Inspiration (or lack thereof)

I haven’t made any jewellery or updated my blog for weeks. I have had a complete breakdown of inspiration and wonder if this is what writers block feels like.

I managed to make something for a friend for her birthday a couple of weeks ago

 

 

 

 

That is the only item though. I have told myself to try some simple stuff – paper beads, some nice fabric beads on ribbon, maybe a ring – so will see how I get on. 

In the interim I have finally started sorting through my supplies, in the hope I will suddenly think ‘Eureka!’ It hasn’t happened yet but I have tidy tools and stringing materials and findings. I also have a small mountain of beads and am asking myself is it better to organise them by type or colour?

 

 

 

 

Love and flowers

I haven’t posted for a couple of weeks, apologies for the radio silence. I have had a busy couple of weeks with fundraising and being a bridesmaid at my friends beautiful wedding. I planned to make some jewellery to match my dress but time got away from me. Thankfully I had something suitable already!

I have found I’m time and made a necklace that is a little different for me.

Whilst at a craft fair I met a lovely lady selling bead. She also had the flowers on the necklace above. Usually I just work with beads and am nervous about designing but these just cried out to become jewellery. They came already fastened together and initially there were 10 but they didn’t sit flat against the neck with that many due to the way they are attached to each other. It took me a bit of time to decide the best way to attach the necklace section but as they are linked together at two points it seemed that they would hang together better if two attachments were used for the beads.

I threaded some wire through each of the two side petals, formed a small loop and used a crimp to hold it in place. As you can see from the picture the wire through one of the petals is short. This is because I wanted a single row of beads so the shorter thread is used to form this:

 I threaded three beads on each section of wire before threading both through two more beads and adding a crimp. The crimp was added at this point to keep the beads tight against the flowers, without the crimp the shape of the triangle area slips and the flowers wouldn’t lie flat against the neck. After the crimp, beads were threaded onto both threads of wire so that the shorter end is hidden inside other beads. 

The ends were finished with a simple lobster clasp. I am really pleased with the way this has turned out and may make a matching bracelet with the three flowers I have left.

Sorting

No jewellery making this week but I have been sorting out my jewellery. The jewellery I wear, both that I have made and bought. I realised I have
a lot, some I had forgotten I own.

I have a lot of nice accessories. Beaded items that I have made, or bought before I started making.

The biggest surprises though were the pieces of ‘real’ jewellery. My mum has lots of jewellery, my dad loves to buy it for people. Diamonds, black diamonds, amethysts, sapphires, garnets. I often admire her various bits.

I realised today that I have a lot of sterling silver jewellery (I don’t wear yellow gold), it has mostly been bought by my parents. Nice items with jewels go to my mum, plain silver or silver with a little less bling come my way.

So, having rediscovered so many beautiful pieces both silver and beaded I am going to try not to always wear the same snowflake necklace.

Jewellery and Sponsorship

It has all been themed jewellery this week, cycling themed to be precise.

 In August my husband is cycling in the Ride London – Surrey 100. As part of this he needs to raise £750 for his chosen charity, which is JDRF. This charity funds research into type 1 diabetes and provides support for children, adults and parents living with the condition.

£750 is a surprisingly difficult amount of money to raise so we have been looking at various ways to do this. As my husband is a member of a cycling club and online forum he has asked me to help by creating some jewellery to sell to his fellow cyclists. I’m sure something in our marriage vows said we will support each other so I have given it a shot.

I started with some simple earrings and necklace designs.

 

There is a selection of racing bikes, penny farthings and cogs. The cogs are not only a prominent part of the bike but also part of the logo for the cycling club.

Not only were these pieces were more popular than I anticipated but the men at the club also wanted to join in, and so cycling key rings were born.

 

Each item is being sold for £5 and sales are going well. These are the first things I have ever sold and I am quite excited at the idea of people wearing items I have made. They are also raising money for a great cause. 

