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Posts Tagged ‘upcycling’

It’s been a very busy and full-on weekend at Normanby Hall Christmas Market, my last one of the season!

It was somewhat of a mixed bag but I did sell a few of my stitched pieces. They take so long to sell that I do feel quite lost when they actually go! One of the first sales on Saturday was this underwater themed locket:

I also sold the midsummer garden brooch I stitched back in January:

And this beaded brooch I made back in 2018 which was originally an enamelled 1980s earring:

It was far too cold to stitch on Saturday but Sunday was warmer and quieter and I got a little bit of another Bayeux Stitch project done, but not much. It’s also quite gloomy inside the stall at this time of year which doesn’t help stitch placement!

However, I have finished the jelly fish. Thank you all so much for your input. Everything is helpful because it gives me a wider menu of things to consider, and it’s useful to have ideas of what I don’t want as well as ideas of what I do! Anyway, here is the result:

I realised last week that the first row of bugle beads under the bell weren’t stitched down, and that it would potentially be possible to slide something underneath. After communing with my gold work supplies box, I found a piece of textured silver kid leather, cut it into shape and carefully worked it under the beads. It was big enough to push down under the edge of the row of grey seed beads and then I put some tiny stab stitches into place all the way round to stop it moving.

It’s exactly what I wanted and not only is it a finish (apart from lacing it over a slip of cardboard) but it’s meant I could clear the very large pile of bead tubes and silver goldwork threads from my work area too.

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Just finished the weekend’s Artisan Christmas Market at the Collection in Lincoln and I’m delighted to say that it was very successful, not just in terms of selling, but more importantly affirming that people are interested in both what I make and my ethos and there is definitely a market out there for unique upcycled jewellery. I had become quite demoralised with the lack of sales online and in the two galleries that stock my work and this has been a real boost.

I sold so many pairs of earrings on the Saturday that I came home and made some more to take on the Sunday, including some studs based on some vintage self-cover buttons that I unearthed in time honoured fashion while looking for something else! I had flattened out some quite flimsy bead caps and thought that two layered over each other looked like a snowflake, so while I stood behind the stall on the Saturday I stitched them onto some scraps of ultramarine blue silk dupion.

When I got home I finished off the button parts, removed the loops and added sterling silver posts and butterflies.

As I have dozens of these bead caps and another four buttons, I decided to make another pair, this time layering green chiffon from a scrap of an old sari over a piece of red silk satin.

However, the third pair is still in the planning stage and it will be different. After having made two very similar pairs, boredom set in – I really do have the attention span of a goldfish!

I decided not to add the diamantes to the mandala pendant. I laced it over a circle of felt and a circle of pelmet vilene and made a plain version of the back. At the moment I’m wondering whether to give it a beaded edge (beaded blanket stitch or a fringed edge) or leave it plain.

However, I think the prevaricating about how to finish the edging is a bit of displacement activity to mask the real issue. As you can see against my hand, it’s quite a statement piece (translation: probably a bit too big) and I’m having serious doubt about whether anyone would actually want to wear it as a pendant. I was planning to make some bag charms/key rings and I was wondering whether it would be more commercial if I did something similar with this. At the moment I could see it with a chunky tassel hanging from a bureau key or a cupboard door knob more than I could a pendant. Any thoughts?

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…and goodbye to Baby Leaf-Tailed Dragon. I finally laced him over the mounting board this week, labelled him and he was presented to the director of our Autumn 2019 production this weekend. Sad to see him go but glad that it’s one job not hanging over my head any more!

With stock drops to do at Arttopia and Bricktree Gallery in Caistor, my attention has been on creating upcycled jewellery that will hopefully have a Christmas party appeal.

Two broken bracelets have provided some useable sections for earrings and an earring and pendant set. Unfortunately I keep forgetting to take ‘before’ photos so you’ll have to use your imagination to reconstruct the original piece! The first one was made up from alternating silver crosses and abalone panels and I managed to salvage four sections – enough for two pairs of earrings. These ones worked perfectly with a couple of silver tone wing charms.

