Wednesday, 26 March 2014

A new blog!

pink typewriter

A lot has changed since I first started bashing out letters on my Mum's old typewriter - and my typing skills have improved no end too! Unfortunately that first typewriter wasn't a lovely pink one like the one above (from Rainingcatsandfrogs on Etsy if you're interested), but my laptop is a lovely rich shade of red.
The most recent change is a shiny new wordpress blog! I've been working away on it whenever I've had the chance over the last couple of weeks, getting it to look very nearly how I want it - which is why I haven't had time to post on this old blog much recently. I expect that I will make a few more changes while I figure out exactly how wordpress works, although I am very pleased with all the different widgets and plugins I can add in - so much easier than blogger! This blog will stay on line as there are lots of tutorials on there, but I am also going to move most of the tutorials over to wordpress and maybe update some photos on them too so that everything is in one place. 

I hope you'll join me over there - I've got a bit of catching up to do over the next day or so with news of recent classes, new tuition dates and my preparation for the BCTF. You can find me over at

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Spinner Rings - the ebook is now live!

The new Spinner Ring ebook is now live on the website! 22 pages, 73 photos taking you step by step through all the materials, equipment and techniques that you need to create your own beautiful spinner rings, with tips on how to get the sizing perfect, instructions on how to create the wavy pattern at the top of the main ring in the book and lots more. I really have tried to make this book the next best thing to having me in the room with you.

It is available here with immediate download after your order is completed, and will be available on etsy soon too. I hope that you enjoy it!

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Studio 61

My Woodland Collection is now available at Studio 61, a colourful welcoming gallery up near Matlock in the beautiful Peak District! I do love it up there. My first teaching job was in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, on the Leicestershire/Derbyshire border, and we regularly took students up to the Peak District for Geography field trips and Duke of Edinburgh Award expeditions. The Matlock area really is gorgeous, no matter what the weather!

Studio 61 is owned by Karina Goodman, whose own lovely paintings are on display in galleries up and down the country. You can read more about the gallery here, and as I am one of the featured artists in the gallery this month visit the Studio 61 blog too to find an interview all about me and my work!

Friday, 7 February 2014

Spinner Rings!

Last Saturday was my first workshop of 2014, and a lovely group of ladies came together to forget the wind and rain for a while by hammering and soldering - and making themselves beautiful spinner rings! It is so great having a lovely big room to teach in now. As well as having my own studio in the Sorting Office I've also got access to the Production House - a fantastic space that you can only see half of in the picture below.

I do love making these rings - I love coming up with different combinations of textures and patterns, and I love wearing them too - a very playful piece of jewellery! The ladies worked hard (helped by copious cups of tea and chocolate) and had lots of fun too, and each went home with their very own unique and perfectly fitting spinner ring. Apparently two of them have already had orders from their families for more rings!

The ladies who came along on Saturday were also the first to get copies of my Spinner Ring ebook. I've just got to add in a couple more hints and tips that I realised I'd missed out during Saturday's class and then it will be available on the website for those of you who live a little too far away to come to a class.

The next workshop will be on Saturday 15th March, my Keum Boo workshop. If you haven't come across this beautiful technique yet then take a look here!

Monday, 27 January 2014

Photos, photos everywhere....

My job this morning is to finish editing the final photos for my new Spinner Ring ebook. So far I've whittled it down from over 400 to 92! I want to cover all the steps for making one of these beautiful rings in as much detail as possible and, as they say, a picture really does speak a thousand words. Not that I'd write a thousand words for a step in a jewellery tutorial, no matter how detailed, but you get the idea.

The book will cover all the materials and tools that you need to make a spinner ring, using the one pictured above as the example. There will also be additional variations with explanations of how they are made. It will be published in the first week of February (next week!) and also given to the students at my Spinner Ring workshop on Saturday 1st February - there are still places left on the workshop so if you'd like to come along and get the book, all the materials you need to make your own ring and, of course, me along side you as you make it sign up here!

Thursday, 23 January 2014

On their way to Yorkshire....

A quick photo of lovely newly-polished Woodland pendants just before I posted them to Heart Gallery in Hebden Bridge yesterday afternoon. They were accompanied by some Silver Birch bangles and stud earrings (I'm adding those to the website this afternoon!) and some Loveheart earrings too, just in time for Valentine's Day.

Hebden Bridge is a really beautiful market town in West Yorkshire. I've only been up there once years ago - complete with a group of A-Level Geography students we were taking on a field trip! I'm trying to figure out if I can do a bit of detour and call in there on my way back from the British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate in April. Afterall, what's another hour or so drive when I'm travelling six hours anyway?! But if you are up North do call in - you'll see my work in real life and Alison has a gallery stocked full of beautiful British handcrafted goodies!

Saturday, 18 January 2014

The Foxes are released!

 The new Fox pendants are now available on the website - both sitting (or watchful, I preferred that name) and sleeping as requested! I'm really pleased with how they look in silver.

The Watchful Fox has a single bail behind his inquistative head, and I've added two bails behind the Sleeping Fox to make certain that he hangs comfortably on the chain for his nap.

There are 4 days left to use the "foxythankyou" code on the website, so if you'd like to have a Fox of your own you can find them here!

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

A Foxy Update and A Big Thank You!

Thank you so much to everyone who left a comment on here or on my facebook post giving feedback on my little fox pendant designs. I've had over 100 comments on facebook, which has been amazing! I have lost count of the exact numbers of votes, but the Sleeping Fox was the clear favourite, with many people suggesting that I added both to the Woodland Collection - so that's what I'm going to do. Top of my list tomorrow morning (got to take photos for a magazine project today!) is to make silver versions of the pendants ready to add them to the website. I've also got brooches of all of the Woodland creatures pendants on my to-do list.

