I am busy creating a new web site, complete with a store and a shopping cart. It is up and running, so please check it out and leave comments or ask questions using the contact link found in the navigation bar. Lots to learn yet, and much inventory to be added as I work on it… so it is definitely a work in progress

Studio With a View

The studio pictured above was new a couple of years ago. It was formally a large, empty shed at the bottom of the back yard that I built my studio within. This view of it is from the kitchen window and includes the Monterey Bay in the background.

This is the workbench where much of the designing and making happens. It is just one corner of the room and there are numerous other areas where additional processes take place. I’ll share a more extensive studio tour later.

New Photo Set-up

I purchaced this lighting kit after a friend shared it on Facebook. I’ve been searching for a system that would work with my iPhone for quick product shots for the new website shop. Kit includes two 16” soft boxes, two sturdy tripods, and two daylight balanced bulbs. All fits perfectly on the multi-purpose table in my jewelry studio. Best of all, under $50!

In addition to the lighting kit, the set-up also includes these items purchased separately: a GorillaPod flexible tripod, a clamp for the phone… each with a ball head… and a bluetooth shutter release.

A New Version

As of a couple of days ago, I have a newly designed website. Same site address…  …. with a totally new look. This is thanks mostly to the fact that I had major issues with the DreamWeaver software I used to create and work on my “old” site and NO help from Adobe for fixing it, so I gave up and started over with a Website Builder from Much easier to use for the purpose than DreamWeaver, and with great customer support when needed. Not sure yet how much I’ll include on this new version of my old site, just know that it will be scaled down and simplified quite a lot.

To begin with, the purpose of the site is to show my work in something like a personal on-line gallery. Some of what is shown will be for sale, so eventually I’ll need to work out an easy way to do that without actually having a “shopping site”.

I’d love to hear your feedback and suggestions if you care to have a look at the “new” site and leave your comments on the “contact” page.

The cuff bracelet below was made from the texture plate I originally created for roll printing my fern photo onto silver for various jewelry designs. I used it a few times and then decided to make a cuff of the etched plate itself. This brass cuff is strong and comfortable and is now available for purchase using PayPal.

Carol Holaday - Fern Cuff

Jan’s earrings

bird earrings
Birds in a Tree

I made these earrings for my friend Jan in memory of the many happy hours we’ve spent together watching the birds in our shared garden. She helps me to identify the different birds that come and go here.

I photo etched a brass texture plate and used it to roll print the design onto a silver. I then selected and cut the discs to feature two facing birds. The lapis beads were chosen to match a necklace Jan wears.

Business card 4-2015

Carol Holaday card 4-2015

business card one 4-2015

Ordered a bunch. Sure hope I like them!

Update: cards are OK … just not as thrilling as hoped for. Elegant but dark. Next card design will be much brighter and perhaps with a white background. Fortunately, the back of the card tells more of the story.

Carol Holaday card
back of 4-2015 card

If Staples ever offers the great deal again, I might also order this one:

Carol Holaday - Sunflower bracelet

Sunflower bracelet business card

While it also features a dark background, there is a lot more color to brighten it up.

Another Color on Metal Sample

patina on copper
coloring copper with a combination of techniques

Sample created using a combination of techniques demonstrated in my 2010 Color on Metal workshop. Copper sheet with roll printed texture, red and black heat patina using a torch, plus a cold process cupric nitrate patina. I found the formula, instructions, and chemicals at

Reading and suppliers-Color on Metal 2014

Looking Back… and Forward

binders for classes
Teaching Materials

This won’t be “news” to friends, family, and students, however, others may not know, so here is my big announcement:

Six months ago (August 2013) I officially retired from Monterey Peninsula College where I taught Jewelry and Metal Arts classes for nearly 30 years! Over the years, as a part-time instructor, I taught more than 20 different special topic classes in addition to the basic and advanced metals classes… some more than 40 times, a few only once. I really enjoyed the research, writing, sample making, and learning, that went into every class I taught. The binders full of instruction, photos, resource lists, etc., that I created for each class, are a record of those classes and also a reminder of the many wonderful students who made teaching such a fulfilling endeavor. Their enthusiasm, creativity, and appreciation, helped keep my own creative energy flowing.

I am frequently asked, “Are you enjoying retirement?” Well… yes and no. I like having more time for my own work and for gardening, but I miss teaching. I miss the camaraderie of the classroom, as well as the focus required for preparing new demos and improving on content. I am thinking about how I can continue, or return to, the process somehow. Since so many are sharing their knowledge via the web, maybe this is the way; it is certainly something to think about. For now, I am working on updating and expanding a PowerPoint presentation that I can convert to a PDF for sharing here. This one is for Color on Metal, a workshop I presented in 2010. Meanwhile, here is one sample that I created for that class:

color on metal - paint
acrylic paint sample

Water based acrylic paint on textured copper.

Electro-etching safety concerns

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Since posting the information below regarding the use of kosher salt for etching metal, I have continued to research the technique and now know that I was right to question the safety issues involved. I stopped using the salt and will be switching to using copper nitrate instead. Anyone interested can read about this in the excellent, well illustrated 13 page PDF created by Ben Dory.

Copper Nitrate-Electro Etching instruction

Once I have it all up and working again, I’ll post my results.

Anyone interested in etching metal in their own studios should read this excellent book first. Coral Schaffer covers a great variety of techniques, including (but not limited to) electro-etching. In particular, I value the safety information provided for the various methods included in the book.

Etching instructions
Relief Etching for Jewelers and Enamelists

In reading many blogs and posts related to electro-etching with salt water and some power source (including batteries), I see that most think of the salt water methods as “safer” than methods using ferric chloride. This is a misconception in my opinion. While salt water may be less messy, cheaper, and easy to make, it is only as “safe” as the methods used. It still results in copper dissolved in a solution that is bad for the environment, not safe for contact with skin, eyes, etc.. The copper rich salt water must be disposed of at a hazardous waste drop-off location.

If you etch with salt water, follow all safety instructions carefully. Gloves, eye protection, good ventilation, and proper disposal of copper rich water.


Electro Etching PDF

This is an experiment to test if I can attach a PDF or a link to a PDF.  


It appears to work.

Note: These are not my instructions. They are from Nona Boatright. Freely shared as far as I can tell. My metal arts students and I are experimenting with several methods of electro etching using salt water. Batteries work but have drawbacks. One student owns a rectifier but hasn’t had success with it yet.

Next I will attempt to share PDFs that I have converted from PowerPoint presentations I created for class. These image packed files are much too large to share as email attachments. If this works, I can then Pin to Pinterest to have an easy way to share what we learn and our results.