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Engaging with colour

One of my pleasures in jewellery making is finding different ways of adding colour. Today I am featuring kiln enamel, the process of sifting or wet laying (painting) very finely ground glass onto the surface of a metal (usually copper or silver) and then firing it in a kiln to around 800 degrees centigrade for a couple of minutes. As the piece cools down on the marble slab, the stunning colours appear. It's an exciting and immediate way to add vibrant colour with swift results. Further layers can be added and re-fired to build up images and textures. I run regular courses at Rainbow Glass Studios, the next one takes place on Saturday 20th May 2017. If you are interested to explore these anci

"Off the shelf" or "of yourself"?

"Off the shelf" or "of yourself"? So what am I talking about? Today I am thinking about glass making materials. There are so many types of glass supplied "ready to use", but they are all "off the shelf" anyone can buy them and use them (and recognise them). But how do we go about personalising glass, making it " of ourselves" with something of our individuality, creativity and personal story within it? I love to make glass inspired by nature, moss, lichens and the seashore, so making my own glass sheets, and turning them into jewellery that contains my personal creative story is important to me. I also love to teach others how to do this. If you'd like to explore personalising your glass mak

Beetle wings are beautiful things

During a recent fascinating visit to the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill, I encountered within their mahogany-framed display cases rows of the most beautiful iridescent beetles in a spectrum of colours, like little foiled Quality Street bugs. They reminded me of the wonderful reflective qualities of dichroic glass favoured and used by fused glass artists and jewellery makers. This week as I prepared for my Fused Glass Jewellery for Beginners Course at Rainbow Glass Studios, I thought I would try using this material to create my own shiny "Mirror Bugs". Here are the first fused pair! If you are interested in learning how to use dichroic glass, why not check out my courses via the Jewellery Boa

Jewellery puzzles and problem solving...

So what happens when you've drawn a design and decided on the materials you want to use? That's when the hard work really begins in planning the piece, how it will fit together and hang, what the connections need to be and most importantly the order in which everything must be done. It is so easy to miss something, to saw through an essential tab or forget to solder a join. Thinking it all through is a jeweller's MUST DO! Time spent now is time saved later, even though you are raring to get going and start making! Sometimes it can be useful to "mock up" the design in paper or card as a physical model of where you want to be heading. Taking notes is also helpful, especially if you are trying

And I am a materials girl......

What inspires you to make and create things? Is it your surroundings? Colour combinations? The patterns, shapes or forms of nature? Perhaps a poem, or a book you are reading where words conjure ideas in your imagination? For me it includes taking photographs of the minutiae of nature, my environment, patterns or colours that catch my eye, along with how these things make me feel. All play a part in my creative journey as well as the materials. I have been described as a "materials junkie" and like many jeweller's there is a little of the magpie in all of us. "Ooh look!" and we squirrel it away like an acorn in hiding, waiting for it to sprout and grow one day. Take time to notice the small t

Setting a fragment of the past...

This is a fragment of blue and white china I picked up on the beach at Lyme Regis last year. It has a beautiful blue thistle-like flower reminding me of the teasels we had seen on a country walk, crowned with jewel-like hoar frost. Somehow this piece wanted to be the starting point for my first earring along with a faceted blue-hued labradorite bead, (reminiscent of the sculptural eryngium thistles I had in my bouquet) and some gold and grey patterned anodised aluminium I had dyed. The colour combination was set....now to set the china!

Thinking "earrings outside the box..."

Sometimes launching straight into jewellery making with precious metals and stones is a scary prospect, so we spent time playing with a wide range of mixed-media on the recent "composition for a set of three earrings" course with Zoe Arnold at West Dean. We were asked to make 10 earrings, sequentially, each with a connection to the previous one in some way. Here are my mad "outside the box" results! One involves a 1930's hair curler belonging to my grandmother. A hoarder? Me? How did you guess? To subscribe to my email list and future blog posts, please click here: SUBSCRIBE:

When three words become a poem

"Gather - river - breath" these were the three words I chose as a starting point for the development of a set of three earrings for a course I recently attended at West Dean with Zoe Arnold. It was suggested to us that we could perhaps write a poem or a story around our theme to help us develop imagery for design so I thought I would try a poem! Poems are hard work and I am no expert, but defining pictures in words was a helpful step in capturing mood, emotion, colours, textures and on my journey to start to create a new jewellery collection. Here are a few lines.... To subscribe to my email list and future inspiring blog posts, please click here: SUBSCRIBE

Doing things the hard way....is fun!

Part of my enjoyment in making jewellery comes from learning and finding new ways of doing things, the age old question of problem solving! Just because there may be a simple way of doing things this doesn't necessarily give me a challenge, so I have decided to try to rivet these tiny seed pearls into my tiny semi circular box (see the waiting grid of drilled holes!) purely because I wonder if it can be done and if I can do it! Watch this space and I will let you know!

Gather...river...breath.. an emerging collection

Starting to think about creating a new collection of jewellery is both exciting and daunting. Anticipation combines with apprehension and there are no short cuts! My starting point has been to choose three words from a random list given to those of us attending Zoe Arnold's recent course at West Dean, then making them mean something to me personally, or in telling a story in jewellery. A challenge for all of us with very individual results. Here is the beginning of my journey. It starts with a collection of found objects, and a poem I wrote on the three words "gather, river, breath"

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