Pio

simple jewels for complicated girls

* bringing you this loveliness since 2001 *

Thailand tips!

I went to Thailand last year to celebrate my birthday (dream trip!) and there's so much to tell you, but I'm going to share some practical info in case you are planning a trip there and want to know where to stay! I'm a champagne taste on a beer budget kinda gal, and it was such a pleasure to travel in a place where you can have both at the same time. $30/night will get you a pretty marvelous place to stay.

I lucked into a lovely Airbnb in Bangkok after staying one night at a meh place that didn't have room for me the following evening. It's an old building that a family lovingly restored. The (phenomenal) design was by their son, a ceramic sculptor with great vision and a love of having plants EVERYWHERE that rivals my own. My experience here was particularly memorable because the family who runs it is genuinely kind and generous with their time; I ended up getting invited, on my birthday, to tag along for a Thai massage (2 hours. $15. Sigh.) with the mom and her friends who were having a childhood reunion, and then for fish ball noodle soup afterwards, followed by wacky Thai ice-jelly-fruit dessert craziness(this wasn't in the original plan, but they insisted upon learning it was my birthday)! I could have stayed here for weeks on end - feels far from the hubbub of Bangkok but conveniently located right on the BTS line (Krung Thonburi stop) in a much more peaceful part of town than the heavily tourist-trodden path. 

lovely lobby

lovely lobby

they had the spiral staircase custom-made. attention to detail, yo! 

they had the spiral staircase custom-made. attention to detail, yo! 

Obviously one of the main purposes of my trip was to eat. In my next stop, Chiang Mai, this was a highlight. Though I didn't love where I stayed there, I did find this city as charming as can be, and my foodie tendencies were more than satisfied by some wonderful discoveries. The first was a roadside shack serving my favorite northern Thai dish, khao soi -- a red curry soup with egg noodles, fried shallots, and some meat -- usually chicken or pork. It's called Khao Soi Lam Duan and a here's a link to the Google map, but just tell your tuk-tuk driver to take you there, and keep your eyes peeled because it's easy to miss : ถนน เจริญราษฎร์ Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Another food highlight from Chiang Mai was this foodie dream destination Tong Tem Toh (non-omnivores beware: the vegetarian friend I was eating with wasn't too thrilled about this place -- the strong meat odors bothered him to the point that he left before eating.) Here's a map link. This place specializes in real, spicy Northern Thai cuisine, not dumbed down for anglo palates. It also happens to be an adorable spot, with black umbrellas and tropical plants making the patio a perfect spot to grab lunch on a sunny day -- which is pretty much every day in CM. Here's a review with great pics from blogger Mark Wiens.

From CM I headed up to Chiang Rai. A friend had lent me his Monocle magazine Thailand inserts and I saw a description of this place called Naga Hill. My thought was - I'll never be able to afford this place but it sounds heavenly!  I looked up their website and whoa! a small bungalow would only set me back 800 baht -- approximately $30 - so I jumped at the chance, and the German-Thai woman who runs it, Pat, was a really pleasant host during my time in that lovely city. She mentioned that she had been to Bali and designed the place based on hotels she had stayed at and loved there. Here are some photos. It's a bit outside of town but taxis are cheap, or you can rent a motorcycle! Make sure you hit the Black Gallery and the White Temple while you're there -- mind-blowing. 

cottage at Naga Hill (photo from Naga Hill's Facebook)

cottage at Naga Hill (photo from Naga Hill's Facebook)

Naga Hill cottage interior. (photo from Naga Hill's Facebook)

Naga Hill cottage interior. (photo from Naga Hill's Facebook)

outdoor bathroom! dreamy

outdoor bathroom! dreamy

morning coffee with great company and a great view

morning coffee with great company and a great view

I traipsed around to some islands after that, and the highlight was undoubtedly the place I stayed at in Koh Lanta. I was a bit hesitant to come to this island, worried it might be too touristy (they almost all are fairly heavily trodden at this point, but you can rent a motorcycle and get away from the hordes in minutes! I stayed in the Old Town part, which is quiet at night, but perfect for me. A bit of peeking around Airbnb led me to the dreamiest accomodations called Old Times B&B. A smidge hipster, designed with simplicity and peace and utter relaxation in mind, and -- my favorite element -- you can  get a room that sits on top of the water, since the building is on stilts, literally sitting in the sea. So dreamy. 

