Monday, 13 December 2010

studio surprise!

well well well! hello you, (two!) i'd forgotten about you!!
 And so, to catch up-i found a studio space! (Well, to be completely accurate-a studio space found me!!)  it is in a barn not too far from here, and freezing, but great to work in! It's a little ramped room, walls covered in desks and shelves, every spae space full of stuff! There are other people flitting about, same as me, who i seem to get on with well enough-and frankly, it's nice to have the company on the rare occasions someone else is there!
    Moving swiftly on, having had a very unfortunately brief attempt at working alongside a very dear friend, i am sad to have had to lose her to a new life in Brum! (but she did teach me to capitalise my writing-whih i have been a bit slack on so far!!
   So far, i have had a few requests which i have been working on, some specialist charms for someone (they obviously meant something to her!) of a chickpea, and kidney bean, which i thoroughly enjoyed making, as it was such a personal request! Another commission for a small daisy for my very closest friend, by her husband-i hope i do them proud! So far it is pretty, but i am having trouble fitting the ring on the back, i wish i could find someone to teach me to solder sensibly-it would cut out a lot of stress!!
  I am going for a bit of a personal transition at the moment, unfortunately my partner may or may not be leaving, so i may or may not attempt to negotiate to go on a course i've been wanting for a while now......
  Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

fair-y tales

right, so, i have gone to try and wrote this post about four times over the last few days......everyytime a child jumps on me. or anyone really! ah well....such is life!
    the two fairs i had over the weekend were pretty dire, i sold one pair of earrings.   if i do the charter fair again i will have to re-think where i go, being in the arts centre doesn't seem like a good plan, even the people who came in looking for me couldn't see me! and as for beaminster--i don't think i'll bother again. it was really badly organised, but i did manage torun off before they charged me a pitch fee--i hope no-one noticed!! to be fair, i didn't actually realise until i got home!
  i have now booked myself in for mosterton show on saturday and sunday, and for stoke abbott street fair on the 17th. at least that should be good, it sould be the right sort of ''audience'' for me, and there'll be plenty for the kids to do-although i may need to enlist help!!
  i am still sans studio. i am still none th wiser as to what to do about this. i have rung everyone i can think of, and tried every avenue. i just don't know.

Friday, 2 July 2010


terrified about tomorrow.
i need to go through all of my things and make sure i have everything, and that it's all organised.. it just me, or does this writing seem smaller?!
   anyway-i have remembered that i need to make a sign to say about the display pieces. CHARTER FAIR TOMORROW!!!! ARGGGGHHHHHHHH.
really looking forward to the feedback on the new stuff i've done, will be really helpful to hear what people have to say.
 still worried about studio space though......really don't know what i'm going to do. i have to find somewhere....i will have to ask around. grr.


Thursday, 1 July 2010

part 2

right. been working like a fiend, i didn't update you last nigt as i didn't finishworking untilwell past midnight--and so just passed out! am going home today, have not quite finished, but thought i'd gt on and do this while some things dry ready for refiring.

here is m working hard---just to prove i actually do!!
note: the desk is messy!!! i do try to be tidy!!!
in fact--i can't even tell you what i am doing here--ihave no idea!! eliie was wandering in and ouut taking photos at random!

right--copper leaf. COMPLETE disaster. i spent most of yesterday bulking up, firing, breaking, fixing, refiring--it DID NOT WORK. so i have abandoned the idea entirely. at least for the moment, also, the copper ring bands i made (which i thought were reletively foolproof) did not happen either dammit!

will carry on later...have to pack up and leave!

