Saturday, 30 January 2010

Choco Retro Necklace

I expect you thought I had vanished as it is a week since I last posted.
The computer is more or less sussed. I am just trying to catch up on emails I haven't got around to answering and resend several which appear to have never arrived for some reason from some phone calls I have had. If I owe you an email you will have it soon!
The piece above is a necklace I have recently finished. The beads are by the wonderful Laura Sparling and the discs are made with Art Clay silver and patinated with Liver of Sulphur. I have called the piece Choco Retro.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

New Computer stress!!

I am in the process of changing my computer. Phew - why is it always so fraught? I am getting there so hopefully will be back to blogging more regularly soon :)

Friday, 22 January 2010

Patination... again

I got quite a lot of emails as well as the comments on the blog after I posted the Moonlit Sea pendant last week regarding using Liver of Sulphur (LOS) to patinate things so I thought I would give you some more ideas for using it.
You can mix your LOS with hot coffee instead of hot water. This brings up some really nice colours. The piece above was done with coffee and LOS. Using Cola instead seems to work as well. Try putting your piece into clear hot water to stop the action instead of cold. Hot water tends to being up more in the red range. If you are patinating earrings bend a wire so it will hold both at once and dip together to get similar colours on each one.
Polishing up the piece afterwards will just leave dark in the recesses but you tend to lose the colors, great effect though. As patination is only a surface treatment it will rub and wear in time. You can use renaissance wax to seal it but you will lose some of those really vibrant 'oil slick' colours.
Using LOS can be so variable so have a play, but don't worry. If you don't like the result refiring your piece briefly will remove the colour and then you can start all over again.
Just remember that it is smelly stuff so ventilate well when using and don't mix up those coffee cups!!! :)

Sunday, 17 January 2010

At Long Last Those Photos...

I kept promising you these photos and today while I was at my parents I actually remembered to take them!
The story of these pieces is that a couple of months before Christmas when I was over at my parents my Dad pointed at their placemats (pictured above) and said could I make Mum a set of jewellery based on them for him to give her for Christmas. We decided a change of flowers would work better and this is what I came up with. Our family name is Parrott so anything with a parrot on is always a collectible to us!! :-)
. The pendant and matching earrings are made in Art Clay silver with lab grown rubies (Mums favourite colour stones) fired in place. The second set of earrings are very light and just an everyday pair to match in with the pendant when she does not want to wear the more formal silver ones. The quality of the photos is not too good but I had to improvise with a chair seat as a background!!

She really liked the set so there we are - just goes to show you can get inspiration from anywhere :)

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Moonlit Sea

I haven't managed to photograph any new work for a few days so I thought I would show you this piece which I made a couple of years ago. It is made from Art Clay Silver and measures approx 6cm across. It hangs on a handmade silver chain.
This is a good example of what you can do with selective application of Liver of Sulphur. All the colours on this piece are from patination. I used a hot solution of Liver of Sulphur with a few drops of ammonia in it to give better colours and applied it just to the areas I wanted with a paintbrush. Where I have the gold tones it is just one application and then rinsed off. The pinks/reds come next by painting it again and to get the blues need several coats applied and then rinsed off. It is quite controllable as every time you rinse the piece it stops the colours developing further.
Another fun way to add colour to your work.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Sparkly Spiral

I made this lovely sparkly spiral back in the late summer. The photo above shows both sides of it and it measures about 6cm long. The idea was that I would wear it at the Art Clay conference last September. Needless to say as with all great but last minute ideas I never finished it in time for the conference!
In the past I had not really been one for adding faceted stones to my pieces but my friend Bev just loves little sparkles on everything. After a while this started to become a bit infectious, Bev kept showing me things she had made and the more pieces I saw and thought - Oh Bev would love that - the more I realised I was taking to them myself. Anyway eventually I ordered up a batch of pretty little stones and started to play setting them using syringe. The more I played the more I loved them. Now I am adding stones to everything I make (thanks Bev :) ).
This spiral turned into a bit of a labour of love and did take quite a while to do. It has 39 tiny 2mm little sparkles on it each one set using syringe and I thoroughly enjoyed creating it. But then I hit a snag. I fired it without putting too much thought into how I was going to wear it. I sort of had a vague idea!! When I tried it on chain it unwound itself off it, thin leather was the same. Thick leather looked good but I did not like it on a horizontal etc etc. It ended up sitting on one side waiting it's turn to be finished.
When I made the Fairy pendant last week a little light flashed on in my head. Yes, that wool would be good with it!
I decided to plait 4 strands and just use knots to finish.

The spiral wraps really snugly onto it and will not come undone on it's own.

Best of all the colours in the wool seems to pick up on the colours of thee little gems. It does need a bit more refining of the wool and positioning on it yet but basically I like the result.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Well Done Brother!!

