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Posts Tagged ‘beach glass’

There seems to be an awful lot of stuff getting in the way of my jewellery making at the moment but I was able to sit down on Sunday and make a couple of pretty things. First, I upcycled a vintage brooch with some bud-shaped nuggets of sea glass.

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I only have a couple of tiny pieces of red but this one fitted perfectly and then I had great fun choosing some more tiny nuggets in unusual, vibrant colours and setting them into the brooch. It’s available here.

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I have been mulling over ideas for this fantastic broken bracelet for some time. It’s unmarked silver with translucent lime green enamel and everything about it is superb quality.

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The green enamel proved to be impossible to match even from my extensive collection of beads and other findings, so I decided to go for a contrast of pale pink and use some lovely rose quartz beads I had wired and ready to go.

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After taking two loops off each bracelet panels and reusing the jump rings that were left, I started to join the components. I also added some sterling silver beads and curved tubes, some cat’s eye beads in two shades of green and some reclaimed silver belcher chain and a clasp to create this:

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It has taken some time to get to this point but I finally think I have done justice to the sad and sorry remains of that once stunning bracelet and it’s here in my Etsy shop.

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Not together though! Firstly, the technology. Last Tuesday I was very excited and also initially pretty nervous to chat to Susan Weekes of Stitchery Stories via Zoom – a technical first for me – as she recorded me for this week’s podcast which goes live on Wednesday 17th October.

Looking at the sort of people who she has already had as guests on Stitchery Stories I can’t quite believe I am going to be among such amazing company! We were chatting before the recording about social media in general and Facebook in particular. Having seen the sort of hassle Facebook causes during my time in teaching I have never had any inclination to be part of it, but I am aware that I really could do with promoting myself a bit more on social media. Susan recommended I start using Instagram and so, another technical first – I am now on Instagram as Underatopazsky.

Not sure how I feel about it yet. I don’t find it very intuitive and keep clicking on the wrong icon, but I do like the immediacy of it and the ease of use, as opposed to making  time to sit down and write a blog post. I definitely won’t stop blogging, but I will probably carry on Instagramming too.

Now to sea glass. These gorgeous little nuggets of multi-coloured Seaham sea glass have finally found homes that showcase their beauty. I love the subtle layers in this one.

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And the two colours in this one which only really reveal when you hold it up to the light.

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I put the blue nugget into a vintage silver tone cage pendant which you can find in my Etsy shop here.

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And the aqua/green multi into a silver cage pendant which can be found here.

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Then I added a fabulous lilac and clear multi to a vintage 800 silver pendant. I really love this one. The shape and colour of the sea glass fits so perfectly with the leaves.

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It’s in my Etsy shop here and was also one of the first things I Instagrammed!!

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Embroidery as promised. I not only finished off the faux driftwood piece I stitched at our sea-themed Embroiderers’ Guild March workshop…

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…but also found a framed ceramic plaque for £1 in a charity shop which after a bit of sanding and dry brushing with some pale blue emulsion paint yielded the perfect frame.

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The beaded fish is now nearly a name badge. I just need to add a brooch back, ladder stitch the two sections together and bead it round the edge.

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On Saturday it was our April Scunthorpe Embroiderers’ Guild meeting and an opportunity to revisit the embroidery we produced in March after Mary’s workshop. It was lovely to see such a variety of outcomes.

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This was followed by a fascinating talk by Alice Fox, learning about her creative journey and focusing on her ‘Findings’ body of work. Anyone who beach and pavement combs and turns the oddments she finds into works of art is a woman after my own heart. We had a workshop booked with her on the Sunday but I’m going to blog about that separately.

I’ve also been embroidering more pieces of silk carrier rod to inlay into upcycled jewellery – two lockets and a pendant. The pendant was first: vibrant green carrier rod with a crimson ribbon embroidery rose circled by five little leaf stitch leaves.

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This went beautifully with a stamped filigree brass frame to become June Rose.

