Saturday, 17 November 2012

Collagraph Prints with Hester Cox

Collagraph printing..

This was another class at Rural Arts in Thirsk, workshop was run by an amazing artist, Hester Cox .  The technique involved reminded me a little of etching but its really the reverse!?  You actually add things onto the surface of your 'plate' however we had to be careful not to go too 3D.  I chose to experiment with all sorts of textures and the print below is made up from glue, papers, cutting into things, and then I painted the feather with a white artist paste to give a little relief and texture.

It was then dried and prepped ready for printing.  Using inks you gently add them to the plate and work the colours in just applying with you fingertip.... at first I was worried about this as it looked like a disaster!  However then you start to wipe away the excess ink and the magic start to happen.  The ink you are left with is just what is sunk into the groves and pick up all of the textures.  Next we dampened some paper and rolled the whole lot through a press.

Then hey presto!.......

(The middle pictures show the prints I managed and the original plates that I made.)

This was tricky to do but really good fun so would recommend if you have the opportunity to give it a try, to go ahead.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Big Bang Bonfire

Remember, remember the 5th of November......

Was at the workshop all day, but took some time out to go to the local Bonfire display, was another great year. Took some photos on the camera with the 'firework' setting (yes there is such a thing!?), which I hadn't tried before. What do you think I think they have come out well... look like weird undersea creatures to me! ... all we need now is a ....ooohhhhhh....ahhhhhh


Monday, 22 October 2012

Screen Printing Class

I took part in a great taster screen printing class at Rural Arts in Thirsk.  This is my second go at screen printing at Rural Arts and again it was great fun.  After previously dabbling with Christmas designs this time I decided to go with a bold retro inspired apple design.

Image from the Rural Arts Facebook page c/o Rural Arts Images on Facebook
Rural Arts Web page - Rural Arts Facebook

The design I made was quite simple although cutting the stencils is always more complicated than you think, so it took me about 3 goes to make sure I didn't have any loose bits of paper.  Once my design was cut out of paper it was time to get to work on the screen!

We were shown how to set up the screen and mask off the correct area.  Then shown how to create backgrounds (that's how there is some green with some of the images).  I then chose to print my stylised apples just in black to give a good contrast.

Once your set up its a case of go go go! So off the printing went, 2nd image shows the process happening.  I found the actual technique a bit tricky, just to get the right pressure and ink but am pleased with how my pictures turned out. ( The apple images in a row, in image above is a mix of what I managed on the day.)

Rural Arts do a great mix of workshops, do take a look at their site and give it a try!

Image from the Rural Arts Facebook page c/o Rural Arts images on facebook
Rural Arts Web page  - Rural Arts Facebook

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Etsy Front Page!!!

So it finally happened!  I made it to the front page, for those of you who have Etsy shops I'm sure you know why I'm so excited!  For those of you who don't it is a big deal because its great exposure.  The front page of etsy always shows a selection of items and these change throughout the day.  The selections are 'Treasuries" these are put together and chosen by anyone out there in etsy, I believe as long as you have an account you can put one together.  So basically you group items you love together and that's your treasury and you can make as many as you want however you want.  Colour coordination usually work the best.  From these the lovely people behind the scenes at Etsy pick ones to put on the page, not 100%sure what they look for but it is connected to themes, colours etc.  It also has to 'look' right.   

As far as helping us sellers it is great as it does highlight your products, however it is pot luck what time you will appear.  I am very excited to say below is a snap shot of mine and it was on for i think the perfect time, the eve in the UK and afternoon in the US.  My Orange bangle is right there.... Click to see.  It got a whopping 410 views in about an hour!  It also meant lots of people looked round other parts of my shop.

So there you go.... I do want to say a big thanks to 'Blue Fennel Vintage' who put the treasury together and chose my bangle to go in it.  I have popped a link into the shop name so you can always have a little browse over the shop.

If you have comments or experiences of the Etsy front page feel free to add them here!


Monday, 8 October 2012

Rural Arts Acrylic Workshop

I had a great day teaching at Rural Arts in Thirsk, a 10-4 day long workshop with a little lunch in between.  I started the day giving an overview of plastics and how they are used in jewellery.  We looked though a mix of examples and I gave information about Acrylic which is what we were working with.  Showing how to work with Acrylic was really important so we spent the morning cleaning up, sanding and polishing pieces ready to transform into jewellery. 

I think the students were surprised how much prep goes into working with acrylics, but realised its worth the effort once the finished items were made.  We went to the cafe and were treated to lovely lunch at the Rural Arts cafe included with the class.

After Lunch it was time to think about decorating the acrylic, I showed various ways to mask the pieces to create patterns.  Then with all safety wear in place we mixed some dye ready to dye the Acrylic prepared pieces.


