Monday, May 31, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
detail from a an embroidered wire crochet evening purse (copper, mixed fibres)
It's not just jewelry (before you accuse me of being single-minded) - I've made evening purses from the wire crochet mesh and lined them in exotic fabrics (silk, organza). They take an absolute age to construct so there are never many of them in the inventory and they are priced accordingly. They would, however, make a quite a statement dangling off your wrist to finish off a simple outfit.
Currently available in black, copper or silver.
wire crochet 'constellation' collar for a cat
I also 'do' cats! Since Griz is a frequent flier in the jewelry studio, it seemed only fitting that she should have her own adornment. She graciously agreed to model the finished article (but you can see by her face that she wasn't happy). This collar is in silver wire with assorted glass beads and features a safety elastic for ease of escape (a must with adventurous cats though I would suggest this is only for indoor 'formal' attire). The collar I made for a pug was similar but didn't need the stretch panel.
Yes, I do accept custom commissions for your pet - just send me their breed and neck size!
PS: I'll be at the aptly named 'bags and bling' (purses and jewelry!) Fab Fair on June 5th and 6th at Heitage Hall in Vancouver if you'd like a look at the bags and er bling!
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
'spore': wire and fibre flower brooch
Some of my first wire and fibre creations were embroidered brooches - I made a series of seven and each had a name; marshmallow (pink!), forest/moss (dark green) and rainforest (darker green with black accents), into the garden (lush green lawns with flowers), and so on. The names have stuck, reappearing whenever I work on a piece in a particular colourway if it seems appropriate.
the original 'spore' brooch
Some of the names are a little 'odder' than the others; 'spore' and 'skookumchuk' for example.
The 'spore' series came about when I was working with some purple fibres and found objects/upcycled jewelry-making remnants on an embroidered flotsam brooch. Around the same time I also cleaned out the car. My son was around 4 years old, a champion snacker and litterbug. Some of the detritus I found around his car seat had taken on a life of its own (I did wash my hands between jobs, rest assured). I added the fruiting bodies, the little stems with metal crimp cover beads, to my work after this discovery.
'skookumchuk': wire and fibre flower brooch
'Skookumchuk' appeared following a holiday to the Sunshine Coast. One day we took a hike to the famous whirlpools of the Skookumchuk Narrows which form at the entrance to the Sechelt Inlet.
whirlpools at the Skookumchuk Narrows
The word itself is derived from Chinook jargon, the old trading language for the area, for 'strong waters'. The strong swirls and eddies were incredbly impressive, almost to the point of inducing nervousness. The original blue flotsam brooch featured embroidered or wire swirls and waves on its surface, inspired by the whirlpools, plus other 'jewels from the sea'.
the original 'skookumchuk' wire and fibre brooch - note the wire mesh offcut used as the canvas
Of course, none were as weird as the brooch 'space junk', made from smashed up cell phone innards and inspired totally by The Clangers
Monday, May 24, 2010
"tarantula (i always get what i want)" wire and fibre ring
So this is the week to tidy up all the loose ends in my "telling tales" series where I've been giving the stories behind my work featured in the Blackberry Artist's Society gift shop.
This week's theme is the odd and the weird.
Sometimes it's just plain liberating to throw caution to the winds and make something fun, that's fun with a capital F. Fun things are not sensible, reserved or practical. They may not even be suitable for wear! but they will be intriguing to look at (and will be made with plenty of chuckles).
"fuzzy orchid" wire and fibre ring
Today's odd/weirdo items are two wire and fibre rings I had enormous fun making. They were both crocheted from black Artistic wire and incorporate an obscene amount of fuzzy synthetic fibre. "Tarantula" gained its name as I crocheted it to life. It's big, black, menacing and fluffy with blood-tipped
"Fuzzy orchid" is a bit milder ... but I wouldn't call it Audrey!
Friday, May 21, 2010
The "into the garden" cuff shown here is a panel or quilt bracelet made up of five squares of wire crochet linked together with jump rings.
