Must try harder…

Yes, I know, it’s been some while. What have I been doing? Well, amongst other things I’ve been producing lots of jewellery, the latest lot of which I’m going to share here. I’ve been doing a few pieces lately that, without planning it, have turned out a bit more colourful than the majority of my more recent work…

Shedding Treasure 1

Even a bit more pretty? Cute, even? Maybe it’s because it’s Spring? And things have been sunnier?

Shedding Treasure 2

I’m really liking the pictures taken on the mannequin too so you’re getting them as well!

the gypsy's warning 1

Again, kinda cute and folksy…

the gypsy's warning 2

Both of the pendants in these necklaces were made by Kathrin Kneidl (Donna Perlinplim). They have enough of a rough, scuffed, and rustic feel to avoid things looking too cutesy. I’ve been using quite a bit of Kathrin’s stuff lately. I’ve never found face beads appealing before but I really like the charms in these earrings.

idea-free sleep 1

Again, they’re Kathrin’s, as are the connectors below.

Lives Aslant 1

I buy far fewer beads these days – including art beads. I guess it’s because I’ve found other things to obsess over lately – silver, cabochons – but it also feels that now I’ve got this smaller group of makers that I buy from over and again, whose stuff I can’t resist and whose work just fits with what I want to make. Does that mean my style is finally becoming more cohesive? Who knows… Petra, of course, is one.

emissaries 1

Obviously, that doesn’t mean that I’m not open to stuff from other bead makers. Oh, no, no, no. I guess I just have a stronger sense of what I will use.

Another factor is that I am inevitably using far more of my own beads. The blistered drops in the pair above, and the pod pins below are both mine. The connectors are both by Petra – I probably don’t need to point that out…

eternal attendants 1

Actually the majority of the pieces in this latest batch feature my beads, especially my head pins. (I do love a handmade headpin – they just make things look far more integrated.

Little Tall Dark Circles 1

purveyor of clouds 2

I also LOVE these chunky Indonesian star beads – so cool!

Quiet but Constant 1

A number of the beads I’ve used here are the few that were unsold after my last update. I have a big new batch of beads on the go, although I’ve got distracted this last week or so, with metalwork stuff.

rose-rock, rock-rose 1

I keep mentioning this silversmithing and I’ve yet to share any images or anything here – or most places. I’m hoping my next post will see me putting this right. (Again, more of my beads and charms in these bracelets.)

simple pleasures 1

Finally, a couple more pairs of earrings.

Those Strange Affectionate Animals 1

When I initially took up doing metal stuff it was partly so I could do basic things like making bits like the hoops and connectors in these pieces – a bit of simple soldering, etc.

Your Ancient Cool 1

I hadn’t thought I’d end up throwing myself into learning how to set cabochons and stuff but that’s what’s happened. Anyway, fingers crossed I’ll get round to sharing some pictures soon. Till then, all these have been listed on Etsy. Some have sold but the rest are available here. Ciao!

Sunshine and New Jewellery

Have you had sunshine these last few days? There’s been sunshine here! I haven’t felt too much of it on my bones today because I’ve been toiling away, listing new jewellery over on Etsy. I feel like I’ve been tied to my laptop for forever so I’m just going to share these photos and run, take in some evening warmth…

Cherished Whisperings 1 A last fiesta 1 crooked road crocked year 1 Down The Wide River 2

Is This World Luminous? 1

yielding 1Every when Smudges 1 Is This World Luminous? 1 Mudflats 1 1 kimono 1 over the plains 1 Standing In Fine Quiet Flame 1 The Blue Cloud and the wordless wind 5 The Dark All Voices Come From 1 too doggone 2 Walk The Long Night Down 1

Wild Fires 1

Here’s another link to the shop. Ciao for now!

Bead Shop Update Tonight – 17th April, 6.30pm BST

We’ve had a loss in the family this morning so I hope you’ll understand that I’m not bursting with words today. But, I promised images of new beads and and some advance notice about when I’d be adding them to the shop. So, all these and many more will be hitting the shop tonight (Sunday, 17th April), at 6.30pm BST.

