Tag Archives: gr8jewellery

Venturing into Soutache

I’ve been seeing lots of pictures of Soutache work and thought “Yippee! Something new to try!!” :D

Very similar in technique to bead embroidery, flat back cabochons are stuck to a backing such as Lacy’s Stiff Stuff,  with beads and Soutache cord stitched around the focal cab.  Soutache can also be stitched directly to drilled beads without the need for a foundation.

Soutache work is very time consuming and great care has to be taken to ensure that the needle passes exactly through the centre channel on the soutache cord and also to make sure that the thread isn’t pulled too tight or the cord will pucker up.

My first Soutache work was a pendant.  The focal Turquoise cabochon was undrilled so I worked with a foundation.

Pendant with Soutache cord by gr8jewellery.
Work in progress.

 

I stuck Ultra Suede to the back to hide and secure all the ends, then stitched it to the foundation for a lasting finish.

Hand stitched backing on Soutache pendant.

The finished necklace.  Suede cord in turquoise and lime green and clasp with extender chain.

 

 

 

My Creative Space – 26.Jul.2012

Loads of stuff on my desk today …

First off, a leather bracelet with a Sterling Silver double heart.  I punched holes along the lengths and threaded lilac and pink Toho thread then attached a magnetic clasp.

 

I finished off four bracelets I started earlier this week.

 

and I started work on this beadwoven bail to hang a Swarovski Helios pendant for a choker.

See more of my Creative Space here.

 

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Creative Space

On my desk this week …

… another addition to my collection of hand knotted bracelets, this one featuring Swarovski crystals in white opal with metallic leather.  I’m also making a coordinating necklace with a Swarovski Square crystal with a beadworked bail.

 

Also a pair of wire wrapped earrings using some really gorgeous Czech firepolished beads I bought recently:

 

More Creative Space posts here.

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Lessons in Filigree

I’ve mentioned on my facebook page that I’ve been taking lessons in silver filigree, once weekly sessions of about 1.5 to 2 hours each for 8 weeks.  Each week our tutor Kevin Attard started off by explaining the filling technique we would be learning that week and then we would have a go at creating a piece of jewellery ourselves, shaping and soldering the frame, then coiling the delicate silver and finally filling in the frame and soldering everything.

I took some photos of my work in progress from lesson two onwards, it didn’t cross my mind in the first week.  The finished pieces can be viewed all together in the last photo.

The projects were:

Lesson 1:  Drop pendant

No photos of work in progress… my bad!  Finished pendant may be seen in last photo at end of post.

Lesson 2:  Earrings

Lesson 3:  Adjustable ring

Lessons 4 & 5:  Flower pendant & flower earrings

Lesson 6:  Ring of own design

During lesson 6 we were to make a ring of our own design to be shown alongside our tutor’s works at an exhibition called “Crieket” (meaning “Rings”).  Unfortunately I missed this lesson as I was abroad, however I managed to have a simple frame formed and soldered before the start of the lesson the following week.

I filled in the outer area with filigree work and soldered it before shaping the ring to fit.

Finally, I attached round crystals in the middle hollow section with silver wire.

I’m pretty happy with the design, however I’ve notched up another reason for buying my own soldering equipment! :)

Lesson 7:  Hair Barrette

Lesson 8:  Cleaning of projects

The last lessons was reserved for cleaning all the projects done during the course.

 

 

Making a photo light tent … trial and error

I’ve been thinking about buying a pop-up light tent but before doing so I decided to try making one myself.  The theory of a light tent is to place your light source outside the translucent material of the tent, thereby reducing glare.  Ideally you should have lights on the top and sides to also eliminate shadows.

Start with a cardboard box, the size depends on what you need to photograph.  I had an empty dogfood box measuring 15″ wide and approximately 11″ high and deep that was suitable for photographing my jewellery.

I turned the box on its side so what was the top became the front.

Then I cut off the top flaps and cut out the sides and top, leaving a narrow border all around.

I had some leftover white spray paint, so I lightly sprayed the interior white.  No need for perfection as I would be lining the sides and back with white paper too.

 

The plan was to sew a fabric lining for the box, with slits at the top and at the front so I could take photos from above and also from the front.  Having the box fully lined would eliminate reflections showing up in the jewellery photos.

I measured the inside of the box and cut out pattern pieces …

pinned the pieces together …

while Neo supervised the work in progress …

and finally sewed all the pieces together and hung the lining in the box.

Here is the result, the pic has not been edited in any way.

I was aiming for a completely seamless look with the lining, hence the reason for hanging it from the inside of the box.  Although the pics are quite OK after a bit of editing, I’m not really happy with the result as the fabric isn’t taut enough and it shows.

 

Take 2 … eliminate the fabric.

