Wednesday 29 February 2012

Sometimes something has to give...

If you've arrived here hoping to see my creation for Erin Prais Hintz's 'Challenge of Music' then I have to offer an apology. The period since Christmas has been unbelievably busy and I seem to have taken on just a bit too much. I realised at the beginning of this week that for my sanity something had to give and sadly, for the moment it's this challenge. I love music and really wanted to take part in this and boy do I hate to not see something through once I've committed to it but, I just didn't have the time to devote to it to do it justice and enjoy it. I really needed to step back and take a breathe for a moment.

Butterfly park in Singapore - photo taken by me
But it's only for now...I still fully intend to make my piece and while it won't be part of the blog hop, I will post it here for anyone who is interested. With that in mind I decided that today I would go ahead and post the video of the piece of music I was taking as my inspiration and then, if you want to you can come back later to find out how I've interpreted it and what this beautiful song means to me.

You can catch the 'Challenge of Music' blog hop clicking the button on the sidebar to the right - I'll be stopping by.

Have fun!

Saturday 25 February 2012

7000 Bracelets for Hope Blog Hop

Welcome to the 2012 blog hop in support of the 7000 Bracelets For Hope campaign and hosted by Erin of Elysian Studios and Christine of One Kiss creations. The campaign is run by the Global Genes Project which exists to raise awareness and support for the 30 million people who suffer from one of the 7000 identified rare diseases. The bracelets made in support of this course are passed on to families who have children suffering from these diseases in a gesture of love and support.

I've actually made two bracelets. Because the brief was to create simple, flexible designs I went right back to when I started making jewellery and made a memory wire bangle - I used to make lots of these but probably haven't done so for a couple of years now, This one combines denim blue Czech and Japanese glass beads with lampwork beads by Sabine Little and pewter accents. The two heavy pewter tube beads add a little bit of bling without making it too dressy. The bracelet is finished with glass beads charms and two little bird charms so I've taken a little bit of creative license and called it 'Bluebirds of Hope'. I must apologise for the poor quality of the photo's for this bracelet - they were taken in bad light and I had intended to reshoot them. However, an incident involving a cat, a table and a hard floor made that impossible and I will be camera shopping later today! It really does look much better in reality!

After I'd made this I was clearing out some old clothes and happened to come across a denim jacket. Deciding that I was never going to wear it again I thought about whether I could use it to make a bracelet. This is completely out of the norm for me as I do not feel comfortable working with textiles. I also happened to have just bought some buttons for no other reason than I thought they were pretty so I got them out and had a little play...and the result was this denim cuff.

I've simply sewn the buttons onto the denim and added a couple of little blue goat skin bows for extra contrast and texture. I can't really call it a clasp but the means of closure is provided by the existing button hole and 2 buttons make it adjustable. As I say, not at all my usual thing but I think it's quite fun.

Thank you so much for stopping by and supporting this event. To see what all the other participants have created simply click on the links below and start hopping.


Thursday 23 February 2012

THEA too - Open for business...

I am delighted to announce that my new Etsy shop THEA too is now open for business with a selection of bronze clay components that I hope the jewellery makers among you will enjoy working with. I was going to add an audio link of a fanfare to go with this post but I'm not really one to blow my own trumpet...sorry, bad pun!

I will be listing more items and designs over the next few days and at regular intervals after that. My eventual aim is to stock a range of staple components like clasps and connectors as well as one-offs or smaller ranges of design items. Please feel free to leave me your feedback either on the current stock or things you might like to see as this will help me greatly. I can't promise to act on every suggestion but all will be given due consideration. You can do this by e mailing me here or through the Etsy convo process, whichever you prefer.

A little taster...
When I get a moment I will be setting up a newsletter to let people know when new items are listed and will add a sign up process here on my blog. I am also planning to have some special little events in the near future so make sure you keep your eyes open for those!

In the mean time I do hope you will pop along and take a look at the shop and maybe spread the word for me...? Hope you like it :0)


Monday 20 February 2012

All fired up...

I've been really busy for the last couple of weeks developing some ideas I had a while ago with a plan in mind. I have to admit to having a bit of a compulsive personality over certain things and none more so than the beginning of any new major project, when I've been known to throw myself into things to the point of exhaustion because I forget to eat or drink enough! I haven't reached that point this time but I am feeling some aches of pains from spending rather to long on certain tasks without a break... will I ever learn.

The object of my obsession this time round is bronze clay which some of you will know I use in my own jewellery designs. Many hours have been spent turning frankly dull objects like these...

Greenware Bronzclay
Into beautiful objects of desire like these...

Fired Bronzclay head pins, clasps and connectors
There are a lot of pieces here as you can see and I'm working on still more but why? If you follow me on Facebook you may already have picked up on the reason but if not well, I'm in the process of setting up a new Etsy shop to sell components to other jewellery makers. This will just be metal clay to start with but eventually I hope to offer enamelled pieces as well. I love this creative aspect of jewellery making but there is a limit to how much I can use in my own work and I love the idea of seeing what other people will do with things I make - it's so satisfying to see how a piece can take on so many identities in the hands of different people. What would you do with this pendant for example...? I bet it would be completely different to a design of mine.

Fired and torch patinated pendant
With a little luck and some good weather for photography I'm hoping to open the shop very soon so keep your eyes peeled this week for further updates and once I'm up and running, I do hope you'll come by and visit and let me know what you think.

For now though it's back to work, still lots to do...


Thursday 16 February 2012

Bring your own popcorn...

