Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Midwinter Challenge - please stop by and vote!

Just a quick post and run here.  As promised, here are the links for the surveys in which you can all vote for your favourite Wire Goddess Team entries to the Midwinter challenge.  There are three separate ones which are open to public voting - please vote once in each survey.  The winners of all three will then be voted on by the Wire Goddess Team members, and I'll post a picture of the overall winner here.

Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:

Thank you for having a look, and I hope you are as stunned by the incredible work arrayed there as I was - voting was seriously difficult! :)

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Challenging ...

As I was lucky enough to win the last challenge set by the Wire Goddess Team on Etsy with my Harvest Moon pendant, I got to choose the next theme.  As it's *cough-cough* days till Christmas, I couldn't resist a seasonal theme, so I went with Midwinter.  I had an idea in my head, that I sketched and pinned it to my noticeboard (had to unpin it to photograph it, because the light's already rubbish).

So far so good.  And that was when the challenge began.  I made the window frame first, then got on with the fiddly job of making the fir tree branches.  I always knew the moon would have to be suspended from a thread, so using a piece of Fireline was fine.  But that pesky snow that was meant to nestle so nicely in the window frames ... grrr!  I stitched some lovely little units from seed beads (no mean feat for me, I struggle to follow a pattern, never mind come up with something all by myself!), loved them:

decided they were too large, and would obscure the picture, so I made some smaller ones:

These were just what I wanted - they looked perfect in the window frames.  BUT!  I just could not come up with a way to secure them that didn't look completely hideous.  So, after wasting absolutely ages messing about with them, I decided to just wire some beads on and have done with it.  And here it is:

The snow was not quite what I was aiming for, but I'm reasonably pleased with it - at the very least, I'm pleased it's finished at last!  Maybe I will now be able to track down my mojo that seems to have done a runner while I was wrestling with the snow problem!

When it's available, I'll post a link to the voting page for all the entries - let me tell you, there is some seriously beautiful work in the running already! :)

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Goddess News

Yes, we finally have a logo for our Wire Goddess Team on Etsy - this fabulous piece of
wirework by the very talented Ruth Jensen:

It was fun making something as a challenge, and we also have our first Wire Goddess
challenge up and running, with a theme of Harvest Time, appropriately for this early
onset of Autumn.  My entry is this Harvest Moon pendant:
It gave me a chance to play with my polymer clay for a change, and although I knew exactly
what I wanted to do, I think 'challenge' is the correct word, I struggled a bit with this one!
Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing all the other entries, and I'm enjoying having specific
themes to work to for a change.
In other news, I noticed that there were very few earrings and rings in my Etsy shop, so I'm
working to fix that - there are several new pairs of earrings now available, and when I've
finished the ring I'm currently making (for myself - to take on my hols!), I hope to add some
more.  Is there anything people would like to see there that they don't currently?  Challenge
me - I'm up for it! :D 
(Oh, and apologies for the weird font and spacing on this entry - Blogger is doing my head
in at the moment!) 

Sunday, 7 August 2011

The Lure of the Poppy

And I don't mean in an opium-drugged sort of way.  What is it that's so alluring about a solitary poppy fluttering by the roadside, or a whole field of them waving amongst the corn?  It can't even be just me that is so fascinated by them, when you see how many designers include them somewhere in their work.  This week I finally succumbed and bought a stunning lampwork bead I couldn't really afford by the amazingly talented Claire Morris of Rowanberry Designs ( ):

It's similar yet nothing like a pendant I made a while back:

And that of course prompted me to trawl through my Flickr contacts to see who else was poppy-inspired.  Well, as it turns out, rather a lot of you!  From beadwork (the multi-talented Claire-Louise Patrick, who also makes stunning lampwork ):

To polymer clay (Hazel Ward - a polymer clay and budding lampwork artist whose work I very much admire ):

To sculptural lampwork (a lady with immense vision and creativity, Laney of ):

