Monthly Archives: June 2010

Granny’s Wallpaper Brooch

The newest brooch in the series! Inspired by wallpaper at Granny’s house in Birmingham, England:

Granny's Hall Wallpaper

Granny's Wallpaper Brooch, front

Granny's Wallpaper Brooch, Detail

Granny's Wallpaper Brooch, Back

So this is my favorite one yet! I actually had a really good time doing all of that decorative metal piercing with the copper and brass.  I’ve got some ideas for a few new pieces, but it may be another few weeks before I’ve got another one done and ready to post. You’ll hear from me sooner than that, though- bye for now!



Filed under England, grad school, jewellery, jewelry

Brooch the Second

Ceiling Brooch

This brooch is based on a photo I took at (yet another) recent visit to the Victoria and Albert museum in London. I love decorative ceilings, and this was a good one to use! The actual ceiling has a skylight in the middle, but I filled the skylight in with a pattern made from some details in the decoration. I really like how this turned out with using one of my own photographs, but I’m also glad that I changed it a bit by adding the pattern, because otherwise it would just be a photo of a ceiling that any museum tourist could easily photograph. This is something I think I’ll work on exploring more in some future brooches.

In this piece I really got back to my metalworking roots: “bezel setting” this plaster disc, which is about 5 inches wide and 3 inches tall. (For those of you jewellers out there, imagine how much filing and sanding it took to get a bezel that is perfectly even on the bottom AND the top, since it was connected to sheet on both sides- I was sanding by hand for about two days).

I got really good at using the laser welder in making this piece- it’s such an amazing, revolutionary tool for jewellery production!

Laser Weld detail

Sorry for the slightly blurred detail photo- this was just a quick snap of the piece that I took at the studio yesterday. Each of those little dots (“beads” is the welding term) is where the laser beam has “shot” the silver and welded it together. Because it’s such a small-scale operation, I was working under a magnifier and had to have REALLY steady hands to keep the laser welding in a straight line. It took about 3 hours to do all the laser welding on this brooch, as I had to weld both the front and the back plates to the side wall. Because of 3 hours of looking through a glorified magnifying glass, I think I’ve probably done my eyes a little bit of damage- I welded for a solid hour before I saw note thing posted that you weren’t supposed to weld for more than 15 minutes at a time. If I end up permanently cross-eyed, it’s all the fault of this brooch.

Back to the studio now- I need to do the finishing work on this brooch (sanding, polishing, etc) and work on finishing up another exciting brooch that I’m in the process of making! Keep an eye out for photos of Brooch the Third, coming soon. Happy Thursday!


Filed under grad school, jewellery, jewelry

My First Brooch

So I decided to have a bit of a change and make a brooch instead of a necklace: I’ve only made a brooch once, and that was about 5 years ago (with the teacher standing over me the whole time to tell me what to do), so this piece definitely felt like it was my first brooch! I have a feeling I’ll be getting back to making necklaces pretty soon, but there is something pretty nice about making a brooch: since it’s a smaller format, the composition is really important and it’s all about how the elements fit together. I have another brooch I’m working on at the moment; I’ll have that finished early next week if all goes well, and will post pictures of that one soon.

Anyway- this brooch uses a pattern that I made myself- I took an ironwork element from a photo of a door I took in Italy:

Italian Ironwork

I used this element to make several patterns, which I transferred to plaster:

Plaster Pattern Tests

Then I picked the one I liked the most and turned it into a brooch: I used the ironwork component to inspire the pierced silver design that I used on the back of the brooch:

Grey Ironwork Brooch

Grey Ironwork Brooch, Back

Grey Ironwork Brooch, Pin Detail

Grey Ironwork Brooch, Side

Grey Ironwork Brooch

I’m really enjoying making my own patterns, so that’s something I’m continuing with- I’ll post photos of the brooch I’m currently working on sometime next week. In the meantime, enjoy your weekend! I’m off to watch the England-America match (it’ll be a bit uncomfortable being the only American in a room of England supporters!)


Filed under Uncategorized

Venice is for [Art] Lovers

Lady Madonna

I recently had a chance to go to Venice! Because my Masters project is based on historical decoration, it was a perfect place to do project research (and have an excuse to enjoy the sunshine and eat amazing Italian food again!)

I went to Venice last year at the end of an Italian study program and saw the main sights and did most of the main activities (St. Mark’s Square, Murano, Burano, Rialto Market, vaporetto rides up and down the Grand Canal…). This trip I had a chance to slow down and appreciate the little things a bit more. I had a chance to go to some good museums, see inside some gorgeous old buildings, and I got to spend a lot of quality time walking through the streets snapping photos of pretty things that caught my eye. I got loads of new ideas for jewellery designs, so hopefully those ideas will filter down into reality some time in the near future.

In the meantime, thought I’d leave you with a few photos from the Venice trip. Because the internet is a large place and I’d rather not give the whole world free reign of my images, I’ve only uploaded small, lower-quality images, but if you’re interested in seeing a larger version, just send me an email and I’ll see what I can do for you:

Cool Lamp

San Marco

Doge's Palace

San Stae

Murano Light

Burano Shadows

Canal Neutrals


My favorite bit of Graffiti

Masterful Sculpture

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Filed under Europe, Travels

Etsy Makeover

Phew! Obviously with things being busy for grad school, I haven’t given much attention to my Etsy site. About a month ago I looked at it and realized it needed MAJOR changes- my header was crap and my photos were definitely crap! On top of that, the jewellery I was selling on there was not at all related to what I’m currently making- and while there’s no rule stating that it all has to relate, the things I’m making now are a lot more original and are completely “me”.

The pieces I’m making for my masters are very over-the-top pieces: certainly not meant for everyday wear, and probably not accessible to most wearers. I wanted to make a smaller scale range of pieces that were more suitable to everyday wear, so I started working on a range of plaster pendants utilizing images and patterns that I really like.

I’m really excited about the “makeover” update I’ve been able to give my Etsy store- to be honest, when I look back on how the store looked before, I’m a little bit embarrassed- this updated Etsy store look is such a vast improvement!

These pieces are the first set of new designs- I have about this many more already made- I just need to finish photographing them, then get them all uploaded. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to do that soon!

Tomorrow I’m off to London for another museum day- probably a lot of research at the Victoria and Albert Museum again- bye for now!

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Filed under jewellery, jewelry