Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Rings and Things (Post 12a)

Well, I thought I'd left superstitions behind when 'I grew up' - seemingly not.  I just found myself posting this as 12A, (what's all that about ...).

Poll has finished - not many entries, but it was a 50/50 split.  Half followers who responded make jewellery and half don't.  Maybe my blog will inspire you?  I hope so, its so inspiring to create something pretty and more importantly - something different!!

I'm really becoming inspired with wirework and decided to tackle making some rings.  Not easy without a ring mandrel.  In fact, I used a wooden peg thing ... which was not ideal, but I did manage to get some of the rings to fit.  OK, some only on my little finger.  (Note: put ring mandrel on my wish list, and ... a bangle mandrel).

Relaxing Weekend Making Rings
I found a great video on YouTube, which you should enjoy.  Ring Tutorial 

It was quite fiddly at first, then it all seemed to fall in place.  I practiced with cheap wire initially until I could fathom out what I was doing.  
1st Attempts - I actually love the Purple Twist one!
The Purple Twist ring above, was my own design and my 1st ring attempt - and what led me hastily to look for some tidy tutorials!  The silver ring was my next creation and the orange/copper one the next.  Fired with enthusiasm, I just whiled away the weekend perfecting the technique.  

Not surprisingly, I happened across a few more styles, later maybe - but first I must get a ring mandrel.
Maltesers ... anybody!
The Malteser ring was great because it had natural lines for the wire to follow.  Couldn't have planned it better!
Close up of Top Finishing

The rings are quite funky - they stand really proud and make a statement.  Personally, I love this style.

Stripes Ahoy ...
The Stripes Ahoy ring was made with craft wire and a beautiful David Christensen Cane Glass Bead.  The colours are very striking.

Copper Potlicious ...
I can't make up my mind which is my favourite - I think it is this one.  Its just delicious, the colour, the copper the shinyness ... (is there such a word?).

Birds Eye View ...
And ... there we have it a ream of rings.  Check out the YouTube tutorials, I'll be back looking and hope to make some more.

Which is your favourite - I'd love to know!  Here's a reminder of some of them...

Oh, by the way I've finally taken the plunge with polymer clay, tracked down the pasta machine I'll tell you all about my creations next time. 

Don't forget to let me know what your favourite ring is.  'Keep Watching and I'll Keep Blogging' -


Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Black and White? (Post 12)

I forgot to say that I've put a little survey at the side of the blog - perhaps you'd just take a quick look and vote.  I have a few followers, and was wondering how many of you do make your own jewellery.  Maybe your not a follower and just 'passing through' - that's great!  But ... 'Do you make your own jewellery'.  Hardly a survey, but if you could just take a 'click .... Thanks!

Don't worry, its not going anywhere, just personal interest.  I love flicking through blogs and do 'vote' different things.  Just nice to feel your part of the site - a virtual friend.

OK, bringing myself back on track now.  Black and white ... there's something about plain colours, they make a statement and although there is no 'leap out at you' colour it can still look great.  

White is 'simplicity', 'pure', 'clean'; Black is 'power', elegance, 'mystery' - the lightness and darkness.  They are opposites but do go well together in jewellery and can just make that 'perfect' touch to an outfit.

This set was made with white african pearls, chinese crystals, seed beads, with thai silver clasp and silver-plated bead caps and findings with a silver-plated wireworked pendant.  I made it as a gift for a very special person, for a special event; which was lovingly made and thankfully, well received ...

The clasp was larger than I would normally do for such a fine necklace, but its easier to do up ... a bespoke feature that was needed for this one.  Another thing which amuses me, I'm left-handed and used to make my necklaces that way.  Not so good as gifts though for 'right-handed' people.  I now try to remember to make 'right-handed' necklaces and the test is if I CAN'T put it on - then its obviously going to be ok for everybody else ... not that I'm the only 'leftie' in the world!

I then changed tactics and as the pearls were a gift to me from another very important person in my life - I made myself a White and Black necklace.  Quite a contrast ...

This was made with sterling silver heart clasp and heart charm, silver plated findings, seed beads, an african pearl drop with chinese crystal beads and silver plated beadcaps, and a wireworked heart.