Astral concave earring charms carved ombre crackle charms confiture concave disc charms earth and sky piereced charms spain dotted red and black charms orange glow pierced triangle charms spring air lantern charms stylised seed charms tubby cones - turquoise and blueceladon crackle and shino bullet charms faded heather droppers giverny bullets stirred earth droppersbetween weathers long ribbed drops meadows stoneware cone pair dotted crackled stoneware cone pair scored sgraffito cone pair

earring pairs B 2 earring pairs F 1 peacock feathers pendant 2 bone china wing pendant emerald and tangerine striped drop head pins 1 black on porcelain primitive pod pins 2 hickory moth 1 bold bright moth wings pair

smoky blues pitted porcelain spine set scuffed faceted porcelain set 1 Striped stick set apache pinwheel lentils Southern Gothic sets

I hope you’ll be able to stop by later. Shop this way!

Even More Words and Pictures

Those new beads I mentioned last time? They’re all done! ….. well, nearly… As ever, I’ve used lots of lovely crackle glazes. Although, they’re only really lovely when the damn things do what they’re meant to do and actually crackle. It’s never guaranteed, especially with some of these glazes, so to improve the chances of a nice net of crackle you really need to leave them some time for the crazing to develop, post-firing, before adding stain. It’s annoying, but in some ways welcome, this time at least, as it means I get to postpone the misery of photographing and listing everything!  Instead, I’ve listed some new pieces of jewellery which I’ve been making when I felt the need to have a break from the mud. All the pieces in this post are now available on Etsy.

Your Drifter 1

I realised the other day that it’s been nearly a year since I had my – how do you say? – ‘reassessment’ of what I’m doing making this jewellery stuff.  Around the same time I had to stop doing the big, monthly artisan market in my town, as I no longer had the help I needed to do it. It seemed a shame at the time, although part of me was very glad that I had a way out of those early, often cold and wet, Sunday mornings, and the attendant stress and anxiety that built up in the preceding days.

starlings 1

Over time I’ve come to find other advantages to this change. Not only did all my preparation for the market take up an unwarranted amount of time, given the money I was making at the event, but it was having a perhaps not altogether positive effect on what I was making and how I viewed what I did. Too often, I ended up focusing on making things because I thought they would sell at this particular market. I’d be governed by thoughts like: ‘that’s going to be too expensive for the typical market customer’; ‘I need to make things that will have a wide appeal’; ‘I need to make some bracelets – or whatever – in this price range, so I can only use x type of materials’.

Making a way 1

All this, along with what I found to be the nature of selling at a market, had me feeling that what I was doing was really just making accessories that would hopefully appeal to a good number of market punters.

roads 1

As I’ve said before, I never feel comfortable describing my work as ‘art’. But, once I stopped doing the market I was able to focus on making things with which I had a greater connection. I could pursue and develop an aesthetic that really appealed to me, one I felt a deeper connection to, rather than worrying about whether it would appeal to Sunday market shoppers in a Somerset town. Fortunately, I’ve subsequently picked up more online customers who also like this more niche style.

marianna 1

That said, I have had some pricing anxiety recently!  I’ve been forcing myself to pull out and use some of the precious artisan beads that I’ve long been hoarding, and telling myself not to be restricted by worrying about the cost of the end product. Just put the things that work together together. Then, of course, once I price it up, I think, ‘oh dear….’.

mischief 1

There are a couple of pairs of asymmetrical earrings in this latest batch. I’m truly sold on asymmetrical earrings. Really, personally, I can’t see why you wouldn’t want to wear them. (I mean asymmetrical earrings generally, not specifically mine!) And yet, of course, lots of people don’t get on with them. But, I’m still compelled to make them, even if they’re not for some (or even many!).

creatures 1

These last two mismatched pairs are amongst my favourites from this latest batch. So are these:

aeolian 1

Moving on, I’d really appreciate some thoughts on my necklace predicament. Chances are, if you have read this blog much in the past, you’ll have heard me whinging about the business of photographing necklaces. I’ve developed some tricks lately that work with some designs, but sometimes it’s just impossible to get an acceptable shot that features the whole piece. Some time late last year (I think!) my frustration reached a new height and in my fury I splashed out on a dressmakers dummy. It’s a pretty tattered affair although a bit of spot-healing when editing pics hides the worst of it.

curious tapestries 2

Now on my listings I can include some good and useful pictures of how the necklace looks when worn, and I’m not forced to include pictures of pieces contorted into odd, confusing positions just to show the full item. And yet, I never use them on the first picture as they’ll disrupt the uniform white ground in all my shop photos. Also, I find it can be harder to see details on these pictures with the dummy. Instead, as a first pic, for the necklace above, I have:

curious tapestry 1

Yes, well, now I’ve typed all that, I see it’s a fascinating read, but if you do have an opinion, please comment. I know the comments thing on this blog is a nightmare but if you include the words ‘necklace photos’ in your comment I can search it out from wherever WordPress has hidden it. Right, enough of that!

clemency 1

I mentioned last time about my silversmithing. Well, with my latest batch of beads I also made myself a porcelain ring stand to use for photos, so when I have a few more pieces done I guess I’ll get round to sharing some pictures here. I also need to tell you all about my natty new(-ish) metal-working station which I’ve set up in my airing cupboard!

