I had to make like loops to capture the corners. Now the amethyst sits very secure atop its new home.

It makes a big statement, and this ring is not for the faint of heart. This ring deserves the attention that it will generate.

Silver Weave Pearl Ring
"Silver Weave Pearl Ring" by Lagaz Designs (Melissa Muir) Done July 2007.

Sterling silver ring, with delicate wire woven around this handmade ring shank. A smooth Freshwater Pearl bead is the perfect complement to set off this creation.

This is my second ring, which turned out beautifully! I just love it! I don't wear a lot of jewelry, but I love pearls. They are always so classic, and go with anything. The wrapping on this ring, I am really proud of. It is very smooth, and brings a delicate feel to the piece. Definitely my favourite so far!

As I get better with making jewelry, I want to be able to expand my hobby. Each piece I make brings me closer to my goal, which I hope to meet soon!


A gift for my Mom...

>> Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Ruby Netted Pearl Pendant "Ruby Netted Pearl Pendant" by Lagaz Designs (Melissa Muir). Done July 2007

Sterling silver wire frame, wrapped in thin gauge sterling wire. Faceted Ruby rondelles, and faceted sterling beads are caught up in a silver web, along with a single freshwater pearl.

I've been wanting to make something for my Mom for a long time. But wasn't sure what I could make. I was thinking earrings, but she likes small ones, and I'm still working on my technique for those. So I decided to make her a pendant for her birthday. I used the rubies that I ordered for this project, that are used in my earring projects previously.

This turned out really great. It's not a huge pendant, but big enough to be noticed. I used the netting technique that I learned from Eni Oken's tutorials. Thanks Eni! It has a dreamcatcher effect which I really like, and which I think is very appropriate. It looks simple, but it's hard to keep the wire from kinking. Definitely need practice!

This piece reminds me of my family; my Mom is at the centre, with her family all around her. The silver web is the ties that we have with each other, and that's how we stick together. I love you, Mom!


The Sacred Teachings...

>> Sunday, August 5, 2007

Seven Sacred Grandfather Teachings Mural
"Seven Sacred Grandfather Teachings" by Melissa Muir, Darla Martens-Reece & Scott Sampson. February 2007
This mural is based upon the Seven Scared Grandfather Teachings, that our school is hoping to implement this coming fall. It's a virtue system, where each animal is connected with a certain trait. There are seven in all:

  1. Eagle - Love
  2. Bear - Courage
  3. Beaver - Wisdom
  4. Buffalo - Respect
  5. Sabe (Sasquatch) - Honesty
  6. Wolf - Humility
  7. Turtle - Truth
The classes are divided up into the first six houses (think Harry Potter), while the school is the seventh house, Truth. Since our school has a high aboriginal population, we thought that this would be appropriate to help our school come together in spirit and healthy competition.

My best friend, Darla Martens-Reece and I designed this mural together during the Summer '06. It was funny, we both had an idea for the Turtle, and when we showed them to each other, they were very similar!! Great minds do think alike. I love collaborating on projects with Darla. She has a Masters, and so she can bring the academia on whatever we're working on, while I just go for it! Darla is a great artist in her own right, and we work so well together. We'll have to do something else again really soon.

On this mural we just used latex paint, but the airbrushing was supplied by our friend and colleague, Scott Sampson. He runs the airbrushing/model car club at our school. So his expertise was invaluable as Darla and I had no idea how to airbrush. Thanks Sammy!!

The Teachings are precious as they educate us how to be better people. It's not that we are trying to convert people to go the Aboriginal way. Just like our parents, who teach us to "be good", "be kind to others", "to be honest", etc. We are just using this as a teaching tool, to reinforce those virtues that we want to instill in our children. I fully believe that everyone has their own path, but we can still learn from the experience of others.


On a Ruby kick...

>> Friday, August 3, 2007

Ruby & Garnet Marquis Earrings"Ruby & Garnet Marquis" by Lagaz Designs (Melissa Muir) June 2007

Sterling silver hammered wire frame, wrapped & crisscrossed with thin gauge wire. Ruby and Garnet rondelles accompanied by Stardust beads complete the look.

