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Showing posts from July, 2015

Making jewellery out of buttons

Yesterday I taught the button jewellery taster class at the London Jewellery School. It's good fun and a great way of upcycling what you've got in your button box! The class is great because you make a bracelet, earrings and a necklace and you have lots of colours to choose from!

You can see some of the students work in progress here, including a necklace inspired by the Ikea colours! And check out that button bracelet, Van's first project (she's wearing it in the photo, top right)

If you can't join me for a class do have a look at the 20 to Make Button Jewellery book by Marrianne Mercer for lots of different ideas

A day at the fair

Today was a family day and I went with my niece and nephew to the 'beach' at Westfield shopping centre. It's more of a funfair than a beach! Rides aren't my thing but I did enjoy an ice cream!

Jewellery inspiration at the British Museum, London

I am very fortunate to live and work in London, UK. One of the colleges I teach at is a five minute's walk from the British Museum! So I had to nip in to see if they had any jewellery on display.  I did find some jewellery from throughout the ages and I was struck by our desire to adorn ourselves, a need that even our ancient relatives show us through their grave goods. I took a few snaps on my phone of some more recent art deco pieces which I found in the Europe galleries. Definitely worth a repeat visit with my sketchbook!

Motivation Monday - my mission

Ring making in silver clay

Today I have been on a course at Craftworx, a jewellery studio in Yorkshire, being taught by Tracey Spurgin. She is running a two day ring making course using silver clay. Today is day one and we have made two different types of rings, one with a dichroic glass cabochon (you can see that in the right hand photo, mine is the bottom left ring) and another with a D profile ring band and a flower on top. We have been concentrating hard and our pieces are now in the kiln to fire. I'm looking forward to seeing how they turn out!

Three things I learnt from trying something new

So, the final day of the three day art class I've been attending has been and gone (in case you missed the last two blog posts on this, day one is here, day two is here if you want to catch up!)

Cornell himself was inspired by the Surrealists and my box is certainly surreal! My humble piece is inspired by his work entitled Pharmacy
Here is my box inspired by the work of Joseph Cornell (apologies that it's a bit of a snap, my love-in photographer is at work!)

The tutor encouraged us to reflect on what we learnt during the course and what we would do differently next time and I think these are worthwhile questions to ponder

Here's what I learnt

1. Try something new, it might surprise you
I have previously studied fine art and have never tried collage or assemblage before so I learnt that I like it! I always think it is worth taking classes to try out something new with a bit of support

2. Just keep going!
There were certainly times when the piece was looking ugly and I didn't f…

On learning to let go of the need to create something 'good'

As I mentioned yesterday, I am on day two of a three day art course called Inspired by Joseph Cornell. Today we went to see the exhibition of some of his work at the Royal Academy of Arts. The exhibition is entitled Wanderlust which is an interesting choice as he was something of a recluse and didn't travel far from his home in New York during his whole life. However, he was obsessed with the idea of travel and collected photos, stamps, magazines, postcards - all kinds of items. He was also a very intelligent man who read widely so knew a lot about the world.

I really enjoyed seeing the work at the exhibition. This was my favourite piece that I saw today. The work is smaller than I had imagined and the strings are so precisely threaded.

In the afternoon we went back to the Centre and continued working on our own boxes inspired by Cornell. 
Yesterday I had a mini crisis about wanting my work to be good but I'm over that today! I've decided to just have a go and see what happe…

On being an art student

For the first time in nearly 20 years (yikes!) I attended a fine art class this week. The three day class is called 'Inspired by Joseph Cornell' and is being run at the Mary Ward Centre, London. Cornell was an American artist who created assemblage art in boxes. He was untrained (which, given the date of my last art class provided some comfort!) and created very interesting collections of ephemera. Day one consisted of a powerpoint looking at some of his work and then starting to put together our own boxes. We will also be visiting the Royal Academy of Artsexhibition, which prompted the course in the first place, to see some of his work. Some of my fellow students came very well prepared, having already visited the exhibition. One student brought along these ceramic dolls to use in her assemblage. Is it me or do these kind of dolls always look creepy?!
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Motivation Monday - what a revelation it was when she realised she didn't need to settle