Not my best photography ... as you can't see the beautiful white pearl encased with a very pretty beadcap, (but look at the other pictures above as its similar).

Its missing some earrings though!  What do you think, maybe some heart shape with a black crystal drop?

Well, I must be losing my technique, I've just been offered a lesson on 'photography' and the offer of my husband's Canon Camera ... too good to refuse - so you may see an improvement in future piccies!!

Which do you prefer the 'black/white set' or the 'white/black' necklace?  I'd love your comments.

And finally, don't forget to vote on my 'Do you make jewellery' question - you'll find it on the side bar (underneath the list of followers).  Thanks!

'Keep Watching, and I'll Keep Blogging .. (next post will be about rings).


Sunday, 22 August 2010

Pebble Potion (Post 11)

Wirework, like most techniques, is something that needs mastering to produce bespoke jewellery.  There are times when you may see that 'perfect' pebble or individual jewelled item that just doesn't have a 'hole' in it.  Oh dear, if you drill it, it may break the drill ... or may be too precious to risk drilling in the first place.

Therefore ... wirework comes into its own.

I started out with all good intention of explaining techniques etc, and I even droned on about basic tools blah blah blah ... then, I stopped myself, for two very good reasons.  There are some great sites out there and secondly, very helpful Jewellery forums who have a wealth of information and can be much more detailed and instantaneous than a blog.  Plus ... its still a learning curve to me.

One thing I would say, is wireworking is quite a minimal outlay, and if your already making jewellery, you'll probably have enough tools to make a start.  Pliers, round-nose for making loops, flat nose for holding loops and coiling, wire cutters ... that's enough to start with.  Google wirework and launch yourself forward.

I would also suggest you buy some cheap wire and practice with that before any expense of craftwire or silver.  I pick up some bargains in the PoundStore.  Try my design on that, then do the 'real' one.

Mookaite project ... mmmm - 'on hold' is the easiest thing to say.  I can't seem to find the inspiration I need to move with this?  I want to link it in with wirework - so I'll get back on that.  I have another project I want to post tomorrow and one more lined up.

Until later, 'Keep Watching, and I'll Keep Blogging'


A Picture Paints a Thousand Words (Post 10)

Welcome to my new 'followers':

Abracadabra Designs - A Jewellery Designer who specialises in beaded work and has great talent.
Debbi Lou - A follower of fashion and accessories
Ailsa Cordner - My mysterious follower, but very welcome to join us
DeeCee - A wonderful lady who creates amazing wire-wrapped jewellery and inspires me with her work.

Thank you for 'happening' on to my blog, I hope you will enjoy my journey with jewellery.  

Its nice to see all the different pictures in the followers.  I noticed I had a few without.  So, for those of you who may not know how to add a piccy, 

I thought this may help - that's if you do want to 'colour' the grey.

Click on to your blog button in the 'Followers Panel', go to settings, select 'edit blogger profile'.  A little way down you will see Photograph.  Most people select 'from your computer'.  Select the browse button then ... search for a suitable piccy ... follow the rest of the prompts, because it gets woolly hereonin .. and I'll keep a look out for the 'new' you.

'Keep Watching, and I'll Keep Posting'


Monday, 16 August 2010

A Taste of Silver (Post 9)

Silversmithing is something that is quite new to me, and is definitely something that I'll be experimenting with.  It is something that lends itself to 'uniqueness' - as you know,  a word I like to use!  There's something quite satisfying starting with a sheet of precious metal, or length of wire and manipulating it into a work of art.  

This is my first ever silver pendant.  My own design, (quite easy to do I thought ...) surprisingly however it was quite fiddly to shape.  I'm told it gets easier!  
The piece was drawn freehand using tracing paper and wax to transfer the pattern.  I then cut it using a piercing saw, (well after a few broken blades that is!!).  After cutting, it was filed and shaped, burnished ... conditions the silver and helps it to shine.  It was then further polished.  A true work of art.  It was enough for me to be bitten by the bug.  Its just great, having so many techniques to draw upon. 

Charm Bracelet

 I hope I never lose the 'excitement' that I felt when developing these new skills.  This charm bracelet was made from silver wire.  Each link end was made into a 'ball' using a blowtorch ... that was fun, watching the silver run up the wire and form a ball, whilst making sure you didn't hold the flame too long and risk it dropping off ...

