10 February 2013

A few of my favorite things

When I'm not making, or blogging, I love to look at what other people are doing. Inspiration? Nosiness? I just love to dip into people's worlds and take a peek. With so many of us choosing to share what we do, and with lovely visual ways to do this on line, I like nothing better than to settle down with the i-pad, and peruse a blog. Pick the ones you love, and it's like having a beautiful magazine to flick through. 

I've always kept diaries, and for me blogging is just a modern way of doing that, but with the added bonus that you can instantly add gorgeous pictures.  The handwritten diaries of my youth were lacking in images, perhaps the occasional photograph from a great party glued in. They were also uncensored outpourings from the heart, something I no longer do, since this 'diary' can be read the world.

Today, I want to share some images and blog details (where available) of other peoples work, that delights and sometimes inspires me. As a visual person, I have strong ideas about what it is I like to look at, and if money were no boundry, I would definitely love to own something by every one of the makers mentioned here.

Clare Hillerby

A recent discovery for me. I have always been fascinated by old photographs and letters. They way Clare puts them together is just beautiful. She writes 'Old found handwriting is the inspiration and starting point for my work; discarded old postcards, as well as stamps, maps and photographs are collected, interesting areas are extracted then combined with new metalwork to create contemporary stories.' You can find her blog here

Hens Teeth

Screen printing, applique, embroidery, paint, buttons, fabulous characters rendered in free hand machine embroidery - what's not to love about Viv's charming and witty work? I wish I had treated myself to this big pin brooch, but Viv's work just gets snapped up as soon as she produces it. As a jewellery designer it is difficult to wear things other people have made, as I am always asked 'did you make that?' there's no chance people would ask me that if I was sporting one of these! Viv writes 'All my work is designed by myself and made using the collection of vintage fabrics, haberdashery and paper ephemera, that I have collected over the years. I am madly, truly, deeply, obsessed with my work! My mind rarely wanders from thoughts of drawing, designing, how I can collate imagery with the tactile and ultimately make into a decoratively desirable... handbag, clutch purse, needlecase, brooch or mixed media collage. All finished with hand embroidery and buttons, lots of them!' You can find Viv's blog here.

Zoe Arnold

I think I should use Zoe's words here, not mine 'Each piece having meanings to be unraveled, but never fully explained, and often inspired by her poetry which is presented with the work. Sentimental jewellery this is not, instead everyday emotion, or subtle memory are worked into items as much to display on a wall or table top as they are on the body. Art to be worn by the artist, writer, intellectual or collector of dreams. Zoe Arnold’s works revive the art of the jeweller, pieces which are created as a considered whole rather than to serve as a simple frame for a stone. Zoe Arnold’s evocative jewels are as much individual works of art as they are wearable sculpture, exploring the poetic and the macabre in the form of both illustrative and sometimes obscure treasures.' Amazing, and unfortunately, out of my price range. Zoe's website is here.

Eileen Gatt

I have mentioned Eileen's work here before. Many years ago Eileen was my teacher for one night a week for a year. Back then she was teaching me skills, I most definitely hadn't found my style. It was fifteen or more years later when I saw her stand at Goldsmith's Fair. I was struck by some similarities in icy palette, brushed finishes, imagery, but in some ways these were not surprising as I had been inspired by my trip to the Arctic, and she had been awarded a bursary many years ago to travel somewhere to the North, the land of ice and snow. I would love one of Eileen's necklaces. The internet is not overrun with images of Eileen's work, in fact her website has been redone to have less images than before. She must like it this way, and I hope she does not mind me including her work here. You can find her website here and sign up for a newsletter.

Janet Bolton

Dear Janet. I admired her work for years after seeing some in an exhibition in my 20's. A few years ago, I went to the amazing West Dean to study with her for four days, stitching pictures from fabric and found objects. It was lovely to spend time with such a lovely person, and to understand how long considered each little element, or splash of colour was for her. Our little attic studio was packed with Janet's work as inspiration, and I couldn't help, but come away with my own bit of Janet Bolton -'Between the Headlands' which sits proudly on my mantelpiece. Janet doesn't have much of a website, but what there is of it, you can see here.

9 February 2013

Coming along nicely

My last post was a little sombre for me, so here is a new one with the progress on the rings.

2 February 2013

January blues

I am so very glad to see the back of January. It was not a good time for me.

February has arrived, and with it some blue sky, and a hint of Spring to come. I have a huge vase of sunny daffodils that my mum bought me, to brighten the place up.

This year especially, I need to immerse myself in Spring. Get on with waking up, unfurling myself to the sunshine, growing, and become strong.

Friday heralded the start of February, and I realised that I could no longer stay dormant like Winter.

I pulled out my gemstone supplies, and the aquamarines that have been bought over several occasions called to me. A handful of these I had bought with the intention of making something for me, but with all my work being stolen - I have nothing to show anyone, so I have decided to give these up and make them into some rings that I will sell. One day I will be able to get some to make something for myself.

So I started by measuring what size silver I would need to make their bezel cups. Here you can see the little strips of card that I use to fit round to get diameter and height.

I use the tiniest little mandril to make the silver round.

Here's the next stage. No soldering done yet, but all the silver curved to the shape of the stones. Aquamarine translates as 'water of the sea', and looking at the colours here, you can understand how this beautiful gemstone got it's name.

Today some more thinner silver arrived, so I can make the bottoms of these little cups. I haven't decided yet if they will sit on rings of a round or square profile, but I will know once I can see them all safely resting in the bezel cups.

It has been very hard to get going with my jewellery this year. New plans and excitement faded away after everything I had made was stolen, and after life took a sad twist that I didn't know it would take. It would be very easy to quit right now, but I am sure I would be filled with regret down the line...

Back on line.

i-pads are all well and good, but the way I make this blog requires my camera, wires, the big computer, (really rather old fashioned) and I have had no internet connection on it for over a week. Misery. Anyway, this evening I was determined to sort it out, and with the nice man from Virgin Media on the end of the phone, I am now up and running again. Hurrah!

Here's a necklace that I finished. I was making it to replace stolen stock, but I think it has found a home, so I will need to make another one for stock.

It's got a beautiful 'flashy' moonstone, wonderfully set (if I may say so myself!) Really ought to get round to making one of these for me.