Tuesday, December 18, 2012

All Things Considered...

2012 has been pretty good to me but as it closes out I find myself thinking more and more about what I've done and what I want to do in 2013 to stretch my creativity and keep things fresh.

This time last year I was selling my jewellery with reasonable success and was idly pondering whether or not I should try to sell some of the metal clay components I use in my own designs. It took another couple of months of procrastinating and prevaricating before I finally bit the bullet and went for it. It's well documented elsewhere how delighted I am with the positive reception they've received which frankly is just as well, because selling finished jewellery online has been a whole lot harder this year. 

So, for the last nine months I've been pretty heavily focused on developing my components and inevitably I'm now feeling the need for a change, to shake it up a bit by trying something new or revisiting some things I've dabbled in in the past.

In the summer of 2011 I attended a kiln enameling workshop and just the other day I came across some of the pieces I made following that.

This Scraffito cuff connector has been sitting around for over a year so I finally decided to do something with it...

I also had a go at torch firing enamels and set up a makeshift area in my garage, but this didn't come quite as naturally to me as I don't seem to be very co-ordinated when it comes to working with mandrels. But in fairness I think it's one of those things that needs consistent practice and once I started on building up the metal clay components there wasn't really much time left.

Now that the bronze production is running pretty smoothly though, I want to go back and improve these techniques with the aim of adding an enameled range to the shop - a nice complement to the metal clay I think.

Back in November I treated myself to another workshop, this time etching and I  LOVED it! I worked with copper and used a ranged of methods including PNP (press and peal) paper, Aquatint, stickers and Shelac. PNP was by far my favourite and I got some great results with some art deco images.

The butterfly here was done with a sticker and the other two pieces were done using PNP. Not everything came out as well as these as you can see on this next piece where fine grains of the  pumice used to clean the copper have got under the PNP causing the blotches.

Still that's what workshops are for aren't they! 

I have a 'slightly' addictive personality so it was all I could do to stop myself from going out and buying all the kit straight away but I've promised myself that this is something I will definitely be trying again early in the new year.

There are lots of other things I could put on my technique 'to do' list but by limiting it to just a couple I think I have more chance of actually achieving them rather than just being overwhelmed. Besides which, I still have a lot ideas to try out on my metal clays.

I've been working a lot with patinas lately, especially the new ranges of commercial metal patinas which can produce great instant colour effects like these...

It's also possible to get some great patinas on bronze which occur naturally as part of the firing process....

I love it when this happens but sadly it's very unpredictable and I'm very bad at keeping records of the conditions that pieces like this result from. I really have got to be more scientific about this. One thing I really want to do is try out some of the other popular patina techniques to see how they work with bronze. Ammonia, Vinegar, Potato crisps (chips)...most of the tests I've seen have been done on copper or brass so I'm planning to do some comparisons on bronze and will share that with you when I have some results.

Obviously bronze has a long and distinguished history when it comes to jewellery. How great would it be if I could reproduce some of these effects on my own jewellery and components....

Bronze jewellery from the Neolithic settlement of Vinelz on Lake Biel, Switzerland, c. 2700 BC. Wiki Commons

English: German National Museum ( Nuremberg / Germany ). Bronze armlet with sun symbol, late Bronze Age ( 16th-13th century BC ), Hesse. Wiki Commons

Without having to wait thousands of years of course - well a girl can dream?!

So that's what I've got my sights set on for 2013, how about you...what are your jewellery related ambitions for the year ahead? I'd love to hear about them.

Now, since this is the last post I'll be doing until after the New Year I'd just like to wish you all a very merry festive season and a peaceful and happy new year. See you all on the other side!

The Gossiping Goddess


  1. And a very Happy Christmas and New Year to you Lesley.
    I am going to develop my Etched Silver jewellery in the new year. Make time to meet friends and do some more skill swop days.....just loved ours

    Rita x

  2. I have my mouth open after see your work, it's amazing.
    My project for next year it's to attend a couple of courses of metalwork, I love to learn, this can give a bigger expand to my jewellery, I fill a bit frustrate, I need something new to add to my work.
    Thanks for share yours, you are a grand inspiration for me

  3. Oh my goodness...your enameling pieces are gorgeous, Lesley - GORGEOUS! I cannot wait to see what you come up with! The patinas on the ancient pieces in the photos are eye-catching for sure! Since taking classes at ART BLISS in September, I have revisited my "jewelry" as well and have signed up for some intense soldering class in February. I have no idea where it will take me - but I am ready, willing, and able to go there! Merry Christmas to you!

  4. Gosh, Lesley. All of your projects look wonderful! Can't wait to see what 2013 brings for you!

  5. I would love to try polymer clay or ceramics.

  6. Looking forward to those enamels being in the shop! Lovely stuff, Claire (cl.lockwood@gmail.com)

  7. Thank you Ms. Lesley, you have given me some good things to think on. I love your enameling, almost as much as your bronze!

  8. I have loved seeing your evolution. You are a model of success for me! I am like you in that I take all these workshops and classes and then amass a pretty stash and I come home with the entire kit and kaboodle ready to take on the world! But then reality strikes and I realize I have neither the time nor the space to make it happen. I would love to set up an enameling studio in my home someplace. The garage is a tad chilly in the winter! So it might be a summer project for me.

    I want to get my studio in order. I want to use up the stash of art beads that is setting up permanent shrine in my house! I want to focus on taking my components in a direction like you have, making more, pushing limits, challenging myself.

    Thank you for sharing your beauty with the world and for inspiring us all!
    Enjoy the day.

  9. Lesley, I love your bronze pieces and those enamels are fantastic! Can't wait to see where you go with them. My own goals are simple. I'm going on a retreat in January to get more familiar with copper clay. While I love working with the bronze, it is so unpredictable for me.,...also want to do something with polymer clay. I also want to incorporate more of my spirituality into my work. Happy holidays to you and yours!

  10. My gosh, you're so versatile, Lesley. I want to grow my wire working skills in 2013 and have asked Santa for an online wire-working course.

  11. I so look forward to seeing you grow in your process and desires! All of what you have showing is totally drool worthy!

  12. Love this story and love your work. You are a great inspiration. Thank you so much.

  13. I think you're pretty amazing...to do what you've done and still be hungry for more...but in a controlled manner. LOL! And for what it's worth, I think working with mandrels with torch firing enamel beads is more difficult that what we lampworkers do because the bead isn't stationary. It took me a while to get used to the fact the bead could move around. Because if you are working with molten glass and the bead release breaks, you're done with that bead. Its ability to move around is a dangerous situation. My goals for the new year? I'm not sure yet. I've been pondering that a lot this week though.

  14. So very talented and so beautiful! Looks like you have a terrific start to 2013!

  15. Thank you all for your kind words. I would just like to add that without the support of groups like AJE and people like yourselves within the beading community that are so willing to support and share, I wouldn't have achieved a fraction of this or be half as inspired to try new things. So thank you, I am in your debt.


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