Search This Blog

Popular Posts

Monday, 30 June 2014

The PRINTING bug !

Hi Everyone
It's a lovely morning - the sun is shining and I'm breakfasting on the deck. Absolutely calming - I can hear a trickle going on from a water feature and the birds are singing.

The Make Art Monday word for this week is DREAM - quite a co incidence when you hear of my news. My piece this week will be based on a print I created on Saturday. I had the most wonderful experience (almost a DREAM) at a local art centre on Saturday. My lovely husband bought me a print course for my last birthday (way back in March) and it happened on Saturday. I was very excited about the course but also a little apprehensive I didnt quite know what to expect ? Ive dabbled with various printing techniques since my school days but this was proper press printing ! - way out of my comfort zone.
Wow ! I had a great time. The class was small (only 4 students in total) so we got lots of teacher time. I learned loads of things which has given me even more ideas and inspiration. The other folks on the course were great too and the whole day was a lovely gift. Here is one of the pieces I created :

I crammed lots of techniques into the one piece in about 8-10 print layers using different colours each time. The designs I produced lack any kind of structure or balance and I found myself very frustrated at times but I will remember the day for a long time as a really successful day. I'm already planning to do another printing course.
However, my gift didn't stop there ! - on returning home, gushing about my lovely day, a small A4 printing press (sort of) was presented. It was the central roller bit and needed a platform/table (completed on Sunday) as well as a few more bits to make it work as a printing press but I'm convinced it will do the job. I also need about £150 worth of inks, paper, rollers, plates etc. but I'm super excited about this. I can't wait to get going and experiment. What a fantastic few days. I'm still buzzing.

Back to reality, I have some volunteer work planned for today and my house needs a clean. We have very little fresh food in the house and a laundry room full of washing. All this is not getting to me and Ive an extra spring in my step. I can doing anything and everything today.

On a practical note, I need to make some earrings too - a new commission for posting on Wed. - the printing will need to wait for another few days.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Reflection Friday

Hi Everyone
Another week gone by so quickly - each Friday, I find myself wondering what Ive managed to achieve in my little personal development journey ? It's a habit thing, as I prepare to write the thought literally pops into my head. This week, I think, it's been a milestone for my Collections (projects) as I call them. Ive got a process of working which can be applied to all my current and future projects. I'm documenting this process for my book but I'm amazed how much clearer things are, after seeing them on a page. I know I'm a visual learner (way back with a teacher hat on, I did several years of work with learner styles). This framework is literally a chapter in my book and I can see the words and pictures on the pages. More will be revealed in time !

It's also the last day of my Make Art Monday project for this week. I'm adding a final layer today but this is yesterday's effort.

Yes, it's a deliberate move to write the word like that !

I want to. Embed the word somehow ? Not sure how I will do this at the moment ? I need to look at it for a while.

I made the basic little bag prototype for the Button Collection. I need a cord and a tag and I will see how it looks. I like the feel of the bag. Ive got an idea to put a Button Collection (5 items) together, stored in little bags on a hooked frame. I like the bag idea for pretty storage and think the frame part works as a picture which I see mounted on the wall. If I had a dressing room ! I could put it in there. As I don't, it would fit perfectly near my wardrobe and look pretty. I'm planning to do this - will share the photos when I'm there.

This last item will fit into the bags and is one of the Button Collection necklaces. I wore this one yesterday to check out how practical it is when working. It's great - so light and easily slips down in front of my apron (constant work companion ie the apron) I love the orange. It really 'shouts out' against a dark dress. I also really like the artistic wire clasp. I made this one myself and it's such a study clip.

Well, that's it for this week.

Have a good weekend.
Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Progress Chat

Hi Everyone
My Day 3 of Make Art Monday has moved on the piece this week and I'm now down to fine details. I'm reasonably happy with the background.

I'm looking to add a bit more orange and I like to include the word of the week - this week it's POWER.

The Button Collection designs are complete and I have 5 key designs. All the pieces are different because the button beads are individual and each combination is unique. The only design which may find its way into the collection is a simple elastic bracelet (my favourite construction). However, the basic collection idea is finalised. I will only make limited editions of the collection but it's been a good exercise and I learned lots about how I want to work my designs. I want to develop a solid portfolio of photos and a background storyboard for the collection. I will then try and use this production structure for all the future collections I produce.

This is a quick peak but I'm working on the Collection portfolio today so will have some more photos soon.

Alongside these pieces, I'm developing some little fabric bags for each item. Each bag will be made from scratch and have a hand produced fabric design. I will try out a few samples but generally the bags will start out as a simple piece of cotton fabric. Here is what we have at the moment.

