New Bracelets: Listed

Last time I mentioned that I had a number of bracelets to share with you. In my attempts to do things differently I found bracelets posed the biggest challenge.  It’s something I’m still needing to work on. I guess the bracelets I’ve made recently are different in aesthetic rather than structure/design to previous bracelets. Anyway,these are now all listed over on Etsy.

sunny dixie 1

(bingo chip clasp – Amanda Davies; copper coin – Joanne Tinley; ceramic coin – Something to do Beads)

so long day 1

(ceramic connector – Scorched Earth)

cold harbour 1

(ceramic beads – Scorched Earth, Happy Fallout, Something to do Beads; polymer beads – Shipwreck Dandy, John Burgess)

Fixing to do 1going to the ball 1

(hummingbird skull and ceramic clasp – Scorched Earth)

happy loss 1

(ceramic dice – Happy Fallout; ceramic beads – Something to do Beads)

native calm 1

(ceramic feather rounds – Blueberribeads; ceramic bead – Something to do Beads)

screwball 1

(lampwork rectangle – Tempting Little Charms; blue raku rectangle – Jubilee; other ceramic rectangles – Something to do Beads)

the hot blind earth 1

(ceramic connector – Scorched Earth)

Unlacing 1

(wooden coins – Graceful Willow; ceramic bird – Kylie Parry)

still 1

(ceramic ‘still’ bead – Rowan Song; ceramic beads – Happy Fallout, Something to do Beads)

I’ve actually just finished photographing a whole heap of other new things which I’ll get listed in the next week or so. In the meantime, all the bracelets featured in this post are available here.

New jewellery and a spot of candour

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time you may have noticed that there’s been very little in the way of new jewellery lately. Aside from blog hops and the like, I haven’t shared any new jewellery here at all this year. The reason being there wasn’t really any. I was very taken up with making beads and didn’t have any proper time for making jewellery , aside from magazine stuff. But, finally, I’ve got some made and listed.salsa 1

(painted coins – Graceful Willow)

But it wasn’t just the ceramics that was taking up my time. I don’t tend to talk very candidly on this blog but I’ve decided to give it a bit of a go this once.unreckoned 1

(ceramic droppers – Scorched Earth)

The thing is, around the turn of the year, I had a little jewellery-making crisis.  I was preparing for a Christmas craft fair, working out my table plan. I had a hangover, one of those joyously self-accusatory hangovers that just tells you what a fool you are and that all is useless. A watch over still water 1(enamel plates – 4 Ophelia)

And I stood and looked at my stock and just felt…. ‘meh…’.  At the time I wasn’t wholly sure what the problem was – and a good part was the hangover (I managed to persuade myself that all my stock was terrible – and perhaps I should just not go), but I think part of the issue was the lack of coherence in what I was making. There’d be something pretty and folksy here, something kinda primitive there, something vintage looking here, something I made along a particular theme for a magazine there, something strange and gothic here, a sorta tribal bracelet there, some things I made because I thought people would buy them as gifts, some things that were made because there needed to be some more affordable items. You get the picture….

dependents 1

What I really should have been thinking is, ‘This is all over the place’.

(candy cane sticks) 1

(polymer bicones – Graceful Willow Beads)

I know many think differently, but I’ve never been very comfortable with describing my own jewellery as ‘art’. I feel happier with the word ‘designer’ or even that modish term ‘designer maker’.  I guess it stems partly from when I studied Fine Art when I was younger.  After doing a foundation course post A-levels, I went and did two years of a fine art degree at Chelsea College of Art and Design. At the time, Chelsea was one of a number of colleges – Central St Martins, London College of Fashion, London College of Printing,  Camberwell College of Art – then called The London Institute.  The different disciplines and modes of making were split, and, I guess, there was a certain sense of hierarchy, certainly from the Fine Art point of view, as the name would suggest. Not saying that’s right or… or… that’s just how it was…

still image 1

One thing that didn’t happen on the degree course was life drawing. I think it still happened on the Foundation, but I guess that amongst the undergraduates and up, it was seen as a rather antiquated practice. So, it’s funny that taking up a life drawing class now has, in a small way, caused me to think some more about how ‘artists’ (whoever they are!) work and how that relates to what I do.

