Day 20 – Free Day for Students – Lots and Lots and Lots of Ear Wires for Me !

Yesterday was a free day for Fran & Sue but they still managed to do lots of hammering & riveting ;-)

Riveted jewellery workshop

Lovely riveted copper and silver bangles by Sue

how to make riveted bangles

Fran incorporated a fair trade bead onto her second bangle.

Whereas I spent the day making lots and lots of lovely handmade silver ear wires and findings for our orders.

handmade silver ear wires

Click on the photo to find out why so many people buy our beautiful findings !

Today was a very busy day for Fran & Sue with more etching, glass fusing & jewellery making, I made a super pair of etched earrings and find out what Sue made out of her etched copper from a couple of days ago

sue3

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

Student Etching & I Must Make Myself a Pair of These ! Day 19

Yesterday was Day 2 of Fran & Sue’s Wonderful Week of Jewellery and here are just some of the things they made.

Copper etching - salt water etching workshop

Etched designs ready to be used tomorrow

The previous nights homework was to produce some designs to etch.  Fran & Sue used stamps to create their designs and these were scanned in and printed onto PNP paper.  This was then ironed onto copper sheet and etched using the salt water etching method – as you can see the etch was very successful visit my blog over the next few days to see what they made out of these pieces.

We explored other ways of creating a resist for etching including using nail art plates and nail varnish – Here are the earrings Fran made, they will be oxidized later but also look great bright.

etched copper earrings jewellery making workshop

Copper & silver etched earrings

Sue had taken a fancy to a riveted prototype pendant I had made and came up with this lovely design in silver.

Riveted Silver Pendant

The two rings are held between two long pieces of silver which have been textured in the rolling mill then riveted together – the chain just slips between giving the pendant lots of movement.

Today was a rest day but Fran & Sue decided to keep on working on their own, drop by tomorrow to see what they made.

I Must Make Myself a Pair of These !
I have been busy with orders recently and making theses earrings for Louise reminded me how much I like them – I really must make myself a pair – I’m sure I deserve them ;-)

Handmade silver dandylion earrings

Blown Away – Handmade in silver – £18 and they arrive in a cute aluminium tin.

Gorgeous dandylion heads are stamped onto handmade silver discs and given a slightly sanded finish then hung on handmade silver ear wires.

Blown Away dandy lion clock silver earrings

Just me tomorrow to see what we all make !

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

Fab Fused Glass & Press Formed Earrings – Day 18

Wonderful Week of Jewellery – Day 1
Yesterday was Fran & Sue’s first workshop day and we started with a morning of glass fusing – They took to it really well and produced some really nice pieces that we’ll be working on through the week.

dichroic glass fusing class workshop

Fab colours and a great use of standard & dichroic glass plus stringers, frit & copper foil.Glass fusing workshopRemember to re-visit and see what they make these pieces into.

Just before lunch we had time to experiment with my Big Kick machine and textured some copper sheet to be used later – here are just a couple of them.

texturing copper sheet with a Big Kick machineThis machine is a great way of texturing thin copper which can then be made into earrings, riveted onto thicker pieces or used for press forming – this led naturally onto a demonstration of press forming without a hydrolic press !  Here are the earrings I made using my textured sheets and a heart shaped die.  Press forming can be part of any of our jewellery making workshops.

Copper, Silver & Blue Amazonite Earrings - £18

Copper, Silver & Blue Amazonite Earrings – £18

Copper Heart Earrings2

Fran used the same technique today to make one of these hearts but turned it into a completely different pendant – visit tomorrow to see the photos.  Sue’s heart is a work in process so more news soon.

Almost completed – Fran’s bracelet bar and pendant and Sue’s pendant with silver bail – wonderful examples of wire & tube riveting.  These will be oxidized and made into jewellery during the week.

Riveting workshop

Do visit tomorrow to see what Fran & Sue made today (sneak preview – ETCHING !).  Tomorrow is their free day to enjoy the countryside and the fabulous weather we are having at the moment and to think about their designs for Tuesday.

A Sad (and Happy) Goodbye
Tonight we took the dormice back to the wild.  They had put on enough weight and the current weather made up my mind that now was a good time to let them go whilst they still had time to find a good place to hibernate.  I had become very fond of them all (who couldn’t be with their white bellies and fluffy tails)
Dormice3 dormice2

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

Instant Earrings – Day 17

Yesterday I was so busy sorting out the workshop for Fran & Sue’s arrival that I just ran out of time to make something for my Make & Show Day 17 – So instant earrings  – they use my “Just Add A Bead” handmade silver earwires and a pair of Trudi of Glittering Prize’s beautiful lampwork beads and voila (as they say here – They also so say Oh La La – a lot ! Even the men !).

Changeable lampwork ear wires handmade silver for instant earrings

Just Add A Bead Ear Wires- £5 a pair with 4 bead caps – all handmade in silver

So Just Add A Bead ear wires, lampwork beads and 30 seconds later gorgeous earrings you can change whenever you like.