What more 1

Now I’ve got these beads made – and when I get them listed – I’m looking forward to getting back in there and working on some new pieces.

first light 1

I’m still struggling with feeling torn between the ceramics, the metalwork, and my regular jewellery. On a number of occasions recently I’ve felt I’m not at the top of my game with any of these things because I’m having to move from one thing to another. When I finally feel I’m really motoring with something it’s usually time to turn to another pursuit for fear of neglecting that…

villains 1

Aaaaanyway, I think that’s all my chunter for this post. I’ll be back soon with that beady preview!  Bye for now!

Words (a few) and Pictures

Yeah… It’s been another while. I’ve recently streamlined my writing commitments for other blogs – which means I’m not doing them any more – in an effort to find more time in my days. One thing I’m hoping to do is write more posts, and fuller posts, here. I used to make such an effort when I started this blog. Now, as you may well have noticed, it’s become more of a photo stream of new jewellery.  Inevitably, since my last post, I’ve built up the usual pile of pieces that I’ve yet to share here. These have all been listed on Etsy, although some have sold. beloved 2

These (above) are reserved. I really like them and kinda want to make more variations on the design but, annoyingly, the principal ingredients are all from different US Etsy shops and, well, the new US-UK shipping price is just crazy. Which means I’m barely buying from the States any more.

at north farm 1

If there’s anyone out there (in the States) who fancies receiving a clutch of parcels and forwarding them on to me as one lot, let me know! I’ll pay in beads!

And beneath each layer, another 1

I really love this necklace. I like the tiny dot of red amongst all the neutrals. I loved the pendant when I made it and was surprised when it didn’t go. Must have been meant to be. I’m not sure everyone is as mad keen as I am for the whole off-white, dirty-white palette, but I keep reaching for it.

after the weeping 1

Moving on, you know sometimes you make something and think, ‘Yes! That’s a whole new good thing! I like it. I’ll make more!’. And then, a while later, something starts to niggle at you….’Hmmmm…. have I seen something like this before somewhere?’

A murmuring progress

That’s kinda what happened with the pink drops on these earrings. It occurred to me that Robyn Cove had potentially made something similar. I went and had a quick search and, yes, there were some bell shaped pieces not unlike these. Gah! So, I didn’t make more. I made the one pair I had pale pink (not at all Robyn) and used them myself rather than sell them. I hope that gets me off the hook.

A Regal and Excellent AwkwardnessThe porcelain teeth in the bracelet below are another thing of mine that didn’t get snapped up. Which, again, is good or I wouldn’t have been able to make this. bones and cement

I like the simultaneous complementarity and dissonance you get with the pearls and the teeth.

Deeper, Ever So Little Deeper

More off-white-ness here ↑ and here ↓

Fuel for fire

I’m currently working on a batch of beads that I’m hoping will be ready in the next couple of weeks. It’s been a bit of a struggle because until I sat down to start working on them, I hadn’t been giving bead making enough thought.

Feverfew 1

What had I been thinking about? Well, it’s a whole new thing that I haven’t even found time to mention here! I started doing silversmithing classes last Autumn. Initially, my aim was to get more comfortable with simple things like soldering but it’s grown into a bit of an obsession. From mid-Feb into early March, it was taking up much of my waking thought.

figurette 1

I have lots more to say and show on this subject but it’ll have to wait until I have taken some pictures.

hard candy 1And until I can find the wherewithal to write prose more lively than this. he seemed to go to sleep 1

On that note I’ll leave you with the rest of this recent batch of new pieces. I’ll be back soon(-ish) with the new beads and, of course, a fresh load of new jewellery.

