Sunday, 31 January 2016

Captivating Carnelian

Some lovely carnelian beads arrived this week. I love carnelian. It has such a variety of shades, varying from warm terracotta and amber to milky white. Fashion a piece using just this stone and your piece will still have plenty of contrasts within it. I have a selection of wooden bowls on my workbench filled with gemstone nuggets and I selected a piece of polished carnelian from the varied small treasures within. My fingers started to twitch immediately - and I grabbed by sketchbook and coloured pencils to explore some design ideas.

I turned the nugget over in my hands, working out where the coils would sit, both to secure it, and to add decorative elements. I worked out early on that I wanted to put a line of wire over the milky white section so that when the patina is added it will stand out as a feature.

The sterling silver contrasts beautifully with the copper and introduces the option of using a sterling silver trigger clasp. The pendant section is done, now to craft the chain, which will incorporate more carnelian beads, the larger ones wrapped in silver wire, the smaller ones interspersing them will have wrapped loops at each end. Hoping to have it ready to put on my website some time next week.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

My completed honeysuckle necklace

'Honeysuckle' is finished at last. I'm glad I took the time to make a handmade toggle clasp. Those little twists on the ends help to make it really strong and secure. A bought clasp just wouldn't have blended in so well with the design.


Went out for a frosty walk this morning to get some inspiration for a new piece. Spotted a jay, it's bright plumage contrasting with the terracotta tiles on the roof it was sitting on. Back home I found a lovely piece of glass as a starting point.

I will add some crisp black and white striped elements to make a piece inspired by this lovely bird. Now to get busy with the sketchbook to come up with a design.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Wire weaving with Citrine

I love Citrine. Holding a nugget of it is like handling a little piece of sunshine. It is said that wearing it has many benefits, as it is a cleansing and stimulating stone. Interestingly, it is also said that it is a good stone to place in a 'wealth corner' in your home, which is the left hand corner furthest from your front door. I have such a corner. Does it work? Well I guess that depends on how you define wealth. My idea of wealth is more about wellbeing and creativity than money!

Lots of little ideas from the shapes and colours on my walk are being incorporated. The gravel covered slope with the rain washing down in ripples provided me with the shapes to make in the wire that lays across the central stone.

Before I start wrapping a gemstone nugget I always spend some time turning it over and working out how to wrap it. A nugget has no hole, so I need to be nifty with the wirework to make sure it is secure, but shows as much of the stone as possible. I think I will keep this looking quite delicate and airy. so will not be making the side extensions much thicker than they are now.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Wire weaving with colours from nature

Wet, windy, cold and January. At first glance it didn't look all that inspiring out there. But as usual on a Monday morning I had a package to take to the post office so we wrapped ourselves up in waterproofs and set out to brave the elements. What at first appearance is a completely grey day is actually full of beautiful and dramatic muted colours. Rusts, slate blues, pale pearly greys and creams as well as all the various shades of green in the hedgerows. Despite all the wind and cold rain the honeysuckle I wrote about in a previous post is still flowering stalwartly away. I worked out that it's position is directly underneath where I sit at my workbench, lovely to think of it there as I wrap and twist wire and incorporate beads inspired by it's colour. Yellow jade, jasper and quartz will be woven into it, and I will include some beads in the colours of the wintry sky, which I'm hoping will contrast well with the yellow, blue being the complementary colour of yellow. Nature so often gets it right!

It's in the early stages as yet, a lovely way to spend the afternoon while it continues to be wet and windy outside.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Sketches for enamel jewellery

I was a painter long before I started making jewellery, so perhaps it's no surprise that I love to put colour into my pieces. Beads do that, and they find their way into most of my designs, but I long to take a piece of metal and add layers of colour like I used to with my watercolours. To make a tiny leaf, rich with colour and texture that looks as if it has been plucked from a hedgerow, how magical that would be! As I've said before, I do like a challenge, so I'm setting out to discover some new techniques using various enamel powders which I will use like paints before firing them. I'll start with some odd scraps and make some sample tiles just for fun before moving on to some leaves.

Here they are in their initial stages, cut and annealed before hammering to shape them. The leaf veins are cut from sterling silver.

The sketches below were done this morning, ideas for wire wrap jewellery also incorporating some enameled areas and gemstones. They are based on locks and hinges and make reference to jewellery from the art nouveau era . Plenty to work on next week!

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Amphora - a new wire wrapped necklace

It's very satisfying when you finally put the finishing touches to a piece that's been in progress for a while. I completed this one over the weekend, it has been fun working out how to suspend all the coils and leaf shapes so that they hand beautifully in a v shape on the wearer. I wanted a piece with lots of movement to it that had the look of antiquity about it. So my final step yesterday was to dip it in the liquid I use to give it the antique patina and then polish out some of the highlights.

For more views and a detailed description visit:

I'm off to my favourite crystal shop tomorrow so will no doubt come home with yet more treasures to add to my collection.