Saturday 27 July 2013

Summertime Madness!

I'm having a sale!!!
I've never had a sale before! Must be the combination of the heat and the thunderstorms ;-)
I am offering a whopping 20% OFF the items listed in my Etsy shop until 1st August. The mask above is included!!
Don't miss out :)
Have fun!

Friday 26 April 2013

WCC 17/52 - Ollie

Now this one REALLY is completely different. No metal clay in sight!!
Last weekend I went on a workshop at the British Museum to make a mosaic. It was only a short three hour session, and I've never made anything like this before. It was a bit rushed to fit it all in, but in the end we all got finished!
The workshop was to coincide with the Pompeii exhibition on at the museum, so we started off with a talk about Roman Mosaics, then we were given a few design ideas, or told we could do our own design. Well mine had to be a critter didn't it!! I'm in the process of making some more of my owl earrings so an owl seemed an obvious choice for me. Then we chose some tiles for our design, were shown how to cut the tiles, and were off. We had about an hour and a half to get the hang of cutting tiles and put our mosaics together. Phew, so there was no hanging around. This piece is about 20cm square.
There wasn't any time to grout our pieces, but as it happened I had some white mosaic grout at home so I added it yesterday. You can see it makes it look totally different to how it looked at the end of the workshop in the photo below.

Maybe white was not the best colour to use, but that was all I had! Still it was great fun and I enjoyed it all. There's definitely a LOT of room for improvement but I do feel inspired to give it another go.
You might wonder why I just happened to have some mosaic grout at home!! Well, for quite a few years now I have planned to try micro mosaics, but of course have never actually got around to it. Now I think I just might give it a go... :)
Here is Ollie's poem
Two beady eyes
in orange and black
Vitreous and ceramic
mosaic plaque
Phew... that is the end of my blogging marathon for today. This is the last of EIGHT posts on my Weekly Critter Challenge to bring me right back up to date. Do check out the rest of them :)
Joy x

WCC 16/52 - Cuddles

Meet Cuddles!! Cuddles is my first animal mask. I have made quite a lot of my Colourful Carnival Masks now (and I will be teaching them as a workshop in various place, so contact me if you are interested) but I decided I would now try my hand at a few animal masks. He is made in fine silver and enamel. He has a mottled little pink and black nose :)
Here is his poem - a Haiku
Eyes and ears large
Whisker curling. nose mottled
Cuddles awaits
I have another animal mask on the go so expect to see that one possibly next week ;-)  
This is the seventh of EIGHT posts for today to catch me up on my critter challenge blogging.
Phew!! I am nearly there. I now need to photograph critter 17/52 and I'll be back in a while. Meanwhile you can read all my other posts for today :)
Joy x

WCC 15/52 - Ophio

This is Ophio, a fine silver snake pendant. He is made using Art Clay Silver and he has tiny red enamelled eyes. The whole pendant measures overall about 26mm x 28mm. I am often asked if I make jewellery for men, and I guess Orphio fits that quite well, but he would be just as beautiful on a lady as well :)
Here is his poem.
Slithering, sliding
and hissing too
Wreathing and wriggling
with slippery sinew
This is the sixth of EIGHT posts for today to catch me up - so do check out my others :)
Joy x

WCC 14/52 Waddle

This one is CUTE!! He is called Waddle and he is a tiny baby penguin. He is another little bird bead, and he sits on his own little iceberg. I have to be honest here, Waddle's iceberg is not quite finished so he is not yet wired to it, as he will be a pendant. He measures just 20mm tall and he is fine silver with enamel.
Baby little penguin
Waddling around
On a frosty iceberg
Waiting to be found
I'll post an update photo of Waddle when he is properly finished off :)
This is the fifth of EIGHT posts for today to catch me up - so do check out my others :)
Joy x


WCC 13/52 - Don't Count Your Chickens...

Now for something completely different! This critter coincided with Easter, so of course it had to be something topical. This is a tiny fine silver chicken bead sitting on her silver wire nest. She is a little pendant. I made her using Art Clay Silver fired over a wood clay base to make a hollow bead, and then enamelled her.

I think she is really fun...

