Friday, July 31, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
This is a classy timeless look! A necklace of shell pearls in white with a lovely mother of pearl pendant set in sterling silver interspersed with tiny silver charlotte spacers and an easy to use sterling silver hook clasp.
There are also pretty little pearl earrings on sterling silver earwires to match.
What defines you as an artisan? Oh good, an easy one to start with. ;-) Well, I don’t really consider myself as an artisan, but that’s more to do with me needing to gain more confidence in my work than anything else. I don’t take my work ‘seriously’, it’s just something I enjoy doing, it’s not a real passion. I’m too lazy to get really passionate about too many things. :-D
Where do you live? I live in Eindhoven, a city in the south of the Netherlands. I’m British though, originally from Liverpool – I moved here almost 10 years ago for work.
How does your place of residence influence your crafting? It doesn’t really. I confess that I get a lot of my supplies online, because I can’t always find what I want locally. I do try to support my local craft shops where I can, but I’ve yet to find anywhere nearby that sells sterling silver findings, for example. And I can only find felt in very basic colours – when I want to make a felt aubergine, the colour has to be just right!
How did you get into crafting? I can’t really remember. I know my Nan taught me how to embroider when I was quite young – she used to make outfits for my teddy bear and I would embroider his initial on the front. *shame* I’ve always been more crafty than arty though, I can’t draw or paint at all. I’ve always liked to make things, from embroidery and knitting when I was younger, then some paper crafts like quilling, then cross stitch, and then in the last few years, card-making, jewellery-making, and most recently, making felt toys.
Where did you learn your craft? I am self-taught, apart from the embroidery lessons from my Nan. I would love to follow a course in sewing, or bead jewellery, as I can just about manage brick stitch, but that’s my limit.
Who do you consider your mentor (s)? I don’t really think I have one. Sorry, very boring answer. Wait, let me go and look at the answers previous interviewees have given – be right back….. OK, right. Well, I still don’t think I have a mentor, but as others have said before, I appreciate anyone who gives their time to share their skills, experience and knowledge of their craft. In particular those who take time to make tutorials for others.
What are your views in respect to mentors and mentoring? Another tricky one, I don’t really have views on this topic.
Where do you get your inspiration from? My jewellery inspiration comes either from seeing a piece of jewellery and wanting to make something in a similar style, or from seeing some beads and *needing* to make something from them. As for the felt toys, I am inspired by cartoons, things I see in the supermarket, silly conversations with friends, and other people’s work.
What is your most treasured object in your studio? I guess I can’t say my PC? :-D Then my next treasured item is not a craft item at all, it’s a canvas print which my husband bought for me recently, to decorate my craft room. It’s of a musician I really like, and I love it so much. I don't have any expensive craft tools - yet. I have my eye on a Sizzix Big Shot for cutting felt shapes though.
What do you like best about your studio? Well, at the moment my ‘studio’ is a bit of a mess, and it doubles up as a home office, as well as housing the ironing board. I like the fact that I can switch between computer and work desk easily, and that everything is within reach (even if it’s not immediately visible under the piles of stuff).
What would you change about your studio? Storage space. I need a bigger work desk, the one I have is a small desk which I bought second hand, and it’s really past its best. I want a bigger table so that I can spread out a bit more, and also use my sewing machine more easily. I would also like to be tidier, but I guess we’re only talking about changes, not miracles here, right? ;-)
How do you divide your crafting time? I tend to work in fits and starts, when the mood takes me. I work full time, and I am usually too tired to do much in the evenings, so most of my craft stuff gets done at the weekend. I want to try to get more of a balance between felt stuff and jewellery in my shops, so I should try to make more felt things.
What is your favourite material? Why? I guess it would have to be felt - at the moment, at least. And until I can use my sewing machine more smoothly, hand-sewn felt.
Which material would you never work with? Why? Anything that requires a lot of mess or preparation. Much as I admire people who work with ceramics, glass, pottery etc., it is just too much effort and mess for me.
How did you come across ArtFire? I don’t remember exactly, I think I could have seen something about it on Twitter though.