Then I moved onto the smaller of two gold tone lockets. I used a wintry blue carrier rod and embroidered it with tiny snowflakes in two weights of silk thread. 20180426_114304_HDR.jpg

It really is very small – the central oval is about 2cm by 1.5cm and the finest thread is thinner than normal sewing cotton. The snowflakes aren’t quite well stitched as I wanted, but embroidering something that intricate freehand was quite a challenge.

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Snowflakes is available here.

For the second locket I returned to a familiar design, an undersea landscape of waving feather stitch fronds of coral or seaweed and tiny nuggets of sea glass.

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I chose a variegated pink and turquoise thread as a starting point and teamed it with turquoise/blue carrier rod, three nuggets of multi-coloured Seaham sea glass and a couple of darker pink threads.

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The Coral Garden locket is quite a bit bigger than the Snowflakes locket at about 4 by 4.5cm. I really like the colour combination. I wouldn’t have necessarily put the two colours together but they worked so well in the variegated thread.

I really love stitching these little vignettes and using them to make bits of junk jewellery into things of beauty again.

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At the end of March I went up to Seaham beach in County Durham to refresh my collection of sea glass, especially the special multis that Seaham is famous for. The beach is certainly a lot more picked over than the last time I went in 2013 and although I did find a few nice bits, there was an awful lot of hard hunting to get them.

Having spent a full day on the beach and driven home aching all over, I thought I was all beachcombed out for a while, and didn’t mind the (very) short spell I was allowed on Southwold beach at Easter, but then, it was a pretty good haul for ten minutes:

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A couple of weeks later we went to visit my middle one in Bangor, North Wales and happened to find ourselves mooching in Beaumaris on Anglesey with an hour to spare before our restaurant booking. Mooching on the seafront, specifically. I glanced idly at the beach and realised I had no real urge to go down and hunt. I was just telling my incredulous family this when my little one looked over the railing and announced that she could see a piece of beach pottery. Instantly refreshed, I positively scuttled down onto the beach to the accompaniment of much hilarity from my husband and daughters.

After they had finished teasing, they did at least come down and help me hunt and the hour passed happily and productively.

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The sea glass was more craft grade (I am spoilt by Seaham nuggets) but the pottery was fabulous.

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And my middle one even found me a rusty ‘thing’ which was very exciting.

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Time to turn my treasures into jewellery. First, I worked with two of my favourite pieces of the Beaumaris pottery. Beaumaris Blue:

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And Pretty Purple:

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This one has a lovely reverse side too.

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The final and very different pendant began with a piece of random organically shaped metal from somewhere which I had textured with a hammer to make a feature of the fact that the underlying copper was starting to show through. I played with arrangements of my beach treasures; pieces of wave-worn metal, pottery and glass until I found something which worked.

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‘Treasures!’ can be found here.

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Hopefully embroidery next time!

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They started as part of a five piece graduated set of wedge shaped pendants. The central sections had been filled with glittery golden sticky backed plastic – horrible but easily removed to give a blank space full of possibilities.

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As you can see from the above photo, I already had one idea brewing – to use some of the scraps of fabulous yew wood veneer I scored from my Dad’s workshop a while ago. I liked the look of the wood against the gold coloured edging, but felt that to do all of them the same would be too much and just one wouldn’t showcase the wood enough. So I decided to make a trio of pendants, using the two smallest and one of the medium sized sections.

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I cut the veneer to shape and carefully finished the pieces with clear Danish oil and micro-crystalline wax before insetting them into the pendants, adding a gold plated chain and listing them here in my Etsy shop

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That left the largest and one of the medium sized sections for something different. I really enjoyed working with ironed out silk carrier rods recently and I had just found three bags of them I didn’t know I had (hangs head in shame…) in my favourite colours – blue, green and turquoise – so that was the next design sorted. I cut a piece of the green to fit the largest section and started to create a little garden corner. Straight stitch stems and french knot flowers in various weights of silk thread.

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Then an overhanging branch in stem stitch…

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…with lazy daisy stitch leaves…

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…set into the pendant which can be found here.

A piece of mottled blue/turquoise carrier rod was a good start for a sea themed pendant. I added feather stitch in gold silk thread and three tiny nuggets of rare yellow sea glass.

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They were stitched down with fine silk thread and I added another swirl of feather stitch to link them.

