For the love of silver…for the love of life!!

Posts tagged ‘jewellery’

Now is the Time to Say Goodbye!

Thing-a-Day. Last Day. Day 28

So that is it for another year….personally, my second year of participating in Thing-a-Day. I can proudly say that I have posted the full 28 ‘things’, on time, for both 2009 and 2010. It isn’t easy but it is well worth the effort for the feeling of satisfaction and achievement at the end of the month. February is always a really dull and drab month for those of us who suffer winter weather around this time and having this challenge helps to focus the attention on being upbeat and creative!

Personally, I didn’t manage to do everything I had in my mind to do, but there is no rule that says I can’t go on in the same creative spirit for the next 365 days! …Having said that, don’t go looking at my blog every day expecting there to be something new!! My ancient frame can’t keep up that sort of pace!! However, as usual, there has been a great deal of inspiring creative art of all kinds by all the contributors to Thing-a-Day which will keep me buzzing for a while yet! I would particularly like to thank Isolde for her ‘zentangle‘ on the 26th which introduced me to a new art form that I had never heard of before – and which inspired my final ‘thing’ for Thing-a-Day 2010. It is a great way to loosen up and get into a creative frame of mind and is a totally stress free and relaxing activity as there is no such thing as ‘doing it wrong’! Feeling stressed??? Pop on a bit of relaxing music and get doodling!! I think there are recommended pens for zentangling and, as I only had a fairly thick one to hand, my first attempt above is a bit chunky! but I think I will invest in something a bit more sophisticated and put a bit of time and effort into developing this art!

One thing that springs to mind is combining this with the making of photopolymer plates – which was something I was going to do during this year’s TaD but it never quite got off the ground – perhaps that was a touch of serendipity, for now I have a potential endless source of design ideas to try it out with!! That will definitely be reported on in my blog over the next few weeks!! And who knows – it might even end up as a complete new range of silver jewellery!! What fun!!!

So I shall be sad to see the end of TaD 2010 – but hey!…it is only 365 days to go until Thing-a-Day 2011!! So bye-bye all thing-a-dayers! Keep busy and happy – and see you all again next year!

More Silver Shells

Thing-a-Day   Day 9

Today I decided to make a second shell of each type out of Precious Metal Clay..after all, if they turned out fine I would then have 2 pairs of silver shells suitable for earrings…and if they didn’t really match at the end of the day, I will have a collection of silver shell charms to hang on some of my charm bracelets or make summer themed cluster pendants from, with the addition of a few well chosen beads and pearls. I also cleaned up all the shells a little more and drilled tiny holes into the ends of them and embedded handmade jumprings on pegs into them, using PMC slip.

When all was dry I fired up the kiln and popped them in.

When I was making the shells I put a small ball of combustible material into the centre of each piece as I was casting them in the mould. This meant that when the pieces were in the kiln the combustible material would burn off leaving a hollow centre to the shells. This makes the shells look more authentic when they are fired because you can see into them rather than them being a solid lump.

This is a photo of the shells after they have been fired and given a quick brush with a brass brush. They need to be given a good polish up before I start to try and enamel them…but I don’t have time for that today.

I am very pleased with the way they have turned out…and, bearing in mind that this photo of them is HUGE in comparison to their actual size the little pock marks that you can see are hardly noticeable with the naked eye. That said – nothing in nature is perfectly flawless – so I can live with a few little marks!!

Hopefully tomorrow I will get some enamelling done!

Lost in Cyberspace…

I HAVE been posting ‘things’ for Thing-a-Day …honestly!!… but I have been struggling so much trying to get to grips with a new set-up on Posterous that I just couldn’t face trying to transfer stuff onto here as well.  It is supposed to be set up so that it is easy to transfer posts between different blogs and things – but I’m afraid I can’t understand it!!

So – for the time being I will post links to the things I have posted on Posterous so far…

Just to start you off…here is a picture…  but what is it a photograph of????  I’ll keep everyone guessing until tomorrow!!

Day 1 – First Day – First Gear

Day 2 – I’ve Got the Bottle!!

Day 3 – Hubble, Bubble – From start to Finish

Day 4 – Fragile and Delicate

Day 5 – Much Ado About…?

My ‘things’ have been rather varied so far this year…but I should get round to doing a bit more silver work as the month goes on… It is just too darned cold to do too much work in my ‘Studio’ shed at the moment…It is so much warmer doing cooking!!!

If At First You Don’t Succeed….Do It 120 Times!!!

I have learnt a lot of different techniques for making jewellery over the past year or so, but the one thing I still enjoy more than anything else is making fine silver chains, using pure silver wire.  It just relaxes me so much and I can go into my own little world and make beautiful bracelets and necklaces.  But as people keep telling me..nice as they are…a chain is just a chain – there is no WOW factor…even if it has a really decorative design…it is still just a silver chain.  I know they are right.

Last Christmas, I sold quite a lot of chains that I had wired semi precious stone beads onto.  Many people think that these stones have healing powers and this made them more attractive to buyers.  I hated wiring those beads on last year.  It is one of those techniques that I just couldn’t get to grips with.   It was great to get commissions – until they said they wanted semi precious stone beads!…that really knocked the shine of it!!

