Jun 30, 2009

Hyacinth Chain - Chainmaille

Occasionally when I feel like doing some maille, rather than working on an established weave, it can be fun to play around with the rings to see what I can come up with. The last time I did this I actually had a specific idea in mind and tried to get the rings to work my idea - unfortunately I couldn't make them fit with what I wanted so it will be back to the drawing board on that idea. However, on previous occasions when I have just played around with the rings I have no specific idea in mind - actually that's how I often work!

One weave I came up with in my play with the rings is my Hyacinth Weave. This weave is a variant of the popular Byzantine weave, and incorporates crystals in the weave. I named the weave Hyacinth, because of the way that the crystals sit in relation to the rings - that's exactly what they reminded me of - with the crystals forming the flower and the rings the base of the flower.

See if it reminds you of Hyacinths as well! (Hyacinth Flower Image)

Jun 29, 2009

Monday Features

My first feature this week is Nun of a Kind. Nun of a Kind presents a particularly creative collection of "sisters". Stating that she has been involved with creating fabric items forever, the "Nun of a Kind" collection was born after having spent years creating other "folk"..Santas, Angels, Snowfolk, and other unique ornaments.

It was in creating a new ornament for a group of teachers, who had presented “Sister Act” with students at her son’s school that the character, “Sister Mary Christmas” was created. Inspiration also came from some of the influential people in life: the piano teacher, the nuns who taught music history and harmony at the local convent, and the nuns who taught in the Catholic schools in the area. Nun states that even though we associate nuns with “mystery”, and wonder about their daily lives, we know that they have to do all of the mundane things we all have to do in ours! They have interests, hobbies, and obligations similar to ours, making us true “

My second feature this week is Marie of Silk Art from Brazil. Marie states that she is a born artist - it just took her a few decades to realise it. A few years ago, Marie left behind a career as a marketing executive, moved to paradise and embraced her artistic side full-time. Marie has participated in several trade-shows, classes and workshops both in Brazil and US, and one of her works has been shown at the Visual Arts Center at the Washington Pavilion, South Dakota.

Marie now spends her time doing what she likes best, hand painting silk accessories and other arts. Each of her hand painted scarves is an original design and you are sure to find something just right for you when you visit her shop.

Jun 28, 2009

Sunday Special

As its the Australian Financial Year End on Tuesday, for this weeks Sunday Special I am offering 10% discount on everything in my shop. This offer will remain open until I post Tuesday's blog (approx 8.30am Brisbane time (GMT+10.00)). When purchasing anything use the code word "blog" in the special instructions, pay as normal, and I will refund the 10% discount.

Jun 27, 2009

No Holes! Part 3 - Cabochons Elaborate Designs

This is the third and final part on my mini series of working with stones and cabochons.

After working with some of the basic designs for wire setting cabochons I took on the challenge of a much more elaborate design. I had been eying a tutorial by Studio Heath for some time and decided to take the plunge. The tutorial was for a Wire Sculptured Pendant.

I followed the tutorial about two thirds of the way through and then kind of went my own way with the rest. Being out of work at the time I was able to work on the pendant for several hours at a time, and actually got quite obsessed with it! Finally I had my first wire sculptured pendant. Made with two cabochons, Jade and Paua Shell, this has easily become my favourite piece of jewellery and the piece I wear the most often.

Since the first pendant, I have made three more Wire Sculptured Pendant this time using my own designs from the beginning. With the second pendant I just used the one cabochon of Blue Lace Agate and then added some flat lace agate beads, edging the lower half of the cabochon with Lapis Lazuli beads. My Pink Passions pendant used cabochons of Rhodonite and Rose Quartz, and my Exotica and Amethyst pendant uses cabochons of Exotica Jasper and of Amethyst.

Jun 25, 2009

No Holes! Part 2 - Cabachons Basic Designs

After setting a few uncut stones in wire, I decided to try my hand at wire wrapping cabochons. With one flat side and the other slightly domed these are much slimmer to work with than uncut stones and it took a while to get used to the different feel.

Again, I started out by following a tutorial, this time in a popular beading magazine, before I then went on to start playing around with the wires a bit more. For a lot of wire set cabochons the basic structure in the setting remains relatively the same, it is how the "excess" wire is used that can change the design.

After beginning with setting cabochons in pendants I moved onto earrings. I guess I must be doing something right with these as its only my most recently completed pendant that hasn't sold yet! I have also tried my hand at setting a cabochon in a bangle. This is one area where there is plenty of room for developing my skills so watch this space!

Jun 24, 2009

BrisStyle Team

Another Etsy team that I am a member of is the BrisStyle team. As with the Dust team mentioned in a previous post, this is an Australian team. However, this team is more specifically for Etsy sellers who live in the Brisbane region. The team describes itself as a cooperative group of artists, crafters and artisans all living in the Brisbane area.