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

intensive work ethic

wey hey. so, i'm in bournemouth. i sat down to work at half past ten this morning, having sorted the kids, and handed them over to my obliging hostesses, and have just finished up and gotten into bed!
   i was working for 12 hours!! (minus a few little breaks to sort the kids out, put to bed etc...)
i have been pasting crazy today...look!

   this is a fraction of what i've done. and they are still unfinished due to a slight pastey mis-calculation!!
although--they will be beautiful-IF i can finsh them off without breaking them--i  have to get them back home to complete! arg
 ah well. i have made one thing that i am immensly proud of---here is an awful late-night photo...........

and have finally finished my engagement ring. i managed to fix what i broke last week, but tthen the other leaf broke---there really was NO way to fix that-and as it doesn't look too bad i'm just going to leave it.
or leaf it!! muahaha, oh dear-it really is too late!

note to self: do not attempt to take pictures yourself--they're rubbish! 
      i still don't understand how i let myself run out of paste--that shouldn't have happened!!
i also made some puzzle pieces, for earriings, although i may change my mind on that. maybe turn them into a necklace.....oh yeah---i spent HOURS filing down the end of a very thick piece of copper wire to put my strawberry leaves on (which are verysweet!) and i'm still no-where near---that will take a long time! i wnt to make itso that i can twiddle the end so that it looks all tapered and viney. it will take a million years!
    i've been doing a lot of torch-firing, as i can't trust my kiln, (which is in the car, but i'm not intending on using it) so i have been firing most thing twice- or three times just to make sure they're properly done, even if they didn't need it anyway!!!
    i am incredibly impressed with my hand fired leaves--i never thought i would be able to do them with out ruining them all!! 
next time: more paste!!!
     and for tomorrow, copper torques, more leaves (hopefully) and some copper clay things!!!
                         ....wish me luck!

Saturday, 26 June 2010

this is my melty leaf that my kiln tried to destroy.......but i think it looks kinda arty!
i've been wearing this solidly, even though i can't sell it because it's not up to scratch-at least it's something to show!! (and it's all i've got right now----clearing out the studio on monday--eeep!)

these are my houses i made a few months ago for ellie........

today i am throwing myself into getting some posters to display at the fairs--if i can't have work to display, then at least i can show pictures!!!! and just because i can't be hands-on ''working'' doesn't mean i can't be being useful!!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

ok guys, and the award for the most fucked-up day at work yet goes to.......! jesus.

ok, i will try and start from the start--but this is going toget stressed!! i found out last week that i had a fair booked for the 3rd. and i have no work to show (excvept the rubbish stock i've been toting around for the last three years! ) so i start to panic. i then realise that i have only two work days btween then and....for the sake of arguemnet we'll say i panic more.
plus lak of materials.
plus lack of money for materials.

you can see where this is going. make my life easier, i book another fair. the. next. day. i know, idiot. so, i now have two stalls in two days....and no materials.......NO KILN!
Did i mention that my kiln is not well? it's not. it keeps melting things. i don't know how to fix it. so i've been trying to work with more traditional methods, soldering, riveting, wire work, and torch-firing the stuff i need to, just so that i have some work to display. even if it's not (internally) good enough to sell, i cango ''look, here's what i can do......sometimes.''

so i calm down.

i arrange childcare.

i work.

the new man of the house where i have my studio space comes in when i've been hard at work all day (and have just finished the engagement ring--and then broken it!) and goes schitzo at me. completely. kicks me out. so i hare out of the place, leaving all of my work in disarray. with no clue what to do.

this is the morning after that. i am supposed to be working tomorrow. i don't know what to do. i really don't. i have 8 days to prepare for two stalls. in work days--that's four. and i don't evenknow if i can get back into the studio.

i am phoning everybody i know to see if they have space/know of someone with space. i am really screwed.

although, whilst at work yeaterday, i managed to fix a leaf necklet that i just bout managed to scrape together last time, and then broke---which is now gorgeous, despite being a bit melted-but i think that makes it interesting! i (hopefully) successfully torch-fired another leaf--and was about to attch bail when everything kicked off. ---so now at least i know i can do it!