The bad size is there - this size will accommodate all the individual pieces. Ive drawn some simple lines in orange with wax pencil. I'm going to seal the colour with heat and then make up the draw string. I will try out some ideas for decorating the bag with some little Button beads.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Plan B

Hi Everyone
Another day and my great work schedule has gone ! I did some volunteer work which managed to destroy my whole day. However, it's back on track with today's objectives.
My priority list tells me I need to complete the Gray Collection necklace and bracelet. Ive had a design problem with completing the fastening part of both items. I have tried to use a crimp style closure and my last few weeks of blogs have documented the journey. Last night, I decided It was time to try another idea. My plan B is to use a thin thread binding with glue to secure the loops. The simple solution would be to knot the threading - however, the fine leather material does not knot well (minor cracks appear) and the piece of jewellery (for me) does not suit the style. When the binding is in place, I will cover with a crimp. This latest idea seems like it will work and is what I was after in the first case. Fingers crossed. Here are the items which need the treatment as described :

My second job (of the day) is to work on my Make Art Monday Project. I did a little extra yesterday. My plan was to add a layer each day. This is day 2 :

Ive added the navy blue mix. I'm not sure what will happen next ?

My last job will be to produce some little fabric bags which will encase the button bead earrings. My plan is to produce the bags from simple beige cotton with a hand printed design (stripes) and a draw string closure. I will keep the earrings on their cards which will fit into the bags. Here is a sample card.

This job should be an easy design. I hope to produce a template which can be used for future bags. Ive got a good picture (in my head) of what the final item will be - hopefully I can make it work. I will make a prototype and see. I should have an actual picture at the end of the day.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

How to organise your mind.

Hi Everyone
Life is back to calm - I had a great day of work yesterday and I feel I'm on track with my jobs. Organised lists = organised mind for me. Once the job is written down and prioritised, I'm relieved of the responsibility for remembering ! Somehow, the jobs just get done much quicker ? I need self discipline to keep it going. Another problem for me ! ..... but it worked yesterday. One day at a time.
I reworked the bracelet from yesterday and turned it into this :

I like the improvements - it feels as of its a better quality item. I also made the necklace from this small collection. I'm calling the collection The Tube Collection. Here is a view of the necklace. It has a very simple slip over fastening with a small knot.

Here I'm wearing the necklace over a work apron - testing it out for work mode ! I ended up making some round beads to sit between the tubes. I did have the necklace constructed without the round beads but felt it didn't quite work. I like the idea but the tubes need to be more uniform for the simple threading to work. I will do another without the round beads. For this version, I need to add some seal and polish the beads but so far, I like it.

Moving on, I came across a great polymer cane yesterday. I'm not usually over keen on 'canes'. Having said that, it's like saying I'm not keen on bread ! I'm talking rubbish. There are so many different variations. However, in my defence - what I'm saying is I prefer simple, less busy combinations of clay colours and patterns together. My prejudice is based on personal past experience - I need to be open to ideas and new experiences !! Having defended myself, these are the canes that have changed my mind.

These canes come from some called Laura Tabakman - here is her facebook page - I'm inspired to have a go. I see them turning into hollow beads and threaded on my favourite elastic. I'm keen to try out the technique. There are no instructions with this example. But I'm confident I know how to make a similar version (at this stage). If all goes well, I will share my project.
I also completed the first layer of my weekly Make Art Monday project. The word this week is POWER. Here it is so far :

Thanks for reading.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Knots or not ?

Hi Everyone
Another week begins - it's already busy with lots of deadlines looming. My lists are much too long and Im panicking ! - deep breadth required. I will just need to work faster !
Now for other chat - last week, I ordered a range of silver findings to complete a few jewellery pieces which needed knots to be covered (in my design). The bits have all arrived and are without exception useless for the job. I need to redesign or accept the knots being on display. I'm not sure why I have a problem with knots ? Certainly, the bracelets (for me) work better with an elastic threading construction. However, all the pieces look OK ..... just not good enough ! Ive learned more about initial design with this recent range of projects and all the problems they have thrown up.
Here is a few photos of the work.

The Make Art Monday word for bits week is POWER. I have a few ideas of what I can create this week and have started a sketch. I'm going back to paint this week - an abstract with strong colours and a simple design.

On Friday I mentioned being inspired by some fantastic paper bead bracelets designs. I'm going to have a go at making something similar but using clay instead. I thinks it's the colours I like. This is the one in particular that has caught my eye.

While pondering the bracelet design and looking for spare beads in my current stash I came across a few flay beads and lots of bits of clay which I'd cut from some long tube beads. I didn't throw the bits away, not sure why ? Anyway, I decided to try and make the scrap into something in true recycle mode. Here is what I cam up with.

