18ct Yellow gold & silver stacking rings

I made these rather lovely 18ct yellow gold and silver stacking rings this autumn and have just realised that the images never made it onto my blog … Working in yellow gold made a nice change from my more usual red gold and the soft sandy texture looked great in yellow metal:

Centrepiece 2012

Today I set my work up at Birmingham’s annual selling exhibition of contemporary jewellery and silverware. Centrepiece, now in it’s 15th year is a showcase for some of the best makers in the Jewellery Quarter and well worth a visit (though I say so myself …)

This year some new and guest designers have joined the show bringing in ideas about ethical gold, recycled work and some inventive use of new technologies. Here are a few of the highlights:

and a sneaky peak at what’s in my cabinet:

The show is open from Thursday 15th November until Sunday 23rd December from 10.30am – 8.30pm (or later) everyday and is staffed by the designers – so you just might be buying work straight from the hands that made it!

 

New shapes ….

I’ve been sketching new shapes for a while now and have finally had a little time before my holiday to put them into metal. I’m pretty happy with the initial experiments and I’ll set to work on them again when I’m back …

Caddy Spoon

I make some long handled tea spoons that have been part of my stand for a while now and, at a recent show, I took a commission for a caddy spoon version.

A Caddy Spoon is not an item that I’ve made before but is somehing that I’ve wanted to try for a while. I had a little drawing of the customer’s tea caddy and a fair idea of what would suit – knowing that they already liked my tea spoons. So I set about cutting the bowl of the spoon and raising it up then trimming it to back to a shape that I liked.

I had a few issues with the size of the handle – my long handled tea spoons have 4mm round handles but that just looked way too light weight once it was cut to the right length for this short handled caddy spoon. So I took the dimensions up to around 5mm round and think that it balances much better now. It certainly feels nicer in your hand and I’m a lot happier with the design knowing that I changed the weight of the handle.

Here’s a few images of the work in progress …

and the finished spoon, ready to go for hallmarking:

British Craft Trade Fair 2012 – Jewellery Newcomers

The newcomers section at this year’s British Craft Trade Fair was an especially vibrant and lovely place, filled with exciting ideas and makers keen to talk about their work and how their businesses are developing.

Emily Knight:

Emily Knight's Stand

Emily Knight trained up in Glasgow and her work has a beautiful emphemeral quality about it. She displayed her distinctive silver and enamel pieces against hand drawn sketches – which looked so wondefully natural that you can’t help feeling that the walls were an extention of her sketchbook.

Emily Knight, Brooches

She’s got a wondeful eye for setting colours together without the enamels looking harsh and the fun, quirky details (like the little silver bicycles) makes them wonderful and light.

Emily Knight, bangles

Maneggi:

Then, just down the aisle from me was this lovely stand:

Maneggi - Ribbon Jewellery

featuring work from Maneggi, who, well – has a thing for ribbons … and wonderfully sculptural things she does with them too. With a really sensitive eye for colour she combines ribbons and pearls into little wearable structures:

Maneggi, Aqua and Pearl

 

They have quite a soft, vintage feel which is given a classic edge by her use of the pearls and other beads that give form to her pieces.

Karen Fox:

Karen Fox Jewellery Stand

And just one aisle over was the work of Karen Fox, another recent graduate with a passion for neat, structured pieces built up out of layers of texture. Her larger scale ruffle pieces (like the collar that you can just see on the left) wouldn’t look out of place at the ballet and have a defnite theatrical, Elizabethan flavour that makes you want to layer them up into giant sculptures.

Karen Fox, Ruffle Series

The whole show catalogue is online here for you to get a flavour of just how much craft work was on show.

It was a truly stunning collection of work from new and established makers alike which gives me a lot of hope for the future of the creative industries in the UK – it’s really wonderful to be working in so vibrant a marketplace.

Beautiful Seaside basics …

I’ve been feeling the need for things to be a little simpler lately. Don’t get me wrong, I adore my new Beachcomber pieces but I also like wearing neat, simple everyday jewellery that can handle a tough week in the workshop and doesn’t need to be taken off when you get in the shower, still half asleep, in the morning.

And, for that matter, it’s nice to have jewellery that you can sleep in.

So a couple of months ago I made myself these:

and I haven’t really taken them out since. Sure, I’ve changed them for more special or dressy occasions but they’ve always gone right back in again after.

They’re silver and lightly reticulated, meaning that they’ve been heated to the point where the silver just begins to turn liquid – then cooled off to preserve the wonderful, slightly rough texture that that leaves behind:

It burnishes up to a lovely, warm glow that looks soft and natural.

I’ve put a small range together:

Simple pendants in silver (with a red gold accent):

Stacks of bangles, also silver with a red gold accent:

and rings (silver and red gold):

which I’m testing myself – they wear beautifully and feel really summery!

You can find the whole range right here

British Craft Trade Fair 2012

I spent the weekend at the British Craft Trade Fair introducing some of my work to trade buyers and getting the first real public reaction to the new beachcomber pieces. I’ve never independantly taken my work to a trade show before but the whole expereince was overwhelmingly positive.

The show had over 400 stands filled with handmade, british contemporary craft and the high standard of the work on show was inspiring. It was wonderful to be in such creative company and everyone was so nice. Working on your own it’s easy to forget how many other people are working and learning about handmaking all the time too – and I swapped a few good stories and bits of advice with the other exhibitors.

Anyway, it wasn’t all about us jewellers talking shop – here’s how my stand looked for the show:

I’m really quite pleased with how much I got into a 1m x 2m space and the clean minimal look that the white walls gave it all. I generally have more space at retail shows but I think I’ll keep using this set up, only with a bigger table top …

Follow Friday : The Night Sky

I woke up yesterday morning at 4.30am.

There was no particular reason for this, I guess that sometimes your brain can just decide ‘yep, you’ve had enough sleep now’ and wakefullness is forced upon you. It’s all terribly unfair.
But, as I lay in bed, slightly frustrated that I’d beaten the alarm by 3 hours, I noticed the stars.

I used to stare at the night sky a lot as a child. It seems that I’ve just been too busy lately. Isn’t that sad?

Right now I can’t recall what was so important that I couldn’t just take a minute to see something as big and beautiful as the sky.

So this collection is all about the stars in the hope that you’ll find a minute or two just to stare for a while …

Top Left: Constellation Earrings by Lolariera

Top Right: Constellation Earrings by Grace Handmade Jewelry

Lower Left: Leo Contellation Necklace by MiniCyn

Lower Right: Cassiopeia’s Crown by COGnitivecreations