Course Review, Events, Inspiration, Uncategorized

2018 Round Up!

Happy New Year!

I would like to wish you all the very best of wishes for 2019 – may you all be happy, healthy, wealthy and wise in 2019!

The beginning of a new year is the time when I like to do a little reminiscing of the previous years – the highs, the lows, and everything in-between.

2018 was, on the whole, a good year for me.   I was able to combine my love of crafting, with learning new skills and techniques, and put them to (hopefully) good use!

To finish off this year of blog posts, I thought I would have a little run through of my favourite projects of the year!

1 & 2.  Early in the year I started to combine my love of embroidery with my love of beads – the first project I did was this pretty beaded butterfly.  A range of insects and creatures followed, including the little bee!

3. While learning bead embroidery techniques, I came across Shibori ribbon. This beautiful hand dyed ribbon used in jewellery creates the most beautiful effect – This was my first necklace, and I was super pleased when one of my gorgeous friends purchased it, and it went winging its way to the US.

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4 & 5.     In my Facebook group, I have a challenge post whereby group members can challenge me to design a hoop based on a theme of their choice – My two favourites this year have been the Northern Lights, and Sunset.

6. Summer saw my friend’s daughter getting married, and I was super proud to stitch this hoop to commemorate the big day. I am thinking of offering similar as a commission next year!

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7. More experimentation!   This time with beading!  I taught myself to do Peyote stitch beading, and had sooooo much fun learning how to make these little tube pendants.

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8 & 9.     This is perhaps my most favourite hoop I have ever made.  I love this fox design.  It is so pretty, and intricate.  I really wanted to push myself to work on a more detailed design, and I think I achieved it with this.  I followed this up with a whitework version!  I love how the same pattern looks so completely different just be taking away the colour.

10. If you follow my Facebook page, you will already be aware of my love of thread! I am a compulsive thread buyer, and I am not ashamed!  Hand dyed threads are my weakness – they come in the most beautiful colours, and variations, and I think the seahorse sets these off beautifully.

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11. October & November saw me making forays into the world of chainmaille! This came about following discussions in my Anglo Saxon history nightclass (have I mentioned I’m a bit of a geek!)  The first weave I learnt was Byzantine, which is shown beautifully in this copper bracelet

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12 & 13. Never satisfied with keeping things simple, I experimented a little more with the chainmaille after I came across these fabulous coloured rings!  One of my beautiful friends promptly named the first colour range unicorn, and I absolutely could not resist making a rainbow version.

14. I have been collecting (or hoarding) lampwork glass beads for literally years now! I finally decided it was about time I got to using some!  This rainbow bead came from the fabulous Sally Sutherland, and I think it paired perfectly with the Swarovski sparkles!

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15. One of the new ranges I will be working on in 2019 is a botanical range – this simple, elegant leaf design is the first in the range. I envisage this on the wall in a beautiful conservatory!

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16. My last hoop of 2018! I thought it was very fitting to end on a unicorn!  Again, this is a much more detailed design, stitched with gorgeous threads I purchased at the Knitting and Stitching show in Harrogate.

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So there we have it!  A few of my favourite makes of 2018.  Throughout the year I was privileged enough to work on a number of commission pieces for people, and I attended some fantastic classes, which have really helped to expand my skills, and my confidence.  I am looking forward to more in 2019! 

I will be releasing some new embroidery hoop ranges, which I am very excited about, I am working on some different mixed media makes, and I am expanding my jewellery range to include more sterling silver pieces, and some new chainmaille designs.  Just because I love you, here are a couple of peeks!

Well, if you made it to the end of this looooooong post – thank you!

Here’s to a fabulous 2019 – see you all soon!

Zoe x

Events, Uncategorized

Knitting and Stitching Show

Last Saturday (24th November) I took myself off on a coach trip to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Harrogate.  That’s right – me, on a completed unsupervised day out shopping!!!!  Now obviously this trip was all for business purposes…..Honest!!!!!

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After joining my coach, which very conveniently picked up about two streets from my house, I settled myself in for the hour and a half journey to Harrogate.  After a very smooth, and relaxing journey (toilet on board – very civilised!)  the approach into Harrogate itself gave the first indication of how busy the day was going to be!  After a few quick instructions from the driver, it was just a couple of minutes walk to the Convention Centre, and the crowds were already massing!

After a quick check ticket check, I entered the centre itself – and straight in front of me was an amazing exhibition of crochet work by TOFT – the entire Edward’s Menagerie of over 300 amigurumi were there in all their glory, including this gigantic handsome fella!

As well as the over 200 trade stalls to peruse, there were a number of special exhibitions on show.  They were all extremely awe-inspiring in their own way, but these are some of my favourites;-

The Royal School of Needlework had a display showing off some of their students works – which were absolutely amazing, and so different in the styles and approach to needlework – the poppy necklace is my absolute favourite – so beautiful!  The dragonfly is stunning, so delicate. 

These boots are so fabulous!  I am not sure I could wear them without breaking my neck, but I would certainly give it a go!

Last, but certainly not least, this beautiful example of goldwork embroidery, on the Peter Pan bookcover – how gorgeous is this!

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The next part of the show I wanted to share with you is the amazingly touching display of historic pin cushions  – the story of these is told so beautifully by Diane Grant.

