Saturday, 21 February 2009

Half-Term Happenings

Well, it went by in a flash, didn't it?

Lots to show you. Firstly, the gallery wanted some earrings to go with the squiggle pendants I left there last week:

These are hammered just to widen the curves - and to strengthen the metal.

While these are more heavily hammered to give a texture which means that the light bounces in all directions making them very twinkly.

And these are three squiggles soldered together and very lightly hammered for strength. It was a bit of a fiddle working with such small scrolls, but I was pleased with the outcome.

Because these need polishing to bring up the shine - and because it's half-term and therefore no class at college where I use the big polisher - I had to get out my polishing machine. This hasn't been installed (bolted down to the workbench, dust extraction mechanism devised, cowling to prevent polish going everywhere) yet, so I did a bit of a Heath Robinson and put it into a cardboard box to try and contain the bits of polish which fly in all directions. It worked - but the box kept moving with the vibration of the machine. It was all a bit awkward holding the earrings under the polishing mops while holding the whole thing on the workbench with my elbow!

I left the polisher in situ... and obviously Cleo decided to investigate and rub herself up against the mops...
We now have a tortoiseshell and pink cat!!

I've also been working on a commission for my lovely chum, Anne. A long, long necklace (34"):
There are loads of pearls and then sea glass, chalcedony, fluorite, crystals, blue lace agate and amazonite. Part of the necklace is made with chain and little dangles of the semi-precious stones.

And also for Anne, a kilt pin to be worn with a beige cardigan:

This has Tigers Eye, nephrite, poppy jasper, rhyolite, ocean jasper, fancy jasper, moonstone, Botswana agate, smoky quartz and crystals. There is also mix of gold plate and copper.

There were three sets that also got made this week:

Turquoise rondelles with loads of silver.
Gorgeous lampwork by Clare Scott coupled with sea glass, Swarovski Crystals, black onyx and Sterling Silver. I'm pleased to report that Clare really liked it! It's always a bit of a concern that the lampwork artist will be disappointed with what you've done with their beads, so it's great to get positive feedback from them!

Hang on, I hear you cry, that's only two sets... you said there were three. Correct! I didn't get time to photograph the third set before it was sold! It was Amazonite and silver. It was really pretty and I'm hoping to make something using the same beads - in a different pattern - this week, so you'll get to see something like it soon.

Anyway, it sold at our first visit to the HBOS offices in Bristol. Wow, what beautiful offices they are too. We were selling in their vast atrium which is five stories high and has a glass roof, so the light was fantastic. And we sold LOADS! Absolutely brilliant. And really lovely people too. We're booked to go back about once a month for the rest of the year and really looking forward to it.

So that's about it for jewellery.

On the home front, the big news of the week is that Tom turned 17 yesterday. I know I'm biased but I couldn't wish for a better son. He is a kind, thoughtful, clever and gorgeous boy. And I'm terrifically proud of him and all his achievements. Can you tell?

Last weekend we went to a Sweet Sixteen party and the invitation said we should 'Dress to Impress' - so we all donned our poshest togs. Here's the rest of the family as we're about to set off:
And no, there's no picture of me. I'm the photographer in the family and rarely feature in the pictures. Needless to say, I looked absolutely gorgeous!! LOL!!!

So, that's got you call caught up on events at this end.

I hope you've all had a good week, whatever you've been up to. Have a terrific weekend and I'll be back next week with the next exciting installment.

Much love to all.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Lots of news!

Remember in the last entry I mentioned a local shop wanting some summer jewellery? Well, I took a selection yesterday and the owner took three sets to try in the shop (including Paddling Pools and Fiesta Summer, shown below) and bought a Shaggy Loop bracelet for herself!

She really liked some of the other items I'd taken, but didn't think they'd be suitable for her shop, so recommended that I try the gallery down the road. I called in and made an appointment for today.

I took my pieces in this afternoon and the owner has kept 10 items to display! TEN!!! She loved the squiggle pendants and has taken practically all my stock, so guess what I'll be doing for the next few days? She also took some with lampwork beads, so some of my favourite lampworkers will be represented in the gallery too.

So, if you happen to be in Clevedon anytime, make for Hill Road (loads of other fabulous shops too - super wool shop and don't mention the handmade chocolate shop!) and find Estuary and Fizz - and seek out my stuff. And, if you'd be so kind, make oooo and aaaahh noises over my bits and bobs!! Thanks.

To catch you up, here are the new squiggles the top two of which are now in Fizz.

The one above is made with three pieces of wire, soldered together and gently hammered.
The one below is four pieces, two long, two short, soldered and rather more heavily hammered!

