Friday, September 1, 2017

New Brooch Designs

As the days are getting shorter – and cooler – I find that the attention of visitors to my market table often focuses on my brooches. I am even thinking about crocheting myself a lovely, chunky shawl in preparation for the colder weather – one with which I can wear a statement brooch. I do love these brooches. With the only limitation on design being the ability to manipulate the central pin correctly, the options are pretty infinite. And as I’ve become more comfortable with playing with fire, I have realised that heat can create amazing colour play on copper and bronze.  My new brooch – “Relic” – shows the various colours that can be achieved – from striking red and purple to softer hues of grey and lavender. Beautiful.

These brooches would make ideal gifts for Christmas. And I am happy to take on commissions. I can incorporate cabochons (as in this design that includes a stunning green tourmaline) and could even incorporate a faceted gemstone if that were desired. If this is something that would interest you, please get in touch. I am limiting the number of commissions I am taking on this Autumn as I need to be sure I am not overbooked. But I would welcome the opportunity to create some amazing brooches on a bespoke basis.

I shall be creating some more bronze and copper rings and earrings this month as I need to replace stock that has sold. So keep your eyes peeled for more additions to the website as the month progresses.

And, as mentioned above, Christmas is beginning to have some influence on my business at this point. I have the dates for the Poolewe Christmas Markets and will share them as soon as my participation is confirmed. (I am almost always one of the first to get my paperwork back, but always need to be sure that I am able to reserve a table.)

As always, thank you so very much for your continuing interest in The Selkie’s Haunt. It is very, very much appreciated.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Where does the time go?

Catching up with some issues left dangling after last month's blog:

Alice Elspeth Borland arrived safe and sound and is now queen of the castle. She is adored by all - especially her big sisters - and is growing and thriving and we are totally besotted. While visiting a couple of weeks ago, I told her I was Nana, and I would never say no. I'm quite sure she smiled. 

Returning to the problem of solder and copper/bronze, I tried the methods suggested to me to make the solder turn to a more copper colour and it didn't work. Or, if it did, not to my satisfaction. So, I will do what I can, remembering that solder seams will be visible. It is such a pain, though. I want invisible seams. I have made a lovely multi-link bracelet, but I can see the solder. Would that bother anyone else? Or would the veins of silver colour be seen as an accent? I'm so frustrated!

Now, on to what is going on and what is going to go on. I've not been able to complete any more jewellery (at least not that I have liked enough) to add to my current offerings. However, I have set aside several days this week for creating more bangles and rings. I am also going to work on some pendants. As I said before, I have some stunning cabochons that I want to include in some pieces, so they will be first in line to be used. I have four straight days of events this week and I need more copper and bronze. So I will be doing all that I can to create some more before the events. (Nothing like leaving things until the last minute - but I'm really good at that.)

Regarding cabochons, my biggest conundrum is what to do with this particular turquoise cabochon. This is a natural turquoise, with some green/yellow bits and it is gorgeous. So, do I do combine it with silver or copper? I just can't decide. I also have a lovely round amethyst cabochon. I think - seriously think - I am going to create a copper ring with that stone. But then amethyst goes so beautifully with silver. I suppose there are more troublesome things that could be bothering me! But, I seriously can't decide what to do with these particular cabs. I also have an opal mosaic, a rainbow fluorite, and some jade. So many beautiful stones to use. It's just getting the settings to work. I think most of these cabs will be part of rings. But the turquoise may be part of a pendant. Natural turquoise is a fairly soft material and a ring would easily chip. The fluorite is the same. So a couple of pendants and some rings and then I will use some smaller cabs in rings. Then I can check them off my list as I complete them.

I hate to even mention it, but we have to start thinking about (in a hushed voice) Christmas! It won't be that much longer until people will start buying for friends and relations. One of my best clients always buys in last August. So, another reason to have more stock made.

It's going to be a busy month. My elder granddaughter's birthday is at the end of August, so we will be making the trip down to where she lives to spend time with her and Alice and her stepsister and mum and dad. We are so looking forward to it.

So, that's all from me this month. Look for some additions to the website in the weeks to come. As always, I thank you for your interest in The Selkie's Haunt. Don't forget to subscribe to the newsletter for a chance to take advantage of subscriber discounts and the chance to win a piece of bespoke jewellery! The link is here on the website. Or you can connect straight from here!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Rings and things...