To cover the sides and top I cut up two plastic hanging files, cut two halves to fit the sides and stuck them in place.  One half of a file was just the right size for the top and I decided to simply place it on top rather than sticking it so I could remove it easily in case I wanted to photograph anything from the top.

That’s it, a simple light tent ready to be used.  At the moment we have good natural light and I’m using the box outside in the balcony overlooking our courtyard with no additional artificial light.  Come Winter, I’ll find a suitable place indoors and use daylight lamps to provide light from the top and the sides.

Here’s the result, photo has not been touched or edited in any way yet.

Just a bit of cropping and brightening and here’s the final pic:

 

 

In Istanbul With Friends

 Just one week ago today I landed in Istanbul to spend a few days with four virtual friends I had gotten to know on Etsy’s European Street Team.  It’s a big leap from chatting on the net to chatting in real life, especially since being chatty isn’t exactly one of my strong points! ;)

The whole holiday was great, the girls were fantastic and just as I’d imagined them to be.  It felt as though we had known each other forever and the four days passed in a whirlwind of laughter, food, more laughter, lots of sightseeing, even more food and yet more laughter!

Happy times in Istanbul with (left to right)
Stephanie, Inger, Renate and Kristin. Little me on the right.
Thanks to Stephanie for the photo!

 

A little time was spent on supplies shopping too of course!

Braiding supplies from Istanbul

Fabric from Istanbul

 

One of the highlights for me was to watch Kristin from EviHAN at work in her studio, making one of her delightful angel faces.

 

She even let me have a go at trying to make a bead!  She makes it look super easy, and it may be too … after lots and lots of practice!  Here’s my first attempt …

 

We were lucky to have Kristin to show us around and help us to choose the most delicious food.

 

 

One of our walks led us to a small snackbar where we tasted a cheese-filled Filo pastry “pie” that tasted just like Maltese Ricotta Pastizzi!

 

Scrumptious breakfasts, lunches and dinners could easily have given us an extra 10Kg each, luckily we walked lots of it off to take in all the sights.  Here are a few:

 

The Bosphorus Strait

   
  

Inside the Topkapi Palace

  

The Basilica Cistern

  
  

Hagia Sofia & The Blue Mosque

  
  

My Creative Space …

I have some new supplies in antiqued copper and brass that I’ve been playing with, including some lovely filigree flowers and heart lockets. 

I’ve made my first necklace with one of the filigree flowers, for which I worked a Swarovski rivoli for its centre.  I have half a dozen flowers in different colours so I matched the crystals to the colour of the flower.

I’ve also been busy taking new photos of some of my existing work and the new packaging.

   

   

   

Visit more Creative Spaces around the world here.

My previous Creative Space posts here.

Joanne.

Preparing for a Craft Fair

I’ve been busy preparing for a craft fair this week.  The Christmas edition of Patches is to be held this Sunday 12th December at the old indoor market in the capital city, Valletta.  

I made some new jewellery items of course, but I also wanted to be able to offer some small gifts and Christmas ornaments.  After a few trials and errors for hanging angels I was happy with the result I made in silver lined beads and coordinating wire with silver cord for hanging.  I gave each angel a unique touch by handpainting each wooden bead to be used for the head.  

 

My angel faces, drying off before use.

 

The finished angels

 

I also made a wire tree for displaying my earrings.  I used a mixture of brown, copper and olive wires and used several strands to hold many earrings.  I finished off each branch with a loop to hold the earrings securely.  

  

   

The market will be held indoors and we will be supplied with a table 8ft long and 2ft wide.  The rest is up to us so I started a checklist I can work from when packing everything up, otherwise I’m sure to forget something! 

  • Stand setup:
    - table cover
    - extension cord
    - lights
    - mirror
    - folding chair

  

  • Packaging:
    - boxes
    - tissue paper
    - string
    - bags

  

  • Display:
    - necklace busts
    - trays
    - ring holders
    - earring tree
  • Sundries:
    - ring sizer
    - measuring tape
    - scissors
    - tape
    - VAT receipt book
    - orders book
    - loose change
    - business cards
    - price tags
    - pen / pencil

  

I hope I’ve remembered to write everything down!  What else would YOU take?  I would love your comments so that I can update my list if it’s something I would need :)

My Creative Space …

 

I have a bracelet that needs working on, similar to the necklace shown in the background.  Teeny tiny silver lined cylinder beads, each measuring just approx 1mm in length, will be used.  Unfortunately not all the beads are evenly sized, so I need to check each one as I pick it up. 

This isn’t work to be done in a hurry, and frequent eye rests are a must, but I know it’ll be worth it when I see it finished! :)

See more creative spaces from around the globe on Kootoyoo’s blog.

My previous Creative Space posts here.

Joanne.