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

Posts tagged ‘photographs’

Heavenly Roses

Day 25

I’ve had very little time today… very busy baking cakes!! And my grandchildren are just about to arrive for their tea!!

I have managed to get a bit more done for my sugarpaste roses. They now have their calyxes and are ready for wiring into an arrangement. I didn’t quite manage to get the leaves done so I’m hoping that the rather ‘arty’ bit of photography will make up for this omission!! I’ve still got more flowers to make and hopefully will get a bit more done tomorrow… although I have my youngest grandson with me all day so I never quite know how that will pan out!!


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 – – 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!!

I talk to the trees……

…well, perhaps not quite!

I try, first thing every morning, to get out and have a brisk walk for about half an hour – even on a day like today when it was a bit chilly and drizzling – because nothing can beat that shot of beautiful fresh air before the rush hour traffic spoils it.  We have a park near to where we live and I tend to walk around the park, breathing deep of the air – lightly scented at this time of year with the flowers in the hedgerows and trees – and taking in the sounds of the birds and activity of the surrounding nature.  We are told that in order for walking to be beneficial, health wise, we need to make it brisk so I bound out of my front door and really go for it for the outward journey.  For the return journey I try to benefit my mind.  I have always had an issue with my confidence, and have recently been trying ‘self help’ strategies of self affirmations – which I really think are paying off!  So, as I slow my pace on the way home, I talk to myself and remind myself of what I am capable of and how I am confident in my abilities.  And yes, I do mean that I talk to myself – out loud!  (I always check that there is no one else within ear shot though!!!)

And, as if that is not bad enough,  I am also on the look out for inspirational stuff that might inform my jewellery designs.

Of course – there is the obvious stuff – which I am always drawn to…the lovely little flowers that are hidden away in our hedgerows…

…and I don’t feel too much of an idiot stopping to photograph these.  But it’s the other moments…the times when I notice soemthing as I am walking, and it takes me a while to process what I have seen, and appreciate the inspirational value of it… it is those times when I stop dead in my tracks, then walk back a few yards and invariably stare down at the pavement, or into the gutter…and then whip out my camera and photograph something that no-one else can see!!  It’s those times when I worry a bit what the people who are out and about in the early morning think of the crazy woman who talks to the trees and collects photographs of  asphalt!!

No – actually – I haven’t got an extensive photo library of road surfaces…although now I come to look at it… is rather interesting – especially when wet!!!

Well, now you can see what I was photographing this time…he was very small and really brightly coloured…and I so nearly passed him by!

And, one day, he might very well inspire me to a piece of beautiful jewellery in his honour!!

Spots Before the Eyes

I am really sorry that I haven’t posted anything for over a week but so much has been going on here I have barely had time to draw breath.

At the beginning of the year I decided to find out a bit about becoming self employed to see whether it was something I could do with Solunar Silver Studio.  I made enquiries at the local council and discovered that they have an ‘Enterprise’ initiative going at the moment and I was assigned a ‘Business Advisor’ to have a look at what sort of business I was proposing and whether it would be a viable proposition.  He has been a great help over the past few months  – not only in helping me to develop a Business Plan and Cash Flow projections but in simply saying “I think you have the makings of a nice little business here”…WOW – was that a boost to my confidence!!

Anyway – he has helped me to submit an application for a start up grant, and although it is not for a huge amount, it would make a big difference to me.  So I am awaiting the results of that now.  Whether I get the grant or not, I plan to start Solunar Silver Studio officially on 1st June 2009.

To that end I decided to use up the stock of fine silver wire and precious metal clay that I already have in making findings that I can use in my jewellery in June – thus giving me a bit of a head start.  So I was just about to start annealing wire and winding jumprings when I get a panicked request for a birthday cake required in 10 hours!!…that is from request to delivery, and I didn’t even have the ingredients in the house!!  Now my madeira cakes take in the region of 1 1/2 to 2 hours to cook – and at least 3 – 4 hours to cool down enough to decorate.  Adding the shopping time to that left me with less than an hour to slap on some form of decoration!  Fortunately there had been no request for any specific decoration – in fact they had said just cover it with white icing and leave it at that, but my personal pride would not allow me to go quite that minimal so I quickly coloured the offcuts from the white sugarpaste icing red, yellow and blue and using a set of geometric shaped ‘canape’ cutters (dating back to the 70s!) I stamped out a hand full of shapes  for each colour and stuck them on the cake at random.  Total sugarpaste icing time 15 minutes!  And – surprisingly – it didn’t look too bad at all!!  Very bright and cheery and sort of … well … nondescript – but definitely partyish!  Anyway – it went down well, or so I am told!

So, I am back to the jumprings now.

I have also spent a bit of time over the last week making my workshop ‘Studio’ into a rather more hospitable place since I am going to be spending a large chunk of my day working out there in future.  I have added a layer of wool insulation to the interior of the walls and roof and covered that with hardboard which I have painted a bright sunshine yellow to help to brighten up the space both physically and psychologically…with the morning sun shining through the window and reflecting off the walls it really is a lovely little place to work!  It has been physically demanding though and there have been times – particularly when trying to secure sheets of hardboard above my head with no one to help me – that I have literally seen spots before my eyes!

Although I have to share my 5 foot by 7 foot Studio space with the freezer and the gardening and Do-It-Yourself equipment I have built in plenty of shelves and drawer space and I have thick carpet tiles, a chair, ‘arty’ photos that I have taken on the walls, and a radio tuned to Classic FM to help me focus – what luxury!!….Oh! … and of course, my kiln(s) and ‘hearth’ and the rest of my ‘kit’!   So I am sure I will have no problem working out there during the better weather months, but as I learned at the beginning of the year – the winter is a different matter!  It is still a L  O  N  G way off though!


I hope I haven’t lost all my visitors by not posting for so long….please come back….I promise I will post more often!!

A Perfect Sunny Sunday

What a beautiful sunny Sunday we have had here in the North West of the UK!!  I spent a lovely afternoon at Norton Priory Museum and Gardens in glorious sunshine and not a breath of wind.  The flowers are all beginning to burst forth – grand and glorious!  I couldn’t resist sharing some of my photographs with you.  I have spent most of the week doing major redecorating work at home and my walk through this wonderful, peaceful garden was just the kind of relaxation I needed!  I hope you like my photos!  I will get back to making some jewellery next week…promise!!

Thank you for sending so many visitors my way!

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