Here are some photos of the other ear wires in this range (many thanks to Trudi for the photos).

interchangeable ear wires instant earrings

Celadon Polkas with Smaller Curves

Handmade silver interchangeable ear wires

Question Marks Bubbles

artisan silver ear wires for lampwork beads

Long Straight with Glamour Rocks lampwork beads by Trudi at Glitteringprize

handmade ear wires for lampwork beads by la vidalerie

Larger Curves with Raisa Beads (Beads by Trudi)

Today was Fran & Sue’s first workshop day, we started off with cutting and layering dichroic & standard glass for fusing – they filled a kiln shelf and a sneak preview at the end of the day showed they will have lots of lovely glass to work on tomorrow, we spent the rest of the day experimenting with texturing copper in my BigKick machine and then making riveted pendants and a bracelet bar – join me tomorrow for photos of their work along with the fab heart earrings I made (well I like them ;-)

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 Making Tip – Always Have A Plan B.. & C And Deep Breath ! Silver Etching

Day 16 – Not everything goes to plan and it’s always a good idea to have a plan B (I don’t believe in giving up on a piece of jewellery.  One of our lovely return customers asked me if I could make my etched copper BREATHE ring in silver and as you know I’ve recently been experimenting with silver etching and so thought this would be a good project to try.  I applied the resist to the silver and set it etching not realising that it would all happen so quickly – The end of the rectangle containing the final E was etched completely off ! and instead of a rectangle I now had a sort of sword shape – After a while and a few curses Plan B came about and I’m really glad it did – Now I have a Deep Breath Pendant instead of a BREATHE Ring (more about the ring further down).

Deep Breath handmade artisan etched silver pendant

Take a “Deep Breath” – etched and stamped silver charms with a lovely chunk of amethyst on leather – £40

I soldered a loop on the top, made a stamped Deep  charm and made a wire wrapped charm our of a chunk of Amethyst – The Breath charm is just over 5cm long plus the loop.  They all hang on a leather thong with a handmade silver clasp.  Everything was oxidized to bring out the detail and because it looked right ;-)

Handmade silver hook and soldered ring

Handmade silver hook and soldered ring

Here are the other things I etched (before oxidizing) – you can see yesterdays leaf ring.

Etched silver piecesAnd here is the BREATHE ring that started it all…

artisan etched silver breathe ring
Tell your own story – Etched ring – £28
artisan etched word ring handmade silver etched ring etched silver breathe ring

Fran & Sue Arrive
Today we are eagerly waiting for Fran and Sue to arrive for our Wonderful Week of Jewellery – it isn’t their first trip to La Vidalerie (far from it) and we always look forward to seeing them.  The week is loosely planned around glass fusing, etching, torch fired enamels, riveting and silversmithing – I’ll keep you updated with what we make.

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

Itching to Etch & Natures Jewellery – Day 15

As you may know I’ve been experimenting with etching silver recently.  I’m using a battery charger and silver nitrate – My finger tips are a little grey but I think I got off lightly as I have an aversion to rubber gloves and even I ended up wearing them – Silver nitrate can stain you for simply ages.  Today I’m going to show you the ring I made using nail varnish as the resist.

handmade silver etched leaf ring

I tried 2 ways of making etched rings yesterday, one by etching the flat sheet of silver then making it into the ring (photos tomorrow) but this one was made into a ring first then the resist applied and then etched – You can see that the etch is nice and deep (I underestimated how quick the etch would be) – I actually had to sand it down a little as it was quite sharp – the liver of sulphur really brings out the detail of the pattern.etched silver ring

This technique is so exciting it will almost certainly be one of our jewellery making workshops next year so please email me if you would like to be on our mailing list for more information.

I’m still working on an etched pendant and wider ring so join me tomorrow for photos.

Natures Jewellery

We have been in the Aveyron over 9 years now but each year we see something we have never seen before – Today Tim found this beetle in the garden

natures jewellery

Blue,  green and red iridescent stripes – how does mother nature do it ?

A Different Kind of Karma & 2nd Christmas Rush – Day 14

A quick (and late) posting today as I’m in the middle of our 2nd pre Christmas rush (I wish I was so organized ;-).

I recently sold a “Different Kind of Karma” necklace to one of our lovely return customers so yesterday I started making some more

handmade silver karma necklace a different kind of karma

A Different Kind of Karma – handmade in silver – £25 – This one has just been sold

I really like making this necklace because each one is unique – it’s impossible to make them all the same and I think this is a good thing with handmade jewellery so you know that you are wearing something really individual and not mass produced.

Here are 3 Karma circles - they have just been fused and I deliberately overheated some of the wire so it broke and balled.  The idea being that sometimes Karma can be a little strange and not follow a path.

Here are 3 Karma circles – they have just been fused and I deliberately overheated some of the wire so it broke and balled. The idea being that sometimes Karma can be a little strange and not follow a path.

fused sterling silver pendants

Here they are all pickled and polished – the one on the left is going to be called “Heavy Karma” as it is a little bit chunkier than the others.

artisan silver karma necklace handmade handmade silver karma necklace ooak

Etching Silver

I’ve also been playing with etching silver recently, it’s something I’ve been putting off as it’s a bit more complicated than salt water copper etching (which I love).  So far I’ve managed to etch a Breathe pendant and ended up with Breath as the etch was much quicker than I expected and it ate away the end completely !    I will be posting about this soon – It is a really exciting technique and one that I may bring into next years workshops to do contact me if you’d like to be kept up to date about this…..

Talking about contact…

We all love feedback so please don’t be afraid to add your comments to my postings and ask questions – otherwise I feel like I’m talking to myself, as therapeutic as that might be ;-)

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