There's a back deck with colorful pillows you can lounge around on, and hammocks as well. Here I am, taking full advantage.. .

the hall at old times b&b (photo from old times' website)   

the hall at old times b&b (photo from old times' website) 

 

Had a li'l show last night...

Gonna post the invite - and though I didn't get many photos of the event. because I was so 'in it,' someone at the gallery was taking photos, and so I luckily got this beautiful photo from them I'd like to share with you. 

Here are both for your viewing pleasure. The event was at Women & their Work, a lovely little gallery in downtown Austin on Lavaca Street, right by the Capitol. It's small enough to digest the art even if you're short on time, and the exhibits are always great.

I was honored to be asked to be a part of this show with two other jewelers who both have strong connections to San Miguel de Allende, where I originally learned jewelry-making.  

incredibly beautiful invite designed by Kate Surratt of Austin, TX 

lovely ladies admiring the goods!

lovely ladies admiring the goods!



DELL COMMERCIAL IS ONLINE FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE!

Hi Pio fans!

This past summer, a commercial was shot in my home/studio and I wanted to share it with you. (Back in July after the shoot happened, I posted some photos here).  It featured Pio jewels, since the commercial was about a woman works from home on her craft and uses her tablet to shoot her pieces and take care of all the online biz stuff. This commercial took about a day to shoot and a lot of my furniture was rearranged, but overall you can get a sense of the space, and my studio. This was produced by Austin shop Arts + Labor, and they scouted my place after seeing my old Apartment Therapy feature. Here's the link; let me know what you think! 

Dell commercial featuring Pio!

Cuttlefish casting - for the process gawkers!

I did a cuttlefish casting tonight, one of my favorite techniques in jewelry-making.

It's a super primitive form of casting. you take a cuttlebone (which you can purchase at a pet supply store -- they're what pet birds have in their cages to get extra calcium; or through a jewelers' supply place). They're perfect for jewelry-making as they're super easy to carve into, and they withstand high temperatures, so you can pour your molten metal right in without destroying your 'mold' (though the smell does offend some). 

Posting some photos of the process. Since the ring is a custom order and I haven't finished yet, I don't yet want to post photos of the end result. But this way you'll be kept in suspense 'til I do... (Click on the photo to get to the next one and you'll be taken through a series that 'explains' the process of cuttlefish casting! If you'd like more detailed info about this process, check out this article on Ganoksin or this YouTube video.)


Coming soon: Pio in Manzanita Beach, OR

Hello, lovely blog readers! Today's post is brought to you by wanderlust.

I'm so excited to report that I am putting together a wholesale order for a shop called T-Spot in Manzanita Beach, Oregon (which my mom pronounces 'Argon' for some reason). 

Stay tuned for pics of pieces I'll be shipping, but in the meantime, please check out pics of this dreamy-seeming locale! (Added to my short list.)

Here's a link in case you feel like being lazy.

https://www.flickr.com/search/?q=manzanita

Dell commercial shot @ Pio central!

A few weeks ago, I got an email from someone at a local production company called Arts + Labor who wanted to scout my home, which she'd seen in this feature on Apartment Therapy, to potentially use in a Dell commercial. 

I let her know I was no longer living in that apartment, but had moved to a house, and I sent her some photos of it. They needed a space with a workshop, because the ad is about a woman who's a 'maker,' creates her products in her home, and then uses a tablet to photograph/sell the work. 

She and her crew came by that afternoon and snapped some photos of the space. And then I heard from her - not only did they want to use my home/studio to shoot, but, because craft was so central to the commercial, they asked if they could also use Pio jewelry in it!

