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Showing posts from 2012

Christmas Day Pilgrimage

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On Christmas Day we try to make a point of walking up Trencrom. This is a hill close to our house with commanding views over West Penwith and topped with the remains of roundhouses and the remnants of a Hill Fort.  It really was blowing a gale up there, the nearest thing to having Botox treatment with the cold wind battering your forehead:)
In the first picture you can just make out some of the stones that formed a Roundhouse.
The second picture is the view towards St Michael's Mount.



The route up was really blowy and the path very rutted and muddy.


I tried to take a video of the slightly haphazard route down to the well.  There is plenty of camera shake as I tried to keep my feet whilst filming.  Offerings are often left there to the Spirit of the well; a tradition I expect has continued for centuries.

Prize draw Winner

Congratulations to Rhyan Ragadio who wins this month's prize draw.

But as a big thank you to those who took part, next month I will email you a special offer on a selected item of jewellery I'm sure you will like.  

I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a happy and healthy 2013:)

Yuletide Greetings

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I didn't get time to Illustrate a card this year, but in the spirit of conservation I recycled this one but added some snow:)


My last piece of 2012




Oak Leaf And Moonstone Necklace And Earrings

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Firstly thank you to those who have become my new followers:)  I admit you may have been slightly coerced into joining by my competition but I hope I will keep your interest now you are here.
I will probably run some more giveways in the near future.  If you haven't entered yet, you still have a few days:) 

Here are a couple of pieces I finished yesterday.  I am probably going to put them on Etsy as a matching set.  I more or less improvised with the making of these, just starting with a thumbnail sketch and ad-libbing from there.
The pendant leaves were made from 2 different gauges of sheet silver. The upper one was from 1mm sheet as this needed to be strong, only being supported from one point.  The lower leaf had to be thinner so I could burnish the leaf over the moonstone.  This meant I had to solder a supporting 'rib' of silver underneath give it strength.  Otherwise it would easily be bent. 



Oak Leaf Pendant WIP This is how the pendant started out life: A Moonstone, piece…

Jewellery Patterns

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Here are a couple of pendant/broach designs I've been working on for casting in silver or bronze.  The materials don't really suit the task though.  Polymer clay is a great medium for creating models but when a finer level of detail is required, epoxy resins such as Milliput or Green stuff, or even wax based materials work better.  I just used what came to hand:)  I can refine these patterns a bit more, particularly the owl's plumage.  But the feather's are small and fiddly.  But once in metal I should be able to get a good finish.
The jewels in the owl's eyes are just placed there to give an idea of the intended finish to the piece.  I haven't got any proper lost wax casting equipment so i'm going to try using a sand casting type method using Delft Clay.  This will probably work for the owl but not for the heart as it is probably too delicate using this technique.  I'll give Prometheus Bronze clay a go by making a silicone push mould and pressing the cl…

DECEMBER GIVEAWAY

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Win this beautiful nature inspired Sterling Silver Pendant! Starts Saturday December 8th
It features a wood textured ring with a garnet cabochon mounted in Fine Silver on a flower.

To enter the free draw use the form below.







This competition is completely above board and is purely to increase the exposure of my Jewellery designs on the internet.  The form below ensures that everyone who follows me on Twitter or Facebook or adds a comment on my Blog is accounted for and the winner fairly drawn out at the close of entry.

To enter please click on a button below.  Each selection entitles you to one entry in the draw.  Click all 4 and you will have that many chances to win. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fallow Period

I am in a resting phase at the moment.  Well as far as actually creating is concerned.  I have decided to do a serious de-cluttering of my house and working environment.  So I am ridding the house of anything that does not fulfill a useful purpose...but I have awarded special dispensation to my eldest son:)

I am going to throw myself totally into sculpture in both clay and silver.  So I am gearing up my workspace accordingly. This requires a lot of restructuring and storage, so I had to tackle the gigantian task of clearing the loft to accommodate excess equipment.

