Greenville, North Carolina to Bristol, Tennessee


On the morning of June 6th my friends Erin Younge and Zach Lechtenburg and I set off on an epic adventure around the south east of the United States. On our first leg of our journey we were headed to Bristol Tennessee to stay with Erin’s Bro. One of the best aspects to our trip was the lack of a British woman on the dashboard screaming RECALCULATING!!!!  (otherwise known as a GPS)

That is right ladies and gentlemen, instead of a computer we used A BOOK WITH MAPS IN IT, I believe some people call them atlas’s.


We drove the back roads for almost all of the trip, around 50 hours total, total we probably only spent 3 hours in any interstate. We reached our destination just at the sun was going down one the first day. Bristol Tennessee, as you can see the town is right smack the border of VA and TENN and is apparently a good place to live! I think we can agree with that, with a lively main street and tons of old architecture is was splendid. I was particularly please with how many of those old buildings seemed to still have inhabitants and industry inside.  Its citizens will tell you that Bristol is the birthplace of Country Music, boasting such inhabitants as Uncle Charlie Osborne, The Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers. Unbeknownst to us apparently Bristol is also home to the Bristol Motor Speedway (NASCAR) you can imagine our excitement…..

So all in all a country town with a country “sport”, and I liked it. Cozy is the word.



THAT’S RIGHT FOLKS A GIANT GUITAR BUILDING!  Sadly it was closed, apparently forever which is usually the fate of these wonderful structures that pepper this country.  We ended up at an O.K. restaurant in a building that we assumed was a bank at one time in its life, or it is also possible they were going for more of the prison ambiance, but who were we to judge? After dinner we hunted down a liquor store (harder than you would think in the “birthplace of country”)  where we picked up a few tiny bottles of wine (cuz we be classy like that) and then decided to kill some time by taking in a movie. A movie AT THE DRIVE IN MOVIE THEATER! They even had the old school microphones that you hook up to the side of your car, none of that radio station nonsense.


Honestly, I would have just gone for the neon, and the tiny concession stand, IT WAS SO FREAKING CUTE! Thank god they were playing Furious Six! I mean, there truly is no other way to watch Vin Diesel, The Rock and that other guy, then projected onto a stretched white sheet. So with the smell of bug spray and AMAZING popcorn in the air we sat on a blanket drinking wine and heckling in the cool Virginia/Tennessee night air. It was kinda like my own hallucinated 50’s version of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” only better.

IMG_6522We also totally raced someone else who was leaving the drive in at the same time as us, and TOTALLY SCHOOLED IS HIS ASS!  And that was our wonderful time in Bristol.

Up next on the blog tour will be our journey from Bristol TENN to Cincinnati OH!!!

So ladies and gentlemen I will leave you with this

Until the next time!


DJ Metal


Arkansas or Bust!



If you follow me on FB or Instagram @djmetal then you well know by now that I have been on an epic road trip across the south east of the good ole US of A. With my partner in crime/life Erin Younge (who is an amazing artist in her own right, to check out her work click here) we adventured through Tennessee, Ohio, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina until we were finally back in Greenville NC with a combined driving time of approx 50 hours during the two and a half week trip.

The main goal of this journey was to get to a magical place called Eureka Springs Arkansas. I know what you are thinking. “Arkansas? But, DJ what could possibly be in Arkansas that could be of any interest?” Well, at the very tippy top left of the state is  Eureka Springs and it has stolen my soul. (in a good way)  It might have something to do with the fact that it pretty much always looks like this!Eureka-Springs-Arkansas-1_photo

A tiny mountain town with lots of old buildings and strange walkways that lead you through bars, up alleys, through springs, and probably at some point to the top of the mountain. LOTS OF STAIRS! The reason I came back to this historic and wonderful town besides the view was my powder coating workshop! The Eureka Springs School of Art asked me to come and do a powder coating workshop for a whole week! I was greeted the first morning of my class with an amazing group of students that were ready and raring to P-COAT THE WORLD! (as one of my students put it)

I have decided that to tell all the stories and introduce you to all the people I was fortunate enough to meet along the way, I will break up my trip into multiple blogs for you guys to chew on. So for now I will just say thank you to the universe for making sure Erin and I did not get murdered, and for the awesome ride!







