Sunday, 30 January 2011

Coping with Code!

Woo, been so busy ( but busy is good right?) sorting out my new website. Done it all by myself, no techy man or woman to help out and no web designer on call, just lil ol' luddite me and a few choice and well used swear words!

But it has been worth it and (I think) I have a nice little website up and going now. I am still adding inventory and plan to eventually show all the options available in my made to order ranges and eventually it will be the only online home of my wire wrapped designs as I am letting the Etsy wire wrapped listings expire so that there is only smithed jewellery available there. Etsy has been good to me and I have no intention of leaving it but there is definitely something nice about having an online home that is just about the things I do.

I am going to have a little free competition starting on Feb 14th and will let you know all bout it here as well as through other venues. Make sure you sign up for my newsletter through the website too, there will be more exclusive offers for those on the newsletter list in the not too distant future! Go on... click it, you know you want to :)

Monday, 24 January 2011

Casting a Backward Glance

Once a month as part of the Aspiring Metalsmiths team we take up the challenge to blog on a pre-ordained subject. It's fun and rakes around in things we sometimes forget. This week it is 'How we began' our metalsmithing journey.

My story can go back quite a long time to my teens, when a little, local craft store started selling sterling findings and unusual beads to make earrings with. It was a place I could take my pocket money (or left over lunch money) and create earrings I could actually wear, being allergic to the nickel in most costume (careful not to use the 'Junk' word) jewellery.

Sadly, all too soon I got serious about growing up and having a job and a family and no time to myself until two major life moves later I found myself wandering in the market town of Ulverston and chanced upon another stall selling sterling findings and beads. Unfortunately, although I proudly took many bad photographs of my achievements with these slim pickings, none have survived the multiple computer swaps, I do seem to be extremely hard on 'hardware'. I attempted to sell these pieces on Ebay to no avail. But while browsing there I discovered faceted gemstone beads! Oh, wonder of wonders, what a treasure trove to dangle before the eyes of a latent, button hoarding dragon! Of course I could not resist their lure and before long had built up a tidy hoard of sterling and fine silver wire and gemstone beads. I made jewellery for friends and family before advice from my favourite beads seller brought me at last to a place called Flickr and then to Etsy. I met so many wonderful (and patient) freinds both in the UK and further abroad who broadened my horizons, my knowledge and my skills. I watched as some of these most talented designers began to move from wire wrapping, on to smithed jewellery. By now I was creating some very intricate and delicate work and I swore I would never give up wire wrapping to go to the devil of smithed jewellery, no matter the lure!

To keep the devil at bay and find a more secure way of fastening some pieces I attempted to teach myself to solder jump rings ( only jump rings I told myself, hardly selling my soul!) but alas I could not get the knack and when the solder flowed by some miracle that must have been good wire wrapping vibes in disguise, I could never replicate the happy moment!

I bought copper wire and experimented with making some fused jewellery, never forgetting my roots, of course, I wrapped the copper in melted silver to make bangles, rings and earrings but never got the hang of soldering.

Finally in a fit of pique I enrolled in a local smithing class, just to learn to solder...and perhaps make rings, you can't properly make rings by wire wrapping (oh the lies I told myself).

Dear friends, I was hooked. I rushed home from my first class, impatient to wait until the following week and made my first stone set ring, a little rough around the edges but still wearable (and I do wear it very often). The rest, as they say, is history, and as if to prove a point that my soul is well and truly sold, lock stock and barrel, my latest piece uses ages old ammonite as its centre piece, making history, literally!

My Fellow Metalsmiths:

Monday, 17 January 2011

Coral and Keeping Up

Well, it certainly hasn't been a quiet start to the new year! I began by stumbling on an offer of a new website that was just too good to turn down despite the time it sucks away from creating. I am sooo close to being able to unveil it that I can taste it, but I want to make sure it is just right and these things should not be rushed. I am slowly adding piece by piece of my jewellery to it, when it opens new pieces will be added daily until the whole intinerary is up there. Won't be long now!

I have also signed up the Thing-a-Week (THAW). On Etsy I am very happy to be a member of the Aspiring Metasmiths Team. I try to take part in the monthly challenges set but have definitely been slacking of late, so to try and remedy this I have signed up to THAW. This means I have to create something new every week of the year. This is quite a big ask. I do tend to be busy on custom items and made to order jewellery a lot of the time but I have also been quite a bad girl on the stone front and have quite a collection that need something doing to them. Hopefully THAW will help to reduce that stone pile just a little. First to be used was a gorgeous fossil coral cabochon. I have been thinking about it for ages but it takes me a while to get going and panicking over the THAW deadline last week was just what I needed. What came about is a pendant with an open back to show off as much of this gorgeous stone as possible and a lovely caramelly carnelian to complement the autumnal shades (even though it is nearly spring).

Next week I am working on an ammonite that has been whispering to me for far too long. Wish me luck!