Wednesday, 16 May 2018

January birthstone Garnet

A bit late, I know, I did actually make this back in January.
Following on from my previous winning post about my kernowcraft wish list, I used my winning voucher to start me off on my birthstone jewellery venture.
My first make was this stunning wire and glass bead crocheted necklace and earring set featuring Garnet drops. which is the birthstone for January. 

This set is currently available from Gallery at 12 in Eccleshall, or please feel free to contact me and I can provide you with further details - I am happy to post out to you if you are living in the UK. 
I am continuing to make birthstone jewellery this year and currently have made an item every month including May so if you cannot wait to see my other makes please visit my instagram page or facebook page to see up to date makes, I hope that in due course I will post all of my birthstone jewellery on here - watch this space

Monday, 4 December 2017

Birthstone Jewellery - looking into the possibility of a new range

Now my last event for 2017 is behind me, I have no more workshops planned until January and both my December exhibitions are up and running, it is time to take stock and think about what direction to take my jewellery into next year.
I will continue knitting my tiaras and crowns, that is a given, along with making wedding jewellery commissions. I am planning a whole series of new jewellery making workshops for the New Year and I am waiting to see the response from my exhibitions before I start knitting and crocheting more wall art. but I am also wanting to introduce a range of beaded birthstone jewellery so I have been looking at the Kernowcraft website to see whether this would be possible - and to my delight I have discovered it is and I thought I would like to show you how!
Firstly why am I so surprised at being able to do this?
Well as you know if you have seen my jewellery makes - I work with beads, I usually work with glass, beads, freshwater pearls and semi precious beads basically anything with a hole all the way through so I can them thread onto wire or beading thread - I rarely wire wrap stones and I do not set stones or cabochons into bezels. So as far as semi precious stones this can be quite limiting or so I thought -
I have in mind to crochet or knit my birthstone jewellery so not only do the stones have to be in a bead form they have to be small enough or in a suitable shape to suit my designs and the beads I have selected for my wish list I believe will work perfectly to create the look I am after -
so here is my wish list with links to the product on the Kernowcraft website - If these products capture your imagination please contact me to discuss the type of jewellery I would /could make with the beads as I would be happy to make as a commission.

January  Garnet
Garnet Faceted
Marquise Briolette Beads 

I would hang at least five of these on a crocheted choker style necklace either with beading thread or wire.

February - Amethyst

Pink Amethyst Faceted Drop Briolette Beads, 
I would hang at least five of these on a crocheted choker style necklace either with beading thread or wire.

March - Aquamarine

Aquamarine Curved Triangular Tube Beads
These aquamarine beads would look great crochet or knitted on wire as a bracelet

April - Diamond

Diamond Natural Rough Crystal Nugget Beads
You can actually buy diamonds as beads - who knew?!
I would hope to crochet a choker / necklace and include at least three of these in the design - You just don't know how excited I am about these!

May - Emerald
July - Ruby
September - Sapphire

Shaded Sapphire, Ruby and Emerald Faceted Rondelle Beads
This string would be great for three months and the rondelle beads would look great included in knitted or crocheted wire bracelets

June - Pearls

Cultured Freshwater White Pearls, 4-4.5mm Roundish
So many pearls to choose from but these small round Freshwater pearls would look stunning in a knitted bracelet or even a knitted tiara

August - Peridot

Peridot Faceted Rondelle Bead

These rondelle beads would be equally as beautiful included in a multi-stranded crocheted necklace or in a knitted or crocheted bracelet - so many options

October - Opal

Ethiopian Opal Drop Shape Briolette Beads

Most Opals come in cabochon form and would look stunning wire wrapped, but to my delight Kernowcraft also have opal beads which would hang so elegantly from a knitted or crocheted choker.

November - Topaz

Sky Blue Topaz Faceted Drop Briolette Beads
These delicate blue topaz would look so pretty hanging from a knitted or crocheted wire choker

December - Turquoise

Turquoise Round Beads
Again, so much choice, but I decided that these provided a lot of different options, such as crochet or knitted as a bracelet, or crocheted as a string of turquoise or crocheted knitted into a choker

All of my chosen beads could also be incorporated into earring designs and some could even be added to a knitted or crocheted ring and I am sure with more thought I could come up with even more suggestions, that is the beauty of jewellery design - the possibilities are endless .

