Thursday, 13 April 2017

New Design

Going through old blog posts I realised I haven't posted any straight forward jewellery pictures for ages so thought I better rectify this. My pendant design developed last year when I got hold of some square wire and I saw what beautiful designs I could make with it, currently preferring it over the round wire. I have since made a range of pendants using the same general idea. The top one is my first design using the square wire and I do love it. As you can see it's similar to my necklace design for Reading Arts Week but with the different wire shape. Because I am so slow with taking pictures and writing product descriptions I've only just posted this on Etsy

This second pendant was a custom design for a friend. She had this beautiful carved Lapis Lazuli which was just lying about and wanted me to make it into jewellery so it could be seen more and she had seen my other Lapis pendant and liked the design, however wanted something slightly different and a pendant rather than necklace. She left the design completely up to me and was very happy with the result. I must admit I love the carved Lapis and wish I could get my hands on some to use in my jewellery pieces.

I've since also made the pendant I posted previously for my Step daughter as well as a more delicate pendant using two smaller gemstones (Carnelian & Lapis Lazuli) with a more simple design on the actual setting. Trying to catch up with listings this one recently also got added to my Etsy

I am currently working on another one, this time with a large Rose Quartz (same sort of stone size as the Sodalite) but having an issue with the setting which I just need to rectify to finish it off. Planning to do so this Easter break, maybe if I have the time, starting today. 

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Birthday Present

Last year one of my step daughters asked for me to make her a piece of jewellery for her birthday. So I made her a Sterling Silver & Sodalite pendant with a pair of Lapis Lazuli earrings. I didn't have much time to finish it so wasn't able to take any pictures before giving it to her but my youngest step daughter (who I mentioned is an awesome photographer) took this and sent it to me. 

Isn't the pattern in the stone amazing?! It's a piece of art all in itself, which is why I love gemstones so much.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

New year

Firstly Happy New Year to everyone out there :) I hope the new year will be better than the last (or as good if you had a great 2016).

I don't believe in New Year's resolutions so haven't made any of those, however I have signed up for the 100 Day goal again. I realised that I never mentioned if I reached it last time, which I sort of did (I reached it a couple of days after the official 100 days had past but did indeed reach it). This time I have decided to work on my marketing skills as I am aware it's by far my weakest skill (read nonexistent). One issue is that the goal is supposed to be quantifiable (i.e I will sell this much or approach these many, or book these many etc)  and I can't think of a way to make me improving my marketing skill quantifiable? 

As a first step I have booked onto a Start Up show in London on Saturday which looks really interesting and is only £10. Some of the speakers cover marketing which is perfect. I must admit that I am quite excited.

Another update is that I have in fact moved and am currently renting a house with a friend at least until October this year. This place also has some attic space which I am using as a workroom and as I am finally back to working part time I am hoping this finally means I can focus on my jewellery.

So in answer to my title, definitely a new year but still the same old me, however currently maybe a bit less stressed than I was previously. Lets hope it stays that way!

Friday, 1 April 2016

Copper is kind of amazing

I think one of the reasons I use copper other than for the colour is because it reminds me of home. It was used in a lot of older jewellery and the region I grew up in was named copper mountain (thought they recently changed the name) due to the fact that there was indeed a big copper mountain in the middle of the whole area (which I've obviously been down in), and which until quite recently was in production. 

When I studied silversmithing we were given homework to look things up and write about them in the book which we then handed in to be marked. One "essay" was about the different materials we used (though I can't remember if I got told to write about that or just decided to) and whilst looking them up online I found out that copper is kind of amazing. I do mention this from time to time in conversations and each time everyone seems surprised so thought that maybe I should write a blog post about it and spread just how good it is. 

You've probably seen that there are loads of copper pipes and wires everywhere and probably thought it's because it's a cheap material or easy to get hold of, however turns out it's also a good electricity and thermal conductor, and very resistant against corrosion with a melting point of 1083 Celsius, so that is kind of great.

It's also essential to humans as we have it in our bodies, not a huge amount but what's there is vital to our well-being, which is likely why a lot of jewellery is aimed at people who have any illness affecting their blood or joints, however I'm not saying that it does (or doesn't) work for those sort of ailments as I've not had proof either for or against and am yet to make an opinion.