The four outer panels contain simple clusters of glass beads. The centre panel has quite a different treatment.
First the panel was embroidered with fibre, natural and synthetic.
Then it was 'planted' with stems and glass flower beads. Once these were in place the whole panel was felted or fulled to mesh the materials together.
Vintage plastic flower cabachons were glued to the stems and the bracelet assembled.
Voila! A little garden for your wrist; it never needs watering and the lawn never needs mowing.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
'anemone' wire and fibre ring
This is one of my favourites. I'm so pleased with the way it came out - the textures, the colours and the size of the finished ring.
First I crocheted the shank of the ring with a small flared cup in place to hold the flower. Next I carefully (!) needle felted the base blue fibre before adding the synthetic fibre 'stamens' and holding them in place with the bright yellow felted centre.
It reminds me a lot of some Japanese anemones I had growing in the garden of my first house, the tiny cottage in Morpeth (OK, the flowers were white not blue but the stamens and centres were amazing, as in the ring).
And it also reminds me of anemones feeding in tide pools! Again that sea/ocean reference!
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
wire and fibre "poppy" ring
Continuing this week's 'telling tales' garden theme, and also introducing a new technique!
My first house used to be filled with flowers - I bought myself a tiny little terraced cottage in the north of England and mortgaged myself to the hilt in the early nineties. My one luxury was buying fresh flowers at the local market every second weekend (I was on call on the other weekends and forever at the mercy of the phone). I would bring my newspaper wrapped bundle home and spend an hour or so distributing blooms in vases around the house. On the weekends when I didn't stay in Morpeth I'd be heading home over the border and would return laden with blooms from my parents' garden to sustain me for the week.
rose in bloom in my parents' garden
The new technique I've incorporated into the wire crochet rings is needle felting. As readers of the blog you will know by now that I love combining wire with fibre then felting it. Usually this is done by embroidering with the feltable fibre before slinging the whole lot into the washer. Needle felting is a little more refined! For one thing, it's done dry, and there's a lot more control over what the final piece looks like. However, needle felting fibre to wire is tricky ...... and that's all I'm saying on the subject!
"candy" wire and fibre ring
Monday, May 17, 2010
"exotic orchid" wire and fibre ring
This week's 'telling tales' for my featured artist slot in the Blackberry Gift Shop will run to a garden theme.
the garden of my childhood
This is my inspiration - it's 8000km away from where I am now and I miss it. Making the garden-inspired jewelry, just like the sea glass pieces, reminds me of home and eases the homesickness.
It's a fabulous garden, a true testament to my parents' love and devotion which transformed an overgrown wilderness into a fantastic wilderness full of lush plants, incredible trees and secret paths.
fruit trees and more
It's no wonder then that a lot of my work has a garden-inspiration behind it. It was a big part of my life and, I suppose, it still is!
Friday, May 14, 2010
For a while most of my wire crochet work was quite "small" - small beads, nothing too chunky or 'in your face'.
That all changed when I noticed in some of the style magazines (yes, I do read them ..... but mostly ignore them!) that jewelry, especially necklaces, was getting bolder.
So how to incorporate that look with wire crochet? I'm always up for a challenge to get me thinking out of my normal comfort zone. Custom projects are a great way to do this, working to someone else's colour palate, for example. It's also fun to interpret current trends in your own way too.
Of course the ocean once more provided the inspiration and voila! the beachcomber necklace was born. Featuring fewer but bigger beads than normal, this was my interpretation of casting a net into a particularly lush ocean and bringing the catch aboard caught in the mesh.
It's become one of my favourite styles, worked in all colourways including silver, gold, copper and black artistic wire. I have a copper version of my own (seen in one of my avatars as above) and wear it with both casual and formal outfits.It's a shorter necklace or choker but can be worn longer if required. It's bold but classy, and certainly adds a 'pop' to any neckline.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Mermaids always wear oceanic jewelry IMO, and with all that swimming, diving and siren-singing going on it's bound to be a little 'worn' and tangled.
