Spring has sprung…

Or at least it’s trying to… the rains are starting to bring out some lovely flowers.  I was so excited to see cherry blossoms the other day – one of my favourites.  Interested in surrounding yourself with flowers?  A new class has been scheduled at the Beehive Wool Shop so you can learn how to create your own needle felted Spring flower.

If interested, contact the Beehive to sign up for the class on March 21, from 10:30-12:30. Class space is limited, so sign up today!

Needle felted flower

Needle felted flower

This class is now full.  A second workshop has been scheduled for April 18, 2015.

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I think it’s me…

Finally… I have now unboxed and setup/taken down my new-to-me photo booth.  It is wonderful – somewhat time-consuming to set up, but very easy.  I think I’ll be using it a lot!

Portable studio

Portable studio

Now my next dilemma – the actual photographs.  I’d really like to blame my camera for the quality of the close-ups, but I’m afraid that this time the blame is on me.  I think it’s time to read up on how to take clear close-ups – the camera does great zooming in on something far away, but up close (zoomed or not) it gets very blurry.  It was, however, lovely to not see the “you’re not holding the camera steady enough for the low light” display come up – the light box is light enough… yay!

The photos I took today were of jewellery I worked on yesterday.  I continue trying to make jewellery out of scraps that I have, rather than buying new supplies (except wire – sometimes you just need wire!).  These were pendants in memory of dear cats.  Whenever my friend Bo has to say goodbye to one of her companions, I make a piece of jewellery in memory of them.  It’s been a rough couple of months, and she has had to say goodbye to two.

Sumato was a rescue cat from Mexico… he was a handsome and chatty little prince of cat, with a tendency to “claim” the items around him – I have called this simple piece “Mio Mio Mio!” (Mine Mine Mine) in memory.

Mio Mio Mio!

Mio Mio Mio!

Sumato

Sumato

Toby was my boy.  Not literally, but I adored him like he was.  Bo called him her first-born, as he was her first rescue cat of many.  I have so many memories of him sneezing catnip onto me, climbing on me, licking the top of my cleavage or cheek, whining for food in the most pitiful way possible, napping with me, drooling and purring in happiness, and so many more.  He was a very social boy, and would commonly walk up to Bo or I, lift his paws in the air, and cry “up”.  We’d pick him up, throw him over a shoulder, and he would stay there drooling and purring until stretching to get to the next person’s shoulder.  He loved everyone.  I call both of these “Up” (but they could also be called “Drool”… heehee!).  This is the second time I’ve made a piece of jewellery for myself as well as for Bo in memory of one of the cats.

Bo's pendant "Up"

Bo’s pendant “Up”

Dee's pendant "Up"

Dee’s pendant “Up”

Toby

Toby

They are both very missed, but they were very, very loved.

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So excited!

Photos… GOOD photos are so important, and I think they are something that many artists struggle with… I know that I certainly do!

I’ve been reading blogs for tips on building a light box/white box so that photos can be consistent in terms of lighting and quality.  I found several using a large cardboard box that would probably have worked well, however there is the problem of storage.  I’m quite sure that Smudge (aka the Princess of Darkness aka the cat who is more than happy to “help” with any crafty endeavour) would be thrilled to have a new cardboard box to destroy, er, play with, but that defeats the whole pristine photo environment.

Periodically I check on UsedVictoria.com for those hard to find items, and, as often happens, they came through!  I found a portable studio and lighting kit – it has its own lights incorporated into it, and it folds up into a large briefcase-like case.  It is the dearest thing!  I haven’t taken photos of it or in it yet, but hopefully will do so over the next few days.  Stay tuned for some (hopefully!) professional-ish portfolio shots.  Fingers crossed!

Smudge in a box

Smudge in a box

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What was old is new again

Happy New Year!

I’m so happy to have started this year having spent some time in the studio… yay!  I have quite a few items that I’m not completely happy with, so I did some work on some of them and I think I’m feeling more content.

One of the items I was working on was my Reef pendant.  Somehow it turned into a full necklace.  I guess I had thought of it as a necklace when I first started doodling ideas, so it really just reverted back to part of the original plan.

While doing some tidying I found a necklace that I had made many years ago,  prior to learning any silversmithing.  I really liked the necklace, but as someone with curly hair, it was a dangerous item to wear… I think it ended up with more of my hair woven around it than I had left on my head!

Hair tangling necklace

Hair tangling necklace

I separated the links into pairs, twisted them together, and soldered/melted the wires to match the feel of the pendant.  Although I think I preferred the way the links looked originally, the new combined links work better on the new necklace, and it will now be worn instead of languishing tarnished on my wall o’ jewellery.

Here is the new necklace.  I used pearls of different shapes/colours, citrine, lemon smokey quartz, and a stone that I believe is Kyanite.  I purchased it from someone who was giving up jewellery making, and the supplies for sale were unmarked.  The bag it came in contained some Kyanite, and although this piece isn’t as blue as the others in the bag, it has the same feel (brittle).  From pictures I have seen, it looks like there is a broad range of shades for Kyanite.  So, unless corrected, that’s what I’ll call it until I find out differently.

Kyanite, citrine and baroque pearl necklace

Kyanite, citrine and baroque pearl necklace

I’m so glad that I’ve taken two pieces that I wouldn’t have worn (much) and turned them into a piece of jewellery that I think I will be happy to wear.  It’s a good start to the year 🙂

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If at first you don’t succeed…

Because of the workshops I’ve been teaching, I’ve been pretty focussed on needle felting lately. I think it’s time to start pondering jewellery for a while.

I created a pendant for the art show that was held at my work, and it wasn’t at all what I wanted it to be – partly due to running out of time, partly due to many of the beads I wanted to use crumbling when I tried to thread them on the wire. This is a sketch of what I was thinking of creating, and then what it turned out to be.

Rough necklace sketch

Rough necklace sketch

What is was

What is was

It is titled “Reef”, and I wanted to have coral beads for the chain part of the necklace. It did end up with coral beads, but not in the way I intended. When it came back from the show, I stripped the beads off of it, and this is what I’m left with.

What it is now

What it is now

I think I will try to go back to a version of the original intent, although I have a few things to figure out – whether to use only coral or to incorporate other beads, multi-strand the whole thing or just portions, make it short or long… the list could go on forever! Or maybe it will be something quite different… who knows!  I’ll keep you posted on the outcome.

I have realized that I have been very lax about documenting jewellery I have made for myself.  Must get on this!

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