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Friday, 16 May 2014

When is a hole too small ?

Hi Everyone
The sun is shining and it's very warm today - wonderful, my world feels positive !

An update on the Gray Collection - I worked hard yesterday and learned lots. My hands are so sore with filing holes in beads. The major lesson of the day has to be CONSIDER how big the threading hole in the bead needs to be before firing. Ive generally used a single tool for this job. Here it is.

I always use this tool after shaping the clay and so far it's been great for all my needs - using elastic or 1mm thread. However, the Gray collection designs have a number of clasps and my idea is to use the thread as a link to the clasp with a number of the pieces. Hence the thread is either thicker or Im 'doubling up'.

I spent hours yesterday, filing and testing for hole size. I did watch tennis on TV at the same time - great thing ! I would never have watched lots of games at the Rome event - so a positive result there. I really enjoyed it. Anyway back to the jewellery. My filing tools are these :

The orange item is a wire brush for cleaning the files - a constant job. I do have a drill and have tried that but the hand approach gives me the control I need for the balance between a snug fit and sliding too much. The drill was too drastic and risky ie ruined beads within seconds ! Most of the filing was needed on the second bracelet. The first elastic bracelet has been great, ive worn it all week. i love it. I needed the four beads either side of the clasp bracelet to hold a doubled thread passing through it.

The clasp is small because I want the bracelet to be an everyday, wearable item. My usual bracelets are elastic because they don't dangle and interfere with my work. So, a small clasp without an extra link ring is a solution. I like the look and although the threading was a challenge, if the holes were bigger in the first place, things would have been better. I'm going to wear the bracelet all week to test it's durability. I glued the double, quite tight threading on the four beads either side of the suede 'links'. I usually 'over engineer' everything and I would like a knot in there too. We will see how things turn out.

I'm also going to wear the lariat necklace ( the third piece in the collection) to check how it stands up to a week of work and house tasks (minor cleaning major cooking etc.) I want the design to be simple but it's got to be secure.

The bottom beads are stuck in place with cement glue. Again, a knot would be better for me. The bead on the right is quite high on the design as I'm wearing it. The point of the bead is to stop the left top bead from sliding to high (I like this look) but at the moment the fit is quite tight and holding its position well. When it's moving around and being put on and off, things may change. I will report next week.

The fixing of beads and clasps is something I'm thinking about and am going to try out a different idea for covering knots. I know lots of jewellery, in this semi boho style, does have knotted stringing and it would work OK but I still want to explore some more possibilities. I'm thinking - use a knot and make a bead cover in clay, integral to the design and then stick it somehow ? I do have some silver crimp covers and may use this approach too.

My Gray collection comprises ten pieces and Ive done three. Lots of opportunities with the remaining seven to tweak designs. I like this way of working ie making up a prototype collection rather than making a single item and then a batch. It allows for design changes and gives a cohesion to working with a single or limited bead design. I think it will make a more creative approach to my work. I also feel great about my progress - I must be getting to grips with realistic 'task management' ! - perhaps it's too early to come to that conclusion ?

I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend in the garden - have a great weekend.

Thanks for reading.