Blessings 1it comes in snatches 1

lorine

Making Hoopla

nothing blowing 1

quiet as killdear 1

salome 1

Stirred Earth

Tatters

The Great Dominions

the slightest sign 1

the torch bearers 1

What's Got Away In My Life

Who the hell are these people and what do they want 1

the wind widens 1

Tremulous

Stacked Earrings IV

It’s been a long old time since the last round of the Stacked Earrings Challenge, initiated by the marvellous Malin de Koning (full details here!). This latest batch of beads was sent by Rebecca Anderson. Before I received them, Rebecca had ‘warned’ me that I might need to dig out my neutrals. I would expect nothing less than full on colour from Rebecca!; but it hadn’t occurred to me that I might have a difficulty with that. But I did! And now, looking back over my most recent jewellery posts here or at the first page of my shop, I see that my work has become predominately neutral in colour lately. So, yes, this was more of a test than I’d anticipated! Here’s what Rebecca sent (Thanks for the photo, Leah!).

12694508_10153593350643073_5537444787674999647_o

As you can see, there’s some gorgeous beads here. And lots of really strong colours. I’m a big fan of rings and discs – which are perfect for stacking and sitting within each other – so I was really pleased to see all of those in the mix. To deal with the colour issue I’ve generally just gone with one or two brights and combined them with softer or more neutral shades. I’ve always really like those two tone, dotty, czech glass ovals, so they were one of the first things I reached for.

Whispering In The Hall 1

I’ve mixed a number of the little beads from Rebecca’s pack into the tassels.  Next, I was drawn to the combination of turquoise and yellow alongside some bright red.

framed

In truth, I’m not entirely happy with these. I’ve fiddled with them but ultimately they’re not right so they’ll be going in the chop box. Still, I thought I’d share them since they were part of the process and met the criteria. I’m also in two minds about these.

yellow centre

Last year, when I had a bit of a what-am-I-doing? jewellery wobble, I told myself that I would only list things with which I was totally happy. I’ve tried to stick to that but you can’t be completely over the moon about everything…. can you? Anyway, I’ve been bearing that in mind recently. I like the different elements of these earrings but together they’re not quite right.

I’m happier with these. I like the soft, faded pistachio with the dark metals.

A Later Age

Whenever I see turquoise and red, it always makes me think of Rebecca, as it’s one of her favourite combinations. So, to me, these are a very Rebecca pair.

Your Queen 1

I really wanted to add some gold into the mix here but when I did it was just too bright and brassy. Thank heavens for Novacan! Do I need to mention that the drops are from Petra? Here’s another pair that I’m a bit uncertain about.

Sunspots 1

I was unreasonably pleased when I discovered that the concentric rubber rings sat just inside the orange dots on Jana‘s earring charms. I added the grungy chains last as the earrings were feeling a bit too clean cut. But now I’m thinking that I could do to include some more grungy metal in the stack at the top. Shall I start again or leave them be? Hmmmm…

Finally, this pair of floozies.

Fierce, fiercer, fiercest 1

I reckon these’ll do.

Remarkably, I’ve managed to list all four pairs with which I’m definitely happy on Etsy.

Huge thanks to Rebecca for providing such a lovely – if challenging! – pack. I’m always so intrigued to see what everyone else has made; and so amazed by both the variety of designs and the points of connection. Go look see!:

Rebecca Anderson – Songbead

Leah Curtis – Beady Eyed Bunny

Malin de Koning – Beading by Malin de Koning

Heidi Post – Ex Post Facto

SALE!! And a sneaky bonus….

To celebrate that January is behind us, I’m having a sale in the jewellery shop. I know, February is also pretty bleak, so the discount code is MERRYFEB25, which will give you 25% off all jewellery. New jewellery is a fine way to bring a bit of cheer to a grey day. And it’s months since I had a sale so it’s a good time to buy. Here’s some of the pieces that are available.

Wherever I've Been And Gone 1

Marie, Marie 1

Mercies1

Windfall

Vacant Lots 1

Shattering Light 1

Tender Buttons

spent in stitching

Your Tiny Hand 1

dark star 1

Palming a tear

A little extra thing: I’ve just spotted that I’m two sales off a significant sales milestone. Whoever purchases the 400th item will receive an extra treat! And, thinking about it, I guess shopper 399 should get a little something too!

So, here’s the code again: MERRYFEB25. And here’s another link to the shop.

Bead Shop Update! Today!

!Wednesday, 3rd February, 2016, 6.30pm GMT!

!Shop here!

I know! It’s been a long time coming. I actually had these ready a week or so ago, but I thought I’d wait until February so people would have been paid and would no longer be struggling miserably through January. Mind you, I’m not entirely sure I’ve shaken that whole monkey off yet.

