Return of the Salamanders, Fast and Fabulous Workshop and Christmas Ideas

Finally catching up after our pre-Christmas rush of orders (I wish I was so organised ;-)

Salamanders
Most years around this time we are visited by a Fire Salamander or two, this year I was lucky enough to see 4, here is one of them.

Fire Salamander in the Aveyron

They are on their way to meet other salamanders so they can hibernate together.  They are stunning and always make me feel a little blessed to have seen them.

Latest Workshop
We are just getting over our latest workshop – Sara arrived in the evening and left 2 days later at 5am (Tim isn’t a morning person but managed to take Sara to the station in time, mind you he looked like a zombie for a couple of days).  In the two short days she was with us she wanted to expand her existing skills with new techniques – here are some of the beautiful things she made -

Etching workshop jewellery making workshop

Click on the image for more photos and information.

I hope Sara enjoyed her visit as much as we did.  As you can see from the photo she made a beautiful etched silver pendant from one of her sketches and managed to fit in stone setting, riveting and fold  Sara is a very talented jewellery maker and you can see more of her work on her etsy site https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/SWebsterCollection

Mistletoe
I mentioned seeing the mistletoe in my last post, well I managed to remember my camera on one of my more recent walks with Choo Choo – it looks wonderful and I wish I could have done it justice.

Mistletoe

Christmas Gift Ideas
I have been a little slow this year but have a look at some of my Christmas jewellery, gift and findings ideas by clicking here.

 

Etched Trees, Mistletoe and a GiveAway Draw – Day 31

Yesterday I saw my first mistletoe complete with white berries, there is always a lot of mistletoe in the trees but the berries made me feel suddenly Christmassy (I know it was still October but I’ve been making orders for Christmas charms and findings for a while now).  It prompted me to do a GiveAway draw for a pair of my Christmas Holly Earrings – you can wear them as the are or add beads – either way they’ll look fab !

Christmas Holly Earrings silver handmade

Holly Hooks – £9 Handmade in Sterling Silver – They arrive in a cute aluminium tin

Just follow my blog or add a comment to be in the draw – Draw ends Sunday 2nd midnight.

In yesterdays blog I showed you a photo Tim had taken for me of trees up on the Aubrad – I spent some time making the image black & white (grayscale doesn’t work) and printing it onto PNP paper then transferring the image onto copper sheet for etching – here’s how the images turned out-

Etched Trees - copper pendant and charm

Copper & Silver Charm - 17mm x 30mm - £10

Copper & Silver Charm – 17mm x 30mm – £10

handmade etched copper and silver charm

I used liver of sulphur to oxidize the pieces and bring out their detail.

etched copper tree pendant

Aubrac Trees Etched Pendant 3cm x 3cm on leather – £20

artisan etched copper tree pendant Aubrac AveyronWell that’s the end of my October Make & Show month – please do follow my blog as I will keep posting my makes along with the back story of how some of them were made.

I you like my jewellery have a look at my website for items for sale, handmade findings & ear wires and more information about our jewellery making holidays in France – come and learn how to make your own jewellery !

A Day Off and A Picnic on the Aubrac – Day 30

After a strange summer we are having wonderful weather, chilly in the morning and hot in the afternoon.  Yesterday we had a day off to reminded ourselves why we came to live here in the Aveyron.  We took Choo Choo up to the Aubrac, a beautifully unspoilt high plateau where the cows graze during the summer and skiers visit the ski stations during the winter.

Here are just a few of the photos Tim took to give you a taste of the beautiful area we live in.  We started off with a picnic at a deserted lake (clicking on the photo should take you into a larger version).

Aubrac

Followed by a (for me) very long walk behind the Royal Aubrac, a large building originally built as a sanatorium for patients to benefit from the pure clean air.  We met cows on the way and here’s Choo Choo hairing (well he is a ball of hair) back to us after deciding the cows were rather larger than he thought.

Lhasa Apso

First or last crocus

First or last crocus

Tim found this beautiful crocus, the Aubrac is famous for it’s rare orchids but you also see wild daffodils and narcissus in the spring – I don’t know if this is the last crocus of this year or the first of next (if that makes sense).