The summer is fast approaching and my powder coating workshop in in less that ONE month! So Excited for my road trip out to Arkansas! In the meantime I have decided to betray neon for a tiny bit and investigate LED lights in my work. Currently working on an exit sign brooch.
AND THIS IS THE JUST THE BEGINNING! It is funny how building your own electronics can be so intimidating, but really its just like metals, if you read and watch enough you tube vids then you can do ANYTHING!!

Cheers for now,


RsS4pg on Make A Gif, Animated Gifs

make animated gifs like this at MakeAGif

Tongue N’ Cheek Opening Reception

IMG_5472So this is a long time coming…

For those of you who were unaware, the first night of The ECU “Making Marks” Symposium we had a mini art walk. One of those shows  (Tongue N Cheek) I had the privilege to curate, and wow what an experience.  Juried by Jillian Moore this international exhibition was inspired by the question “What happens when mockery and material merge?” I am so proud to have been involved in this undertaking and work with all of the people that made this show possible, the most important being the Greenville Museum of Art.  Below is the a statement by Jillian explaining the show. Enjoy the virtual tour!  A big thanks to Tara Locklear for taking some of these shots!

Jillian Moore Tongue In Cheek statement

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Overcoming the Post Symposium Coma…

FACT: As of this morning I (Danielle James) feel completely recovered from what is currently known as Symposium Syndrome. Symptoms of this condition are as follows:

  1. Forgetfulness of everything other than symposium issues i.e. keys,wallet,nutrition,sleep,and of course ones own blog.
  2. Obsessive-Compulsive Email Checking Disorder (OCECD)-obsessive thoughts and subsequent compulsions to check his/her email.
  3. I forgot number 3.
  4. A tiny dash of alcoholism.
  5. …And of course an overwhelming sense of happiness and pride!

Symposium was a challenge, and I thank everyone involved a thousand times over. All and all is was an amazing learning experience and I would not have changed a thing, but I am also thankful it is in the history books. I have thesis to look forward to now and a lot of bench time that I am stoked about.

Below is the first thing to be born off my desk since I came out of the fog. A necklace named “Chattanooga, Tennessee”

I hope to keep up writing to whom it may not concern bi-weekly.

Until then,


Final %22Chattanooga, TN%22 Necklace


Symptoms of the Symposium…

So as a few of you know, I am co-chairing the 2013 ECU Metals Symposium “Making Marks”, on top of curating the “Tongue in Cheek” Exhibition.  So since the board voting at the end of last semester I have been living in between to major emotions. On one hand there is this wonderful optimism and excitement about being able to help organize such a monumental event for upwards of 160 metalsmiths and makers. On the other hand there are twinges of extreme horror and anxiety that something bad is going to come smashing through the aforementioned optimism like the Kool-Aid man through a brick wall.  Although, I trust that this emotional balancing act is just the the dance that we must do when the event becomes bigger than organizers. It is true that my bench has been a little lonely these past few weeks as we get closer and closer to the start of registration. However, my laptop has been a fire with correspondence with amazingly talented makers of all kinds!  I suppose that is an acceptable trade off.  This semester has been full of my own surprises, I never would have though while I was barely passing my first metals class with Christina Miller @ Millersville University I would every be involved with this kind of thing. It would be a laughable conversation honestly. So I guess what I am trying to say that I feel honored to work with such wonderful talent and ingenuity here at ECU. OK enough with the sappy stuff.

For all of you who are itching to register ASAP we will have the registration up very soon! Here is the URL to the symposium blog to check out this years presenters!

Don’t get your apron in a bunch! 😀

Here are some great image from last years symposium for those of  you who are veterans of this amazing shindig and for those who have no freaking idea what I am rambling on about. Well this is me signing off, all I can think about now is how annoying  my spell checker is, damn thing ALWAYS wants to change metalsmith into metal-smith. UGH.