Learn a new project at our Summer Projects Open Day
Today...Wednesday 7th August 11-3pm Its Free!! (Materials used payable on the day)
Throughout the day you can... * learn new beading projects for children and adults * start new beading projects with our advice and guidance * spend the day exploring new ideas and using our beading facilities * look through our extensive jewellery making library * just turn up without booking and with no charge for the day
Our Summer Projects Open Day is suitable for adults and children accompanied by an adult.
Some project ideas...
Memory Wire Bracelets
Glass Pendant Necklaces
We've got more ideas too...come along and explore the shop!!
I've started my summer with Oxford Summer School...a fantastic six days of precious metal clay and beaded jewellery.
On Monday I started a three day Introduction to Precious Metal Clay with fourteen very enthusiastic ladies. We covered a vast range of projects due to very varied abilities in the class. It was a busy three days but the results were amazing...take a look at my Facebook album to see the results.
Thursday I then started Fabulous beaded jewellery...again a wonderful group with varied abilities and outstanding results. We covered wirework, stringing, knotting, off-loom weaving and more along the way. You can see what we achieved in our Facebook album.
I had such an enjoyable time with all the lovely people I met and spent my days with. Oxford Summer School offers an amazing range of workshops over the week in all creative disciplines with some of the most inspiring tutors...I feel privileged to be part of it. Be sure to take a look at the programme for 2014 on their website...info to be announced soon.
It's lovely to see the sun out and all the beautiful summer plants along with it. Yesterday I noticed that Snap Dragons have flowered. These pretty little flowers are so called because if you pick a flower and gently squeeze the back then the flower opens its mouth and resembles a snapping dragon...something I was taught as a child on wildlife walks. Try it out...you'll usually find them growing from walls is clusters.
This weekend I taught both days for the Mother and Daughter weekender at Denman College. I had such a lovely time. It was great spending time with such lovely people and enjoying the mother and daughterly love that was so evident in the classroom. I ran three workshops making Charm Bracelets for about 30 people in total. They all enjoyed it and I received a clap of hands on two occasions!! Here's a small snippet of what was made...
Silver Plated Charm Bracelets using Czech beads and Wire
Again...it's been a long time but I've been a busy little bee. Very excited about my recent experience on a workshop with Csilla Papp (take a look they're amazing). Csilla makes beautiful pieces of jewellery using a russian braiding technique known as Soutache. I organised a workshop at our shop in Oxford for myself, my family and some friends...it was fantastic!! Here's what I made with the techniques and tips I learnt...I love it, my new summer necklace! You can see pictures from the day and all our creations on our Facebook page.
I have finally got my very own Folksy shop up and running!! I have been having great fun taking photo's playing with backgrounds and staging. Thinking about what I like and why I make what I do. It's been a really good learning experience and I'm looking forward to getting some more pieces up for sale. The plan is to sell a selection of jewellery items, handmade findings and lampwork glass beads.
Take a look at http://folksy.com/shops/AmySJewellery
Filing is a process that comes second to last, just before polishing, but gets little attention sometimes. It's tedious and time consuming especially when you just want the piece to be complete and ready to wear. It is, in fact, one of the most important. I always tell my students it makes or not makes the piece complete. Within my sessions, both weekly and day workshops, I'm always offering advice and guidance on filing, so here's my top tips...
Files remove metal...emery paper removes marks
Always file across, not with, a solder join as it will remove more metal from the join
Access where to start...don't start with a very abrasive paper...it will only create more work
Always use your bench peg when filing...this will make sure you keep your work in a set position
Ensure you're using the right file for the job...there are many types available...choose appropriately: Size, Cut, Shape, half-round, flat, triangular, square, round, knife edge and more specialist cuts
Files cuts in one direction...as you push away...you don't need to apply lots of pressure concentrate on direction and form...let the file do the work
When using emery papers (wet & dry) the lower number is the most course. We use from a 240 to a 1200. (240-320-400-600-800-1000-1200)
When changing emery paper grades change direction of your filing action...e.g north to south...east to west
If you are finding your piece difficult to hold you can use finger protection tape to help with grip and protect your fingers from stray file movements!
Amazing what you can make in an hours tuition...and what you can learn! How to string beads How to use crimps What clasp to use How to manipulate jumprings What cord to use How to use elasticity How to knot elasticity How to design beaded jewellery
Well done Elizabeth.
