Tag Archives: Gemstone jewellery

Another Cabochon wire wrapped

So my personal challenge continues,

I have finished the first cab, with swirls at the base although I chose not to add gemstones in the centre of the swirls, as Jan had done.

I am never going to reproduce exactly, nor to the standard the wire wrapping as the guest designers do, they have many more experience than I do, and to be honest more interest. I have said on many occasions I am a bead weaver at heart, I love tiny seed beads and am also working on a challenge to create 2 5cm x 5cm beaded squares. In fact Laura Binding, another JM Wirework Guest Designer frequently states that she can never replicate a design, she can show you how she got there, but as much of the designing is freehand, and the gemstones are all unique, you are never going to reproduce an exact copy. I think that is an important point to remember, especially if you get disheartened because a piece isn’t the exact image of a designers piece, its always going to be unique to you.

So, this is my second Cab, wire wrapped really quite simply using the square wire.

Differently wrapped Cab
Differently wrapped Cab

 

Jewellery Maker Bundle – Jan Dwyer

I have been a little disheartened lately, I randomly buy items from JM, I do try to restrict myself depending on what expenditure I have that month so in reality some months I purchase nothing others maybe one or two bundles.

I enter competition after competition, the latest one being the Alison Tarry Cat for Halloween, which I didn’t win obviously, but this week I fancied a new challenge.

My dilemma came from really wanting to do the Prong setting workshop with Alison, I could sit and study youtube, or buy a dvd but I find I learn better in the classroom environment, where there is a focus on learning, and less normal day to day stuff to distract me. However there is a big BUT ….

I find the courses at JM expensive, ok they probably aren’t in reality if you think you get a kit, you get fed, you get drinks, you don’t get a qualified trained tutor but you do get one of the designers they employ so qualified by skill I guess but as the silver clay course which I would love to do is £149, the prong setting £89 they are in my opinion a considered purchase. Currently, I work full time, I am a fully qualified accountant, I have two children, I own a house and an old car all of these things come before me, and mean that having a spare £90 + petrol money + hotel accommodation means these classes are in reality out of my budget for the time being.

So, I decided to teach myself wire work, and set myself a challenge, can I achieve all the jewellery created if I use the kit which inspired the designers?

I picked Jan’s wirework on with square wire as it felt a little different to the usual round wire.

The kit contains:

10cts Pyrite Plain Rounds Approx 2mm
3m Silver Plated Copper Square Wire Approx 0.50mm
3m Silver Plated Copper Square Wire Approx 0.80mm
3m Silver Plated Copper Square Wire Approx 1.00mm
47cts Silver Colour Coated Pyrite Graduated Plain Rounds Approx From 3 to 4mm, 30cm Strand.
50cts Black Agate With Quartz Pear Cabochon Approx 40x30mm
50cts Black Stripe Agate Oval Cabochon Approx 40x30mm
50cts Blue Stripe Agate Faceted Oval Cabochon Approx 40x30mm
5cts Clear Quartz Plain Rounds Approx 2mm
60cts Black Agate With Quartz Oval Cabochon Approx 40x30mm

Watch this space to see how I get on!

JM Kit
JM Kit

Tippy toes in the craft fair zone

So, I vowed I wouldn’t go back to the world of craft fairs, but this time for a very tiny fee my friend was arranging a craft fair so I agreed to come along.

You may of read my previous rants about craft fairs, and in honestly this was exactly the same, but there were some key differences.

Craft Fair @ Eden Hotel Grantham
Craft Fair @ Eden Hotel Grantham

Firstly, the cost of me getting in was equivalent to a bottle of wine, and I donated a small agate necklace with sterling silver findings as a tumbola gift.

Secondly the other stall holders were friendly, all made the effort to socialise, and boost each others confidence.

Thirdly, whilst the Hotel probably wasn’t the best venue in the world for a craft fair, it was on a main road (2 minutes walk from my house), the room was spacious, it had air con (when the staff remembered to switch it on). It was marketed on social media, and had a board outside.

All in all, I actually enjoyed the fair, chatting to the people as they wandered in for a look, leaving their partners in the bar.