And I chose a couple of lovely art glass beads to tone in with the colours of the abalone for this pair.

I only managed to salvage three sections from this gold tone and diamanté bracelet but I’m very pleased with the earrings and pendant set I created from them.

Then I teamed four odd bracelet panels with some royal purple faux pearl beads to match the amethyst coloured diamantés in the middle of the panels.

I used the embroidered and sequinned black sari fabric disc I created a few months ago…

…along with a brass bale I made back in 2013 on my silversmithing course to create a pendant. It’s made of two discs of fabric gathered over circles of felt and pelmet vilene and then ladder stitched together so it’s light and easy to wear. I’m glad the bale has finally found a home too.

I did manage to take a photo of this bracelet before I upcycled it into a pendant and a pair of statement earrings. It was missing some of the diamantés and felt quite fussy, so I split it into three pieces.

First I separated out the central poinsettia shaped section and tidied up the rough edges at the back before drilling a hole into the edge of one petal for a jump ring bale and adding a reclaimed chain with a slightly worn gold plating to echo the pale gold coloured mesh in the middle of the petals.

I reset the missing diamantés in the other sections of the bracelet and added hanging loops to turn them into a pair of statement earrings. I ran out of clear diamantés in the right size so used some icy blue ones for the top which I think gives them a subtle pop of colour.

It seems that as fast as I complete one upcycle I find something else in a box which fires my imagination and replaces it in the to-do section of my desk. At the moment I’m creating some wintry mandala pendants by stitching found objects onto fabric scraps. It’s so exciting when the ideas are coming this thick and fast. Just a pity that work and life seem to get in the way..

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The poppies harvest wreath has moved on a little further and I’m a bit happier with the balance of the flowers, given that they are pretty random.

I also, in another variation of: ‘Things I’ve Found While Looking For Other Things’ came across some Tyvek this week, which has prompted a little bit of playing (and encouraged me to clear a few bits off the ironing pile while I had the iron out!). I used water soluble oil pastels on both pieces but left one as it was and added water to blend the other to see if there was any difference once I added heat.

In the end there was no difference in the way they behaved apart from the unblended one leaving smudges of oil pastel all over the baking parchment. Probably should have seen that one coming…

I preferred the way the bottom one crinkled up but thought the top one would be easier to stitch into – and it happens to be my comfort zone colours too. So I chose a section to experiment with:

The colours reminded me of some tiny offcuts I couldn’t bear to throw away from the felt I used here:

I thought they would work well with the colours of the Tyvek and provide a textural contrast. A scrap of viscose tubular ribbon ruched and held down with French knots gave me a starting point.

The larger scrap of felt was stitched down as invisibly as I could as there was already a lot going on in it, but I used a series of fly stitches to attach the smaller piece.

I quite like how the melted Tyvek looks and I didn’t want to cover any more of it up, so I added some lines of stem stitch just to follow some of the patterns in the Tyvek and anchor it to the felt.

What I really should have been doing was getting some more pieces of upcycled jewellery made. I need to do a complete stock change from gothic/Hallowe’en to something more Christmas party/presents in Arttopia in less than a week; a stock refresh along similar lines for the Bricktree Gallery in Caistor and then I’ve realised that it’s less than two weeks until my first Christmas Fair with two more following quickly after that!

I’ve made some upcycled pendants from some odd vintage earrings, the centre of a bracelet (the silver flower) and a selection of odd beads and charms and am working on some earrings using sections of broken bracelets.

All I really need are about another 8 hours in each day…!

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Making the pumpkin earrings and gothic rose pendant a couple of weeks ago led me to sort through what is probably more broken and unwanted vintage jewellery than any normal person should own and I ended up with a heap of beads, pendants, charms and other oddments and lots of ideas for some more gothic themed upcycled pieces.

A little bag of tiny red teardrop shaped beads suggested droplets of blood and with the addition of a couple of crucifixes, scraps of chain, and odd red and black beads and pendants I created a pair of charm earrings.

I had two more of the crucifixes and a couple of the little droplet beads left over to make another slightly shorter and less flamboyant pair.

