Saturday, 25 June 2016

Celtic knotwork necklace

Rhiannon is a Celtic goddess of the moon and is also said to be the legendary Lady of the Lake who gave the sword Excalibur to King Arthur. Being of fairy descent, she was betrothed to another of her kind. However she fell in love with a mortal named Pwyll. Leaving the world of magic, she became mortal, married Pwyll  and  bore him a son. Her original suitor stole the baby away in vengeance and Rhiannon was accused of killing her own child. She was made to wear a horse collar and sit outside the castle walls, offering to carry any visitor to the castle on her back. She bore her hardships with patience and years later her son returned. Her husband and his people were full of remorse and despite her many years of ill treatment Rhiannon forgave them. For this reason she is a goddess associated with fortitude and forgiveness.

Well I have needed patience to make a jewel inspired by her. It took a few goes before I got the wire twisted into Celtic knotwork and then to end up in the correct position to wire in the side pieces. But it’s coming along nicely and it’s been fun finding out about all the myths and legends associated with Rhiannon. That’s the wonderful thing about jewellery making – you learn something new with everything you create. Apart from learning all about her story, I found a nifty way to keep the wire taut. A cork mat and some macramé pins did the trick.
As always when learning a new technique it’s thrown up a lot of ‘what if I did this or that’ sort of ideas, so looking forward to making some more woven pieces using the macramé pins.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Weaving a spell with abalone shell

I imagine that a magical woodland creature would wear an adornment with shapes taken from the natural world. Snippets of beetle wing here, a tree seed there and some little curling antennae. Such is the whimsy of an elfin jeweller.

I'm pleased that my finished piece turned out pretty much like my original sketch, although I did turn round the side elements. Little changes and tweaks always suggest themselves as work progresses. That's all part of the magic.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

The Celtic Tree Calendar

Did you know that we all have a birth tree? According to ancient Celtic Ogham Lore there is a tree for every month of the year. Being born in May, mine is the Hawthorn. I made a list of all the trees in my sketchbook, we are now in the time of the Oak, which is my husband's tree. Well, he is strong and steadfast certainly!

As my polymer and resin components need time to sit and 'cure' before I sand and polish them, we went for a stroll. Hedgerows are rather wet as we have had heavy rain but nonetheless beautiful as usual, with all the elder in flower and lots of little helicopter shaped tree seeds everywhere. That gave me an idea, so got out the sketchbook to sort my ideas out. Here is my drawing and below it the start of a new piece. Very relaxing listening to the rain and twisting wire into plant-like forms.



Thursday, 9 June 2016

Painting the seasons with polymer clay

I've been jewellery making outside on the patio over the last few days as the weather has been glorious. A straw hat and a big green umbrella keeps the workbench shady and the shapes of my terracotta pots and the varied hues of flower petals inspire my choices of form and colour. I have an interesting urn shaped pot and I cut a piece of copper out that refers to its outline. Underneath it the breeze has left a confetti of fallen petals. Blue aubretia petals mingle with scarlet geranium in a mixture of pleasingly faded glory - I know I should sweep them, but they look so pretty that for a while I let them be whilst I grab my clay and mix colours in a painterly way. Only difference is, I use a set of little dentists tools rather than brushes. Having made a soldered strip that stands on my hammered copper backplate I decided to use polymer clay to fill it. This will be done in layers, baking between each layer and then putting a final layer of resin on top. I will then sand and polish it until it has a soft sheen - I want the surface to look a bit like old watch glass. I like things to look vintage, not blingy.

The picture shows my sketch of roughly how I want 'Rhiannon'' to look when she's done, with the red polymer baked and the blue piece about to be fired. I'm aiming at a Pre-Raphaelite look.

I like working outside, it makes you think differently, as you are responding to what's going on around you. This is something I'll be exploring more as the year progresses and hopefully I'll become better at being able to capture what I feel about the world around me in metal and mixed media.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

A bohemian beauty from front to back

A brief postscript to my last post about the things I remembered about my various Aunties when I was growing up. We had a bit of a family get together this weekend and I was determined not to be the aunt who sits in the corner with ‘Woman’s Weekly’ Not that there’s anything wrong with ‘Woman’s Weekly’ of course, it has kept me entertained in the doctors waiting room and the hairdressers on several occasions and provided Victoria Wood with a very funny line in the ‘Ballad of Barry and Freda’ So I said Yes to all the activities suggested by my 11 year old great nephew. I was shown how to play something called ‘Assassins Creed’ on the Xbox and then played a game in the garden which involved me becoming a human skittle. I was persuaded to put on a helmet with a plastic bottle sellotaped to it and stand still whilst balls were thrown to dislodge the bottle!

Back home to more genteel activities and have put the final touches to my latest piece. I paid extra attention to the back, as this is a symmetrical piece and the wire needs a more precise path than when I’m making freeform shapes.


I’m really excited about making a forged and soldered base for wire wrapping, it opens up a lot of possibilities that wire alone can’t manage. Lots more pieces to follow over the summer hopefully.