Friday, March 6, 2015

Sketchbook Inspiration

After sharing a look at my sketchbooks yesterday, I couldn't resist taking a peek at the beauty on offer via Pinterest. Don't these gorgeous sketches and paintings make you yearn to pick up a sketchbook and find a quiet spot, even if you have never sketched before? 

They make me dream of a cottage by the sea, sandy feet, a cool breeze, cups of tea and a beautiful view.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Defining Space

A pocket for keeping all those little bits of inspiration and notes.

My Nature book, mixed media book (with a project from Yao Cheng's class) and my jewellery sketchbook.

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago on A List Of Goals I Am Working On, one of my goals for the year has been to 'Make Marks Daily' (inspired by @pinkyandmaurice 's hash tag on Instsgram #makemarksdaily). As part of this challenge, I decided to get more organised in my approach to my sketchbook and supplies.

Firstly I realised one sketchbook for everything wasn't really cutting it. Watercolours were seeping through to my jewellery sketches and I could never find the things I was looking for. So now I have three - my spiral bound Nature Book, just like Cohen's, for when we draw our found treasures like shells and leave together; a mixed media sketchbook, where I can do everything from sketching, to line draw in pen or ink, painting with water colour or experimenting with collage; while my third sketchbook is dedicated to my jewellery sketches.

I discovered these gorgeous sketchbooks - Dylusions Creative Journal (I brought mine here). They are a little on the expensive side for a sketchbook, but I loved my first one so much that I ordered another one. I also ordered this set of Micron pens. They are archival and waterproof once they are dry, so they are great for drawing and even painting over with water colours - a trick I learned from Lisa Congdon's Creativebug class.

I find this separation and having these defined spaces in the three books has offered me greater clarity with the direction of my work. Having a book dedicated to jewellery means I'm less likely to be distracted by other drawing tasks - a little like closing down all your tabs and leaving just the one open. It also means that when we go to the park, Cohen and I just bring our Nature Books with us, and I am no longer lugging along my jewellery and experimental sketches at the same time.

I'm fascinated by the ways creatives work. A behind the scenes look in to a studio, a peek at an artists collection of sketchbooks, or a look in to their selection of materials will garner my attention every time. Sketchbooks are a way of collecting thoughts, processes, experiments, designs and the sparks of greater work to come.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

On Tantrums and Toddlers...

Oh. My.
Or more precisely, a certain two year old who will soon be three.
Cheeky, adorable, hilarious, unpredictable and unable to be reasoned with...

I think I rather forgot what it was like to have a tantruming three year old. Cohen wasn't big on the tantrums, thankfully. He had a couple of doozies in public places, and he was keen to be independent, but I just don't remember him being quite like his little sister. He was three and a bit when she was born, all the more reason to have tantrums I would have thought? But oh no, Emerson is the little miss of tantrums. She is redefining for me how one parents a toddler.

Windy day? Tantrum! Because I won't stop the wind.
Tries to climb book case and pulls it over. Cries from fright, then throws tantrum when we suggest she no longer climbs book case.
Walking to school? Tantrum! Because I suggest she shouldn't wear slippers to school in Summer. I tactfully decide to 'pick my battles' and allow said slippers to be worn regardless. Another tantrum on the way to school, as she no longer wants to wear the slippers. Thus, she walks barefoot, still whingeing.

Today there was a tantrum because I turned the tv off when it was time to pick up her brother from school. She refused to move, and rather perfectly imitated jelly on the floor instead. I had to carry her to the baby's pram and strap her in, while wearing Oscar in the sling, in order to pick up Cohen on time. Phew. Another tantrum from Miss almost-three about being in the pram. Then she fell asleep on the way home, so I carried her quietly upstairs. Cue another tantrum when she realised I had laid her down in her bed.

Oh my. On top of which I have had a teething baby with a runny nose and a six year old that would make a wonderful political, given his skill at argument.

My dear children. How I love them. Please pour me another glass of wine...

Monday, February 23, 2015

Pearl Threading Workshop - Recap

I think there was no better place to be Saturday morning than sitting in the sweet BrisStyle workshop space, threading pearls with a group of lovely ladies, as the rain poured down outside. There was tea and biscuits, cake and coffee, and eight pairs of hands threading and knotting their very own strand of fresh water pearls.

I was a ball of nerves beforehand, despite having learnt and practiced this technique for the past ten years. But my fears melted away as soon as I entered the space. My love of making jewellery and the joy of sharing my passion soon replaced those butterflies. It was delightful to meet each member of the group, hear a little about what had brought them to the workshop that day and their current creative pursuits. From jewellers to beaders, to those with a collection of personal jewellery that need re-threading, each participant was able to learn a new skill that they can use to express their creativity and also put to practical use.

I had so much fun working with these ladies, going over the history, creation and types of pearls, as well as tips and tricks for care, and a secret resource list of suppliers too. Can't wait to do it again!


I will be hosting another pearl threading workshop with BrisStyle in the next couple of months, so sign up for my newsletter to stay up to date, or keep an eye on their Craft Workshop page.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A List Of Goals I'm Working On

As February hurries on, I wanted to take a moment to post and reflect on the goals I set for the year, as well as my current progress. Thus. keeping myself accountable and sharing a little of what goes on in my head and behind the scenes in my business. There are four major projects on the burner this year.