I charge £25.00 for an hours tuition which can be designed specifically to your needs...money well spent I hope!
Since not opening to the public on a Sunday (not sure if I've already to you that) I have had some time to work on projects I've been thinking about for a while. So far so good! I'm planning to launch a new collection of jewellery for the spring,mid March, along with an online shop on Folksy. Exciting times!!
I've been using recycled silver, PMC, pearls, sterling silver and big sparkly stones...some of my favourite things!!
On Thursday Mum and I visited a new yarn store that has opened on North Parade in Oxford. It's a lovely shop with lots of beautiful yarn. Karen the owner and the guy behind the counter were very helpful and knowledgable. I bought some nice cotton yarn for some coaster, wrist warmer and a scarf project I want to do. It's great to see new craft stores opening up. They offer workshops and knitting groups...have a look at their Facebook page or Google their website for more info.
Last weekend Lucy (my little sister) and I visited the Craft, Hobby and Stitch show. The show is always really good for us as most of our suppliers attend so we get to see new products, the people we speak with on the phone and demos. On this visit we discovered Soutache a narrow braid use to create patterns and shapes. On the Beadsmith stand we met Csilla Papp, a soutache artist who was making the most wonderfully colourful neckpiece. She sells on Etsy under the name Zooja Designs. Here's Csilla working on her piece and a piece she's selling on Etsy...fabulous!!
We are hoping to organise a workshop with Csilla so we can learn how to use this technique. I'm planning on getting all the materials into the shop as the technique seems to compliment beadwork so nicely.
Watch this space...
The beginning of the week started with an all day workshop at Denman making Precious Metal Clay jewellery. It was part of one of their designer days. As always a lovely group and a lovely day. I even resisted the shortbread...it was difficult!!
The reverse action tweezers are a tool we use when soldering to secure items in place. This set up shows a ring and tube setting being soldered together. You can see that the setting is being soldered from the inside of the ring and upside down. The reason for this is so the setting can sit flat on the fire brick and then the reverse action tweezers can be used to secure the ring shank in place. The set of tweezers holding the ring is supported on the handle by the edge of the brick (very useful) then a second set is used to prevent them from dropping when the piece is heated. The solder will be placed on the joins either side of the setting.
This set up means you can concentrate on watching your heat application and not having to hold any pieces in place.
This week in our weekly classes we looked more closely at The Piercing Saw. It's one of those tools that people use in almost every project but are a bit worried about using it and feel they don't use it efficiently. Maggie, one of my Wednesday morning girls, is making a ring with a 1.2mm chunky section of sheet. We usually use 2/0 grade saw blades in our piercing saw, theses are good for general use, but with something as heavy as 1.2mm sheet I advised Maggie to use a heavier grade so we upped the blade to a 1 grade. When using a piercing saw you should choose a blade that has 2.5 teeth within the thickness of metal. Think of it at its extreme and it makes sense. A blade with very small teeth would take a very long time to cut thick metal and a blade with large teeth would catch terribly on thin sheet.
So, here's some pointers from our workshop...
Make sure you have a tight blade in the frame
In most cases cut with the blade at a right angle to your metal
Choose a blade that has 2.5 teeth within your thickness of metal
2/0 grade for general use (Size 4 is the coarsest and 8/0 is the finest)
Let the blade do the work...if you find your pushing too hard into the metal loosen your grip on the handle and hold it lightly
It seems a little late to say it but it's the first opportunity I've had since returning from my winter holiday in the sun. After a refreshing break that encompassed everything you'd want from a Christmas holiday we're back and enjoying 2013. Already we've met new customers, delivered workshops and designed a new workshop! My weekly silversmithing classes have all started...this term we're making a cocktail ring. We're basing our designs on a project from The Rings Book by Jinks McGrath in which she explains how to make a flared collet with a simple drawn template. We're going to be using large sparkly stones..I'm looking forward to seeing the results! This weekend has been unpredictable due to the snowy weather but some very keen lovely ladies joined me for Beads & Stringing yesterday then wire rings today. I also taught Headington school boarding girls today so its been a busy first week back. So enjoying being back at work and getting ideas for the year ahead...hope you enjoy our journey.