At the end of June, I was asked, by my friend Sandra, if I could make three pairs of earrings as graduation/birthday presents, for her nieces and daughter. And if it was possible to have their birthstones [Rubies] incorporated into them. Of course!! I had just ordered a couple strands of rubies for another project I was going to work on, but I knew I would have lots left over.

Ruby & Amethyst Swings Earrings"Ruby & Amethyst Swings" by Lagaz Designs (Melissa Muir) June 2007

Sterling silver hammered "D" frames, coiled and woven with thin gauge sterling wire. Ruby and Amethyst rondelles, along with Crystal Swarovskis are threaded upon Cubic Zirconia headpins. A fine Sterling silver chain suspends them into the air.

Ruby & Aquamarine Circles EarringsRuby & Aquamarine Circles" by Lagaz Designs (Melissa Muir) June 2007

Sterling silver hammered circle frames coiled and woven with thin gauge sterling wire. Smooth Ruby and Aquamarine rondelles, twined with Stardust beads complete the look.

[These were given to my friend Cathy G. on her 40th birthday!]

Cherry Circles EarringsCherry Circles" by Lagaz Designs (Melissa Muir) June/July 2007

Sterling silver hammered wire circles completely wrapped in thin gauge sterling. Adorned with "cherries", Peridot teardrops, and smooth Ruby rondelles. Tiny Hilltribe silver adds a sparkly touch.

I was going to give the Ruby & Aquamarine Circles to Sandra for her daughter, but I didn't think it would be an appropriate look for a younger person. So I made up these. They are fun, and sparkly, and even my own daughter liked them! (Sandra's daughter received these, and she really liked them because they even had her favourite colour - green!)

Ruby Danglies EarringsRuby Danglies" by Lagaz Designs (Melissa Muir) July 2007

Sterling silver loops, anchored onto each other. Hanging within are smooth Ruby rondelles, and Stardust beads threaded onto sterling CZ headpins.

I had some leftovers from some designs I was trying to make, that didn't work out. So I took the scraps and made these! They're cute little things. But they still got some BLING! to them.

Everyone was happy with their presents, and I hope I can make more orders for people in the future. Don't worry, there's more to come!


Aboriginal Legends...

>> Thursday, August 2, 2007

White Buffalo Calf Woman "White Buffalo Calf Woman" by Melissa Muir. Done in Prismacolor Art Pencils, Pearl Ex powders, ink. November 2006

I get a lot of inspiration from Aboriginal legends and symbols, so when I come across one that really speaks to me I make a point of saving it, so that I can draw upon it in the future.

This creation was made for a raffle draw at my school. The raffle was for our Aboriginal Art Club that my twin sister, Jacquie and I run during lunch hour, once a week. We use this raffle to raise funds to purchase materials for our participants.

In the legend, White Buffalo Calf Woman came to the Lakota people in the form of a white buffalo calf, then turned into a beautiful woman. Realizing that she was a sacred being, the Lakota prepared for her arrival. White Buffalo Calf Woman brought them the scared pipe, and taught them the scared medicines, as gifts. She also taught them the sacred ceremonies to keep the traditions pure. When she left the people, she told them that she will see them again, and to look for her arrival. The white buffalo is a very sacred symbol, as it tells us that She will be seeing us again.
For more detailed story, go here.

In my picture I wanted to show how White Buffalo Calf Woman was teaching the People the sacred medicines, and how to look for her when she returns to us. I wanted it be a very flowing piece, where her hair, sacred smoke and sky all blended together. The colours in the sky represent the Northern Lights, which some aboriginal peoples believe are the spirits of our people. These symbols represent the unity of our people, and how everything on the earth/universe is connected to each other.

I believe that White Buffalo Calf Woman is going to return soon, the signs are coming to pass. Hopefully, we are worthy of it.


Find things that Inspire you!

>> Wednesday, August 1, 2007

PrototypeI surf the web a lot. Probably too much for my own good. But I do find lots of inspiration to make my paintings and jewelry.

I was surfin' around on iStockphoto, and found this picture. It's a nautilus shell, and I loved the symmetry that it showed. I wanted to see if I could make something like that into a piece of jewelry. So I fiddled around, and this was my prototype. I think it turned out pretty good. I made it out of cheap wire and "e" beads, and a fake pearl. So I put it away until I could get some fine sterling silver wire.