Goal 1: Workshop

One of my ambitions this year was to teach a workshop and impart knowledge and skills to other makers. I have spent so much time learning, skilling myself, and I wanted a way to share those skills with others. I approached BrisStyle with the idea of teaching traditional Pearl Threading, and they were really excited about it.

Progress: The workshop is this Saturday (there are a few tickets left) and the kits are made up! I'm finalising the written instructions and resource list, and I shall be baking a cake the night before. I'm really excited about sharing a wonderful crafty morning with a group of creatives, while drinking tea and eating cake and getting to know more about the group.

Goal 2. Two Collections 

My goal for my store this year is to create, photograph and launch a March and August jewellery collection, consisting of at least 12 pieces for each.

Progress: I've designed the first collection, which will feature a selection of pastel gemstones set in white gold and silver. The first few pieces have been started and are in different states of progress - from ready to be cast waxes, to ready to be set rings. There are still more pieces to make before my deadline next month, when I have a photographer, model and location lined up to shoot the new collection, before releasing it online! Between working on the pearl threading workshop and crafting custom made pieces, I will be cutting it fine to fit it all in, in time for the shoot! (You can sign up to my newsletter to stay in the loop on.)

I've also started designing and researching the second collection I have planned this year, which will be launched in August. My next step forward is a range of wedding rings, both his and hers. I aim to have my everyday wear collection in The Sentimental Collection, the above mentioned Coloured Stones Collection, as well as the wedding ring collection. I already plan to follow it up next year with an Engagement Ring Collection. (Think Art Deco, diamonds and sapphires.)

Goal 3. Finders Keepers 

I've loved the few markets I have done since really starting my business. But when I was planning for 2015 I decided against doing all but one market this year. I wanted to focus my time and funds on developing the two new collections. Also, given that I have an eight month old, a two year old and a six year old, and I work from home without childcare, trying to build up enough stock and fit in regular markets is rather difficult right now. Instead, I am am concentrating on creating custom client pieces and my new collections, while slowly building up my stock levels, so as to apply for the November Brisbane Finders Keepers.

Progress: I have employed the lovely Didi, who was once my Intern, in helping me in this department. She is working on finishing and polishing some of my designs from her home jewellery bench, after clocking off from her other jewellery job. I love that we still are working with each other and have an excuse to catch up!

Finders Keepers is such a lovely market, with a great atmosphere. I've met so many of my clients and blog readers there. And honestly, I think I would go just for the compliments alone that I get on my jewellery! So fingers crossed, my application will be accepted and I will see you Brisbane folk there in November. :)

Goal 4. Make Marks Daily 

As an artist with a love of sketching and journaling, I was inspired last year by Claire's Instagram project - Make Marks Daily. And while I sketch when the mood takes me, or when I am designing for my shop or a client, turning the process in to a daily challenge has been so rewarding.

Progress: I have discovered a new relationship with my sketch book. I am getting more confidant in my designs. I have been experimenting with new mediums, like sketching jewellery with a calligraphy pen and ink. I have been learning new styles and techniques from new teachers, like Lisa Congdon, Yao Cheng and Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls. And as we all know, to improve at anything, one must practice. Allowing myself the time to do so has already had so many benefits.


It feels good, and a little scary, to write that all down in a post. Do you make similar plans for your year, and psuh yourself out of your comfort zone, or challenge yourself with new projects? What's on your list? How do you keep yourself accountable?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

A love of letters

As a child I had a calligraphy set. Perhaps you had one too? Sheafer, I think, from a book store. It came in a box with several cartridges of ink, three different nibs and a plastic pen that they screwed in to. I spent hours and hours writing all manner of things, on any paper I could call my own. I felt incredibly grown up, writing in fancy scripts and copying ornate letters. I wanted to write everything with a calligraphy pen once I was an adult.

I remember my 'Aunt' (my parents friend) had a writing desk in her beautiful home, and she always wrote with a calligraphy pen. I thought it was the ultimate in style and luxury. I coveted her collection of thick envelopes, smooth paper and bottles of ink. She was a role model to me in so many ways and I still feel her influence in much of my day to day life - from my love of hydrangeas; which grew by her front door, to our trips to boutiques stocked with handmade treasures. From my love of handmade soap; which her bathroom was never without, to my love of classic style; which she pulled off effortlessly in my memories of her.

Funny how much things change and how little things change, as I take another calligraphy class and use my nib and ink to sketch in my beautiful new sketchbook.

What did you love as a child that you still love now?


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Art Deco Darling

I had the pleasure of making this darling ring recently. Simple, geometric and striking, this custom ring came from a design idea the client had for the gemstones from three meaningful rings she didn't wear. 

As you can see from the sketches and the first pieces of the ring, I made some changes as I went along, swapping out the flat top plate for a rounded top plate with an opening beneath to add interest. I also increased the thickness of the top plate to make it more substantial and balanced. The Diamond setter I use did a fantastic job of setting the Diamonds and Sapphire in this piece and applying that sweet mill grain edge. It really completes the vintage look and softens those straight lines a little.

I really love this ring! It's the kind of piece that you could wear everyday as a right hand ring, or an Engagement ring. It was very well received by it's new owner, which made my heart swell with pride. And just a little heads up, there will be a few more Art Deco custom order rings to come soon.

If you would like to have something custom made, you can find out more about working with me here.
If you would like to see more of my past work, visit my portfolio here.
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