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Sea Glass of a Different Hue.

15 Dec

Having mentioned my glass fusing adventures in my last blog I thought I would keep you up to date on how we are progressing.

I am still surprised at the popularity of the glass jewellery I sell through my shop. I started selling it as an extra for non quilters visiting the shop in the school holiday season. Ironically, during the season seems to be the time they do not sell as well. Off season they go like hot cakes. The main problem I have is that I have to spend my only day off making more. Still there are worse ways to spend a day.

For a few blissful weeks I even had someone to clean the house as I obviously don’t have much free time. Unfortunately the karma ran out and I was let down not once but twice so I am back to doing my favourite job of cleaning as well as the ironing, working 6 days a week and making glass. Still it hasn’t killed me yet and who needs a spotless house and beautifully ironed clothes anyway. (It’s a sad fact that actually I do.)

Back to the glass.

I use mainly dichroic glass which is a glass with a metallic finish. It can either be left as it is and fused or fused with a clear cap. Each gives a different effect.IMG_0243Without

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IMG_0190 (1)A mix of coloured and clear dichroics.

Then we have the ones with a leather cord, mainly because the design does not really allow room for a bail.

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IMG_0182At the beginning I had favourites that I would put in the window. I have now learned that everyone seems to like a different type so anything goes. The secret is to put them in the sun in the window. They shine beautifully and sell themselves.

Dichroic is an interesting material. It changes colour as the wearer moves  which means that it looks different from different angles and pretty from all. Putting a clear cover on it gives more depth to the piece whereas without it makes a definite statement. Dichroic glass is pure ‘look at me’ however it is used.

Even if I wanted to duplicate a piece, and I don’t, it would be difficult. There is really no telling how a piece will turn out. That is the beauty and the mystery of glass. You can plan and design but once it goes into the kiln it can do whatever it likes. With the capped glass bubbles are the thing. Sometimes it is a problem but often it adds to the design.

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I look at them as little magnifying glasses. The appeal of these pieces is that they are organic. They are not mass produced and so they are all different. As such you will never see someone else wearing the same pendant.

I would suggest anyone interested go on a course but unless you are prepared to make a financial commitment don’t tempt yourself. There are microwave kilns available so that you don’t have to buy a kiln but I am a bit of an addict when it comes to these things and the idea of making one at a time rather than a batch would put me off. There are lots of youtube videos about using the microwave kiln from http://www.glaze.co.nz. These show you how to make particular pieces of jewellery and are easy to follow. In fact there are lots of videos about dichroic jewellery making catering for all tastes.

I have just found this in ‘drafts’ so here goes. I am also going on another course as I want to improve on what I have achieved. Also it is a good excuse for a couple of days away over my birthday week.

 

 

 

Fossil Ferns and Fun in the Sun

19 Mar

Finally everything is sorted – well most things- and my shop is open in Polperro in Cornwall. I am glad to report that despite the fact there is practically nobody about, we are selling steadily. There have been several quilters actually staying in the village and that means they have to resist the shop for at least a week. Thankfully few do.

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The glass jewellery I make  with the occasional input of various members of the family is also going well. The secret seems to be to have things that are different and so not available elsewhere. Alas I was having a ‘day off’ – if you can count making jewellery as a ‘day off’ – and was not the one who made the first of our quilt sales but it is still a lovely feeling that someone now has an heirloom made by yours truly.

I have sorted out the sock monkey kits. They contain everything needed to make a monkey, including the stuffing of course. An added  bonus is that instead of a paper bag or box they are packed into a matching bag with an embroidered sock monkey. In other words when the monkey is finished the bag is usable in its own right. We waste nothing here.

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Anyway, if you are visiting the West Country call in and see us. I don’t think you will be disappointed. We have Fossil ferns in abundance. We have a great many of the Makower plains. We have Elizabeth’s Studio prints and Laurel Burch collections. We have a wide range of fun and funky fabrics. It is certainly a bright and cheerful place to be.

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If I get lonely I talk to the Dolls (no not really).

 

 

 

All That Glisters

19 Sep

Boy have I been busy. There can’t be too many more hobbies to discover but I seem to have done it again. I was leafing through a catalogue some months ago and discovered something called Silver Clay. It looked intriguing and I have been looking for a course so that I could learn the basics. I found a very good one in Cornwall at the Cornwall School of Art Craft and Jewellery (CSACJ)

Cornwall School of Art, Craft and Jewellery
Suite 2, Coldrenick Farm Offices
Helland
Nr Bodmin
Cornwall
PL30 4QE
Tel: 01208 264155

Email: info@csacj.co.uk

website: csacj.co.uk

I did a five day course that taught the basics from beginner up to intermediate. The teaching by Julia Rai was second to none and the atmosphere was friendly and peaceful. We made an awful lot of pieces. In fact I was surprised how many we made but I guess you have to make something for each stage.

We started off with a pair of earings and later on in the course I made a matching pendant.

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Each day progressed to a new stage but building on the previous stages. We made a variety of charms, moulded and formed.

DSCN3193Excuse the dreadful photo but shiny things are difficult to take. Beads was next

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Non fireable stones.

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Dry forming and setting stones by drilling.

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This is a piece of glass held in with silver balls.

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A hollow shape made with syringed clay.

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I was dreading ring day as I was convinced that my rings would end up misformed. However, not only were they both perfectly round and fit just right, they were not as difficult as I thought they would be.

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Silver, gold foil and liver of sulphur and very hot fingers produced this one.

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This one had liver of sulphur and liquid gold. I also thought I had ruined it with the liver of sulphur but a bit of polishing soon sorted it out. In any case apparently refiring returns it to the original state.

DSCN3183I did one more but I don’t like it so am going to experiment a bit with a different finish.

My biggest problem was jump rings, I just can’t get them to meet properly. Practice, practice, practice. Looking at the closeup photographs I think I will also use my large magnifying glass when cleaning the greenware to make sure the finish is just right. Normal eyesight, especially aged normal eyesight even with glasses is not enough for perfection. However, I always say that you only really learn when you make a mistake so I should be really good at this given time. In any case I shall be keeping these as examples of each technique and ‘what not to do’s’ and for practising polishing etc.

I did buy a kiln but in fact you do not have to have a kiln to make silver clay jewellery. A butane torch does the job on most of the pieces. This means that you can do it with a lot less outlay and still buy a kiln in the future if you want to branch out or make in quantity. Mind you as it only takes three minutes with the torch, quantity is eminently possible even with this method.

If you are thinking of taking a course, not only is the teaching superb but the srroundings are beautiful and peaceful. The studio is in the middle of the countryside whilst at the same time being very close to the A30. So easy to get to and still ‘away from it all’.

Whilst I was looking at the pieces in a display cabinet at the studio I came across some really beautiful glass used in jewellery. As a result I am taking a class on that too, this time with Marion. Another thing worth noting is that if you do not want to do the standard syllabus it is possible to have a class tailor made for you so that you learn what you want, especially if you have a grounding in the subject already and want to hone it.

Right, I’m off to do some polishing. If you are interested in how the glass making goes, watch this space.