…but this doesn’t look much like Nebraska, does it? After a busy June I’d been craving the simple life of just hanging at home with friends, riding my bike, and sitting on my patio with birds, squirrels and fireflies for company. I lounged around for a few lazy, summery weeks while studio life was pretty much on cruise control. Caught up on favorite TV series, actually read an entire book in less than a month, enjoyed fresh vegetables from the farmers market.

But wanderlust doesn’t take the back seat for long, and I had accrued some airline miles
that were whispering to me like a persuasive drug dealer. All I had to do was log onto the airline website and buy a ticket! So what more appealing destination for a quick trip than to jet off to Los Angeles to visit my daughter, Nora?

Dunhuang Caves at the Getty Research Institute

Nora was working, so I caught a Lyft ride to the Getty Center (above) to see the current exhibit about the Dunhuang or Mogao Caves.

The research institute at the Getty Center has been collaborating with the Dunhuang Academy to preserve and share the Mogao Caves, a series of beautifully painted Buddhist temples, pilgrimage sites that over centuries were carved into the face of a long cliff located along the ancient Silk Route in the Gobi Desert in China. Artists and archeologists have replicated three of the caves which are installed as part of this exhibit along with artifacts, mostly hand-painted silk scrolls, from the Library Cave.

The replica caves were made using the same ground pigments and techniques as the original caves. Dunhuang is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Art and design, on and off the streets

I sincerely like L.A., but when you aren’t used to such a sprawling, high-density environment, the traffic really is a pain! Your days have to be planned carefully to avoid the hours and streets where congestion will be the worst.

(Tip: NEVER book a departing flight anywhere near the vicinity of morning rush hour. I came this close to missing my home-bound flight!)

On a quieter day, Saturday, it’s easier to get around, so we headed downtown to check out a bit of the arts district.

The Broad Museum. And guess what? We didn’t get in because there was a 90-minute wait in the blazing sun, but I like how this photo turned out so am including it anyway.

Embellished electrical poles.

Found design on a sidewalk.

Mexican fruit cart outside the Broad.

Smoke in the sky from wildfires north of the city created a surreal atmosphere all day.

Food art at Grand Central Market. Eggslut lives up to its reputation for super yummy breakfasts, and the long line leads to neighborly conversation with new people!

Street art meets gallery at the fabulous art complex that is the Hauser Wirth & Schimmel Gallery.

And there’s the beach

Even on busy Santa Monica beach you can get away from it all. There really is something about the salt air, the rhythmic waves and the refreshing sea breezes that is calming and and restorative. Watching the panorama of families and individuals enjoying themselves outdoors is a tonic for the stress of dealing with L.A. traffic and the ordinary workday.

The primary reason for my visit!

My first glimpse of Nora, meeting me at the Improv after work for an evening of stand-up comedy.

I hope she doesn’t mind that I sneaked into her closet and captured this shot of (part of) her sneaker collection at rest, waiting for their opportunity for some L.A. action.

What to wear?

In my newsletters I tend to feature my hottest new one of a kind designs incorporating my favorite colored gemstones. Everyone loves the show-stoppers, right? But sometimes you want something more casual and/or simple, and that’s when you should check out my Designer Line.

I typically don’t come out with a full new collection once or twice a year. For me, designing happens more organically. It’s a gradual evolution in which new pieces are added and those that have run their course are deleted. Here are some easy-to-wear pieces, some new this year and a couple from last year that have been gaining in popularity.

Vida necklace.

Vida earrings.

Reef cuff with diamonds.

Reef Square earrings.

Kayak necklace with 10 pt diamond

Kayak cuff with diamonds, 2 views

Shoreline cuff, with diamonds

Faultline necklace.

Trunk Show notes:

My trunk show at Terra Firma Gallery in Sonoma has just started! I won’t be there in person, but I’ve sent them a large collection of fabulous new work which they’ll be showing until August 19. I have also just sent a new collection to De Novo Gallery in Palo Alto.

If you’re able to get to either California location it will be a good opportunity to check out my jewelry this summer. I won’t be at the San Francisco ACC show in Ft. Mason this year due to our upcoming travel plans. In less than two weeks: Iceland!

It’s too hot to cook!

Salads are second nature to summer. I’m not much of a gardener, but I keep a kitchen herb garden close to the back door. I’ve also never been a huge fan of cucumbers, but ran across an old handwritten (that’s how to tell if something is old!) recipe given to me by a friend back in my college days in Boulder. This simple salad is good way to give cukes some pizzazz and is refreshing on a hot evening. It’s a little zingy, a little bit sweet, and the toasted sesame seeds add texture and nutty counterpoint to the vegetable ingredients.

Cucumber Salad

I wing it on the proportions, so feel free to adjust amounts to your taste. It’s a dish you can make for two people or easily expand for a party. One good thing to know — it tastes even better the next day as the cucumbers marinate in the vinegar.

Ingredients:
cucumber
seasoned rice vinegar
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
scallion, finely sliced
fresh mint leaves, chopped
serrano or jalapeño pepper, minced
sesame seeds, toasted

~ Toast sesame seeds in a small iron skillet until lightly browned; set aside to cool.
~ Thinly slice a cucumber and spread, lightly layered, on a plate.
~ Sprinkle liberally with seasoned rice vinegar ( for one cuke I use 5-6 T), and sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
~ Distribute the remaining ingredients on top of cukes using whatever amounts look good to you of scallion, fresh mint and serrano or jalapeño pepper.
~ Top with the sesame seeds.

Angle of Repose
an·gle of re·pose
noun – the steepest angle at which a sloping surface formed of a particular loose material is stable.

“Angle of Repose,” by Wallace Stegner, was always one of my favorite books. The metaphor of a moving object seeking its resting place seems emblematic of the American West, and particularly appealing to my inclination toward nearly constant motion, so it seemed an apt choice for this month’s newsletter.

Enjoy summer while it lasts! I’m sorry to miss seeing all of my San Francisco show regulars, but I hope to be back next August.

–Sydney

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