Care needs to be taken when using dyes.
Washing the pieces well

When the pieces were dyed we took off the masking to reveal what patterns were created.  I then showed the students how to put the necklaces together and fix on the catches.

The fiddly bit......putting your necklace together

This is the final stage think everybody did a fantastic job and created some lovely necklaces, with some great effects!

Some of the finished items by the Rural Arts students, some fantastic effects created!

If you are interested in the jewellery I make feel free to visit my Etsy Online shop.  If you are interested to take part in any future workshops please feel free to join my mailing list on the front page of my website and scroll to the bottom.  Also take a look at the Rural Arts homepage. 

Feel free to add comments if there is anything you may be interested in learning how to do, or other ways to work with acrylic.


Monday, 6 August 2012

The Elevated Envelope

Well this is my first attempt at this. A friend sent me a link through facebook after I commented that what comes through the letter box these days is quite depressing and is normally in the guise of a bill.

Basically you sign up..... get given a theme.... on this occasion 2 months to complete your 10 letters, to a list given to you of like minded folk doing the same thing elsewhere in the world.

The theme this time was 'Sweet' now that can mean a few things and your are open to interpret this how you wish. I took on the idea of sweet in the uk being the same as candy would be in the US. So after my lovely other half bringing me a lovely box of chocs, inspiration hit..... My 'Sweet' theme would be a box of chocolates.

I decided to make a stamp to represent the chocs to go in the choc box, on the back a recipe for some chocolate truffles. The envelope was to be the 'box' complete with ribbon and gift tag.

I also wanted to make my envelope quite small.... again using the sweet theme I have always loved the old fashioned Jane Austin style letter and so a smaller envelope was made. I then decorated the outside by stamping and painting my ribbon and drawing some tags. I made a few variations just to try.

The final extra was a little 'sweet' heart supposed to resemble and edible treat on a ribbon. These were just made from shrink plastic, drew various designs on them and threaded them up. These can either be worn as necklaces, used as bookmarks or just a little bit of decoration. I hope they have arrived with the recipients ok and look forward to seeing my elevated envelopes coming through the door.

For more information if you want to take part the next time follow the Ephemera facebook page and follow the blog. All organised by Tara Bliven!!


Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Transplantation Exhibition, The HUB

Transplantation was a really interesting exhibition where a variety of jewellers where invited to make jewellery based on the theme of 'Transplantation' a sense of place and culture. It was a really interesting look at contemporary jewellery that is quite unusual and made not necessarily for the function to wear but to show a message or portray a story, and the makers interpretation of the theme.

I have pictured some of the artists and their work that stood out to me.........

Laura Potter renowned for her more conceptual jewellery - In this work entitled "Goldweighs of the 19th Century Australian Colonists" she made 'fictional' items based on real out of brass. This representing the curious (fictitious) system for measuring gold.

These fish brooches by Jack Cunningham are entitled "The Great Barrier". They are amazing intricate unique brooches representing the migration of family members to the new world. In search of a fresh start and a better future.

This selection of works is called "Heimat" by Jivan Astfalck. It is a collection of 6 wearable pieces of jewellery that as a collection tells a story of the myth of childhood, upbringing, pains of growing up and grander myths of gender, belonging and transcendence. The objects are from memories, fiction, history and thought.

Lin Cheung often found exhibiting with Laura Potter, this piece entitled "24 Carats of Gold". This is a collection of handmade coins made from a mixture of alloys to create a variety of colours representing the multicultural make up of modern Australia. Using her own precious jewellery that is then melted down, even though these items are destroyed the items can still be identified by the colour and carat of each coin. These also represent 'love tokens' - defaced coins made by British convicts to give to their loved ones before being transported to Australia.

Collection of works by Bridie Lander, she made works for this exhibition from a very personal point a view. Having moved to different culture. She looks at how Flora and Fauna have been translated and transported literally through migrations and history.

The Transplantation exhibition is touring and is currently on show at The Collection Museum in Lincoln until the 5th August.


Friday, 20 July 2012

COLLECT 2012 - Retospective look

Collect 2012 at the Saatchi Gallery, London took place back in May. This is a great exhibition where 30+ galleries come together and show off some of their greatest Crafts. This was a glorious sunny weekend and took place over at the Saatchi Gallery.

I have just picked a couple of names and work that really stood out to me. Lesley Craze had a great selection of jewellery, I particularly loved the Nora Fok pieces. Her work really is inspirational and she creates beautiful intricate pieces. A few necklaces were made out of Slinky's and were very interesting repeat patterns.

These glass pieces are by Katharine Coleman, I felt I should share some images of her work as it has always been an inspiration to me. Although I work in plastics the way she uses depth and image distortion is similar to what I apply to my work.

