Sunday, 31 August 2014

When is a button ‘not a button’?

Thinking outside the box (well the button box in this instance) can often result in some really unusual and attractive components. I had some pretty flower shaped mother of pearl buttons that were just begging me to include them in a braid. I wanted them to have a red and silver centrepiece, to fit in with the colours in my braided garland. Trouble was, the little cone bead cap slid around on top of the button way too much for my liking, so a rethink was needed. I realised I would need to drill out the centre, to allow the silver cup to sit comfortably within, so out came the flexshaft with a diamond tip, cone shaped burr attached. On went the dust mask and goggles and I got to work on them.

The great thing about the little silver cups in the centre is that they reflect the red bead that sits on top in a really subtle way. A bit like the reflector behind a light bulb. It’s a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. My next challenge with this necklace is to find some beads that mimic some pale coloured buds to go in between the blooms. I’m thinking either tiny drop shaped beads in silver or cream. Must say I do love this time of year when berries are starting to appear, but there are still flowers in the hedgerows and gardens – it always has me wanting to work on beaded garlands!

Monday, 25 August 2014

Wire wrapped leaf necklace

Well it's a typical Summer bank holiday Monday in Norfolk - cold and wet. But this is good weather to get jewellery made and I've been busy completing my 'Forest Stream' necklace. Mostly in sterling silver, with a lttle antique copper and loads of glass beads woven in. I finished the back with oval link sterling silver chain and a sterling clasp. The leaf shaped pendant is 60mm from tip to the top of bail.


Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Forest stream themed necklace

Spent this morning working out my design for a new piece called 'Forest Stream'. This will be based around a leaf shape, and will have loads of pretty beads included in the wirewrapping.

I have found some lovely beads that look like tiny mottled pebbles, as well as some glass ones in turquoise blue. I've started off by making my soldered leaf, which will be the base of my wire wrap.

Most of the wire will be sterling silver, but a little copper will go into the middle of the leaf. Here is my desk as it looks at the moment, hoping to have lunch outside if it stays sunny long enough and then spend the afternoon making a start on this new creation.


Sunday, 17 August 2014

When wirework meets bead embroidery

Anyone who is familiar with my work will know how much I love colour and texture. This latest piece combines forged metal shapes with wirewrapping, in order to achieve a rich tapestry of colour, form and texture. It's surprising how much sterling silver wire goes into making a piece like this! Just as well I bit the bullet and bought a big reel of it!


Friday, 8 August 2014

Venetian Dreams - a new wire wrapped necklace

They say that a picture paints a thousand words and I find that is true of jewellery making too. I'm constantly surprised by the many ways that you can express your ideas and feelings by making a wearable work of art. These shapes were originally made for something completely different - and it firmly took on a life of it's own after looking at pictures of Venice - in particular masks and gondolas. I decided to listen to my intuition and go off in this new direction. The shapes in copper with sterling silver soldered inside them provided the base onto which I am wrapping copper and sterling silver. Figure of eight shapes made from sterling will go in between. I have some very nice oval sterling belcher chain to finish the back with a sterling clasp. Here it is in the very early stages of the wrap.


Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Queen of hearts and kingfishers

Inspiration for my latest necklace came from a pack of cards. Some tricky piercing with a jewellery saw and some nifty wirework stretched my skills. The clasp was designed after looking at the curled formal wigs on the deck of cards. Originally the topmost shapes on either side were plain, but after I completed the necklace, I realised they needed to have a  tiny hearts pierced out, and it was worth the extra step as it reflects the designs on the playing cards nicely. Once the necklace was constructed I added the antique patina, polished it and buffed it with Renaissance Wax to seal and protect the finish.


A lovely Sunday pootling about the Norfolk Broads on my brother’s boat has left my jewellery making brain buzzing with ideas. Relaxing on a heap of cushions with a glass of bubbly watching lovely scenery slowly drift by was a lovely decadent way to spend the day – thanks bro! I took some great photos of windmills and the ruins of St Benets Abbey.
I’m left with fleeting impressions of jewel like kingfishers, dragonflies, and later on as we sailed back into the sunset, tiny silvery fish plopping out of the water. I need to make something inspired by all these things so I have selected this piece of handmade dichroic glass. This will be a bead embroidered piece.

As well as having the textures of rippling water it has the iridescent colours of a kingfishers plumage. I will also include some abalone shell in lustred silver and blue shades to symbolise the tiny leaping fish. Next step is to sketch out a design.