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Wednesday, 30 April 2014

New bead design for Kumihimo

Hi Everyone
Not sure what happened yesterday to the blog sequence ? The date seems to have registered way back. I will find it and try and sort it - the blog links are OK in various social media posts but not sure what's happened ? However, let's move on.

At last, Ive produced some clay beads for my kumihimo experiments. Ive tried a few different designs and will check them out today.

The number label will allow me to identify which design of bead works best and I will make notes on each to decide which to use - if any. I have 5 different designs - only minor differences, mainly to do with the dimensions of the shank. I will share my findings. I will need lots of beads and want to make sure they work before making them.

Ive textured the surface and will colour the bead with acrylic paint. My idea is to use the highlighting texturing of each bead to link with a specific braiding.

The idea of the bead design is to sit 'attractively' in the finished item of jewellery. I will only know if the design works when Ive used it - so the jury is out.

The last photo shows a very simple design and Ive got a feeling this is probably the best design. I'm not sure why I want it to be more complicated ? These versions place the hole close to the edge with a larger bead face.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Book Plans etc.

Hi Everyone
We had a lovely family time over the weekend - we packed in lots of little activities. I didn't cook many meals we seemed to eat out ! - great. Everyone had a brilliant weekend.

It's back to work today. I'm planning a new working regime in order to produce a new book. The book will be a range of little projects - one for each month of the year. The working title will be FROM SCTRATCH @ thepapersac (12 projects to make yourself). This will probably change but I will use it - short term. I'm focusing on this job full time and have completed all current commissions so am clear to work on the book. Ive got my outline structure and will keep working for a completion date of Sep 2014. It sounds way off but it's actually a very short time. I'm not panicking yet !

Other news - I haven't made the kumihimo beads (much talked about last week) but they will be in the book - so will get done. I will share when Ive got something. I will share bits of the book as it's produced and I'm hoping it will be hugely inspiring for me. I will be working with a wide variety of crafting skills/ materials which is very exciting.

This weeks Make Art Monday word is FLEXIBILITY. The first thing which comes to mind is 'yoga'. Co incidentally, Ive just started to get involved in more formal yoga. Ive practiced Pilates for many years but I like the harmonising elements which yoga can bring. So, the link with the MAM word is my vision of yoga. I will try out a few sketches of someone practicing yoga. My piece may end up being a little more symbolic and less like a person - who knows ? I will share what I produce.

In my spare moment ? not sure where these 'moments' are ? I will aim to finish and wear some earrings I started ages ago. They use sterling silver and copper. I remember being so pleased with my soldering at the time. It brings a smile to my face when I see them.

These were one of the first designs I made in metal. I keep looking at them on my workbench and move them around a bit. There's not much finishing required so I will finish them this week. I want to wear them next Sat. - I know I can do it !!!!

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Making Flowers

Hi Everyone
Yet again - events took over my time yesterday. Mostly nothing to do with 'creating'. I'm resigned to a re scheduled week next week to make up for lost time. It's our family birthday today - 12th birthday of our 'little boy" - this will continue over the weekend, lovely - I will enjoy all this stuff.

On creative matters, I mentioned a possible design yesterday for a large pendent piece - here it is again in detail. I particularly like the shape and the colours. Having thought about how to make something similar from clay, I suddenly came across a YouTube Video from Hilary Bravo. Ive followed Hilariy's story for a while and was interested to see her paper mâché flowers following a similar style to the pendent. See the bottom photo below showing Hilary's flower as a broach. My thoughts have now turned to producing something I could use (with paper mâché) in a vase as a flower. I want something with very bright in pinks. See here for Hilary's video. I will have a go at a version of these projects next week. Hopefully, in pink !

I'd like to produce a combination of these ideas, smooth surface with some texture detail. Whatever comes out - I'm inspired.

Have a great weekend.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Bead Talk

Hi Everyone
My bead development is struggling - I did manage some research ideas yesterday but no actual production or experiments happened. Such as life !
The day was taken over with house jobs and making birthday stuff. Ive almost finished the birthday card and tags and have the basis of my cake. All my designs take on a huge development during their construction ! Today, I need to complete the birthday things - it's the big day tomorrow.

My bead research (mainly on Pinterest) came up with a huge range of great ideas - nothing much for the kumihimo specific bead that I was after. There are lots of very small beads which are perfect for the job but I'm after ideas for larger, statement beads. I found some fantastic paper bead examples which I was distracted with. Here is a small sample - you can see lots more on my bead Pinterest board. I will be trying them out when I can.

The bead shapes on the bottom left show the kind of shape I'm after for the kumihimo bead although I'm interested in a flat top rather than the drop/dagger shape. Perhaps, I can get something sorted today ?

I was also inspired by this lovely necklace. Ive put this idea on my 'to try' list.

The necklace here is fired glass but I think I could make something similar in clay. However, it needs to wait in the queue !

