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Desire Fair, London - this weekend!

Ana Verdun - Desire 2014Desire fair is open in London this weekend - if you're interested in checking out some exciting jewellery and silverware by current contemporary jewellers and silversmiths, do make some time to drop in this weekend.
Catherine Thomas - Desire Fair 2014
The show is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday - at Chelsea Old Town Hall
For more information - see their website at www.desirefair.com or see a gallery of artists taking part on facebook

Looking At Contemporary Jewellery Around London

If you love looking at jewellery, and are visiting (or living in) London - here is my list of top tips for places to hunt out exciting contemporary jewellery!

There's some fabulous galleries, shops, museums, markets and more, all over London, so you can combine your time exploring new parts of the city, with admiring some beautiful jewellery.

(If you know of somewhere I've missed off my list, or if the details are wrong or out of date for any of these places - do leave a comment or let me know so that I can update the list!)

Handmade Favourites

I had a rather quick, but exciting visit to Handmade in London at Chelsea Old Town Hall recently - full of course of craftspeople of many different disciplines - my focus naturally is always on the jewellery.

My top few exhibitors that have stuck in my memory are;

Danny Ries
I first saw Danny's necklaces last year, they are bold and colourful, using very simple, but elegant shapes - carefully bent tubes, gently curved dishes and squares, floating on coloured cords. 

The two segments on each necklace can be moved around by the wearer - giving many variations to the effect when worn and an added tactile element.

Ali Stringell
Ali's work is a combination of silver vessels and forms, with added elements of knitted wire, feathers, paper and other unexpected elements.

These unusual objects are more art forms and sculptures than jewellery to be worn every day, but they are still eminently wearable.

Maria Helena Spector
Maria's unique hand carved unusual lava and gemstone beads drew my attention, with silver decorations applied directly to their surfaces.

The patterns and textures created within these beads give quite beautiful effects when you start to look more closely at them.

Sarah Parker Eaton
Sarah's work has inspired me for years - I first saw her work - exhibiting here at the Chelsea Old Town Hall many years ago with woodworker Louise Hibbert, showing their joint collection of plankton inspired objects and boxes.

Sarah is still working with inspiration from the natural world - microscopic flora and fauna, with her distinctive dark patinated silver.

nbNG
I was very excited to see this work at the show - created by Nettie Birch in aluminium and copper using fold forming.

I only recently discovered fold forming, and love this technique - I've started experimenting with these ideas developing samples for my own work, so I am fascinated to see how other jewellers are using these techniques.

If you visited the show, it would be great to hear your thoughts on the jewellery and other artwork on display.

Top Five Jewellers - Made London 2013

Continuing with my plan to share a little about my top 5 jewellers (or pieces) from the shows I visit, today I am sharing my favourites from Made London that took place last month at the fascinating space at One Marylebone.
 
I visited this show last year and was very impressed with the quality of the designers chosen, and this year I was definitely not disappointed either. There were so many jewellers showing their exciting work that it was hard to choose, even before looking at the many many other fantastic artists showing textiles, ceramics, glass and other artworks there too! I would highly recommend anyone to make the effort to visit one of these shows if you get a chance - the organisers run a regular show in Brighton as well.
 
The jewellers that have stuck in my memory from this year's show are;
 
Stephan Hampala
Always drawn to beadwork, I was very excited to see Stephan's elegant and perfectly shaped beadwork.

Made using antique seed beads, Stephan creates beaded covers for metal beads, finishing them off with beautifully contrasting smooth silver or gold elements.
 
Katharina Eder
I was drawn to the other jeweller using seed beads and beadwork at the show by my love of beadwork.

Katharina makes gorgeous jewellery using seed beads to make 3D shapes and ropes using crochet and stitched beadwork.

I love the bright, fun colours and unusual organic shape in this work.
 

Joana Cunha
Joana’s tiny jewellery uses geometric forms to create (amongst other things) tiny boxes, that open up to hide tiny secrets inside.

I love the playful nature of these items – the interaction with the wearer or viewer, as well as the idea of hiding tiny secrets inside the boxes!
 
Yu-Ping Lin Jewellery
Yu-Ping was displaying some fabulous transforming fabric jewellery sculptures from her Kaleido collection – including brooches, cuffs and more, she creates intricately planned, cut and pleated forms that change shape as you move them.

She laminates decorative satins and printed fabrics with felt for strength, before laser cutting the shapes for precision, then assembling them into these amazing moving creations.
 
Anne Laycock
Anne’s ceramics caught my attention – firstly an amazing sculptural vessel made from snakes of clay, and then her necklaces made with elements of the same clay coils transformed into links and pendants for necklaces.

The bold shapes this creates, as well as the unexpected materials – ceramic, with cord and rubber create beautifully unusual creations.

Christmas Baubles Pattern Now Available

If you've been following me for a while, you may have already seen these baubles, but I have now finally finished putting together a full pattern and instruction sheets for these, which is now available for sale as my first saleable beadwork pattern.


These baubles make a great project - in beadwork terms, they are relatively quick and simple to make (great for beginners, or more experienced beaders), and give a lovely effect, creating nicely solid feeling and gorgeously glittery baubles ready to decorate your home, or to give away to friends and family.

The pattern is now for sale in my Etsy shop at http://etsy.me/1hAHJ52 
I also teach making these (and other) decorative beaded baubles, as well as selling completed baubles and full kits to make your own - get in touch for more details of these!

There's plenty of time still to have a go at making some of these yourself in time for Christmas! If you make your own Christmas decorations too - do share a picture of your latest creation...