To fabric hair ornaments (by the equally talented Helen Reich ):

And that's not to mention the plethora of photographs, drawings and representations of the humble poppy using various other media, from my talented Flickr contacts alone.  I could have gone on for pages sharing the fantastic creations inspired by poppies (but all that messing about with code has just about finished me off!). ;D

Maybe you all feel the little zing of pleasure that I do, when you see a clump of scarlet-topped greenery clinging tenaciously to vibrant life in a crack in the central reservation of a busy road.  Maybe I'm just barking.  Whatever - bring on the poppies! :)

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Branching Out Into Rings

I love rings.  I do make them occasionally, but I must be honest, it doesn't come easy.  I think part of the problem is that I struggle with how to impart my own style to them, as well as the actual mechanics of making them.  I've been trying for ages to come up with a way of making a tree of life ring, and just couldn't work out how to make the frame.  Eventually, I gave in and bought a tutorial for making dreamcatcher rings by the fabulous Gailavira on Etsy.  Thank goodness I did!  I used her very easy-to-follow instructions and adapted them to add my own little trees.  Here is the first (not very special) attempt, using my new bronze wire:

I made a couple more, including this oxidised copper one for me (named The One Tree in homage to a series of books by one of my favourite writers, Stephen Donaldson):

And now, I've started to add beads (naturally) - because a world without beads is a boring one!

So, this week's theme is 'Yay for rings!'  And maybe an additional one 'Yay for tutorials!'  While I make the vast majority of it up as I go along (I know, you can tell), sometimes access to another's knowledge is invaluable.  Not to mention that it helps other artists if you buy their tutorials. :)

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Giveaway Prize

And here it is - the prize for entering my giveway:

Nic requested a traditional round tree of life in an Autumn colour scheme - so here it is, I hope she likes it!  Thanks again, all who entered - it's lovely to connect with other like-minded people, and it was also good for me to make something to a spec; I don't have a lot of time to spend on my jewellery, so I generally spend it playing with whatever takes my fancy.  I do take commissions, so it's good for me to keep my hand in at making things to order every now and again! :)

Sunday, 17 July 2011

And the winner is ...

... Nic!  Congratulations, Nic - yours was the name hubby picked out of the hat.  And yes, it really was a hat, as you can see from the pic.  I made him close his eyes and rummage around a bit before he selected a slip of paper - all terribly technical!  He's now muttering that he ought to be paid for 'official business' ...

I'd like to thank all the lovely people who left such encouraging comments on my blog - it wasn't a condition of the competition that you say nice things about my work, but it's very nice to know it's appreciated!  I shall be checking in to see if all you creative people have blogs, and following them too if I don't already - time hasn't been on my side this week (as usual) but I will find some to sit and browse.  Nic - I'll be in touch to find out how you would like your pendant customised. :)

In other news this week, I've finally finished my entry for the Etsy Wire Goddess Team logo contest - I'm not expecting to win, as the other entries are stunning beyond belief, but I thought it was a good way to get into the habit of the challenges we're going to have every two months.

And I've also attempted rings again - I don't know why, but I always struggle with rings.  I've been trying to fathom a way of incorporating a tree of life into a ring (and failing miserably) - in the end I bought a fab dreamcatcher ring tutorial from Etsy seller Gailavira Tutorials and adapted it.  Here is attempt number two:

It needs work, but it has potential.  And that's pretty much it news-wise with regard to my adventures in wire this week (although I did have a nice little delivery of bronze wire which is sitting looking at me waiting to be played with - I'm a big fan of the colour of new bronze, it's just that little bit subtler than copper).  Thank you all again for looking at my blog, and if anyone has any suggestions about which way to go next, I'm always receptive! x

Sunday, 10 July 2011


Yep, that's right.  To celebrate 50,000 views on my Flickr album - which is imminent - I'm organising my first giveaway.  The prize is a custom Tree of Life pendant, made with copper wire, with beads in the colour scheme of your choice.  All you have to do to win is comment on my Blog, and choose to follow it if you aren't already.