I hope you have enjoyed this post as much as I have enjoyed researching it - and maybe one day I will get my hands on some of these and share my actual makes!

this  post is part of Kernowcraft's Win Your Wishlist competition.

Friday, 21 April 2017

What can you do with your old, much loved tiara? ....... Upcycle it!!!

Do you have a tiara stuffed to the back of a drawer or sat in a box on top of your wardrobe hoping for a day when you can wear it again? or are you saving it in the hope that your daughter will want to wear on her wedding day?

Let me work my magic!

Last month a lovely young lady, Sally contacted me out of the blue.
Sally had a tiara that she loved but was probably never going to wear again and was wondering if I could make jewellery out of it instead! - what a lovely idea .
I arranged to meet Sally with her tiara in Gallery at 12, Eccleshall, as I have a large selection of pearl and crystal jewellery there already made up, I could use those pieces as examples when discussing the possibilities and believe me there were plenty of possibilities!
It turned out that Sally also wanted to gift some of the items of jewellery to the people who had helped make her wedding day so special, including her Mum - a lovely idea turned into a really fabulous idea!!!
Having spent half an hour or so discussing possible jewellery designs Sally left me with the tiara, and while she went off to enjoy a holiday, I set too dismantling the tiara and making up new jewellery.

This is the tiara, full of glistening crystal diamantes and pearls-

I agreed to keep Sally informed throughout the process - photographing my makes and emailing them to her so she could tell me if she liked each design or if she wanted it tweaking, by the time she returned from her holiday I had all her new jewellery waiting for her.
The day the jewellery was collected I finished off the bracelets using Sally's wrist to gauge the correct lengths and handed all her new sparkling wearable jewellery over to a very happy Sally

These are some of the photos I took during the making process, some are completed items and some are the suggested designs before tweaking - I could have also made earrings but as Sally doesn't wear earrings I didn't make any this time  - there were really so many possibilities!

taken from Sally's emails....

Wow - they look amazing!! .................
.......I am so pleased I managed to find you as you are doing an amazing thing for me that I will treasure and I am certain my mum will too! 

Thanks very much and look forward to seeing the photos as and when you have done the others :-) 

Hi Angela,
It was lovely to see you again today at the craft fair!! Thank you so much for the amazing Jewellery you have made me out of my wedding tiara! :-) I love all the items so much and can't wait to wear them! My mum will love hers for sure! 
I really appreciate all of the advice and help you have given me along the way to making the jewellery perfect! 

I absolutely loved working on this project and playing around with the beads to see what I could come up with, and would be more than happy to convert more tiaras into jewellery that can again be worn - please ask me to help bring your wedding day back to life! x

Monday, 23 January 2017

New Venture

This year is proving to be quite exciting so far, and we are only 23 days into it! I am in the early stages of working towards possible new opportunities for later this year but to kick start 2017 I was approached by the lovely Beth of  Sweet Hearts Hair Design, she asked me if I could make her some hair charms.
So now I am pleased to announce that Sweet Heart Hair Designs are now the exclusive stockists of these pretty Swarovski hair charms - handmade by me!

I also have in my shop this pretty Swarovski heart necklace

which, as you can see,  would look so lovely with the hair charms

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Perseverance pays off in the end!

"Sometimes you just have to keep going, ignoring obstacles being thrown in front of you - it pays off in the end!"
....... and this week I had yet another reminder of exactly that!
I have been knitting with wire and beads for many years now, and I have always used my old metal knitting needles but whenever I see anything written about knitting with wire it is always recommending that you use bamboo needles, so last week I invested in 2 sets of bamboo needles, single and double pointed, I thought it was about time!!!
Two days ago I decided to attempt to knit a daffodil brooch and looking through my new sets I chose to use 2.5mm, normally I would use 2 1/4 or 2 3/4 mm metal ones, I don't have 2.5mm metal ones - this is a crucial point!

To start with I used the double pointed needles to make the trumpet, I decided to make the trumpet first as I thought it would be easier to design a petal to fit the size of the trumpet than to make a trumpet to fit the petals.

It wasn't long before I encountered my first problem - the needles were so fine that the wire was cutting through the tips of the needles and slicing through the points sometimes removing slithers of bamboo in the process!
Which meant I had to check which end of the double pointed needle I was using to insert into the stitch every time I switched needle, to make sure I was selecting the strongest tip. This slowed down the making of trumpet but didn't stop work - the trumpet was completed!