But for now, on to the important business of the winner of the silver Fox pendant of their choice! Thankfully I was able to copy and paste the names of the commenters from facebook! The name that was pulled from my little basket was....

Pamela Jones!

Congratulations ! I will message you through facebook to confirm which fox you would prefer and get your details.

I have a little something for the rest of you as well to say Thank You for your help

I've never offered such a large discount on my website before, and probably won't again! The pendants are usually £32, so the offer makes them £24. It only runs for a week, so if you fancy your own Fox pendant (they will be on the website on Thursday at the latest) or maybe a Lovebird in time for Valentine's Day then now is the perfect time! Click here to see the Woodland pendants.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Foxy Foxy (and a little giveaway)

Some very unusual behaviour took place in my studio yesterday - I put all my tools away (unusual in itself!) and got my pencils and sketchbook out and planned out a new design. On the rare occasion I do sketch it's usual doodles that may or may not turn into designs, but this time I sat down with a definite aim - a new Fox pendant to add to my growing Woodland Collection. A little research on Pinterest for illustrations of foxes, a few notes on what I wanted to acheive, a set of pencils that I'd been given for my birthday years ago but hardly used - and I was off! Well, ok, I sat and looked at the blank page for a while, but then I was off!

It was actually fun, to work in a different way than usual, to sketch rather than go straight to sawing and hammering.

The next stage was to cut some copper - simple geometric shapes, textured, layered and soldered together. Experimentation with different textures and different faces. I always get a much better idea of how a piece of jewellery is going to work once it's made in metal, and metal pieces are never exactly the same as any sketches I do. Once the heads were cut out and the eyes added I realised that they also needed noses, and turning the sitting fox's head slightly to one side rather than straight on made him look friendlier.

I used my favourite hammer to texture the Fox's tail - of course!
I've just realised that taking the photos at a slight angle has made the faces look a little longer than they really are!
This was where working at the Sorting Office really helped! Working at home, I really only had the cats to ask for opinions and they weren't exactly much help. At the Sorting Office there is always someone about to ask, and feedback from Denise, Eve and Jason led me to change the eyes on the sleeping fox, and I then added some texture on the body to tie the design in more with the other pendants.......but I still can't decide.......

Which Fox gets a place in the Woodland Collection?
Sleeping Fox or Sitting Fox?
Or both?

A silver version of the Sitting Fox will have a textured body too.

I need some more help please! Can you help me decide? Which do you prefer?

As a little incentive, if you'd like to head over to my Facebook page and leave a comment on the Fox photos over there, when I get back into the studio on Tuesday I'll put all the names of the commenters in a hat. The winner gets a sterling silver Fox pendant of their choice, either sleeping or sitting. And a chain to put it on of course!

Thank you, and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Roses in progress

 A quick snap of the work I've been doing this morning - pretty Rose Red earrings waiting for me to set their sparkly garnets. I've had a flurry of orders for these this week for January birthdays! I do enjoy making them. The garnets are rose cut cabochons so the top of the stone is faceted and catches the light beautifully!

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to you all! I hope that you had a great Christmas and managed to relax and recharge over the holidays. I also hope that you are managing to stay warm and dry during this weather. I'd really like to know why the heavens always seem to spill their worst just as I'm taking the boys to and from school!

It's been a busy few weeks, so here's a quick random rundown....

I would have had a birthday picture of Ben as well if he'd kept still long enough!
  • Ben turned 8 just before Christmas and Jamie was 3 yesterday - queue lots of comments from friends and family (and me!) on how fast time flies! This year was the first that Jamie has had a 'proper' birthday party and he had a wonderful time. T and I, however, are still recovering.
  • We had both sets of Grandparents over for Christmas and then visited friends in deepest darkest Wales for New Year. No internet access or working phone (trouble with landline and no mobile phone signal without going for a walk!) was lovely and relaxing until Ben tripped over and cut his head open on the piano stool! 40 minute drive to Aberystwyth and 3 stitches later and he was fine! We then went and played on the beach – the same beach that the storms have now all but washed away sadly. Despite Ben's mishap we had a great time, and we've invited ourselves back in the summer!
  • I listed new tuition dates on the website yesterday, sent out a newsletter and within 48 hours they have all gone! I'm sorry if you were interested but missed out, but there will be more dates available for the Spring. I didn't even get a chance to post about them on here as blogger was playing up. Again. Which leads me to...
  • I haven't been able to get into the studio much over the holidays but I have been writing out lots of plans including plans for moving my blog over to Wordpress. It won't be for a month or so yet as I want to get it right before I press 'publish', but I've started putting the plans into action!
  • I've also been planning and drafting out a couple of ebooks and also an ecourse on stonesetting. I've wanted to do these for a while, and the time has finally come!
  • I've been sketching and writing notes for new designs like crazy and my fingers are itching to put them into practise! Many of them are ideas for building a collection around my Wise Owl, Rabbit, Lovebird and Butterfly pendants and I'm really excited. Not all of them will make it into the final collection, but they'll be fun to experiment with along the way.
I've got my first full day back in the studio tomorrow. As I say every year, the holidays have been great, and it has been especially wonderful this year with Jamie being old enough to really enjoy Christmas, but it's always equally great to get back into the studio!

If you did miss out on the private tuition I'm teaching two workshops over the next couple of months. I'll post more details tomorrow rather than make this post too long, but you can find more information on the website here.


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