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I’ve called this one ‘Sunlit Zone’ and listed it here.

Stitching on the ironed out silk carrier rods is lovely. They are firm, like a heavy paper, but much more forgiving if you put the needle through in the wrong place. Pelmet vilene is great too but the colour and sheen of the silk is just very special. I think they have loads more potential in my jewellery work so this won’t be the last you see of them!

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On Saturday our Guild meeting was an all day workshop led by Mary, one of our members. It was themed as ‘The Sea’ and Mary provided not only inspiration in the form of some lovely examples of her own work on the subject…

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…assorted books, magazines etc. but also masses of fabric, shells, stones, beads, paints, printing blocks, silk waste; you name it… basically a complete treasure trove of stuff.

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And we all know how much more deliciously tempting other people’s stuff is than our own!

As a topic, the sea is completely in my comfort zone, so much so that my initial problem was where to start. There was so much I wanted to do! But as Mary talked us through her goodies, inspiration was initially triggered by a cloud of bright orange silk throwster’s waste and then confirmed by some foam core board. With a very definite idea in my head, I nipped in, grabbed a few bits and bore my loot off to my table.

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The lovely pale marbled fabric was a perfect base for my wrapped and back stitched  foam core board driftwood. I just cut it roughly to the right shape and then back stitched through the boards and several layers of dyed muslin, pulling and pleating the fullness of the fabric to give the impression of wood grain. It was easy to stitch invisibly to the background, where I used Inktense pencils to enhance the pattern of the fabric.

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The orange silk said rust to me, so I created a rusty square-headed bolt from a sandwich of silk carrier rods, the throwster’s waste and a street-scavenged washer I just happened to have in my bag, wrapped in an off-cut of the brown muslin I’d used for the  driftwood and stitched down with my favourite semi-metallic thread.

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The last element was some lovely aqua sea glass nuggets I also had in my bag. I nestled them in the curves of the marbled fabric pattern…

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…and after gluing them in place, stitched them down with a toning machine rayon thread.

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I couldn’t believe I’d actually finished a project within the workshop and still had time to start another one. There was a leaping fish stamp that I liked the look of, so I used metallic blue acrylic paint to stamp some images of it onto more of the grey marbled fabric.

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Then I stitched beads in the spots and some short bugle beads for his underbelly to make him sparkle. I’m adding my name underneath to turn him into a name badge. We are supposed to have one and wear it at meetings, but to my eternal shame it’s something I’ve never quite got round to – until now.

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A good day’s work.

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I know that some members prefer to have a bit of a project set out, but this free for all rummage through Mary’s treasures was perfect for me, and thanks to her skilful facilitation, gave me a wonderful day’s stitching.

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If we have had a workshop of some sort at our Embroiderers’ Guild group, then at the next meeting there is a space available for people to bring their workshop pieces, whether finished or just continued, to show. It was fantastic to see what had happened to the stitch play pieces from my workshop in December.

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Many thanks to everyone who brought along their work – glad you enjoyed it!

I’ve also been doing some more upcycling. First, I turned a single 1980s enamelled earring which looked like orange sherbet into a beaded brooch. I removed the post and then beaded it onto some hand dyed vintage cotton fabric with some matching pearlised opaque orange seed beads using peyote stitch.

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Then I gathered the spare fabric over the back and ladder stitched it to the covered vilene circle onto which I’d already stitched the brooch back.

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Then I could add the edging in a mixture of clear orange, opaque pale yellow and very pale lilac beads, to echo the colours in the swirl.

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It’s not a terribly quick thing to stitch, but a lot of fun to do!

Among the oddments I scored from my Dad’s workshop last year were some bits of veneer that he had hand cut. This little piece is apple wood.

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I wondered what would happen if I doodled on it in black pen…

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…and then cut it into sections to fit in this vintage bracelet.

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Measure twice, cut once…

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Hold your breath and hope…

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…and be pleasantly surprised at the result.

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I’ve also added nuggets of sea glass and sea washed china to a selection of vintage pendants, brooches and rings.

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They are all sitting in my Etsy shop now, waiting for loving homes!

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