Sunday, 12 October 2014

My new Japanese obsession

My daughter Heather and hubby Gaz have returned from their honeymoon in Japan and they brought me a few gifts.

A wonderful postcard book full of amazing images by Higuchi Yuko, the green stick is a green tea chocolate biscuit with a yellow biscuit beside it and fire opals, sodalite, snowflake obsidian and "ugly" pearls.

Get those coins they're so cute,  Cynthia from Beatnheart has made these lovely earrings from Japanese coins

But what I found really fascinating is the attention to detail that is applied to packaging; it's an art form in itself. The word tsutsumu means wrapping and some of their packaging is stunning.

They seem to understand how integral the packaging is for the product; it is part of the experience.

I've been getting some ring practice in and I've done some simple stacker rings in copper.

I'll hopefully, when funds permit, start working on designs in silver. But I do love working in copper, it's so versatile and looks great with gemstones and I've never experienced a green finger!
C U soon xx

Monday, 29 September 2014

New Tings....About time!

Where does the time time go. It just seems to be racing past. Fern is back at school and Heather and Gaz are in Japan on their honeymoon. I must say this is where face book comes into it's own and Heather is able to keep me updated on her adventures with lots of videos and pics. I couldn't even make a phone call when I was in Lynton, so it amazes me how Petra copes with keeping up to date!
I also have a new addition to our family, a new fur baby called Pepper, who is about 18 months old and a rescue cat. Smokey is still not very pleased to have her but I'm persevering with treats and fuss!

Here's Pepper, stopping me from working.

And here's Smokey giving vent to her feelings!

I'm working my way through my stash of artisan goodies and I'm giving my micro torch a good work out too.
This bracelet features ScorchedEarth and Helenjewellery lampwork. It reminds me of  rock pools and the copper clasp features a cat's eye cab that I soldered on.

Next lots of earrings, this first pair has a silver bar  and vintage rhinestone that I soldered together ( after a lot of swearing!)

More rhinestone and Petra leaves.

Garnet cabs, ceramic connectors and copper. The soldering's a bit messy but it adds to the rustic vibe!

This next ones have gorgeous ceramic shells with metal beads on their sides,  iolite cabs and handmade ear posts.

Finally pearls on ladders

I've had to buy another micro torch because the switch on my old one broke and wouldn't lock on!
I'll keep practising, still got a lot to learn. xx

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Summer Holiday Montage

I've been blessed with a wonderful summer holiday. The weather here in Blighty as been unusually sunny and warm..very warm. However the very best thing is that I've been able to spend time in the company of two amazing artists, Lucie of LucieTales and Petra of ScorchedEarthonEtsy and it's been fantastic. 
So part one will cover Lucie's stay and part two will cover my stay in Petra land!

This is Lucie and Loic's second visit to my county and this time we had more time to chat, go book hunting and visit National Trust properties. And drink tea and go to the now legendary Studley car boot, where you can pretty much buy anything you could possibly need. They were again based in the love setting of Aston Cantlow and we had a few fun evenings eating and chatting.

We then went on a visit to Packwood House. The gardens were in full bloom and packed with a riot of colour.

The yews represent the 12 apostles and they are huge!
Inside Packwood is full of rich, carved oak panelling and tapestries adorn the wall. It's great to share these visits with Lucie and to talk about books we enjoy and ideas for our work. This time she was lucky to find my little studio tidier!
All too soon they're visit was over and it was time for them to drive their mobile library home (seriously they are big time book lovers!) and time for me to pack for Lynmouth.

I didn't have one of the best starts to this trip. My cat Smokey was ill on the morning I due to leave. So I had to race her to the vets and pay out £100 on cystitis treatment and then brief Heather on the medication to give her. Thankful she's made a full recovery. Then when I set off  I drove into M5 motorway hell, literally 10 mph for 2 hours! Once off the motorway I was cruising along the coast road until my sat nav decided to redirect me onto the ROAD FROM HELL! It was a bumpy, pot holed track that you could not see around the corner if another vehicle was heading your way and there was a sheer drop to the valley floor! I didn't drive the car for 2 days after that.
The place I was staying at had a view right across the bay and meeting Petra was fantastic. She really has a warm and cheering personality that puts you right at ease and like Lucie time flies in her presence.

Here she is with Fern

Me and Fern did a lot of walking, up cliffs, down valleys and through woodlands. Petra lives in a stunning part of England and I got the chance to nose around her studio and check out the enormous amounts of glazes she has. Her garden is wonderful and full of birds and squirrels. A big shout out to her lovely partner Foxy: it's  such a small world because he used to work in my town!
Don't hate I have a box full of Petra goodies gifted to me and some gorgeous bead goodies from Lucie too.

Below is the valley of the rocks, Fern is paddling in Watersmeet and Lynmouth.

The statue is Damien Hirst's Verity, me and Petra, Heddon Mouth and Heddon Valley and Lynmouth Harbour. 

Inside our holiday let, the view from our window and the beach.

I've had an amazing time and truly wish this summer had lasted longer. I hope you've all being able to enjoy a great summer with friends and loved ones.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

The Wedding Blog

Here at last are the lovely photos taken by Sassy of my daughter Heather and my now son in law Gaz's wedding. Sassy is such an amazing artist, capturing lovely emotional moments and fun times. It's a bit like having your own movie with all the stills done for you.

