Friday, 30 April 2010

Everything's Coming Up Roses

I've let my blog slip again! I really must make time to update it regularly.

I've recently started modelling... no not me, ha ha fat chance of that! I've been modelling with Polymer Clay, a medium I first experimented with over 20 years ago, and one of my first ever forays into jewellery making. Since those days , which seem oh so long ago, Polymer Clays have improved tremendously, or at least I think they have.

I used to use Fimo original, which is still available, but I am now trying out Premo by Sculpey. It's a softer formula, so is easier to condition before use. Even so, I do find it hard work on my poor arthritic fingers, so I was really thrilled to get a free pasta machine on my local Freegle (formerly Freecycle) site. It's a really sturdy Italian made one. This has made the job of conditioning and mixing colours a lot easier and quicker. There's a fairly limited palette compared to some of the other types of polymer clay, but they are based on an artist's palette, so colours can be mixed to make an infinite array of colours. As well as being softer it is also very durable after baking, because it is strong but retains flexibility, so is less likely to break as it isn't brittle.

So, what have I been making?

I thought I'd try my hand at flowers, in particular roses. My first couple of attempts weren't very good, but I eventually got the hang of it. I also scorched one by baking too long, something that shouldn't really affect the clay as it can be baked as long as you like, as long as the temperature doesn't go above that recommended, so maybe my oven has hot spots, or hasn't got a reliable temperature. I really need to buy a thermometer so I can be sure the temperature remains stable. But for now I have devised a way of protecting my items by baking them under an upturned cake tin to maintain an even temperature within the covered area, and only baking them for the shortest time. The rose that scorched had taken me ages to get just how I wanted it to look. It was a beautiful shade of violet and although it looks perfectly fine, no burnt bits or anything, it emerged from the oven chocolate brown! I was so disappointed, but maybe I can find a use for it. I believe certain colours are more prone to darkening than others, particularly transclucent and pearl ones.

Here are some pieces I have been making:

Nostalgia - Teal Blue Rose

Lemon Sorbet Rose

Old Gold Rose

Bubblegum Pink Rose

As you can see they all look a little different, that's because they are organic roses! I cut each petal freehand and sculpt each of them as I go along. I'm going to try using a petal cutter to make the petals a more uniform size, as there is a certain symmetry in nature. It will also speed up the process, but after cutting them out I still need to sculpt them, so they will never look identical, which is a good thing. But I actually like my organic roses as they are, so I may continue to do them freehand.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Monday Moodboard

The weather is definitely warming up; people are walking around in T shirts and venturing out into their gardens to repair the damage of a long harsh winter. My garden definitely needs a make-over. So with this in mind, my Monday Moodboard is on a garden theme. Hopefully making this will keep it to the fore of my mind to get out there and tend my lawn and frost damaged plants in readiness for sitting in the fresh air creating my jewellery designs and taking long lazy lunches. Ah it's a hard life! :)

1. Spring Garden Bracelet - Katheyl
2. Wild Flowers - Artwatercolour
3. Lavender Days - Starrybluesky
4. Tulip Earrings - Antigoni

Check out more Monday Moodboards at Fleurfatale

Monday, 5 April 2010

Monday Moodboard

Spring is in the air, the light is softer, days warmer, hearts lighter... and thoughts are turning to summer weddings!

1. Ribbon Sash - mammamiaeme
2. Earrings - vart
3. Bag - koopdegrace
4. Bouquet - staroftheeast

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Front Page

I discovered today that while I slept last night I was lucky enough to have my Spring Breeze Teal Lucite Flower earrings featured in this lovely Etsy Front Page Treasury made by EsmeDodsworthDesign.

Thank you Esme! :)

You can check out her lovely shop here:

Being on the Front Page resulted in the sale of my new Rosebud design earrings which I'm thrilled about, an enquiry about another item, and lots and lots of new shop and item hearts! :D

Friday, 2 April 2010

Friday Focus

As I haven't done a great deal of creating lately, I thought I'd share my ramblings on some recent thought processes.

I have been pondering opening a second Etsy shop for some time now but couldn't settle on what to sell. Jewellery is such a saturated market on Etsy with many hundreds of lovely shops that it's very difficult to be seen amongst the masses, unless you have a unique product, or your prices are extremely competitively priced i.e very low.

I have yet to discover and develop that elusive niche, and I refuse to be drawn into a pricing competition of drastically reducing my prices to compete with many who sell very cheaply with the main intention of amassing high sales figures. I know some people sell cheaply because it's just a hobby, indeed it's mainly a hobby for me too, in the respect that I don't rely on it as a source of income. But I'd rather sell less often at a price which I feel reflects the care and attention to detail that goes into my creations, and it is important to me to feel my work is valued and appreciated.

Having said that, sales are slow despite working very hard on promoting my shop. I did briefly consider selling supplies as a means of increasing sales and income, but very quickly decided against it because there would be very little creativity involved, and that too is very important to me.

So where is all this leading? Well nowhere really.... just yet. Oh I'm such a tease! ;)

It is true, I have come up with an idea, though by no means unique, and it may yet still reside under the umbrella of jewellery... I'm not decided on that yet. I will have to see where my creative muse leads me. It's something I became interested in many years ago and have rekindled my passion for. So I've ordered supplies and will be spending time with my new hobby, which may or may not be the focus of a new shop. It will keep my creative juices flowing if nothing else.

But back to my jewellery... here are my latest pieces:

Rosebud Earrings:

These beautiful earrings were made with faceted Vintage lucite beads, topped with antiqued brass petal caps with an olive green Swarovski crystal nestled in the petals of the uppermost leaf cap.

Apricot Blossom Earrings:

I used faceted crystals of warm honeyed topaz for these little beauties. I have layered them with antiqued brass caps and topped them with dainty topaz Swarovski crystals.

Either pair would be lovely to wear this spring, and are suitable for either day or evening wear.