The next month, when it seemed it was everyone's birthday, I found out that one of the secretaries at our school just celebrated a birthday. Now, I didn't know it was Janet's birthday. I've know her for years, but for some reason I thought her birthday was in the fall. Some friend I was. Well I rectified that pretty quick.

Nautilus Pendant"Nautilus Pendant" -by Lagaz Designs (Melissa Muir) June 2007
Sterling silver wire, with a freshwater pearl, peridot, aquamarine, and faceted silver beads suspended within.

I happened to get my thin gauge wire and whipped up the sterling silver version. Janet loved it! She has always admired my creations and I wanted to give something special to her. The pearl in the centre reflects her pure heart as she always puts herself before others. Take care of yourself, Janet. Love you!


What you can do with Pencil crayons...

Blue Morpho on Pink Stargazer
"Blue Morpho on Pink Stargazer" - by Melissa Muir Done with Prismacolor Art Pencils. December 2004

I love lilies, and butterflies. Especially Stargazers, and Blue Morphos. My favourites! Now this particular picture was a Secret Santa gift for my friend, Juanita. So it was the dead of winter in Manitoba, and we all need something summery to help us out right? Right.

So this picture was kind of selfish of me, as these are my favourite things, but they speak summer. And Juanita is a total summer girl to me, I knew she would love it. And she did! Now she wants another one to put on her other bedroom wall. Maybe someday soon.

I've worked with coloured art pencils before, but I had bought a book around that time to help me develop my technique. It's called "Colored Pencil Solution Book" by Jane Gildow and Barbara Benedetti Newton. This really helped me out when my style just wasn't going anywhere. I learned how to blend colours to create depth and more realism. It totally saved me. Now I have more confidence when creating something!

I love my Prismacolor Art crayons! They blend so wonderfully! I finally got a full set that I got off for dirt cheap! Ahhh. I'm happy now.


I love giving my friends some BLING!

Freeform Pendant "Freeform Pendant" - Lagaz Designs (Melissa Muir) April 2007

Sterling silver hammer wire frame, wrapped in 26 gauge sterling silver wire are Swarovski crystals, surrounding a 8mm white Freshwater Pearl and Silver Stardust beads.

This pendant was a gift for my friend Lindsay, for her birthday. I think she's very free-spirited, and this freeform shape really suits her. She definitely loves it, as she wears it often!

Love ya, Linds!
Mosaic Circle Pin

"Mosaic Circle Pin" - Lagaz Designs (Melissa Muir) May 2007

Sterling silver hammered wire frame, wrapped in thin gauge sterling wire. All about the center of the pin are several gemstones: Citrine, Amethyst, Freshwater Pearl, Jade, Aventurine, Rose Quartz, along with Swarovski crystals and Stardust beads. Pin structure on the back also handmade. This piece is influenced by Eni Oken.

This was for my friend, Edda. She's like my second Mom, and has been there for me so many times. She understands what I have gone through, as she has been there before and helps me to deal with my issues. I love her very much. Thank you!

Geometric Weave "Geometric Weave" - by Lagaz Designs (Melissa Muir) May 2007

Sterling silver hammered wire frames, delicately woven with thin gauge wire on the bottom, creating a basket-like effect. Suspended in the middle are an Emerald Swarovski crystal bead, Peridot, Aquamarine, Citrine and faceted silver beads anchor the ends.

My friend, Jodi, received these as her birthday gift this year. She looks so much like us (My twin sister, Jacquie and I), that it is kind of freaky. So she is our "third twin". Jodi has a lot of creativity, and uses this ability to organize drama productions at our school. These earrings are very dramatic and glamorous, so these suited her to a "T".
Mosaic Marquis Pendant
"Mosaic Marquis Pendant" - by Lagaz Designs (Melissa Muir) May 2007

Sterling silver hammered wire frame, with natural gemstones intricately wrapped within the frame. Dark green Peridot, Jade, Aventurine, Smoky Quartz, Coconut wood beads, resin beads, Swarovski crystals, Stardust beads, and faceted silver beads attached with thin gauge sterling wire. Inspired by Eni Oken.

