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Tuesday, 4 August 2015

A Place of My Own.

Sounds very much like a film, song or novel title doesn't it, and in fact it is all three ! It's also happens to be how I'd like to refer to my achievement this week, as I celebrate the setting up of my very own  crafts workstation.
It's been a long time coming - over 10 years in fact, and I'm over the moon and deliriously happy to have at last a place however small, of my own in the home.
I bought a second hand cabinet/desk/bookcase, that has worked out just fine; it has a magnetic board, with a shelf that makes a great display setting for my finished work; a pull-out drawer with enough headroom to slide work-in-progress out of view at night;  2 bookshelves and a couple of nooks and crannies for, well stuff :-)
 I wasted no time getting it set up.

Why has it taken so long you might be wondering, and doesn't every crafter have one? Well,  as long as I've been crafting and that's well over 30 years, I've had to share my space with  family (parents and siblings), my family (children and spouse), and now they are grown and slowly moving onto places of their own. My stuff was famously all over the place; I crafted on my bed, floor, and sometimes commandeered the dining table, kitchen and living room. It sometimes dictated what sorts of projects I did -  the smaller and faster the better.
I have a Pinterest account and it would be so easy to have workstation envy, such are the innovative ways people have come up with, to creatively use small spaces;  I post some examples here.
Ikea USA, Photo

 Daring DIY: {Bookcase to Armoire}
Bookcase to Amoire, Martha Stewart

In truth, I'm very happy with my workstation so, Happy Crafting all !

Friday, 2 September 2011

A Chicken and Egg situation

One Easter, about 5 years ago my search for Easter crafts for my Sunday school class led me on an amazing journey  into egg land ; and I couldn't wait to start my own  project inspired by the array of designs on display, and taking the opportunity to  incorporate the marbling and inlay techniques I has been experimenting with that year. 
Just google Decorated Eggs and have a look at the wonderful images
They also inspire some of the most diverse and creative decorating techniques found. Whether its  African(Ostrich eggs),   Eastern European (Pysanka painted eggs) or Western European (Faberge eggs)  there's an egg out there for you !
Decorated Ostrich Egg

Faberge Decorated Egg
Pyskansa Decorated Eggs

Eggs are symbolic of so many things - birth, new beginnings, regeneration and nurture. So much folklore  and so many traditions are wrapped around this vehicle of recreation, that I've always held a fascination for these delicately decorated items, and a marble egg  can feel so organic and soothing to the touch. 

I started my marbled inlay egg  about 5 years ago (and no, it did not take me 5 years to complete) , at some point it went onto my 'work in progress' pile !
I used a blown chicken egg. The symbols of a leaf and hearts were chosen  for love, abundance and growth. The colours were chosen for  a vivid effect  -  I chose metallic clay, which when incorporated with the colours  gave it depth;  red for the passion , blue for rebirth, purple for spirituality. I hope you enjoy the results !

 My marbled inlay egg (click on image for close up view !)

My marbled inlay egg (click on image for close up view !)

