Sunday, 29 August 2010

New Stuff

Two more bracelets, waiting in the wings to go on the is hand-wired using brass, the other is collected Venetian and antique beads from around the world. 
Above: three strands of hand-wired freshwater pearls, Swarovski crystal pearls, Czech glass beads, Swarovski crystal, copper beads, vintage and collected beads from round the world.  I was talking to someone whilst I worked on this, which is why it took me 3 hours to make.....
Click on the photo above to go to the Etsy Listing.
Above - Venetian glass, Swarovski crystal, Bohemian glass, American artist-made beads, sterling silver - the beads span approx. 1920's to present and were made from a dive into my bead stash - sometimes I find this kind of piece the most difficult of all to make - not only do I have to part with long-loved friends (yeah, beads....) but I often spend hours just trying to get exactly the right partner bead for the next one along - and then all of a sudden the whole thing is disrupted because it's not quite right and I have to start all over again....well....there's a good long dose of pink in this one anyway.

Sneak Peek Two...

Well, I finally got my fresh vintage stuff uploaded onto the site, but I've been doing lots of creating in the meantime...these should hopefully be up on the site in the next week or so....

Below is a selection of work with Rose Quartz, silver and gold lined Murano glass, sterling silver and Swarovski crystal.
And some new earrings...
Above and below - new earrings featuring Swarovski crystal and sterling silver.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Alice In Wonderland

I've just watched Alice in Wonderland...have you seen it?  Its just A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!   OK, its got a lot of CGI in it and its an adaptation of the original but we've all read (and seen) that so it was refreshing to see something new.  
In the film, Alice is now 19 and is about to receive a proposal of marriage when she falls down the rabbit hole once again.  Of course, it doesn't hurt that Jonny Depp is a huge part of the film because not only is he yummy but he is also funny - strange how many times we've seen him in wild make-up in films - (aha, I have here a copy of his Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)...but recognise him in this film - no way!
At first I thought the lead actress Mia Wasikowska was incredibly plain and disappointing but of course that was part of the film - once she falls down the rabbit hole she blossoms, and I loved the way her costumes evolved.   Best part of the film for me?  The Cheshire Cat of course.   You just can't miss this - I watched it on my PC snuggled down in bed, and was just completely lost, lost.  
And as for the Cheshire cat, what can I say?   He's utterly scrumptious..... not sure which one I prefer - Depp or the cat, Depp or the cat....oh, its got to be the cat!

Monday, 16 August 2010

Sneak Peek....

Right now, I'm into lace, vintage, patination, copper, Murano glass, brass, bows, birds, organza, satin, hand-stitching, shabby chic, collected charm bracelets, fabric dying - including using tea, marie antoinette, france, black and white, red, turquoise, upcycling, paris, new york, and venice. 
~Those are all the things I can think of (without looking in my journal that is); which I'll be working with for a while.   
I've been playing with patination in a big way - both in terms of oxidising metals (brass, copper, silver) and also using patination solutions to achieve effects. 
Finding the time to experiment, play and create is difficult, when I feel I should be 'doing some real work' its hard to justify just messing about with not much achievement at the end - it's the only way to progress though, otherwise I tend to stay in the same place creatively which leads to stagnation.  I've been working on necklaces galore, though I sell more bracelets and earrings, it seems necklaces are what my brain wants to make right now, and so be it.

Here are some of my new lace pieces.   I stiffen the lace so it holds its shape - cutting, stiffening, and reshaping takes around 2 days, then I use it in jewellery - some shows me what needs doing, other pieces need more input; I stiffen the lace with an archival treatment that preserves it from staining and damage.
These asymmetric earrings are made from grey-black lace medallions, sterling silver and Swarovski crystal.

"Take A Bow Necklace" - a cute little bit of fun; with Swarovski crystal, Swarovski crystal pearls, bronze and brass filigree, circles and chain, each element is wired with enamelled wire. Can be worn asymmetrically to one side or conventionally.

Somewhere in my lace and ribbon stash I've got 3 or 4 precious handmade lace butterflies which are at least 100 years old; some have a little staining, others are pristine, I hope their previous owner had the pleasure of wearing them at some point.  
In the meantime, this  contemporary lace starts a new direction for me; I've found I am freer creatively when I am not constrained by precious metals, so I'll take risks when I use copper or bronze where I usually work in sterling or gold; this is hardly surprising considering their price.   I like mixing metals too, and for the first time ever I've found myself in a happy place working with plated metals, enamelled wires and ribbon, mainly because it seems to engender freer and more spontaneous work.  My studio floor is currently covered in lace scraps, bits of cotton and lace and velvet and organza ribbon.


This is how I felt when I got the bill for Merlin's latest escapade in the field.  

One kick to leg = £ = one long, long scream.

Kudos, Kerry

Now that Merlin has settled into his lovely, happy home, I wanted a stable sign that reflected his character - it's the first time he's been allowed to put his name on a stable door, and this wonderful plaque was made by a very talented artist, Kerry Machin. 
I detailed what I'd like and sent photos, and she came up with this creation which is beyond gorgeous.  This struck envy into the hearts of my fellow yard-mates when I took it for a viewing.  It's not on the door yet as it needs a wood mount, but it will be soon.
Kerry was a pleasure to work with, and if you're in the market for a stable or house sign, I'd highly recommend her.