One of the advantages of a local team is the ability to meet up with each other and therefore to encourage each other on a more personal level. Another big advantage is the ability to collaborate together on ventures that will help to get both our names and the name of Etsy out to the general public.

One such venture is the BrisStyle Indie Designers Market. Having held a successful first market in December the BrisStyle team will be holding their next market on Saturday 4th July. I was unable to take part in the December market as it clashed with a previous commitment so I am especially looking forward to participating in this one.

Jun 23, 2009

No Holes! Part 1 - Tumbled Uncut Stones

When I first started out making jewellery I always thought in terms of beads. Whether it was stringing, wire working or even chainmaille that the beads were added to, they were still beads. Now don't get me wrong, there are beautiful beads out there and I love working with them, from artisan lampwork beads to gemstones to Swarovski crystals, when it comes to beads I am spoilt for choice! Of course, there is one thing all beads have in common - holes!

As I gradually started to develop my wire working skills my challenge to myself became, as the title of this post suggests, working without holes! There are some lovely tumbled uncut stones to work with, there are even more cut cabochon gemstones to work with, and as glass fusing becomes ever more popular so there are also plenty of fused glass cabochons to work with.

I began with uncut tumbled gemstones and, with my instruction book in hand (in this case Jewellery Design by James Llewellyn) I started learning to wire wrap them. After learning the basics I then started to play a bit more. With the unpredictable and potentially unusual shape of uncut stones it is fun to see what I can make of them!

Jun 21, 2009

Monday Features

Erin, a fellow Aussie and Dust team member is the creator behind Inner Earth Soaps. Erin began making soaps in 2006 with the idea of giving handmade, original Christmas gifts ... and now she's addicted! Erin makes her soap completely from scratch and that means she has total control over what goes into them. Her soaps are all mild and highly moisturising, made with skin-loving oils and have a creamy, bubbly lather.

Erin states that she loves designing new soaps and coming up with new and different colour/scent combinations. She uses a lot of additives in her soaps such as clays, botanicals, silk fibres, honey and sea salt, just to name a few believing that these give the soaps a little extra something ... a bit of luxury in addition to the gentle, cleansing properties of the soap itself.

Take a look at the lovely range of soaps that Inner Earth Soaps has on offer and your biggest problem will be trying to decide which ones to get!

Leanne of Rainbow Revolution loves colour! She works with colour, plays with colour, creates with colour and dreams in colour. A Colour Therapy practitioner and a facilitator for courses in personal growth and self development using colour, Leanne's passion is helping people lift their spirits and renew their joy for life using colour.

Leanne's joy comes from creating with colour and she loves the thrill of creating hand made and hand dyed wraps,shawls, scarves and many other things that bring back the colour to peoples lives!

Rainbow Revolution brings you hand dyed wraps, scarves and accessories positively bursting with colour - take a look and Enjoy!

Sunday's Winner

As promised, I have now done the draw for the chainmaille bracelet from all the comments made - and the winner is...........


Unfortunately Andrea, I don't have any further details for you - so please contact me with your details so that I can mail the bracelet to you.

As a thank you to everyone else who participated I am offering a 15% discount off anything in my shop. In 'Other comments to Seller' please enter the name you made your comment in and the words 'chainmaille giveaway', and then either wait for a revised invoice, or pay the full amount and I will then refund the discount.

For those who want to know these things I used the sequence generator on Random.org to make the draw.

Congratulations to Andrea and Thank you again to all those who participated.

Jun 20, 2009

Chainmaille: The Most Versatile Weave?

I consider the Japanese weave, be it 12 in 2 or 6 in 1, to be the most versatile of the chainmaille weaves. It is a weave that you can manipulate to create any shape you want, and by simply varying the number or the size of the rings you use you can give it totally new looks. Yes, you could argue that there are many Japanese weaves, or at least that there are many variations, which essentially there are, however, the main principle remains the same, two different sizes of rings connected together in a simple flat style of connection.

One of the most popular ways to use the Japanese weave is to create flowers, one central pair of rings, surrounded by 6 other pairs of rings, all connected together with smaller pairs of rings. Just about any link can then be used to connect the flowers into a chain - in this case I have used links of Strawberry Quartz (glass) and Swarovski crystals.

Triple Diamond Back is an example of how the basic principle of the Japanese weave have been used to create a new look, This is a really lacy, almost filigree looking type weave, where the directions of the connections and number of connecting rings seem to keep changing, although I can assure you, there is still a pattern.

My bronze Diamond weave bracelet is a good example of where I played around with the rings until I managed to get the large diamond shape that I was looking for.

At the end of the day - I just love the fact that you can manipulate this weave to achieve practically any shape you want!

