Friday, 4 November 2011

Slick Silver Jewellery

Following my appearance on Kirstie's Handmade Britain last Wednesday, I've been approached by many people wanting to know more about papercrafting or how to get started or more about what I do as a designer/maker.  Each email I have answered as fully as possibly, in the hope that they will go on to enjoy their experience of crafting with paper.

Recently I've had a small spurt of enquiries from blogs and magazines, one of which was Val Williams aka @SlickSilverJ from twitter.  She suggested a blog collaboration.  Now, I don't know about you, but I always see a collaboration as working together.  Val sending questions and me sending answers seemed a bit lobsided,  so, we've ended up with a double wammy.  She's interview me at Slick Silver Jewellery and here's my interview with her.  She's also sent me some images of her work so you can see her work in all its' loveliness.

Here goes....

How long have you been creating jewellery for and what got you started?

I would have to say that I've always loved craft and have triend most things, but when I found myself living alone about 5 years ago I knew that I needed to do something to really occupy my mind and so I tried beading.  I enjoyed it, but it wasn't enough for me and I felt like I wanted ot be bashing something but maybe that was more to do with the divorce!?  Seriously though, I enrolled on a basic metal smithing course and never really looked back.  I continued with the small workshop instruction for almost a year and at the end I emerged  with wedding rings for my son and daughter in law.  At the end of 2008, I started my businesss SilckSilver Jewellery and I feel like I've really found a medium that suits me.

You make jewellery from a variety of metals, which one do you favour the most and perhaps gives you more freedom to create?

I don't tend to use as much copper and brass as I used to, and my work now is dominated by silver and anodised aluminium.  Anodised aluminium seems to suit me the most creatively as I can bring in all the elements that really get me excited like texture and colour.  I really like challenging myself and the material by pushing it to it's limits jus tto see what effects I can produce.  My most recent work combines heavily textured aluminium with silver elements.  I think I can safely say that I've used most things for texture!!

Is there a craft that you have always hankered after having a go at?

Over the years, I've tried my hand at most things, but I'm quite disciplined now, because I don't really have the time to get into anything new, HOWEVER, if money and time were not object, I would love to try papercutting.  I've seen some very intricate 3D paper cuts and they fascinate me.

 Other than your website, is there any other outlets that stock your work.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Friday, 16 September 2011

Adventures in Paperland - Paper Yarn

Last week I came across a You Tube video which showed you how to make paper yarn.  I have to say this is not the first time I have visited this technique but I think it was the drop spindle that put me off.  My attempts without the spindle have been so, so, I twist the strip of paper between my figures and it becomes a loose yarn with absolutely no integrity.  Interesting none the less.

I would say the last time I researched and experimented with paper yarn was about 2 years ago.  I found it frustrating that I couldn't actually do what I wanted to do with it, namely crochet or knit and eventually bought some from PaperPhine, which is absolutely gorgeous.

The way I work when I experiment is to try not to invest in new tools and materials, if possible. No, I look around at what I have and try and re-create something similar.  So, after a little research, I found you could make a drop spindle using a pencil with a rubber, a small hook (like those used for the old style net curtain wires) and some corrugated cardboard).  I know this sounds a bit like Blue Peter, but yes, these are all things that I have, not necessarily lying around the house there was a trip to the shed as well.

I cut a circular disc in some corrugated cardboard, and small nick in the centre and pushed the pencil through, success.  But then when I tried to screw the hook into the rubber it all fell apart. Blast!  Back to the drawing board.  Again, I cut a circle of card, but this time I used a barbecue stick from a previous workshop which had some wire attached at the top in the form of a loop.

The next challenge was to master the technique.  The way the lady in the video demonstrated it was to roll the spindle on her thigh to get it spinning.  Mmm it looked way too visually dramatic for my liking and a lot of wasted energy.  My technique was to twist the stick at the bottom to get it spinning and bingo I was spinning my first bit of yarn.  This attempt was better but a little hit or miss.  The spindle wasn't stable enough and I found it was frustrating having to thread the paper strips through the loop at the top.

Looking at the shop bought drop spindles I found they are usually made of wood.  This led me to the conclusion that the spindle needed the weight to function effectively..  I needed to duplicate this in some way.  So the final spindle was made using an old hard back book cover (very fitting), a piece of wooden dowling and a curtain hook.  Success!

First batch was between a 4ply and double knit thickness.  So, I had a play using a flower loom.  What a wonderful effect it created.  Very difficult to work with, snapped a few times.  I even stitched it using the yarn.  I didn't like the stark whiteness though.

Next batch, I managed to spin a 2ply or size 10 crochet thread.  This time I changed the colour of the yarn with coffee to soften it.  Once I had spun a small batch, I successfully crocheted with it, although it did snap a couple of times.  This doesn't seem to make much of a difference as it doesn't unravel like conventional wool or yarn.

Conclusion:  I am happy that I have discovered another way to re-use paper which can be incorporated into my creative toolbox.  If I can get it fine enough I would love to attempt to wind it on a shuttle and do some tatting..... time will tell.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Alternative Village Fete

Yesterday, outside the National Theatre, under the shelter of a Tee Pee I was showing children and adults how to make traditional windmills and origami windmill pin badges. This event brings together a selection of artists that offer whimsical creations to buy or make, performances from another era or food you may not have tasted before.

Unfortunately, because I was so busy, I didn't get to see much. Although I did manage to peep my head out once and see some dancers performing the jitter bug. Thanks to my mother I know a lot of the music from that era, so at one point I was singing and jigging along to the sounds on offer. Surprisingly, no-one batted an eye (not that it would have stopped me anyway)

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

and the winner of the handmade paper is.....

Thank you to all who left me comments... it was much appreciated. The winner of six pages of paper was picked by my husband who chose a number at random.

So-oo-ooooo CONGRATULATIONS........ Eric Fynn aka @jcem you are the children will be delighted to have some more materials to create with.....

Please make sure you send me your address, via twitter or via my website Rare Notions and I will send out you handmade paper.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Twitter #sbs winner Sunday 14th August 2011!!

This morning at about 1.45 am, I discovered that I had been re-tweeted by Theo Paphitis for the #sbs (Small Business Sunday). What a blast....

This became very obvious when I discovered that my followers had leapt up by 100 and there were about 200 emails from Twitter.

I try and tweet my business every week but quite often forget. I would say that I have tried about half a dozen times, perhaps ten times at the most. Each attempt, I would wait for something to happen, then realise as it was so quiet, I probably hadn't made the grade. I analyised what the successful #sbs business were trying to say. Short, sweet and clever was my initial thoughts... but still no success.

Then the light went on, you know the one you see in cartoons shining brightly above your head with the obligatory phss phss sound. What was missing in my tweet was a connection to my branding.... why did I use old books, it could be any books, why old, why tatty, why miscoloured books. And there was the answer...

So my tweet for my business for #sbs was:

I have been away from the computer all the morning so I have been relying on my phone to allow me to reply to all the lovely comments and congratulations I am receiving. How I'm going to get my book work done I'll never know.....