Wednesday, 30 September 2015

36/52 Captured Crystal

This next challenge piece turn into a labour of love - largely because of a major saga to photograph it!!

I have NEVER posted so many disparate photos of one piece...ever! I've had such a hard time trying to photograph this :D

I actually finished it several weeks ago, and since then have had various attempts at photographing it. It's too large for my normal set up (note to self - don't make large things!!!).  I've ended up with a photo (or two) from each try so I do hope it gives you the general idea of it. 

I wanted to create a piece using a double terminated quartz crystal. I've made several pieces this year with wands/points but not one that was pointed at both ends. I really liked this crystal and thought it would be nice to create a way of hanging it so that the crystal could still be removed if desired. 

This was the solution I came up with. Each circular piece of silver is textured on both sides and the large ring is notched to the exact shape of the crystal so it sits snugly whilst still being free to move a little.

Around the large ring I hung three garnet beads to add colour and movement to the whole piece. They swing nicely when it is worn.

 I originally created this as a pendant, and it certainly could be worn as one, but it is a little bit on the large side for something I would wear. The quartz measures 68mm from point to point, so I decided it would be lovely to make a base and hanger for it.

I used a piece of bog wood which I polished up to a nice shine and found some good strong springy wire. I made a nice arc of the wire and a hook at the end of it (yes, I know it doesn't look like a nice arc in the photo below but it really is a nice curve - it's just the angle in that not very good shot!!).

Today was a lovely day here in Hastings so I took it down to the Old Town for a couple more shots - and decided it really was time to show the world!! 

Today, at last, I got some nice light into the crystal, and the bonus of our unique, world famous Net Shops in the background!!!

I've  gotten used to it sitting on my table while I'm working and I think I prefer it on the stand!

One final thing - you might notice in my photos that when hung on the wooden support there is and extra ring and hook and small black bit.

When I hung the pendant direct onto the stand it could not turn at all and I wanted it to be able to. After a bit of searching I found some teeny tiny micro swivels used in fishing - perfect!!! I'm sure I'll find a use for more of these in the future! 

Have fun! :)

Joy x

35/52 Twirls n Turquoise

This week I've been working on new textures! I'm trying out a new method of creating the texture plates so lots of testing! I'm super pleased with the first tests and very excited about the whole thing - but lots more work to be done yet! ;)

These are some discs made with the new texture plates...

...they have been fired and polished, but no patina (dark in the recesses) applied at this point.

Then I wire wrapped the discs with some lovely little 6mm natural turquoise beads. The discs can turn freely and really catch the light when they are worn! :)

On the back of the discs I added another of my textures. I always like to finish the backs of earrings properly - you never know who might be standing behind you!!

I'm very pleased with the outcome, and was tempted to keep them for me ...but no, because I have more exciting news!

I've been having work done to my website and now I can change the content of it whenever I want to - yay!! So I've been giving it a revamp! Please do pop over and have a look!

Now I've started updating my shop with new items. I be adding more pieces all the while so please do keep checking back.

These earrings are already there in the shop! :D

Have fun!

Joy x

Thursday, 17 September 2015

34/52 Joyful Textures Part 2


I'm very excited that at last I have my textures up and listed on my website :) I only have very limited quantities of them though!!

I have six different textures, one of them is the same design reversed.
I've been making sure I have at least something with each design on as an example. I decided not to name the textures but just to leave them numbered.

You'll have to forgive me but the next part does rather sound like a fashion show!!! :D 

The first three are 50mm x 89mm (2" x £.5") in size.

So...Joyful Texture A500 below is shown on the ring band of the Purple Weave ring above...

and below. 


Next we have Joyful Texture A501


This design is very special to me as I used it on my reversible necklace Precious. Below is the texture enamelled...

...and on the other side of the pendant it is gem set :)

And then we have A502


As seen on the band of the Marchionesque ring.

The next three are larger sheets - 102mm x 127mm (4" x 5").

We start off with G500, I love it!

You can see it in the centre of the back of my Rainbow Ripple pendant...

and also on these small pieces. This texture would also be great for enamelling - I must do that!!

The next texture is G500/REVERSE. This was a bit unexpected as I hadn't initially thought of reversing it, but it looks great!!

Finally we have G501. This is very varied with lots of uses. 

I put it on the back of my Joyful Torii pendant :)

So there we have it. I do hope you like them - and I can't wait to see what people make with them! Please do post links in the comments on this post if you make something using them, or email me :)

Have fun!

Joy x

Monday, 14 September 2015

33/52 Slippery Sid

This challenge piece is really all about the wood! 

On my challenge list is one entry entitled drift wood. I have a LOT of small pieces of drift wood!! I very seldom see any driftwood on Hastings beach but a couple of years ago I bought a big batch of it online that I saw going for a good price. The intention was always to use it as bases for the small bronze critters I occasionally make.

As it has been washing around in the sea for so long the wood is mostly quite bleached in colour and rough-ish. It needed a finish on it to make it nice. I've tried Renaissance Wax, I've tried oiling the wood, whatever I use sinks in straight away and the wood looks no different even after quite a few treatments. I didn't want to add a varnish coating to it so the wood got placed to one side, another thing for another day! :)

It is interesting how ideas suddenly hit you though. Last week I was reading a newspaper supplement and it mentioned Shou Sugi Ban (sometimes called Yaki Sugi) as a treatment for antiquing and preserving cedar cladding on buildings. Well that immediately piqued my interest (it's that Japanese influence again! ;) ) and off I went to do some Googling!!