i broke my ring!!! :(

Friday, 4 June 2010

well. an interesting day was had by all today. the latest of my antics in the studio consist of: breaking things, fixing things, breaking same things, and more, having a headache, shouting at the inanimate kiln for melting everything.
i have made a beautiful leaf on a copper choker sort of an arrangement, which was very lovely, but broken from start to finish. having said that--the choker was ok! note to self: dn't over-fire pmc leaf. other note to self: do not then fire bail whilst undried. final note to self: do not then allow toddler to hang off said badly-fired bail. bugger.
i am now extraondinatily distrustful of my kiln, and have been torch-firing things today--which is probably not better, but hey! i tried torching some copper paste leaves i'd done ages ago, partially because i was bored of them hanging around, and partiallyto see if i could. they might actually have worked, only they were far toothin, i think next time i need to put AT LEAST twice the paste on. although i had to scrap all of my copper the other day because it had just gone completely weird. having said that, my copper and silver torchfired ring has worked quite well, although i'm not 100%sure it's sintered properly. (but it looks fantastic-i think!)

Monday, 31 May 2010

no work today. boo. childminder has let me down. wah.

Friday, 28 May 2010

right guys--so what have i managed to bugger up this week i hear you ask!
well, to start at the start i suppose. i melted my lovely leaf. and also my lego earrings. the hated kiln was on too hot--i really don't understand--either i just have the most disobedient kiln--or there's something very wrong with what i'm doing!
the emerald ring is going very well, i got some kiln safe ring cores through the other day--so i tried to put the ring over one to fire--ring too small! (oops) three hours of sanding and refining later, and it was perfect! i even managed to fire it without doing something heinous to it, the stone still fits, and it looks lovely!! the only thing i did was accidently break one of the little leaves off-but it was a clean break, and it looked quite nice assymetretrical, so i think i'll just sand the join and leave it. all i have to do now is tidy up the base of the setting so that it looks a bit less scruffy, and hand it over!!
also today i started on a solid copper choker (incidentally to hang my incinerated leaf on) which went ok, it's just going to take some fiddling to get it just right. but i think it will be amazing when i finish (without melting) both leaf and choker.
ooooh-i nearly forgot! one of my disastrous copper rings caught my eye earlier, so i decided to see what i could to rescue it, it had this lovely bubbled texture where it'd gone wrong. so, what i did, was fill the inside of the band with thick paste clay from an old syringe i had hanging around, smoothed it, tried to push it into all the holes, and level the edges. i then torch-fired the silver, which was ok, but everything was stilll a bit flakey, so ifiled it all down so that it was a bit more even, then did the same again-but kiln-fired it this time, and i've not checked it out yet, but i can't wait to see whether i've just about made it passable-or have just completely wrecked it, and wasted a load of metal! on that note, idrilled a hole in the other copper ring, to see if i could see any raw clay--but it seemed solid all the way through--i just don't get what i've done wrong, if you get it wet, it just starts bleeding clay, but seems solid enough whenever i've tried to check it.

Thursday, 20 May 2010


well, had a brilliant party last night, good few women came--more than i've had before (but that's not hard!) everyone had a laugh, and pretty much everyone bought or ordered something! i have another challenging comission, a lady wanteda bottle/locket type thing for a lck of her sons hair--so this week, i will mainly be designing that!! i can't wait! i really love the projects people give me, and am so honoured that they feel comfortable enough to ask me!
i've also been commissioned to make a ring similar to one of my very first trials, that was seen at the last party, a ring that i love! i can't wait to make another.
and one of the charms from the charm-making has been ordered, which was actually very lovely. plus two of my stock pieces. all in all, not a bad nights work!!
roll on tomorrow!!

Monday, 17 May 2010

wey hey-two houses down! i can't remember if i told you that a friend of mine recently commissioned two small house charms for herself and her neighbour. they had lived together since they were little girls, and had both moved out to go to uni, so she thought it would be nice for each of them to have a house charm made, of their very own house! it took me a little while to get around to, as i wasn't sure how best to do it. but in the end i got a reminder, and with a week to the deadline imade a small base, with a 3-d roof, and drew in the detail.
long story short--it was rubbish. so instead i just hand-formed some house shapes, into the shape of the houses (bu-dum-chh) used the 3-d roof i'd made the first time round, (Plus another) and they came out looking great!! i decided to use the more traditional method of engraving into the fired silver, as it looks so much better, and is actually much easier! anyway, i decided that it would be great if the two charms could be linked in some way, so after an hour of filing, i realised it was going to work a lot better if i just hammered the pieces together, to shape the channel for the .......thing.....of the adjoining piece. i very much enjoyed this project when i (eventually!) got around to it. and i'm so glad that i didn't stick with my original plan, just to have something to hand over. mk II ended up ten times better than the first would have done!!