Thus my mermaid asymmetric multi-strand necklaces - a thorough tangle of strands, featuring a plethora of jewelry-making techniques from wire work thru chainmaille to simple beading.
I have no idea why I decided to make a multi-strand asymmetric necklace one day ..... but when the piece was finished, the name 'mermaid' was firmly fixed in my mind.
I've made them in silver wire, gold (as part of a recent jewelry design class) and tinned copper. My own personal mermaid is in copper and features a rather handsome wired glass cabachon as a clasp.
The number of strands varies but they all tangle as part of the style, and they're all called mermaid.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
sea glass woven wire crochet collar
This week's theme is 'from the sea' - pieces inspired by the ocean which are currently featured in the Blackberry Gift Shop. One of the reasons I started making jewelry was homesickness. Emigrating to the west coast of Canada placed me 8000km away from family and where I grew up.
sea coal and sea glass
I grew up in a small seaside village and spent many a happy hour playing at the beach. Now, whenever I go back home I spent many an afternoon walking along the same beach picking up pieces of beach glass. These pieces remind me of home when I'm far away. Some of my first pieces of jewelry were my attempts to 'wear' the sea glass from home, to keep it close to me.
wire wrapped daisy chain necklace
When I started making wire crochet pieces naturally I tried to incorporate my beloved sea glass. Crocheting a wire bezel around each piece is fiddly but effective. I've made many of these sea glass collars through the years now. On show is the latest in an evolving line.
sea glass constellation collar - part of a custom order
Monday, May 10, 2010
drilled sea glass cufflinks in a sterling silver chain setting
I've decided (cos it's up to me anyway) that this week is going to have an ocean theme and I'll tell the tales of the 'from the sea' section of featured work.
Both the cufflinks above and the pendant at the bottom of the post are made from scottish sea glass which has been drilled then mounted in a custom sterling silver setting. I'll talk about where the glass is collected from in another post but for now let's concentrate on how I got the holes in the glass seeing as it doesn't just turn up on the beach like that!
a typical beachcombing view
Putting holes in sea glass is relatively easy as long as a. you have a diamond coated drill bit, b. a drill, and c. patience. This is not something that can be done in a hurry or broken glass/broken drill bit is likely to happen.
Each piece is held underwater on a plastic mesh kitchen scrubby while drilling. This helps cool the drill bit in action (drill bits do not like heating up). Once I'm about halfway thru the thickness I flip the glass over and start drilling from the other side. The reason for doing this is to avoid pushing out a flake of glass and ruining the piece. Once through, I smooth out the bore hole with the drill then dry the piece and make the custom setting for it.
drilled sea glass pendant in sterling silver setting
Friday, May 7, 2010
This wire and fibre ring is from my "into the garden" series, inspired mostly by my parents' lush scottish back yard and with more than a slight finger poke at the Etsy-hipster terrarium fad.
Thus, the terrarium you an wear on your hand - a little garden for your fingers!
needlefelted fibres with metal and plastic elements on wire crochet base
Thursday, May 6, 2010
This piece is a happy marriage of parenting with crafting. My other blog deals with my daily life, trying to fit in some crafty moments in, around and in spite of family life. Making these fine silver pendants actually fits in with family life without too much disruption.
Autumn walks with my Wee Guy usually generate a large number of 'found' objects coming home. He collects rocks, twigs, pinecones and I select maple leaves from the ornamental trees near our home. Once collected they are vaselined to an old margarine tub lid to prevent them drying out then painted with art clay silver slurry.
Once a few layers are on and dried I can continue the painting at a more leisurely pace. My studio for this project is up on an old bookcase with all my tools at hand. Whenever I pass I paint on another layer then go and fold laundry or whatever.
Once enough layers have built up the leaves can be fired and polished leaving a 99.9% pure silver 'cast' of the original leaf.
Each one is truly a one-of-a-kind and cannot be repeated since the original leaf burns away in the firing process.