Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cutting up rough

Hhmm - it is no wonder I need some new saw blades. There has been a whole lot of sawing and cutting up of some dubious stuff ...

Those plastic animals are pretty tough!

A few brooches cut from old epns trays - none of these have been filed or cleaned up yet. I have been on a saw-piercing jag. The 'Alice" pendant is made from silver-plated spoons.

She is a little bit sassy! Unlike Alice who appears to be rather calm here. Not drowning in big tears I guess!

Oh come on - who can resist a trophy head?

Whatchyou lookin at fool?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Hitting the tribal trail.

Still on the tribalesque kick, this piece has evolved over the last couple of days.

It began as shield shape that I cut from a planter, hammered and then really polished up.

I riveted on some bashed up pewter discs. The one behind the copper bezel has been etched. My plan was to add a few pewter coins to the bottom and a fat leather cord for it to hang from.  Instead, I ended up with this ...

- the coins are there but so is a whopping crystal shard and wait - that is not leather it is hanging from ...

nohoho - that is a whole bunch of pewter 'coins', cut out and banged up by moi. 18 of the dear things to be precise! All connected with handcrafted sterling jump rings (sometimes I 'cheat' and use manufactured rings) Actually I prefer to think of it as sharing the economical benefits of the handmade. Had to make these though 'cos  I didn't have any readymades.

It is chunky and fulfills that 'tribal' look I have been working with but is actually pretty elegant I think.  I can't wait to see it on someone.
It certainly feels good to be edging my way forward to completing things for the SALA show. sheesh though - shiny brass is hard to photograph!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Flea Market Finds

This week the op shops sang the siren song that lured me to their bookshelves ...

Are my own bookshelves already groaning? Yes they are. Are there piles of books on my dressing table waiting to be read? Yes, there are. Do I have masses of spare time to curl up with a book just now? No, I don't. And still I could not resist the temptation. What does that say about me? Well really, who could resist such high-brow titles as "Winkie and His Woodland Friends?"

Winkie is not only a snazzy dresser - he has musical skills to boot. No wonder he has so many friends! If I had more than one lifetime I would be a researcher of things. I'd like to know how things got started - like hymns for instance. Do only very devout people write them? Or perhaps they descend from early folk songs or pagan rituals? If I had time I would track down the authors of songs contained in books like this one ...

Of course the truly lovely thing about this little book is that it bears an inscription inside the front cover ...

A translation would be wonderful. There seems to have been a bit of a European theme to the books I have selected this week. I blame it on Don and Denise. They have been sharing their wonderful adventures in Paris and the French countryside and I have been travelling right alongside them. Virtually of course. We are off to Berlin next!

This sightly tatty copy of Zola's famous book has been on my "broaden-your-mind" list of books to read for quite some time. Sadly it has taken a back seat to easier literature. ( Agatha Christie is so too "literature") And since we are in Paris, how about a little 19th Century romance ...

The adventure continues ...

I know nothing of this book but it did sell more copies 20 years after its first publication so that bodes well. Hope that isn't because it was overpriced in the first place. To conclude my little European sojourn I have been dipping into this lovely book on Venetian painting.

Virgin and Child,c.1470, Bartolommeo Vivarini
 The colours are so beautiful - vibrant and rich. Hands are just hard to paint huh?

                                 Sleeping Venus, c.1508, Giorgione
Just lush and lovely really. Well that completes the tour. Pop over to Sophie's for more thrifting goodness.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


I spent a lovely hour or so yesterday flicking through the pages of some old National Geographic magazines. I was hunting up some inspirations for tribal-esque jewellery you see. I came across beautiful photographs by  Eric Valli and Debra Kellner in the September 2000 edition. These images are of the Rana Tharu women of Nepal. According to the National Geographic "When warfare left them widows, legend says, these women who had fled to the forest of southern Nepal founded a society that has endured for 400 years."

I was totally captivated by the colours in the photo and the grace of the woman.

Ornamentation is apparent in every aspect of their lives - and personal adornment knows no age boundaries.

Isn't she a beautiful young woman? Of course I had to read the article - it was fantastic to read about these women and how their art and crafts were a part of their everyday.

"I see little around me that they have not made with their hands. All are works of art."


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

In what is proving to be a relatively unproductive week, I am feeling happy that I have fully completed one piece of jewellery! You have seen this work in progress over here. Well now I can show you its finished form - hoo-bloody-ray! I have dicked about with it long enough and will dick no more!

I was  pleased with the addition of this lovely chunk of quartz . In combination with the eye it gives the piece a shamanistic resonance. (OMG - I have been undertaking a formal arts education for waaaay too long - that sounded kinda poncy!)

Once I attached the crystal, construction drew to a screaming halt. I kept picking the piece up and holding it up to the light. I think I was hoping it would tell me what to do next or that some wee elves might steal into the studio at night and deal with it. But no. Every morning it was still there. Unfinished. Waiting. It took so long because I was indecisive about how I wanted to hang the main piece. I had thought that something chunky and vaguely Medieval would be the go so I started constructing a chain of these links.

