(Hopefully) Earning A Living as a Maker

As you know by now from previous posts, I have my first craft fair – the Whetstone Baptist Church Christmas Fayre – next Saturday. Here are some more makes: etched copper candlestick, beaded candles on individually etched glass plates, a resin encased watch-parts pendant and faux-enamelled jewellery pieces.

It’s been a tricky thing to price up all these items. I can easily work out the material costs. I know how much time each has taken to make. It’s a little harder to work out the time taken in research, and even more tricky to know exactly how much time and energy has gone into the development, trials and failures that are inevitable in making items. Throw into the mix what you think people are likely to be prepared to pay, what they might be able to afford, and what else might be on sale around you… Suffice to say that the marked prices for all the items on the stand will not reflect my time and skill set.

Trouble is, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the making process, designing the packaging, and setting up the stand. But will it pay off? Or the bills? I’ll let you know.

Continue reading

Paper Bead Jewellery Display (for Jones Crafts)

Complete ProjectThis project for Jones Crafts shows the versatility of scrapbooking papers – why do a 12×12″ layout when you can make wearable art? Combine with Jones’ buttons and perfect jewellery sets can easily be made. Mount your pieces in the Kaisercraft large jewellery organiser and your wearable art becomes a home decor piece in it’s own right. The paper beads are splash proof thanks to the varnish, are tough due to the lamination, but are not water proof and will be damaged if soaked.

Continue reading

College – Term 5 – Final Ceramics Piece

This piece from last term won’t be exhibited at my end of course show next week, so now it’s been fired and assembled, I thought I’d share it with you here 🙂

The brief was to create a ‘Cornell style box’ (i.e. an assemblage) based on my chosen collection, which, for last term, was beads. The base and top were scaled up from a metal filigree bead, with the top flowers being formed from a mould made using lucite beads. The hanging flowers were sliced from a clay extrusion using my own custom laser-cut perspex die and then individually hand carved and pierced. The clay used was earthstone which goes cream/white when fired, and I decided to keep it unglazed.


The filigree section was formed by sticking down D-shaped extrusions to form the pattern, using slip, and then I used a fine potter’s knife to cut out the enclosed sections. This obviously took the most time! Just as the box was finished, I managed to drop it – a gut-wrenching moment, but happily not much got damaged and the clay was still soft enough to work out the kinks. After that, I was a lot more careful!

College Term 4 – Jewellery – Week 6

We’ve spent the last five weeks learning about the various ways of soldering (butt and sweat), cold joining with rivets, surface design (heat colouring, mill impressions, hammering) and playing with a laser cutter (I want one!). This week over five hours of lesson time, it was our time to make our own design – this is what I came up with:

Each of the metal discs were cut by hand from aluminium sheet, hammered to give texture, and wire brushed to make matte. I designed the acrylic flowers and circles to scale in Adobe Illustrator and these were cut from 3mm acrylic sheet on the laser cutter. They are attached to the aluminium discs using 2mm chenier tube rivets – several had to be done again as I was a little heavy handed at the beginning and cracked the acrylic. Links are commercial jump rings, as is the chain – time pressures didn’t allow me to make my own. Not that I’d know where to start making chain! I’m really pleased with the result, and aside from the laser cutting, all the techniques are feasible in a home studio.

College Term 4 – Ceramics – Weeks 1 & 2

So far this term in ceramics, we’ve been learning techniques – week 1 included shellac and masking tape resist, piercing and carving. The tiles were fired and then I was asked to embellish the pierced tile – I’ve used beads, head pins and a bit of superglue. The result has been variously described as St Basil’s Cathedral, Brighton Pavilion or the Taj Mahal! I’ve already thought of a way of adapting it to make a final major project, so keep watching the blog 😉

Carved pattern – Masking Tape Resist – Pierced – Shellac Resist

Beaded Wire Coil Necklace

This is a beginner’s kit from Bojangle Beads in Loughborough, which is quite an Aladdin’s Cave if you happen to be in the area. I bought it at Christmas, but it’s been languishing unmade since then, and in a spurt of creativity yesterday I got it done 🙂

The kit contains all you need (apart from pliers) including plenty of beads, and the coil section is ready made. There are instructions included, though these need editing, don’t contain any illustrations, and aren’t all that intuitive for a first timer to follow.

And I’m having fun with my new camera trying out all the different ways to photograph products! Seems shiny things, as I’ve discovered before, can be quite tricky, but dialling down the auto-exposure has helped a lot 🙂

Beaded Poppy

Following an enquiry from my sister, I tried making a beaded poppy. Still not sure exactly why she wants one, but I was sufficiently motivated to have a go.

I did this freestyle in brick stitch, making the first petal shape up as I went along. The other four were approximate matches to the first. The centre is meant to be a circular brick stitch, but didn’t quite work out that way, but does the job nicely. There’s something not quite right about it, and I suspect it’s the shape of the petals and the overall flower. A bit more work needed, but a good enough first go at brick stitch, and also a 3D beaded project. The whole thing is about 8cm diameter and each petal has a self-supporting gentle curve to it.