Jun 17, 2009

One Lovely Blog Award

I have been honoured enough to have been given this award twice in the last few days, and by two great artists. What made it seem even more of an honour was the fact that my blog is only 1 month old!

The first person who awarded me the Lovely Blog Award was Julie Mager Soulen, an incredibly talented photographer. Please visit both her blog and her shop - you won't be disappointed. Thank you Julie!

The second person who gave me the award was Laurie of Made by Swirly Girl, another talented artist who creates photographic art. Again, I can promise you, her blog and shop are both well worth a visit. Thank you Laurie!

Now, the One Lovely Blog Award is one that should be passed along, and here is how it works:

  1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link.
  2. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered.
  3. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

Here are the blogs that I have chosen (and it wasn't easy choosing) to nominate the award to:

These are all talented artists so please take the time to visit both their blogs and their stores!

Jun 16, 2009

Handmade Heaven

Handmade Heaven is a new shop that officially opened in Ipswich yesterday. The shop, started by Liesa, one of the team who runs the Handmade Expo markets, is full of handmade goodness. With space available to be "rented" in the shop by Handcrafters, the range and diversity of products available in the shop has to be seen to be believed.

I have rented two "cubes" in the shop in which to display (and hopefully sell) some of my jewellery pieces. I have included a small range of chainmaille bracelets and necklaces as well as some gemstone beaded necklaces, bracelets and earrings.

Situated in a small arcade of select boutiques opposite a popular antique store Handmade Heaven will hopefully become a shopping venue of choice in Ipswich.

Midnight Dreaming

I don't often have "names" for my pieces but the name Midnight Dreaming came to me quite naturally for this necklace.

Having some gorgeous faceted Onyx on hand I had the idea of forming semi circles of Snowflake Obsidian around each bead. My original idea was them to wire wrap a piece of sterling silver wire and then tightly wrap that around the top half of each Onyx bead. Having worked along the row of beads with the wire I decided it needed a bit more "on top" to better balance with the Snowflake Obsidian. So I brought the wire back along the row of beads, this time forming larger arches over the beads. The finishing touch was then to loosely wrap another single strand of wire around the arches just formed and to join in a jet Swarovski crystal between each arch.

For the chain I thought it would be more effective to continue the Snowflake Obsidian and jet Swarovski crystals into the chain rather than just having the silver. So the chain is made up of S links joined with alternating links of Snowflake Obsidian and jet Swarovski crystals.

Would love to see your comments on this piece.

Jun 15, 2009

Monday Features

Charan Sachar of CreativewithClay describes his work as unique one of a kind pottery inspired by Indian designs, fabrics, embroidery, colors and Bollywood. With faint memories of watching potters in India throwing on a large wheel Charan took the opportunity to take a class in wheel thrown pottery after moving to the US to pursue his Masters degree. Since then he has taken several workshops from well known artists in the United States.
Charan prefers to make forms with fluidity and movement, striving to give life to clay and making it a lasting part of someone’s life. He states that pottery has given him the much needed respite from the monotony of everyday life. "Centering a mass of clay and giving it form feels as satisfying as organizing and bringing peace to all the chaos that there is around you."

Jan Allsopp of janallsop - The Little Shop of Horus is a fellow Australian and an artist. Art is her passion and drawing, painting, printing, bookbinding, sculpture and working with textiles are what brings her life meaning. Jan grew up in a house with strangely bright colors on the walls and mystifying patterns in the Persian rugs on the floors. She has loved color and pattern ever since and they are themes that continue in her art.

Jan is inspired by everyday objects and her collection of vintage “How to…” books. She loves to combine, intertwine and superimpose images to create a story, often making unusual combinations and injecting them with subtle humor.

Jun 14, 2009

Sunday Special - FREE GIVEAWAY

For this weeks Sunday Special I am hosting my first blog Free Giveaway!

I will be giving away the chainmaille bracelet pictured below. It is made from anodized niobium rings in Rose and Rose Gold and is in the European 4 in 1 weave. The rose rings create a subtle zig zag pattern down the length of the chain.

All you need to do to participate in this giveaway is to visit my Etsy Store and then make a comment below telling me which is your favourite item in my store.

Unlike my usual Sunday Specials, this Giveaway will run for one week. A winner will be randomly picked next Sunday morning(GMT +10) from all those who have made a comment.

Jun 13, 2009

Aqua Waves Necklace

Having some beautiful Aquamarine rondells my first thought when coming to do something with them was the sea. The word aqua means water and the colour is a gorgeous soft blue so it was quite a logical thought. From my initial thought of the sea was the idea of waves, shaping some silver wire to represent the waves of the sea. From this my Aqua Waves necklace was born.

