Monthly Archives: July 2010

Being Busy

Hello, just a quick update- studio work is going well, and I’m really excited about having two new pieces to show you quite soon! I’ve finished with the metalwork and have sent them off to get gold plated (how exciting!)- expect to see some shiny gold pieces on the blog no later than next week! Ciao for now

p.s. I’ve just uploaded my artist statement, so feel free to take a look at that if you like- it’s linked under “Pages” on the right-hand toolbar. Let me know what you think!

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Two New Pieces!

It’s been a long time coming, but now the studio time has paid off- I’ve now got two new pieces to show!

Floral Wallpaper Brooch

Floral Wallpaper Brooch, side

Floral Wallpaper Brooch, Back

The Floral Wallpaper Brooch uses a wallpaper pattern from the early 1900’s-

Original Wallpaper

I took photos of the wallpaper (which is still in use at a house here in Birmingham), then used Photoshop to isolate parts of the wallpaper design that I wanted to work with. I changed the scale of various parts of the design (like the line of daisy-ish flowers that are found on a small scale on the front of the brooch, then used as a large piece on the back of the brooch). I made the plaster disc (front and back pieces) first, then set about making a metal frame that would fit around it all. Let’s just say that I spend several days filing and sanding again! All in a day’s work, eh?
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Damask Brooch

Damask Brooch, Back

Damask Brooch, Side

Damask Brooch, back piercing detail

For the Damask Brooch, I had some photos I’d taken in an 1800’s museum house in London-

The Red Room

The Green Room

I loved walking between these two rooms, seeing everything go from reds to greens. I used photographs I took in both of those rooms to inspire this faded red/pink and green pattern that I put together in Photoshop. I liked the way the pattern changed with the folds of cloth on the drapes (as seen in the Red Room photo) and decided to try to mimic this in the plaster damask piece. I’m really pleased with the result: the rigid plaster gets a soft, smooth cloth-like feel with this new method of construction.

Always a sucker for punishment, I decided that I wanted the same damask pattern to be used on the back of the brooch, and set out piercing that pattern into the back plate. I softly formed the back piece of metal, making it curve and ripple slightly to mimic the “cloth” plaster piece at the front. The softly curved metal piece makes a good transition between the very 3-d front element and the very flat brooch back plate.
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My normal working method is to only make one piece at a time, and while I work on that piece I’m busy thinking up the next one. Somehow these two pieces ended up happening at the same time- it was a nice change- when I got tired of looking at one pattern for hours on end, I could just change and look at a different pattern for a few hours. The only problem is that since I was concentrating on two pieces at once, I didn’t plan out what to do next! I spent a morning at my favorite coffee shop¬† (www.urbancoffee.co.uk– if you’re in the Birmingham area, you should give this place a try!), designing some new pieces and now have 8 more designs that could possibly happen. Not sure when the next piece will be finished, but I’m hoping to have a new one in another week or so- see you then, if not sooner!

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St. Andrews, Scotland

View from the bell tower

This weekend I had a chance to go visit an American friend of mine who is getting her Masters at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. This small town is quite well-known worldwide for being the birthplace of golf, but I think for me the golf is the least exciting part of this amazing town!

St. Andrews is right on the sea- there’s a lovely path that goes along the coast:

St. Andrews Coastal Path

There are amazing ruins to be found here- a cathedral, a castle, and a chapel (which is oddly situated right across from a bunch of High Street shops).

St. Andrews Cathedral Ruins

Cathedral door

The cathedral is massive- it’s hard to get the scope of all the ruins from photographs: it’s well worth it to walk around the ruins, which is completely free!

Cathedral Close-up

You can also climb the tower on the cathedral grounds (buy entry to it at the cathedral gift shop) and get a gorgeous view of the town:

View from the bell tower

Walking around town you see a lot of interesting little details, including a face imprinted on the front wall of one of the university buildings (supposedly the face of the first martyr of the Scottish Reformation in the 1500’s),

Stone Face

an inappropriately-named road,

Butts Wynd Road

and steps that don’t appear to lead anywhere useful

Mystery Steps

The castle ruins are quite interesting, as are the ruins of Blackfriars Chapel, which is situated on one of the 3 main roads in St. Andrews, across from a line of high street shops:

Castle ruins

Blackfriars Chapel

And no post about St. Andrews would be complete without having a picture of the golf course (whether you find golf interesting or not)- they’re in the middle of getting ready for the Open in less than two weeks, so there are tents up everywhere and loads of bleachers. Apparently cheap seats at the Open goes for ¬£1000 (~$1500!)

Birthplace of Golf

The golf course is right next to the beach, so we spent some time there and witnessed a jellyfish invasion! They were everywhere, and they were gorgeous!

Jellyfish Invasion

After an amazing weekend away in St. Andrews (with stopovers in Edinburgh on the way there and back to visit friends) I’m now back in the south, getting on with projects and trying not to miss Scottish accents too much (they’re my favorite!).

I’m finishing up a few pieces soon, so I’ll have new jewellery to show in the very near future if all goes well!

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