I decided the links would look that little bit fancier if I flattened them.  So, with a couple of careful swings of a hammer ... they were well and truly flattened.  

Then again, from the wire, jump rings were made, which were flattened and soldered.  Everything had to be 'pickled' to get rid of the flame marks and the discolouration.  

Then the fun part ... assembling all of the links to the rings and finally, making the clasps.  The bracelet was then 'tumbled' for that extra shine and hey presto - a beautiful charm bracelet.

Oh, I must show you my wire-wrapped pebble next time.  

Hope you've signed up for Laura's competition - see Post 8.  Its going to be a tough call, because her work is so beautiful, EVERYBODY wants to win.  But as they say, 'you have to be in to win'  - so go and treat yourself.  The draw takes place on Wednesday, I believe?

(Just remembered, I now have a 'slow cooker' tucked away in my wardrobe - well sort of, I couldn't fit it in, because of the pasta machine I'm also hiding upstairs! - The slow cooker is my secret weapon for 'pickling' ... I know, its a funny old world).

Keep watching, and I'll keep blogging!


Friday, 13 August 2010

Inspiration (Post 8)

I haven't looked at my blog the last day or so,and was pleasantly surprised to find more people had signed up to follow me.  Thank you so much, that is really encouraging.  Welcome to Mayjay, Silverniknats and Flake.

A special thank you to SilverniknNats whose path led me to a bead 'giveaway' and I wanted to share it with you also.

I just have to tell you that Laura Sparling, a very talented lampwork artist, is giving away some of her wonderful, delicious beads. To be in with the chance to win, all you have to do is go follow this link Laura's Beads  and comment on her beads.

What are you waiting for?  ... go and take a look.  I'd love to win them! Why am I telling you ... because Laura is one-talented lady and an inspiration to anybody who creates Jewellery.


Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Champagne Maze (Post 7)

My latest creation, Champagne Maze - came about as I wanted something a little 'blingy'  (not really keen on lots of bling) but just something that stood out a little.  The wire used in this project is 'champagne' coloured and goes so well with the purple crystal beads.

Chinese cut crystal is a more affordable fashionable crystal than Swarovski and has some very distinct colours which just sparkle.  This does make it difficult to photograph to show just how pretty they are; but hopefully you'll see the effect I have achieved.

Wirework, has quite a delicate look - which is why I chose this particular technique.  Due to its flexibility, wirework is always unique - or mine is! 

There are different types of wire, round half-round, twisted, square, are the one's that I'm aware of.  Each one would give a different look  Do you feel inspired to give it a go yet?

I found when I was working on this, that I was already contemplating further designs, so that shows you how relaxing jewellery making can be!
Although I've pictured the earrings first, I usually do these last, as its easy to change your mind and 'invent' something else to match the length or style of the finished necklace.

I like to have a look at different blogs myself and I'm always surprised how much you can learn over the internet.   If your new to Jewellery making I'd suggest you also look at blogs, become 'followers' so you can keep track of new ideas.  Join Forums, check out bead shops who sell online, quite often they have tutorials.  Also, look on YouTube.  

Please do not copy designers work, their projects are results of hardwork and it is disrespectful to the artist.  Its all about technique, that's the key.  Try out different techniques, you'll create your own style after a while. There are lots of magazines that also lead you through techniques and feed you with ideas.

Keep watching - and, I'll keep blogging!

Monday, 9 August 2010

Bead Work (Post 6)

Before I go any further I would just like to say a BIG thank you for all my 'followers' - I really do appreciate you taking the time to read my blog.  To those who 'pop in' now and again, to see if I've posted any updates - welcome to you as well.   I'd love it if you became a 'follower' as well.

I've finally started to work on my website, so have been concentrating on that this week.  It'll be a little while before its ready though. 

I have just completed a lovely wirework set, and hope to take some pics of it tomorrow, weather permitting.  I like the natural light for my photos.  This will be known as Champagne Maze ... keep watching!

Today, I'm going to post some of my beaded work which I created last year ... and is tucked away, waiting to be displayed.