The table was there for me, and marked up so no confusion. I had a suitcase, battered, vintage but served a purpose. I up ended it, made a metal flashing for the inside and double sided sticky tape to hold up the craft kits.

I sold enough to cover my costs that day, no profit but that was to be expected, there was a steady stream of browsers, but overall it was an interesting experience!

 

National Beading Week – Jean Power Secret Beadlong

 

 

 

People Chain x 12

 

 

 

A secret beadalong I hear you ask, what on earth is that ?

The super awesome amazing Jean Power in her capacity as a #NBW ambassador created the most amazing secret beading project, which over 4000 beaders worldwide are taking part in, for FREE!

The aim is to spread the love of beading, the instructions were clear, do some preliminary beading (if you want to) and then each day during National Beading Week the next step of instructions is emailed out.

So, am running a little behind but will still get them done this weekend (I hope) the fun of course is seeing what we are making.

In the beginning it could of been a ring, a bracelet, brooch, necklace it was a complete surprise.  I also discovered that its quite tricky to select colour schemes for a project when you have no visual idea of the end piece so its been a bit a revelation in my creative mind. Afterall its tricky to pick colours at the best of time which I imagine is why kits are so hugely popular in the beading world, I tend to stick to a purple themed colour palette, so I was fairly confident that my colours regardless of the project would blend beautifully, I did however use real miniature cultured pearls in the first piece – since I discovered Jewellery Maker I avoid all fake & glass beads where possible, obviously I need to caveat that as delicas, seed beads are all glass beads and not gemstones but sadly its virtually impossible to create some of the intricate beaded designs with gemstones as they simply can’t be faceted, or made uniform enough to be used in intricate bead woven designs such as this bracelet I created

#nationalbeadweek bracelet
#nationalbeadweek bracelet using delicas 

Now the piece is coming together, and I have seen (and printed out) the instructions for days 5 & 6 I realise that it will be a pendant, and I am guessing that we just thread the pendants on the beaded chain to complete the piece (unless there is a twist!) but regardless I am happy with the Greens, Gold and Purples I used.

Preliminary Beading for Jean Powers secret beadalong challenge.
Preliminary Beading for Jean Powers secret beadalong challenge, So using 5 Rivoli’s, size 15 seed beads and some size 11 delicious here are my starting pieces. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A beaded flower - day 3 challenge piece
A beaded flower – day 3 challenge piece using Superduo beads , size 11 seed beads 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#NBW day 1, pearls!
#NBW day 1, pearls!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 #NBW Delicas and Crystals (Bicones)
Day 2 #NBW Delicas and Crystals (Bicones)

Pearl Cluster Necklace

Pearl Cluster Necklace
Pearl Cluster Necklace, created using silver plated wire, and the standard tiara twist this pendant was turned in to a necklace by the addition of silver plated chain, and clasp.

 

Notice the focal detail by the s hook clasp, an additional 3 pearls, simple additional feature which just adds a small amount of detail at the rear of the piece instead of all focus being at the front.

 

 

 

 

Simple Instructions for replication ….

Take a strand of Pearls

0.40mm Silver Coloured Wire (about a metre)

Silver Plated Chain, Jumprings, HeadPin, and Clasp of your choice

 

Take a couple of pearls on the wire, and begin to form spiral, twist the wire as you form a spiral and add pearls gently, so not to strain the wire. Be random, feed the wire in and out of the shape already formed until you have a sizeable pendant.

Neatly finish the wire off!

Cut two chains for the necklace, this really depends on how long you want the necklace to be, ranging from choker to naval the decision is yours!

Using a couple of jump rings, add the clasp at on end, and using just a jump ring attach the other end of the chain to the pendant.

If you wish to add the focal pearls on the clasp, drop 3 pearls on the headpin, turn a loop and attach to the jump ring.

 

Be flexible, enjoy and don’t get too hung up on neatness in wirework! Allow your creative juices to flow ………..

Happy Birthday Mummy!

Citrine & Moonstone strands
Citrine & Moonstone strands, rondelles and disks

So, its my mums birthday!