I said there would be new pieces, and there have been. But still, I need to do more. So, this coming week, the first full week of July, I will be spending my time creating more bronze and copper jewellery. I will have finished my fine jewellery commissions (for the time being) and can concentrate on more pieces for The Selkie's Haunt. If you've checked out the website lately, you will see I've given it a slightly new look and added more pieces to my current offerings. Including...

RINGS! Finally and at last, I made some rings in bronze and copper. My hesitancy in the past has always been that solder simply isn't invisible when you make bronze and copper jewellery. No matter the solder you use, it never quite matches the colour. So, the rings I created are not soldered. This also means that they are adjustable. Well, almost, because while copper is a very malleable metal that can be pliable even when work hardened, bronze is an incredible tough metal, even when it has been annealed (softened). I am hoping to create more bronze and copper rings in the weeks to come. I have been given some tips for getting the solder to more closely match the colour of the metal, so will be doing some experimenting to see what happens.

I am also going to create some new bracelets - both bangle and chain. And I am hoping to do some more metal work to create brooches and necklaces that are more about the metal and the design than any stones. That being said, I have some lovely stone cabochons that I am looking forward to including on some rings and brooches, so stay tuned.

Of course, July is also the month that my new granddaughter is expected. In fact, we a fewer than two weeks from her due date now and I am getting so excited. But I've been very remiss in getting the baby's new blanket made (and some hats), so I best find time to do that as well. As they say, no rest for the wicked.

Thank you, as always, for your interest in The Selkie's Haunt.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

New pieces soon - I promise!

I always start each month with the best of intentions. This month I will create more bronze and copper jewellery! This is almost a mantra, but every month my poor copper and bronze sits to the side, waiting patiently for its moment on the bench. This month, however, I am going to actually do it! I have finished all commissions that need to be done RIGHT NOW and I can concentrate on building up some new pieces for The Selkie's Haunt. I don't even remember the last time I added new pieces to the website. I really need to totally revamp my offerings. So many things now showing are actually sold (and noted as sold). And I have so many new designs I want to get out there! This week I will start on the new pieces - starting with some new brooches for Céard in Ullapool. Of the original lot I sent to them, I believe there are only one or two remaining. Time to stock up again (and add some silver brooches in to the mix). See, there I go with the silver again. I promise, bronze and copper is not my least favourite child!

Summer has arrived in the Highlands and I welcome the longer and brighter days. We had a couple of days of very high temperatures and because of the position of the ceiling light in the studio, I had to abandon working in there in the daytime - it was just too hot. So my work couldn't even start until after 3. But with the night's remaining light until well past 10pm, I have plenty of time to work. I am going to make some copper and bronze rings this month. I've got some gorgeous cabochons to set as the focals of rings and I look forward to sharing photos of these pieces as they are made. With cabochons of green agate, amethyst, and turquoise, the choices will be amazing. Some will go to the Aultbea Hotel to join the other pieces in their lovely display. And others will be placed on the website and will be exhibited during markets. I intend to add bangle and chain bracelets and some lovely larger art-centric pieces as well.

I am so grateful for the support I get from so many of you. I look forward to reading your comments on the Facebook page and receiving your emails. Please always feel free to get in touch. And if there is something you would like to see that I currently don't offer, please remember that I am happy to take commissions.

Until next month...

Monday, May 1, 2017

Summer is coming...

Loch Maree

At last, some blue skies and sunshine. At the end of April, the northern Highlands were experiencing all four seasons in one day, but it appears that perhaps the better weather might be here to stay for a while. I love it. Not only do I find that I naturally rise earlier (it is usually daylight by about 5 this time of year), but the sunshine, green trees, and blooming flowers give me a new-found energy. So, let the fun begin!

My fine jewellery has occupied most of my waking hours over the last month, so I'm afraid I've nothing new to show you. Hopefully, I will be able to return to my bronze and copper jewellery making this month. I have so many designs and sketches that I've prepared over the winter. But commissions and getting jewellery ready for stockists and my new displays have taken over my time. I love my new displays for both the lines of jewellery. I will take some new photos of the tables this Tuesday at the market so I can share them. Instead of one large table, I now have two half tables, and I position myself between them. So each now has its own identity. Given the vast difference in the two lines of jewellery, I think this is the ideal solution. 