Amen 1

(lampwork beads – Glass Bead Art)

There’s a point that the tutor at the life drawing class likes to make. It’s one of those self-evident and yet provoking things: How can you expect to get any better if you keep doing the same thing?

olympia 1Part of the problem I had with what I was doing was that I’d fallen into patterns of how I made things: bracelets go like this; earrings are like that. (Even though the styles may have varied.)  I decided to spend some time avoiding those habits to some extent.prefering not to 1(ceramic connectors – Scorched Earth)

Working on my ceramic beads has also lead me to think about how I go about making jewellery in a different light as well – inevitably. There’s much more to say on that but that’s for another day….

the sea grows old in it 1

(polymer beads – Humblebeads)

I’ve ended up on a bit of a primitive thread, jewellery-wise, right now. I’m conscious that there are a number of designers out there who make wonderful jewellery in this sort of a style and are all over it. When I say ‘conscious’, I mean ‘very conscious’.  But it’s given me a place to work from and one I feel relatively comfortable with. And there’s another reason, too: I’ve just been mad keen for patina-ing (is patinating a proper word?). I’ve finally found something – on this side of the pond – that will give a patina to just about anything, and so I’ve ended up patina-ing the b’jeezus out of everything.staggers and the jags 1

(ceramics – Scorched Earth)

Here I used some old sieve brooch findings that I discovered in a tub of ancient findings – things I’d bought in the early days of beading where you pick things up indiscriminately, thinking, ‘yeah, I’ll use that’ (or, at least, that’s what I did). I chopped the tips off them and fashioned them into connectors of a sort. Here’s more old sieves.last remains 1

(ceramic spikes – Scorched Earth)

Rattlebag 1

(ceramic drops – Scorched Earth)

I’ve also been on a bit of an asymmetrical earring drive.

fixed alternatives 1

(ceramic spike – Scorched Earth; ceramic connector – Ragged Robyn)

mineral fact 1

(ceramic leaf – Something to do Beads; ceramic spike – Scorched Earth; lampwork – Glass Bead Art; enamel link – C-Koop)

like reasons 1

(ceramic drop – Scorched Earth)

I’m aware that I’m falling into some mannerisms, but… …Ultimately, I’m hoping that I might be able to blend all those divergent materials and tastes that led to all those clashing pieces on my Xmas market table – the vintage, the primitive, the pretty, the grungy, the folksy, the rustic, etc., etc., etc., and maybe – just maybe – I’ll manage to establish something that is properly mine.

maybe to everything 1

(glass ring – Outwest; ceramic coin – Something to do Beads; ceramic connector – Scorched Earth; lampwork barrel – Helen Chalmers; lampwork rondelle – Puffafish)

That’s kind of what I tried in this necklace! I seem to be a bit scared of the more ‘pretty’ colours at the moment. I guess that gives me another challenge.

Rectangular tablet earrings 1

(ceramic tablets – Scorched Earth)

Another thing: after all my years of Lit-ing, I decided I really needed to pull my socks up on the title front.  I’m almost – almost – enjoying it.

A tear 1Anyway, I think I’ve rattled on self-indulgently quite long enough. I’ll leave you with the rest of the latest crop of earrings and necklaces.  Again, all are listed in the shop. There are bracelets too but I’ll save them for another day.

all ways contained 1

Eyes Full of the land 1

(ceramic barrel – Happy Fallout; ceramic beads – Something to do Beads; ceramic ring – Scorched Earth)

call it oranges 1

(tin caps – Lorelei Eurto)

earth brown, earth golden 1

(ceramic drops – Scorched Earth)

