Buying "made by hand"
I find buying directly from the designer or maker very satisfying and one of the joys of exhibiting at great contemporary craft fairs is doing just that. I like to know the story behind the special pieces I buy for my family and my home, don't you?
I thought I'd share a very few of my favourites from Made By Hand Wales in Cardiff at the end of October.
My vintage lamp-stand is now proudly wearing a gorgeous lampshade by textile designer Katie Wallis, The design is called Fitzjohn Pollen and features a tiny bee.
Katie's website also features some stunning pin cushions mirrors and more.Take a closer look at Katie's work at Katie Wallis Print.
I can never resist ceramics. I say I need them as props for my Jewellery photography but truly I just love them. This delicate porcelain jug by Louise Hall is a case in point, it's so tactile I keep picking it up and holding it. If you follow this link to Louise Hall Ceramics there's a short film about her process.
These pouches by Alice Coppock of WovenbyAlice have so many uses. Mine is a make-up bag at the moment but it's so lovely it would make a fine clutch bag.
Wales seems to be full of brilliant textiles artists. Another favourite is Sian O'Doherty whose warm woollies are machine knitted. I covet one of her cosy blankets, too.
and there's more..........................
The theme for the 2015 exhibition by members of the Association for Contemporary Jewellery is Sleight of Hand. I was delighted to be selected and thought I’d share a little about my Abstraction Distraction Brooch with you.
What do you do when you’re faced with such a majestic theme? I pinned my focus down to hypnotism and more specifically the spiral, an ancient symbol used by magicians and jewellers alike to charm, beguile and mesmerise an audience.
I chose to work with titanium, which is still an unusual material to use in jewellery, though I come back to it often-I guess I like a challenge.
Although it can’t be soldered and work hardens really easily, titanium has a wonderful strength and springiness. The matt grey is a great colour but this project needed some glamour so I opted for neon green acrylic as a focal point. highlighted with some definitively bling silver leaf.
Working with so many materials at once - silver, acrylic, titanium, silver leaf and enamel paint - the construction took a lot of thinking through. A one-off project like this is always a great learning curve and gives me a chance to hone some skills. In particular riveting (don’t drill all the holes at once, just the top layer, just saying) and those pesky right-angled corners on the brooch frame.
I think the final brooch fulfilled the brief and I certainly enjoyed making it. I can’t wait to see the catalogue and visit the exhibiton to see what everyone else has made.
I hope you get a chance to visit the tour in Burton on Trent, Plymouth or Edinburgh. If you do, let me know I’d love to hear what you think.
Here’s the nitty gritty on the tour and a link to the ACJ website
Brewhouse, Burton upon Trent, open 1 - 28 September
Reception Thursday 10 September 7.00 – 9.00pm
Symposium Friday 11, plus workshops
Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, open 7 - 31 October, PV 6 October
Plymouth College of Art Gallery
16 November - 12 December, plus artist talks
Designing new pieces, revisiting and developing current ranges for exhibitions and shows keeps my work fresh.
At West Dean I introduced new larger brooches and bold statement pendants. I was delighted by the feedback from visitors and exhibitors.
By the way, I'll be at Made Brighton, November 19-22 . Definitely one for your diary.
If you'd like to see my new pieces and colours come and find me at the Open Doors event at Bath Artists Studios, this Friday 26th June from 3 til 6.
The Finest Contemporary Crafts
A three day show takes a lot of preparing for, especially when it's for the prestigious Made by Hand-Wales.
Cardiff City Hall is an imposing building and the standard of contemporary crafts at the show outstanding.
Everything from labels to lighting, postcards to posters, peppermints to packaging has to be ready. Oh, and my jewellery, I mustn't forget that!
Could be scary?
Everyone on set-up day was scarily well-organised, helpful and positive, lending tools, wit and advice. It set the mood for a great atmosphere all weekend.
It's all about the people.
I had the finest neighbours-see pictures-and our visitors were genuinely interested in the work on show. They also loved the workshops and demonstrations showing just how much work goes into every handmade piece.
It was tiring in a good way and I came away buoyed by all the lovely feedback on my work. So, can we do it all again next year, please?
By the way you can find a selection of my work on the madbyhandonline website and I am proud to be included in the Makers Guild in Wales' Christmas Show at Craft in the Bay , Cardiff, which runs from 8th November until 11th January 2015.
