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.
So, I started my challenge, I selected my first JM designer inspired piece, this rather pretty square wire wrapped cabochon enhanced by the 2mm clear quartz.
The reason I selected this first, is because its the one I spotted being demonstrated on air, hence it looked like a fairly simple piece to begin with ….
So, I started with the Cabochon, and the 0.80mm silver plated square wire, I added 0.25mm round wire in to the kit, to form the cradle at the bottom, and to wire wrap the gems on the frame because the narrowest square wire was too chunky to fit through the gems.
This is clearly cheating but as Jan did the same on air I figured I would allow myself the wire but I guess technically I failed because its not possible to create the jewellery in the kit without this addition…. and this was the point I was looking to prove, can you make all the jewellery the designers show on air with the kits JM sell?
The answer is in this case NO you can’t, but lets see if there are enough gems to complete the jewellery set.
So its not finished, but here is the start of my wire wrapped cabochon. Only another 3 more to go, and a bracelet 🙂
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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 ………..
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!
So on Saturday I received a message, could I make 10 bracelets, to be sold in aid of a cancer charity. Well of course I could, instead of glass beads, or plastic I decided to give the charity a sporting chance I elected to use Gemstones.
Its hard, incredibly hard to be given a palette of colours to work towards & interrupt a logo into real beads. The issue encountered is that tablet, tv, computer screens all distort colour slightly, couple that with the camera, whether that be a phone or uber high tech digital or SLR camera used to photograph the beads for sale, not to mention the lighting conditions used to view & originally photograph under and you can start to see why selecting beads remotely is difficult.
Its also worth remembering that on the colour spectrum there are also variations of a colour, a purple shade has an entire spectrum of colour from a pale lavender through to almost black purple so even one strand of beads dyed purple, may not be exactly the same shade as the next strand of purple beads dyed purple. To illustrate this point, compare the 2 photos below, of the same beads but under 2 different lighting conditions, they give off different hues.
Obviously the Gemstones are all unique, but a lapidarist has made them in to 8mm rounds (not perfect but then they are gemstones not factory mass produced glass from moulds or plastic)
I set to the JM website, and selected a few strands:
Fushsia Quartz, Purple Dyed Quartz, Lavender Shaded Quartz and a strand of Purple Magnesite.
Each strand was roughly 160cts, 35cm in length, and contained approx. 49 beads – this is useful to know, because it enables you to calculate exactly how many strands are required to make a set number of bracelets, at a predetermined length.
Here’s the maths bit! Each bracelet contains 23 beads, I had 5 strands of beads, in 4 colours. 23 is an odd number, so obviously symmetry wasn’t going to be easy to establish, but I did decide to try and make them colour graduated, from light to dark, or dark to light depending in which way you wear the bracelet.
The great thing about gemstone bracelets is the weight, and cool sensation of the cold stone as it touches your wrist. They don’t feel or look flimsy, they have a lovely clink about them!
Crafty Betty also wanted a tag, or charm with the name on, attaching to the bracelets. Well on Sunday morning, Debbie Kershaw, stamping guest designer was on, so I did, I confess treat myself to a new set of stamping letters (lower and upper case), and a kit. Crashing Waves, check back another day to see what I actually create with it, but that was my birthday treat to me.
Now the number of letters in the name “crafty betty” is significant, as it really doesn’t make stamping easy! I did order some large tags from JM, flower shaped but these just look ridiculously large against the 8mm gemstone bracelets, so I used some older (not silver plated) tags I already owned. These do look, “handmade”, and I think have a certain charm about them, however for my own personal taste they are too cluttered, too many letters on a small tag.
Use an ultra fine black permanent marker to mark the centre & edges of where you want the letters to be stamped.
Then use the ultra fine permanent marker to colour in the letters, this means you don’t need to worry about patinas etc.
This is the clever bit ….. Your stamp probably looks a mess after being coloured in and doodled on, but a simple wipe over with nail varnish remover on cotton wool (wearing gloves if you have gel nails like me) will remove the surface pen marks with ease. Do leave the pen to dry for a short period of time before wiping off, otherwise the pen marks in the letters may lift out too.
I wandered in to the workshop room blurry eyed, clutching a paper cup of McDonalds tea to see what delights Sheila Davies had managed to grab for us. (Sheila I have met many times, she is so lovely if you do ever get the chance to go on a workshop with her, do it!)
Also on the experience was a lovely lady called Scarlett, (she had hair to match her name, lush flowing locks of scarlett wavy hair), I sat next to her. Opposite us, a mum & daughter team who had literally spent the past week at the studios, they had taken a few workshops and driven over from Hull on a mini break (now thats my kind of mini break if only I had the time (and the money)!)
Sheila, looking lovely as always gave us a selection of beady treats to chose from, I ended up with a lovely variety of shell pearls. Now I have to confess shell pearls don’t grab my imagination normally so I guess thats why the Sunday experience is such fun, the challenge is to create something in the 4 hours, with just the items provided, and these probably won’t be to your taste. The best part is, its free!
For some reason I suffered from a creative blank, my brain just didn’t want to function that morning, normally I am simply buzzing with inspiration, too many ideas that I never really know where to start! Sadly because of my creative block I wasn’t too impressed with the items I made, this necklace I do love though. It was designed with my mum in mind, she struggles to fasten necklaces up so this slips over her head with ease.
Its simple, elegant and took hardly any time at all to whip up! The sections of 3 pearls are faceted shell pearls, the singles are more a mulberry colour but with a smooth finish. The chain is silver plated, and the pearls are attached via headpins with the end snipped off & a simple loop in its place.
On air that morning was Carol, she was a fab fun presenter & host, really easy to talk too, on and off air, along with Fleur, the chainmaille expert. Going on air was more relaxed this time around, it wasn’t as scary because I had done it previously, I actually quite enjoyed the experience but just wish my brain had engaged that morning and I could of created something awesome 🙁
Mid Morning I met Rebecca (Beccy) she is truly lovely, unbelievably was wearing the most fabulous pair of shoes with gems hanging off them! The lovely Laura Binding was waiting in the wings to go on air in the afternoon, for DI show so let the Sunday Experience peeps touch her designs. They were stunning (as always for Laura) I also got the opportunity to show her my piece inspired by her (via photo I didn’t have the piece with me sadly) but still she showed a generous amount of appreciation in support of my amateur efforts 🙂
I am going to make more of an effort to purchase kits, and review them, this Laura Binding Bangle was a kit (I reviewed a couple of months ago) as I am always intrigued how far a kit will go, this kit I ran out of the lower thinner wire gauges (0.25mm & 0.4mm) but had plenty of the 0.8mm left on the reel. I barely touched the pearls, but used half a strand of the pyrites. I find watching, and pausing the videos back on youtube helps significantly too! Am getting an expert at that 🙂 but in the meantime, i am back on the bead weaving with my beloved seed beads …. watch this space its the Beadworkers Guild annual gathering this weekend @ Daventry who knows what I will create!