Thursday, 13 May 2010

green goddess

mmm, right, i now have my hands on a stunning princess cut emerald, a very hard to get hold of--setting, and a ring roll on engagement ring!! i've been desperately trying to get hold of a ringmaker, but to my dismay they seem few and far between. wah. oh well--lots of sanding it is then!! i can't decide whether to carve some vines around the setting, or apply the detail around it. mmmm, will have to experiment with that one. i am so nervous about this one, this will be the most expensive thing i've done so far. (and i won't be happy until i know that the stone sits in the setting properly!!)
also, i need to make two small house charms, by SATURDAY which should be interesting, when she said she wanted it by the 20th, i thought she meant june!!!! dear god i hope i've got enough silver!! argh.
so, so excited about the tools i've just ordered-i should have over £140 worth coming soon-so i dearly hope i get the money for my brooches when it's due!
on that note, i haven't finished my plans for tomorrow as i appear to have misplaced my notebook somehow--i've had the damn thing to hand for weeks--i had to lose it TONIGHT! when i actually needed it the most!! therefore i must go to bed, so that i can actually do all the things i need to do tomorrow morning!!
wish me luck!!

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

spring clean

ok, i actyually managed to get out to the studio before midday for once! (thanks to the dogs trip to the vet) argghh, the studio is full of spiders!! really, really big ones!! sooo....finally out of the onservatory,i spent most of today buying plastic boxes, and organising all of my work stuff. it felt really good to try and sort through everything, evven if i did have a complete nightmare due to the dogs getting at my leather thong stash!! also, i called the tax credits people, and i can get some more childcare, so that i can actually get some work done properly!
on the work front, i am still searching for a setting for this emerald, and have had a party booking pfrom one of the ladies from last friday. hmm, sleep now methinks

Sunday, 25 April 2010

party fever!

ok, so i did my second ever party last night, i was very, very nervous! thankfully, it was a very good friend of mine who'd booked it, and another very good friend was attending, so that helped me a lot in the confidence department. in the end, two people showed up, both were interested in ordering work/booking parties, and i sold a very old necklace for £30, which i see as a pretty damn good ratio!! i did a firing demo, but no=one really cared about that, and it was quite difficult for everyone to see, so i'm not sure i'll do that next time. however, everyone enjoyed polishing up some pre-fired pieces, which will come in handy i'm sure!! i was thinking about doing some water-casting, but my attempt at the studio demonstrated that my torch just isn't up to the challenge! the charm-making went down very well, it was miles better than the first party where they did it using silver clay, and i brought a load of moulds and texture sheets, and didn't join in. last night, instead of that, we used wood clay, i was sitting on the floor, and just had a few shaping tools, it was great fun! next time, i think a few more clay shapers are needed, but not a lot else.
over the week, i have also been doing some reasearch, and trying to gather some tips on getting the copper to fire properly. i am beginning to really crave some more time at the studio, but when i'm there it's just so difficult to concentrate! and other than that, the kids came in and crushed the hinge i was working on, on a locket i havee been very slowly making for the last few months! i was so upset that i actually had to leave. on the up side, the large geranium leaf that i snapped mended very well, and was greatly admired on party-night!!