Dry stone walls - these are all over the Aubrac and around us - it never ceases to amaze us how much work must have been put in to make these.

Dry stone walls – these are all over the Aubrac and around us – it never ceases to amaze us how much work must have been put in to make these.

I was keeping an eye out for etching subjects and Tim took some photos of trees including this one….

DayOff5

…that I have edited in the hope that it will be suitable for etching

.

This is the image so far - I will need to make it completely black and white before printing it onto PNP paper for transferring onto metal.

This is the image so far – I will need to make it completely black and white before printing it onto PNP paper for transferring onto metal.

Join me tomorrow and see if it made a good subject for etching.

Old Film + Copper Washers = Earrings ! Day 29 – Step by Step Earrings

Riveting, aren’t they ;-)

Film8These earrings started off a couple of years ago when I went to a local vide grenier (literally translates as empty attic) a bit like a car boot sale without the cars.  Some vides are all broken Barbie dolls and action figures others very antiquey.  This one was in Estaing and included the little school selling off lots of very old school equipment.

step by step riveted earrings

Including this old film – Histoire de la Marine Francaise in the cutest box.  I had some copper washers…

...which I put through my rolling mill along with leaf skeletons for texture (the colour of the copper is due to annealing them with the torch before rolling).

…which I put through my rolling mill along with leaf skeletons for texture (the colour of the copper is due to annealing them with the torch before rolling).

I drilled holes for the rivets (the double holes on the top one were a mistake caused by rushing that I had to get over later)

I drilled holes for the rivets (the double holes on the top one were a mistake caused by rushing that I had to get over later)

copper riveting earrings

Washers ready to be riveted with handmade silver rivets – the film is trapped between the washers.

Riveting copper washers

Riveted ! The film was then cut around the edge using scalpel.

After messing up the top hole on one of the earrings I had the idea of riveting a bail to the top of the earrings to hide my mistake (always have a plan b ;-)

After messing up the top hole on one of the earrings I had the idea of riveting a bail to the top of the earrings to hide my mistake (always have a plan b ;-)

The bail has a balled end ear wire threaded through it.

The bail has a balled end ear wire threaded through it.

step by step riveted earrings

The ear wires were then bent and hammered. My film was of ships but on their sides looked more like designs.

You could use negatives of past memories or colour slides – I’m itching to try this again with pieces of vintage tin boxes.  I don’t know how well the film will react to sunlight and you would of course have to be careful with them but aren’t they cute ?

Riveting is a brilliant technique to learn and can be used in lots of ways within jewellery – joining pieces together than maybe can’t be soldered, using them for decoration and texture, making bails for pendants or glass – Have a look at our riveting workshop and FaceBook page for more examples.

Irresistible Etching – Roses, Believe & a Cute Dragonfly – Day 28

Well I have to say my current love is silver etching.  It can still be a little hit and miss but so satisfying.  This is a ring I have wanted to make for a while, the resist is made out of vinyl and I made and soldered the ring before etching.

artisan etched silver ring believe

I could pretend I planned it this way but to be honest this ring ended up slightly more etched on one side than the other and so when I came to stretch the edges to give it its anticlastic shape it bent slightly more on the more etched side (hope that makes sense) but I think it make it even more unique ;-)etched silver ring your words

This actual ring is size N to N.5 and is for sale at a reduced price of £25 due to it’s slight eccentricities. silver etched believe ringOtherwise you can order it though my website by clicking the photos above.

Your Words
Let me know if you would like something different etched and I’ll let you know if it’s possible.

Etched Roses
I also made a pair of earrings using nail art plates and nail varnish as the resist.

artisan etched silver earrings

etched silver earrings roses

Etched Roses – £20 including postage and they arrive in one of our cute aluminium tins.

I etched a sheet of silver, cut the earring to shape, sanded and curved them then soldered silver stud posts on the back so they just hang straight from your ears.  They are oxidized to give them a darker look and to bring out the detail of the roses.