I made one central link, slightly longer than the rest, with the aquamarine threaded onto the silver, and then a series of wave links, alternating between aquamarine waves and plain silver waves, to form the rest of the necklace. The silver was hammered on either end of the aquamarine waves, and also on all the silver waves, which, without the gemstones, were able to be made more curvy.

Jun 11, 2009

Cosmic and Maille

When Swarovski brought out their cosmic range, first squares and then circles, these seemed to me to be the perfect components to combine with chainmaille. Unlike other beads, crystals etc. that could be used as embellishments to chainmaille, these components could actually be part of the maille.

I started with the Swarovski cosmic squares and decided to combine them with Japanese 12 in 2 maille. I wanted to create maille squares or diamonds that matched, as far as possible, the shape of the cosmic squares. It took quite a bit of playing around with the rings before I was able to get the shape I wanted. I created four of the maille diamonds and linked the cosmic squares between them finishing off the necklace with a simple 2 in 2 chain. After appearing in the Step by Step wire gallery this necklace was sold.

The second necklace I created used the cosmic rings. This time, being rings, I really wanted to incorporate the rings into the maille. I came up with the idea of having the cosmic rings orbitting the sterling silver rings, using large enough sterling rings to ensure that the cosmic rings were held firmly in place.Each cosmic ring sits orbiting a join between two pairs of silver rings. Using larger cosmic rings to create a feature on the necklace, the remainder of the chain was completed with silver orbiting rings. So, my Orbital necklace was created.

Jun 10, 2009

Boutique Markets

This coming Sunday I will be selling for the first time at the inaugural Boutique Markets at Portside Wharf in Hamilton, Brisbane. This is a brand new home for the Boutique Markets, previously known as the Designers Emporium.

Since its inception in 2007 the market has grown in profile and size to become a hub of local creative talent which offers a unique shopping experience; boutique shopping in a market atmosphere. The expanded market will now be located in the exclusive riverfront shopping and dining precinct of Portside on the second Sunday of each month, between 8am and 1pm.

Proudly supporting local independent design and craft, the market will host the work of more than fifty South East QLD -based stallholders including artists, designers, stylists, crafters and artisans. The market aims to promote and cultivate emerging local talent by offering a forum to promote and sell their work to the public.

This in turn offers design savvy shoppers unique access to high quality handmade and limited edition products not available elsewhere, direct from the region's thriving art and design community.

As a locality Portside offers a great day out with an array of waterfront eateries, bars, cinemas, fresh food markets and retail shopping in addition to a first class international cruise terminal. The Boutique Markets offers a perfect compliment to the venue; it creates a festival style ambiance in the outdoor plaza.

Jun 9, 2009

Interchangeable Earrings - 4 Pairs in 1

The idea for creating a pair of earrings that could have interchangeable drops came to me as I was driving to work one morning - amazing how inspiration can just suddenly strike!

I decided to go with a geometric design similar to the designs that I have been using recently and used square sterling silver wire. I decided that in order to be able to thread different drops on and off the earrings I would need an open spiral. This would not only make it easy to change the drops but should also mean that the drops once threaded on would not be able to come back off accidentally.

After a couple of attempts I managed to come up with a "base" pair of earrings that I was happy with. After making the ear wires, including a wrapped loop so that they too were secure, I made three pairs of drops using different gemstones, rose quartz, amethyst and aventurine. Bali silver bead caps were added to the amethyst drops and sterling silver spacers to the rose quartz.

So I now have a pair of earrings where the base is good enough to wear on its own, or to which one of three pairs of drops can be added - 4 pairs for the price of 1.

Jun 8, 2009

Monday Features

HOT TOFFEE creator, Nicole has always been passionate about art. After completing a Bachelor of Art in Visual Art - majoring in printmaking she travelled Europe and then Japan. During her six year stay in Japan she studied Togei (pottery), Shodou (Japanese calligraphy), Ikebana (flower arranging) and learnt how to make kiln fired glass accessories. In 2005 Hot Toffee was born. Inspired by all things sweet, Japanese art & design and strongly influenced by the beautiful beaches of Australia - Nicole focuses on the small details and creates beautiful products that are little pieces of art - ART YOU CAN WEAR and as the name suggests... some pieces even look good enough to eat.

Amanda of Twinkle Star Art is an Australian artist who been illustrating for children since 2003. She is also a stay-at-home Mum of 3 little stars who inspire her everyday. Amanda attributes her drawing ability, passion for creating and few 'odd quirks' to her fabulously talented, slightly eccentric Dad. After graduating from the Queensland College of Art, Amanda worked for over a decade in the graphic design industry. Twinkle Star Art was born with the birth of her children for a more family friendly lifestyle. Spending time with her kids inspired her natural transition from graphic design to illustrating for children.


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