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Healing and Empowerment for Women

Category Archives: Boulder Opal


Art Bead Scene offers a painting each month as a prompt to create beads and jewelry.

The painting this month is Self Portrait  with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, painted by Frida Kahlo in 1940.


So many of Kahlo’s paintings focus on her physical suffering as a result of terrible injuries in a bus accident.

Instead of the suffering I chose to focus on Frida as an Artistic Goddess and created beads and then earrings derived from the Jaguar in the painting. I call the beads Eye of the Jaguar Goddess Beads.

I used my emerald Opal polymer clay and layered it with black and translucent black polymer to create the Eye of the Jaguar Goddesses. They shimmer and reflect light like mineral opals. I topped them with a pair of emerald shaped vintage beads collected in Santa Fe, NM. The pale emerald beads sing with the opal clay.

Here are the earrings:


I am so grateful to Art Bead Scene ( ) for these monthly challenges. I grow so much as an artist as I respond to the challenges.


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A few weeks ago I was fooling around with my opal polymer clay. I’d mixed up batches of different colors and was mixing tiny pieces of colors together. To my delight this color way emerged. I immediately “saw” one of Monet’s paintings of his waterlily pond. I made the opal clay into earrings, pairing them with yellow freshwater pearls. These are available in my shop



I put together some violet, sapphire and two greens and got Monet’s purple irises. I paired them with large, baroque freshwater pearls. Available in my Etsy shop.


Then I mixed some violet opal bits, a little gold and two greens and came up with an opal clay that reminded me of Monet’s paintings of irises by the pond. I paired those disks with amethysts. Available in my Etsy shop.

I turned to Robert Frost for inspiration, making up earrings in wintery opal tones.



The Woods Are Lovely, Dark and Deep.

My shop also sells wonderful earring components for your own designs. Opal Disks: Monet, Molten Lava, Mystic Roman Glass Opals. “Mineral” Disks. And lush, female figures for earrings or pocket goddesses.


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Each month earring artist Erin Prais-Hintz of Earrings Everyday challenges us to create earrings based on a prompt. This month her prompt was a film showing a kinetic sculpture “Breaking Wave” by Plebeian Design. You can see this amazing sculpture prompt at

When I was a girl, growing up in DC, Mother would pack me a sack lunch and pin two car tokens to my blouse collar and off I’d go to the museums on the National Mall. Natural History was my favorite. I stood at the rim of the Foucault pendulum and watched it for a LONG TIME as it traced its mark in the sand on the floor below it.

I made these earrings to honor that experience. I hung Swarovski crystals from thin gold-plated chains. I created a Damascus cane from many shades of faded denim to echo the pendulums tracings in the sand. The Damascus cane is modeled after a Japanese sword makers technique.

These earrings will be listed in my new Etsy shop SusanDolphinDelaney on January 1, its grand opening!

In SusanDolphinDelaney I will offer earrings and earring components made me by from my polymer clay opals and from my polymer minerals.

My interest in minerals developed, as you have already guessed, during my childhood solo trips to the Museum of Natural History in DC. The Hall of Minerals was a place that I spent HOURS as a girl. In fact, my interest in crystals, fostered there, inspired the science fair project that led to the scholarships that allowed me to go to college!

Now that I have completed my degrees in Chemistry, Physiology and Medicine, I can take the time to study Geology and make wonderful earrings and earring components for you.


The background of the photo above is taken from one of the polymer clay opals I made:


My shop will have a selection of polymer clay discs in my Monet series:


Some discs made from my Madam Pele polymer clay, which glows from across the room, just like real embers:


There will be pocket-sized touchstone goddesses like this Madam Pele one:


And finally, more discs from opal clay:


The first pair of earring components is made from shimmering peacock opal clay. The second pair from a stunning mixture of white, black, gray and violet opal clays. It is fairly translucent. The third, a set of disks I made from a mixture of three yellow opal clays, white and a tiny bit of black opal clay is wonderfully translucent. I plan to pair it with some leaf charms from Suburban Girl Studios on Etsy.

If you want, you can hop over to my empty Etsy shop now and favorite it, so that you can revisit it on January 1, the grand opening.

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I love a challenge!

Erin Prais-Hintz of issued an earring challenge based on her macro photographs of lichen. I was fascinated by this one of her photos:


I HAD to make earrings based on this photo!

I mixed up some of my opal clay (I’m in year two of my five year plan to make wonderful polymer opals) in a silver-turquoise-green and created these earrings.

My friend Jar Jar Binks has already bought them for his lady love.

p.s., I took the remainder of the silver-green clay and divided it into three portions. One I kept as is. I mixed one portion with silver and the other with pearl clay. Then I divided those two in half and mixed half of each with translucent clay. I layered the five colors and made the goddess you see below and 16 Beads of Courage for kids with cancer.



