Saturday, 31 October 2015

Art Jewelry Elements Raven Reveal

Hello and welcome to the Art Jewelry Elements Raven Reveal!

I have to say I love the idea of this seasonal challenge - it's a great opportunity to give your creativity a bit of a workout!  I totally fell in love with Autumn's inspiration, the raven, a bird steeped in mystery and mythology the world over.

For my raven design I decided to tackle one of by biggest beading fears head on - knotting!  I've had terrible trouble with it in the past and everything I tried turned out a bit lumpy and wrong.  But I purchased a 100 meter spool of black Irish waxed linen and practiced practiced practiced!

I made the raven pendant from copper sheet, heavily patina-ed with liver of sulphur.  I didn't realise when I was tracing, cutting the template and sawing that the raven I was basing this on had a missing feather!  I only realised when I was looking at it in my hand wondering why it looked slightly wonky - I think it adds charm though.  I also mussed up the protective spray lacquer a bit - I brought some new stuff and I am not particularly impressed with it!  Anyone have any suggestions for a good sealant that can easily be found in the UK?  Any way long story short the chap will be staying with me.  What. A. Shame :P

He's joined by a fabulous ammonite bead I purchased recently, a lampwork bead by The Fyre Faerie, a white ceramic round from Grubbi and plenty of Czech glass is autumnal reds and yellows.

I think this knotting thing might catch on :)

I hope you have enjoyed visiting me here and that you will hop on over to see what the other participants have created for this wonderful challenge!

Art Jewelry Elements Team:

Guest Bloggers:

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Art Bead Scene October Challenge

You want to know something sad?  I've previously produced two piece of jewellery inspired by the Art Bead Scenes monthly challenges, but I wigged out on posting them both times!  It was a combination of nerves an laziness I think - probably heavily weighted towards the latter.

But this month I've actually managed to complete a piece and post it!  Probably because the inspirational image was one close to my heart, this beautiful depiction of the ancient Egyptian goddess Ma'at from the tomb of queen Nefertari.

Now I luuuuurve me some Egypt!  I instantly go to thinking of the wonderful gemstones often uncovered in undisturbed tombs.  Some of the pieces of jewellery are just stunning.

I combined lapis lazuli - a stone famously prized by the Egyptians - with carnelian and turquoise to give a rich jewel-toned pallet.  To these were added some fabulous ceramic drops by the much loved Petra of Scorched Earth and some smashing lampwork beads by Pebble Dreams.  Together they form this long, luscious lariat - a real statement piece that would look fab with a long black party gown.

Gotta love those colours!

And just in case your curious, here is one of the other pieces I have created based on an Art Bead Scene Monthly Challenge.  Can you guess which month its's from?

Both of these pieces can be found in my Etsy shop.

Happy creating people and bring on the next challenge!

Monday, 19 October 2015

Well Darn It!

You now, when I wrote my blog post in June announcing my arrival back on to the bead blog scene I was sincere in my intentions to try and keep this up.  I opened my Esty shop, I stocked it up, did a bit of promo, even sold a couple of items!  And then it all just kinda petered off....

A lot of that had to do with work and friends and distracting men, but some of it also has to do with a lack of confidence and get-up-and-GO!  It's hard to put yourself out there when you're constantly being bedazzled by the work of others and somewhat baffled by new techniques (damn you riveting!).  I'm not the kind of person who's naturally in to self-promotion, and I'm often daunted by trying something new (yeah Irish waxed linen, you SCARE me).

These niggling problems can make your muse pack up and head off far, far away for a long, long ole vacation!

Well, She came strolling back recently, nonchalantly swaggering through the door of my mind like a cat back from a week long, panic laden (for me) week of wandering.  She sauntered in, plonked Herself in a comfortable corner and gave me a look as if to say 'Well I'm ready, what are you waiting for?'

So recently I have produced this:

And this:

And also this:

Thank you Muse!

My photos are slowly improving - I have a very limited amount of time on the weekend when I can photograph stuff at the moment, what with the dang sun going down before I get home from work!  How did that happen?  How is it the depths of autumn already??

These pictures were taken on the patio in my garden.  It's been a pretty good makeshift set up - the flagstones create an alrightish neutral background and there's plenty of natural light - but it's not ideal.  I really need to get some equipment together so I can photograph inside.  And I need to get better at taking photos that make good Etsy thumbnails - somehow I can never get images that quite fit right!

But anyway, I digress (I always digress - I have wandering brain syndrome as well as wandering muse syndrome).  The long dark nights of winter are indeed drawing in and I am becoming more and more of a hermit, which is good for jewellery related productivity! I have a goal to have thirty items in my shop by the end of October.  I'm at twenty four items at the moment, with another three awaiting for a photography session and several sawn up bits of copper waiting for the Muse to dump some inspiration on my, so I'm very much on track to beat this goal!

Keep an eye on my Etsy shop - there will be new shinys up very soon!

Friday, 31 July 2015

Wren-tastic - Art Jewelry Elements COM Reveal!

Hello everyone and welcome to the reveal of the Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month reveal!

Now, I really love Wrens!  I'm a big fan of out British bird-life in general, but Wrens are especially dear to me as they are my Mum's favourite birds as well.   They are one of our smallest birds and can be quite secretive, so it's always a joy when I catch a glimpse of that iconic cocked tail.