What role does your family play in your crafting? My husband is my harshest critic. There’s always something, he never says ‘Wow, that’s nice!’ straight away, there’s always a pause while he thoroughly inspects whatever it is. My mum is a fan of my jewellery, but she's not so keen on the felt toys. ;-)
Besides your own craft what other crafts do you admire? I am jealous of anyone who can sew neatly – my stitching is a bit haphazard (to me, at least - I've had no complaints from others). I can knit or crochet (only the basics) so anyone who can do either of those well impresses me.
What other craft would you be interested in learning? Why? I have tried to learn needle and wet felting, and I would love to be a success at it. I love the idea of laying out the different colours of wool, adding some water, and making a piece of art. It’s painting with wool, almost. Maybe I need to take classes in that? *thoughtful*
Why do you think buying handmade is beneficial for society? I think it gives people a chance to go back to the days before mass-produced items, to buy something with a bit of meaning, something made by someone who cares about what they make. And for the artisans themselves, it’s an outlet for creativity, it’s a way to make the world a little more beautiful or joyful, it’s giving something back, it’s sharing.
What are your goals in respect to your craft? I would like to work in a more structured way. Not assembly-line structured, but to get into the habit of making something on a regular basis, instead of whenever I can be bothered. I’ve already mentioned my felting ambitions, so the only other goal would be to reduce Bead Mountain a little.
What has been your most rewarding experience regarding your craft? Mostly it’s been to do with my felt toys – making them as a surprise for someone, and then hearing about how much they love it is a great feeling.
Anything else you'd like to add? Not really, I think I am all typed out now. :-D
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Sunday, July 26, 2009
Better never than late - George Bernard Shaw
The time for action is now. It's never too late to do something - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
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Saturday, July 25, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
This necklace is made of lovely, faceted opalite nuggets and crystal rondelles, with both silver beads and silver-plated seed beads. It features a pair of silver-plated brass wings at its heart, suspending another pretty opalite drop. The wings are so detailed that you can see every feather...
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Like a drop of water inside a flower one rock crystal briolette each sparkles in a crocheted setting made from fine silver wire. The earwires are handmade from sterling silver wire. These are lightweight, everyday earrings that give your outfit that extra sparkly little kick. Understatement, yet with class.
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Sunday, July 19, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
How about something that is cute and also practical? This lovely little purse by Materialised is called "by Moonlight" It's luxury abound with velvet, faux suede and sequins
Meet Leo the Lion; he's a sweet little hand-knitted lion with no sharp claws or teeth; all he wants is lots of Birthday hugs. He is a perfect gift for anyone born under the star sign of Leo the Lion. he is the latest in my line of Zodiac animals. I will be adding more as the year moves on.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Did you know?
- The name Romania actually comes from the word "Romans". The largest ethnic group in the country are the Romanians, but there are also lots of minorities like for example the Hungarians, the Roma, Germans, Ucrainians and others.
- In Romania animals that you can hardly find in other European regions anymore still exist in the wild, like brown bear, wolf, lynx and the bearded vulture.
- Marie of Edinburgh became a Romanian patriot after being declared queen in 1914 (due to WW I the coronation was delayed) and it is said that she ruled the country much more than her husband, Ferdinand I., did. "Romania needs a face, and I will be that face." Obviously she did a not so bad job at that, either.
- Nadia Comaneci was the first gymnast to score a 10,0 at the Olympics 1976 in Montréal, being only 14 at that time. The board showed only a 1,0 because it hadn't been set for two digits, the judges had thought it impossible someone would score that high.
- Admit it, you have already waited for this one. I guess most people connect Romania with him in the first place (I am not saying they should, but I can't leave him out, either). Meet Vlad the Impaler, called like that for his favorite torturing and executing method which was obviously not so uncommon in the 15th century. Many people saw him not so much as cruel emperor, but as saviour of the country. He is even more famous for inspiring Bram Stoker in his creating of Dracula. I still think I would not have liked to meet him in person!
- Romania also has a long crafting and art history. Best known are woodcarving, embroidering (on clothes, tablecloths and other fabrics) and creating Easter eggs that are as colorful, rich and artistic as the local costumes. Constantin Brancusi, an international renowned sculptor, created a monument in memory of Romanian civilians who in 1916 fought off German invasion. The ensemble consists of "Table of Silence", "Gate of the Kiss", and "Endless Column".
