Tag Archives: jewellery

Diving for Supplies

In this necklace I combined beadwork with a touch of soutache to frame a wonderful example of a sea urchin shell.  A chunky sea glass fringe and thick braided leather cord complete this unique piece.

A unique handmade necklace featuring a natural sea urchin shell.  In this necklace I combined beadwork with a touch of soutache to frame a wonderful sea urchin shell. A chunky sea glass fringe and thick braided leather cord complete this original piece.

 

 

The beautiful, clear blue sea that surrounds the Maltese Islands is not only a great source of inspiration, it is also occasionally a source of my materials.

Sea urchin shells make wonderful focal features in jewellery and accessories.  I collect only sea urchin shells and never live sea urchins.  The shells are extremely fragile and must be washed very carefully and strengthened before they can be used.

 

Sea urchin shells, washed.

Sea urchin shells, washed.

 

 

After washing the shells I check them and put aside those with visible defects.  The good ones make it to the the next step: strengthening.  This is when I I fill them and apply several coats of non-yellowing varnish.

Sea urchin shells, strenthening.

Sea urchin shells, filling and varnishing.

 

Now the fun begins, deciding what I’m going to do with them!

 

Joanne.

 

 

 

 

 

Spikes and Duos

So many new shapes of beads are available, makes beadwork even more fun!

When I saw these spike beads I knew I wanted to try and make a cuff bracelet that incorporates them at the ends.  I teamed them up with Super Duo beads to create end-caps and used them on metallic Eco Nappa Leather.

Handmade beadwoven spike caps for cuff bracelet.

 

A picture of the work in progress:

Beadwoven spike caps for cuff bracelet

 

 

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:

 

 

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 :)

A Woodland Choker

I made my first creation specifically for ArtFire this week, as part of the Handmade In Europe Guild’s monthly challenge.  This month had a Woodland theme and I used suede, wooden beads and glass flowers and leaves.

Available for sale in my ArtFire shop.