Here are some examples (all my trees are different):

You have a choice of the following colour schemes: Autumn, Seashore, Ocean Depths, Summer lilacs.  Please specify whether you would prefer round or oval, and a flower-style tree or a traditional tree of life.

All entrants will have their names put into a hat (or similar receptacle!) and chosen by an independent judge (this may be my hubby, but I can assure you he has no interest in who wins!).  I will post the winner on here, and you will then need to let me have your address.  Good luck all, and thank you for looking at my blog. :)

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Full Circle?

Way back in the mists of time, I studied art, and had hopes of becoming an illustrator.  Life got in the way and that dream went by the wayside - not a bad thing, probably, as I really didn't have sufficient talent!  I barely picked up a pencil for years (apart from the obsessive doodling I simply cannot curb when I'm on the phone - woe betide any box, flyer or scrap of paper that gets in my way then!).  ANYWAY (stop rambling, woman!), it was only a few years back that my creative side surfaced again when I began to get into making jewellery.  From stringing, I progressed to wire, and that led to my ongoing series of Picture Pendants.  (See the latest below - called Wayside, for more than one reason.)

Where is this going? I hear you ask.  Bear with me, there is a point!  And the point is that, after so many years of my drawing drought, the picture pendants seem to have brought me full circle.  The pendants are mostly inspired by nature, and I've been enjoying creating flowers and leaves from wire so much, it's spurred me into picking up the pencils and pens and actually applying them to paper (as opposed to old newspapers, shoe boxes, takeaway menus - you get the gist).  So all those people who are now getting hand-drawn cards from me have the wire to thank (or blame).

I just think it's funny how firstly, you can't suppress the creative urge completely - it will always find an outlet, and secondly, one interest leads to another in a natural progression, even if you end up right back where you started. :)

Monday, 6 June 2011

Just in case anyone was wondering ...

... what happened to the Rapunzel idea.  Here are the two failures so far.  I had this lovely vision in my head of an ivy-festooned tower, with Rapunzel's golden locks flowing down to a ground filled with flowers and grasses.  Right.  Here is attempt number one:

My first problem with this was that the plait looks as if it has merely been tied to the window sill.  Which it has.  Where is Rapunzel's head?!  I didn't get a chance to resolve this issue, because I then decided to destroy all hope of salvaging the thing by inadvertantly dropping it on the floor and rolling over it with my chair.  Which annoyed me (feel free to mentally cross out 'annoyed' and replace it with the strongest alternative you're comfortable with).  This does explain the mangled look of the piece, although not the general rubbishness of it.  So I shelved the idea for a while.  Then:

I'll try again, I thought.  The window was far worse this time, although I felt the hair was better.  But Rapunzel has no face!  How do I convey a face with a tiny piece of wire (that you're not going to even see from any distance) or a thicker piece of wire that I have no idea how to anchor?  A pink(ish) bead?  Nope.  So now we have a headless wig flowing out of a hole in the wall.  Still no face.  Still no flowers.  And I'm pig-sick of wrapping frames I'm going to waste.  So the idea is on hold for the time being.  Until the next time ... ;)

Saturday, 21 May 2011

The Agony and The Ecstasy

Well, perhaps not quite.  But I'm referring to the absolute tedium of the groundwork when making a wire piece compared to the thrill of making all the little twiddly bits.  It's a real chore for me to spend hours wire-wrapping - especially if no beads are involved! - so I often save it until I have something to watch on the telly.  I can then concentrate on the good bit when the telly is off!

