Saturday, 28 June 2014


A quick interim post from me - I'm having a giveaway over on my Facebook page to say thank you to all those of you who follow my ramblings, like, comment and of course buy my work.  I'm truly grateful to you all for not making me talk to myself (I've found it's generally a short and unfulfilling conversation!) and this includes those of you who follow my blog too.  So please do pop over to my Facebook page and enter to win this ocean-themed mini pendant.

The giveaway closes at 8pm next Friday 4th July. :)

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Origins of a Jewellery Maker

I was asked yesterday why I started making jewellery.  I can't actually remember if I've covered this before (although you're welcome to trawl through all my previous blog posts and check!) so here is an answer of sorts.  You may have seen me write elsewhere that I 'fell into jewellery-making' by accident.  It's true.

I've always had a creative bent - my favourite subjects at school were art and English language - but like a lot of people, when I left school, I just needed a job to pay my bills.  It was during the recession in the early 1990's, so it's not as if I had a lot of choice.  Non-creative job eventually secured, I did what I had to do - got on with it.  Was it fulfilling?  Not particularly, although there is something very satisfying about earning your own money and paying your own bills.  (The novelty of that wears off quickly, but it's an ethos I still live by!)  And that's what I continued to do for the next 20 years - get on with it.  My only creative outlets for many of those years were writing fiction, which I've mentioned before, and making food and other items for my dollshouse (yes, the love of all things miniature lives on in my pendants!).

Then in 2006, while I was doing some work for a haberdashery company, I found some boxes of beads on a shelf in their warehouse - you know the type, a few different beads in pretty colours, with some basic findings.  On a whim, I bought one and had a play with it.  Did I instantly discover I had a talent for it and produce perfectly finished items?  Of course not!  My first earrings were very basic, made with plastic beads and base metal findings and as for the technique - let's just say calling the loops 'round' would be far too kind (as you can see, and I hope my photos have improved, too!).

But ... less than impressive experiments aside, I was nonetheless hooked.  I started to look around for more beads, then more - in fact, I'm surprised eBay didn't crack under the strain.  I can't actually remember when the love affair with wire first began - I do remember that I bought some basic tools with some birthday money from my uncle, and I was nervous that I might be rubbish at wireworking and have wasted the precious money!

It turns out that, with practice (lots!) I wasn't entirely rubbish after all, and the bending, twisting and hammering began in earnest.  I love being able to make all the components of a piece of jewellery myself - that's not to say I don't use beautiful findings made by other people, because as you know, I do.  There are many things I don't and can't make, but there's always some skilled craftsperson out there who does.  And you know I'm absolutely addicted to beads - the glamour hasn't worn off after all these years.  I've progressed from plastic and mass-produced glass beads to handmade lampwork and polymer clay, but I'm equally as fond of the humble seed bead, along with a nice sparkly bit of Czech glass.

And of course wire is my favourite material - relatively inexpensive, unless you're working with precious metal, and so versatile.  I can't translate everything that's in my head into wire - wish I could - but I'm not going to give up trying! ;)

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

The Importance of Hobbies

Hobbies.  It's a frivolous word.  And a frivolous thing, perhaps, but I think having a hobby - or several - is really important.  But isn't making jewellery your hobby, I hear you ask?  Well, yes - it certainly started out that way.  And it still is, in many ways - I've lost count of the number of times my hubby has said to me 'You're working?  Again?' as I'm sneaking out the wire to fiddle with in front of the telly.  It is, of course, my job, and a lot of my working hours are spent completing work for customers, (something I love doing) but finding myself inspired by something fresh and turning it into a piece of jewellery - just because - is the icing on the cake.

It's not my only hobby, though.  As you know if you follow this blog, I have always been a voracious reader.  This dates right back to when I first learned to read, and my Mum and I used to get the bus into town so that she could treat us both to a book from the secondhand bookshop in the square.  Then we'd spend the bus journey home reading - terribly sociable, I know!  Books have ALWAYS been my means of escape from a real life that occasionally sucks.

Similarly, when you're not reading someone else's story, why not write it?  I love words - the way a carefully chosen phrase can convey an emotion, something that hits you right - well, wherever it is you feel things most.  Is there anything quite like finishing a book that makes you similarly sigh with satisfaction and almost weep that the journey is over?  Writing is the flip side of that coin, but it's no less satisfying when the final word is written, and the characters still exist in your imagination, somewhere far outside of the pages.

So why do I think having a hobby is important?  I cannot comprehend the concept of boredom.  If ever I hear someone say they're bored, I'm amazed.  How does anyone have time to be bored?  As long as I have a blank page and a pen or pencil, I'm able to occupy myself.  There are so many things you could be doing with your hands or your mind, why would you relinquish a second of your precious time to ennui?  To me, hobbies - interests, passions, whatever you want to call them - are so important because if you have nothing else to fill your time, they give you purpose, and if you're only able to fit them around jobs/illness/less than fulfilling lives, they provide an escape and a route to personal joy.  And there is always room for more joy in this world.

So tell me, what hobbies bring you joy?