Over the next month, I will be adding rings to the Selkie's Haunt collection. At first I did debate whether or not people would buy copper (and bronze) rings, given that people are always questioning whether or not the copper will turn their skin green (shouldn't, unless it reacts with their distinct chemistry in that way). But I have so many lovely design ideas that will work best with the base metals. So, hopefully you will begin to see those appear on the website before the end of May.

As always, thank you so much for your continued support for The Selkie's Haunt. It means more than I can say.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Sneak peak (of sorts) ...

I have been very busy with commissions, and it has kept me from increasing my stock. A recent wholesale order has drastically reduced the stock of bracelets, so they will be next on the list of makes for The Selkie's Haunt. In addition to the stone designs I have done in the past, I will be creating some wonderful bangles for your perusal. And, amongst the new designs, you are likely to find a lovely set gemstone cabochon.

Cabochons from my rapidly growing collection.
I love cabochons and some of the stones shown here in this photo - labradorite, amethyst, lapis, bloodstone, peridot, amongst others - complement the tones of both bronze and copper. I am looking forward to creating more pieces using cabochons. My supplier in Hatton Garden has a huge choice of high quality gemstone cabochons from which I can choose. My collection is quite large already - I can only imagine how many more I will add over time. I must admit that I have little resistance to beautiful, colourful stones. And it always amazes me how much they add to a piece of jewellery. While I love the uncomplicated look of simple bronze or copper jewellery, there really is something so special about that little flash of colour.

I have come to realise how very much my artistic pursuits mean to me. As I find myself edging closer and closer to retirement age, I wonder what I would do if I now longer was able to make jewellery. Truth is, I couldn't do without it. It makes me look forward to getting into the studio and creating little treasures. Unfortunately, I have not had as much energy to give to my work lately.

If you follow my fine jewellery website or Facebook page, you will note that I recently closed my commission book due to health concerns. I've never believed in beating around the bush, so I will let you know now that I am currently undergoing investigations for cancer. My next appointment is at Raigmore Hospital on April 4 and I am hoping that we will know more after this appointment. And what will be, will be. But I will not allow ill health to keep me from the joy that creating jewellery gives. It may simple mean, for the time being, that I have to cut back on the amount of time I dedicate to my work. I am just so very, very tired. But, hopefully, we will discover the cause and take care of it and I can get back to having the energy levels I had before. So, if you could send your most positive wishes my way, I would be most grateful.

I hope to be sharing new designs with you over the weeks to come. One commission is in the final stages, the next will take no more than a couple of weeks, and two pairs of earrings commissioned at the first market of the season will take a day to complete. Then it's time for me to have some fun designing for myself and for my stockists!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Better get busy!

I have been so busy with my fine jewellery that I haven't created one new piece of bronze OR copper jewellery. Obviously, this is something that needs to be addressed. My new season of markets begins on March 28, and one of my stockists (my best stockist) opens for the season on March 12! I have some work to do. My other stockists are waiting, too, and soon I need to be sure to have the pieces ready for them to display and sell. I'm also collaborating with a felt-work designer to provide her with some small brooches to display and sell with her scarves. I'm very much looking forward to that, as well.

I am still working on my fine jewellery commissions, with one to complete and three waiting in the wings. The piece I am finishing now is one that is very complex and has given me the opportunity to learn and practice new skills. I am currently awaiting the arrival of some hard solder so I can move forward with the job. Once completed, I will be moving on to my next commission - a beautiful sterling silver pendant for a special anniversary. After that, a bridal necklace. After that, a lovely ring to celebrate a change in life.

But, I must get back to the bronze and copper as well. My work has given me so many new skills that I am anxious to try with the bronze and copper jewellery. I remember bezel setting stones last year and thinking it was so difficult - it is now something I can do in my sleep. I have learned to rivet jewellery, and that look is going to be perfect with bronze and copper. I'm really looking forward to doing more.

And, in addition to all this, we are happily awaiting the arrival of our new granddaughter in July. Another little girl who, I hope, will be enchanted by my work. Hopefully, like her big sister, she will love playing with my beautiful beads and will grow up loving the creative process. After all, I need someone to pass my work onto when I am no longer able to do it myself!

Happy Spring to you all and thank you for your continued interest in The Selkie's Haunt.