Sunday, 29 July 2012

New ways to make things old

Blimey, I've been neglectful of my blog over the last month.  I think this is in part because I have been working on a day-job project which has involved writing (pages and pages and pages of it) and I just didn't have the energy to write anything else. I've also been using Quisnam's Facebook page to post my latest work - I know lots of people hate Facebook - but I actually think it's quite a good way to communicate with people and, just as importantly, vice versa.  Not like a blog of course, but still horses for courses.

I've been working away on some new pieces as well.  I'm still very much enjoying using textile cushions but, rather than just using the Hmong ones as a base, I've started making and embellishing my own:

I'm discovering better ways to make them as I go - inserting the bale before stuffing rather than sewing it on later for example - and find the process rather meditative.  Thrift stores are a fantastic source of fabric, the top necklace actually came from a skirt.

I've also had a real  urge to do some assemblage pieces:

I wanted to show you a closeup of the Buddha focal in the above piece which I painted with vinaj patina paints and then textured with pewter embossing powder and shoe polish.  I've had these Buddha pendants sitting around for ages but hated the shiny metal cases they came in.  I tried gilders paste, rub 'n' buff and a couple of other things but this worked so much better than I was expecting.

These earrings use a similar method except I've used ink and a combination of cream and pewter embossing powder for the grunged up flaky look.  I've used this technique before but not for a while - it was actually a post of fancifuldevices that reminded me to dust of the embossing powder and heat gun, thanks Marina.

Same thing with this necklace which is a narrative work - each item symbolizing a different aspect of our lives - marriage, motherhood and home. The ties that bind us.  

I've been experimenting with a slightly different approach to my bangle stacks, making fewer bangles but in a much heavier weight wire. I've been really lucky to find some excellent vintage bangles recently which, when altered, also add depth to these stacks.  

I was also fortunate to find some beautiful trims in a thrift store in Melbourne although now my supplies are starting to pile up and I've only got a finite amount of storage space.  I'm wondering if I should open an etys shop for my destash.  I've got heaps of things that I am sure I will never use.

'til next time

Monday, 2 July 2012

At least I've got my electric blanket...

Good news, my new iPad has arrived at last.  It's so cold and wet here at the moment that I find myself retreating to my bedroom, electric blankets on full, watching BBC crime programs or reading a book.  

This version has a camera which I tried out today on my latest piece:

I did have to seriously edit in picmonkey, but not too shabby I think.  If you've had a look at my etsy shop lately you will see a few pieces featuring these little textile cushions.  I bought some vintage hmong textiles from an etsy seller with the intention of making a cuf and took a punt on the pockets she had listed.  It was love at first sight when I opened the package.  They come in all shapes and sizes, most aren't really suitable for using in jewelry but the variety in textiles is just wonderful - some are really tribal with an almost African vibe, others more bohemian.  Some are obviously really old and some clearly quite new. I emailed her to say how pleased I was and she said that her mum and some of the village ladies make them with the left over bits and pieces from her bags and cushions.  Just like when I discover a new type of bead I'm finding it hard not to use them in everything.   This piece took an absolute age - sewing on the links and recycled silk.  I must have made and remade it a dozen times.  I debated over whether to use a leather or fabric necklace and then remembered a vintage chain with glass crystals I had (Avon would you believe it) and thought I'd never use.  Just goes to show you, hoarding pays.

I also got the urge to use leather:

The beads on this are mostly Czech glass with some bone and wooden ones for good measure.  I discovered that it's much easier to go through the leather with an awl rather than using a hole punch. The stick on the right is gold coral (which I'm assuming is coral that has been painted gold).  My daughter asked if it was macaroni which is a little disheartening. Actually, thinking about it, painting some macaroni might be a good option - a grown up version of the necklaces we made in primary school.

Melinda, from BeesonPie sent me some really cool stuff which included  deer leather pieces.  I thought I might try using it wrapped around a bangle.  Taking of bangles, I listed this stack:

Rather than the usual 9 or 10 bangles this set only has 4, but three of them are much heavier wire than I generally use (3mm) - it's quite difficult to work with but it does make for a really robust finish.  

Also been working on some earrings:

I do find it much harder to come up with ideas for earrings.  Although, having said that I did a custom order recently of 5  earrings - all different but harmonious - which I thought would be really really challenging but just flowed.  

'til next time.