It was really exciting to watch the commercial being shot. Having worked in advertising, the behind-the-scenes stuff always appealed to me the most -- seeing what goes into actually producing the images we see in the final product of a commercial. This time, I got to hang out and watch as the team ran around my house, moving all sorts of furniture around, steam-ironing a curtain (!), artfully arranging my jewels, creating the story about a woman who wakes up and lives and breathes her craft(helped along by her tablet, of course). 

They shot my workbench from above, featuring my pieces; they'd ask to use photos from my website, which were featured in several scenes on the tablet screen. Can't wait to see the final product, which I'll certainly post here, but for now, some photos from the shoot.

the art director arranges jewels & tools   

the art director arranges jewels & tools 

 

makeup artist gets actress, Teresa, ready

makeup artist gets actress, Teresa, ready

my workbench!  

my workbench!

 

curtain in studio gets a steam treatment

curtain in studio gets a steam treatment

monitor shows actress teresa working on her jewels 

monitor shows actress teresa working on her jewels 

all the equipment in my carport/patio! 

all the equipment in my carport/patio! 

crew getting teresa ready for sleepy part of shoot 

crew getting teresa ready for sleepy part of shoot 

a pio ring appears on the tablet! 

a pio ring appears on the tablet! 


ran into xaviera, long lost customer, in a remote paradise....

A few years back, I met this lovely woman, Xaviera. She spotted a friend of mine wearing a Pio nameplate necklace at a concert and asked where she'd gotten it; my friend pointed to me; she was delighted by the idea of having her unusual name made into a nameplate. Soon after, we met and she placed an order. I snapped this sweet photo of her wearing it at to my beloved nearby coffee shop a few weeks later when I'd finished it. 

'xaviera' on xaviera, in Oct 2011

'xaviera' on xaviera, in Oct 2011

Cut to 2 1/2 years later. Having dreamed about going to see the only naturally occuring lake in the state of Texas -- Caddo Lake(where Texas and Louisiana meet) -- since I first heard about it a few years back, I finally planned that trip. I was hiking through Caddo Lake State Park this past Saturday with a couple of friends, when this woman appeared and kindly offered to snap a photo of us. We took her up on it; a bit later she overheard us speaking Spanish and she asked where we were from. She and my friend Lizette hugged upon learning they're both from Laredo. Something about her seemed familiar. She began to tell us that she used to live in Austin but had moved to Dallas after getting married, since her husband had been transferred for work; I knew right away who that woman was in front of me -- the very same Xaviera, proud owner of a Pio necklace, whom I'd met at that show!!! 

xaviera and her hubby caneoing in caddo lake! March 2014

xaviera and her hubby caneoing in caddo lake! March 2014

Haven't been to Caddo Lake and also thinking about a trip?

If you're into camping that seems to be the way to go - plenty available right in the State Park. If not, there are cabins in the park as well, or you can stay in Uncertain, Texas as I did (at a place called Hodge Podge which was OK -- kitschily decorated cabins, which smelled a bit of stagnant air...) If you plan ahead/reserve enough in advance, you might be lucky enough to stay in a 'shipwreck' cabin!

Staying in Uncertain seemed like the right thing to do for me ;) -- but there's another town nearby (which is more of a town - with a few restaurants, antique shops, a general store and even a brewery in the works) called Jefferson.  

There's a lovely steamboat that sometimes takes visitors on tours of the lake and leaves from Big Pines Lodge in Karnack, Texas.  We didn't get to go on it because apparently it wasn't quite high season, so all the prep that goes into getting a steamboat going (i.e. making steam) hadn't happened. I was disappointed not to meet the original captain of the steamboat, Lexie Palmore, who apparently now lives and paints in Colorado. She seems like the ultimate chingona. She was so interested in boats that she worked as a maid on the Delta Queen in Mississippi, but endlessly questioned the crew, and eventually asked to steer the boat, and her wish was granted; several years later, got her pilot's license, had her own steamboat built, the Graceful Ghost, and began taking people on trips around Caddo Lake. The guy who took us on our tour was quirky, talkative, and full of interesting trivia about the region. One of these: I learned that the Caddo Indians' word for 'friend' is táysha, pronounced "Te-has,' and thus the lone state got its name. 