These are made from fork tines and were fun to make - it got a little addictive to be honest. Sadly it became abundantly clear that an entire chain made in this fashion was gonna be too heavy and uncomfortable to wear. Then I struck on the idea of adding crosses - very symbolic and evocative I thought. Hummpphh.  I tried a few in different materials, shell, metal, wood but they overwhelmed the piece and frankly with the eye were all a bit too "Damien" for my liking. (Remember "The Omen ... bbbrrr - creepy!)  My solution  ...

I cut cross-like shapes from an etched brass tray. It conveys the idea without punching you in the face and are much more in the Medieval vein than crucifix type crosses. I added a vintage key (unlocking knowledge) and a chunk of rose quartz for femininity. I got to thinking about beautiful Medieval tapestries and decided I wanted a flower motif in this piece. I had found the perfect element on a Marathon Op Shop Hunt. Remeber these ...?

With a little tinkering, they became these ...

In my last post I showed you some of these brass plaques ...

I cut them up and used some of the material to make the findings to attach the woven cotton cord to the rest of the necklace. This is how they turned out. And I didn't even have to anneal the metal!

It is done and dusted now so I can spend some time thinking about a name for it. Any suggestions?

(Now if you want to go scare yourself senseless and have nightmares for a week you can check out the 1976 trailer for The Omen over here. I'm too much of a scaredey cat to put the video in the post. Be warned it is very creepy and not for youngun's! Wish someone had mentioned that to my Mum before she sneaked me into the Drive-In to see it ....)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Flea Market Finds

I had to head into the city on Friday - it would take an hour and 45 mins to get where I needed to go, which is practically the whole day shot - so I decided to head off early and op-shop my way to town.
After a bit of a dry-spell in the local oppies I was relieved and gratified that some of the thrift stores further afield were coughing up some gems. Prepare yourself - I had a $30 budget and I blew it all!

Woo hoo - what a lot of bounty! Now, to take you through it ...

Well priced, instructive books are always hard to pass up and add in a gorgeous Enid Blyton Annual for a buck and the race is run people!

Vintage wallpaper for my daughter - she is currently using it behind her paper-cuts. Thin brass plaques are just great for the metal - lots of it and very pliable. Also a heavy brass tray and a silverplated tray - all bound for recycling.

This is a close-up of the handle of the brass tray - gorgeous - a jewellery component just as it is.

This tin will no doubt get the chop as well. I love the Art Deco design but it is only a reproduction as the tin is rather new. Still it is a great colour and an interesting take on the "Willow Pattern" ...

This linked chain is interesting to me because it looks and feels like brass and as you can see from the pic below, it has a really handcrafted quality. I doubt that it is but still a cool piece!

See - it has that banged-up, handmade look.

One of the oppies had a basket of jewellery bits bagged up into 50 cent lots. It was so much fun to rummage around in - the true spirit of op-shopping revisited! Amongst the lovlies I found these great African tube beads. Awesome!

Also in the 50 cent basket were these gorgeous peachy glass beads. At least I think they are glass - they could possibly be agate. The brass bead is lovely too and  all those metal silver beads were also in the bag!

I was really happy to scoop some nice brown wood beads. I find it tricky to get just the right size and colour when it comes to brown beads but these are perfect.

Scrumptious red seed beads. Given their colour there is a fair chance that these would be pretty bad for you if ingested - but they are super lovely if they are not served up for dinner!

I think this might be my fave find of the day - it looks like it is part of a belly-dancers costume. Heaps and heaps of tinkling brass bells ..

... and these great connector components. The front of them is a star shape.

I take it back - this is actually my favourite piece. It is a brooch of some kind - the pin is a bit different to regular brooches. I adore the Celtic design and will probably use it as a model to cast rather than use the piece itself. At least until I find out its provenance!

A couple of religious medals - always good to have a saint or two on your side.

These are really cute brooches aren't they? I will wear the leaves but the bows may need to find a new home!

Whilst none of the components on this bracelet are real - not horn or bone but acrylic and resin, they are good shapes and designs. I think the black resin beads have a rather Victorian look to them and have the advantage of being lightweight in comparison to glass. The brass bead is rather solid and there are 3 brass (actual brass!) discs that I can use on it too. Score for 99 cents!

I am a sucker for a birdie ( "put a bird on it") - just can't help myself. Again I think this one will make a nice model for a mold.

These dear little buttons are made of glass. So sweet and rather nice for necklace closures. I also purchased a pure wool red jumper to felt, a pair of specs (for the lenses), a pewter mug, some lace and some pretty buttons. All in all I think my thirty bucks was well spent - I bought a cup of coffee too - and it was great fun!
Head over to see what Sophie and the gang have been collecting this week.