This post doesn't even scratch the surface of what there is to know about Romania, but maybe it has inspired you to have a closer look at some of its traditions and fascinating history. I know I got curious now!
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Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
You know, sometimes I can't help myself. I do love skulls. I don't know what that says about me, and I know my oldest son finds it strange, but there you are. I also totally adore Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, so that may explain the skull and crossbones here.
Anyway, this is a wonderfully detailed brass stamping that has been given a copper finish. I drilled its bones (carefully!) and added a copper plated chain. Jolly Rodger only got a single pearl from the booty of the last galleon taken - perhaps that why he doesn't really look that jolly...
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Of course, it's seldom just one thing that gives you that creative energy, but a lot of pieces put together. But som pieces are definitley larger than others!
For me, the nature and my garden are among the largest pieces. Right now my garden has flowers everywhere, it seems. And I wish I could send some of their wonderful fragrance through internet to your place. But I can't. So you'll just have to settle with some pictures. Hope you can find some inspiration in them!
See those lovely pinks? How they go from fuchsia to bubblegum?
These are originally dark pink, almost purple. But some has mutaded or something and now shows off a wonderful palette of pinks and white.
Hard to believe this one's for real. Like "polkagris"
(a sweet I think is called Pig mint in english).
Look at those flowers! The buds are butter yellow and as the flowers open up
and send their wonderful rose scent all over the garden,
they slowly turn paler and paler and finally they are white.
Flower Girls Greeting Card by The Spotted Sparrow - This would be a lovely Invitation or Thank You card. Just remember to include a coin if the gift was of a knife or knives, so that the friendship is not cut!
Blue Briolettes by Leela Bijou - for that touch of glamorous blue every Bride needs.
The bride should not make her own wedding dress, as for every stich that she sews, she'll shed one tear during her marriage. It is also unlucky for the Groom to see the dress before the wedding ceremony itself . As to the colour of the dress :-
Married in White - You have chosen right.
Married in Blue - your lover is true.
Married in Pink - your fortunes will sink.
Married in Green - you will not long be seen.
Married in Red - you'll wish you were dead.
Married in Yellow - ashamed of the fellow.
Married in Brown -you'll live out of town.
Married in Gray -you'll live far away.
Married in Black - you'll wish you were back.
I married in ivory which does not appear on the list, so I'm counting that as "white" - it'll be twenty years this December...yes, I was a child bride!
White Coptic Bound Journal by Ignis Fatuus - for writing down thoughts and memories - or why not have all your guests sign it as a memento of your day?
To some, pearls represent future tears and are a bad sign for the couple, but to others, the wearing of pearls take the place of the Bride's tears, leaving her with a happy, tear-free wedded life.
Precious Pearls by Silver Soul Design - I think this would be beautiful on a Bride for a tear-free marriage!
The wedding ring is considered sacred and should not be lent to others to try on, as this is certain to bring bad luck - even the possibility of unfaithfulness. It is a symbol of the never-ending circle of love between the couple. If ever the wedding ring is removed by a Bride it must be her Groom who returns it to her finger to continue the good luck.
Beer Soap by Saffron Barr - The Groom will want to smell his manly best for the love of his life!
The Bride should not sign her new married name before the Wedding as this tempts fate.
Where there is love...a bonny bag by Jenny Karlsson Design. I think this would be pefect for taking to a Wedding.
Traditionally, it is lucky for a Bride to meet a lamb, a dove, a spider or a black cat on her way to the church, but a pig or a funeral are bad omens. It is also said to be lucky for the Bride to see a policeman, doctor, clergyman or a blind man. The Groom should give a coin to the first person he sees on his journey to the church for good luck.
Swirling Water Silver Cufflinks by Ali Bali Jewellery - A perfect present for the Groom or Best Man.
Evening Shawl by Loopy Loo - for a fabulous cover-up when things get a little cooler in the evening.