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Kumihimo Beads

Hi Everyone
As usual my first day back after the holiday was very slow and without routine ! I'm not comfortable with this ..... I'm hoping today will work better. I did manage to get some 'lists' going and I need to continue with more of that today.
We also have a birthday on Friday ..... so lots of pressure and excitement there. I need to make cards, tags and a cake. Ive got my plans in place so today will start the production. The theme this year is to be 'trains' - our house and life has been taken over by trains. These trains are the adult style stuff - very expensive and takes up loads of space. I will share my created birthday efforts as they happen. I need to get going ....... time is running out !

Ive also decided to have a go at a new bead design for the kumihimo idea (see yesterday for background) Ive made a very rough sketch but it gives the idea.

I need to make a few different sizes to accommodate the threading technique. I want to produce a flat bead to sit above the braided element but I also want the bead to sit neatly within the construction of the braid. I like the idea of a striped/carved effect on the bead or some of the textures in my button bead range. My first trials today will be in blue and look similar to these samples

Ive also been trying to produce a deep carved bead for some time and try out techniques with left over clay almost every time I make a bead batch. I will make another attempt with this today - often the size and shape proportions are difficult to get right. I should probably carve the bead after firing but I usually make a mistake and and not happy with the result. I think I need some better quality carving tools ! Ive got my eye on a set of Dockyard Micro Carving tools - quite expensive but only a click away (via ! ...... maybe ?

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Back from holiday ,

Hi Everyone
I can't quite believe it's been so long since my last blog - over three weeks ! Ive been on Easter hols mostly and during the holiday, we've been away on a few mini breaks - ultra busy ! We had a lovely week in the Scottish Borders and another long weekend in York. I'm completely 'touristed' out !
Today, it's back to work and into a routine. Lots to do as usual and I'm 'organising' today. Over the break, Ive had plenty thinking time and have a revised business plan under development. I'm going to introduce another new working routine and refine some production ideas. All will be revealed over the next week or so. I need to work through some ideas and develop my daily programme.

In the meantime, Ive been working away with the Make Art Monday programme and have produced something each week. Ive got an album for all my weekly pieces with little stories behind each one. This is my effort for this weeks theme of LOVE. I'm going to make an additional page on this blog to record each weeks piece of art.

Ive also been dabbling with something called Kumihimo - a form of braid making. It's done with a foam tool and several lengths of stringing material. Here is a sample I did earlier

I'm working towards adding some beading with my own clay beads. Ive had a few experiments and as a result - I need a specific bead design to accommodate the job. I have a plan.

That's about it for today.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Free Birds

Hi Everyone
I had a very difficult day yesterday. Ive got some kind of virus and am not well at all. I spent most of the morning sleeping but then got up to try and get going. Bad move. I had some volunteer commitments last night and somehow struggled through. I'm still suffering today. I'm planning to do a little of yesterday's jobs but Ive taken the view I need to get well - so will spend more time sleeping.

I did think of an idea for the Make Art Monday project. As mentioned yesterday the theme is FREE. My idea involved birds and was inspired by a new pair of socks, given as a recent birthday present. Not sure what will happen but I will stick with the bird as a starting point. I especially like the blossom with a grey background. The bird shape is quite 'free' as in the colour shapes. I will try and work with this element.

I scribbled these very vague birds in my sketchbook a few weeks ago for another project so may incorporate some of these shapes.

I didn't finish my little papersac display yesterday either, so this is a priority for me, today. I need to add the hooks and a method of hanging it up. This is a quick, easy job so I should get it completed.

Not sure what else I will get done. I'm working on the long bead tube necklace
and have made some practice metal links in artistic wire.

I want to make some sterling silver links for the finished item. This necklace is for me and will be a prototype for a production piece.

Ive lots of ideas about different colours and surface textures. This design will compliment and form part of the 'button' collection.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014


Hi Everyone
Yesterday was a bit of a lazy day. I was involved on some volunteer work and made part of a new earring display but that's about it. I will complete this later.
Here is a quick look.

The Make Art Monday theme this week is FREE. I was waiting all day and the inspiration word finally came at about 3pm. This is a great one and Im wondering what I can do. It's almost anything, always a problem for me when there are too many choices. I have a new idea every hour or so ! I'm out for a run in a moment so will just decide when I get back with the clean sheet of paper in front of me. I will go with my first thought. Ive decided my colours - orange, lime green and purple.

On another totally different matter, I saw a great necklace in Hobbs yesterday. Our school will host a shopping evening in a few weeks at the store and we finalised arrangements today. I love this necklace design and it gave me an idea to try and create something myself. I like the metal material but will also have a go in some clay elements.

I think this necklace will be the basis of a raffle - I will certainly be buying some tickets. I prefer it in silver but I love the organic shape of the necklace.

I'm also trying hard to get my papersac jewellery collections organised as well as my current paintings/ prints. There will be a push to reorganise all my photos for this job. Most of my days will be filled up with the job this week.

It sounds like my job list is done. I usually give myself a huge list of jobs and fail to complete them. I'm having three things each day in April and will try and manage my time better to complete them.

Thanks for reading.