Another manic week is in full swing here which means I'm behind with my blog posts - again!

So whilst I catch up with myself here's a little interlude for you... a show of some of my recent work to while away a few minutes if you have some to spare. Hope you enjoy.


Sunday 12 February 2012

Magical Musical Memories

I've signed up for Erin Prais-Hintz's challenge of music later this month which will see participants create an accessory inspired by music of their choice. For me this is no easy feat since I love all sorts of music and I've spent the past week listening to my entire collection trying to choose something - so far with little success. I do have a rather long short list though so I need to get to work on that.

 challenge of music
Going through any collection that you've compiled over a long period of time will always pull things up from the depths of your memory... people, places and times that have significance and this exercise was no exception. I found myself thinking about a song that was not in my collection (but is now) and which I hadn't heard for the best part of 50 years.

When I was a very small child of maybe 3 or 4 we didn't have a record player or tape recorder at home (vintage stuff this!) but my Grandfather had a Stereo Radiogram which was his pride and joy. For those of more tender years, this was a radio and record turntable housed in a cabinet (the forerunner to the old Music Centres) and it held centre stage in my grandparents home. 'Grampie' loved his music and had a very eclectic collection from classical to the hits of the day and he was also very fond of show tunes.

As I recall Grampie's pride and joy looked something like this...
I was the third grandchild in our family and at that time there were a couple of younger cousins on the scene too. We were all enthralled with the music that he loved to entertain us with. I can remember sitting on the floor listening to South Pacific, Carousel, Paul Robeson and countless others. But there is one record that I used to insist on hearing over and over, driving all the adults to distraction and eventually I think, wearing it out so as to be unplayable - or so they told me!

As I said, I've not thought about this song in decades and for some of those I wouldn't even have been able to track it down easily but now, thanks to the wonder that is the Internet and 'You Tube' I've managed to find it again. It's sung by Tommy Steele, an archetypal cockney lad and Britain's first teen idol (even before Cliff Richard) and comes from the soundtrack to a 1959 film called 'Tommy the Toreador'.

So without further ado I'd like to share with you my first musical memory - Tommy Steele singing: 'Little White Bull'

I hope you're ready for this!

Now that's what I call a memory!

Oh, and if you're wondering why I didn't use this for the challenge, well now that I'm all grown up I, like the adults all those years ago, can only cope with hearing it so many times, but I will certainly revisit it now and then.

Don't forget to put the "challenge of Music' blog hop in your diary for February 29th.

Have a great week.


Friday 10 February 2012

7000 Bracelets for Hope - still time to sign up...

Just a quick reminder that the sign up deadline for the '7000 Bracelets for hope' campaign with the Global Genes Project is tomorrow, Saturday 11th February so there's still time if you'd like to be involved.

This great campaign gives us as artists and crafts people the chance to share our creativity with families who have a child suffering from a rare disease, just by making a simple themed bracelet and taking part in a fun blog hop. 75% of those affected by the 7000 identified rare diseases are children so I hope you will join me and take part. To find out more about the event and to sign up just visit one of the blogs below or hit the button on the sidebar of my blog:

Hope to see you at the hop.


Sunday 5 February 2012

Make it Meaningful...

With age comes wisdom
So...February already...I can see 2012 is not going to sit on it's laurels any more than 2011 did. This past week has been a bit of a strange one and has put me in something of a reflective mood. February 1st was the 10th anniversary of my mum's passing and I spent the day negotiating a 200 mile round trip and the funeral of an old family friend that I've known for 40 years, the last of a generation.

Since then I've spent a good few hours thinking about those 10 years and considering my own mortality. At times it seems like it's just flown by and I struggle to recall anything of note that I've done. I've never really thought about the inevitability of life but finding yourself elevated to the senior generation amongst family and friends suddenly makes it all the more real.

Forget Me Not
But then when I stopped to consider more carefully what those 10 years have involved I realised maybe I've experienced and achieved more than I thought. I've lost both my parents, relocated to another part of the country alone, moved home twice and changed jobs 3 times, each with increased responsibility and stress. I've taken time out to travel to the other side of the world, studied Humanities with the Open University and, through my jewellery making found a creative outlet that has completely changed my outlook and given me the impetus to give up the well paid but stressful job for a more fulfilling lifestyle; leaving me financially poorer but emotionally richer. And all that while negotiating the pitfalls of everyday life.

I'm not religious or particularly spiritual (in the traditional sense of the word) but I think perhaps there is a purpose to these hiatus in our lives. They create a need and a natural point to stop and consider the path we're on and make any adjustments. I can see now that I've been changing things little by little over these 10 years but right now I'm happy with where I've got and where I seem to be going. Circumstances will no doubt conspire to change things somewhere along the way but hopefully I will be able to deal with that and keep moving forward, with maybe a diversion to left or right if needs be. And as for the seniority thing...well I think I'll just look upon that as membership of an exclusive club for those with accumulated wisdom and abundant experience!

A new day arrives over Durdle Door, Dorset, UK
Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives.The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend or a meaningful day. 
Dalai Lama


Friday 3 February 2012

Not to be Missed...

Just a quick post to give you the heads up on a fantastic giveaway over at Pips Jewellery. Pip is giving away a set of her gorgeous Polymer Clay capped flower beads and they are stunning. You can choose the colours you like if you wing and it's not just those in this picture - there are more to choose from... so don't miss the opportunity - get over there and check it out!

Pips Jewellery Giveaway