Basically the process involves blasting the wood with a flame to create a charred outer surface, and then cleaning the wood up well afterwards. It seemed like the perfect way to treat my little pieces of driftwood.
I geared myself up with everything I needed, heatproof surface, torch, bowl of water (safety precaution!), large tongs and some pieces of driftwood and headed out into the fresh air! It was fun! The main thing was to make sure I got an even charring and that the wood did not actually catch fire and keep burning!! Making sure I was upwind and not downwind also REALLY helped!! :)

Thankfully the bowl of water proved to be surplus to requirements and I didn't incinerate anything  :) I let the pieces cool off and then set about brushing the surface of the wood with a stiff brush to remove the loose charred particles.

The results were lovely! Different types of wood obviously reacted differently, some stayed very smooth, other had wonderful pronounced surface graining. They all had a really nice subtle sheen without any other treatment.

The two discs were commercial wooden pendants - you can see how much surface I lost in this comparison of them.

The piece of wood I chose to put Slippery Sid onto already had a couple of small holes in the surface. First I added some Renaissance Wax to increase the glow in the wood. This time the wax worked well on the surface. 

I drilled a small hole into the base of Sid and put a small wire peg into one hole in the wood so Sid didn't slip off the wood (sorry Sid!), then I added a tiny enamelled ammonite into the other hole for a touch of colour :)

I really like the result. The dark wood sets of the bronze beautifully. I'll be doing more of this! :)

Have fun!

Joy x

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

32/52 On Angel Wings

One of the things on my challenge list for the year is making more complex stone set rings. Not sure if this is really more complex - but I like it anyway, and I have never made a ring like this before :)

The three stones are lab grown YAG stones, sort of like a garnet. I believe these stones are now no longer made which is very sad because all the colours fire wonderfully in silver clay on the open shelf and the blue and green in this ring don't really have any other equivalents that I know of.

I acquired these stones quite a few years ago. I bought some green YAG from PhoenixMagyk
and Delia was very kind to include some extra stones. These are three of them. I've often looked at them but never been inspired to do anything with them. 

This week I wanted to make another ring and had something very different in mind, but in rummaging around in my stone stash I came across these again and they just struck me as perfect to go with some angel wings, so the plans all changed and this is what I came up with! :)

I think I'll be keeping this one as the stones have a really lovely sparkle, and it's just my size!! ;) (Oh, wasn't that lucky!!). My photos don't really do the stones justice. 

The two wings go around the band and come together at the back.

I put my little Joy logo inside the band at the back (always handy should a bout of amnesia hit!). So there it is - a fine silver angel wing ring :D

Have fun! :)

Joy x

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

31/52 Joyful Torii - Part 1

OK, this next piece is going to be in split into 2 parts for the challenge! No, I'm not cheating, really! There is quite a lot to it all, and I have used two different things on my challenge list so all is good! :)

Having recently won the Silver Accessories Contest in Japan (yay!) my mind is now turning to all things Japanese. I have booked my flights and will be going to the award ceremony at the end of October! It's all super exciting!!

I decided to make a piece inspired by some of the wonderful images I've been looking at online while trying to organise my trip. I particularly like the shape of all the Torii I keep seeing! (A torii is a traditional Japanese gate which marks the entrance to a sacred space.)

My first challenge was to use a heap of pieces of Art Clay Silver that have been sitting beside my kiln for over 5 years now! You can see them in the top photo. There are a lot of little extruded square profile rods and a little roof shape. The clay has discoloured a lot in places, but dried silver clay seems to keep just fine.

This was a rough idea of what I had in mind. (I keep my designing on the simple side! ;) )

I started out making a square tile of silver clay textured on one side only.

A bit more googling images of Torii and I soon realised the roof need to be much shallower - and the other way up with the wider part at the top! I joined the square rods into pairs to make the various beams and added them to plain side of the flat tile of clay to make a framed area. Then I added the roof at a sloping angle to the top.

Whilst I hadn't done any drawings I knew in my mind that I wanted to extend the beams out each side to give a bit more interest to the piece, so I added the four small pieces onto the edges.

Finally I added a couple of hanging loops and my logo to the back. You can see in the photo below I used up most of the rods. These were the only bits left at the end!

Now the piece was ready for firing. This photo gives you an idea of the scale before firing.

Once it was fired I polished up the silver and added a patina to the piece. Then I photographed it ready to do this blog post...

...and then something interesting happened!

As soon as I uploaded all the photos ready to start blogging and looked at them all I realised that I had gone OTT!!! I looked at the photo higher up this post, the one showing the piece before I added the four small extra bits on the side and thought...actually less is more!!!

So it was off for a quick bit of work in Photoshop to check this out! Here are the three options I have. The piece as it is at the moment on the left, with the bottom two edge pieces removed in the middle and with all four edge pieces removed on the right. Isn't modern technology wonderful!

I can immediately see that it has to be option two or three. In my attempt to add more interest I have lost the look of the gate! The question now is do I go with the middle or right hand side one. I'm quite torn between the two different looks, but I think I will most likely go with the middle one :)

Now you have probably read all this (assuming you have made it this far!) thinking...
 'what about that boring plain bit in the middle?? You've called it a Joyful Torii but there is nothing very Joyful about it!!' 

That will be Part 2 in this saga!!

Next I plan (to try) to add a micro mosaic into the the frame!!! It's on my challenge list! I bought a whole load of smalti filato (now you'll have to google that!! :) ) years ago in Murano, Venice, and have never used them. I have no idea whether I can do this as I haven't tried at all before. I realise already I've made the frame a bit too shallow so that will add extra fun, and I'm not even going to tell you what design I have in mind, it might all change once I get started! lol this space for the next instalment - finishing this piece off :)


Have fun!

Joy x

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