Goldsmiths Fair Favourites

Well I got a little delayed in posting this, but here are my favourites from Goldsmiths Fair this year. As always there was a great mix of amazingly talented jewellers and silversmiths so I can't cover all the work I loved, but I thought I would share a few that have stuck in my memory.


Katie Roberts
I loved the solid, yet airy feel of Katie's gorgeous earrings that reminded me of pillows. There is a feeling of lightness and movement even in these geometric styled forms.

Emmeline Hastings
I've loved the bit of work I've done with acrylic, and Emmeline's gorgeous jewellery with chunks of carefully carved acrylic, encrusted with gold, silver, steel and titanium fascinate me. These jewels give the tactile effect of heavy chunky rock crystal, while actually being very lightweight and easy to wear. The simple forms and subtle colours give an air of luxury and style to these stunning jewels.

Elizabeth Peers
Elizabeth's silver pieces caught my eye - the flowing shapes inspired by the human body give elegant and intriguing forms - rippled waters, scars or wrinkles in skin or beautiful abstract forms? They are definitely worth a second (or third or fourth) look!


Sarah Pulvertaft
To me, the textures and depth in the knobbly surfaces of Sarah's sequin collection feel like miniature ancient cobblestones, or half eroded brick walls at an archaeological site. They just draw you in to want to handle them, to feel the intricate lumps and bumps yourself.


Ute Decker
A regular favourite of mine, Ute's deceptively simple, flowing, looped forms always draw me in to stop and look. The subtle texture applied to their surfaces combine with the sweeping lines to create beautifully sculptural shapes. Ute is also one of the leading designers using and promoting fairtrade gold and passionately promoting a more ethical jewellery industry.

Autumn 2013 - Exciting Events

There are some exciting events coming up this Autumn, that I'm looking forward to visiting -

This weekend - MADE London, at One Marylebone, NW1 4AQ, just opposite Great Portland Street tube station - this show is open Friday 25th to Sunday 27th October 2013.
Spread over all four floors of the building and promises to be a fabulous selection of current craft artists / designer makers - jewellers, ceramics, textiles, furniture, glass and more. I visited this last year and I'm sure this year's show will be just as good!


Until 19 January - PEARLS, at the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington. I've already had a quick look at this exhibition, and am hoping to go back again for a more detailed look - it's a fascinating exhibition, tracing the history of the pearl, how they are fished, some amazing unique examples, and then showcasing some extravagant examples of jewellery made throughout the ages using pearls. 

Handmade in Britain, 8-10 November 2013, Chelsea Old Town Hall
Another mixed show of ceramics, jewellery, glass, textiles and furniture - with established artists, as well as a showcase of new and recent graduates, it should be exciting!

Dazzle, 11 November - 5 January, Oxo Tower Wharf
Having moved from it's regular spot at the Royal Festival Halll, I'm keen to see how this show of contemporary jewellery fits into it's new home in the Oxo Tower! There's always a lovely mix of jewellery on show and for sale at this free exhibition - for a preview of the type of pieces that might be included, see their website.

Made in Clerkenwell, 28 November - 1st December 2013, Craft Central Studios
A chance to see a mixture of designers exhibiting from their studio spaces in Clerkenwell, as well as special curated exhibitions on show in the gallery spaces.

Cockpit Arts Open Studios, 29 November - 1 December in Holborn, 6-8 December in Deptford
The opportunity to meet designers, in their studios and talk about and buy their work - there is a mixture of jewellers, ceramics, furniture, clothes, leatherwork, printmakers, glass artists and much more.

Angel Christmas Fair, 7-8 December 2013, Torrens Street, Islington

Any More??
If you know of any other jewellery related events coming up in or around London this Autumn, do share them in the comments here, or let me know so that I can add them to a future list!

Summer Jewellery Classes

I'm offering two one off workshops over the summer break - to be held at my home in Camden for up to a maximum of 4 students each. Booking is essential and places will be allocated in order of booking. Come on your own, or bring a friend or two for a fun evening out.

Pearl Knotting - Thursday 22nd August, 6.30 - 9pm.
Pearl knotting is a traditional technique used primarily, as the name suggests, for pearls but also with precious gems and other beads.
Students will learn the basics of creating neat, strong, professional knotting to separate, protect and secure precious beads in the process of making a gorgeous bracelet.

Beaded Kumihimo Bracelet - Sunday 11th August, 2.30 - 5pm
Kumihimo is a traditional Japanese braiding technique - this class will introduce the modern portable variation of this technique, using foam discs to create an intricate looking beaded bracelet.

These classes will each cost just £40 per person and this includes all materials. To book your place - just click here to get in touch.

Summer Shop Discount

I'm having a summer sale in my shop - use code SUNSHINE for a 15% discount at checkout on any orders placed before 11th August 2013.

There's all sorts of colourful beaded and silver jewellery, as well as braiding kits and tiaras / hair accessories.

Drop by and have a look, at http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/PitstopX 

Stringing a Necklace

One of the first things a lot of my students want to learn is how to properly (and securely) string a bead necklace, so I decided to create this step by step information sheet to download.

Of course there are many different techniques and combinations of materials, different stringing materials and different findings that can be used to do this, but the method described here is my preferred method that I use as standard.

To my mind, the key to a successful necklace is the design and the planning, actually putting it together is the quickest and last stage of a much longer process, but is of course essential if the necklace is to be worn and enjoyed.

Designing or planning your necklace can take anything from a few minutes if you get it right first time, to several weeks coming back again and again to adjust the sequence until you have the perfect combination of shapes, textures and colours. It is well worth spending the time to make sure you get this bit right.

Once you have your design - use the project sheet here to follow the simple steps to get a neat, secure finish to your necklace (or bracelet).

Happy beading!

(see previous blog posts for information to download about the tools and materials used in this project)