Anyway, on with a little preview. Normally I’d whip up a pile of Picmonkey collages but – at the time of drafting this – BT has been bust this afternoon (non-UK readers, BT is… oh, you’ve already fallen asleep…), and Picmonkey appears to be broken too. I’m quite glad to have an excuse not to have to sit here fiddling with Picmonkey. I’m just going to share lots of bigs instead. Starting with…

wings group 1

these, of which I actually have a group shot. They were quite a job: each hand carved with wee dental tools; two from bone china. But what to charge? The eternal agony of pricing…

There’s quite a few wing-y things.

smoky ming wing moth wing droppers 1

black and red tiger moth 1 green and purple moth 1

These were still popular last time –

striped primitive carved focal cone

sundown focal cone

And there are some wee pairs –

black scored cone pair crackle and red dotty cone pair

I’ve been struggling with making bracelets recently, so that’s had me thinking about bracelet-able things.

crackled pod bracelet bar 1 crackled spin bracelet bar 1 ship's wheel pod bracelet bar 1

As ever, there are stacks of earring charms.

dotted faded lilac crackle drops golden bullet charms melting point bullets

(↑particularly love the glaze on these!↑)

small crackle columns striped porcelain tusks

melting orange and charcoal pierced triangles

small wrapped tusks

That’s just a handful – like I said, there are loads! And to go with the earring charms…

earring pairs D 1 earring pairs C 2

Yep, that is Serenity and Rose Quartz. (Seems the Pantone website is down too!) Shame about the winter light. Lots of these photos would look so much better at another time of year. (Cases in point coming up↓)

In a similar vein, lots of headpins.

molten red long lily headpins 1

porcelain sgraffito drop headpins 1

stylized seed head headpins 1

Something different. I’ve had these buff stoneware clays for a while, waiting for something to do with them.

neutrals sw set 1

whites sw set 1

Lots of lovely neutrals. I’ve topped up some of the popular single beads.

smoky carved rounds snowy facets pinwheels

Well, these last ones are new. I also made these column-y game-piece focal things.

game piece column focal bead A game piece column focal bead B

That’s most of the things. I’ll leave you with a selection of others bits and bobs, and hope to see you on Wednesday (3rd Feb, 6.30pm GMT)! Here’s another link to the shop.

crackle hand pendant A stacked cap celadon crackle bead 1

charm set B 1

toothy pegs ming 1

New-ish year: new beads (anon!) and new-ish earrings

Well, happy new year… sorta. I am planning some more ‘proper’ posts with words and things in the weeks to come. I mean, planning. I have soooo many new things to share. I’ve just finished a real jewellery-making spreeeeeee! There’s the usual crop of earrings – my default, really. But I’ve also made around six bracelets and around eight necklaces. I find both more difficult. Necklaces have always been a bit of a challenge, but, I think, I actually really rather like some of them. Now I’ve said that, they’ll probably sit stubbornly in my shop and I’ll end up not liking them so. This making frenzy came at the end of a bead-making marathon. I spaced out the making of the greenware, interspersing it with making jewellery, but once it got to the glazing stage, it was glaze glaze glaze, day in, day out.  I decided to put off listing them until February, when folk will have a bit more money, I hope. I haven’t done the photos yet, but here’s a little teaser. (A bit of a blurry teaser, taken with my phone….)

earring beadsThis mound of earring pairs doesn’t look as large as it actually was. They’re now all strung into sets: eight sets with six pairs each. Anyway, I’ll be back with more bead images and information about dates and times for the update nearer the time. If you have requested a custom order, I’ll be in touch in the next few days.

I photographed all the new jewellery today. It was freeeeezing. It took a couple of hours and by the end of it, I could barely hit the camera button. I’m just about to set to on the selecting and editing, but I do have some things to share here today. The following are some of the first earrings I made this year. I listed them a couple of weeks ago and have shared them elsewhere. But, you know, I like to share everything here at some point or other, if only for my own record. Some of these have sold; the rest are available int’shop.

Wouldn't you miss me at all 1 brimming with lives 1boogaloo dudes 1 cold blooded old times 1 duchess 1 In waves 4 mathilde 1 psalm 1 shadow on the things you know 1 Streamin' Beads of Light 1 The Final Breaker 1 They've Got Some Hungry Women There 1 try out your god 1

Back soon!