The thing to eat here is apparently catfish, and the place our riverboat guide steered us to River Bend, was rather unappealing. Overfried filets of catfish didn't seem so fresh... 'jalapeño' hush puppies had little flavor. We wished we'd stuck with our original plan to eat at Big Pines which smelled fantastic. 

In Jefferson, which really sits right on the border of Texas and Louisiana,(apparently they host quite a Mardi Gras, at least by Texas standards) you'll find some Cajun influences in the food -- po' boys, remoulade on everything. etoufee, etc. 

As far as what season to go in - everything was quite gray in mid-March now, and was gorgeous - but apparently later in spring things get greener, and as summer approaches, one can enjoy the firefly show on the lake after sundown. 

Caddo Lake, March 2014

Caddo Lake, March 2014




a pio chair was born!

I was accepted to participate in a clay and carpentry workshop in Tlacotalpan, a small and breathtakingly charming town in Veracruz, Mexico. Product designer José de la O, a member of Mexico's design collective Panorámica, organized this wonderful week-long adventure, called The Chair that Rocks. We stayed at Luz de Noche, a hostel and cultural center that's ideal if you're ever planning a visit to this part of the world(and you don't mind sharing a room). Lovely Mario and Yvonne run it,  and their kitchen staff is awesome, so you don't have to wander far in search of a delicious meal.

Other than me, everyone in the program was an industrial designer, and it was a fascinating, fun, and intense experience. We began by taking a small boat down the river, where we were instructed to dig up mud from the bottom of it(there was a right and a wrong consistency and we struggled for a bit to figure out the difference and make sure we were getting the good stuff). We then transported it back to stomp on in a process that would turn it into workable clay. The experience helped me appreciate all that goes into what we sometimes think of as such a simple material. I often marvel at how inexpensive pottery is -- now I will even more.

Using the clay, we were given an assignment to rethink the water vessels/cooler, and mine ended up being a pitcher with a floral flourish on the handle(SURPRISE, SURPRISE!), printed using a locally crocheted piece of ribbon.

But I was more excited about the chair I made. We were given an assignment to redesign a chair that's popular in Tlaco, and mine is a softer version of it. I'm uploading a photo for your viewing pleasure. The seat pulls out and stacks behind the main structure for easy transport(this was one of the requirements given to us). 

Thanks to José for organizing this monumental workshop and for saying yes to a jewelry designer, rather than only allowing industrial designers to have all the fun. I hope it will be the first of many, and that future participants will have as great an experience as I (and my Chair that Rocks cohorts) did.

IMG_1217.jpg

pio in popup shop TOMORROW!

OK Y'ALL. It's Pio's only shopping event of the season, so if you're in Austin, come get your hands on the goods. 

Tiny Taiga, a lovely little wellness boutique on Austin's east side, will be hosting. Pio will be there along with Carla Lañas and her beautiful hand-printed and dyed textiles. Ibrahim from Zoumountchi will be playing lovely music. There will be wine. And, bonus: Pio will also have some framed silkscreen prints in case you're looking for some art for your home. 1-6 PM, 1200 e. 11th st. 

Details: 

 

invite popup shop 2.jpg

bernhoft show @ parish

I was lucky enough to catch Bernhoft at the Parish this past Saturday, along with a very appreciative crowd. 

I discovered him during SXSW this year and was so excited about him that I've been keeping him on my radar since (and enjoying listening to him) -- as soon as I saw he'd be in Austin again, I jumped at the chance to go. Of course my ears perked up when I heard him -- he's a strange combination -- passionate and soulful, and Norwegian. (Hope I haven't offended any Norwegians by observing this is an odd juxtaposition, but we can all agree that soul music isn't typically associated with this part of the world, right?) 

Here's an NPR article about him in case you like that sorta thing. 

Bernhoft is a solo act and he enhances his singing with a loop machine (rather impressively, if you ask me.) Here's his remake of the song Shout by Tears for Fears, and here's his own brilliant tune, C'mon Talk.

I'd like to share some photos from the show. 

Thanks for stopping by. You obviously have great taste in jewelry!