I like the way the bracelet looks but it doesn't feel great on my wrist. I'm back to the elastic versus string again ! These beads have not been finished as such. They have a few rough edges and they are not sealed or polished. The string is a tiny bit tight too. Ive decided to re string and seal the beads. The rough edges seem to right for this style. I'll reconsider when the bracelet fits. The jury is out on this one.

Thanks for reading

Friday, 20 June 2014

More bead chat

Hi Everyone
Another Friday has arrived - amazingly quickly ! I feel as if the week has passed me by. My major task (other than orders and writing my book) was to make the much talked about memory bracelet. Ive done it.

I took the little hook from one end away and have added a bead stop finding at each end. I think it's more me. Although, I do admire lots of chunky, dangle bits on jewellery - it's not for me. I wear jewellery all the time and it needs to be able to stand up to house jobs and making jobs - many of which can be messy. I like the way the bracelet has turned out and Ive have learned about memory wire. I didn't make lots of seed beads for the second bracelet. There are an amazing number of beads required to complete the four and a half turns. I will wear the bracelet around the house today - I'm still a bit sceptical about the glue ! I can envisage all the seed beads scattering from my wrist. After a week or so - if it's still intact ? I will be convinced about the security of the glue.

Other matters : while researching my current paper bead obsession, I came across lots of very stylish paperbead jewellery on a site called 31 bits -Check it out here. The jewellery is fantastic.
31 Bits uses fashion and design to empower people to rise above poverty in Uganda. Their beads are made from recycled paper. 31 Bits tell us "Every accessory is carefully crafted by hand with top-notch quality and excellent design". I love the look.
Here are a few examples

I'm hoping to get some inspiration from these lovely images.

Have a great weekend.
Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Paper Beads

Hi Everyone
Little progress on the memory bracelet to report. Ive found some beads in my stock for the first of two bracelets I'm planning but I didn't have time to make my Fimo beads (for the second bracelet) yesterday - I'm hoping today will give me time to do the job. These are the beads Ive chosen for the first bracelet.

Bit boring - I'm obsessed with 'blue' ! The thing is, I almost always wear something blue and I like denim - say no more ! I'm planning on incorporating a few clay beads from my stock - if they work. The beads on the right are 'greenish' - so not completely blue !

Ive spent most of yesterday completing several Button Bead orders and managed to finish them all. Although, I'm not ruling out anymore Button beads - for now I think they need to move over and make space for new ideas. Ive enjoyed creating the Button Bead range - I seem to wear them myself all the time. The ideas have moved on and Ive learned lots from the process. Here is a peak of one of the pieces.

Moving on ....... Ive long been interested and attracted to paper beads. Ive made a couple of successful pieces myself and for some reason I'm fascinated by paper beads.

Ive seen some great examples made by African women and been in awe of their skills and colour choices. Many look amazing in multiple strands in lovely colours. A range of paper beads appeared in my regular Pinterest newsletter yesterday, this set me off on a very long trail of discovering incredible paper beads. Ive created a new board to collect my favourite designs. My only reservation about paper bead making is the time and physical (finger pain) effort involved. I can go with a single bracelet or at a push a necklace (with larger beads) but I'm not sure I could commit to a whole collection. With this in mind, I was thrilled to see a basic paper bead making machine made by a guy (request from his wife) and selling on Etsy and Ebay. Etsy link here It looks great. Take a look in my Pinterest board for inspiration about paper beads.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Matt Medium 'Printing'

Hi Everyone
It looks like a lovely day today - we have a house full of a nasty flu virus so life is a bit challenging !
However, good news on the glue problem front - yesterday's second attempt to fix the memory wire ends has worked. I was sceptical but it seems secure. I glued at about 10am yesterday and checked earlier this morning so just under 24 hours. This is the glue I used. I use this glue for baked polymer clay jobs. It's always reliable for the clay but I'm unsure about using 'just' glue for any secure fastening ! I need to get over this idea !

Getting back to the memory bracelet, I will make some clay beads to complete the bracelet later today. I'm not sure about a colour ? I will choose a colour to match something I'm wearing today (when I find something). I'm planning on a batch of small, plain beads with several larger focal beads (maximum of 3). I'm not sure exactly about a bead design, this is an experimental project so I will see what comes out.

I also managed to complete the Make Art Monday project for this week. I had an idea of using a photo of growing lavender from the garden. I wanted to turn the image into a paper cloth type piece so attached an image to a small piece of cotton material using matt medium. I did quite a bit of photo editing and added a few words which (for me) are the essence (key word for this week) of the lavender I see from my work desk. I then added a layer of wax pencil in a range of colours - most of the pencil work is embedded into the piece but I was happy with the effect. I'm constantly aware of overdoing my art pieces. There's a balance but I tried to be minimal with this one. Here's a few photos of the process :

Post phot editing and printing, I used a plastic card to prime the cloth and then repeated the process attaching the printed image to the cloth. I'm drying the piece (saturated with matt medium) on freezer paper.

