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I am so pleased with this one! It started off as a very basic white metal vintage brooch.

Summer meadow brooch 1

I just thought the holes were an ideal place to put some embroidery, so I started by colouring some pelmet vilene.

Summer meadow brooch 2

And then drew round the holes to give me a template for how much space I had to stitch into.  Straight stitches in a single strand of variegated silk thread gave me the grassy meadow and lazy daisy stitches gave the middle section a bit of variation.

Summer meadow brooch 3

Then the french knots, again in a single strand of variegated silk thread.

Summer meadow brooch 4

Next I made a careful template of the brooch shape, with cut outs for the clasp and cut the embroidery to fit.

Summer meadow brooch 5

After it had been carefully attached to the back of the brooch, I added another bit of vilene to cover the back of the stitching.

Summer meadow brooch 6

And listed it here in my Etsy shop.

Summer Meadow brooch 7

Upcycling

This is my current obsession and if I can do it in a way which combines textiles/embroidery in some way then even better. If you read my last blog hop post then you will have caught sight of one of my latest pendants which began simply as an old brass pendant mount long missing whatever had been set in it.

Bullion rose pendant 1

 

I used a single strand of variegated silk to embroider a bullion knot rose with French knot buds and whipped back stitch stems on some lovely slubby hand dyed cotton.

Bullion rose pendant 2

Then I cut a piece of thick felt the same size as the pendant and drew the fabric up around it before using the lugs on the pendant to fit it snugly in place. In real life it’s less than an 2cm long, so it was all a bit of a challenge.

Bullion rose upcycled pendant

A matching chain completes the upgrade from rubbish to wearable!

Bullion rose pendant 3

Next for upcycling was a gold tone ‘A’ initial brooch. The gold colour was badly worn in one place, so I started to wonder if I could wrap it in fabric. However, ‘A’ is quite a complex shape, so first I experimented with a simple vintage circular silver coloured pendant and some offcut strips of printed Japanese themed cotton in red, black and gold.

I used Modge Podge thinly spread on the back of each piece and as the strips built up, I became quite excited about the effect.

Japanese print wrapped pendant 1

I neatened off the back with some more of the fabric and used the Modge Podge to seal that layer, which gives it a bit of a shiny look that I didn’t want on the front.

Japanese print wrapped pendant 2

And I’m pleased enough with both of them that they’ve gone into the new Upcycled section of my Etsy shop.

I was delighted to be tagged to take part in this by the very creative, talented and witty Iz, from Threadnoodle and it was lovely to welcome people who had popped over from her blog. So this week is my turn to talk in a bit more depth about myself and my creative process.

I live in North Lincolnshire in the UK although I’m originally, like Dickens’ David Copperfield, from the little village of Blundeston, in Suffolk. Among other things, I’m a writer, a jeweller and textile artist. But not necessarily in that order.

1. What am I working on?

Erm… everything? I have a second book of short stories and a novel both on the go as well as an article which has been back-burnered for various reasons. There’s a box of partly completed rings,

silver acorn ring

pendants and other odds and ends which need finishing.

Norwich stitch pendant

Journals, books and altered books,

York Minster altered book

kits, summer holiday diary fragments,

holiday diary fragment

the crazy patchwork cushion for my son,

James' cushion strip 1

felted and goldwork brooches,

Goldwork brooch

 

my hearts commission,

hearts commission

my rusted fragments art quilt…

rusted fragments art quilt

…you get the picture. I long to have a go at everything and greedily want 36 hours in each day to try, test and explore my latest passion to its full extent.

My latest obsession is upcycled jewellery, whether replacing broken/damaged elements with beads like this vintage necklace…

 

broken vintage wire necklace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

upcycled m.o.p and haematite necklace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

or adding textile elements – felting and beading…

 

Felted beads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uncycled felted bead necklace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

… embroidery or patchwork.

Bullion rose upcycled pendant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

upcycled patchwork earrings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love being able to make something from bits that someone else has discarded as worthless. Little things fascinate me too, and each of the projects is so small that I can be almost finished before I start to get bored. I really admire people with the stickability to work on large ongoing projects, but that’s not me. Whatever I do tends to be small, detailed, and precise, whether it’s stitched into fabric, wrought from metal, words on a page or even part of a show in theatre. For me, the devil (and the interest) is in the detail.

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?

That’s a difficult one. As regards my jewellery, with its mix of metalworking and fine embroidery, I’ve certainly never seen anything quite like it. There are other artists who create  jewellery with textile components, but it seems to fall into two categories – fairly traditional jewellery shapes such as earring drops, pendant and rings set with pieces of textile work, or textile work with metal findings to make it into earrings, pendants, brooches etc. I do both…

Turquoise spiral brooch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bullion rose upcycled pendant

…but prefer to do neither

Moss mixed media pendant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indigo book charm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I suppose that everything we do is unique, but at the same time, everything we create is the result of our experiences. I’ve often thought that if we could break down the DNA of a piece, trace its bloodline of influences and inspirations, it would be fascinating to see precisely how it was born from the tiny fragments we draw from so many things we’ve seen, done and experienced.

3. Why do I create what I do?

Every project gives me pleasure to work and it also gives me pleasure to see how it is received by other people but essentially I create because I need to. Like so many creative people, I don’t remember a time when I didn’t create, from wobbly junk models and roughly stitched dolls’ clothes to furnishings for my doll’s house and stories set in imagined worlds.

It’s my way of responding to something of the beauty in the world I see around me, my way of revelling in the power of fashioning something that is mine alone. I bend the media to my will and I say how it turns out – mostly!

