photography

Instagram Challenge #marchmeethemaker 2017

If you follow my blog, you may remember last year I took part in this fun and engaging Instagram photo challenge. Devised by illustrator and fellow Etsy seller, Joanne Hawker, the idea is to post a daily photo based on a theme that Joanne has selected focusing on life as maker. Each photo is tagged with #marchmeetthemaker and I really enjoyed searching for new, interesting designers and makers to follow.

It was a real challenge to plan, select and take photos which fitted the chosen theme of the day, whilst still fitting in with the overal style of my gallery.  I enjoyed using the Boomerang app to create a fun effect on day 5.

Here’s a selection of my favourite photos I took for the challenge. I’m already looking forward to next year’s Marchmeetthemaker!

If you’ve enjoyed looking at these photos, please visit my Instagram feed to see all my #marchmeetthemaker posts!

Jewellery Designing · Special Offers

Star Earrings Giveaway!

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The time is certainly flying by; I’ve blinked and suddenly we’re into November! In our house, the autumn so far has been a blur of school settling in and frequent illness. I do hope things have run a little smoother in your households?

To cheer us all up, I’m running a giveaway over on my Facebook page.  Please like the post pinned to the top of the page and comment with your favourite firework, for a chance to win a pair of these cute star stud earrings.

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They’re handmade from brass sheet, hand -stamped with a little star motif and feature Sterling silver posts and scroll backs. Perfect for the approaching festive season.

The winner of these star earrings will be drawn at random at 10pm, Saturday November 5th. So be sure to check my Facebook page then!

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Good luck!

Copper and Sterling silver versions of these star stud earrings are available from my Folksy and Etsy shops.

Giveaway is in no way affiliated with Facebook etc.

Jewellery Designing

Autumn Inspiration

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Orange coloured quartz (looks like amber) & Sterling silver earrings.

After a glorious Summer, with hot sunshine continuing well into September, we’re only just beginning to feel the chill of Autumn. Although I dread the return of dark mornings and even darker nights as the evenings draw in, I do love the Autumn for the creative inspiration it provides.

As you know, I love using copper in my jewellery designs and what better time of year than autumn to create some new autumn inspired pieces!

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Textured copper bar pendant, Sterling silver chain.

Leaves feature heavily in my jewellery designs, my favourites being my eco silver leaf range. I’ve recently been experimenting with a product called Copper Clay. It’s handled in the same way as Silver Clay,  when fired in a kiln, you’re left with a product that’s pure copper. Copper Clay produces a more organic, grainy texture than jewellery made with sheet copper. Pictured below are some examples.

 

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Hammered copper bangle with oxidised silver detail
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Abstract floral pattern copper pendant
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Photo credit:Yeshen Venema for Folksy
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copper handmade pumpkin stud earrings

My favourite autumn inspired piece of jewellery has to be these cute copper pumpkin stud earrings, fully handmade from sheet copper and perfect for Halloween!

You can take a look at all my copper jewellery by visiting my Folksy and Etsy shops.

 

Jewellery Designing · photography

Vintage Lace and Roses

Fine silver teardrop vintage lace pendant handmade

Everyone who knows me knows that I love roses. My love for these beautiful flowers borders on obsession! I just wish my garden was big enough to grow all the varieties which catch my eye.

We moved house a few years ago and were only able to take two of our rose bushes with us. One of them was the lovely Felicite – Perpetue. As its name suggests, it was bought for us as a gift to celebrate the happy times past and those yet to come. It was a lovely gift to give us hope during a really tough time. Of course, with this rose being so special, we just had to take it with us.

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Felicite –  Perpetue happily blooming in our garden.

Felicite – Perpetue is a rambling rose, so is really robust and vigorous and once planted, was soon happily scrambling up a cherry tree in our new garden.

The rosebuds are a dark cerise pink and once they open, this pink fades to almost white. The blooms remind me of paint splattered ballerina’s tutus. The rich green foliage stays green all year round, so it’s a fantastic rose for covering an old unsightly shed or ugly tree stump.

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I’ve recently made some recycled silver pendants with a vintage lace pattern and I wanted to find a suitable prop to photograph them with before I listed them in my Folksy and Etsy shops.