I forgot to take a picture of the huge crazy earring which I split to make the following two pendants. Imagine the crescent moon hanging from the middle of the fish, a large coin in the middle of the moon and two smaller ones hanging from each tip. The whole thing was larger than my hand and very heavy.

So it seemed obvious to split this beast up! I lightened the look of the crescent moon by removing the central hanging loop and adding some grey mother of pearl moons with some vintage glass and haematite beads. I teamed it with an unusual industrial looking reclaimed chain.

I kept the fish pretty much as it was, just adding one of the smaller ‘coins’ to the middle and hanging it from a beaded choker I created from one strand of a fussy broken multi-strand necklace.

The last pendant started with this enamelled tag which appears to be a vintage 1 franc label.

I layered a flower-shaped piece of pressed brass and an oval enamelled rose on copper on the front of the tag, leaving the 1F still visible on the back and added a dark brass coloured reclaimed chain.

These are all destined for Arttopia when I do my shift next Saturday. I’m hoping they will do well as we head towards Hallowe’en. Hopefully more stitching next week.

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And not a lot else! A few more have appeared as kale-like leaves in the stumpwork vegetable garden. I was initially unsure about them, especially as unlike the other vegetables I had no idea what they were! However, as I’ve added more, they seem to fit in better. I think I need a few more near the path and perhaps another couple at the other end.

The other picots have been used to finish off the upcycled poinsettia pendant I was working on back in July. I finished adding the picots for the second layer of bracts…

…and added a cluster of French knots to the centre. Next I needed to cut the pelmet vilene behind the poinsettia to fit the missing section of the pendant.

I ended up cutting a plain one as well, as the section was deeper than the thickness of the vilene. It was doubly useful as I was able to use the plain one as a template for cutting behind the poinsettia before I set it in the pendant.

There was a nasty moment when I thought I’d nicked one of the poinsettia picots.

But it was a false alarm and it works exactly as I’d envisaged it in my head, spilling over the edge of the pendant.

Finished off with a black thong with sterling silver mounts.

I only sold five pieces of jewellery at Normanby Country Fayre on Monday and once again came home wondering if there is any point in carrying on. But then I have an idea for upcycling a piece of jewellery that is too pretty to go into landfill and I have such a great time creating it, like this one, that perhaps I’m not ready to give up just yet.

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Back to the workbench for a day last week and several successes. I found this lovely starburst engraved vintage watch case in a pile of assorted oddments and decided that was a perfect starting point.

Just right for a subtly variegated peach and cream ribbon rose.

Then it was time to audition some gold tone pendants for the bottom of the case. This dyed howlite teardrop from an odd earring tones in really well with the colour of the rose.

And finally I finished it off with a vintage reclaimed gold tone chain.

Next I came across a couple of heart shaped wooden blanks and a large enamelled metal daisy from a 1980s earring. I’d always intended to set the daisy on the heart, but felt it needed a pop of colour. The remains of an embossed silk carrier rod were perfect not only to become leaves but an odd thin wispy piece was flexible enough to cover the centre of the flower.

The silk carrier rod is nice and stiff so the leaves have enough body to stand out on their own.

I wasn’t sure whether to finish it as a brooch or a pendant but I had just the right vintage beaded chain to go with it and decided that pendants are probably a bit more commercial than brooches. I considered adding a brooch back so it could be both, like some vintage pendants, but the heart is flat at the back and commercial brooch backs would stand too proud to be comfortable to wear.

I was really on a roll at this point, so I moved onto a teardrop shaped pendant which was missing an internal drop. Perfect place for a piece of hand made felt with threads embedded into the top layer, I thought, and decided I’d probably add beaded blanket stitch to edge with some tiny seed beads to pick up the blues and give it a bit of weight to hang properly.

But then I found a lovely brass teardrop pendant which worked well hanging from the top loop too! I polished it and reset the stones and considered putting the two tear drops together and not using the felt at all, but then it was just a pretty pendant that could have come from any High Street shop, rather than one which had the textiles component I try to make a feature of my upcycling. So I tried it with the felt and now I really can’t decide whether I prefer it with or without the pendant.