Blackberry Season
So, this must have been last Autumn ...  I can tell you that beaded work like this is a 'work of art'.  It looks lovely to see the finished product, but I couldn't tell you how many hours it would have taken?  Quite a few.

It's made from nymo thread, size 15/0 glass seed beads in various colours and a VERY fine beading needle.  The clasp is thai silver.  It really does remind me of  blackberries.

I probably thought about this as around us there are the beginnings of ripe blackberries, which will soon need picking for those lovely pies!

Winter Whispers

I'm very proud of this set, as I designed it myself, based on the 'coral' stitch - I believe. 

Its using those pesky little 15/0 glass beads again, intermingled with green crystals.

I think these alone took me a couple of hours, but I am a methodical worker!

They are a very rich colour and complement each other well.  Certainly a stitch I'll experiment more with.

Now, you can guess at how long the necklace took!  Mind you, one thing with beadwork like this, it can't be rushed and will not earn you millions either.  But ... it is very satisfying to make and you do settle into a rhythm with after a while. 

Great for weight watching as well, you daren't stop and eat because you might lose your momentum!  I would say for anybody looking to do this type of work, you must have plenty of time patience.  Oh, and ... good eye sight or strong glasses!  

There are plenty of magazines out there for inspiration. 
One of my favourites is Bead & Button (no not just about buttons - although it does mention vintage buttons etc).  It has some amazing patterns in there and projects and there's load I'd just love to do ... but that's another day.  As you probably see, I do like to vary my projects - so time is not something I have a lot of.

Have I mentioned Mookaite Jasper?  I don't think I have, but it is an absolutely beautiful gemstone.  I came across some in my magical mystery box of beads and will be creating 'something' with it over the next week.  What I don't know until I start ... I know, but that's me ... full of surprises, (even surprise myself most of the time).

Don't forget, Champagne Maze coming up soon ... hopefully in the next day or so.  Keep watching and I'll keep blogging!


Monday, 2 August 2010

Knitted Harmony (Post 5)

Its been a week, or something like that, since I last posted to my blog.  I don't know about you, but that seems TOO long!  So, I've now finished my knitted bracelet and said I'd give you an insight to the spiritual properties around this unusual stone.  Is it unusual?  Well, it is to me.  I tend to use materials that I am attracted to, be it colour, size or type.  To me, this seems a natural thing to do - how could you work with materials you didn't like and create something of beauty?

Knitted Harmony
 Unakite was first found in Unakas Mountains, North Carolina, USA.  Although it is now also found in South Africa, China and Brazil.  It is an altered form of granite, being a mixture of pink feldspar, green epidote and quartz. 

It is associated with the heart of our body, related best with calmness and positivity.

I chose it because it is a very pretty stone.

It is known as a balancing stone which helps to unify the emotional, spiritual and mental aspects of ourselves.  Considered to be excellent at removing obstacles to your personal growth by providing gentle release of blockages.  It also has a subtle action of sending out peaceful vibes to those nearby.

 I knitted this bracelet with fine pure copper wire, as I thought it went so well with the pinky/green gemstones.  Little did I realise, until researching it later, that the spiritual properties of copper totally matched the properties of the unakite - gosh, I'm a natural!

Copper is known to improve blood circulation and is an excellent energy conductor; it overcomes lethargy and revitalises and sends and amplifies thoughts.

It is said to be a 'bestower of good', bringing benefit to its wearer; allowing one to recognise the barriers which are in the path of one's development.  A perfect balance with unakite!

The clasp I designed to almost 'grip the wrist in a hug-like fashion'.  I thought the chunky solid look of the clasp just worked well and the round beads also gave it some solidity.

I lost count of the gemstones, but think it was something like 150 nuggets and over 100 little glass beads which I worked to a pattern of my own making.  Got a feeling, I'm going to love knitted wirework!

OK, for those of you who read my blogs - last time I asked why I had a pasta machine hidden in my wardrobe.  I think most of you, especially jewellery designers, would have known that this is because I want to design jewellery using polymer clay.  I'm building up to it ... quietly.

If you are enjoying my blogs, leave comments and I'm likely to post more often!

In the meantime, keep watching - and I'll keep blogging!