Contact Kerry at -

Friday, 13 August 2010

A Day Out In Manchester

Yesterday I dodged the rain and had a few hours in Manchester city centre. Being a country mouse, its not a place I visit much - in fact, I think I was last there about 3 years ago...(she says, with straw sticking out of her ears...)
I keep thinking I should have a day just wandering around taking photos, but you know, just a few hours is quite enough for me - I feel grubby after an hour, so goodness knows how I'd feel if I was there much longer.  I don't know, its all so fast and loud (now I REALLY DO sound like the country mouse) and although Sale is prety urban, its not the city centre.   Really, since the IRA redesigned the shopping areas for us, its quite nice and there's lots to see and do.  I headed for the Northern Quarter, where I know my way around because the Artists/Craft Centre is located there - and my favourite place to source paper bags, gold coloured heart shaped labels and jewellery price tags, that sort of stuff.  Mark was with me and was nearly gibbering when we walked out of that shop nearly £50 lighter.  £50 on paper bags, on bags, he was heard muttering.   Poor boy.
Anyway, I did take a few photos - the first (above) is a fabulous distressed looking poster I came across - was it made to look this way or did it end up that way, who knows, and is it art, well, there's another question.  Taking photos of this kind always causes puzzlement on the part of the husband, but its always good to keep them guessing. The other pics are the inside of the artists centre - there was lots to look at but I had to keep the photos general in case anyone thought I was trying to infringe their copyright. Blowing £50 on paper bags was one thing, infringing copyright quite another. 

Above and below: Walking back to the very expensive car park (!!), I took these photos of the old fish market building which is now a courtyard for modern apartments.  I am sure this is a relief to the fish.

Sunday, 8 August 2010


I'm really pleased with my first nest, seeing as I've never made one before....usually I'd be happy to leave it to the experts (of the avian variety...) but I just had to try for myself.  Made from bronze and copper wire and laid with three beautiful faceted freshwater pearl eggs...the chain is brass as is the clasp.
I took the picture of the summer swallows this evening at the stableyard, I LOVE my new camera (its not so new now, its the one I got at Christmas - I take it everywhere with me.) 
I should have the site updated by the end of the week - had another horrid week just gone, as I got a call from my yard owner Sara at 6 am to tell me Merlin had colic.   It was not a nice day.  Happily, my lovely boy is all well again and I am so grateful to Sara for watching out for him.  Big hugs.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Arizona Necklace

This is another piece for the site, waiting in the wings. 
If in the meantime you can't wait for the tech-person to work his magic, you could always make your own - this is my kit of the month for September 2010 for my other website, BeadAddict
- I've tried hard to make the instructions as clear as possible - there are written instructions as well as a downloadable PDF file full of step-by-step photos which should take any stress out of things. 
Everyone is creative, even my Mum has been making jewellery recently, and (no offence intended Mum, but I know you'd agree) she'd be the first to say she doesn't know her right hand from her left foot.  
I am considering teaching jewellery making classes again - notice I didn't commit myself. I love teaching, its fun - its a two-way process.  All the things I thought I knew, I can learn over from teaching, which is great.   I don't know, maybe, maybe.

Arizona Necklace; handmade copper and bronze wire circles, a copper key charm, patinated bronze and brass, Turquoise, faux Turquoise, Coral (various colours), Sponge Coral, and lots and lots of wire wrapping and attention to detail. The clasp is to the side, which makes the necklace easy to put on and take off, a lovely eye-catching piece which is light and easy to wear; over time the bright copper will patinate down (darken naturally). Measures approx. 20 inches / 50.5 cm; the pendant element measures approx. 2.75 inches / 7 cm.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Marie Antoinette Bracelet

 Marie Antoinette is one of my history heroines - her story is so short, so tragic and so astounding that it is impossible not to be captivated by her life; any woman would be engaged by her trials and tribulations, however flawed she was.  I've long been collecting bits and bobs for a series of jewellery based on the ill-fated Queen of France; and this is the first of these pieces - Marie Antoinette Bracelet.
Marie Antoinette Bracelet; with a hand-made Marie-Antoinette portrait, a bejewelled crown charm, an old hand-painted button (1950's), an enamelled diamante-set slice of cake (of course!), a pink diamante swag (from a 1950's pair of earrings, one of which had been lost), 1930's brass chain, a contemporary heart and arrow toggle clasp, lampworked rose bead, antique and vintage crystal (Victorian-1930's), a 'Royal' charm, 'Non' and 'Oui' brass charms, a key charm, a tiny vintage Paris button, contemporary Swarovski crystal and Swarovski crystal pearl and a tiny vintage claw set duck-egg blue Swarovski crystal charm - the chain is 1930's brass; this bracelet has lots to look at! Measures approx. 8.5 inches / 21.5 cm.