• Dawn

Happy Dance

Sometimes a week can’t get any better; and this, so far, has been one of those weeks.

I’ve had some jewellery accepted by a lovely, small, family run gift shop in Tavistock (on the edge of Dartmoor since you ask!)  and was beyond excited to be told by the owner I’d sold a piece within the first week.

It’s the first time I’ve had my jewellery in a real, physical shop. I packed up all the items I thought would work better in reality, rather than virtually (this includes things like these artichoke studs that I find are too shiny for me to photograph properly)  and I really didn’t expect them to want to stock anything. However, the owner, was lovely and generous and supportive, and was the second person in two days to give me a ticking off; saying that I should be more confident in my work, so I’ve promised them I’m going to try harder!

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve completed a few commissions; have a few more on the go and the results of two of the completed items are now shareable!

I’ve also lots of items to list in Etsy; but I need the sun to come out on a day when I’m not instructed to dig at the allotment so I can take the listing photos.

You might have picked up from my previous posts; I’m a big believer in reusing whenever possible; which is one of the reasons I welcome people asking me to repurpose or repair their special items.

Special to me means sentimental; not financial value, but as a result I find there is a different and often greater level of pressure. This is a good thing (I tell myself)!!

I was contacted last week by one of my customers asking me to adjust a pendant she loved.

She sent me her piece, including a couple of garnets she wanted me to use to replace the coral you can see at the top, (on this photo )   →

We then exchanged messages via FaceBook and Twitter – including a couple of brief videos to help her decide between some detail options. (This is standard practice for me; if a person asks me to make something special; it needs to be bang on, and I like them to be fully involved.) I was rather pleased with the finished article, and from the lovely message sent to me and review left, so is my customer.

She stumbled across me through Twitter I think; way back when I just started tweeting, and that’s also how I discovered that Brocante Of Devon were looking for local crafter/makers, so I’m very pleased I went to the effort of trying to use it!

I made two delicate and beaten jumprings to punctuate the stones, allowing for fluidity of movement and sparkle (one can never have enough sparkle!) and an optional chain with hematite, peridot and garnets punctuating the clasp.

Only one of the other two commissions is ready to fully share; this is another example of social media being handy – my customer placed a shout out on her social media for jeweller recommendations, and one of my earlier customers recommended me.

She wanted a pendant, made from silver to reflect her logo.

Sometimes these things just design themselves, so I sent her an estimate, with the logic behind my interpretation of her brief, and then once she expressed an interest I mocked up and posted her a dummy pendant in quite cruddy polymer clay.

I hadn’t realised how dried out my Fimo had become, so had to hope she could see past the dodgy texture and visualise it all shiny and sleek. Fortunately she’s clearly a woman with vision (!), so was able to see past the rubbish polymer clay and commissioned me to make her a fine silver pendant.

I always tell people that I’m not an artist; I’m a craftswoman – and still learning, so I’m rubbish at drawings and sketches, but I am quite good at practical problem solving. I also hate to reinvent the wheel and am super lazy, so in case you are a fellow clayer; here’s ‘how I did that’Enlarge the design on the pc to a variety of sizes.

  1. Print them off.

  2. Trace them onto shrink plastic to effectively create cookie cutters and then use the right sized one to press out the design.

I did this, to give me options making it easier to factor in the shrinkable rate of the plastic and the silver

I wanted to reflect the ethos of my customer’s business, so my intention was to make the yogi curvy and sensual both visually and in reality.

I accomplished this by:

  1. Roll Art Clay Silver to 6 cards thick

  2. Trim to slightly larger than the planned piece

  3. Lay some cling wrap over the clay and only then

  4. Press out the shape.

The cling wrap forces in a graduated curve, which gave me exactly the result I wanted

I made  a former from 1mm wire, to use for the indentation for the leg, and then, once she was dry I refined the clay as usual, firing with my Ultralite. Especially wonderful to do that on a cold February day!

Whilst the clay was drying I had prepared a couple of jump rings to act as a bail – my customer really liked the idea of the bail being sparkly and moving about, so I made my jumprings from 1.5mm fine silver wire, hammering on the sides and edges.

Once she (this yogi is most definitely a she!) was fired, I soldered a little fired ACS ball between her palms, sawed open the selected jumpring; re-soldering it once I’d connected it.

Then it was time to polish.

Throughout the process, I was in touch with my customer, by social media, using photos, videos and also by phone. It was a truly lovely commission and she’s been enjoying the whole thing greatly – it’s been such fun, ad it’s another piece I’m pleased with as is my customer. Yay!!

In fact, I’m enjoying sending people videos so much, I have opened a YouTube channel, specifically for this purpose – I can’t send a video via Facebook message, and doing so via a direct Twitter / Instagram message doesn’t allow for the recipient to share if they want; whereas a link to the YouTube channel does.

Here’s a selection of the photos I sent her of the pendant’s progress, along with the final shot.

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#commission #HappyDance #ReuseIsBetterThanRecycle #ThanksTwitter #NoJobTooSmall


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