Friday, 27 December 2013

2014 Workshop dates

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!! After a couple of restful days I'm ready to 'make' again! I'm currently working on my Winter/Spring 2014 workshop schedule, so please check back very soon... they will begin in February.

A Special Request...

Earlier this year Andrew knocked on my studio door with a rather lovely request.... he wanted to ask his girlfriend Samantha to marry him, the set up was oh so romantic and sooo thoughtful, a walk they had taken on their first date, up in the gorgeous wilds of Northumberland, and then the presentation, a ring he had made himself...
Andrew had no experience of making silver jewellery but he knew exactly what he wanted, he wanted the ring to go to a point and a green stone to be incorporated into the design. Blue/green not yellow/green, he was very specific! I appreciated that as we had a very little time in which to make it. The next decision was.. the all important, so which stone...? We looked at a number of suitable green stones and a gorgeous tourmaline was chosen and ordered.

Andrew did a great job of making this unusual pointed silver band, all that was left was for me to do my job, make the setting for the tourmaline and set the stone...
The finished ring, we opted for a satin finish on the outside and shiny inside.
But what we really need to know at this point is ... 'So.. what did she say?'
Well it just had to be a big 'Yes' didn't it?? 
It doesn't end there, Andrew asked me if I would make a pendant to match the ring, a Christmas present for Samantha. So here it is....
This could be an on-going story, the may be back next year to make their wedding rings...

Monday, 7 October 2013

Sarah's Pendant

I love to create custom jewellery for a special occasion, something to mark and celebrate an event, to make something with meaning to be treasured. I was asked to create just such a piece recently, John asked me to make a pendant for his granddaughter Sarah's 21st birthday, he was very specific about the design and had put a lot of thought into it. The pendant was to be rectangular in shape, the main focus of decoration was to be her initials, the S was to be on the front and pierced out of the silver, the D was to be on the back and in relief. A sapphire was suggested for a September birthday. The pendant was to be nice to hold, with slightly curved corners, I suggested a boxed form rather than a thin sheet of silver, to feel more substantial. The font was to be Gills Sans, soooo my first job was to find Gills Sans......... then apply it to silver....

Here an S has been pierced out of a sheet of silver, the D has also been pierced out and is awaiting its union to the back plate - via soldering...

Some may not think it looks pretty at this point, but I beg to differ! The D is soldered into position and it will be placed into pickle to clean it up a wee bit.
The box has been created, the sides have been soldered onto the front and back pieces, I now have to cut the access away.
Okey doke, sides on - corners filed into a soft curve, a bail has been made and soldered onto the top and a bezel has been created to hold an ooooh so lovely sapphire.....
A little peek at the back with the D in relief, my jewellers peg is a busy place..
The back of the pendant, with a satin finish and ready to go...
I believe Sarah was very happy.....

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Autumn 2013 Workshops

New Autumn 2013 workshops are now posted on my New Workshop Dates page.

Newbies are ...... make your own wedding rings workshops

Coming in the New Year, Making Silver Beads..... let me know if interested, I'll save you a place..
Its all happening this Autumn..

Sunday, 21 April 2013

The Lindisfarne Gospels

The Lindisfarne gospels are returning to the North East, I was asked to take part in an exhibition at the Holy Biscuit curated by Julia Tryon from the Biscuit Factory to celebrate their legacy and continuing relevence. Artists were asked to contribute work that expressed their own interpretation of this work of art.
I confess I was rather ignorant of the content of this great work of art and upon research discovered this book contained the gospels of the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. To work on illuminated manuscripts was a form of meditation for the scribe, to glimpse the Divine.
My locket symbolises this container, the keyhole is the tantalising glimpse, opening the locket displays an open eye surrounded by the sun's rays, to SEE.

Responding to the Book exhibition is open at the Holy Biscuit until April 27th.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

A Grand Day Out..

Had a grand if not freeeezing cold day out with my mum on the North Yorkshire coast, after a long 'refreshing' walk on the beach at Saltburn we took a rather civilised option up to the top...