I love the look of the Mosaics! Such a jumble of texture and colour, it's always interesting what you can find inside of them. My friend, Michelle, received this one for her birthday. She loves the colour Red, but unfortunately I did not have any beads available. So I made it in the opposite colour, Green. It has a very natural and soft look, which is what type of personality Michelle conveys to me. She is not a pushover! But has such a sweet, genuine nature about her, its hard not to smile!

I have many other pieces of jewelry that I have made and given as gifts. Alas, I didn't know how to take decent pictures then, so they are not documented. I hope in the future I will be able to! Shout outs to my previous gift recipients: Darla, Juanita, Kathleen, Bonnie and Aisha! I love you all!


Totem animals - only for the person it is intended...

>> Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Wolf is the Teacher

"The Wolf is the Teacher" - By Melissa Muir. Done in Prismacolor Art Pencils, ink and watercolor. June 2006

Generally when I make a picture, or painting, I make it especially for the person that it is intended for. I take a trait that I see in them, and help their totem come forward.

Totem animals are from Aboriginal culture. Some people are familiar with this concept, some know it as a spirit animal. However you know it (or don't know it), please keep in mind that totems are not to be taken lightly. These are spirits that are here to help you, whether you are aware of it or not. They can be your favourite animal, or one that seems to be around you all the time. Even ones that you are scared of, can be your totem. Sometimes they stay with you forever, some are just there for the particular time in your life and may be replaced with another animal. Remember, they are there to help you when you need guidance. For more info, click here.

The picture of the Wolf is for my friend and collegue, Daryl. I worked with him for two years at my school, and he is one of the best teachers I have ever worked with. We got along really well, talked about a lot of stuff, and he understood alot of the stuff that I was going through during that time, as he had experienced the same thing. He accepted a higher position within the school system, but that meant he had to move to another school. When I heard that, I was happy for him, but very sad, as I would be losing a friend at the school that I would interact with everyday. With that I knew I had to make him a picture.

Since Daryl was a teacher, I figured that the Wolf would be the totem for him. After finding more info about the Wolf, I realized that I found the perfect one. The Wolf isn't just about being a teacher, it's about being willing to be able to teach the hard lessons in life. To be able to incorporate a sense of family where ever you go. Being able to take the lead; be strong and have the intelligence and wisdom to know when you are needed and what is needed from you.

Kller Whale & Wolverine"Killer Whale & Wolverine" by Melissa Muir. Done in Acrylic and Pearl Ex powders. April 2007

This painting is for my friend and collegue, Adam. Previously, he had seen some of my doodlings, and was interested in a painting of a killer whale, or something that would convey "Warrior" or "Soldier". I had that in the back of my mind, while I worked on another project.

Then came the news, Adam was resigning from his teaching position to take a full-time position with the Canadian military. He was a reservist before, and it was his dream to get into the military full time. That was a major shock. I was in his classroom, this past school year, so I got the opportunity to get to know him better as a teacher and person. Adam is a wonderful teacher, and very disciplined with his students. He was always ready to joke around with the kids, and the staff, and had no qualms about letting someone know if something was not right. The staff lost a great teacher, but Canada gained a great defender.

Our school had a big farewell thing for him. Students, parents, media, mayor and members of Parliment were there. Adam was floored. We all wanted to say goodbye to him, and to tell him to take care of himself (Afgahnistan being fresh in our minds). Former students came and teased him about some of the stuff he taught them, others sang songs, others just told him how he impacted their lives.

I knew I had to give something to Adam. I remembered that he wanted a Killer Whale, but I didn't think it really conveyed the warrior sense he wanted. I thought about it, and recalled that one of the fiercest animals on earth is the Wolverine. I researched more about them, and realized that instinctively Adam knew that one of his totems was a Killer Whale, while the other I realized was his warrior-self, the Wolverine.

The Killer Whale holds the teachings of fearlessness, beauty, power and balance. It conveys a hidden creativity that should be brought forth. Also a strong sense of family is tied with it.

The Wolverine is a master Teacher, a survivor, defender of what is right. Encourages you to pursue your dreams, and promotes courageousness, and cleverness.

I wanted this to be in the North West Coast Aboriginal style, since it had a whale in it. I researched long and hard, studied every piece of art I could find in this style. I am really proud of this painting, as it made me stretch my skills, and I used a medium that I was unfamiliar with.

To the recipients of my paintings, may your totems guide you, listen to them and heed them well.


My beginning pieces...