...and really little! :)
Here is her poem
Broody little hen
Sitting on her eggs
Soon fluffy little chicks
Will run about her legs
This is the fourth of EIGHT posts for today to catch me up - so do check out my others :)
Joy x

WCC 12/52 - Cataflaged

Another cat critter! (I said there would be more :) ). This time it is a fine silver pendant made using Art Clay Silver. The pendant is reversible and on one side we have the cat which was added using my Enamelled Accents technique. He has lovely green enamel eyes and a pink nose. A hidden cat!

The back is quite simple with a nice texture and a star shaped stone set near the top, and my Joy logo.
Here is the poem
Emerald Eyes
Mischievous glint
Playful gaze
And purring hint
This is the third of EIGHT posts for today to catch me up - so do check out my others :)
Joy x

WCC 11/52 - Shoreline Decoy

Another little Goldie Bronze sculpture. This one is a little shoreline decoy bird. I really like making this style of little bird, and the simplicity of the outline.

The bird measures approx 47mm from tail to beak.

I wrote a Haiku for this one.
Little shoreline bird
Graceful bended silhouette
Sculpted miniature
This is the second of EIGHT posts for today to catch me up - so do check out my others :)
Joy x

WCC 10/52 Fluffy the Kitten

So, here we go with the first of 8 blog posts to catch up my Critter Challenge.
This is Fluffy the Kitten. He is a furry little thing made out of Goldie bronze and he measures just 22mm x 27mm. Fluffy didn't hang around long, I finished him on a Friday and he went off to a new home at my fair on the Saturday!

Here is his poem.
Fluffy the Kitten
Waiting to play
Throw him a toy
and you'll brighten his day
Cats are obviously popular - watch out for more :)
Joy x

Critter Catchup!!!

OK, so I have gotten myself REALLY behind on blogging. Not good :(
I have been making critters and I am now going to blog to catch up on them all. My critter for this week is 17/52 and my last post is 9/52 so watch this space!!
We have 8 blog posts coming in fairly quick succession!!! :)
Joy x

Monday 4 March 2013

WCC 9/52 - Mammoth Ivory Carving

A strange title for the blog post you may think, have I been carving huge chucks of illegal elephant ivory? Actually no, this is the woolly four legged kind of mammoth, not the very large kind (well OK, a woolly mammoth is very large as well, but let's not go there...)
This is my weekly critter for the challenge for last week and it is definitely different! This is quite a long blog post, but I hope you will find it an interesting one! (Apologies for the poor quality of some of the photos!)
A while ago I booked to go on a one day workshop at the British Museum in London. The workshop was called Mammoth Ivory Carving and is part of the events during the Ice Age Art special exhibition which is currently on. I had always wanted to go to a workshop at the museum and this one seemed a perfect subject to me. Interestingly after I posted on Facebook that I had booked the workshop, Helen Foster-Turner, a fellow metal clayer friend, posted that she had also booked it. On arriving last Saturday in total there were 12 of us on the workshop, and I was even more surprised when Penny Akester, yet another metal clay friend walked in! 25% metal clayers must say something about the workshop - though I am not sure what!!
Our instructor for the day was Master Craftsman Wulf Hein from Germany, who has been replicating Ice Age artifacts for 25 years, and his work has provided important insights into the techniques and artistry of Ice Age people. Most of Wulf's work is for museums. We were to work with a piece of mammoth ivory using flint tools to carve our very own unique creation.
Wulf started the day by telling us about the tools that were used, showing us some of his wonderful carvings, and demonstrating how the flint was knapped to make the tools. We also saw a fascinating short video of Wulf making a replica carving which covered the entire carving process. He then gave us each two tools that he had already prepared. They are in the top photo, on the left is a burin, and in the middle a blade. We were warned to take care as the blades were as sharp as razor blades, but that there was a ready supply of plasters in case of accidents!! Thankfully no one need them :) On the right in the top photo is my small rod of mammoth ivory, and we were all set!
Helen and Penny, above, hard at work!
We had a lot of laughs...

...and of course lots of serious carving time!
It was interesting that Jill Cook, the curator of the exhibition was with us most of the day, and someone asked her whether it was thought that carving was a solitary or social activity in Ice Age times. She commented that when she came back into the room earlier, we were all in silence and totally absorbed in our carving, and she did think that maybe the carving was more of a solitary activity, but the carvings were then used for more social, perhaps story telling, activities.  