Photo from
It's no wonder then that I jumped at the chance to grab one of Niky Sanders wonderful Farthing beads or clasps.  They encapsulate not only my love of birds, but my love of historical things too.  I was pretty darn happy when I got a message from Niky saying I had won I can tell you!  Now, I completely forgot to take a picture of the bead I received on its own so here is one I have borrowed from the AJE blog.

I think I may have to put in an order for more of these!

I didn't want to do anything too fancy with the wonderful little bead as I didn't want to overwhelm it with too busy a design, so kept my initial ideas simple.  It was drilled side to side which was a bit of a challenge for me.  I tried it in a couple of bracelet ideas, but I really wanted it to be a pendant and I wanted the wren the right way up.  I finally solved this little puzzle by creating a coiled wire frame, complete with loops from which to hang my much beloved dangles.

Mind you I think I got a bit carried away with the dangles, and therefore may have missed my original objective of not overwhelming the focal bead!

I do love my Czech Glass flower and leaf beads!  I use some in pretty much every design I do - can't seem to get away from them!  Most of these come from Smitten Beads - I absolutely adore that shop, it has such a wonderful variety beads and accessories and that is fairly rare this side of the pond.  My shopping basket is slowly filling up whilst I wait for another Etsy sale to fund my ginormous bead habit!

This one won't be going on sale unfortunately - my Mum has already claimed it!  It was a trade though - in return I got my hands on some amazing vintage beads of hers that I've been coveting for years. 

These perfectly smooth hexagonal pillars are made of some kind of jasper with brass end-caps and loops - and those round beads are so wonderfully shaped too!  I can't wait to get to work on them!  In the background is a very long strand of vintage glass square beads in wonderful earthy tones.  All of these beads are older than me!  Of course my mum will get some of them back, reconfigured into something new to add to her collection.

Anyway, enough digression!

Many thanks for joining me here in my little corner of the internet, and many many thanks to the wonderful ladies at Art Jewelry Elements, especially Niky, for the chance to be involved in one of my favourite monthly hops.  Please hop on over so you can see what everyone else has magicked up to!

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Good Grief

I can't believe its been over two years since I last wrote on this blog.

I can't believe its been over two month's since I started this post!

In my last post, way back in March 2013, I made mention of the fact that I was moving.  Lets just cut the crap and just say that it was a bad move, the last two years have been hectic and I am so so happy to at last (AT LAST!) be back here writing on this blog ;)

And I have an important announcement to make - I went ahead and opened up an Etsy Shop!

I have called it the Copper Cat's Garden.

I've been umming and aahing about it for just about forever now.  I've read a lot about the downsides of Etsy, but for an absolute beginner I think it makes sense, and I hope to get enough funds together to start selling locally in my wonderful new home town of Brighton.

Seagulls off the Palace Pier, Brighton
It really is lovely here, cupped by the South Downs against the ever changing sea.  I can't tell you how wonderful it feels to be living near the ocean, and I am surrounded by a sensuously rolling and luscious landscape that is very soothing for the soul.  Needless to say, I spend as much time outside as I possibly can!  I feel very lucky to live in such a wonderful place, and it is filled with wonderful people too.

Brighton seen across the Downs from the Chattri War Memorial
The iconic ruins of the West Pier
Cinnabar Moth on Wolstonbury Hill
Now, I have approached this whole Etsy thing in a rather hap-hazard way.  I was playing around with photographing some of my jewellery last weekend, after noticing that the paving slabs in my garden would make a nice neutral background for 'product photography' while I was reading in the sun.  I just used my phone camera along with a couple of adhoc props from my mantle-piece, and before I knew it I had literally hundreds of photos of variously draped jewellery!

Probably my best photo so far
That evening as I sat sorting through all those photos I was over come with a wave of curiosity.  I had 'opened' an Etsy store I while back and then done nothing with it...  I hadn't even spelt the name right!  But I realised I had enough photos from my afternoons snapping frenzy to populate it with a good handful of listings, so I just went ahead and did it with little further thought.  Seeing my jewellery in an Etsy setting was strangely exhilarating, I got all tingly looking at my new, bodged together home page.

You have to understand I had no idea what I was doing!  I didn't have a clue about good titles or how to effectively use tags.  My descriptions were lazy and often silly and I had absolutely no idea about postage costs at all.  This all resulted in a stack of listings that could never be found and probably wouldn't be very appealing if they were uncovered.  Very silly, seeing as listings get the most 'organic' exposure when they are newly listed.

What can I say - creativity is my strong suite, not sensibility!

I love the luminescent quality of  Czech glass

I have improved things a little bit since then.  I've tweaked everything to be more searchable and hopefully more enjoyable to browse.  I actually looked at postage prices (far less than expected) and adjusted my pricing along the lines of a sensible (rather than non-existent) model.  It still needs work, a proper banner and policies wouldn't be amiss, but slowly its evolving into a proper storefront that I can hopefully sell through effectively.

I have a lot more pieces of jewellery waiting in the wings to be photographed today and tomorrow; a plethora of necklaces and earrings and couple of bracelets too.  I hope to have some of these new items listed in the shop Sunday afternoon - all properly written out and detailed this time round of course!

In the meantime here is a little preview of one of the necklaces I will have to offer - featuring some pretty dang stunning lampwork beads from Kaz Baildon of Cheeky Cherub Designs which I have been hoarding for years!  I do love a good crescent shaped bit of copper and plenty of Czech flower beads, I'm sure you can already tell - flowers are kind of my thing!

These wonderful lampwork beads positively glow
Thanks for joining me here for this slightly long winded and definitely long overdue blog post!

I hope you will come and visit again soon :)