I wont mention her age but she loves long necklaces.

This was a JM Kit, purchased on the 1st April, 2015 on the Late show in which Fleur Hastings had a similar style necklace on air, my mum liked it so I got the “mini bundle”, coupled it with some wire left over from the Laura Binding Kit and made it more “friendly & wearable”, so less imposing, and easier to slip on and off without the need for a clasp.

Personally I prefer choker style ones, but given she has arthritis in her hands (and virtually every other part of her body) she does struggle with clasps and chains.

So whilst I know this creation would look amazing with a clasp on the end of the Moonstone & Citrine mix instead of the Gold Plated chain she wouldn’t wear it if I hadn’t added the chain!

IMG_5577
Jasper leaf, with Citrine & Moonstone 0.25mm Bronze wire for the Tiara weave, on 0.8mm Bronze coloured wire frame to make it more leafy, and Autumnal (ok its kind of out of season)
IMG_5598
Tiara weave on the Jasper leaf, with a bronze wire frame, Moonstone & Citrine necklace, and additional Gold Plated chain to make the piece a slip over your head instead of a clasp & hook piece owing to my mums struggle with arthritis

Jewellery Party – Happy Birthday

Jewellery Birthday Party
Jewellery Birthday Party

So last weekend we had a birthday party! A jewellery birthday party, 7 girls, all around 12 years old all wanting to make different things.

My basket was raided, absolutely raided, I took seed beads, elastic, silk cords, waxed cords, sari silks, general findings all sorts of jewellery items and the girls had such fun.

The creative juices were flowing, initially we all made a sari silk bracelet with a magnetic clasp, they each chose a silver finding to thread on, and then as the glue dried they moved on to threading seed beads on elastic or wire, they made rings, bracelets, choker necklace, long stringy necklaces, sari silk and seed bead hair grips each taking home several items, in a pretty fabric party bag.

The party was hosted by #craftybetty and some of the stringing materials we used were from #jewellerymaker, the silk was from #yarn-yarn, it was great to see the girls having fun and learning too.

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Gemstone Collar

Sari silk & gemstone beaded collar
Sari silk & gemstone beaded collar

Inspired by the lovely JM designer Sheila Davies I have been busy working on this sari silk and gemstone collar piece, using a variety of sari silk ruffles & flowers meticulously sew in to place then decorated by a variety of gemstones from a bead scoop this collar piece is truly original.

It’s quite heavy so more of a winter piece of jewellery to wear than a summer collar, this means that the necklace needs to be durable and in keeping with the collar so I am considering kumihimo with sari silk ribbon intertwined with a length of  chain.

 

Sewing and Lace workshop @ JM Towers

Sheila Davies with my lace and pearl piece
Sheila Davies with my lace and pearl piece
Pearl & Lace Collar Piece by Sheila Davies
Pearl & Lace Collar Piece by Sheila Davies

On Valentines day I got up ridiculously early, bag packed the night before, tool kit at the ready I had my travel tea cup filled, my breakfast bars on standby as I zoomed off in search of Redditch!

My destination was the Sewing and Pearls workshop, taught by Sheila Davies (resident designer at jewellery maker). I made it in plenty of time, not liking pearls nor lace this was going to be a challenge.

However, that is precisely the reason I decided to take the workshop, sometimes you learn more whilst working out of your comfort zone. My comfort zone is tiny beads, peyote, right angle weave, brick, albion, herringbone stitches and shortly the hubble stitch (watch this space but the awesome Bead School Mel has designed a new stitch, a book is being written as I type!) and french wirework beading.

Asymetrical Lace, Wire, Chain and Pearl Necklace by Sheila Davies
Asymetrical Lace, Wire, Chain and Pearl Necklace by Sheila Davies

I have been to Jewellery maker before, so the building, the layout was familiar to me, the workshop environment wasn’t. Previously I have only attended a sunday experience, I am desperately trying to get on another but try as I might I haven’t been successful yet 🙁

Fascinator with Pearls & Feathers by Sheila Davies
Fascinator with Pearls & Feathers by Sheila Davies

I was expecting a kit, demos, instructions, and finished items to view as inspiration pieces, interaction with other guest designers & presenters etc However, this wasn’t quite what the day turned out to be…….