I don't normally post much about my family on my blog as I like to try to keep it Art Clay related but I can't resist this one.
My brother, David, is vicar of St Lawrence Jewry in London. He gave yesterday's annual Plow Service a bit of a twist this year and the press have rather picked up on it. It was in today's Times and the Daily Telegraph and the Press Association put it onto their site and now it is going worldwide! We have been watching on Google and seen it reported in papers in as far away as Canada, India, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Now he has just made it onto the BBC news website.
Well done brother, now I just need to come up with an idea to get my jewellery that well known ........ :))

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Winter Blossom

Here is a piece that has been on my workbench for ages half finished. Yesterday I actually got around to finishing it off. Made with Art Clay Silver the little stones are Alexandrites which seem to change colour as the light catches them mainly going from reds through pinks to browns. I had originally thought I might polish it up more but somehow the wintry golds, blues and purples in the background seemed to rather reflect the snowy weather so I have left it that way. It measures about 32mm in diameter.


By the end of yesterday the snow here was about 8 inches deep. Today it seems like it is melting a bit and we have fine sleet coming down so maybe we will defrost soon.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Fairy Interesting!

This is not like my usual type of work at all!
I have a friend who loves fairy things so this is a present for her. I made the fairy in Art Clay Silver and have added a gorgeous hollow bead made by Laura Sparling. The lovely multicolour twisted wool strand was an impulse buy on eBay that I have had some time and never knew what to do with it. I just love the colours of it. I hope she likes it.
I wanted this to work either as a pendant (the strand is adjustable) or hanging in a window.

I gave the fairy a textured back decorated with another flower so it is interesting either way around.

I really like the result and it is nice to create something different. It has already given me an idea for using up more of that lovely wool.
Overnight we had about 5 inches of snow here and it is still snowing lightly now with more forecast for this afternoon and tomorrow. It looks beautiful. Luckily I don't need to go anywhere so it is off to do a bit more creating for me :)
Take care and keep warm.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Art Clay Copper Now For Sale

Good News!
I now have Art Clay Copper for sale in my ebay shop ArtClayUK. Unlike previous Copper clays this does not need a stainless steel pan and charcoal to fire it. It fires at 970c on the open shelf in a kiln. Once fired you quench it in cold water straight from the kiln. This removes most of the black firescale. Use jewellers pickle to remove any black remaining.
You can make items just in copper like the mask above or combine them with Art Clay Silver like the pendant below.
To combine them you make your copper pieces first and fire them. Copper and Silver will not fuse together so you need to capture the copper with the silver. In the little pendant pictured below the silver goes through the centre of the copper and captures the copper petals in place. I have set a little cz into the silver as well. Which brings me to another point. If you are going to use any heat sensitive parts in your piece (like the ruby cz) DON'T quench in cold water after adding the silver or you will shatter your stone. Remove the fired piece from the kiln and just cover with a piece of ceramic fibre and leave to cool. You will find quite a lot of the firescale will ping off as it cools (hence covering the piece!) and you can pickle it once cool to remove any that remains.
The packs of Copper Clay come with an information sheet in English. The cost is £15.25 for 50g so if you have a large project in mind which was going to cost too much in silver why not give it a go in copper and have a play :)

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Snow and Teaching don't mix!

I started teaching a Level One Art Clay workshop on Sunday which was supposed to finish today but the weather just did not want to play ball. We worked late to complete the projects yesterday and just as well because today we have a very pretty covering of snow everywhere! Lovely but not very travel friendly!!
Well done Paula. I am afraid I made her work really hard to get finished but we got there! :)
Sorry about the picture here but I forgot to take any until the light was a bit dull!! :)
If you would like to take a one to one workshop just email me for details or see my website.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Guild of Enamellers Conference

If you are into enamelling and you are a member of the Guild of Enamellers then you should of received your latest journal with all the info about the annual conference. This year it is in Nottingham from April 9th-11th. The conference always books up fast so don't forget to send your booking back ASAP! This year it is going to be a great conference with a terrific line up of workshops and even includes an Art Clay Master who is flying in from Japan for the conference. He will be running a workshop on enamelling with Art Clay silver as well as giving the Masterclass. How exciting is that!
If you don't already belong join quick on the website and then contact the conference secretary!
The photo above? If you have not seen it before that is my infamous mask which was one of my pieces I entered at last years conference for selection when I became a Craftsman of the Guild of Enamellers :) Any excuse eh :))))

Saturday, 2 January 2010

A Happy New Year

I hope you all had a good Christmas. I have to admit our family Christmas ended as a bit of a disaster what with my husband, my Mum and myself all getting a dreadful cold/chest infection thing which knocked us all out at various times over the festivities so most of it just got abandoned. Anyway we are all on the road to recovery now.
So did you make any New Year Resolutions? I have sort of promised myself to blog more often but also to spend less time on the computer if I can. I realise those two do not go together too well but we will see how it goes :0
One thing I never got as far as posting in December was that I won a blog competition!! How great is that. The wonderful Nicola Callow ran it on her blog PMC Tips and it was for the fab book pictured above. It has so many interesting ideas in it and is even autographed by Robert Dancik himself. Wonderful. I have put a link to the book on Amazon on the right hand side of my blog if you want to see some more info about it.
If you do not currently follow Nicola's two excellent blogs you really should head over and have a look at them. The second blog is Murano Silver. Her work is great and she is always blogging good tips as well.
Oh one last thing, in case you were wondering where that photo of my favourite set I made before Christmas is. With being ill I never got a chance to photograph it but I will be able to soon as it was a set my Dad asked me to make that he gave to my Mum, so watch this space :)
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