This is just a brief round-up of some of the many traditions and superstitions surrounding Weddings here - together with some ideas for fabulous gifts and ideas for Weddings. You will find the Studios of our members bursting at the seams with many more...do come and have a look!
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Monday, July 6, 2009
I'm in love with fossilized corals. They come in different patterns and colors and look like lots of little flowers or stars on top.
This large coral (almost 2 inch high) is set in a crocheted bezel of sterling silver wire that doesn't distract from the beauty of the stone. The pendant is finished off with a handwrapped wire bail.
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Wikipedia defines it like this:
"An artisan (from Italian: artigiano) is a skilled manual worker who crafts items that may be functional or strictly decorative, including furniture, clothing, jewelry, household items, and tools. The term can also be used as an adjective to refer to the craft of hand making food products, such as bread, beverages and cheese."
Although my bread is mostly a disaster and the only cheese I have ever made was Indian paneer (with an original Indian cheese cloth, mind you!), my milk shakes are not even that bad.
I guess this is not the question, though. Let's say I work with my hands, my crafted items are strictly decorative as it is impossible to open a can with one of my bracelets, and I surely am skilled. Not as much yet as I aim to be, but I am optimistic it will improve even more.
Where do you live?
I live in Southwestern Germany in Göppingen. Train lovers will know the name because Märklin is situated there.
How does your place of residence influence your crafting?
Not at all. I could take my wires and hooks anywhere. The area used to be known for its textile industry, though. In our small local museum there are beautiful examples for hand knitted pearl pouches. They showed me how unusual techniques can lead to unusual pieces, so maybe that influenced me a little.
How did you get into crafting?
I was never a crafter, unlike so many others in this business. When I studied to become a librarian, there was a professor I liked very much. When he taught us business basics, he was a bore which was probably more the subject's fault than his. I doodled a lot during the lessons and when my paper consumption rose to a huge level due to it, I started knitting. I still have my knitting phases as I call it, but it was never something that could fill me out. When I discovered Etsy, I was drawn to the wire crochet pieces and after I had seen a book reference in one of the shops, there was no holding me back ever since.
Where did you learn your craft?
Of course I learned how to crochet in school and my grandmother worked on it together with me, showing me things. There are books from a wool company in this area, first published in the 30s I think. I taught myself a lot from these books concerning knitting and I still use them for new crocheting ideas. And then there was the book that got me started on wire. It was not so much about teaching me stitches, I knew that, but about wire gauge, material and I like to look at pictures ;-)
Who do you consider your mentor(s)?
Craftwise I don't think I have a real mentor. I like to experiment on my own and the book just gave me the final kick, but that was it.
Now for everything around my craft, regarding the studio, the business, the social networking, I regard lots of the great people I got to meet online - hope it'll be in real life someday - kind of as my mentors and I hope I can be one for others eventually.
What are your views in respect to mentors and mentoring?
I thank everyone who helps me and makes the journey a little easier for me this way. People sharing their knowledge is good to some extent, meaning in business unfortunately you should be wary how much you actually share. I'd rather have friends that share with me and that I can share with. Maybe it has to do with my understanding of the word mentor that I would rather call them helpful friends.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I am not the inspired one. My hook is. I rarely sketch out things before I make them. That's the reason why something that started as a bangle can suddenly turn into a collier. Sometimes these experiments don't work out, but sometimes they make me very happy.
What is your most treasured object in your studio?
Not sure if I understand the question right. Are we talking about my items or my tools? My home studio (which really mostly consists of my beloved and often mentioned armchair and my couch table) or my ArtFire studio?
I guess I already answered about my home studio. It's my armchair. And my crochet hooks. And the knitting spool. Have I mentioned my armchair?
I can't answer it for my ArtFire studio. I love each item while I make it and then it's off to the next item, otherwise I couldn't be creative, but would do the same thing over and over again.
What do you like best about your studio?
About my home studio I like best that I am surrounded by the things I love. I don't have a studio like many others do as I don't need torches or lots of hammers etc. Yet. Who knows what will be in a while? My studio is my library at home. I have my books surrounding me, I can relax and let my mind wander off with the hook. That may sound silly, but that is really the way it is. Crafting makes me forget everything else. If my muse isn't on vacation, that is.