Yes, it's Open Studios time at Bath Artists' Studios , Comfortable Place, Bath.
We're open next weekend, 27-28th September, from 11 til 5 each day.
I'll be welcoming people into my studio - W8. The W stands for 'warehouse' as it used to be just that! The building was originally a maltings, where they dried hops for brewing.
If you come along, you might like to try on my Icons rings, just back from exhibition at The National Craft Centre.
I'll be showcasing new resin and silver work for upcoming Christmas shows at Craft in the Bay, Cardiff, and Made by Hand Wales too.
Open Studios has a great atmosphere and peeking inside studios is fascinating. There are nearly 70 artists at the studios and many will be open during the weekend. Ask them anything, go on!
There's lots on - An exhibition called 'Comfortable Place', a silent auction of works created for the event, childrens' workshops by Funky Art House and the brilliant Grocer on Locksbrook will be running a cafe at the studios(They make great coffee and cakes).
Come and share the buzz.
Please excuse the dramatic camera angle but these rings have a monumental feel to them and I can't resist a bit of drama(Oh! You've noticed!).
More St Ives than Brighton, these rings are the quieter side of my "Pebble" range. Subtle tones give them a mid-century feel. I've named them "Henge" in honour of the slightly-more-than-famous Stonehenge which is just a few miles from where I live.
The central motif evolved from a smooth-worn, piece of sea glass found on a beach many years ago. The colours are earthy, sand-washed in soft toning shades influenced by the colours used by artists such as Peter Lanyon and Ben Nicholson.
I don't know about you but I have a huge collection of sea glass and pebbles around my house, brought back from family holidays.
These little bowls of memories were the starting point for my new Pebble collection for the Yorkshire Sculpture Park .
They are available in their shop this summer or in my Etsy shop in a selection of bright summer colours.
I like to kick-start ideas for a new project with my own images which I manipulate to find forms and shapes.
By taking simple photographs and playing around with them the idea of strong shapes and contrasts and funky colours began to grow - there's a hint of lava lamp about them, too, don't you think?
Using my regular big round rings allowed me to invest my time casting and forming my own pebble shapes and working on some great colour combinations inspired by Matisse, Patrick Heron and Terry Frost.
Where did all those pebbles come from? From Portloe and St Mawes in Cornwall during many happy days scouring beaches for treasure. I hope some of that warm, sunny feeling comes out when you wear my Pebbles.
Each month the members of the Etsy Metal Team blog on a jewellery related theme. Follow the links below to discover more.
I can't imagine a day without music, can you?
Either I'm tuned to the BBC station Radio 6 Music or maybe Radio 3, the classical station, if I'm feeling philosophical. Music feeds my creativity and productivity.
I admit, I am in awe of anyone who can read and play music fluently.
Sadly, my recent attempts to learn the piano have been pitiful and frustrating. Some things are just hard to pick up later in life, I guess.
Are you wondering about the connection between music and images here? Each year the Etsy Metal Team exchange "Secret Santa" gifts and I like to design a piece which is connected in some way to my "giftee".
This year I was delighted to discover that Norsola, my gift-recipient, is an accomplished cellist . I designed her a set of jewellery with a nod to ebony and ivory and musical notation, and to balance and harmony. I thought I'd share them with you here to show where my "musical Inclinations" lie.
Explore more musically inclined blogs from members of the Etsy Metal Team here:
1. KSkilesJewelry: http://kaskiles.com/studio-updates/
2. Beth Cyr: http://bethcyr.com/blog
3. Anne Walker: http://creativeinclinations.blogspot.com/
4. Evelyn Markasky: http://www.evelynmarkasky.com/blog.htm
Icons: Red Carpet Rings
Why this icon?
The red carpet is such a creative, dynamic colour and the perfect stage set for the the glamour and drama played out once the glitterati set a well-shod foot on it.
My pieces look monumental but are domestic in scale, like miniature trophies.
I was reminded that British actor Emma Thomson keeps her Oscar in the loo, celebrating the fleeting triviality of celebrity and fame.
The designs for my "Red Caret Rings"began in my studio as chalk-board sketches of curves and sweeping lines. I was trying to capture the excitement and movement of the form.
Then came the fun bit , building maquettes with modelling sheets and my hot glue gun and test pieces in copper.
I setted on 3 rings with variations on the same form using silver and resin. Each ring is free-standing. A small sculpture or icon in it's own right.