This is the first pencil layered stage.

This is another layer of heavy wax pencil. I'm reasonable happy with the piece. All the Make Art Monday projects are created quite quickly and my aim is to tryout ideas. So, I certainly achieved my aim of the 'matt medium print' as I'm referring to it. I will definitely use the technique for other projects.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Glue Issues

Hi Everyone
I got to work on the memory bracelet idea, yesterday. In my little kit that came from Beadalon, the are some end beads. The end beads attach to the each end of the bracelet and really finish off the item well.

I thread a whole bunch of my own spare beads - most were much too big but gave me a starting point and I think I need about 3 spirals of wire to create my bracelet. The idea is to add an end bead and then add my beads. This would only work if the beads are quite small or the threading hole is very small. My spare beads all had holes which would slide over the end bead.This little experiment gives me a definite plan for the development of some suitable beads. I did think about using seed beads from my stash but couldn't quite bring myself to using manufactured beads. I'm not sure why I have lots of 'stash' beads because I never use them ? I followed advice from the kit pack about sticking the bead end and leaving overnight. I also made a loop at the other end with a view to adding a charm.

This morning the end bead 'fell off' ! I always seem to have this problem with sticking jewellery components. I have other glues so will test them out. I'm a bit disappointed. Never mind. I will move on and do a bit of research re glues.

Other news - I have managed to create an image for my Make Art Monday painting. My idea is to print my image onto some fabric paper and add a painted layer or two. Ive used a photo editor to develop my image and included imaginative words - linked to the key word 'essence'.

Let's see what turns out today ? I'm hopeful I can get the print the way I want it.

Thanks for reading

Monday, 16 June 2014

Memory Wire and lavender

Hi Everyone
We had a lovely but busy weekend. I'm ready for a rest ! Lots of family stuff - tales of the Belgium trip and Fathers Day. In a rare free moment I found myself browsing on Pinterest and came across a number of lovely bracelets using memory wire. I immediately created a Pinterest board and started to think about the possibility of making some myself.
Here's a small collection from my board

I was inspired by the colours and the simplicity of the designs. Ive also watched a few You Tube examples of making some of the more elaborate versions of memory wire bracelets, I prefer a simple bead approach for myself but have seen some great ideas with lots of charms and chains etc. I have acquired a little kit to have a go at making a bracelet. Here it is :

I'm not sure if I have enough of my own beads available at the moment but Ive certainly got loads of seed beads which may work with a small number of my own beads. I'm quite excited about trying this today. I'm wondering which colour to go for ? I guess it depends on what colours I can find in my bead stock. I MUST complete my current Collections but I will try and squeeze this little job in somewhere.

The Make Art Monday word for this week is ESSENCE. My immediate thought was lavender ? Who knows why ? I have a fantastic few pots of lavender in my garden, perhaps it's that ?

I think I will use the lavender as an inspiration. Not sure where it will go ?

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Good and bad news

Hi Everyone
Yesterday was a mixed day for me, lots of sunshine so my day should have been good ! I always measure my mornings potential by levels of sunshine. For some reason, I had a frustrating day and full of 'wobbles' - about almost everything I did. Lots of doubts about my work and overwhelmed by minor household commitments. Things came to a head around 2pm and I decided to stop, have a coffee and review my lists for the day. Post review, I came to the conclusion that I'm not 100% happy with the current collections jewellery designs (especially those with clasps).That's it !!!! Not sure why this minor issue caused me to 'flip' (in a very small way). On reflection, it's been a positive experience and I feel I can move on, informed, into my next work designs. I still have a few tasks to complete on the current set and will get those done. All things are possible and changes can/will be made. Here are a few photos of the better bits :

Clasps attached to the bracelet from yesterday.

Tiny silver clasps - (big success) created yesterday.

A new pair of small stud/hook hybrid earrings. This was the best bit of my creative day. I really like these earrings.

Clasps on one of the Button Collection necklaces.

The crimp issue that Ive been batting on about all week seems to have resolved itself (in my head) - the technique is redundant in my current designs because I tend not to use thin wire threading. My initial interest was with using the crimp on stretch thread. I'm going to speak with the folks that published the advice (from 6/6/14 post) and check my understanding of the detail. Generally, I have been left with a 'not for me' view of crimps.

Now for a positive outcome to share - the blue Button bracelet I made a few days has been worn for 2 days and is fabulous - I love it. Here it is -matching my dress really well (you can just see my dress under the denim apron). So difficult to take a good photo while wearing jewellery - without help.

Well, another week gone. Ive coped OK with my little boy in Belgium. He comes home tomorrow, I'm sure this has something to do with my difficult day.
Have a great weekend.

Thanks for reading.