These also really caught my eye, a danish maker, Steffan Dam Glass sculptures. These are Biologically inspired glass sculptures. Amazing glass pieces that resemble mysterious under water creatures contained in test tubes. They are really very clever.

I am already looking forward to Collect 2013 and would recommend anyone goes and takes the opportunity to have a look at this exhibition of the very best in high end craft.

(Me on the tube heading back from the Saatchi, thought the perfect opportunity to wear one of my 3 piece segment necklaces!)


Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Blue, Blossom and Buttons

Cherry Blossom outside my workshop window

Blue Skies and Blossom, Spring is here!!

So looking outside of my workshop window what did I see a few days ago? I saw the above two pictures! Lovely Cherry Blossom and deep blue sky.  There is nothing more beautiful in Spring time!

This image has always inspired me and I have taken many photos of cherry blossom which I use in my jewellery and now in my buttons, both the handmade 'Odd Bodd' buttons, and my printed range.  I will hopefully get these on the website soon but in the meantime e-mail for any purchasing enquiries.
"Odd Bodd" Handmade Buttons
Large printed buttons with my Jessica Jewellery Design image
Smaller buttons in 3 different shapes

Hope this blog has brightened a dreary day!!


Thursday, 1 March 2012

My Kinda Jewellery......

People always worry about buying me jewellery because I design and make it they think it must be impossible to find things I like. Very far from it, I think being in the business I am, makes me appreciate and love a whole host of different jewellery.  I also get asked quite a lot 'What "type" of jewellery do you like' I thought I would put a little blog together with a few pictures of some of the jewellery I have and love to wear by a few different jewellers who I admire, that also make and or design their own work. I should also add that I love all different materials, and am constantly fascinated by how people use and adapt materials in different ways.

Love this work she is based at the Manchester Craft Centre which is well worth the visit, loved it there then saw her work again at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair.... So this was a lovely Christmas Prezzie from my other half!

I have always loved the bold but simple designs that Sarah creates.  I was lucky enough to have a 3month work experience with her whilst on my degree which taught me a lot more about using acrylic.  I spent a LONG time polishing bangles like the one you see.  So now as well as loving the colour appreciate wearing it!!

A lovely lady who's work I have seen for a long time but who I really first met at the British Craft Trade Fair and since then our paths cross at various shows.  Love this bright cuff bangle.

This is very lovely delicate work using printed patterns onto a polypropylene.  I have admired their work for many years and seen it evolve.  I got this piece as a birthday prezzie, its from MIMA which has a very good gift shop for contemporary handmade jewellery.

Emma is based in the Southern England and she had a stand opposite me at the Bovey Tracey Contemporary Craft Fair, after chatting about business etc and admiring each others work I couldn't resist this lovely piece.  It also turns out Emma graduated from the same University as myself and did the same degree but was a couple of years below me.

Wood Ring
I am sorry to say I can't remember the designer to this one, it was from a mixed showcase at the Manchester Craft and Design centre.  I love the pattern and love that its so ornate and then made from wood.  Love a lot of the work that is out there at the moment using wood.  Its a material I would love to have a go with.

Not much of a story behind this little brooch, acquired from the GNCCF just loved the colours and love Lynseys bold use of felt and buttons in her work.

And last but not least another question I get asked is what is my favourite piece of my own jewellery!?  Well usually the newest ranges are always the most exciting because you create something you at first didn't know you could.  However I have made myself a bangle and necklace (necklace below) from the Cartwheel Flower lilac range.  Purple is my favourite colour and it goes with a lot of things I wear.  I also love the way the images came out, they involved a very late night trip out to a very muddy field in winter, to catch these Cartwheel Flowers in silhouette.

Quote from Resin Jewellery by  Kathie Murphy book ISBN 978-0-7136-7311-1 (page 17)

"Where plastics continue to receive little acclaim is studio jewellery.  Because plastic products tend to be mass produced for maximum profit, it is still regarded as a cheap material.  This criteria is not true of plastic jewellery that has been individually handcrafted.  The time and judgement taken to transform plastic into a piece with an aesthetic quality can never be inexpensive."

I think that is an interesting quote and think people need to value jewellery not necessarily because it is made from expensive metals and gems, but because of the work that has gone into it.  Also the value of jewellery is a lot to do with what it means to you.  I would love to hear your stories and see photos of your special piece of jewellery or and interesting item you have and why, or what it means to you.  The stories behind jewellery are so interesting.  I think it is important to enjoy your jewellery whatever it may be made from.

Feel free to post your pictures and comments on my Jessica Jewellery Design Facebook page . Please be responsible and do not post anything inappropriate. Thank you


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