Once the trumpet had been made I set too with the knitting of the petals,

 all was going smoothly until my fourth petal, one of the needles snapped around a quarter of the length from the point, which left me with a needle the length of a cocktail stick!

As I have already mentioned I don't have any metal needles sized 2.5mm so I couldn't swap to metal, I had no choice I had to continue to knit the remaining two and a half petals on my broken bamboo needle!

I did not give up, I was determined to knit this daffodil, I believed that it was going to make a stunning brooch when completed and so I persevered! I am so pleased I did as this is the finished knitted daffodil brooch!

As a footnote I also understood why people preferred bamboo over metal, the stitches definitely slide over the the needles smoothly and I should imagine that with larger needles bamboo definitely is the way to go, but it looks as though I am going to have to stick with metal for my finer work

Monday, 9 January 2017

A passion for jewellery making

Today I was determined to attended a WiRE network meeting, even though I was suffering with a cold - the guest speaker was Sara Moseley, a fabulously inspiring lady who I have known for quite a few years, she is a brilliant photographer who just oozes with confidence and can't fail to inspire. Sara has recently stepped back from her photographic work to set up 'Hiking Boots and Posh Pants' , today Sara was talking about 'the Importance of Passion in your Business'  so did she inspire?  oh boy yes!
but what she also did was to reaffirm that even after 23 years I am still as passionate about making my jewellery as I was when I first started, in fact I would go as far as saying that if anything I am even more passionate about making jewellery.
When I first started it was all new to me, I was self taught and my jewellery making business had developed from a hobby, something I could do in my free time while I was a stay at home Mum with three young children, two pre school age. So my passion then came from making and discovering I was pretty good at it and that people wanted to buy it.
Now my passion for my jewellery is about the journey I have made over the last 23 years, and the excitement of where it could still take me. I have the confidence now to say that what I make is beautiful and often totally unique - I still love the anticipation of receiving new beads for the first time and then opening the packages to behold the stunning sparkling beads that I will then use to create an item of jewellery to be loved by someone else!
I love that I still wake at silly times with an idea for a new design and have to get out of bed to make it up there and then, not returning to bed until I am happy the design will work, eager to sleep so I can then wake up to share my new design on twitter, facebook and occasionally blog it too!
I love that every week is different, for example last week, the first week of 2017, I made up a large order of hair charms, I spent a day in Gallery at 12, I visited venues for a couple of jewellery making workshops arranged for later this year, my jewellery and I were photographed for an exhibition later on in the year, I made up some simple Swarovski necklaces, I had a visit from a 2017 bride who now has one of my knitted tiaras, and I started photographing more of my jewellery to add to my #sbs shop. These necklaces are very simple Swarovski drops on silver plate chains - I am looking forward to adding these and more to my shop soon.

Monday, 17 October 2016

"Impromptu in A Flat Major - a collection of jewellery in black and white"

My new exhibition is currently on in Gallery at 12, Eccleshall Staffordshire.
 As soon as I was allocated a month I started thinking about a theme and title for it,  I knew I wanted all the pieces to be made in black or white or a mixture of both, so that was the theme sorted, the title was a bit more tricky! having played around with ideas for a while, I decided I wanted it to be musical, I had considered briefly calling it 'manuscript jewellery' or 'ebony and ivory' - but then it occurred to me that A Flat major had 4 flats - B,E,A,D spelling....!  and as I rarely know what I am going to make with my beads until I start making it is all quite Impromptu.
With the theme and the title decided I then had to make the jewellery along with the displays, I also had to photograph it all, price it up and list the items.
Most of the pieces I made specifically for the exhibition - a few I had made earlier but fitted the theme nicely so I included them too, in total I made over 150 pieces, safe to say I really am now enjoying working with coloured beads again, whenever I can - I found it quite hard to stick to my self imposed theme of black and white and had to resist putting the odd red bead into the mix-

"Impromptu in A Flat Major - a collection of jewellery in black and white"

earrings displayed as sheet music 

 most of the necklaces and bracelets are either hanging from trebles clefs or resting on quaver rests

some of my knitted, crocheted  or woven tiaras and crowns

beaded black and white cuffs

beaded black and white pendants

crocheted bead necklace

knitted masques

a tree full of stone pendants each stone is wrapped in crocheted wire and beads, the stones themselves came from Black beach, Isle of Mull 

As you can see, I have made jewellery in a variety of styles,suitable for many different occassions.

This exhibition will close Thursday October 27th,

handmade jewellery by Angela Smith