Work began at one end of the piece of ivory, carefully carving away using the flint tools. When we needed a different shape tool, maybe another burin or a pointed drill tool, Wulf simply made it by knapping a new one for us.

We worked with the ivory wet as it is easier to carve, we each had a glass of water to use but apparently saliva works just as well! Can you guess what it is yet?

Gradually the shape started to appear, and we found out that Ice Age people had tough hands! It was not long before I realised I had a blister but a strip of leather soon eased the problem. 

As the carving took shape there comes a point when it needs to be separated from the rest of the rod of ivory.

For my carving this meant creating a V shape for the tail.

To do this I had to use the point of the tool at the bottom of the photo below - it was a long slow process! Working the V shape in on each side of the rod until...

...eventually I managed to separate them! I know the photo below is blurred but it took me about an hour and a half to do this process so you are getting the photo regardless!!!! :) There was a definite sense of achievement in splitting the two pieces!!

When Wulf had demonstrated the flint knapping at the start of the day he said if we wanted to have a go we only had to ask, so of course, I had to have a try, and it was good to have a break from carving.
First the stone is prepared by gently rounding off the top edge with a smaller stone. To actually remove the flake of stone from the core we used an antler baton and a rough hewn wooden mallet.

The flint core is held firmly between the legs... easier said than done! You will note that I really needed a lower chair as my feet were hardly touching the ground!! The antler baton is held at the correct angle on the top edge of the flint core...

...and then you swing the wooden mallet down hard... hit it! Yes, well, that is not a thing which came naturally to me, to swing a hammer straight at myself - lol. I was not really hitting the antler hard enough...

... as you can tell by the 'is that it?' expressions looking at the small flake I produced! Still at least I did get some flakes on my several tries... the photo below the four large top tools are the ones Wulf made and the five small ones below were my efforts. He was kind enough to say that mine would be good for small details, and that my triangular one in the middle was a very good arrow head though!

Anyway, back to the carving. I carried on and did some more refining in the time that was left and below is my final effort for the day. This was about 5 hours of carving to get it to this far and it needs more refining, smoothing and polishing now.

It is interesting that the piece of ivory I have left looks more like an old bit of wood with paint on it than mammoth ivory that is thousands of years old!

In case you are wondering the mammoth ivory we used came from Siberia. One fully grown tusk can weight up to 200kg and it is estimated that there may be around 150 million dead mammoths frozen in the Siberian tundra.
Here is the final photo I took at the workshop of my efforts for the day.

I shall do a bit more work to the carving to finish it, and then will post another photo.
Did you guess what it supposed to be?
It is a little bird, an Ice Age swallow maybe... :)
And here is my weekly poem to accompany the critter.  
Leaning to carve
As people of old
Knapping flint tools
To carefully hold
Out of the ivory
Creatures unfold
And we understand more
of that Ice Age so cold
If you are interested in seeing a little more about the Ice Age exhibition do have a look at this video.
All in all it was a thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening day and I shall be looking out for more workshops at the British Museum.
Have fun!
Joy x
The final finishes!!!
I refined the tail, added an aged look by rubbing in some earth, and then polished it up with a piece of leather. In total it took me about 8 hours to make I think - makes me really appreciate modern tools!!

Saturday 23 February 2013

WCC 8/52 - Bronze Jalien Alpha

This weeks critter is another Jalien!! He is Bronze Jalien Alpha and is a Goldie Bronze pendant set with a 3mm lab ruby.
When I fired him and took him out of the kiln he came out with the most wonderful kiln patina, in the photo below. I did debate keeping this finish but when I put a sealer on it the colours dulled a bit, and also I worry that the high spots will wear smooth anyway and ruin the look. So he was duly polished and with a heat patina applied came out as above - and I really like him! )

Here is his poem - short but sweet!! lol
An alien face
From outer space
A Jalien race
Have fun!! :)

