Saturday, May 26, 2012

All in a day's work

These are the results of the jewellery course I went to last weekend at Ku-ring-gai Art Centre.

Coral-textured pendant with dichroic glass cabochon
This one turned out more 'handmade' looking than I'd hoped.  I didn't allow quite enough for the clay to shrink in the kiln, so it split at one of the joins.  But the dichroic glass is beautiful and it looks great on (much better than it does when I inspect it up close with my critical maker's eye).

Silver leaf imprint

These are made by painting layers of precious metal paste onto a real leaf.  Each layer must be completely dry before the next is applied.  Then they are fired in a kiln.  The leaf and the binding clay burn away, leaving pure silver.

I finished this by tracing the major vein lines with a burnishing tool, then burnishing a few raised parts of the leaf randomly.  I haven't made this into a piece of jewellery yet.  I think I might try to solder a pin to the back to make a brooch.

Open ring - textured PMC. 

Earrings for an autumn saunter
These were hand formed using precious metal clay and hand tools, sterling silver wire for the hooks.  I love the texture of these and the way the burnishing highlighted the raised parts of the pattern, leaving the rest a softer silver.

I'm still undecided about using PMC as a medium on a regular basis.  It's certainly much quicker to work with than sterling silver sheet and wire, but the nature of a clay-based medium means it's also harder to be precise.  

But the workshop was great, worth every penny. Just as it did the last time I made silver jewellery, I was barely aware of time passing.  I was happy, well and truly 'in the zone'.  It was a good reminder of why I want to find a way to make jewellery all the time.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Discovering PMC (precious metal clay)

I decided it's time for another fix.  A jewellery fix, that is.  Making silver jewellery, to be precise.  This time next weekend I'll be happily pottering away in a class, making some new pieces using silver PMC (precious metal clay).

I haven't worked with this medium before so I'm looking forward to learning some new techniques, and using some of the fabulous beads and cabochons I've been collecting.  The great thing about PMC is you can use it a bit like Playdoh, shaping it however you want.  It's then finished in a kiln, which burns away the binding material leaving you with solid metal.

In the meantime I've been sating my craving and getting inspiration with some PMC pieces other people have made.
ACS Ring by N Hasegawa, via
Bronze Pebbles necklace by Pam Annesley
Brooch/Small Dish by Jeanette Landenwitch
Art Clay Hummingbird necklace by Xuella Arnold
Untitled ring by Ayako Kaku
Bronze clay bracelet by Vickie Hallmark

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Church of Adornment shop: coming soon.

I am very excited to be launching an online shop on Etsy later this month.  Besides creating some gorgeous pieces to sell, I'm working on registering my business name, setting up ways to track my expenses and all the things that it takes to organise a new venture.

My original vision was to only do sterling silver jewellery with gemstones, glass beads and other vintage components.  However to make sterling silver jewellery safely and successfully takes more equipment than I have at the moment. To begin with I'm working on costume or fashion pieces using glass beads, beading wire, and sometimes upcycled components like earring frames and vintage beads.

This afternoon I've spent some time having a little photo shoot outside in the lovely sunshine.  So here's a sneak peek at some of the jewellery that will be available.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Jewellery in the Year of the Dragon

I tend not to follow trends in jewellery: I just know what I like when I see it.  However I do enjoy getting to see the variety of ways that people can interpret a theme.  This year, being the Chinese Year of the Dragon, lots of dragon-themed jewellery is appearing all over the place.  Here are a few of my favourites from recent browsing.

Resin pendant from Night Sky Jewellery
Superb detail and other-worldly colouring

Carved dragon amethyst bead bracelet by Isabel Feng

Bronze dragon choker from Celtic Attic
Stunning piece that would look right at home in a Gothic castle

Couture Year of the Dragon Necklace by Lunch at the Ritz
Gorgeous, fun piece with lots of colour.
London Manori dragon bracelet
Superb. Enough said.