Wednesday, February 19, 2014

In No Particular Order - Finding Inspiration At The Scrap Yard

I travel through life with my camera by my side, often needing to remind myself to experience the moments instead of trying to capture them in pictures.  While gathering photos during my adventures, I mentally write narratives to go with them.  I do this with every intention of putting pencil to paper as soon as I get home.  Then, reality strikes.  I return to real life; I'm pulled in a million directions at one time; and I'm off and running before I ever write a single word. 

This is the first in a series of posts that I'll call, In No Particular Order.  Each will provide me with an opportunity to walk down memory lane, rediscovering my inspiration while sharing glimpses of my life and thoughts with you.  Now, In No Particular Order, on to my first post...
So much to see, and so little time!  For safety's sake, individual wandering time
at the scrap yard is limited to lunchtime when the machinery is nonoperational.

Shortly after the holidays, I ventured with Jodi Ohl and Mary Neligan on a trip that we'd planned and canceled multiple times.  We set out with destinations in and around Raleigh, Cary, and Apex, North Carolina in mind.  We were in search of sales opportunities for our work, and on the way, we planned a quick lunchtime stop at Lee Iron and Metal in Sanford, NC.  The day was brisk and bright, and I'll pick up my narrative in the photos from this adventure.
Inspiration overload under a Carolina Blue Sky!  We made a beeline for
the corners where we'd be most likely to find cast off treasure.
To the untrained eye, this looks like a pike of junk.  We see fish tails and jewelry components.

Circuit boards aplenty! 
These pieces weigh a ton, and they sparked all kinds of creative dreaming.
Imagine all that we could make with them if only we had welding skills! 
(Not To Self:  Add welding classes to my bucket list.)
I've been working through a jewelry collection that's
inspired by my real life photos.  This one will serve as
inspiration for the next piece that I create.
On a micro level, I was captivated by the metal shavings and
parts and pieces that wear their history in a weathered patina.
Mary, in her element and on the hunt for Funky Fish Parts.
Day glow vests are our mandatory matching fashion statement at the scrap yard.
A perfect end to a perfect day.  :-)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Will You Accept Custom Orders at Jean Skipper Originals?
These samples were created
for the Cypress Pointe
Fire and Rescue Department. 
Will I accept custom orders?!?!?  In a word, ABSOLUTELY!  No project is too large, too small, or too outside of the box for consideration.

When customers share their stories about the manners in which my jewelry touches their lives, it means so much to me that I'm often brought to laughter, tears, or both at the same time.  These feelings become even more intense when I'm able to fulfil a request for personalized custom creation.  Perhaps it's because I know that I'm creating exactly the right piece for exactly the right person at exactly the right time.  Each one of these opportunities mean the world to me.

Here are a few visual examples of custom request that I've fulfilled.
This piece is a sentimental favorite
as it's a tribute to
Five Fallen American Heroes,
including SFC Alwyn C. Cashe
who's been nominated for
The Medal of Honor.
During the past few years,
I've created hundreds of
"Remember to Remember" pendants
for a corporate client.

No matter how large or how small the order,
I personally create each individual piece of
jewelry that bears the name of
Jean Skipper Originals.
A departure from my signature copper, these
sterling treasures were created with
three fashion conscious young ladies in mind.
If you or someone you know are seeking something special for your...
     ...sports team group
     ...and just about any other purpose that you can imagine

I'd love to discuss your project with you to see how I can help.  Please contact me anytime at  .

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Roadtrip - Wilson, North Carolina The Whirligigs of Vollis Simpson

Years ago I learned about Vollis Simpson's Whirligigs in an issue of Our State Magazine, and it was love at first sight.  In 2011, when Ken and I visited the creations in his field, I was blown away by their size, their number; and the overwhelming sensory experience of being in their presence.  In hindsight, I'm grateful that we made time for that visit.  Mr. Simpson passed away last year, and it's one that we'll never be able to repeat in quite the same way.

Fortunately, a group of passionate and dedicated whirligig lovers is working to restore and display Mr. Simpson's creations in Historic Downtown Wilson, North Carolina.  I visited the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park on my way home from the East Carolina University Metals Symposium

Luckily for me, it was a blustery day, and the first five restored whirligigs were at peak performance.  The largest of this group is "The V. Simpson", and it measures 55 feet long and 40 feet high.  You have to see it in person to appreciate the sights, sounds, and especially the feeling of standing in its shifting shadows.

While in Wilson, I also visited the conservation site for the whirligigs  Their yard is overflowing with good things to come and large murals that honor the maker and the restoration project. 

Kudos to all who are involved in saving these treasures for future generations!

The following photos show a few of the Whirligigs in 2011 in their natural habitat.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Roadtrip Surprise - Greenville, NC - The Artwork of Jonathan Bowling

After being over stimulated in the best possible way at the East Carolina University Metals Symposium several weeks ago, I enjoyed taking the long way home to Vass.

My day began with visits to a few local thrift stores of a more upscale nature. At the last one, I asked if they had any recommendations for a shop or two with an industrial twist to their offerings. They made a suggestion, and I set off in search of found object treasures.

I could feel the neighborhoods shift as I drew closer.  This is always a good sign.  Then, much to my surprise, a circle of fire dogs appeared in the distance. (As the wife of a firefighter, I can recognize fire extinguishers or a Maltese Cross from half a mile away!) You know I had to stop for a photo...or two...or three...or thirty, and when I did, I discovered a lot that was chock full of artsy metal goodness. Photos complete, there were three sculptural turtles waiting for me at the next stop sign. As I made a left turn, a virtual creative critter crossing appeared before me. To say that it was absolutely amazing would be an understatement.

