Monday, 9 May 2011


Follow my blog with bloglovin

Hey guys, not been around much on here, though I have plans for a comeback.

Hope you're all well!

Em x

Friday, 8 October 2010

Silver Peacocks...

Something little for my friend Bex. In fact it's for my friend to give to her friend as a wedding present and this is a prototype which I stupidly managed to chop the bottom off of, forgetting that it would lose its rigidity. Dim sometimes aren't I?

I know it doesn't seem much, it's just a little peacock charm, but at least it's making something.

Typically anything I've been making I've either not quite finished yet or I have forgotten to photograph as it's been a tad rushed, but again, at least I'm making a little again.

I hate that I've been abandoning this blog, mostly because every time I look at it I remember that I'm not making and the fact that that's making me feel even worst about it. But at least I'm blogging on my other blog more frequently, keeps my toe in.

On one of the blogs I follow, the author asked the followers to comment on why they create. And it's got me thinking about it all.

I create because that's what comes naturally. When I sit down in front of a book or to write an essay, it's difficult, it's uncomfortable and while I did find some enjoyment about writing essay/dissertations for uni, it never felt right. Making things with my hands feels right and this is partly down to the dyslexia but I've never tried to use that as an excuse or reason for anything. I just...I always remember being elbow deep in paint or paper mache or sewing, making perfume from rose petals and my own handmade paper from when I was tiny. When I was little, I always made things and that's how my brain works. Hand me a DIY set of shelves I'll make it up without looking at the instructions, get me to set something up which requires a manual and I'll end up hours later with nothing made.

I guess that's why I always found learning techniques in the workshop fun and so much easier than lectures, because if you show me how to do it, I'll get.

I create because creating makes sense. Which only makes the lack of creativity even more distressing I suppose.

Right now, I'm back to making paper mache mushrooms for the window display at work. It's probably our last one on the run up to Christmas at which point all my knitting obsessiveness will be explained. And hopefully Christmas's ever looming presence will give me a boost to make things for the practice.

Shall post the other pieces I've made once they're finished - something I will force myself to do sooner rather than later.

Hope everyone's well!

Love, Em x

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Poetry Corner

Scar city is the brief: the null slogan

that underwrites the ad men

Who've put up huge billboards

by the side of the expressway,

screening off the derelict houses

and patches of waste ground from view.

Near the industrial district, half

a street's worth of wire fences

surrounds a building site: trenches

and wooden crosses in the mud.

The contractor's logo on a red sign

declares the enterprise: MEND-A-

Saving Face - Joel Lane

I've been contemplating inspiration of late...well, not of late, more like for the past few months whilst trying to drive myself barmy. Not that that actually takes a lot. However I realised the other day that I've stopped reading poetry. Which in the past has been one of my main sources of inspiration. I think other than the designers block I've been struggling with poetry because I've been re-reading poems which I love to death rather than new ones which could lead to new ideas.

So, what I'd like is suggestions of pieces of poetry, old or modern, short or long, hiaku or epically long. I don't mind. But I would love it if anyone who reads this post would take a moment to think of their favourite piece of poetry and post it's name.

I don't mind if you never return to my blog, but I would be grateful for the inspiration!

Friday, 2 July 2010

y u m :: y u m :: y u m

Made my first ever batch of elderflower cordial this year. It's really tasty, and I've posted my recipe over on my other blog. Been really excited about the idea of making this since the flower heads began appearing and I've been waiting (almost) patiently for them to bloom. I've clambered through undergrowth, been covered in seeds and twigs and have been stung repeatedly by stinging nettles, but it's been worth it. It really tastes like the shop bought, but less synthetic (obviously) and much cheaper! Gotta love that!

Monday, 28 June 2010


On Thursday I should have been graduating with my Masters of Design. The fact is I made the decision not to go to the ceremony because when I filled in the forms at the start of the year, I foresaw myself being a busy bee, making & selling by June. Hasn't quite worked out that way, but I received my diploma in the post a few months ago, so since my name was in the Courier and my compatriots had their graduation ceremony on Thursday, I am officially a Master of Design.

There are other more personal reasons, but the point is, I am now a graduate again. Scary.

Congratulations to all the graduates from DoJ's Master of Design, Ethnography, Fine Art and Media Arts & Imagining and all the Undergraduates, in particularly Jewellery & Metalwork.

Good luck with all that comes next.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Fragments of Family

Bobbin Pillow


On Monday afternoon I went round to my grandparents house so my gran could teach me how to make pillow/bobbin lace. It's important to me to learn how to make traditional bobbin lace because it's a craft which has been being handed down through my family and is deeply rooted in the Belgian flank of my ancestry, so for it to stop seems ridiculous considering the applications I could use it in.

Gran has also, very kindly, honoured me with a Belgian Lace Pillow & Continental Bobbins which were made by my great, great grandfather & was used by my great gran until she was in her 90's. It still has her last piece on it which makes it even more poignant. Though one in the photos above are actually of my grans lace pillow, which is similar to granny grans but was made by her father (N.B.: I may be getting my greats and great great grandparents muddled in relation to who made the pillows, but you get the jist - they're old, handmade & full of history).

Bobbin Lace

Anyway, for the past week I've been trying to master the basic stitches which are used to make more ornate designs and from the above picture I took on Monday, I've made a 15cm piece of lace using: cloth stitch, cloth stitch & twist and half stitch. Which I unpinned a couple of nights ago to start a new piece - hand winding the bobbins being a complete pain - and gran thinks I'm doing really well when I showed her it.

