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!

 

 

 

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My Jewellery Takes a Trip to Wales

I’m very pleased to have been involved in a photo shoot with the talented Yeshen Venema as part of an exciting promotion with Folksy.  Along with lots of other lovely products all handmade by Folksy sellers, my jewellery took a trip to Wales. It was to be part of a shoot in the beautiful, rustic surroundings of the Welsh House and styled by Hilary Lowe.

I’d love to share the finished images with you, they are really beautiful!

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Floral copper bar pendant
Little Red Hen Folksy Wales 2
Eco Silver Teardrop Pendant with Leaf Pattern
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Rainbow Fluorite and Oxidised Sterling Silver Necklace
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The front view of the same necklace
Little Red Hen Folksy Wales
Red Aluminium Folk Heart Pendant with Garnet Bead
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Oxidised Copper Folk Art Bird Stud Earrings

I’m really pleased with them and can’t wait to use them in my Folksy shop, where all items are available to order.

So a big thank you again to Yeshen and to Folksy!

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A Trip to Greenwich Market

 

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Last Friday, we had a rare day off and took a trip to Greenwich Market.  We hadn’t visited for a while and wanted to see what the recent renovations were like.

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We walked through the leafy park and then set off to explore the new, updated market.

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I’ve had some of my jewellery for sale in the shop Things British for a while now and wanted to visit in person to restock.

Things British is a lovely little shop, just off of the main market and only sells gifts designed and made in Great Britain.

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My shelf at Things British, all nicely restocked!

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Sterling, Eco silver and copper goodies, all handmade by me!

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Luckily there was time to have a proper browse of the market and walk past the Cutty Sark towards the river.

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IMG_9920 It was a lovely day; my husband and I rarely have time to go out together unaccompanied. We’re looking forward to visiting again soon, next time we may even bring The Little Chick!

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?

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Made in Ashford – Supporting Local Businesses

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For the last five months I have been showcasing my handmade jewellery in the Independent shop, Made in Ashford, in Ashford Kent. The shop started life as a pop -up shop and since January has become a permanent fixture. The shop is a great place to support local creative businesses.

The lovely folk at Love Ashford ( the town’s regeneration team) wanted to interview me about my time at the shop and you can read about it here:

https://www.loveashford.com/read/the-little-red-hen-talks-made-in-ashford

If you’re a Kent based designer/maker and are interested in being involved with Made in Ashford, please get in touch by e-mailing madeinashford@outlook.com

Craft Fairs

Springtime at the Kitsch and Stitch Fair

 

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The Historic Vestry Hall

Last Saturday was the first Kitsch and Stitch fair of the year. This lovely craft and vintage fair is held quarterly, in the Kent market town of Cranbrook, at the beautiful Vestry Hall. It’s always a friendly affair, organised by the lovely Joy from Crafted by Joy

 

 

The Vestry Hall is always beautifully decorated with lots of handmade bunting.  A pop-up cafe kept us all supplied with yummy homemade cakes and lunches, with all proceeds going to Hospice in the Weald, a favourite local charity.

It’s great to set up a stall in a room with lots of natural light, especially good for helping silver jewellery to look its sparkling best!

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Me (wearing my new Aye Aye skirt) and my stall of lovely silver jewellery!

 

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Catching up on some knitting…
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Such a beautiful building with lots of light.

With such a great mix of vintage and handmade, I came home with a few handcrafted Easter gifts!

The next fair is on the 11th June, so please contact Joy for more details. Wishing everyone a very happy Easter holiday!