However neither of those facts are the reason that I think it's amazing but rather it's antibacterial properties. Let's say you touch a handle someone with, for example the flu, touched earlier, chances are the virus is still active and it's now on you. However if the handle is made of copper depending on what said germ/virus/fungi is, and how recently the person touched it (lets face it, if straight after it wont help) you should be fine. 
I won't go through them all but just mention some of the more serious stuff:
Copper has been shown to knock out 99,9 % of E.coli within 60 if the room is at room temp to  270 minutes if it's cold, whilst on stainless steel E.coli can live for weeks.   
It also works against, Legionella and tests even shows that it appears to knock out MRSA within 2 hours. 
How efficient it is depends on how high the copper contents is, the higher the contents the quicker it works and more successful it is, which if you think about it makes sense. Now you have to admit that's bloody brilliant! And raises the question which it's not used more in public spaces? 
Silver and brass has also shown to work in different extents on different germs and viruses but not as well as copper. Now I'm not telling you to go out and get your work benches swapped over to copper or anything I just think it's kind of great and wanted to spread the knowledge (because sometimes I geek out about weird stuff) :) 

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Jewellery Photography

When I did the 100 day goal last year I asked the group for feedback on the photos on my Etsy page. I love doing my pictures with nature backgrounds but seeing most jewellery is photographed against a white background was worried that whilst I thought it suited it might not be seen that way by others. Luckily the generally consensus was that people really liked the backgrounds (thought I was told to be careful not to use colours which overpowered the pieces). I did however also get some other fab feedback from a buyers point of view asking that I included a picture of the piece in the box it will arrive in and one of it being worn so they can imagine what it will look like. I've therefore enlisted one of my beautiful stepdaughters as my model and keep making her model my jewellery whenever she happens to come home to visit (which sadly isn't so often) and obviously if the weather allows (which also isn't very often)

I even got a couple done whilst in Sweden (thought I for some reason didn't bring all my pieces with me, which I blame the stress beforehand for). 

I think she got feed up fairly quickly when we did it in Sweden, after all there are more fun things to do than to stand around taking pictures of jewellery in the snow. 

Atleast the last time it was nice and sunny outside so a lot more fun. 

I also found out that my other stepdaughter is an amazing photographer, I'm quite good at setting the scene but no so much with the actual workings of a camera and how to make it do what I want, like focus (if my dad realised he would be very disappointed) , she on the other hand gets beautiful sharp pictures so I might need to convince her to take over the photography for me with me just setting them up (and then I can share some of her pictures with you) :)

Sunday, 20 March 2016

I'm back! Well, sort of :)

Sorry for going quiet (yet again) but life decided to do a number on me (doesn't it always) so blogging fell completely to the wayside, and in some parts my jewellery has also had to pay the price.

I did do some Christmas markets but then ended up with some house issues (where I rent changed owners) and ended up having to not do more markets and then it was home to Sweden for Christmas and New Years which was lovely, but horrible timing. 

Original house issue was a big increase in rent which due to my storage also increasing in price meant I had to take on more hours at work from January (working full time which haven't left much time for jewellery making) and get rid of my storage. To start it was just due to be until end of March however now it looks like the new owner is planning to throw us all out (I rent a room in a house) so I will need to find a new place to rent. Therefore when asked if I could go up to 8 hours 4 days a week from April until August I (after endless hours of thinking, fretting and discussing with my partner) said yes.

Due to finishing the work I originally did overtime for and Easter coming up I will get a couple of extra days off before I start the extra time again in April so besides the bits I have to do (hang out with family) I am looking forward on catching up on all things jewellery related. Thought there will likely also be a lot of house viewing which does dampen my enthusiasm slightly.

I was very stressed about it all especially as it's really hard to rent an unfurnished room in this area, but am now feeling a lot more chilled out about the whole thing. I think in part due to my partner who is being very supportive and my wonderful work colleagues who all make me feel that things will be OK (and in fact could be far worse) and the rest is likely just due to not being able to be that worried about something for so long without having a nervous breakdown, hence my brain has just gone 'that's enough'. I will try to update once I got a new place

Friday, 4 September 2015

The 100 Day Goal

I am still alive and still working on my jewellery. It's been a couple of paid months now on my reduced working hours and I must admit it's hard, however I am still managing. To help get me focused I have just signed up for the 100 day goal which is being arranged by the Business Bakery and I must admit I'm finding it great so far (only on the fourth day)
I'm currently trying to get some Christmas Markets booked and so far got one confirmed but will share details about that closer to the date.