Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Jo and Laura's Almost Big Day..

Jo and Laura spent a very enjoyable day with me almost exactly a year ago making their engagement rings. Laura was working in Madagascar and had bought two gooorgeous oval blue sapphires, mmmm! They made their silver bands and I set the sapphires, they have the two most unique and lovely engagement rings...

So Jo and Laura came back to make their wedding rings, this was very important to them, they decided on white gold this time, we discussed what they wanted, they had very different ideas. But all rings start off in thick or thin wire form, and most have to be forged into that state..
Laura surprised herself by opting for a traditional D shaped profile, Jo wanted a more rectangular profile textured with a palm tree pattern I often use using the rolling mill.
The most exciting and sometimes tenuous part of making rings is the soldering - baptism of fire and water... go for it!! It doesn't look pretty at this point but it will be!
Okey doke - we have the forms, its at this point some brute strength comes into play - gotta hammer that lovely white metal into a round ring fit just for you!

Sanding and polishing is a huge part of the construction..
As Jo's engagement ring's sapphire was flush set a groove had to be filed out of her wedding ring so the rings would sit nicely together, the palm tree texture she applied looked just lovely, Laura decided on a satin finish, the ring looked perfect on her finger with her engagement ring...


Sunday, 27 July 2014


One very positive aspect of a shop front is the people you meet, allsorts, people who just wander in to browse as part of a day out, people who need to find 'something' a gift etc, the just plain curious.... Well whomever they are to strike up a conversation very often results in interesting, informative or just fun facts, pieces of life, whatever, that you would never have known about - people. There is a lot going on, people do and deal with a lot. There are also the other 'shop keepers' - people doing their 'thing, ' having the courage to open a shop to the public. My front of shop experience has resulted in meeting Thuline, a talented and driven painter/screen painter of animals, usually farm animals who opened her shop/studio next to Zohar's where I'm camping out this month. Thuline only opened her shop 11 months ago but already has a thriving business - selling originals, prints, teaching and taking commissions.

Well it goes to show what actually making the effort to talk to people results in - Thuline and I have become firm friends, she pretty much took me under her wing and showed me the delights of her wonderful family, friends, Kendal and gave me sound shop front advice! Visit Thuline at

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Jen's Big Day Bangle..

Hello me hearties, more blog post catch up. Recently two lovely people, Karen and Claire bought a voucher from me for their very good friend Jen's big birthday, you don't need to know which one, I'll leave that up to your imagination. This is such a nice thing to do, and it happens a lot, friends/family club together to buy something special from me. A voucher leaves it to the recipient as to what exactly they want, a ready made piece of jewellery they have coveted for a while, a workshop to learn the process of jewellery making or to commission a piece of jewellery from me. Jen chose to commission me to make a very personal piece of jewellery. After visiting me in my workshop we designed a wonderful bangle between us, actually three bangles, two silver bangles with freely moving hoops depicting her daughters names and a copper bangle to contrast with the silver. I began with the copper...

Okay it doesn't look so pretty here, just you wait, all the bangles were to be textured, that and the solder join is achieved first.
Now for the silver, silver wire is forged down to the required thickness, textured and formed into a round bangle.
The all important names..... these are stamped onto flat forged wire, this takes some practise, I have my secret formula......
These are formed into a round and soldered, tiny little bangles on bangles.....
Now the hard bit - the perfectly round big silver bangles are cut in half down the original solder line to slot the name hoops on - after they are perfectly round themselves. It has to be done this way as once the hoops are on it is impossible to get the bangles perfectly round again....
Ta daaaaaa!!  All re soldered and bandaged up, hoops an' all! Just an awful lot of polishing to do.....
Oh... that copper bangle....
Lovely and shiny and ready to be worn....... and the silver twins??
Ah - Edie and Isobel to be worn with or without a copper bangle
I hope you enjoy your bangles Jen - it was a pleasure to work with you!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Merry and Jenny's Wedding Rings

Okey dokey, now that I find myself in a shop without the ability to make jewellery I intend to catch up on posts, I have taught quite a lot of workshops lately and made lovely wedding rings for and with some very special people. Two VERY special people visited my studio to commission me to make their wedding rings. Merry and Jenny had a good idea of what they wanted, contemporary silver rings with initials engraved on the inside to represent a very personal message and a single sky blue stone set flush with the surface of the ring.
The first thing I did was to source the stones, we discussed using topaz, originally we all agreed on sky blue topaz, but on receiving them I found them to be too pale, they really wanted a nice distinct mid blue, the smaller topaz's are often clearer and paler. So we went with a London blue - just gorgeous.... Once I knew the depth of the ring I could work out the thickness of the band, always a very important calculation when setting a stone flush - you don't want the pointy bit sticking in your finger!

Silver wire is hand forged to appropriate thickness and the message stamped onto the surface (with many checks - would hate to get it wrong at this point!) then formed into a sort of ring shape before soldering the join, there is something so nice about a ring in the context of a union, when you make the ring and solder it to produce one piece it seems so much more appropriate.

Who would ever think making a piece of jewellery would involve the brute force that it does, especially to get a ring nice and perfectly round... Setting the stones comes almost at the end and is a far calmer affair..... Though tantrums have been known to occur..... These little beauties were 2.5 mm wide..
The rings were finished with a brushed satin look on the outside and super smooth shiny inside, I ever so slightly rounded off the inside edges to make them comfortable to wear but not too visible as I wanted to keep the nice clean lines. I know that Merry and Jenny are now wearing these rings - I hope they had a wonderful day.

Friday, 11 July 2014

An Awfully Big Adventure...

I'm not posting at my usual post! I'm having a break from my studio, I had the opportunity to exhibit my work in Kendal in a lovely little shop owned by textile artist Zohar Hartley,
This was a chance meeting, I popped into her shop during a little visit to Kendal, we discussed the pro's and con's of being an artist with a shop front and how it all works, this is something I'm interested in taking on, Zohar had to travel back to Israel for a while this summer and despaired of leaving her shop empty for so long... the grey cogs in my head began to turn and a cunning plan was conceived - after I consulted Zohar with the details, to exhibit my jewellery in her shop and live on a boat on Windermere, as she said 'mad ideas are usually the best..' Upon our second meeting she gave me the shop keys - a spare set... and here I am, in a lovely quirky little shop on a hot summers day in Kendal.

It was a lot of work for both of us, Zohar kindly re organised her shop, allowed me display opportunities, advertised me and had the windows cleaned! Not to mention her big trip organisation. I had to finish up pressing commissions, think about my display and make like there was no tomorrow as I will not be able to make jewellery for the time I am in Kendal.
This week is my first week in, its started in chaos - excitable chaos I have to say, I've been sooo looking forward to this!
But after some work I have a lovely little eclectic shop..
Of course I had to make some bling window dressings....
This is all new to me, how to dress shop windows and fronts to entice people in, its even more difficult when your selling jewellery, teeny tiny pieces.
This is going to be a learning experience for me, I'll keep you posted.
Oh yes, living on a boat, so far, so sunny, so good........