Wednesday, 8 July 2015

New opportunities, new work

This last month I have been working on some new 'products' - I was shoved (though not rudely!) in this direction by the rather inspirational Abby at Prema Arts in Uley. She contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in teaching a short course at the arts centre. Well, it would be rude to say no wouldn't it?! In my old life as a graphic designer, I used to go into art colleges and speak about the type of life they could expect as a children's book illustrator, and occasionally set projects... hardly teaching but I knew I enjoyed what I did back then.

Prema Arts at Uley - gorgeous!

So Abby suggested not just a course, but also a workshop. My real love in  jewellery making is piercing - or cutting out is the easiest way to think of it. I love doing a drawing and then making the drawing out of metal. So the course is fairly easy, in a way, as it the students will have time to design and make their own piece of jewellery, using piercing techniques. This is an example of my piercing work....

Available here

Outside of jewellery making what I adore and collect to some degree, is papercutting. Rob Ryan has long been my hero, and I have a few pieces of his brilliant work. So for the one day workshop, Abby and I talked over a simple idea that combines these passions. I also love to embroider and use freehand machine sewing techniques to create simple 'pieces' usually based on my simple flower sketches. And so something entirely new has emerged from Jemima Lumley HQ.

The one above is made from copper which I've textured, and stands about 11cm high. It sold to a very dear customer before it even got to the shop in Bristol! I've also been making simpler versions, with just one plant featured. You can see these on my Facebook or Instagram pages, and there'll be professional photos soon. They are available to buy if you contact me directly. For now they are one offs, approximately 15cm high, including the wooden block (which is oak or cherry) and cost between £45-£65. Some of the single flowers are made from this lovely weathered copper, which isn't cheap, and being someone who hates waste, has set me off on a reusing path, and here are the current results. 

Fuchsia earrings made from both types of copper, brass, and various bits and bobs! £30-£40 with sterling silver ear wires. All the copper, for both the earrings and the plant ornaments are lacquered so the copper won't change colour.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Wedding Jewels

I love this time of year, when I get to make rather special jewellery. Here's a set destined for a bride to be, and her groom, getting hitched at the end of the month. 

The necklace and bangle are based on some vintage lace that I've had for 20 years, and go perfectly with her dress also made with vintage lace. 

The ring is white gold and silver wire wrapped together. At the front there are three small leaves in both metals. 

The funny thing is, when my customer called to ask if I'd design her a ring, with a few sketchy ideas, I made a rough in silver. When she arrived not only did she declare the design 'exactly what I wanted', it also fitted her perfectly! I'd never met her before, so had no idea what size her finger might be.

Then she asked if I'd design a necklace and bracelet, again giving me just and idea of the type of bracelet she was after. I made her what you see in the photo - without knowing what her dress was made of...spooky!  

Love - ain't it just grand!

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Preparing for a Craft Fair

Or how to stress yourself out!

I haven't done any craft fairs for several years. When I first started making jewellery, I did lots of them, but gradually I fell out of love with them. Finding the right fair for my work was very tricky. I did quite well at Christmas shopping evenings at local schools, Art Trails worked, but I found that small, inexpensive craft fairs were a complete failure for me. So I made a decision to stop doing them and concentrate on selling my work online.

Until a couple of months ago! I reversed that decision and decided that I needed more direct sales, cutting out the middleman, and an opportunity was presented to me. So I signed up for Outlaw in Bristol on the 2nd and 3rd of May. And then I panicked! Oh my word, I had forgotten how much work there is to do in preparation - and this is an all weekender so double the organisation, the stock, the manpower.... gulp!

So, two checklists (one for things to do beforehand, and one for the day), one HUGE spreadsheet (and a whiteboard!), and many extra hours of work, and I feel that I've broken the back of it! Here's the stock box, looking fairly full.

But the funny thing is, when under pressure I often get rather creative, and instead of sticking to The List, I go off piste. This time I found old sketch book and while leafing through it I found an old design and realised it would be perfect as a centrepiece at the fair. But mainly I just desperately wanted to make it again! Here it is modelled by my gorgeous daughter....

And now, back to the list....

Monday, 9 March 2015

Gold Plating Jewellery

For a long time now, I've been asked to make many of my most popular items in gold, but boy are people surprised when they find out how much it will cost! To give you an idea, my single knot bangle uses 280mm of 2mm silver wire, costing around £10. The same in gold? Almost £150! So you can imagine by the time I've done the work, added the cost of hallmarking and my general overheads,  p&p, there is a huge difference in the price.

So the lovely Lucy from Lily Charmed recommended a local gold plating company. I had always thought that you had send it all off to the Far East and have a huge number of items plated, but it turns out that this isn't the only option. So I sent off some of my best sellers, to a company not five miles from my workshop and had them dipped in 24ct gold. 

I went to pick them up myself as I was fascinated to find out how it was done. Having learnt just about nothing in Science at school, and only a couple of days of electroplating at college, I took the opportunity to have a good nose, and try to understand a little of what goes on. It was surprisingly old school and I loved my tour, but not as much aI love the results!

And for the gentlemen in your life, there's some cufflinks too.

You can find them all on my website now.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

How I make silver cuff

Recently I've been commission to make an old favourite piece - I probably haven't had the opportunity to make this cuff for two or three years. Luckily I thought to photograph the process for a change, so here's the gestation of my 'diva' cuff (for she is the queen of all my cuffs, and she knows it!).

This snap shows the silver sat on my sketch book. You can see a few bits of early sketches and the original piece of lace that inspired the cuff. In the middle is the sketch on tracing paper applied to the silver. Each space that has to be cut out has a whole drilled into it. This is so I can thread the saw blade through it and then cut out the shape.

Here you can see the back and front of the silver with all the interior shapes cut out.


Then I cut around the outside of the cuff.

This picture shows the cuff with the tracing paper and double sided tape burnt off, hence the brown tinge. The heating of the metal softens it enough to file and shape.

After this, I sent off to the Assay Office in Birmingham where it was hallmarked.

When it came back I spent a very long time filing every edge, nook and cranny, to make it as smooth as possible and remove any saw marks.

Once I'm happy with the overall look and feel of it, I shape the cuff around a large steel mandrel which gives it the distinctive cuff shape. Using a hammer made of hide, I bash it into submission, and then polish it, partly by hand, partly with an attachment on my Dremmel and partly in a polishing machine.


And here's the final cuff, ready for packing and posting to Juliet - hope she likes it!

And here is the gorgeous poster-girl photo taken by my lovely photographer and friend Clare!

And just in case you want one yourself, you can purchase her by clicking here...