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I saw an amazing opal necklace in Santa Fe. For $4200! It had a gold framed opal focal and opal beads.

I already had an opal pendant, made for me by my Aunt Katherine thirty years ago. I stepped a few doors down the street from the jewelry store to a bead shop and bought these pearls. I went back to the hotel, fired up my computer, and ordered the opal beads through Etsy.

Today I had time to sit down and string them all together. I will wear them with the pendant which I will hang on a short gold chain. The pearl necklace hangs longer. I know my Aunt Katherine would be thrilled.

Katherine worked in my dentist-grandfather’s office during the Great Depression, along with Mother and the other three sisters. Katherine was the crafty one so Grandaddy Doc taught her to work in gold. Back then “filling” were done with gold inlays on the tooth. Katherine continued to work in gold and silver until her death at 84.

Katherine died the way I want to: with her boots on. She had gone to an “old folk’s home” to teach a jewelry class. She went back to her car for something she’d forgotten, sat down on the car seat and died.

I looked up while I was stringing and saw my neighbor’s maple tree blazing over the rooftop. I wrote this haiku:

stringing pearls-/ over the roofline/ my neighbor’s blazing maple.

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This weekend I gave a talk to my haiku friends about my jewelry making design process. I compared the moment when I “see” (feel) a haiku moment to the moment when I KNOW that I am going to make a piece of polymer clay jewelry. As I prepared for the talk I realized that the moments were essentially similar.

In both Haiku Moments and Design Moments I have a deep visceral sensation. I connect with a reality outside of time. I am flooded with a pervasive sense of calm. I sense the presence of the numinous, the sacred. I am in a reverberating silence. The spiritual restlessness that called me is stilled. The splits that plague ordinary time are stilled. Thought, feeling and body sensation are one.

I showed about 40 pieces of my Polymer Clay Jewelry and shared a haiku that “went” with the jewelry, in one of its dimensions.

Traditionally, a Haiga is a photo or a painting which is presented with a haiku. In this case the haiku is presented with a piece of jewelry which was inspired by the same sort of process as the haiku moment was.

I was sitting next to the current Haiku Society of America President, an old friend. When I finished my presentation he said that he wished I had gone on for another hour, talking about my pieces and passing them around.

Today I learned that a former President of HSA, who was sitting across the wide table from me, had turned to his left and said to another haiku friend, “She should do a book of these”.

I am not ready to write another book, but I did create a Pinterest board with about 40 of my jewelry pieces paired with haiku.

I hope you will visit:

It will probably only take 3-5 minutes to see them all.

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Yesterday was my first craft show.

I’d picked a one-day craft show at a church for getting my fee wet. It turned out to be a wise and wonderful path. The church, All Saints Lutheran Church in Arlington, TX, was warm and welcoming. The helpers wore huge “Ask Me” badges and huge smiles to match. So many were “encouragers”. One woman, a peppy high school coach who runs marathons, said the most amazing thing to me. When I asked her for another chair for my daughter, she said, “I’d be blessed to get one for you.” How cool is that?

My first sale was to another teacher, this one a veteran of 40 years in the classroom and still loving it. She bought TWO of my higher-end pendant/earring sets!


She fell in love with my verdigris and copper pendant with pearl drops.


She also fell in love with my wasabi/navy gingko and its earrings.

What happened next was magical. My daughter had shopped the whole craft fair, wearing one of my other gingko pendants. She came back and told me that all of the vendors were crazy about it. (NOTE TO SELF: Next time send her around with business cards…)  Vendors began to appear at my table, saying that they had to come and see my work. They all said the same thing: “You are an ARTIST!” I cannot convey how wonderful it was to hear that from other artists!

Soon another vendor bought another one of my gingkoes.

Then a vendor bought Rivendell for her daughter who had come by five times to admire it.

Then a vendor bought two pendants. She’d wanted Rivendell but waited too long. So she bought the gingko pendant right off of my daughter’s neck and commissioned me to make another version of Rivendell.

Another vendor kept coming by and touching another pendant/earring set. She liked that it had some glow-in-the-dark clay (I will mention that she kept an Elvis dollar bill in her cashbox, a delightfully wacky woman).


She said she’d come back for it if she made enough to cover it. I gave her one of my 10% discount-if-you-come-back-cards. People kept coming up and fingering “her” pendant. She’d call out to me every time she made a sale how much she had. Finally, seeing someone else very interested in “her” pendant, I walked over and said she could have it for what she’d earned, which, by then, was within $2 of the discounted price. She was thrilled. She came right over and I strung it on some “bug tail” (thin “rat tail”) and she put it right on.

It was exciting and a bit exhausting. I was so glad I chose a church fair for my first one, the helpers and the customers were so very nice.

I learned to send my daughter around with business cards while wearing my jewelry.

I learned to use a 10% discount card if my customer says, “I’ll be back.”

I also learned, glory be, that other artists recognize me as a true artist!

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