I have an antique handmade lace handkerchief that was given to me by grandmother and I was pleased with the results using this in my images. However, I felt I needed a flower or two to compliment the delicate prettiness of the lace pattern.

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Fortunately, my Felicite – Perpetue was flowering at just the right time and I had lots of fun adding these gorgeous rose blooms to my photographs. Why not pop over to my  Folksy shop and take a look at the finished results. I’d love to know what you think?

 

Jewellery Designing

Making Eco Silver Leaf Pattern Pendants

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Leaves, recycled silver & lots of elbow grease! That’s what is involved in creating my eco silver leaf pattern pendants.

These pendants are one of my favourite things to make. They are always popular, as being simple and elegant they can be worn for a variety of occasions, if not everyday!

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My leaf pattern pendants are handmade from Precious Metal Clay, a fantastic material which incorporates fine silver particles in a non-toxic binder. There are lots of different products available, I like to use Art Clay Silver which has a slower drying time and less shrinkage than other metal clay products I’ve tried.

Another reason I use Art Clay Silver is it’s a great eco-friendly product.  It uses silver recycled from items such as circuit boards, dentistry and photographic processes and mixes them with an organic, non-toxic binder. This binder burns off when fired in a kiln (it can also be torch fired) to leave behind a piece of jewellery that is 99.9% pure silver.

Circle silver clay leaf pattern pendant

First the clay is rolled and shaped (a bit like play dough), then I use a leaf from the garden (a skeleton leaf from craft shops works well too) to make an impression on the clay.  I have a collection of clay cutters, which are a bit like miniature pastry cutters, to cut out the desired shape of the pendants. My favourites are the heart and teardrop and these always seem to be popular with my customers too!

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Rolled soft clay and craft shop skeleton leaf.

I like to use a cocktail stick to make a hole for the pendant jump ring to go through, being very careful not to disturb the delicate design before it’s dried.  Then comes the drying, which can be done at room temperature over twenty-four hours, or in a cool oven within an hour. There’s always drying instructions included in the Metal Clay packet and I’ve found oven drying to be the best and speediest method for me.

It’s important for the clay to be completely bone dry before it is fired in the kiln, as any residual moisture can cause the silver to crack. Any little imperfections can be sanded away at this stage, however this has to be done with extreme care as the dry clay will be very fragile! I’m afraid I’ve had a few casualties in the past, so have learnt the hard way to be very careful.

Following the instructions on my clay packet, I then fire my dry pendants in my table top kiln. This little kiln is one of my favourite tools as it’s so versatile and easy to use.  I always look forward to hearing the timer ping and seeing what the pendants look like, once they are cooled down.

Fine silver heart pendant leaf pattern elegant

I like to burnish my fired pendants with a brass brush; this brings the fine silver to the surface and gives them a subdued, satin finish.  I tidy up the edges and reverse side with polishing papers, this is where the elbow grease comes in! Then give them a quick spin in the tumble polisher too if they need it.  All that’s left is to buff and shine with a silver cloth and then the finished pendants are ready to be boxed up awaiting their new homes.

I love wearing these pendants as they go with everything and suit every occasion, but are really special too. They are available to order from my Folksy Shop and Etsy Shop

Why not take a look and let me know what you think!

 

 

 

Jewellery Designing

Lovely Labradorite

I love using semi – precious stones in my jewellery designs and today I’d like to share withyou one of my favourites:Labradorite!

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This beautiful stone, with its flashes of green, blue and purple was first discovered on the East Coast of Canada in 1770. Historically, it has inspired legends and was believed to have healing powers, by the Inuit people of Labrador.

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Labradorite belongs to the Feldspar group of minerals and is a relatively soft stone: 6-6.5 on the mohs scale, a specific scale to measure the hardness of precious and semi – precious stones.

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Jewellery Designing

My New Look Etsy Shop-RedHenJewellery

Last week I updated my Etsy shop to use Etsy’s new look.  I love the new flexibility to feature and highlight items and the great new shop banner! The opportunity to add photos of your workspace and making process is a really good addition too.

I’m continuing to add products and it’s been really encouraging to get positive feedback from my followers.

To celebrate my new look Etsy shop, I’m running a flash sale:20% off everything in my Etsy shop until midnight, Wednesday 20/04.

Just use code ETSY20 at the checkout!

I hope you enjoy having a browse, please let me know what you think?