I then moved on to a display of caskets, by students of ornamental embroidery inspired by works from the 17th century currently on show in the Ashmolean.  These were so awe-inspiring!  I have long wanted to give stumpwork embroidery a try, and these have completely inspired me!.

For those who know me personally, you will be aware of my love/addiction/obsession with embroidery scissors – imagine my glee and delight, when I saw this!!!!

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There was obviously an awful lot of shopping involved in the day – gorgeous threads, hand dyed fabrics, silks, and speciality threads were all purchased!  I have soooo many ideas rattling around in my brain following the event – I can’t wait to get started!

All in all, it was an exhausting, but completely inspiring day – I can’t wait to go again next year!  I just need to start saving!!!!!

 

Course Review, Uncategorized

Wire Wrapping Class

On Saturday I took myself off to Nottingham for the day again, to attend another class at the Nottingham Jewellery School (which is fast becoming my favourite place to visit).  This months class was Wire Wrapping, with the fabulous Angela Askins of Angleberry Jewellery.

The day started with an introduction to wire, the different types, strengths etc. and what to look for in a good working wire.  Angela had also brought her bead boxes with her, which I could have happily spent the rest of the day playing with!!!!!!

After a brief overview of the tools we would be working with, we got started.  The first task was to master turning loops and making our own ear-wires.  I was particularly interested in this, as I get through a lot of earwires!  We practised this for a little while, then moved on to making earrings wrapped with beads.

A short break for lunch, then back to it – in the afternoon session we were making figure of eight links, which could be used for so many things, then on to a wire wrapped ring!   Angela gave full instructions on how to get the sizing right, and how to make sure the ring is finished perfectly, so it is comfortable to wear.  We had a little time left at the end of the day, so practised making spirals, and adding beads.

It really was a thoroughly enjoyable day, with a lot of laughter, and I went home with two finished pieces of jewellery, and the makings for several more.  As soon as I got home I added bails to the two spiral pendants, and used the figure of eight links to make a bracelet!

I noticed today that the course is being run again next year – if you are able to get to Nottingham, I highly recommend booking yourself on it!  Pop across to the Focus Galleries website for details of all the upcoming courses.  I can’t wait for the next one!

https://www.focusgallerynottingham.com/

Until next time…….

Uncategorized

My Silver Smithing Adventure

On Saturday, I took myself off to Nottingham for the Three Rings in a Day Workshop run by Alys Power at the Focus Art Gallery in Nottingham.

After an early start to get the bus into Nottingham, and a little bit of retail therapy first, I made my way up to the gallery.  As you approach, the window display catches your eye with the beautiful creations they have on offer to tempt you with!  As you enter, the delights continue, with many different styles of jewellery, homeware, art, glassware, and ceramics.  There really is something for everyone, and I imagine it to be the absolute perfect place to find a special gift.

The workshop is actually held at the Nottingham Jewellery School, which resides underneath the main gallery.  As you make you way down the stairs, there are more displays of artworks, and the first section you enter is where refreshments are laid out.  Teas in every flavour, coffees, and the most delicious of cakes are plentiful, and are fully available throughout the day.

While we were enjoying a very welcome cuppa (and maybe a sneaky little bit of cake), our tutor, the lovely Alys of Alys Power Jewellery joined us, and started things off with a welcome, brief introduction, the obligatory safety information, and an overview of the day, then off we went into the workshop to get started!

The focus of the mornings session was to have a look at designs, talk about possibilities, and to get started on making our first ring.  Alys gave a very clear, and easy to understand explanation of how to size a ring, and the types of silver we would be using.    After we all worked out what size we needed, and decided which silver wire we would be using (which felt like the most important decision ever to be made)  we got started.  I’m not going to go into every detail of how to make a ring (get yourself booked onto one of Alys’s courses!) but needless to say we cut, and we shaped using professional jewellers tools, and then the scary fun bit – we soldered! 

After a short break for lunch, it was back into it, and Alys explained the tools and methods to shape, texture, finish and polish our rings.  At the end of which we had our first ring!  The sense of achievement cannot be put into words!  We had made our very own, completely individual and unique, sterling silver ring!   After basking in our achievement, it was off to start our second and third!  

I choe to make a set of rings with a hammered texture, that I could wear all together, and chose three different depths and styles of silver to work with.  Following the procedures Alys had taught, I cut and shaped the rings, soldered again, the beat them into shape and size with a hammer (very therapeutic!) and then used a ball peen hammer to add the texture.  A bit of filing, and polishing to finish, and the results were a set of three rings that I was incredibly proud of!  

I had a little time left before the end of the class, so I actually set to, and made a fourth ring!  Using the same methods, but using a different shaped silver wire, I ended up with a complete set of four rings, that can be worn together, individually, or in any combination! 

 

After spending a little time admiring each others achievements, it was sadly time to go home.  I cannot remember a day going by so quickly before!  But what we achieved with Alys’s tuition and guidance was incredible.  If you ever find yourself in the Nottingham area, I would highly recommend booking yourself on one of Alys’s courses, and make sure you have a good tour of the Gallery too – I can guarantee you will find something to tempt yourself with!

Both the Gallery, and Alys Power Jewellery do mail order!  You can find them here;-

https://www.focusgallerynottingham.com/ 

http://www.alyspower.co.uk/