Just got home from another lovely day’s workshop at Lemon Blues with Melissa Warren, not knitting this time but making yarn wrapping landscape pictures. A very relaxing pastime that requires very little by way of equipment – just some thick card, double sided sticky tape a huge collection of various yarns! The one with the boat is my dad’s birthday present, and the purple one? Well, obviously that’s for ME.
Tag Archives: Nature
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.
So now it was time to rivet everything together, first a wing, then the body, then the rest of the wings…
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…
We’re big lovers of nature and finding things when we are out and about here at Spiny Sharkly Things, and a particular favourite haunt is the beach at Llantwit Major, in South Wales. It’s a fabulous stony beach with a very sharply defined set of dinosaur footprints in some petrified mud flats, and there are many other fossils to be found – from ammonites embedded in rocks the size of a VW Beetle to more manageable fragments of dinosaur bone, shellfish and plants. I regularly go down there with my husband and eight year old son to just mooch about – “fossicking” as we call it in these parts.
It was on one of these outings that I found this lovely nugget of seaglass – it just glinted at me from amongst the pebbles, so I just had to pick it up. I gathered a fair bit of driftwood that day too, and when I was back home and rechained to the kitchen sink, I decided to create a ring inspired by the finds of the day. This was back in the days when my workshop had to double up as kitchen (or was it the other way around?) and I was only using precious metal clay instead of the sterling bullion that I work with mostly now (in the shed). I love the way the clay can be easily textured, and until I get a rolling mill, it’s the only way I can get texture into silver that isn’t hammered. I took a mould of an especially nice piece of driftwood, and made the ring shank from that. It oxidised beautifully in the liver of sulphur and really gives the feeling of the wood on which in is based. In my opinion, a perfect combination, and I was really pleased with the final result.
It’s been languishing on eBay for a few months, but that never fazes me, all our creations are individual, unique, and just waiting for the right person to stumble across it and fall in love… I’ve not been silversmithing for all that long, not even a year yet but I really think I’ve discovered my vocation in life. I just love working the metal, it whatever form it takes, and what craft gives you chance to hit things with big hammers as well as twiddle about with fine details and create something beautiful, wearable and above all, SHINY! So everything I make has a lot of myself put into it on the blood, sweat and occasionally tears front (often quite literally!), and it’s usually quite a wrench to let something go. I’m always happy when they go to a loving home!
As my regular readers will already know, I have just registered with the London Assay Office so I can get my jewellery properly hallmarked, and this ring went off to be verified and stamped a couple of weeks ago. Sod’s law struck, of course, and I had an alert come through on my phone that the ring had been sold to a lady in Canada… Cathy had already been in touch to arrange International shipping and so forth, and explained that she had Welsh ancestry, and she had relatives an many parts of Wales, so wanted something Welsh! After explaining that it would take a week or so before I got it back from London, and all was fine, the ring was sent across the Atlantic to Ontario.
I just wanted to share this lovely message I received yesterday from Cathy…
Hi Melanie, I wanted to tell you how amazingly beautiful this ring is! I’ve been wearing it since it arrived and it’s incredible — when the light hits it, there is an inner light that shines like a tiny beacon and is wonderful to behold! Also, the surface markings and crenellations are so exquisitely intricate, it’s great to observe how it responds to all light patterns! I’m so thrilled with it and it’s especially dear, because it’s Welsh — Diolch yn Fawr! I used to know quite a bit of Welsh, but most of it has slipped away with the passing of time — my Mother-in-law is a native Welsh speaker and used to be a teacher, so hers is still beautifully perfect. Thanks again for all your help and I do hope that you’re having a wonderful evening. Cathy
That will do nicely
After the two day summer some of us had at the very beginning of October, I for one was quite relieved to look out of the window to see that normal service has been resumed. Rain, gray sky and a snuggly jumper Autumn is one of my very favourite times of year, and I just love the colours and the leaves falling from the trees. I had some tiny discs of silver that were just begging to be a seasonal pair of earrings. If you like them, click here to make them yours!
When I had my son eight years ago, we bought a maple tree to celebrate his safe arrival and I’m proud to say that they both seem to be surviving my tender ministrations so far! It has some very frilly leaves which I wanted to transfer to silver, and clay was the obvious choice (until I get a rolling mill, mwahaha!). A simple disc which I domed and set in a circle displays the texture beautifully. A little natural oxidation as it is worn means this pretty, natural piece will only mature and improve with a little age… It moves freely on the bail, just like leaves in the wind.
Think I’ll make some more before autumn!
This one is being donated as a raffle prize for a Welsh Blogger’s event being held in Cardiff next month. Really looking forward to that, watch this space for my report on it.
School holidays have taken their toll on not just time to be creative, but time to blog about it as well. It was Beardy’s birthday last week, and as well as a solid silver guitar pick, I also made him a pendant using a leaf from his favourite tree, a small oak in our garden which we have had from an acorn.
When I first started working with precious metal clay and did it all by the book, there was a project that involved painting a lots of slip onto the back of a leaf, and firing with the leaf in situ. But at that stage, I didn’t have enough scrap clay to make slip with, so never tried. Until this month…
I chose a few likely candidates to try apart from the oak leaf, namely a couple of maple leaves, ivy leaves and a beech leaf. Many layers of slip painted on and dried on a mug warmer later, it was time to clean all the clay from the front of the leaves and do a little light filing around the edges, but not too much, because it was so delicate at this stage. A very smoky five minutes under the blowtorch, and some more filing and tidying, and the finished article emerged. Beardy was very pleased with it, but still preferred his Ford Mustang seatbelt belt…. Hey ho.
I just love the textures you can find in nature, and combining them with shiny silver really floats my boat. This elegant 18mm domed disc pendant on an 18″ sterling silver belcher chain features the impression of a skeleton leaf, the texture of the veins are defined by an oxidised finish.
You can buy it here!
Still oop north, had a lovely wander around Ness Gardens with my Auntie Suzanne and had a wonderful cream tea – the ginger scone with rhubarb and ginger jam was epic! Highly recommended
They had a fabulous array of plant life, I feel quite inspired by the shapes and textures…