My ArtFire studio? That's easy. It leaves me so much room to play with colors and widgets and cool features and I am probably not done yet.
What would you change about your studio?
I need more storage unit in my home studio. Apart from that I have to see what time will bring. I would change a lot about my photo area, though.
For my ArtFire studio I had a different avatar and banner in mind, but there is still a problem with it, so I don't want to talk about it. If it takes much longer, I am not sure if it makes sense to change it after people might have got used to the old one. Also I would like to have zoom-in pictures. When looking at other sellers' studios, I am often sorry about not being able to zoom in to have a closer look.
How do you divide your crafting time?
I have a day job. I have a husband, I have five cats and some other critters around. I have a family and I have friends. I have a household, not an organised one, but it's there, so I have chores.
I just try to sneak in as many crafting time as possible, usually on my weekends and in my vacation, it's not so easy in the evenings.
What is your favorite material? Why?
Wire and beads of course. It depends on my mood which color, gauge, size or cut I choose. Some days are copper days, some silver. I can take out beads ten times and put them back until I finally decide. It's a fun part of the creative process for me.
Which material would you never work with? Why?
In my line of craft or in general?
I don't think there is much I wouldn't work with. I haven't worked with gold yet, but that is because of the price, not because I don't want to.
In general I hate glue and fabric. I never learned how to sew, I never will and I admire everyone who can do it. And I can't handle glue, I never could. I am a klutz and therefore prone to glue myself to a chair. Won't do. I stay away from it.
How did you come across ArtFire?
I think it was through my jewelry forum, SJA. People there sell on different platforms and some of them recommended ArtFire.
What role does your family play in your crafting?
In the beginning my husband thought it was just a passing phase. Now he got around to criticise my things and even give me tips sometimes. My mother and my sisters give me tips from a female side of view.
Over all the role is more being appreciative, comforting and just being there.
Besides your own craft what other crafts do you admire?
I admire everything. There is a show on German TV sometimes, called "The last of his profession". It's about glass makers, people that cut the stones for grindstones, gold-beaters, whip makers and many more. I love to watch others doing what they are good at.
What other craft would you be interested in learning? Why?
I will try to increase my jewelry-making skills, try silversmithing etc.
I would love to learn lampworking, I think. Glass fascinates me. I dabbled in clay and polymer clay many years ago, but I don't think I was very good at it. I would love to learn drawing, especially animals.
Why do you think buying handmade is beneficial for society?
I think society needs to get back to some old values. I won't say everything was better in the past although sometimes I start to sound like my grandmother used to ...
We need to respect the work that went into a piece, the ideas, the inspiration, the time. We need to respect the person behind that piece. Too many people out there are denied the appreciation for their hard work, children, women and men.
I am no angel, I can't buy only handmade myself. For many people it's a question of money and priorities set by everyday life and circumstances. But each small step counts.
What are your goals in respect to your craft?
Is it a trick question? What if I say I want to be rich and famous?
My goal is to make people happy with my work and if I can go on buying supplies because there are those happy people out there, I am happy. I am not expecting too much.
What has been your most rewarding experience regarding your craft?
When my first customer ever told me how happy she was about her items. When she returned. When she told me people ask her about these items.
That was my most rewarding experience coming from the outside.
Coming from the inside it's letting my mind flow and creating. It's rewarding over and over again.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Haven't I said enough already? Ok.
Without wanting to make it sound like an Academy Award speech, I want to thank all the gorgeous people out there, may it be on my forum, in my groups, in Wales, Holland, Serbia, the US, Australia - I can't list them all, but they know they are there. Thank you.
And a very special thank you goes to my recent studio manager who cares for my supplies to be kept safe all the time (or he would steal them without winking an eye!), Mr. Ponder Stibbons.
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Sunday, July 5, 2009
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Here is a cute knitted character perfect for Summer or as a present for someone born under the star sign of Cancer the Crab. To find out more visit Eddy's Pressies on Artfire I will be adding more star sign creatures in the coming months.
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Friday, July 3, 2009
The bead hangs from a black, 1 mm leather cord. To learn more, visit Babs Beads & Design at ArtFire!