Saturday, 6 April 2013

A Personal Farewell Gift...

I had a request from a mother and daughter, Sue and Rachael, they wanted to spend the day together and make a piece of silver jewellery, they chose oval silver bangles. As there was a lot to accomplish in one day we got straight down to business, after a cuppa, chocolate biscuits and a little natter..... about themselves and how they wanted to personalise their bangles, as was the special request of this inspired pair!

After measuring up we cut the 3mm silver wire these will be nice chunky bangles, you can make finer ones if you wish. The girls filed the ends so they fit ever so snugly, there must be a good tight fit for a good soldered joint. Both were eager to solder the bangles themselves, I always give people a choice as not everybody wants this baptism of fire! 

The soldered silver bands were hammered around an oval bangle mandrel, apparently this is a good workout...!

The fully formed bangle, looking lovely on its own, but we had plans.....

The formation of  personalised silver rings to run freely around their bangles. I make personalised silver bangles myself, with birthdays, names, anniversaries, star signs, whatever people want. Rachael has recently returned from Australia, she lived there for a number of years, she is now off to Los Angeles for a few months and she and her mum Sue wanted to personalised their bangles with a meaningful word, there was quite some deliberation here! These words were kept top secret throughout the day long workshop and at the end, when both bangles were absolutely finished they were exchanged......

Sunday, 10 February 2013

A Very Special Engagement....

Sorry for the title but I held a very special and wonderful workshop for Jo and Laura for them to take part in making their own engagement rings. Laura has spent time in Madagascar taking part in voluntary work and Jo went out to join her for a holiday, there they purchased some beautiful oval sapphires, they asked me if they could do a workshop to make their own engagement rings! It was a relaxed and fun day long workshop, we agreed they would make their silver bands and I would set the sapphires.

First we measured their fingers to determine their ring sizes, we looked at different silver wire profiles to decide whether they wanted round, square or rectangle sectioned rings, the girls went for a contemporary square wire. We cut the wire and the girls first job was to straighten their wires, this makes them much easier to work with.

Filing the silver wire ends perfectly straight, I think the girls will agree this is one of the hardest things to do - and requires patience! The silver wire must join perfectly with no gaps for a good strong solder join.

The soldered rings, Jo and Laura did this themselves, a new experience! Now it was time for a great long relaxing lunch at Ernests

The rings are formed into a perfect round using a ring mandrel, leather mallet and brute strength! Both of their rings were bang on target size wise!

Here the girls are finishing up their part of the ring making process by getting them up to a beautiful polished finish. They really did a wonderful job, were very interesting and a delight to have around!

So now its my turn, to make the bezels and set these beautiful Madagascan sapphires, this one is not getting away.....

The finished rings, Jo and Laura went for a satin finish and love them, a big thanks to them for coming along to make them, wonderful job, I look forward to helping them make their wedding rings!!

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Luca's bracelet

I recently received a commission to make a silver charm for a bracelet from a wonderful drawing by Luca - aged 3!!

His mum was very pleased!! Favourite drawings can be created in silver for bracelets or pendants on leather, rubber or silver necklets or bracelets, just contact me -

Ring in Progress

There is a certain beauty in a 'work in progress'.......

Mysterious luminous labradorite, blood red rose cut garnets.....

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

A Roman Pendant...Something to be Treasured.

A Very Happy New Year!!!!
I recently had a very interesting and exciting commission, considering I'm a jewellery designer and huge archaeology fan! Geoff and Laura asked me to make a similar gold pendant to the one their archaeologist daughter unearthed in a dig, a beautiful solid gold leaf shaped Roman pendant...... judging by the photograph of its unearthing it was around 3 cm long and 18mm wide with a subtle texture and gorgeous large fastening hoop with gold drop.

I experimented with a number of texturing techniques on brass, different surfaces sandwiched through the rolling mill and numerous hammered techniques.

I decided to use a softened hammered technique as the original finish was so subtle.

The finished beauty on my jewellers bench!! Geoff and Laura were very pleased with it and reported the look on Emily's face was something to be treasured!!