Etched Dragonfly Charm
Most of the etching I have done so far has been applying my design as a resist, I made this charm by applying the surround to the design as a resist so the dragonfly was etched – I’m thinking about making a ring in the same way with dragonflies or butterflies.

etched dragonfly charm silver handmadeSilver dragonfly charm – £7 14mm x 10mm

Today I have a fab idea for a pair of earrings using riveting and old film – It could be great if it works !  Join me tomorrow and see.

October Make & Show Challenge – This month I have set myself the challenge to make something and post about it everyday – follow my blog for automatic updates.  Some of the jewellery featured is available for sale here  – http://www.lavidalerie.com/BlogJewellery.html

Jewellery for Twitchers & Walnuts & Blackberries – Days 26&27

Walnuts & Blackberries
I haven’t gone brambling since I was a child but when we had the dormice staying I collected blackberries for them everytime I took Choo Choo for a walk.  Now of course they are back in the wild but I must admit I still pick  the blackberries and eat them – it takes me right back to being a child !  Another silly pleasure is looking out for the walnuts – today I found 3 on our walk – now if I could only find a way of making them into jewellery ;-)

Jewellery for Twitchers & A Leafy Ring for Brenda

twitcher jewellery birdhouse lovebird birdwatcher necklace

Love Bird House Pendant – £28 inc postage

One of our lovely students bought my Love Bird Pendant before it reached our website and I have only just got round to making another – the birdhouse and bird started off as silver sheet and with the help of a saw and sanding sticks became this very cute necklace (ideal gift for a twitcher ;-)

love bird pendant handmade silver birdhouse

Etched Leaves
Don’t worry if you are think you are suffering from déja vue, I did make a similar ring recently but this one is for Brenda who liked the first one and wanted one made in her size – due to the making process each one is different.  We’ll be running etching workshops next year so do contact me if you’d like information when it’s available.

artisan etched silver ring leaves

Etched Leaves Ring – £15 or £20 for the thicker version.

Today I’m doing more etching with a new pair of earrings and a BELIEVE ring so join me tomorrow to see how they turned out.

In The Clouds
This time of year we often wake up in or above the clouds, one morning Tim took his camera out early and here are a couple of his photos

Aveyron in the clouds

Lunet – This is our nearest village  – I take in this view each morning when I walk Choo Choo

Four del Mas - a farm just down the road looking very sleepy

Four del Mas – a farm just down the road looking very sleepy in the morning

October Make & Show Challenge – This month I have set myself the challenge to make something and post about it everyday – follow my blog for automatic updates.  Some of the jewellery featured is available for sale here  – http://www.lavidalerie.com/BlogJewellery.html

Wonderful Week of Jewellery with Fran & Sue

We were really looking forward to Fran & Sue’s visit as their previous workshops with us had been such fun to do.  Their wish list included glass fusing, more riveting, a taster session in enameling and lot and lots more !

Here are some of the wonderful things they made

Studens work jewellery making holiday in france

Clicking on the photo above should take you into the album on our FaceBook page which shows each piece in all its glory !

I thought I would show you just a few of the pieces and how they were made.

Sue etched a piece of copper, circles were cut out and Sue domed them then soldered on stud backs to make these.....

Sue etched a piece of copper, circles were cut out and Sue domed them then soldered on stud backs to make these…..

Students work etched copper earrings jewellery making classes

…gorgeous earrings

texturing copper sheet with a Big Kick machine

Fran textured one of these pieces of copper and used press forming to make a heart which she riveted with felt to make this ….

artisan copper and felt heart pendant

…wonderful pendant

Salt Water Etching
Here are a couple of their etching designs and what they became (the designs were stamped then scanned and printed onto PNP paper then ironed onto copper sheet then etched using the salt water etching method

etching

Etched copper keyring - etching workshop jewellery making

Sue made her etched design into a really nice key ring.

Fran made hers into a lovely brooch, the liver of sulphur really brings out the detail of the etching.

Fran made hers into a lovely brooch, the liver of sulphur really brings out the detail of the etching.

Brooch back with handmade pin.

Brooch back with handmade pin.

Do visit our FB page to see more of their lovely work and our website for more information about our jewellery making holidays.