This week is a week of learning for me as I am attending some courses. I am very excited to be able to share my thoughts on these on the blog with you. Starting tomorrow!
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Preparing stock for the London shop

As I mentioned yesterday, I've been preparing my stock for the Things British shop in Greenwich market, London this weekend. Here are a few pieces that I will be sending in
The cufflinks are from my best selling bee collection. I haven't sent cufflinks to Things British before so I'll see how they do. Also new is the butterfly necklace and the leaf pendant. The leaf is made by painting layers of silver onto a real leaf, which burns away in the kiln. Before you ask, I need to get these new pieces into my etsy store too, my shop needs a lot of tlc at the moment! But the priority is getting stock into Things British as I am already paying rent there. An etsy update is coming! The hummingbird has been selling well so I will be sending two versions, the rectangle and the oval. I've still got to print out my labels and tie them on but this batch should be ready to post tomorrow.

I have a great tip for packing multiple chains; use a sandwich bag twist tie! You just need to thread…

Adding to the Totem collection at Things British, Greenwich

I was teaching this morning, my last Mary Ward Centre class of this academic year! This afternoon I am working on stock to go into a shop.
For a few months now I have been selling some items from my totem collection of silver jewellery in Things British, a shop in Greenwich. It's a shop filled with gorgeous loveliness designed and made by independent artists in the UK. There is not only jewellery but lots of other lovely things including stationery, t shirts, ceramics, soaps and more. It's great for me as I rent a shelf for a period of time and then any money I make is mine. I did well there in the first few months but, honestly, sales haven't been so good in the last month. However, I've had a really busy term and haven't been able to concentrate on replenishing my best sellers or on trying out new items to the range. Now that school's out that is exactly what I am planning to do in the next month! I am also hoping to capitalise on the busyness of Greenwich mark…

Summer blogging project

School's (nearly) out for summer and although I will be doing some teaching at the London Jewellery School, I have a lot of spare time looming. So, I've decided to set myself a summer blogging challenge to write something five days a week. About what I'm up to, where I'm going, what I'm making - that kind of thing.
Today I am in my home town enjoying being looked after by my parents (had a lovely cooked breakfast and a roast dinner is coming later - veggie for me of course!).
It has been a very busy term and I always find it a challenge to shift gear and I'm hoping that this project will help give me a bit of focus to clear up my work bench, learn new things, use up resources I've got and connect with more people. It's also a way to connect with my obliger tendancies! I have really enjoyed reading and re-reading Better than before by Gretchen Rubin who writes about happiness and how to form habits. I realise, from her description, that I am an obliger …

Motivation Monday - are you happy?

Gadget girl

2015 is the year of the spy movie! There’s the new James Bond film Spectre, The man from U.N.C.L.E, Spooks: the greater good, (which I really enjoyed) Mission Impossible: rogue nation, the excellent comedy Spy (very funny) and no doubt many more. This got me thinking about the gadgets that used to only be science fiction but we can now wear as jewellery. Here are a few of my favourites.

The Apple Watch

I had to start with the Apple watch of course, the first Apple product that is designed to be worn. It tells the time (!), helps you stay connected and also measures your fitness.

I love the design of the ringly. It connects to your phone and sends you customised notifications (you choose what you are notified of via an app) through vibration and light so you can put your phone away but never miss a call.

Sun exposure bracelet

A clever and stylish bracelet that holds a secret function; it measures your sun exposure through the day, notifying you via your phone when you need to reapply…

Motivation Monday - with the new day comes new strength and new thoughts

Sally Costen, winner of the F. Hinds High Street by Design competion

I am so pleased to share that Sally Costen, one of the Diploma in Creative Jewellery students that I mentored for a year at the London Jewellery School, has won the student category of the 2015 High Street by Design competition run by F Hinds. Sally's seachange ring and pendant will be produced by F. Hinds as part of their collection and sold in the company's shops across the country.
Sally was called 'one to watch' by Hinds' Director and MAG Chairman Andrew Hinds and I wholeheartedly agree. Congratulations Sally.

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