To begin with it was raining, but by tea time it was dry and glorious. I loved Fern's boots!

 And the tears start. It was a lovely service, warm and intimate.

 A big thank you to the Barn at Studley for allowing free reign for photos. It's such an amazing shop.

A big thank you to Petra for the wonderful Mr and Mrs Superhero cake topper.  

The cake was a massive under taking and both me and Heather were pleased it tasted great, despite it's rustic appearance.  But if we weren't so strapped for cash I would have let a proper cake maker do it! And thanks to Lynda for the lovely cup cakes.

The lads..and goodness me where did those wee superheros come from! xx

 The girls - giving it modelling 101. They looked amazing and looked out for my girls xx.

I was very pleased with how the bouquets turned out. Worth the burnt fingers and welts from hours of wire wrapping.

 I was thrilled that all the decor pieces came together and everyone enjoyed the masks and comics.

 Girls just wanna have fun.

Taking a breather.

The happy couple. Hair by my mate Micheal  
He also did mine. Hair accessories and jewellery, including the groom's me  : )

The day went wonderfully, far too quick but with so much love and laughter. The evening was suitably raucous with 2 of Hev's and Gaz's friends singing for them and lots of dancing and well earned drinks!
I ended up making 5 different hats and remaking an entirely different dress after having a melt down and hating the suit I spent weeks making! It was the right decision...the little black dress never fails. Fern did so well, but couldn't wait to get into her superhero outfit in the evening.
It was so worth the effort, it is a day that will always raise a smile and a heart filled with joy. xx

Sunday, 15 June 2014

The Ever Expanding Blog Post

Well not so expanding blog from me, but as I know, since I'm not the most prolific posters, it's so difficult to find the time to get involved in all these creative blog hops and to keep up with the impossible demands of social networking. I'm an old fashioned girl at heart and prefer a good old chat face to face or at least old style land line telephones. I can't be doing with all this chasing signal nonsense and tiny number keys with these new mobiles!
Anyway I digress. Firstly a big thank you to Leah Curtis for inviting me. And here are the questions and answers.

What am I working on at the moment?
A couple of skully earrings and I'm working on a specialist wedding shop for alternative brides. I'm going to be making some more hair accessories and I've invested in some lovely ceramic pretties which will be made into some fine new bridal pieces. I will also be making more bridal bouquets since that worked out really well for my daughter's wedding.

How does my work differ from others of it's genre?
I'm not sure what genre I fall into, since I'm so eclectic in my own tastes. A little tribal, a little primitive, a touch of shabby steampunk with a dose of punk rebellion. A lot of lovely folk have described my work as whimsical and I feel that there is a feel of English eccentricity. My main loves are textiles and colour. I use and abuse colour with great abandon. I take an ethical approach to the materials I use. I re-work vintage finds and I use recycled sterling silver for my ear wires, which I source from Birmingham. I use only handmade ceramics and lampwork. I strongly believe in handmade and in supporting handmade artisans.

Why do I create what I do ?
I can't imagine not making and creating. I'm at my happiest and most relaxed when I'm producing jewellery. My intention is to create original, expressive pieces that bring joy to their wearers. I enjoy the process of creating a piece from scratch and learning new skills. I like exploring design ideas and creating an elegant solution for attaching beads and components. I also make other stuff including bags, dresses and hats!
The black dress I made for my daughter's wedding and my new in law Lynda.

How does your creative process work?
I like to play with my components and I make an unholy mess spreading out beads and metal and textile scraps. I like this kind of no rules exploring and the liberation of not following a plan but just going with an organic evolving design. My previous work was within garden design and this greatly influences my work. I love the unfurling of new fern fronds and the structures of petals and leaves. The way nature layers petals and leaf shapes against barks and rocks all without written's a joy.

Well that's enough from me and on 23rd of June it will be the turn of a wonderfully gifted artisan and lovely friend , Lucie of Lucie Tales and if you've not had the chance to view her blog please do. It's full of beautiful pictures and her gorgeous work.

Friday, 30 May 2014

New Tings for Summer

Well I'm slowly recovering from the wedding and getting back into my creating groove. My daughter Heather's wedding was an amazing day full of fun, smiles and a few bevies and a whole lot of dodging dancing and superhero posing. Photos will follow soon.
A big thank you for all the lovely comments on the beadsoup blog hop, I really enjoyed looking at the amazing work and I hope I covered as many blogs as I could. If I missed you please feel free to soundly slap me!
So I've been back to creating and I've enjoyed using lots of goodies from   
                                                Mari Carmen,                                                                             Kim

First up this silk braided necklace loaded with artisan goodies

Earrings next and a little mismatched boho pair

More gold

Roman glass, framed in copper and salvaged cast metal triangles

Kind of Aztec style 

Ceramic, bone and vintage barrel beads

Glossy and shimmery lampwork, ceramic and a hammer pounded brass bead!
Lastly ceramic, Thai glass and faceted metal

Now just got to load up into my shop and get my head around the Etsy tinkering that's been going on..
see you soon xx