Sadly, Jonathan Bowling, the artist responsible for all of these magnificent creatures, was out of town during my visit. I spent at least an hour exploring and admiring his sculptures, and one was better than the next. Not only does he use many of my favorite cast off metal parts and pieces in all that he creates, he does so with a soft touch and an intention of placement and composition the likes of which I've never seen.

These photos tell the story better than I possibly could with words, and still not as well as a visit in person will do. If you can manage it, this is a destination that you won't want to miss.

Now, on to the magical world inhabited by the creature creations of Jonathan Bowling...


I can almost hear her!

A group of goats is called a tribe.
Yet another reason to love goats!
A Sounder of Swine.

This little fellow begged to go home with me.
(Ken, hint... hint...he'd be even better than a Muffler Man!)
The Hobbyhorse Store Front. 
The Guardian.
Call.  If you love this work as much as I do, please call.
You'll be glad that you did. 


The ReMe Blog Hop.......................... Week 1 Winners

I’m absolutely thrilled to announce the results of the first week of our ReMe Blog Hop!  And the winners are…
From the Jean Skipper Originals Blog… Kathy Cawthon, aka “That Allison Girl”, you’ve won a set of six of my mixed greeting cards and magnets!
From the ReMe Blog… Brittany, you’ve won my hand stamped Rest Relax Renew Necklace!
Congratulations to both of you!  Please send me an email message to me at jeanskipper(at) with your mailing address, and I’ll send your prizes on their way to you.
To all who participated, thank you!  Since this was my first ever participation in a blog hop, I’d also love to send you a small token of my appreciation.  If you’re interested, please send an email message to me at jeanskipper(at) with your name and mailing address. 

And finally, for all who are reading this, please remember that there will be three more weeks of blog hopping goodness for you.  This Friday, February 14th, Penny Arrowood will provide us with her interpretation of the word, “Relax”.  (Please click here to visit Penny’s blog.)  On Friday, February 21st, Jodi Ohl’s posts will be all about the word, “Renew”. (Please click here to visit Jodi’sblog.)  And finally, on Friday, February 28th, we’ll unveil the mother of all “Rest.  Relax.  Renew” giveaways to you on our very own ReMe Blog.  (Please click here to visit the ReMe Blog.
Thank you again for joining us, and I’ll see you at The Hop!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Rest. Relax. Renew. The ReMe Blog Hop Begins Here With "Rest"

Here's a sneak peak at a few of the cards and magnets
that might be included in Monday's giveaway. 
Details about entering are included in this post.
Welcome to the first post in the first ever ReMe Blog Hop!  I'm absolutely thrilled that you've decided to join us.  For this week, please read this post; add your comment; proceed to our ReMe Blog; read the remainder of my post; and add your comment there too. 

Whew!  It sounds like a lot; but I promise that there are prizes involved for all of this.  :-)  Your comment here will earn one entry into my personal drawing for a surprise set of six greeting cards and magnets.  Your comment on the ReMe Blog will earn one entry into the ReMe drawing for my hand stamped "Rest.  Relax.  Renew." pendant.  Share either post, and return to comment with the details of your share, and you'll earn an extra entry for that drawing too.  All comments and shares made by midnight on Sunday, February, 9th will be included, and the winner of both contests will be announced on Monday, February 10th.

If you're so inclined, please also subscribe to my blog here and the ReMe Blog.  We have a few "subscribers only" surprises up our sleeves, and I wouldn't want you to miss a single one of them!   Now, on to my official blog post...

Ode To Ocracoke is available as
a print or greeting card at
Books to Be Red on Ocracoke Island.
I first wrote the words, "Rest.  Relax.  Renew." as a part of my "Ode to Ocracoke".  These three words sum so much of the rejuvenation that I experience every time I set foot on The Island, and I'm looking forward to helping you to discover a bit of the same magic as you experience ReMe.

My focus for today's portion of the blog hop will be on the word "Rest".  My natural state is one of creative chaos.  My mind seems to overflow with all that I need to do, want to do, and dream of doing.  Ideas run amok in the best possible way, and my challenge lies not in generating new ideas but in focusing on those that are most important to me. 

As a result, Rest can be an elusive concept.  My parents tell me that the same was true when I was a toddler.  I'd go and go and go, resisting sleep for all that I was worth.  Then, when I'd passed my capacity for exhaustion, I'd fall asleep wherever I was.

When I travel with friends and family, I'm still especially prone to doing the same.  I can't bear the thought of missing a minute of my time with the ones I love, so I'll struggle to stay awake just to be in their presence.  Theresa, my oldest friend and Official Den Mother for our ReMe Ocracoke in May, has witnessed me opening my eyes from a dead sleep to cohesively participate in their conversations without missing a beat.  Perhaps this is one of my superpowers?!?!

At home I'm experimenting with a variety of techniques in hopes of establishing a regular pattern of consistent nighttime Rest.  Morning exercise, limiting afternoon caffeine, an early bedtime, and even chamomile tea all play a part in this, and I'm still trying to find the combination that works best for me.
Here's a sneak peek at the
Rest.  Relax.  Renew.  Necklace
that will be given away on the ReMe Blog. 
Please enterto win by Sunday, February 9th.

The concept of Rest on Ocracoke is different, and you'll read more about it when you proceed to the ReMe Blog.  But first, please comment below by telling me your secret to finding Rest amidst the chaos of your everyday life, and remember to share this post if you'd like an additional entry in our drawing.

Now on to ReMe...