I am waiting to hear about how the marketing of the children's interactive books I did some illustrations for, is going.  My Agent said it could take as long as 12 months before anything positive happens.  But if the go ahead is given it could mean as many as 26 books are involved!

Until then I am going to give everything to sculpture.  I am a real fan of Comic Book art, so I intend to develop a story/character in this vei…

Introducing My Dark Side...

http://arcanefactory.blogspot.co.uk/

This is the Blog where I intend to show my masculine side:)  I am working on up-cycled stuff and to be honest it is proving challenging.  But it is making me use my brain a bit more and in different ways.

My 'studio' is a bit like a gun runners den at the moment, in that I have dozens of bullets, shell casings, clips etc.  I am trying to create something altogether more peaceful and harmonious with them.

I am still creating new designs for women's jewellery but I hope to target the discerning customer with less money to spare.  I have been re-investing most of my earnings in equipment, including the means to cast silver.  So this should allow me to produce things at a lower cost.

I now have a lot of camera studio equipment now including a soft-box and continuous lighting.  So things have improved in terms of photographing my products.

Spiral Necklace

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Here are a couple of more professional looking pictures of the necklace I created:




This necklace surprised me by weighing more than 17 grams or 21 grams including the Mother-Of-Pearl beads.  

I'm not sure that selling expensive jewellery is the way to go on Etsy.  Most of the successful sellers seem to have cheaper items.  I am looking at different ideas including maybe stopping production of this kind of jewellery altogether.

What Am I Doing?....

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...I wish I knew, but whilst I decide I've been carrying on with the jewellery.
I have come up with another couple of designs.  The first being a variation on the Moonstone and Oak Leaf Ring I produced before.  This one is a bit simpler to make in that I can solder the leaves and not worry about allowing for the  burnishing of the bezel because there is no overlap of leaf over bezel in this design.
This Rainbow Moonstone is nice and clear and produces a really vibrant blue glow.




This is a quick snap of a necklace I'm working on that features Rainbow Moonstones, dyed Mother-Of-Pearl, a hammered spiral and large links, finished with a Navette Trace chain, all in Sterling Silver.


I enjoy creating jewellery for women although some of the technicalities of my designs make life a bit difficult and not wonderfully profitable.  If you go by cost of materials versus sale price it's ok, but if time is factored in, not so good.  Am I trying to start a business or maintain a hobby?  

Worki…

Getting Down To It

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Jewellery

I have just finished a couple of jewellery commissions including these:






Could be the last of this type for a while though.  

I'm trying to work with Silver Clay and although it gives more creative possibilities it is proving limited for my style of jewellery.  It is VERY expensive and in order to produce anything of fine detail you need to fashion master models and make press moulds from them before casting in the clay.  I made a 3cm long mermaid in sculpey, (which is not the ideal material for this scale), and created a silicone mould. I found that sculpting under a magnifying glass challenging but a little tedious to be honest.  I'll show the results in my next post.

So I've basically discounted Precious Metal Clay as a medium,  and complex wrought metal shaping and soldering.  So that leaves Centrifugal casting or Delft Clay casting.  Delft Clay is the least expensive equipment-wise, so I'll be trying this next.

Illustration

The illustrations I created for Bramb…

Logo For Possible Male Accessories and Tees

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I boughta couple of Dot Com's: Arcane Factory and Arcane Wear; with a view to perhaps creating masculine jewellery/accessories and maybe T-shirts.  I always enjoyed screen printing at college and this is something I might explore.


Arcane: Requiring secret knowledge to be understood; mysterious;esoteric, known or understood by very few; mysterious; secret; obscure;esoteric.


The name is evocative of the style I would be interested in developing. A sort of fantasy/steam-punk/industrial/nature range of pieces. It may seem odd to have a mix of nature and industry but you will have to watch this space to see how or if it works.

I'm currently producing a few more pieces of wrought silver 'naturalistic' women's jewellery; but I will soon be creating cast pieces which I hope will further reflect my interest in figurative sculpture.