Not long ago I developed a new design for a chain that I knew would make a really great basis for a beaded bracelet and it incorporates my favourite twisted link which is rapidly becomming a feature of my most popular chains.  I knew I would have to face the hated bead wiring to really make the best of this chain.  So this weekend I decided that I would do nothing else until I had made 4 beaded bracelets.

I had to make a batch of ballpins – fine silver wires with a little bead of silver fused onto one end – as it is these that the beads are wired on with.  As I planned to use around 30 beads for each bracelet that meant I needed at least 120 pins….I could put off the beading for a little bit longer!!  But inevitably – I had to face it.

I chose a range of beads that were colour co ordinated…a range of red/pink; a range of turquoise/blue; a range of greens; and a mix of blacks an reds.  Most of the beads were semi precious stones but I added some glass ones as well to add a bit of sparkle and add a variety of shapes and sizes.

The first bracelet was a trial…I was all fingers and thumbs!!  Some of the wires had to be cut off because I had not done them right but I kept on and a little over an hour later I had a beaded bracelet!!  and it looked really good!!  And you know – there is nothing that spurs you on like success!  The second one came a little easier and looked just as beautiful!  I was definitely getting into this, I had developed a technique that worked for me and it was getting easier and easier with each bead I wired.  My fourth bracelet took about 40 minutes to complete the beading…still a rather long time – but it was no longer a challenge – more an exercise.

I was actually rather upset that I had only done enough pins for four bracelets because I wanted to try a freshwater pearl and swarovski crystal one too!  I have had other commitments today and so I still haven’t had a chance to get another one done…but just try and stop me tomorrow!!  I have an idea for a necklace too!!

I have shown a few people these new bracelets and have had nothing but positive reactions…so I am really quite excited!!  Why, oh why did I put it off for so long??  If I had faced my demons back in January, after the Christmas rush, I could have had loads of lovely colourful fine silver and semi precious stone bracelets and necklaces for sale on my website ages ago!!  What a silly woman I am!!

I’d love to hear your comments on what you think of my new beaded collection of bracelets!

Sorry – I got a little sidetracked…

I can’t believe how long it has been since I last put a post on here…I am so sorry – I got a little sidetracked!!

One of the suppliers I use in the UK to get my fine silver sheet, precious metal clay (pmc) and Argentium silver – Cooksongold.com – has just started a forum.  That may not sound too exciting – certainly not to many of you in the US as you seem to have so many of them (which we have looked at with envy from afar) but it is pretty much the only one devoted to jewellery (as far as I know) in the UK.  It has opened up a whole new world to me!!  I have had the chance to talk to people that know what I am talking about – and have experienced the same problems we have as jewellery makers in the UK – and talk about places and businesses that I have heard of and can access!!  It all seems so friendly…and yes…I have to admit it…I am just a bit addicted…no….majorly addicted!!  I am finding it really hard to drag myself away from the computer in order to make some jewellery…not just talk about it!!

Then on Friday lunchtime I got a commission – a bit of a rush job – to make a pmc (precious metal clay) charm to go on a bracelet – to be ready for Saturday lunchtime!  Well, that stressed me a bit I can tell you!  But I got it finished, packaged and delivered in time!

This is the front and back of ‘Kerry’s 30th birthday charm’ with a peridot swarovski crystal and a black freshwater pearl.

So then I decided to take the rest of the week-end off…to re evaluate…and sort myself out a timetable!

As I have said many times before – my favourite ‘chill-out zone’ is our local visitor attraction – Norton Priory Museum and Gardens – so this is where I went to unwind.

When I got there it was to discover that they had a special display on.  Sir John Myddelton’s Companie of Artisans and Merchants…a historical (Medieval) re-enactment group…were encamped there for the weekend – treating us to a very entertaining display of what life in Middle Age Britain was all about.  They were all very knowledgeable and very willing to talk about and demonstrate the ancient skills and trades they had mastered.  All their clothing was an accurate reproduction of what people wore back in the 1470s.  It was a totally fascinating and entertaining day.

I have photographs here of the 2 women who were preparing the dinner for the whole ‘Companie’ that evening – baking bread rolls and preparing a mutton stew and a baked fish….a selection of ‘oyles, tinctures and ointments’ prepared by the Herbalist and some of the amazing colours of wool produced by the Dyer all made from natural vegetable dyes.  There was also a Blacksmith, Furniture Maker, Silk Worker, Higgler and Candle Maker and many others.  It really was so interesting!

The weather was pretty lousy but that didn’t really matter – I had a lovely afternoon!

So having had a relaxing weekend, hopefully I will approach next week with a rather more balanced timetable – so that I can make a little bit of jewellery…and have a little bit of interaction on the forum… and have a whole lot of fun!!…now that’s what I call balance!!

Eeeeek!…It’s a mouse!!

