Sunday, 30 January 2011

Old Project, New Photography - Silver AFI Jewellery

For many, many years I have been terribly fond of a band called AFI. I made these silver necklaces some time in 2003, inspired by the gorgeous artwork on the cover of their album, Sing the Sorrow (one of my favourite albums of all time). There was a whole collection of symbols and I originally planned to make a necklace for each, but I imagine my short attention span got distracted by some other shiny thing, so only ever got round to making these two.
Silver AFI Jewelry Davey Havok
The inside shapes of the necklaces were pierced from sterling silver sheet, then soldered into a large ring hammered from silver wire. I remember them taking rather a long time to make!

Haven't worn them in forever, but came across them in my jewellery box and thought I'd take some pictures, which came out rather well. Here they are:

I'm still not entirely sure about using this acrylic star as a photography prop. I rather like it as a way to display necklaces, but worry that the lights and shadows detract from the jewellery.

Anyway, must wander back to current shiny project, namely making new collection with which to wow Liberty's buying team...

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Liberty Open Call 2011

So, that exciting but terrifying project I mentioned? I have, in a fit of madness, signed up for Liberty's Best of British open call this year. Liberty has always been one of my favourite places in London, as it's full of beautiful and interesting things and the building itself is incredible. See?

They say:

"Now in its 3rd year the Open Call is continuing to recognise and support new and emerging British design talent and we are again calling for all prospective designers and creative talents to come forward with their ideas. A panel of experts comprising of Liberty’s Managing Director, Ed Burstell, his esteemed buying team and industry experts including top names from press and fashion retail will pick the best designs to be sold in store. Ed Burstell and his team will offer support and direction needed to get your items selling on Liberty’s world renowned shelves."

Having heard from people who have done it in previous years, it sounds a lot like the X-Factor. You register your details, queue for some hours, then you get 3 minutes to pitch your product to Liberty's buying team.

In theory, this doesn't sound too difficult, right? However, those 3 little minutes encompass everthing that I am both terrified by and rubbish at! Self promotion is definitely not my strong point, and I rather belong to the Bridget Jones school of public speaking. This could all go terribly, terribly wrong...

On the other hand, it's good to face your fears, no? I don't think for a second that I will get through the first round, but I think the experience will be very useful. Apparently the buying team give helpful and very constructive feedback, even if they don't think your products are for them. Also, how amazing would it be to launch my new business being able to say that Liberty were a stockist!

It's on 2 April, so I have a couple of months to design some new things and get myself ready. Eek!

Wish me luck...

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Experiments with Dough

So, one of my many random New Year’s resolutions was to blog more. Sadly for you, dear readers, this means that there may be much non-shiny related wittering.

Firstly, I am learning to cook things that aren’t cake. Whilst I remain convinced that a person can cover all necessary food groups with experimental cake recipes, I have yet to convince anyone else.

I’ve always steered clear of making pastry, as it seems fraught with go-wrongable things, but the stuff that comes ready made is always full of strange ingredients. And lard. Bleurgh.

So, I found a recipe for a tart. It had squash in, which is one of my favourite things, especially since acquiring the king of peelers from Lakeland, which happily removes evil squash skin in a second (and means that the boy no longer has to hide behind a cushion in terror as I hack randomly at the poor vegetable with a large knife). Apparently, all ingredients were to be chucked in a food processor and mixed, which sounded super-easy. I always thought pastry took forever and involved rubbing butter and flour together, or some such alchemy, but apparently this is no longer the case.

So, I made pastry, hurrah! And I learned what “blind baking” means (sticking pastry case in oven to pre-cook covered in baking paper and dried beans, for those who want to know).

Behold my tart!

Doesn’t it look lovely? And it came out of the tin and everything! It was even edible and I didn’t poison anyone. I call that a result.

Also, lovely boss gave us the very generous gift of a breadmaker for Christmas. Have wanted one of these for ages, as making bread always looked terribly tricky.

The instructions called for just chucking everything in the machine and ignoring for 4 hours. Whilst this is absolutely my kind of cooking, I didn’t for a second expect it to work. The machine is so very quiet, I didn’t think it could possibly be growing a loaf of bread in there.

But look! We opened the lid to a perfect (and delicious) loaf of bread, hurrah!

Am baking genius.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Well Hello There 2011

It appears that the time to publish my little review of the year has rolled round again.

So, 2010 then. In some ways, it did rather fly by, but at the same time it seems like forever ago that I moved into my lovely new flat. So, what was last year all about? Hmmm. If 2009 was a year of firsts, I think 2010 was a year of learning. I begin 2011 with rather less bounce and excitement than I did 2010, due to being completely exhausted! I gave pretty much everything I had to my jewellery hobby over the past year, hoping to turn it into a business, with not even a little holiday to chill out a bit.

My, but that was a bit of a moody way to begin this post wasn’t it? I have an annoying habit of getting brought down by all the things I didn’t achieve and kind of forget a bit about the things that I did.

The first exciting thing was that I actually made quite a lot of things for friends this December, hurrah! People were after little crash helmets as Christmas pressies for their derby girlfriends, wives and daughters, including one friend who has to be the coolest dad ever! I ended up getting my little silver derby skate charm finished rather late in the year, but can't wait to sort out a website and start selling, as I invested a lot of time and money into making them.

For next year, the thing I learned from December is that I need to be stricter with cut off deadlines for making this for people for Christmas. There we go, first resolution. Yay!

Another exciting thing was starting to build my website. Which is not yet finished. But I really really meant to finish it by the end of 2010, the making of shiny things just got in the way. I learned that even using an idiot proof web design program is pretty time consuming. Especially with the obsessive way in which I approach things... But yes, it will soon be finished. Honest, it will...

What else did I do? Oh, I made some new business cards for when I'm finally ready to launch, which look like so:

Now I just need to learn to (a) take them places with me, and (b) actually give them to people, rather than just mumbling and running away when people say they like the jewellery I am wearing.

I found a fantastic forum at, full of lovely people willing to share their jewellery making wisdom and knowledge.

I’ve still managed to find time for some messy and inexpert experiments involving Fimo and wallpaper paste (separately obvs). I am hoping 2011 will also involve some sort of random crafty experimentation.

Some cupcakes were also made, my favourites being my little summer bees:

In other jewellery related stuff, I had some custom boxes made, which finally arrived (very late) near the end of December. Here they are:

Fancy, huh?

I think the boxes were a good investment. Other things I invested in this year were some proper studio lighting (definitely worth it) and a new camera. Although I do kind of wish I’d gone for an SLR...

I also made a couple of sets of custom wedding rings involving skulls, hearts and moustaches, which were great fun to do:

So, all in all I had a very productive, but also very hectic year. 2011 will be more about balance. I will still need to work hard so I can finally launch my business, but shall also take breaks, go on holiday and finally give the long-suffering boy some attention!

Onwards and upwards then. I have a super-exciting (and more than a bit terrifying) project to approach, more of which I shall share later, as I fear I have wittered enough for one day. Farewell for now...