Two New One-Off Nature inspired Pendants

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These are two of my latest pieces.  As usual they were inspired by the nature around me here in West Cornwall.  The larger one is 45mm in diameter, the smaller 20mm which I finished today. The silver weight is 6.4g and 3g consecutively.





They were both created freehand with the elements cut, forged and positioned in a way most pleasing to my eye.  The smaller piece has a Garnet cabochon set in the flower with a fine silver bezel.

The first pendant is already listed.  The second one is more affordable and will be available later today.

Going With The Flow....

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I'mbusy finishing up some models for a children's board book. Not exactly the kind of work I planned to be doing at this stage of my career.  But this is the only work that has presented itself to my Agent of late.

I have though been receiving a number of jewellery commissions, including:





The increasing sales of my jewellery designs is giving me more confidence that there could be a possible business there.  But I need to work on designing pieces that are easier to produce.  

I have also been working on a sculpture which has had to be put on the back-burner whilst I was trying to finish the illustration job, and this will also have to wait until after I finish making the Moon Gazing Hare pendant.  This involves cutting and shaping the two colours of Mother Of Pearl, soldering a circle of square wire to a fine silver bezel strip, soldering a tree and casting a hare in Fine silver; then soldering a loop and ring for a chain and burnishing the MOP in place!

There are big changes goin…

Back In The Saddle...

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I've been working on both Jewellery and OOAK Sculpture for the past few weeks.


My jewellery has actually started to sell on Etsy and Folksy. This is the link to my Etsy shop:http://www.etsy.com/shop/SylphSilver


I thought the prices might put people off and maybe they do for many; but for those who have enough disposable income, they do appreciate the work involved and are prepared to pay for it.  But I need to address the issue of stock-control.  Silver is expensive these days so I don't want to hold too much in reserve.  Accordingly, many items are made to order which means there is a bit more stress involved in producing the jewellery.


In order to make my designs available to people at lower prices I am trying to set up some casting equipment.  I have ordered some casting flasks from the US but they are languishing at my sister's Florida home until we can work out a cheaper way of shipping them here.  The cost of postage from America is ridiculously expensive.


Here's my …

I Have A Small Commission…

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…via Etsy to make a silver ring.  I’m flattered when anyone likes my work enough to actually buy it, be it Illustration, jewellery or sculpture.Since deciding to make my jewellery available on Etsy and Folksy, it has become apparent just how much work has to go into the other aspects of selling to the public; things like presentation, photographing and packaging the items.  Then there’s the branding, marketing and networking, just to make people aware that your creations actually exist.So what happens when you don’t sell out your shop within days of opening?  You start to ask yourself why. Are your items not being seen? Are the items not appealing enough?  Are they priced fairly?To address and solve these issues takes time and effort beyond just making your products.  It also has a galvanising effect on you as a craftsperson.  It tests your resolve and dedication to your chosen craft.  The support of people who have experience in selling their wares and gaining a commission has helped…

Tree-Free, (Hemp), Pocket Notebooks

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I have been puting together some leather bound small notebooks with hemp paper.  I have made a few designs and will be adding more.  They are 7.5cm x 8.5cm.  Ideal for pockets or handbags.  The hemp paper is a really good surface to write or sketch on.  The pads are hand bound with leather thong which wraps around the pages to keep them together.
I will be putting them on Etsy/Folksy this weekend.

Today I went to see the owner of a local shop which sells spiritual items, jewellery etc, to see what they thought of my silver rings and pendants.  They seemed to really like what I had created.  The jewellery ranges they sold however were mainly bought in from the Far east.  So it was difficult to see how I could pitch my prices.


I individually hand make my items whereas the Far Eastern stuff is often produced by casting into moulds by low paid workers.  They woman in the shop said that the designs sent to them to were sometimes the inverse of the symbols they were meant to represent.  This w…