Cabachon, & Gem pendants by Sheila Davies
Cabachon, & Gem pendants by Sheila Davies

I will say, Sheila is a wonderful lovely lady, who is kind, generous and incredibly helpful she allowed us the freedom and creativity to design our own pieces as the day progressed, I actually moved away from lace and on to Sari silk ribbon which I have to say I much prefer to work with.  Sheila, I love, she isn’t your conventional teacher, but she is a patient, and thought provoking one. As such there were no instructions, no detailed diagrams of the course objectives for the day but there were inspirational pieces. Including those I have pictured throughout this blog post.

Around the room she displayed her pieces, allowed us to use her stash of pearls, lace, needles etc without the need initially to dip into our “kits” which consisted of a strand of pearls, 2 backing pieces of material, monofilament, and pieces of white lace.

Lace, Soutache, Pearl, and Chain Hair Comb by Sheila Davies
Lace, Soutache, Pearl, and Chain Hair Comb by Sheila Davies

Sheila dished out bead scoops, cut additional backing material up for us to use, gave us access to her pearl stash, quartz etc so I ended up making a piece that isn’t at all something I would of ever dreamt of creating, and then I moved on to creating (and am still creating) what I think will be my favourite piece using Sari silk ribbon and the bead scoop.

Pearl Bridal Collar by Sheila Davies @ JM
Pearl Bridal Collar by Sheila Davies @ JM

Another part of the course is the opportunity to meet the presenters and guest designers on the shows that day. I would love the opportunity to become a guest designer, sadly I suspect my area of specialism is too small & time consuming for JM, bead weaving is my passion, I love creating a bezel for a cab using peyote or albion stitch, adjusting the size of the beads to enable a tight secure bezel, cubic right angle weave, basic right angle weave (ladder weave to JM viewers) and much more, not all bead weaving needs to be done with tiny seed beads and personally I think there are many jewellery makers out in the big wide word who would love to learn a simple daisy stitch, create cubic weaves one day maybe my dream will come true!

I have to say some presenters & guest designers were much friendlier and lovely than they come across on the television, others sadly for whatever reason failed to acknowledge the workshop attendees, or if they did, it was glaringly obvious to several workshop attendees that the acknowledgement was done begrudgingly.

Pearl and Lace Hairpieces  by Sheila Davies
Pearl and Lace Hairpieces by Sheila Davies

Two of the presenters on Saturday were Ali Defoy, and Lucy Nicholls. Ali & Lucy are simply the loveliest, kindest friendliest most down to earth hilarious people I met on the day, along with the lovely Scott who was standing in for Wendy (workshop co-ordinator), and obviously Sheila. Each of these people took time out of their busy day to come into the workshop room, interact with the attendees, delight, encourage oooh and aaahhh over the our creations, share the delights of the strands which had been or were going on air.  This was before Ali went on air, & after Lucy had been on air, and then they popped back again a few hours later to make sure that they both the time to say goodbye to us, just as the lovely Elena had done when I met her on the Sunday experience last year.

Silk Sari Ribbon
Silk Sari Ribbon
Sari Silk & Gemstone Collar piece, designed by Fiona, inspired by Sheila Davies - work in progress
Sari Silk & Gemstone Collar piece, designed by Fiona, inspired by Sheila Davies – work in progress

During the day Sheila gave us an insight in to stiffening lace, staining white to an antique tea colour (using a tea bag!) and some of her design methodology. She virtually emptied her stash of lace encouraging us to take more pieces to create with, she willingly (or so it appeared) popped here there and everywhere looking for glue, wire mesh, sari silks, and other samples of products that we may not of used or tried previously.

I love teaching myself, but I also love taking classes. I am always looking to learn something new, the inspiration you can get from being around other jewellery designers makes for a vibrant buzzing atmosphere – I really would love to go again and learn something new, maybe a silver clay or wirework workshop next!