To me it's very much like decorating - you have to spend hours (sometimes days) preparing the walls and paintwork - rubbing down, filling, sanding etc. and it's only after all this hard graft has been done that you can get on with the fun bit - slapping the paint on.  Yes, I know that I can't have instant gratification, and I do understand that the finished result will only be acceptable if the groundwork was well-executed, but it still bores me! ;)

Case in point my latest piece below - wrapping that trellis took a lot longer than you'd think, and in my head I was already working on the vine, but you have to get the basic stuff right!  The trellis is in fact not perfectly shaped (I like to think of it as rustic) but I did spend hours wrapping the wretched thing.  And I'm quite pleased with the result.  After a lot of false starts and failed pieces this week, this one at least looks like it did in my head!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Back from a lovely holiday

I'm back (at work - boo hoo) from a wonderful week's holiday on the Norfolk coast - very relaxing, breakfast outside looking out at the sea, lots of beach walks and then later cups of tea and glasses of wine looking out at the sea again.  We had fabulous weather, with only a couple of rain showers during the week.

And naturally, I still found time to do some beading and wirework in the evenings!  The size 8 seed beads - a pressie from my Dad and Stepmum received the day before we left - were perfect for making bunches of grapes (perhaps inspired by the imbibing of one or two glasses of grape juice ...) 

And I also made a few wrapped bracelets with different beads and wires.

My dear hubby failed completely to assist me when I threw a whole bag of carnelian chips into the patio pebbles, and instead took photos of my misery (as usual).  He's never a whit surprised by my accident-prone carryings on, and yet it still seems to amuse him.  (I suppose I'm just lucky he didn't video it this time ...)

Monday, 25 April 2011

Escaping the noise ...

Yes, I know I'm crazy to be indoors on an unusually glorious day like today.  I took my book outside and my cup of tea, and I tried.  Really I did.  But it's a little difficult to relax when there's a funfair at the end of your road, complete with very loud music, miked-up organisers and lots of screaming.  And we have had this for the entire Bank Holiday weekend... >:(

Enough moaning, because on the positive side, I've had an excuse to play indoors! :)  I'm still playing with wire pictures (stop that yawning at the back there - I can hear you!).  Here's one I made earlier:

And as it's a little early to be thinking of Autumn (I can't help it, I'll be muttering about Christmas before you know it!) here's a summery little gold tree of life, too:

And I have a little idea for a wire Rapunzel picture that's been rattling around my otherwise vacant brain, inspired by this fantastic blog I've just started following: - showing new fairy-tale themed work by talented lampworkers Emma Mackintosh and Sabine Little.  I love the whole idea of it, and I immediately (as you do) thought 'Rapunzel!  In wire!'  So watch this space - it may work, it may not!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Dreaming of Summer ...

As I'm now a member of the Wire Goddess team on Etsy, I thought I'd better spend my spare time updating my Etsy shop.  So until this weekend I hadn't had any time to create, but at last the dry spell has ended!  Inspired by dreams of lazy summer days, I made this pendant:
I can just imagine some beautifully-gowned Southern Belle swinging in the sunshine (with her skin adequately protected, of course) with a mint julep in her hand.  I know, I get carried away, but let me tell you, that scenario is only slightly more likely for me this summer than travelling to the moon, so I can dream!

I love making these Picture Pendants - it's almost like drawing with wire.  I get an idea and create it in wire, sometimes with preliminary sketches, sometimes without.  Maybe I'll have a go at a larger piece of artwork one day, if I ever get tired of making these! :)

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Shiny new blog!

Well, kind of.  The design's pretty basic, but the barbed wire appealed to the obsessive wireworker in me (even my doodles have started to morph into designs that could be made with a single piece of wire!) and I do already have a blog on my website.  But I thought let's give this a go anyway, because it seemed like a good idea at the time!

The plan was to make this primarily a blog about wireworking - the process, the design aspect, the finished article, but I expect I'll digress and ramble on about any old thing while I'm at it!  For a start, I haven't got a clue how to add a link, so I might be shinning my way up the learning curve for a while.  Please bear with my arduous progress, or feel free to help me out with any tips!  And if anyone has any questions about my work, or wireworking in general, don't be afraid to ask - I'm really not scary at all! ;D