Bits 'n' Pieces: Psychology of imperfect jewelry

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Shannon Miranda likes to add a touch of psychology to her art.

The 43-year-old Vancouver jeweler, who has a master’s degree in experimental psychology, tries to make a point with her work that imperfections can actually make something — whether that be a necklace or a person — more beautiful, she said.

One example of that is her heart necklace design.

“It shows that we’re really more beautiful when we’re engaged with life, when things aren’t pristine,” Miranda said.

Before becoming a professional artist about 13 years ago, Miranda used her psychology background to develop computer-user interfaces for Hewlett-Packard Co. But once she started making jewelry, she knew she had found her calling.

Miranda this year became a member of the Local 14, a group of female artists who hold shows and sales in the Pacific Northwest. Members must be invited by the group before they can join.

“I was really honored,” Miranda said.

Miranda’s work will be featured at the group’s 44th annual Art Around the Clock exhibit and sale this year, Sept. 29 to Oct. 2, at the World Forestry Center in Portland.

At least two other Vancouver artists, Susannah Lints and Donna Joslyn, will also display work at the show.

Visit http://www.local14.org/ for more information.

Mardi Gras band is gigging again

Gary Smith’s Mardi Gras All-Star Band isn’t sure that you can get too much of a good thing.

Smith, a 74-year-old Vancouver jazz drummer and vocalist, formed the group of standout musicians for a special gig to celebrate Mardi Gras in Portland earlier this year.

The gig went so well that Smith has decided to get everyone back together for another special show this week.

“I, and the guys in the band, play around here a lot separately,” Smith said. “But this band gets us all together. It includes a lot of people that are well known in the Dixieland jazz scene.”

The group will play at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Tony Starlight’s Supper Club & Lounge, 3728 N.E. Sandy Blvd. in Portland.

Band members include Smith, Wayne Travillion on cornet and vocals, Rick Campbell on clarinet and sax, Garry Powell on trombone and vocals, Dave Duthie on bass, John McKinley on banjo and John Bennett on piano.

“We’ll play a variety of traditional music, some Dixieland, some traditional jazz, and even some Louis Armstrong, like ‘It’s a Wonderful World,’” Smith said. “It’s happy music.”

Smith was once a Los Angeles police officer and played in a band in that city with several firefighters. He then formed a band called The Time Machine, which played for several decades in that area.

Smith moved to Vancouver in 2005 and plays in several groups in the area, including Time Machine North and Earthquake Ethel’s Roadhouse Jazz Band.

Bits ’n’ Pieces appears Mondays and Fridays. If you have a story you’d like to share, call 360-735-4457 or e-mail features@columbian.com.