Category Archives: Copper

Sign your name…

I went to the Welsh Entrepreneurs 2012 conference in Cardiff a couple of weeks ago, it was sponsored by the Welsh government and held in the very beautiful City Hall. I have no idea how they found me to invite me, but I’m a sucker for a free day out! And when I spotted a certain Mr Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden was speaking, that made it a definite :-)

So I got my funkiest suit on and schlepped into Cardiff with the masses on the train. The conference was very good, especially Dan Sodergren’s social media workshop, and Bruce Dickinson’s talk about Cardiff Aviation, Iron Maiden and the idea of 360 degree marketing really got me thinking. I just happened to have a bangle sized strip of brass and a marker pen in my enormous weapons-grade handbag, and as the session finished was first in line to nobble the poor bloke. Anyway, he very graciously signed my bit of metal with a rather bemused look, having not being asked to do THAT before, by all accounts. He had quoted William Blake in his talk, so I asked him to scribble that on there too, and explained I was going to make it into a bangle. I gave him one of our Mantra bangles in return, it has an Einstein quote on that reads “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds” – the three of us here at Spiny each have one.

In the meantime, I have engraved it, polished and now silver plated it, I’m just thrilled with it! It has given me the idea of offering the chance for any of you to immortalise your own handwriting on a piece of jewellery that will last forever and be worn every day. You can get yours in my eBay shop :-)

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Market

Had a lovely morning down in Roath at the craft and farmers’ market, sold lots of pretty things, gave loads of nice cakes away, caught up with a lovely friend that I’d lost touch with, spent some time with my mum and drank lots of tea. Job’s a goodun.

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Mantra

I’m nearly thirty-eight. Which makes it my silver jubilee of being an Alarm fan. I vividly remember hearing “Strength” on my Walkman on holiday, aged thirteen with my family in North Devon and I was completely blown away. Over the years, I’ve bought the albums, been to the gigs, worn the t-shirts, met the band and spread the word. My nine year old son is quite a fan, he stood no chance, really. Despite a mad crush on Mike Peters, a lot of their lyrics have had quite a resonance with me, but none more so than this, from “Spirit of ’76″:

“I will never give in
Until the day that I die
Get myself some independence
Carve out a future
With these two bare hands”

It’s with these words at the back of my mind that I have attempted many things in my life. But it’s with starting Spiny Sharkly Things that it’s really come to the fore. While my lovely Beardy is happy to be the main breadwinner in our little family, I want to carve out my own niche in the world, with my two bare hands. And a hammer. And a blowtorch.

So I made this bracelet, to remind me of the words that have meant so much over the last quarter of a century. I can make one for you too – what’s YOUR mantra?

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Cooler than a polar bear’s frosty bits

I’m not one to share secrets, but this one is just too good to keep to myself!

If you are using silicone moulds for polymer clay or PMC, do you find it can get a bit squished when you try to get it out? I do, especially with deep moulds, like Lego bricks. The answer is so simple I could slap myself. Put your clay in the mould as usual, and freeze it. Then it goes nice and hard and is easy to get out. Once it’s defrosted, you can add surface details. And then fire as usual :-) Who knew?


Spiralling out of Control…

A very slow start to the day (I got eaten by the duvet monster this morning) made me think I’d get nothing done, but Beardy wanted to reacquaint himself with his cavernous garage and have some “man time” in there, so I snuck out to the shed when nobody was looking. My mum had made a heavy silver pendant with a panda on a swirly background a little while ago, but the two got separated while in transit to the Assay Office. Both parts were hallmarked, so we decided to keep them separate and rework them to make two pieces.

I needed to think of something nice to cover the flat part in the middle of the background piece, and toyed with the idea of a cluster of rubover set stones, but didn’t think that it would suit the rustic shape I had to work with. So I reached for the copper and made spirals – inspired by the Celtic Triskele, a symbol I have always loved. They echo the embossed spirals on the background and tie the whole piece together very nicely.

Triskele Pendant

Past, present and future – or maiden, mother and crone? Up to you to interpret it as you will.


Excellent Expo

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I met some lovely ladies at the Expo today, and even sold some jewellery :-) The free cake was a big hit with the visitors, so poor Scroticule didn’t get much in the way of leftovers.

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I was quite pleased with how the stand looked, but had some very helpful tips from one of the ladies who suggested that it wasn’t immediately obvious that we design and make our jewellery ourselves. So Beardy is going to take some artistic (artistic being black and white, obviously. Hides a multitude of sins!) photographs of us getting busy in the shed which we can use on some publicity material.

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Women’s Expo at the University of Glamorgan

Well, the car is loaded with our shop and just enough petrol to get to Treforest, I’m working my way through a pint of tea and gathering the last minute bits and pieces together. Really looking forward to the Expo, hopefully we’ll make some sales, but more importantly I hope we’ll meet some like-minded designer-makers!

If you’re in the Pontypridd area today, why not pop into the Student Union at the University of Glamorgan and come and say hello? And raid the cake stand ;-)

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I Love My New Saw

I got a Knew Concepts piercing saw yesterday, as my cheapo-on-eBay one was really getting on my nerves.

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I’ve been trying to cut this hare bangle for ages, and just got so frustrated with constantly breaking blades that it got lobbed to the other side of the shed in a fit of pique. So the acid test of the new saw was my nemesis, cutting the rest of the outline from the strip of 2mm copper. I wanted the inside for another project, so accuracy was key. Well, what a revelation! I had finished in less than ten minutes, only the last quarter but compared to the hours I had spent on the damn thing with my old saw…. I’m sure you get the picture. Now, to turn the bits into something pretty!

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Steampunk Butterfly Part Three

Well, I’ve finally finished my Steampunk Butterfly, having had a wonderfully productive day in the shed with Sally.

I finished the final components, a cog to screw onto the back so that it can be worn as a brooch through a buttonhole on a coat or jacket (it’s way too heavy to be pinned to anything lighter) and some loops for a chain or cord so that it can be worn as a pendant.

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So now it was time to rivet everything together, first a wing, then the body, then the rest of the wings…

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So, I proudly present my Spiny Sharkly Steampunk Butterfly in all it’s glory! Just need to make a chain, I am working on a sympathetic design at the moment…

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Sick as a dog

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Well, I started being ill at 5am and stopped at about 5pm. A very quick acting vomiting bug which completely scuppered my plans to go and see my brother at Kemble Airfield today. I had to drag Beardy back early to come with me to collect Scroticule, so neither of them got to look at the planes either. Hoping to go next week, mostly to stroke 318…

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