Etched Estuary Napkin Rings

Becca Williams Etched Silver Estuary Napkin Rings

These are my lovely new etched napkin rings, just back from the photographers. They’re the first round pair of napkin rings that I’ve done and, while the etch was a little challenging (especially on the inside of one!) I think that they’ve come out wonderfully.

Have a look at the making images here:

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Cornwall

This summer I took my first trip to the Cornish seaside, somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit but have never managed to – now that I have I think that it could now become a firm favourite of mine.

I spent a few days wandering around the local beaches, exploring the South Coast Path where it meandered by the campsite and generally soaking in the sound of the waves and the blue, blue sea. The landscape is certainly inspiring, at turns gentle then wild and I was so sad to come home!

Polly Joke Beach, Cornwall

Polly Joke Beach, Cornwall

Of course I didn’t spend the whole week wandering along the coastline (though that wouldn’t have been a challenge) I did venture down to St Ives to take in the light and explore the twisting streets of the town. It offers up a whole host of independent galleries filled with the work of local and international makers and artists, many of whom have been influenced by the beautiful local landscape.

Spread across two floors in the centre of St Ives is the New Craftsman Gallery which is currently hosting work by, among others, Neil Davis and Cornelius Jakob Van Dop.

Neil Davies, Indigo Skies over Sennen

Neil Davies, Indigo Skies over Sennen

Davies paints landscapes, with big, heavy brush strokes and expressive sweeps of colour that all build up on top of each other into some seriously captivating textures. Some of them are stormy, some a little serene as he reacts to the changes in the seasons around his home near St Ives.

Neil Davies, Reflections on the North Coast

Neil Davies, Reflections on the North Coast

Neil Davies, Watching the Crashing Waves at Boat Cove

Neil Davies, Watching the Crashing Waves at Boat Cove

Tucked away in a cabinet downstairs was the work of Cornelius Jakob Van Dop, a jeweller and metalsmith with a clear love for texture, line and the natural world. His small, palm sized boxes are decorated with beautiful illustrations of the coastal landscape and wildlife. There was something in them that reminded me of sailors scimshaw carvings, filled with the details that had been keenly observed during a life looking at the sea.

Cornelius Jakob Van Dop Box

Cornelius Jakob Van Dop Box

They were beautifully made, with neat hinges and simple dimple locking mechanisms that functioned neatly and really let the quality of the illustrations come across. Alongside these were a collection of animal and insect brooches, I particularly liked the whale, simply made in plain silver with more of that glorious fine detailing:

Cornelius Jakob Van Dop Box

Cornelius Jakob Van Dop Box

Cornelius Jakob Van Dop Brooch

Cornelius Jakob Van Dop Brooch

The Gallery is open all year round and details can be found here.

Press Form Practice #7:

I got the acid out today and etched some little studs to test the textures.

I matted them afterwards for nice, washed-up-on-the-coast feel and had a play with finishes:

These are patinated black and left matte:

I like it on the earrings but I think it might be a bit too much when you get up to the brooch scale …

The form in these pieces is really important and in a way I think that having such a strong etch might have taken away from that.

I’ll take some pictures over the weekend of the plain frosted ones and the etched ones together and see how they compare …

Press releases, invitations and the merits of a thicker skin

It seems to me that I’ve always been encouraged not to boast about the good things that I do, not to ‘show off’ and definitely not to draw attention to myself. But, thing is, I’m self employed now – and the only way I get publicity is by creating it.

RBSA Invitation

I’ve just written my first press release (a pretty daunting thing it was too, not to mention a massacre of everything good journalism is about) and found myself forced to write it in the third person, for fear that I sound horrendously big headed. It’s somehow more comforting to say “Becca creates…” rather than “I create…” for the simple reason that it puts some distance between me and what I’m writing.

A lot of design makers seem to fall down on the issue of getting their work out there. It’s easy to say – oh, I’ll send it to a gallery, but trying to get one to take work and promote is just as hard as getting a publishing house to read the novel your great Aunt Bea wrote one summer 15 years ago. On beer mats. At her local. During a recent trade fair I stood alongside my work, objects I’d spent hours making and watched bored, disinterested Gallery owners stroll right by, or ask flippant questions before passing on to the next stand. And the thing is, I know  I’ve got that same 10 second attention span but somehow having those apathetic, seen it all before eyes glancing over your work wears into your soul. I need to aquire a thicker skin.

Flotsam Spoons, packing, and the paperwork that entailed.

Flotsam Spoon Pair 2009

Flotsam Spoon Pair 2009 - Silver and drift wood with etched detail

Pft, I always forget how much paperwork is involved in packing, cataloguing and organising things. I’ve just delivered work for an exhibition (details of which are here.) The task seemed simple: put 20 pieces of jewellery and a few bits of silverware  in a box and walk it around the corner to the gallery.

Ha, as if I would allow  myself to make my life that easy. I had to make lists of things, fill in gallery forms, clean my silver, wrap, then spy imaginary finger prints on my pieces, un-wrap everything, re-clean it, re-wrap it (yes, I may be my own perfectionist curse) and finally, having got it all together I put in a set of gloves (in the forlorn hope that who ever unpacks it will not get fingerprints on it) and made myself deliver it.

After all the effort I was rather ticked when the woman at the Gallery just snagged the box out of my hand, said thanks and slid it behind the counter. She didn’t stop to appreciate the hours that went into the effective use of space inside the box, or the neat scotch-taping of the bubble wrap. Still, at least it’s gone. Re-packing a third time would have been excessive.