The next one isn't quite right, hence it not going to the gallery, but it's getting there. This is the path I really want to take - to marry my love of silver and my passion for lampwork beads.

The stunning bead is by the ever-talented Isabelle Anderson. I love Izzy's beads, they're so perfect.

Look out for more of this sort of thing coming soon. Also, there will be some squiggle earrings in the next week or so.

On top of all that excitement, Sarah and I are busy sorting out our shows for the summer. When it's so cold and icy it's hard to imagine how hot and sunny it will be (hopefully) by the time we come to do these shows. I think we deserve a good summer, don't you?

Right, I think I'm going to open a bottle of wine in celebration of a really good couple of days.

Cheers, everyone!

Friday, 6 February 2009

Thinking Summer!

A local shop has asked to see some colourful summery sets - so I've been sat here wearing a vest, T-shirt, sweatshirt, thick cardigan, ski socks and my thickest trousers with the halogen heater about three inches away from me, looking out at the snow and trying to think of warm, summer days. Boy, it was hard!!

Here's the results:

These are mainly shell with glass spacers. I do like the beads with the holes - it's a challenge to find something that fits exactly.

These wiggly beads are an old favourite - and give a more delicate look. The coloured beads are shell.

More shell here with some Mother of Pearl.

And lastly a real zinger! The small beads are shell and the large nuggets are dyed agate. I got them at the Chepstow show last Sunday.

These next two use beads that I bought at the NEC on Monday - and aren't part of the summer range!

This one uses Spider Web Agate which I love. The black beads are Onyx and I've used lots of Sterling Silver which sets up a good contrast.

The name is from Lake Tawakoni State Park in Texas where a communal spiders' web measured 200 yards (180 m) across. Entomologists believe it may be the result of social cobweb spiders or of spiders building webs to spread out from one another.

I, for one, definitely won't be visiting there any time soon!

And this one features one of my all-time favourite stones - Picasso Jasper. These flat cylinders are my new favourite shape - so you'll be seeing more of those in various stones.

This last one belongs to a friend who asked me to repair it. Have a guess how old it is?

Well, it has been in her family for over 100 years having been bought back from Africa. It's so modern looking isn't it?

We did pretty well at Clerical Medical on Wednesday and it was great to get back into selling-mode. We have, today, secured another office selling venue - and this is a BIG one in Bristol. We're really chuffed.

Martha got her snow days - no school yesterday or today. Tom was also off. We didn't get too much snow and what we had mostly melted away quickly. We are kept just that little bit warmer by the Bristol Channel. It's always a degree or two higher here than even a couple of miles inland.

Not sure what we're up to this weekend - I think the forecast is for it to be very cold, so maybe we'll just stay in and snuggle up on the sofa. Sounds like a plan to me.

Hope you haven't been too badly affected by the snow.

Have a great weekend and keep warm.

Much love.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Back in harness...

Today is our first event since the onslaught of the pre-Christmas selling. We are in at Clerical Medical offices selling in their canteen. We aren't expecting too much in the way of sales, but it will be good to get back into selling mode.

And it will be interesting to see our customers' (many of whom we're getting to know quite well after our visits there last year) reactions to our new ranges that we've been developing during January.

My squiggle pendants are evolving at quite a rate now.

Here's a triple squiggle pendant:

It's fun to make the individual squiggles and play with them until I get an overall shape that I'm happy with - a bit like doing a jigsaw.

For the next one, I thought I'd try to incorporate something else into the squiggles. I had got these hammered domes, so I bent the wire around them and soldered them in place.

I'm pleased with the way it's turned out. I've called it Islands in the Stream... which is an early nod to Comic Relief as Rob Brydon (Bryn) and Ruth Jones (Nessa) from TV’s Gavin & Stacey are duetting on the charity single. It's released on 9th March and Red Nose Day is on 13th.

I'm currently trying to work out a way to raise money through my blog for Comic Relief... watch this space.

Had a super couple of days... Sunday I went to Chepstow Bead Fair to give my mate, Julie Fountain of Lush Lampwork, a hand with her stall. And then on Monday (yes, through all that snow) the two of us went to Spring Fair at the NEC. I bought lots of lovely new Sterling Silver beads and loads of fabulous new beads... which you'll be seeing over the next few weeks. I'm itching to get to them.

But first, I must away and get packed up for today. Wish us luck!

Hope you're all coping with whatever snow you've had - we had quite a lot on Monday night which all disappeared yesterday, but we're forecast a load on Thursday/Friday. Martha has her fingers crossed as she felt hard done by not having a snowday yesterday.

Take care, all, and keep warm.

Much love