Inspired by the cold frosty weather we have had recently I finished this little pendant at the weekend. It combines the silver of hoar frost with the dark outlines of the trees. A little green flower is stamped on the fabric as even in winter there is the promise of coming spring.
It is probably not the first time that I will use this title for one of my blogs as a lot of the ‘ingredients’ for my work come from charity shops/thrift stores. I found these beads in a charity shop and fell in love with them even though I disliked the design and the way they were put together. So I pulled them apart and made this necklace and earrings which I called ‘A Touch of Eastern Promise’ as they reminded me of Turkish Delight.
Now is a good time to visit charity shops/thrift stores as they are full of jewellery people have discarded while having a ‘New Year sort out’. I have learned to look beyond the design (experienced charity shop hunters are probably well aware of this) and look at the beads themselves. I once bought a necklace because it had a single bead that I liked the look of. So, take a really good look and if the price is right buy the necklace/earrings, bracelet and take it apart for its components.
Charity shops are also a good place to buy chain which is expensive when bought from suppliers. So get hunting and have some fun!
I hope you all had a good Christmas/New Year break – I expect it all seems a long time ago now that all the decorations have been put away for another year. It is difficult to find much colour at this time of year so over the holiday I decided to do a project that involved using colour. Back in October (see post Celebrate Mysterious Autumn) I made some gold leaves from fabric paper and put them aside in a little jar on my craft table whilst I busied myself with other things (making Christmas presents) They were looking rather reproachfully at me saying ‘do something with me’. So over the holiday I made a necklace, a brooch, some earrings and a bracelet all based on the theme of the gold leaves – to which I added some bright red beads and some small brown glass flowers. The result is a bright cheerful set of jewellery which is just what I needed to start the New Year.
If you are lucky enough to be on holiday between Christmas and New Year and are stuck for something to do why not awaken your inner child and make some fabric paper? I attach details of how below, – the materials you will need can be found lying around the house.
Materials: Left over wrapping paper, tissue paper (plain or coloured), decorative bags (some shops give you these), magazine cuttings, fabric scraps (thin fabric works best), digital images, scanned images. Cut these up into small pieces.
A piece of net curtain/muslin
Good PVA glue
Some acrylic paint
Some torn pieces of tissue paper
Cut up a piece of muslin into a square shape and cover it with a thick layer of PVA glue. Put the torn pieces of paper on to the gluey muslin, pressing them in with your fingers – yes, be prepared to get really messy! Don’t allow the glue to get dry – be quick and spontaneous. Add another layer of glue and then press in the pieces of torn tissue paper leaving some areas free of tissue paper. Some of the tissue paper will crease but this is the effect you’re aiming to create. Mix some acryclic paint with water (make it quite dilute) and dribble some paint over the fabric paper while the glue is still wet, again leaving some areas free of paint. Pick up the fabric paper and leave it somewhere to dry – it will drip so watch your surfaces – I usually place it over the bath and put old towels on the floor and in the bath.
Once you’ve made the fabric paper what do you do with it? I make jewellery – see pics below – but if you’re a card maker it makes ideal backgrounds for cards. Once dry it can be cut and decorated either with stitching or other embellishments.
You may or may not agree with me, but I find that brooches are the most neglected items of jewellery. Charity shops are full of them and they sit forgotten in jewellery boxes and drawers. However as an item of jewellery they have real value when it comes to brightening up those dark winter coats that we muffle ourselves up in once the nights draw in and the days become cold and drear.
They are also great fun to make and are a good way to use up scraps of fabric and pieces of broken jewellery. I attach some pictures of some brooches I have made and wear on my dark winter coat when I feel in need of a lift.
They are all made out of pieces of scrap fabric from my stash except the large corsage flower (bottom left) which has been made out of fabric paper. Buttons make ideal centres for flowers.
If you fancy adding a bit of glamour to a dark winter day, why not have a rummage through your stash and see what you can make?
Until next time …………enjoy your craft work!
Driving to Swaffham yesterday through the cloudy misty countryside I was struck with the mysterious ethereal quality of these quiet autumn days. In the soft grey light the autumn colours – reds, greens, golds – glowed so that the hedgerows seemed alive with colour – the dim light seeming to enhance their brilliance.
Inspired by this I went home and cut some leaves in green and gold out of some fabric paper I had made with the intention of making them into an autumn necklace. The pattern is forming in my mind at the moment – just a few practical details to sort out.
Inspired by a visit to a friend who makes costumes for the local drama group I came up with this bracelet made with one of my current favourite mediums – fabric paper. The flower at the centre was cut off an old shoe and formed the basis of the design which reflects the autumn colours appearing in the woods and fields around my home. A real party piece!
Hello all fellow artists, writers, designers etc. etc.
Having spent several days working on a flower brooch which didn’t look right whatever I did to it I wonder whether any of you have felt that frustrated feeling when you think you’ll never get there but somewhere deep inside you, you know you just have to keep on trying.
Well this has happened to me over the last few days but the light finally dawned and I realised that it just needed something more to make it look less boring!
I found a scrap of old fabric bought with a bag of ‘scraps’ on a market stall gathered it into a flower shape and I’ve sewn it into the flower around the original centre and hey presto suddenly I feel I’ve cracked it!
What a relief!
Pressed flowers make unusual and pretty pendants and can be worn on their own or as part of a necklace. A patch of celandines at the bottom of my garden formed the inspiration for this piece. The flower is mounted on card and set in resin within a wire frame. The necklace is made up of simple glass and wooden beads in co-ordinating colours as I didn’t want to detract from the pendant. See my up and coming article in Beads and Beyond November issue for how to make this pendant.