Saturday, 16 July 2016

Frome Open Studios

Ok, so it's been less than a year since my last post. In that year I have moved house again, this time into a permanent residence in the middle of Frome. I saw a house I liked that happened to have a shop attached, and bought it... shop and all.
Having a real life shop to fill with stock and sit in all day is daunting, not to mention all the work that went into making it look right. It's still a work in progress, but it probably always will be - part of the fun.
The shop was open for Frome Open Studios which started on the 2nd of July and ran until the 10th. I had four other local artists exhibit in the space, and it was lovely to get to know them all. We had quite a few visitors, and some sales, and it was good fun.

Today was the first day it was open as a shop, and I actually enjoyed sitting in working on stuff  behind the counter.
I intend to do some metalwork there, but only 'light duties'. I also hope to design some new ranges, and generally keep busy when things are quiet. Which to be honest is quite a lot of the time...

As I haven't set up the workbench in there yet, I busied myself by giving some tired and scratched looking acrylic jewellery display units a makeover. They were clear acrylic and all the scratches looked pretty bad. I decided to sand them to see if I could frost them, and the scratches disappeared completely. They look so much better, and I won't have to buy a whole bunch of new ones (yet).

Here is an example of what they looked like before... and after. I used some medium sandpaper, then a brass brush to unify the finish. Both sides are sanded by the way.

Perhaps now that I am beginning to be a bit more settled I will do some more blogging!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Mismatched Sea Glass Earrings - Design Process

It's been a while....

I just thought I'd share the design process which lead to my new range of mismatched sea glass earrings. There is logic (I think) so here it is, the creative process step by step, in chronological order.

Since 99% of the pieces I make are one-offs, I spend a lot of time taking photographs, processing them, writing listing descriptions and generally managing listings in my online shop. I was actually trying to come up with some designs that I could re-make and re-list with one click - using only metal, no found objects.
Granules of silver are really fun to work with, so I came up with these:

I wrote down the 'recipe', and can make them to order. Great! Then I thought - those shapes are quite nice. Lets try them with sea glass... 
So I made these:

Then I thought - why symmetrical? I can make them asymmetrical too!

The next step was - I don't even have to make the silver shapes the same, just as long as they sort of balance... And I made these:

So I guess that for the time being, I am destined to keep on making one-off designs - that is what I keep coming back to. I didn't plan these, they just happened, but they are fun and I am off to make some more! Lots of new ideas now! x

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Bracelet Giveaway!

I know I should have mentioned this sooner but I didn't think about it - I will next time.
I'm having a giveaway on my Facebook page of a sea glass bracelet that I made specially - in Autumnal colours of browns and greens.

Closing tomorrow morning (27/10/2014) at 10:00 am - like the post and add a comment for an opportunity to win it.

I will pick a winner at random and announce him/her tomorrow evening.

Still time to get it there xxx

Autumn Colours Sea Glass Bracelet

Friday, 17 October 2014

Pottery Shards and Sea Glass

Once again, I haven't posted for a very long time. Most of my communication is now through Facebook. 

I continue to experiment with sea glass and pottery shards, and have made a few bracelets that combine the two. I am quite fond of these, and intend to make some in as many colours as I can.
On the to-do list: browns, greys, dark blues, dark greens... Pink perhaps if I can find some pink sea glass...

The first one I made was in teal - a custom order. Then came the golden tones, light blue, then the green. The purple came after that, and last - finished just a few minutes ago - the black and white. Here they are in reverse order:


Thursday, 17 July 2014

Barbapapa Knitting Instructions

Quite a few people have contacted me about a previous post that is obviously appearing in the search engines, and contains some knitting instructions from a childhood book of mine from the 70's.
I had no idea when I posted it that anyone would actually want to use the pattern, so only scanned half...

I have finally managed to locate the book - so here is the complete pattern for a Barbapapa, as published.

PLEASE note that I have never tried  this out and have no idea about the end result, but would be delighted if you sent me a picture of your effort, so I can add it here!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Red Rouge Powder

Today I just thought I'd sing the praises of red rouge powder as a soldering aid.

At college we were taught to use tippex to paint onto parts we didn't want the solder to flow onto. This works fine, but the smell of burning tippex is awful, and I don't think it is very healthy to breathe in.

Red rouge powder, mixed with a little water - does the same job, quicker and easier.
You can buy it here (UK). A little goes a long way! That pot should last for years!

I mix a tiny amount with water, and apply with a small artist brush anywhere I don't want the solder to flow onto.

Red Rouge powder

Chain link to be soldered

Painted red

All done!

After a bit of cleaning with a silicon wheel - almost like new!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Not Much Space to Work...

At the moment I'm having a bit of work space crisis, and am limited to working in my living room. There is only so much I can do there, with hardly any tools, but I can melt granules...
So I have been replenishing my granule collection, and using them for some new pieces when I am able to get to my bench.

To make the granules, I use scraps of silver that are leftover from my bezels. I cut them into small pieces, in random sizes, and melt them on a charcoal block. As you can see from the picture, I am going to be needing a new one of these...

Above is my portable granule making station, just missing the torch. Initially there were small dents scraped out of the block to allow the granules to have rounded bottoms. They still don't go completely spherical this way, but that suits me because they are easier to hammer when they have one flatter side.

The picture shows the curled silver scraps, and also some freshly made and pickled granules.

Once I get a large enough batch of various sized pieces, I pickle them, then my favourite bit - sorting them into sizes.
I have a handy tool for that purpose which is called a 'Stone Sieve Set'.
Riogrande sell them in the US (here) but I managed to get one cheaply from ebay which works just fine and I love it!

Here is my current granule collection. The numbers are the plate sizes. Can't believe I have been this organised!

And here are some of the pieces I made recently, when I had a chance to access my bench:

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