Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Parliment of Owls

Hello! Another newbie here! I'm Jo Tinley, and I am completely and utterly addicted to jewellery. Yes - jewellery, I'm a Brit - I'm joint AJE United Kingdom correspondant with Lesley! I make jewellery, make clasps and other components for other people to use in their jewellery, I teach jewellery design at our local college and privately in my studio, write magazine projects - in fact I do as much as I can to pass the addiction on, and it seems to be working quite well so far! The first post in a blog is always the hardest to write. It took me ages to decide what I could write about that would show you a bit more about me and what I love about doing my work, but then I realised that the best way to do it would be to show you some of my work in progress!

I spent some of yesterday making owls. My owl clasps are a relatively new design. I made the first ever one for my last Bead Soup Party partner, and I've only put a few limited edition one in my etsy shop so far, but the nights are drawing in and Halloween is close, so my thoughts are turning more to winter and night creatures than my usual poppies and daisies!

The first job is to draw round the template I've made onto sheet metal and then to carefully saw out the owls' bodies. I love sawing and piercing metal. The trick is to let the saw do the work for you, not to put pressure on it otherwise will get stuck and the blade will be more likely to break. Filing and sanding comes next,and then it's time to start texturing the metal and turn the strange looking shapes into sweet owls! The wings are made by shaping steel binding wire, holding it in place with tape and hammering it in.

The feathers on the wings and the owls' tummies are textured with various hammers, and I use decorative punches to form the eyes and the beak. The beak is actually a "V" stamp from my smallest alphabet set. Once the owls are decorated I curve them in my doming block, and then solder a length of wire with an eye loop at one end onto the back of each owl. The wire ends are then filed so that each clasp is comfortable to wear and the wire is bent round into a hook.

And after applying liver of sulphur and polishing, this is was my owls look like! There's a mix of copper and sterling silver. The next job is lining them up to take their photos so I can put them in my Daisychain Extra etsy shop tonight. It's great what you can make from a simple sheet of metal, isn't it?! I think my favourite part of making the owls is making their eyes - they come to life then!

So, that's a little bit about me - now it's your turn! What part of jewellery making do you like best? Is it a particular technique, or do you have a favourite material? Or is it just the wonderful variety out there and the beautiful ideas that inspire you? And to inspire you a little bit more, here's a wonderful collection of other owls for you!

'A Parliment of Owls' by daisychainextra

A wonderful collection of owl beads and jewelry components, all hand crafted by wonderful artists!

3 Owl Buttons. Ceramic ...

Large Fancy Owl Piece

Ceramic Mini Tile Penda...

Lampwork Glass Owl Bead...

Blush Owl Bead, Glass

New - Handmade etched B...

Owl Button Clasp oxidiz...

Owl bead. Handmade lam...

Little Brown Owl bead -...

Wide Eyed Lampwork Owl ...

Handmade Ceramic Charms...

Handmade Blue Bird Owl ...

Silver Owl Charm, PMC F...

Three Ceramic Charms/Be...

Green Owl Charm Pendant...

Owl Charm - White and T...


  1. Welcome Jo!!! So nice to have you join us and this is a fantastic start. Love your little owls, I only recently made my first Owl as well from Copper, so much fun!!

  2. Wonderful post! i always enjoy "process photos"...and all of your work is just fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. Welcome Jo - great post and love the owls...have some of my own 'cooking' too, we do love our owls!

  4. Owls are lovely, aren't they? And so popular at the moment! I'm in the middle of knitting an owl cushion/cuddly toy for my youngest and it looks very cute already!

  5. I so love owls, they make me think of fall and beautiful leaves! My husband just made me some owl beads that he carved out of cedar! Can't wait to use them! Welcome to AJE!

  6. Love your owls! Great technique for making the owl wings, will have to try it ;)

  7. These are the cutest! Thank you for telling how it's done!

  8. What a great post! Those owls are darling! :-)

  9. Great first post, Jo! I love your owl clasps! Pure awesomeness! My fav part of jewelry making is the creative work of deigning the piece.

  10. I really enjoyed this post - wonderful to see your process!

  11. What pretty babies you made! Love seeing the process, and glad to see you here!

  12. these little owl clasps are adorable! Very interesting to see how you make them.

  13. Great post! Love the hammering steel wire idea! Since you asked, I love many mediums but when my Hands first touched clay I knew I had been missing part of me until that moment! Thanks!

  14. Welcome Jo!! This was a great post! I loved seeing your process and I totally love your owls!

  15. Thank you for the lovely welcome!
    Terri, I felt exactly that way about sawing metal when I first started metalsmithing - I just find the whole process so relaxing, and am always amazed at what can be created from a simple sheet of metal!

  16. Welcome Jo! Your owls are darling and thank you for sharing how you make them! Very clever lady.


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