Is it too busy with the pendant or too plain without? Any thoughts gratefully received!

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It all started with this odd earring. It’s not a very good image because it’s already partly disassembled (I got all excited and forgot to take a photo before I attacked it with the pliers!), but you can hopefully see that it’s made up of three pairs of brass leaf shaped sections that made me think of flower calyxes.

That was enough to spark off an idea for a pendant and a pair of earrings using silk cocoons for the main part of the flower with a brass calyx on top of each one.

Pendant first. I made a set of beaded stamens by threading some random sequences of blue and gold bugle and seed beads onto Nymo and then knotting the ends onto the loop of a headpin and setting it all with a blob of superglue. This is my third cocoon. I discovered the hard way that the silk on its own wasn’t robust enough to cope with having a headpin put through it and I had to use a layer of glue to strengthen the fibres.

But the result was worth it. The little ‘hat’ section from the earring makes an effective calyx for a fantasy flower. It’s available here in my Etsy shop.

For various reasons, I didn’t get round to the earrings until today. I managed to find an almost identical pair of silk cocoons and they really are this red! you also get a better idea of how the brass ‘calyxes’ look from this photo.

Beaded stamens again, this time in greens and golds.

The silk cocoons are really light so although the drops are quite large at 5cm long and 2cm in diameter, they are a lovely weight and not too heavy to wear. I’m hoping to get them listed in my Etsy shop shortly when I can get some more photos of the details.

It seems ages since I had a good jewellery making spell and after finishing these earrings today I was feeling really inspired. It’s a shame most of the rest of this week is going to be taken up with three days supply teaching but as online sales have dropped through the floor over the last few months, beggars really can’t be choosers.

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What with my blog anniversary and last week’s Blog Award, there hasn’t been much stitching to show. To be honest, between work and getting things ready both for a new stockist and an older one, there really hasn’t been that much stitching full stop.

At the end of last month I was delighted to get a place in the gorgeous Bricktree Gallery in Caistor, a lovely little market town on the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds. The gallery is home to dozens of local artists and makers and my little corner of it is a shelf unit created from a stack of vintage apple boxes! It’s the biggest space I’ve rented yet and took quite a bit of pre-planning to sort out what I could fit on the various shelves while making sure everything would still be visible to customers. It all looks easy to see from this angle, but I’m crouching down!

The ‘back stories’ on the cards have proved a very popular feature. I’ve found that the sort of people who are interested in upcycling like to know where the various components of their jewellery come from and for the brooches, it provides a sturdy display card into the bargain.

I used vintage doilies, place mats and napkins etc to dress the shelves just to give a bit of a theme and also soften the rough wood of the apple boxes. This shelf is blue themed.

And these shallower shelves are ideal for displaying my clock hand earrings. They are a pain to get to sit neatly on the story cards!

Lastly, the bottom shelf. As it’s the most difficult to see under normal browsing circumstances I went for a few more brightly coloured pieces which I put nearer the front.

Fingers crossed they do well. The gallery is really well curated with a great range of items and although it’s a little bit out of the way down a windy little historic lane, there is a great sense of cooperation among the small businesses in the town and they all try and put business and customers each others’ way.

Then last week I was in Cleethorpes again for my monthly shift at Arttopia. I think it was about the only gorgeous day in the last fortnight and as I was a little early I walked down to the front for a look at the sea – well, estuary really, but it was lovely anyway.

I have a much smaller space – a single shelf – at Arttopia

…so it’s a challenge to fill it as efficiently as I can.

I was over the moon to have sold two pairs of upcycled earrings since last month and while I was there I put the finishing embroidery touches to a silver and felt bead bracelet I’ve been working on.

It started as a sterling silver bracelet with a damaged filigree bead in the centre.

I removed the bead and carefully wrapped some fleece around the chain between the smaller silver beads which are soldered in place.

A mixture of wet and needle felting firmed it up into a flat cuboid shape so it lies nicely against the wrist and then I added the lazy daisy flowers.

I love turquoise/teal and it goes as well with silver as it does with rusty tones. Available shortly in my Etsy shop .

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