Saturday 9 February 2013

WCC 6/52 - Under the Moon

Now this weeks critter is an interesting one!
Here we have (I thought!!) a cute little owl sitting under the moon. He is fine silver made using Art Clay Silver and has 2mm orange cubic zirconium eyes.
BUT - I posted him onto Facebook and everyone was seeing a green man/ grumpy man with a moustache!! Do you see him? I really struggled till someone told me exactly how he was, and now I see him!!
It just goes to show - we should always have our eyes open to all interpretations in life :)
Anyway on the basis of this being an owl...
here is his poem...
In the dark of the night
Under the moon
He sits on his branch a hooting
But when the sun rises
He will be gone
Back to his nest a roosting
I would love to know what you see when you look at this!!
Have fun!
Joy x

Friday 1 February 2013

Weekly Critter Challenge 5/52 - Flutterbies

Several critters this week - Butterflies!
Pretty pink enamelled butterflies with sparkly rainbow 4mm Cubic Zirconium in a fine silver pendant.
Here is the poem
Flittering, fancily, fluttering by
Flashes of fuchsia fleetingly fly
I think this pendant a bit of a Japanese feel to it, what do you think?
Have fun!
Joy x

Wednesday 30 January 2013

Featured Artist - WOW!!

I just had to share this. I am so excited!!
I am the current Featured Artist on Grains of Glass, a wonderful enamelling website.
You can read the article here :) 

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Weekly Critter Challenge 4/52 - Bluebell

Here is this weeks critter - Bluebell!
She is fine silver and enamel and she is a brooch. She was a commission and guess what, I forgot to photograph the back with the brooch pin before she went off to her new home! Oh well. I am sure you know what a brooch pin looks like! :) She measures approx 35mm x 40mm.
She is based on Bluebell, the cat belonging to the new owner of the brooch. Bluebell is a ragdoll. I really enjoyed making this so watch out for more cats!! If you want to commission a cat brooch or pendant just let me know! 
Here is Bluebell's poem
Her fur is as white as the freshly lain snow
Her markings are delicate shades
Her eyes are as blue as the clear summer sky
Her intelligence shows in her gaze
Her manner is mischievous, haughty at times
She is Queen over all she surveys
Have fun!
Joy x

Monday 21 January 2013

Weekly Critter Challenge 3/52 - Pip-Squeak

For my third critter I have gone back to making Goldie Bronze sculptures.
This one is a cute little mouse! Pip-Squeak.
He has a long bendy tail...
... and an appealing look.
You can see he really is tiny!
Here is his poem, another haiku.
Happy little mouse
On hind legs sits with snaking tail
Any cheese for me?
My next critter will be in silver and enamel :)
Have fun!
Joy x

Monday 14 January 2013

New Formula Art Clay Silver

If you would like to read my findings on the new formula Art Clay Silver then pop over to George Weil and read their blog post which has all my comments in it :) 

Thursday 10 January 2013

Weekly Critter Challenge 2/52 - Rainbow Jalien

When I started the critter challenge I have to say I mostly had earthly creatures in mind, but then I decided to make an alien this week, and well... there you go, these things happen! Weird, eh? ;-)
I also decided that if I was going to keep making aliens (will I, won't I?) then I had better decide on a name for them, so this is my first Jalien. Why Jaliens? Well really I was thinking Joy's aliens. I went through several permutations and this was the option I liked best. When picking a new name for something it is always good to spend a little time on google, just to check your name does not mean something dreadful, maybe in another language. As far as I could tell the word Jalien only exists as a surname, but maybe you will tell me differently!
OK, back to the pendant. It is made using the new formula Art Clay Silver, which I really like. It is great for making tiny snakes and things like that as it holds the moisture much better and the fired silver polishes up to a lovely shine.
I was aiming for a cute alien, but people keep telling me this little chap looks creepy. Oh well, maybe my next Jalien will be cuter! 
I set a 3mm CZ which was fired in place, and then enamelled him, rainbow of course!!!
You can see that he is quite small.
As I was aiming for a unisex pendant (the wearer not the alien!), I made the back quite plain, but set a 2mm CZ for a little sparkle.
Writing a poem about an alien seemed quite tricky so I went with a haiku as they are quite short!
Something amazing
Traveller through space and time
A Jalien
Many thanks to Creative Glass for giving me some of the new formula Art Clay Silver to test!
Joy x
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