Freshwater Pearl Herringbone Set These sets are my very first ones I had ever made! They turned out great, and are now part of some one else's life. They were part of a silent auction for "Kids Fishin' for a Cure" social, part of the Cancer Care Manitoba Foundation. We have this event every year, and it is always a great success!

This first one is my Freshwater Pearl Herringbone set. Made with 8mm White freshwater pearls, 4mm Swarovskis in Crystal, 3mm Sterling silver Stardust beads, and 24 guage Sterling Silver wire, with Cubic Zirconia headpins. It turned out beautiful! It has received many compliments. I love the pearl and silver look. The wrap around the pearls is called "herringbone", hence the namHarem Sete. I learned this technique from Eni Oken's site. She has a number of tutorials that you can drool over!

This one is called my Harem set. It has a bit if the exotic vibe going on. I used a pattern from Artistic Wire, but modified it because I didn't like the sqiggly thing on it. Then I made earrings to match. It came out very well!
Made with 22 gauge Sterling silver wire, 3mm Sterling silver Stardust beads, Turquoise chips, wood heishi beads, and Coconut round beads.

Whoever's got them I hope they enjoy them!


I had better put some Jewelry on...

>> Monday, July 30, 2007

Spiral Pendant Since this is about my jewelry, I had better post some!

This piece is my Spiral Pendant. It's my first time doing wire wrap with anything. I just studied pictures mostly to figure out how to do this technique when I started out. My greatest inspiration was/is Eni Oken.

This is made with 20 gauge Sterling Silver wire, with 24 gauge Sterling Silver wire to make the wrapping. Swarovski bicone crystals (4mm) in Cantaloupe, Crystal and Rose. White, and dyed cranberry freshwater pearls complete the circle. Diameter is 4.8 cm (1 7/8 inch).

I got hooked onto this type of jewelry making over the 2006 Christmas holiday season. I was very sick from about November to almost February, and I wasn't allowed to do anything! Not that I could, just walking around had me coughing my brains and lungs out. Eww.

I had strung beads before, as I have a scar on my neck from thyroid surgery, and store bought necklaces didn't hit the right place to cover it. But as I was sitting / covalescing on the couch, I wanted to do something more. So I surfed the web...ALOT. I found examples, and tutorial, and a wonderful forum where people got together to talk about jewelry making.

I think I found my passion!


Well here goes...

Rock Wall LoonI think I will start off with a couple of pictures of a mural that I did where I work. This is only a small part of a bigger mural, which measures 26' x 10'. I didn't post a bigger one because, the pictures that I took of it were horrible. So I only took pictures of different portions of the mural.

The mural is for a rock wall at the Junior High, where I work as an educational assistant. The Vice-Principal wanted an image where the students could gauge where they are while climbing the rock wall, but wanted something that would reflect the school. I was really excited to do this mural. It was a big job, bigger than I have ever done before. I wanted it to be colorful, and full of Aboriginal symbology. Our Junior High has a high Aboriginal population, so I wanted to incorporate this within the school. Also it didn't hurt that I am of Aboriginal descent myself . It doesn't have a title unfortunately. Maybe someday. Mineral. Plant. Animal. Human.

This image here with the man, animal, plant and rock are from a Hopi Indian legend.

"There was the cycle of the mineral, the rock. There was the cycle of the plant. And now we’re in the cycle of the animal coming to the end of that and beginning the cycle of the human being. When we get into the cycle of the human being, the highest and greatest powers that we have will be released to us. They will be released from that light or soul that we carry to the mind. But right now we're coming to the end of the animal cycle and we have investigated ourselves and learned what it is to be like an animal on this earth."

-by Lee Brown, 1986
Continental Indigenous
Tanana Valley Fairgrounds, Fairbanks, Alaska

I really identified with this particular legend. I feel that everyone has the potential to reach their highest goals. I work with so many students who feel that they aren't worth it, or they're stupid, but they are not. I wanted that to be a symbol at our school, that with a little guidance you can do it.


Time to get this show on the road...

Okay first ever blog post. Just trying the thing out. Hopefully this will do what I need/want it to do. I plan on blogging things about my artwork, past and present pieces. Also, I want to showcase my jewelry that I have done. When I get organized, you'll see some pictures up here!!


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