Frailties 1

(ceramic building – Jubilee; ceramic ring and point – Marsha Neal; ceramic pendant – Scorched Earth)

lipstick leopard 1

(polymer bicones – Graceful Willow)

the leaves where they leave 1

(lampwork beads – Magdalena Ruiz)

bent into a better shape 1

(ceramic pendant – Something to do Beads)

perdita 1

(ceramic drops – Scorched Earth)

when I see the first buzzard 1

(ceramic spike, disc and toggle – Scorched Earth; ceramic round – Something to do Beads)

the sea held

(lampwork beads – Glass Bead Art; ceramic drops – Scorched Earth)

Waaaaaay too late – some new-ish beads…

I’ve done it again: neglected my blog and gone putting new beads in the shop without saying a word about them here. Two weeks pass and I want to post about something else but feel I can’t overlook…. Oh, never mind!  Thing is, I did do a blog post about them on Art Bead Scene. I say a few things about them in that post as well, but for now I’ll just share some photos with you here.

slip decorated porcelain

cobalt on porcelaincone caps

earring pairs

headpinshouse, flower, bird

lilies and leaves

multi-layer sets

other bead sets

primitive naive face beads group

thorns group

spears groupThere are still a number of these beads available here in the shop. I’ll be back soon with more new things and – who knows?! – maybe even some words!

Stacked Earring Challenge the Third

Before I say anything else, I really need to apologise some. As I’ve said before, angrily, I have a whole lot of trouble getting my blog set-up to approve the comments I really want to read from you living, breathing, reading folk. At the same time as it’s busy marking these comments as spam, it happily builds up great heaps of actual spam in the moderation queue. So, it gets hard to pull your much-appreciated comments out from the slew of bunkum.  I’ve just sifted through a mountain of spam and found numerous comments for the last post and posts prior to that. In short, I’m really sorry that people are having difficulty commenting, but if it doesn’t appear immediately (for which: sorry!), your comment should be unearthed in the not too distant future and I will be extremely grateful that you made it.

Anyway, on with the earring challenge.  You can read all about what it’s all about here. This  time it was Leah‘s turn to send out the beads. It was a real treat of a parcel.


I was really taken with a number of the beads in this little lot. I’m looking at it now and shaking my head over not having made more. Why didn’t I get round to using x, y, or z bead? Unusually, for me, I was particularly drawn to a number of the small beads in this parcel. The ribbed clay tubes were instant favourites when I spied them. I had soooo many  ideas for them – I had to get Leah to tell me where I could purchase more. Anyway, I had two designs I particularly wanted to try. One was to combine them with lots of the other small beads to finish little tassels on fine chain.

procession 1

(ear wires – Lucy Haslam)

With the exception of a couple of seed beads, all the beads on these chain drops are from Leah’s pack.  I guess they’re like lots of little stacks on the end of the chains.  The other plan I had was for these:

(candy cane sticks) 1

(polymer bicones – Graceful Willow)

I’m afraid they ended up being a bit of a cheat because while my design originally used three lots of Leah’s beads (one of the rules), it didn’t look right when I put them together.  Still, I really wanted to go ahead and make them anyway.  Similarly –

remembrance 1

These do have three sets of beads from the pack, however.  The other beads that really caught my eye when I opened my pack were the large turquoise czech glass bicones. I already have a number in different shades in my stash and I do like them a lot. I added red and purple beads from the pack and teamed them with some vintage filigree ring findings that I patinated.

dahlias and everlastings 1

(ear wires – Yvette Goodridge)

This pair also makes use of some of the larger beads in the pack.

tidemark 1

(ceramic tips – Scorched Earth)

Finally, I made these:

slinks 1

Again, I’ve gone with a number of the little beads for this final pair.  I really enjoyed working with this pack – thank you, Leah! Now to go see what everyone else has made!

Rebecca Anderson – Songbead

Leah Curtis – Beady Eyed Bunny

Malin de Koning – Beading by Malin de Koning

Heidi Post – Ex Post Facto