Well, there I was this morning, around 8 o’clock, still in my pj’s, making a few Argentium silver earwires for my new earring collection, listening to Classic fm on the radio and enjoying the light, cooling breeze drifting in through the open patio door, when I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye.  Oh my…!!  My heart missed a beat.   Something had just run across the carpet and vanished under the cupboard in the corner!  Now I am not known for my love of animals, or my bravery, but I couldn’t ignore this!  So when my heart rate had settled to one more suited to my advancing years(!), I gingerly approached the cupboard and slapped my hand against it and was rewarded by the lightening fast appearance of a small, brown mouse which legged it along the skirting board until I was able to head it off as I didn’t want it to vanish into the depths of the house.  Off it went in the opposite direction – past the open door, of course (typical!) – until it met me on the opposite side of the room and did a 180 degree turn and dived back under the cupboard.  Hmmm – I was not going to be able to deal with this alone, but I was worried that if I took my eye off its hiding place to go and wake the menfolk in my house it could scurry off anywhere in the house and I wouldn’t know where!  Ah!… isn’t this just the situation the mobile (cell) phone was designed for??  There was my handbag – on the chair – I could phone my son to wake him up!!….except that I had put the phone on charge in the next room….aaaaarrrrggghhhhhhhh!!!  There was nothing else I could do but go and wake my poor son up and tell him the story!

Down he came – a little bleary eyed and woosey – and went round the room thumping and banging everything to try and out the little furry creature from its hiding place, but to no avail.  I had to face the inevitable that we now had an unwanted house guest…somewhere in the house!

As I had a meeting to get ready for I had no more time to spend on the mouse chase, so I put a board up against the door of the dining room and the adjoining kitchen to hopefully trap the mouse somewhere within those 2 rooms, and went to get a bath.

I emerged from the bathroom wrapped in a towel to answer a phone call only to spot the little fellow again.  This time I would not let him out of my sight… and lets face it…a fluffy towel is not suitable  apparel for any type of game hunting!…so I hollered for my son to come back down and help me.  This time, with the two of us there, the little mouse got the hint that he was not wanted and moved towards the patio door and then scurried over the step and out into the garden!!

To be honest, it was a bit of a diversion that I could have done without this morning!  I was already on edge as I was a bit apprehensive of this meeting I was going to.  It was my first attendance at the local Women in Business group and after just a couple of weeks ‘in business’ I didn’t really feel like a business woman and thought I would feel like a bit of an outsider amongst ‘real business women’.  But, as it turned out, I had a really good time – I learned a lot and met some really friendly women.

Perhaps something is trying to tell me that the things I perceive as scary are not really that bad when once I stand up and face them!…be it a little mouse or a room full of formidable and successful business women!

AND I have been having a bit of a battle with another kind of mouse over the past few days….the one connected to my computer….as I have been trying to get my website sufficiently well put together to put it on line.  Well, I have decided to stop dithering and just do it!!  So I now have my website up and running.  It still has a way to go…a few more pages and a lot more of my jewellery to be photographed and uploaded… but it is now there for all to see.  It’s a little scary – but I’m getting more used to that feeling now!  So please have a look at it and see what I have done, and feel free to comment…but be gentle with me!  Find me at www.solunarsilverstudio.co.uk and please keep popping back to see how my website develops in the future!

Getting a Grip

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I have had to delay the date that I officially start my new business – Solunar Silver Studio – until the first of July.  This has given me time to get to grips with building a website and doing all the other advertising paraphernalia that I feel I will need to get a good launch.  I was hoping to be able to pass this responsibility over to someone who has more IT skills than I will ever have but that has never quite happened and so I have been working at it …a little bit here…and a little bit there…   I am slowly getting the idea…and today I finally worked out how to get my Solunar Silver Studio logo incorporated into a repeat design that I could use as a wallpaper for my website!  I am inordinately pleased with myself!!  The image above is an enlarged section – just to give you an idea…and a preview…because, of course, you will all come visit my website when I get it going… won’t you!!!

I still have a way to go yet but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel – and believe me – it has been a long time coming!

I have also had the time to build up quite a stock in decorative silver chains (mainly bracelets) which is my main interest and delight when it comes to making fine (pure) silver jewellery.  This is just a small section (about a third) of the chains I am about to send off to the Edinburgh Assay Office to get my personal hallmark applied to the little heart shaped tags I attach to  all of my handmade chains.

So – I think I can be forgiven for leaving a bit of a gap between this and my previous post…and anyway – people seemed to be interested in my ‘Rose Nose’ post as there has been a pretty constant number of visitors each day over the past week.  And, for the record…for anyone wanting to know how the  hay fever remedy is working – I have had a couple of days when I was wondering if the effect was wearing off as my nose was itching (but not intolerably) and needed blowing a few times but that was when the pollen count was really high.  I have not yet had to resort to any other type of medicine to control the symptoms – I have just continued to use the device as indicated and I have been fine.  I’m still reluctant to say it is ‘cured’ but I am having a much more comfortable summer that I usually do!

Well, I must get back to doing a bit more on my website building.  I’ll let you know when I ‘open the doors’ to Solunar Silver Studio’s on-line presence and look forward to getting some feedback from you all!

Tag Cloud