Saturday, 10 April 2010

craft fair chaos

i am now completely knackered after-lets just say, a pretty eventful day!! having actually got myself sorted and packed up in the car to get to the fair (apart from having to also take my smallest, a three-month old baby!) i got to within a mile of my destination, when a simple 4-3 gear change somehow turned into a 4-5 gear change at just the wrong moment, and i eneded up losing a wheel, and two tyres!
thankfully, my table was next to some very lovely people who took pity on me, and offered to babysit while i (belatedly) set up my stall. the highlight of my fair being a woman opposite me, who thought it would be a nice gesture to come and boast to me about the course i have been dying to do, but cannot afford, and tell me very bluntly that my stuff was very pretty, but wasn't real silverwork, and wasn't it just like cheating. fantastic! thank you very much!
the short version of this entry is thus: did a craft fair, sold nothing, left. it was a great day, just very, very expensive!
tip for next show: examples of commission work, wedding pieces etc.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

lesson learnt today--do not fire all of the things you have been working on too hot. one of my beautiful silver leaves is now lots of tiny molten silver balls, my hollow copper bead no longer exists in any real sense, my blank copper ring shank looks like swiss cheese and my pretty leaf ring nearly worked, but has plenty of its own problems! i definately need a new kiln. oh dear.
i have to admit to being slightly disappointed that my copper rings didn't work, although i can't say i'm surprised. they were looking very lovely before they went into the kiln, and i'm definately getting better at my ring making.
i have it in my mind to make a pair of mis-matched fiddles, i hope i get a chance to throw myself into that, it's one of those things i feel i need to do for someone, and for myself.

on the selling front, i have booked myself a table at the dorset art and craft fair in dorchester this saturday, which i'm looking forward to. there are a few things i am slightly concerned about, one is that i haven't got that much new stuff, it's mostly left over from last years failures, and i'm not keen on a lot of it, but maybe i'll change my mind about that when i get it all out of its box for the first in a long time!! the other thing is that i'll have my 3 month old with me, and worry that i'll really struggle with the stall and the baby on my own. i have asked my brother who will be coming to visit if my 10 year old niece would like to come and help be honest i don't know what i'll do if she doesn't! fingers crossed............

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

right, having already written all this (and deleted it) already here goes again!
i had great fun today playing with my new batch of copper, it's very strange after working solely in silver for so long-i've also had to sacrifice some of my tools to the cause, in case i contaminate one metal with the other at the wrong stage. i have experimented with a few methods in the copper, to see how they turn out-i can't wait to get out there next week and see what's happened! i have tried two different ring ideas, one as a complete copper ring, with a leaf-printed shank and berry detail to disguise the join, another, just a basic plain shank, to try and embellish with the silver later on. i have also attempted a hollow bead, and we'll see how that comes out, i'm not sure what i want to do with that yet.
in my spur-of-the-moment search of the studio to try and find my ring mandrel, i also came across some pieces i'd half-finished a year or so ago, that i'd completely forgotten about! two of these i've finished nicely today (although i seem to have misplaced the stone for one of them, that i made a specialised setting for!) and another one i utterly failed to fix (again!) that is to say i fixed the bit that wasn't working-and somehow managed to damage another part, d'oh! i have also discovered that i really do need to buy a new camera, as my phone is not proving a worthy replacement!!

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

copper cobana

right, following much research, and many, now very bored and exasperated friends, i have discovered a copper i can fire in my kiln without having to use activated carbon! i've not been so excited in a long time. i really can't wait to get my hands on it and have a play! i have started my first hairpiece, so far i have the basis for two leaves, hopefully, the copper will come, and then i can make it doubly gorgeous, and be able to display it at the dorset art and craft fair on the 10th. (which i have just completely emptied my cashpot to pay for a pitch at!) i spent a lot of today organising my workstuff, since i am currently using my friends conservatory, instead of the studio. (which is full of spiders, cobwebs, and scaffolding, and coated in sawdust.)
i have a business proposal for a friend of mine, who i'll be seeing over easter, so we'll see how that goes. this afternoon i have also vetted my rather huge parcel from vistaprint, and found 5 mistakes, joy. tomorrow i'm going to try and fire a hollow-form bead i've made as a retirement present, and hope nothing goes wrong!! ok, now i am very tired and must get to bed before i end up typing utter nonsense. over and out.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