4. How does my creative process work?

The first thing to fire it off is usually a single item but it can be anything: a bead, a thread, some fabric, a fragment of something, an image or artefact. The alliums piece below was the response to the challenge, ‘A flower beginning with ‘A’ for an Embroiderer’s Guild competition.

Alliums sketchbook page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alliums hanging

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An idea from a curtain I saw on a course

kantha patches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and an image from a dream…

Dream kantha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It can be a very dangerous process to sort through my stuff – I get sidetracked onto new projects very easily!

In terms of how things then evolve, I let my creative subconscious do a lot of the work. Usually I have clear idea of the starting point and an image of roughly what the end point will look like (I write like this too). Then it’s a case of starting and seeing how and where things go. If I get stuck I just walk away for a while and its unusual for that break not to have straightened things out in my head.  If I’m lucky, things work out as well, or sometimes even better than I’d hoped. If not, then it’s good to learn from your mistakes and chances are, I can always turn it into something else one day…

Phew! I think that’s the wordiest post I’ve ever put up! If you’re still with me, then please go and visit my two nominated bloggers.

Firstly, Debbie at Debbidipity. I met Debbie at our Embroiderers’ Guild when I joined several years ago and we’ve been good friends ever since. In the last 5 years, as a mature student, she’s done ‘A’ levels in Art and Photography and then followed them up with a Fine Art degree at Hull. She likes to experiment with all sorts of media and her inspirations are rooted strongly in the natural world that she loves.

From the local to the other side of the pond and Penny at Art Journey. Penny creates wonderful textile artwork in areas that I don’t tend to dabble in but love to look at – punch-needle, doll-making and beading are some of her latest delights, and I consider myself very lucky to have Valentine, one of her wonderful unique dolls sitting on my shelf watching me as I type.

Penny's Valentine

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the next stage of the bloghop!

Well, effectively, that’s what it’s made from! I really enjoyed making my Eden project paper carrier and chocolate box book last year and when I went to a local food and drink fair last November I earmarked the advertising postcard and another carrier for the same treatment. I cut the postcard in half for the covers…

Rubbish book 1

…and sliced up the carrier into signatures.

Rubbish book 2

And then Christmas happened and it got well and truly shuffled aside until yesterday when I needed to turn some work I’d done with a group of children into little books using Coptic binding. I had five to do, so another one wasn’t going to make much difference, so here it is, finally finished:

Rubbish book 3

Rubbish book 3

 

I’m really pleased with the chain stitches across the spine.

 

Rubbish book 5

 

No idea what I’m going to do with it now I’ve made it, of course…!

I listed the writers of the comments on my 300th post (for which I thank you all), not including duplicates and there were 11. So I numbered each one and then fetched one of my trusty d12s (that’s a polyhedral 12 sided die numbered 1-12 for non RPGers) to choose the winner.

It rolled:

A d12 in the limelight at last!

 

And as you can see from my hastily scribbled list, number 9 is…

Scribbly list

Karen!

Congratulations, Karen. If you could let me have your snail mail address and an idea of whether you would like a hammered blue, impressed blue, hammered red or impressed red pendant, I’ll pop it in the post for you.

Brass and silk cocoon pendants 1

The rest will shortly go into my Etsy shop. 

Edited to say: they’re now all listed here on Etsy.

I missed Under A Topaz Sky’s third anniversary in May so decided that since I was relatively close to 300 posts, I’d have a giveaway to celebrate that milestone instead.

I’ve been finishing more of the projects I started last year on my silversmithing course, including the plans I had for these brass domes. Hammered…

Hammered brass domes

 

…and impressed with embroidered fabric.

Impressed brass domes

They have finally been pierced and attached to silk cocoons to make unusual and quirky pendants.

Brass and silk cocoon pendants 1

There are two colours: red and ultramarine blue, and two types of finish on the domes, hammered and impressed.

To celebrate my 300th post, I’m going to give away one of these unique little pendants. The winner can choose from: crimson red with a hammered dome or vermillion with an impressed dome…

Brass and silk cocoon pendants 2

…or ultramarine blue with a hammered dome…

Brass and silk cocoon pendants 3

…or ultramarine with an impressed dome.

Brass and silk cocoon pendants 4

They have brass jump rings attached as a bale and I’ll include a ribbon or thong or something similar as well.

If you would like to enter the giveaway then just leave a comment below and I’ll draw a winner out of something suitable next Thursday, October 2nd 2014. Good luck!

I’m enjoying the challenge of upcycling jewellery at the moment and I found a couple of pairs of 80s earrings – biggish, with white plastic middles (just right to tone with those classy white stilettos and matching handbag to dance round to George Michael!) and gold-tone borders – which were in fairly good condition and crying out for something interesting to be done with the blank canvas of the middles.

Initially, I toyed with pieces of cotton print and silk kimono fabric, but although the fabrics were attractive, the effect was a little thin. Then I found some scraps of fine strip patchwork and the extra thickness given by the seams was perfect.

Square upcycled patchwork earrings 1

I like being able to tuck the edges under the rolled metal borders for extra neatness.

Square upcycled patchwork earrings 2

Then the tear-drop shaped pair.

Tear-drop upcycled patchwork earrings 1

The pointed end made these a bit more challenging to work with as the fabrics wanted to fray right away on such a narrow area.

Tear-drop upcycled patchwork earrings 2

From brash 80s costume jewellery to unique textile pieces. I’m so pleased with these and my Etsy shop doesn’t know what’s hit it – three new listings in a week! Check them out here and here.

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