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Tuesday, 24 November 2015

The Making Framework

Hi Everyone
Last week on The Making Framework, we experimented in one of our workshops with a second Air Dry Clay session and worked through a series of ideas to develop a small Christmas Tree. We now have three options which will end the Air Dry Clay series next week. The names Wet Felt is the style of our approach rather than the actual example. The other two trees are actual workshop samples.


 I'll share all the workshop results next time combining the clay with felting ideas. I think we may try for a few little Christmas cards too - using clay or felt embellishments.

For today, I'm experimenting with another little Christmas tree idea which will form a Making Kit Project. I'm also developing a video to accompany the kit. This is a very ambitious plan ! We are in early stages but I have practiced a little and I'll do some more development today. 
The actual project will produce a beaded charm in the shape of a tree with a star on the top. The star will be beaded and the tree itself will be formed by a thin silver or gold spiral wire, covered in beads. The charm will hang by a small jump ring (to be formed from the same wire as the tree) and be attached to whatever as an embellishment with a ribbon or thread. I'm including this project today to show how these projects are devised and the process which is in place before the final activity is released for use in the Making Framework. Here is a quick look at the first stages of the process. 


I've collected my materials and have a vague idea in my head what the final item will look like. So far I've partially developed three different ideas on how to build the item and rejected two because they required highly developed range of beading skills which takes many years to refine and not suitable for The Making Framework. We are not concentrating on developing highly skilled crafters in one area (in this case beading), although this may well be a product of getting involved. The Making Framework is to do with challenging yourself to begin working with a specific material and experimenting with a project. Initially projects are structure and have instructions but quickly the Maker is encouraging to begin taking personal decisions to develop new ideas which may result from 'playing' with the project. It is about developing finishing skills and understanding design within a skill range. The final item needs to 'look good' to the Maker and hopefully, many others. All these things are subjective and each Maker is on their own path but bringing my points back to the beaded Christmas Tree project, I think we can offer this project to result in a highly finished item which is simple in design but pleasurable to achieve and gives a sense of personal satisfaction to make from scratch. 

Thanks for reading.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Make Art Monday

Hi Everyone
If you called in last Monday, you will know that I've been distracted from my long and much talked about (only by me !) Eyes Project. If you are new to this Project read back a few Monday's to get the back story. Last Monday's distraction was this :


These simple, little painted sketches were all about developing a surface pattern for a couple of clay items. The fish was to be the inside of a little platter dish and the spoons were in fact just 'spoons' to accompany the platter. All items are made from Air Dried clay.The items are now made and the patterns are sketched out - so I just need to paint them.
However, I'm getting back on track today and want to review where I am with the Eyes Project. I had left myself making a Lino print of a sample eye.
This is my starting point :
 This is where I hope to stay for a while. My plan today is to develop some simple Lino outline cuts and I will hopefully be ready to try out a few prints. This is a very exciting development and hopefully my Eyes Project will take a turn for the better. I'm using the idea of 'printing' to really define what I see as the essential lines of the eye without the help of shading. I'm prepared for lots of attempts. It's going to be a challenge! Ultimately, I think, the slight differences in the shapes will give me a variety of eyes (for my four Angel Dolls - read back for detail). I have drawn each set of eyes with pencil but I worked with watercolour and the results were not so good. I feel if I can get the structure lines set in my head, I can improve the watercolour and any other paint technique.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 20 November 2015

From Scratch

Hi Everyone
Today, I'm featuring another stocking filler in the FROM SCTRATCH offer. This time it's a pair of hoop earrings which I'm calling 'Hoops +'. This gift idea is made up of a pair of hoops and a range of beads which can be added for changing the look of the earrings. The hoop size is approximately X mm in diameter and the beads can slip on and off. The hoops can be worn without beads too as well as a range of combinations.  I'm currently offering the hoops in Sterling Silver and Gold Plated Artistic metals.


Each hoop comes with a selection of beads - see some basic beads in the photo. I'm working on a 'pick and mix' style choice today so will have the full range available next time.
The hoops will be tissue wrapped and placed in a little organza bag - ready as a gift.
The 'Hoops +' will sell for around £5 - £7 depending on the metal used + the bead 'pick and mix'. The option bead packs will add between £2-£5 to the basic hoops and will also be available separately. I'm hoping to keep the Hoops + range going all year round but will alter the bead options. All the beads and the hoops are hand crafted so each pair of earrings as well as each bead will have a unique characteristic. 
I like the idea of changing the shapes of the hoops (as per the photos) so will keep developing this idea. I'm also working on developing different types of beads and charms to add to the hoops.
These little pieces would be great for a stocking filler as well as a treat for yourself. 

Thanks for reading.
Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Clay Day

Hi Everyone
This week, I'm still making my new green bead collection of jewellery (read back previous Thursday's for more on this). I don't really have anything to share from last time, my previous plans did not happen ! So, will keep going with a stretch bracelet (using my green stuff). As with previous weeks, I've been distracted from planned work with other pressing matters but I should be OK for an hour or so today. Although the green stuff has suffered, I did make a pair of earrings (for a class sample) which I'm rather pleased with. The simple silver hoops have a series of small coloured beads which are threaded onto the hoop. They are very simple but I'm planning on making more of these little beads to give alternative looks to the earrings. 
I was also inspired to make a stretch necklace with leftover beads after tidying a storage box yesterday. The box had collected a variety of small leftover beads (over several years) as well as a piece of stretch thread. I wanted to use the storage box for other things and was just organising the contents. I like this spur of the moment thing ie inspired to make something and am looking forward to completing the necklace. Having sorted the beads and decided about making the necklace, I found myself short of a few centimetres of bead so had to quickly make some more, this is how the small coloured beads came along for the silver hoops. This is also why lots of planned work does not happen !!!  Here are a few images of the developments so far :


I will re string the necklace and disperse the new beads across the necklace, they will all get a shine and polish and then I will look forward to wearing my new item. I like the stretch necklace idea, it's very easy to wear and there's no need for clasps and fiddly fastenings. I'm also quite taken with the hoop earrings and can see all kinds of little bead ideas for adapting and changing the look of the hoops.
The green stuff needs some time today too. I love the look of the beads and must get a bracelet finished today. Here are the beads in their little tray - looking a bit like sweets :


Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Recipe Wednesday

Hi Everyone
I'm featuring another recipe from the mug cake book today. The recipe I've chosen is Strawberries and Cream Victoria Sponge. Sounds very inviting !
The extra information about cooking times and the fact that the cake should not sink will hopefully help to make the cake correctly. I'm yet to make the cake so fingers crossed - will give an update when I've made it. 
The usual ingredients of a Victoria sponge are used but using spoon measures rather than weighing ingredients. Start with 2 tbsp butter and melt in microwave. Mix a medium size egg, 2 tbsp milk and 1 tsp of vanilla essence - add to melted butter. Add 3 tbsp sugar and 4 tbsp self raising flour with pinch of salt and beat well. I will mix this mixture in a bowl and then transfer to my mug for cooking. I need to cook for 1 min 25 secs for my 700 microwave but if you remember, from last time, my cake didn't cook properly. So, I'm going to watch if the cake sinks, if it does, I will cook for longer. All sounds very easy !!!

The baked, cooled cake needs a good spoonful of jam on top and a dollop of whipped double cream, topped with a strawberry. I'm looking forward to this cake being wonderful !  Let's see what the boys make of it ? In the meantime here is a peak  of how it should look. Wish me luck.


Thanks for reading.