mixed metal madness

orchid brooches done!! i have now sold two beautiful orchids for £140. although, being me, i have handed them over before taking any money-i really must stop doing that! the enamel worked out very well, and although i know i shouldn't, i mixed the yellow with a brushful of grass green, without the fondant base, and it was a transparent tint with tiny green spots-just like the flowers themselves-i was very impressed! by using the klyr-fire i was the able to apply the enamel directly onto the flowers, without the need to integrate channels into the design.
i have also refined my guitar picks, and they look fantastic now, and feel amazing. the only thing left is the engraving-which, i have to say, i'm not terribly confident about, hopefully i'll get the guts up next week.
on the reasearch front, i have changed my silver supplier to someone who, although doesn't give me the discount i've been used to, actually stock the things i need. these suppliers also stock copper and bronze, and are running a day-course in aylebury in may on mixing metals. i have been getting very excited about this, and have been trying to arrange a trip up. i'm really looking forward to being able to incorporate the different metals into my designs. this will also allow me to make bigger items, and experiment with more sculpturable designs cost effectively.
i have just ordered some new tools as well, which will hopefully make life a lot easier-but really still need a new kiln, if only i could afford £600! (having said that, if i could sell on my current kiln for £300 it wouldn't be so bad.)

Saturday, 13 March 2010

website wonders

wey hey, thanks to a lovely friend of mine dowloading a web-site maker to my computer i can now take charge of my own website!! so far this has proved fairly idiot-proof, so surely even i shouldn't be able to make it go too badly wrong! this is the single most helpful thing anyone has done! i can now write anything that seems appropriate, change it later, change all of my photos around so that they're not getting terribly out of date, and constantly update the entire site as and when i need, hooray!
i am thinking of setting myself a project inside the theme i am working on, a set of rings. i'm looking to explore the organics idea,, and see how i can translate that into several ring designs. i will make a set of ring bases, and see how many differentt things i can do on that basis. not only will this spur me on in my chosen theme, but will also improve my ring-making skills considerably-which at the moment are basic at best. i am very much looking forward to immersing myself in this project, and as soon as i get paid for the work i am currently completing i will buy the silver and hopefully crack on! (this is assuming that my partner will take his agreement of looking after the children for set hours a week seriously!)
wish me luck.......

Thursday, 11 March 2010

even despite the fact that no-one reads this, i still every now and again, feel the need to write a bit. having had a great summer work-wise last year, i am keen to promote the business this season aswell, the hopefully by next year the season won't control me so much! i am currently trying to promote myself and my work by getting people to book me for jewellery parties-this should enable not only a format for sales, but should also spread the word about what i do and give me the chance to discover what people really want from me, and what i should focus on....sort of like an on-going critique from my customer base.
having no formal tutor or advisor to help guide me, this seems like the bestt idea. i am consiously attempting to move away from the pieces i have, up until now, been making-and focus more on alllowing my own style and methods, and exploring how i feel most comfortable working. i shall continue to work to specifications for commission pieces for the time being, so as not to discourage custom too much, but will most definitely be putting my own spin on things from now on!
i have no idea if i told you about the test party i threw back in the autumn, but it went very well, and i got some great feedback to allow me to perfect the idea, and gave me the chance to ask people what they really wanted from the experience. following on from this experiment, i encountered a lot of problems with my pregnancy and have only just been able to get back to work, unfortunately not as much as i would like yet though. but i am hoping to work things out over the next week to peermit me to get to work more, and hopefully pushing the parties will pay off, and the business from that will aid this.

anyway, in the mean time, i have made a very nice prototype for a pair of orchid brooches i have been asked to make, and have taken this chance to play with some japanese enamels-which turned out very well indeed, and a pair of guitar picks that came out nicer than expected, but i'm having trouble getting up the nerve to do the engraving-which is making the project take a lot longer than expected, and i will now feel quite bad about charging for the work.

i am looking into beginning a range of 'organics' -simple to quite elaborate explorations into natural influences and images. this will involve a lot of paste work at first, and hopefully may lead to something...