Sunday, 13 March 2011


It is March, and for me the start of another season – the Easter season, beginning with Lent.
How does this time of restraint, focus and charity fit in with my crafting activities, or better still, how am I going to tailor my activities to suit this period?
Well as a Christian, I am giving it a lot of thought, examining how I operate now, my short and long term goals, what I am being called on to do with my time and talents and it’s effects on my environment.
These are some of my thoughts -
 As a hobby crafter I am sometimes frustrated as my creative flow is constantly interrupted by more pressing and important day to day responsibilities. Although that in itself can give opportunity for creativity in problem solving,  the outcome (sometimes) is ill planned out, half finished projects or compromise by doing less challenging projects, to fit around my time and space constrains. Grand ideas not followed through, procrastination and even fear of starting  !
started June 2010
In the spirit of the season, I see this time as a gift to take a break away from the constraint of normal routine and thought patterns. It is often a time of solitude and contemplation, to gain resolve and a renewed perspective.
I receive many compliments from family and friends who have seen my work . The resounding cry is ‘why don’t you sell this stuff’ or, ‘you are wasting your talents not promoting yourself’ etc. I’m sure many hobbyists hear the same from time to time as they continue to show exceptional quality work, honed from natural skill, talent, and dedication to their chosen crafts.
Many take up their crafts for relief from boredom; love of the skills involved; company; a means of personal expression, or other more egalitarian reasons. Not all want or set out to be commercial, and not all crafts would fit into a ‘production line process ‘ anyway.
Some would feel a tangible loss of pleasure from no longer being connected in a tactile and spiritual way to the end product. Also the resale value, based on time, materials and skill would price it higher than most people would want to pay for often under appreciated bespoke pieces...
hand stringing unakite and glass seed beads with gold fill spacers on tiger tail wire
That is not to say it can’t be done or indeed is not being done very successfully by many crafters (kudos to them!); but it is a dilemma and one needs a plan to do it well.
So, what does this mean for me?
Well I’m continuing my ‘clear out’, donating some unused materials to centres and charities that can use these items, as less money becomes available for community based craft clubs etc. It also helps me to streamline my activities.
I am aiming to finish a whole host of ‘works in progress’, stuff  I started but did not finish but always held onto for the opportunity to see them to fruition ! Apart from the potential waste it would cause not to complete them; I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the connection I feel to these pieces, reminiscing and revisiting long lost ambitions, friendships, classes and research .They are just like long forgotten photos!
I hope to post a whole host of beautiful finished items !
Completed March 2011 - Unakite and seed bead choker
beautiful gold fill hook for unakite and seed bead necklace - March 2011
Last but most importantly, I am trying to be more organised with my time, so that I can create a plan  to make best use of my talents and skills, whether it is teaching , sharing via my blog, or even venturing into the commercial world –  so watch this space! 
All done ! Warm colours of unakite and transparent gold colour seed beads - March 2011

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Love is all around !

So...I managed to get some items ready for Valentines, but it was a close call ! If Valentines is about love, then what better than to showcase what I love doing !
When in a hurry, I turn to Polymer clay for it's versatility, colour choice and cost. My valentine hearts were made using a marbling pattern, achieved by twisting two logs of clay, one black one red. I then divided the candy cane twist into 2 and twisted the resulting logs again. I then flattened the cane and rolled on a separate base of clay and 'raked' the resulting stripes giving the nice marble effect. The design reminds me of Tie-dye fabrics which give a zigzag pattern depending on where the dye touched the material. I shall look out for some examples ! In the meantime, enjoy my hearts, from me to you !
Don't Forget to take a look at our Showcased Artists !

Polymer Clay Hearts, baked and ready for sanding and polishing and setting

A Beautiful Set of Earrings, Necklace and Bracelet, and blocks of raw polymer clay

Detail of marbling effect on heart shape polymer clay pendant

Polymer Clay Hearts, with Wire and seed bead inset encased in resin

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Out with the old ?

Happy New Year to you!
I find this time of year is a boon; it’s just the right time for me to consolidate my existing projects and think about starting new ones.
In years gone by, I would round up excess or leftover material and donate it to crafts groups and charities in the full knowledge that I could easily get more and start again.
This year, as part of my austerity drive, I am going to recycle my hoard and finish or create new projects from what I already have.
My supply mountain is quite impressive because I am interested in many crafting disciplines. I have tools, clay, paints, fabric, beads, yarn, parchment and wire to name a few things!
The next obvious crafting landmark for me is February – Valentines to be exact. I’ve always managed to miss this holiday crafting opportunity because it comes right on the back of Christmas, giving one hardly enough time to plan and execute complex projects.
I think that hand crafted, goods will be big this year, as people try to reflect more heartfelt meaning to their gift giving.
Speaking of hearts, I attended a silver metal clay class last October. The one day course was fun. We were a class of about 12 of varying ability, and we were able to complete a set of earrings, pendant and ring - I chose hearts as my motif for the pendant and earrings. The clay itself is costly and one would have to achieve a high standard of finish if you were going to sell your work. The items are pure silver when fired and can be hallmarked at approved centres.
More on this craft as projects come up.
In the meantime, enjoy my efforts with this new medium. The diamond shapes were my first attempt with a home kit.
Search for metal clay 
Adjustable Ring in Metal Clay, Pure Silver after firing - October 2010

Pendant in Metal Clay with Cubic Zirconia CZ crystals embeded

Heart Shaped Metal Clay earrings

'Diamonds in the Rough' of Metal Clay - using home kit