If you would like more information about why this charity was chosen or how training to cycle 100 miles around London and Surrey (including up Box Hill) is going please visit 

Virgin Giving -JDRF

 

Bright things

I have been creating some bright, stand out jewellery this week. When I was younger I preferred jewellery that blended in a bit more, didnt make you stand out in the crowd. As I get older and more confident with myself I still like understated jewellery, my favourite necklace is a small, silver snowflake on a simple chain. However, I also like bright, chunky, stand out jewellery. I like it when it is the same colour shades as my outfit or wearing a black dress and a bright necklace to match my shoes. I have become much less scared of accessorising.

I found an interesting mixed bag of red beads and they turned into this:

 

The beads aren’t very large as, in this case, I thought the bright colour might overwhelm everything if the medium was too big.

There are some very simple items needed to make a necklace like this.

  This is another set of beads that I will potentially turn into the same type of item.  The main item is a mixed bag of black and silver beads to create the front design of the necklace. The string of black beads are wooden, you can buy strings like this from most bead supplier, it is a convenient way to display them in the store and a useful way of keeping them all together. The final ingredients are box ends and a clasp to fasten the necklace with, and waxed cord. I prefer waxed cord for this type of item as the cord is stronger if you are using heavier beads and the wax means it is stiffer and so easier to thread through the beads. 

Deciding on the way to organise your feature beads can be tricky, I will rearrange them a few times on a bead mat or bead design board until I am happy. For example, I have a mixture of green and blue beads

They can be organised in multiple ways such as separating the blues and greens

or a mixture of the two colours

It can take some time to get the ordering right, I sometimes find I have strung everything including the plain beads before realising the beads aren’t balanced correctly and wont sit right when worn. It isn’t necessarily due to them being symmetrical as in all the examples above, this is just the way these packs of beads fell for me.

This is one of my favourite necklaces

I get comments on it quite regularly when I wear it. As you can see the design isn’t symmetrical, all of the beads are different. There is a mix of wood, cord wrapped, cloth wrapped, plastic and porcelain. The design balances though as all the beads are the same shape and get slightly smaller as they go back from the front two beads. 

Symmetry or shape/size are not the only two ways to design a successful piece of jewellery. I have seen some stunning pieces made with items of different sizes and colours. I am quite new to the design game though and am working my way slowly through the best way to build pieces up.

Rings and things

This week I have been struggling with  hectic few weeks at work catching up with me, a cold I cant shake and a cat that refuses to not play with my stuff. So I have made something straight forward that I have had practice at before.

This style of ring is relatively easy to make. The materials needed are:

   a ring sieve,

  a ring to attach the sieve to, nylon thread and , of course, 

 beads. I have a selection of swarovski elements, pearl beads and seed beads. You need as many seed beads as other type of beads and you need one bead per hole in the sieve. 

To begin thread the nylon through the centre hole and back through and tie a knot at the back of the sieve. Make sure you leave a few centimeters on the short end to enable you to finish the ring.  To attach the beads, start with the centre hole and thread the nylon through to the front. Thread a bead  and a seed bead, take the nylon back through the large bead (but not the seed bead) and then back down the centre hole. Follow this procedure for each hole on the sieve, I find it easiest to work in concentric circles from the centre outwards. As you work round the sieve try to keep the tension in the nylon thread constant. Once finished tie the end of the nylon to the short end from the initial knot. Tie this a few times to make sure it is secure and then trim the ends to be shorter than the edges of the sieve. Place the sieve into the ring and,using pliers, bend the hook to hold the sieve in place.

 

   As you can see the ring has quite a large profile. I dont usually wear rings but this one matches a dress I own perfectly.

Resin

 

I have been unwell this week, this means I haven’t made any jewellery which makes me itch to dig through the mountains of beads I own. I have spent a lot of my time asleep though and I have yet to sleep walk so sleep crafting is probably beyond me.

I did manage to go to the ICHF craft fair. I really enjoyed myself and may have a new obsession. I went to a talk by Clare John about resin jewellery ( www.resin8.co.uk ). I have been looking at resin for a while as it would enable me to make my own beads for some designs. I enjoyed the talk and visited Clare’s stand to buy a starter kit. I have chosen the design I intend to make so watch this space!