I've turned back into an excited child with doing this and keep making my mum come and look at what I've done! But it is exciting because it's part of our heritage, plus it's suitably handsy/fiddly for my liking and has stopped me knitting for a few days - knitting post to come at some point.

My lack of making since Christmas has made my brain stagnate a bit, well, a lot. Though I reassured to hear from one of my friends, a wonderful artist & fellow blogger that she's been feeling equally despairing and lost since finishing university. This in itself isn't a good thing, in fact it's down right bad because I don't want my friend feeling that way, however, it does make me feel less ridiculous for my designers block.

The lace however, I think has started to give my designer self a bit of a jump start and my friend pointed out that a blog should be about sharing the whole process, not just the final pieces. That's what my portfolio site is for. So I'm going to try and be a better blogger.

"Honest to blog!"

Thursday, 20 May 2010


I am so, incredibly, mind-numbingly dumb sometimes. I few posts ago I asked if anyone knew where I could get a scoring tool. Truth is, you can't. The one we were taught to use at uni was made by the technician Brian. However, this isn't why I'm dumb. I'm dumb because the answer has been staring me in the face for months! And almost worst is the answer is held within one of my favourite jewellery books, Tim McCreight's Boxes and Lockets: Metalsmithing Techniques.

Because of the forms I have a tendency to make for my chess set & hollow forms, it's always the first book I turn to if I need help with techniques. However, with the scoring question, I didn't even think to look in it! But there it is, on page 14 "Scraping a Groove" how to make a scraping/scoring tool.

It's a simple process of heating an old file (which I do not have unfortunately), bending the tang at 90°, quenching and then filing & sanding the end into the desired angle, which for my purposes is about 45°. I just need to get some hardened steel and a handle...oh yeah and do a process I haven't done since week one of jewellery and metalsmithing. Not scared about that at all given my temperamental torch and shaky hands.

Tim McCreight's, Boxes and Lockets: Metalsmithing Techniques, is one of the best books I've found, and I really do go back to it time and again. Which is why I stumbled upon this today. I wholeheartedly recommend going out and buying it. It's available from Amazon for about £20.

Degree Show 2010: Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design

A bit of well deserved advertisement for the old alma mater and the wonderful young women I know within the jewellery and metal design class. They are an incredibly bunch of young women and I'm sure I will feel every bit the useless designer when I see their work! So I urge anyone who can go to go!

Congratulations Ladies! xxx

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Too Soft!

Got around to doing some resin samples this morning, but didn't clock the fact that I had miss-measured one of the batches of hardener until a couple of hours ago. So, half have set, half haven't...and none of them want to come out of the new moulds I bought. Typically one horrific chain of supermarkets silicon ice cube trays are indeed superior to another.

Fortunately however, I know that the thing I was trying to set will work and look good and I can get on with a few idea! Hurrah!

I'm quite enjoying making resin samples of colours and different pigmenting agents. Or in other words working out what I can (a) buy on the cheap or (b) find in the house and given my hardener has started to become increasingly more yellow (it must be two years old by now!) I may as well use it up experimenting or on opaque work. I did the above samples at Christmas using mostly soft artists pastels ground up using a pestle and mortar and glitter. What can I say? I'm a girl and I like glitter! Anyway, today's experiments included loose tea after being inspired by designer Claire Lowe, and gel food colouring as an alternative to transparent resin pigments. The main samples I'll keep secret until I can work them into a design because they go with a particular piece of poetry etc. But on the others, the gel colouring works really well as an alternative to the expensive dyes and I only used the tip of a straw and this over pigmented my samples. They cost about £15 from Lakeland and that's less than most of the dyes I found for resin - plus you get to make yummy things like this:

Not resin, obviously, and I wouldn't recommend using them for baking if you're re-dipping your resin sticks, but if you aren't, these are yummy. I'm slightly obsessed with making proper French Macarons at the moment, these aren't todays attempt, they're the last ones and I just prefer the colour combination even if the new batch look more like macarons.

Anyway, instead of whinging about the resin not working, I'm going to put it back on my shelf out of harms way, give it until the morning to see if it'll set and go have a nice treat and enjoy that something did go right today!

Monday, 26 April 2010

Don't Step on the Floral Army!

A year-ish ago I posted pictures of my Floral Army Draught Set. It's one of those pieces I love for its little bit of kitschness which I think is more personality peeking through, making a made break for freedom and then hiding again. I always wanted to make necklaces and earrings out of them as some of my simple pieces but I never did because the MDes got in the way. Until Thursday.

Now normally I'd go for the Douglas Adams rule of "I never could get the hang of Thursdays", but on this particular one, I needed to make a birthday present for my friends little girl, Kirsten, who turned 4 on Saturday. I made her most of her present a couple of weeks ago, a knitted momerath after she saw the Alice in Wonderland window my sister and I had made for work.

Now is it just me or does this photo make him look like he's in a line up?

It was lucky I was depressed for a few days really because knotting all the hair on took me about a day and a half alone and I could sit and glaze over as I watched the West Wing.

Anyway, these are the first things I've made for a while and I'm just praying that she'll like them, because I'm rubbish for buying presents for kids and being able to make things comes in really handy. Now what the hell to I make my friends son, Mikey, for his birthday!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...