Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Making a start on a new embroidered neckpiece

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. We did – despite my having a horrid cold. My niece started having the first irregular contractions yesterday evening so should hear some happy news soon – the baby is now 11 days late and looks like he might just be in time to see in the new year.

Because of my cold I cooked a lot of spicy things over the holiday as things were tasting bland otherwise. Grinding up spices in my pestle and mortar really got me in the mood for my latest bead embroidered piece. Indeed, gathering the materials felt more like putting together a recipe and my desk is now covered with beads and threads in all the colours of a spice seller in the souk! I’ve started off with the central cabochon and I’ve made a wired armature, covered with thread in which the cabochon nestles. This armature will be encrusted with beads so the cabochon will be held very securely. The technique is the same one I used on my ‘Atlantis’ necklace but this one is is more freeform in shape and style. The photo below shows 'Spice Trail' in the very early stages, laid out with some of the beads I'm thinking of putting into it. I'll be including some hints of peacock in amongst the hot orange, to make the colour scheme 'pop' and pick up the colours of the cab.

So a happy afternoon of stitching ahead, with the wind blowing a gale and the rain lashing outside. Never mind – plenty of lovely nibbles in and some wine ready and waiting to welcome in 2014.
Happy new year!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Spice Trail necklace – a journey with beads

A few lovely hot sunny days in Tenerife was a nice escape from all the Christmas madness. Sun and sangria filled days and four hours on a plane is enough for me though and it has taken a few days before I have felt properly ‘grounded’ again and back in my routine.

Tidying my food cupboards helped to get me back in the here and now. Funny how the ordinary little jobs can do that.  It has rekindled an idea I’ve had in my head for a while based on hot spicy colours. Cayenne, paprika, cardamom, mustard, peppercorn, turmeric and saffron….. I will have some fun looking through my bead boxes finding all the right ingredients over the next day or two. The centrepiece is this beautiful cabochon with spicy coloured stripes and I have a very rough design which I will develop into a finished watercolour worksheet. The very start of an interesting beady journey I think.
The stripes on the cab are suggesting that I echo those somehow within the beading. I’m intending to photograph the entire design from start to finish and think it will make an interesting Youtube slideshow.
Family wise it is quite exciting at the moment as my niece is expecting her fourth baby – a little boy. He is now one day overdue and I am wondering if he will be a Christmas baby!

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Earrings in sterling silver, copper and pearls

The last silversmithing class was busy as I wanted to finish my earrings. I love pearls against copper and using sterling wire for the wraps and the ear hooks mean that they will be comfortable. I did enjoy making tiny balls on the end of the silver wires. This is done by holding the wire in the soldering tweezers, then pointing the gas torch flame upwards and letting a drip of molten silver form.  In my preliminary sketch there were 2 pearls on the end of dangles but as I progressed I decided that a single pearl would look lovely in the little cup made by shaping, hammering and folding the pierced copper.

I have booked myself on for another term at Wensum Lodge, and I’ve ‘double booked’ which means I do my usual session, have a quick sandwich and then carry on through the next class. Several of the diehard jewellery makers seem to do this. Loads of projects on my ‘to do’ list so having twice as long will be great. It’s a nice crowd, hard working and friendy with a great tutor and a well equipped workshop, so I can see myself doing it for at least the next year.

The last gift has arrived through the post courtesy of some wonderful makers on the ‘Folksy’ website  and the tree is up and looking pretty with all its jewel colour fairy lights. I’m having to be extra organised this early as we are off for a bit of much needed winter sun.