Sasha Bell: I love shiny things and I love being crafty. I have been making jewelry for 6-7 years now off and on, and am so excited to be back on again. My love affair with metal started at the Kootenay School of the Arts where I completed 2 years of small object and Jewelry design.My design taste is rustic, modern, and textural. I’m fascinated with mechanisms-hinges/rivets, and I’m crazy about patinas-I will tarnish anything I can get my hands on.
I was thrilled to read recently that parts of the next Pirates of the Caribbean film are being shot in Cornwall, a very beautiful county on the southwest coast of the UK. I adore the franchise and although I’m nervous about the sequel effect, I can’t wait to see the next film. Inspired by everyone’s favourite pirates coming to these shores, I’ve put together this week’s product focus, with nautical-themed jewelry and gorgeous piratical artwork!
The inspiration for finestimaginery’s adorable cutout pirate necklace came from the idea of zombies, ninjas, cowboys and pirates being the top four character trends. The design is based on a captain hook style character, with a typical pirate moustache and hat. And, according to Kim, he wouldn’t be a pirate without a patch!
I love this octopus necklace from yellowsquirrel, who is based in Manchester like me. Nicole took her inspiration from the fact that it’s a popular image and combined this with her love of vintage. Nicole says, “Raw brass and antique gold chains, they just look ‘right’ together!” – she’s certainly hit the nail on the head with this piece!
Simple but pretty, louloudo’s ‘rope’ necklace was inspired by the very charm that makes it work. Louise thought that the silver charms were so sweet that they didn’t really need anything more then a nice, lightweight candy striped string. She also thinks that they look “sort of lucky, dangling there on their string!”
Andreakett’s amazingly detailed pirate artwork (top) just had to be included! I’m always green with envy over people who can draw as I have zero talent in that area. Andrea started working on this piece just because she loves pirates, which is the best reason for creating something that I can think of! Andrea says that she tends to have characters in her head when working on a drawing and with this one, she was channeling Poison Ivy from the Cramps and Tura Satana from Faster Pussycat Kill Kill, and the character Aunt Sally from Worzel Gummidge all together!
Are you a pirate lover? To share your favorite handmade pirate-themed pieces, or to just drool over Captain Jack Sparrow, post here or send me a message on @elliethouret!
Understand that the right to choose your own path is a sacred privilege. Use it. Dwell in possibility.
– Oprah Winfrey
Once in a while, I come across handmade items that instantly grab my attention and compel me to learn more about the artist behind them. Discovering Barbe Beaty’s eco-friendly silver work was a highlight of my week; and even more so after hearing more about it and the work that Barbe does through her own social enterprise, the Promise Project. Not only does Barbe create lovely, hand-sculpted pieces which celebrate diversity, strength and self-awareness; she generously shares her passion and spirit with others, so that they, too, may discover the uniqueness within their own selves. I am so excited to share Barbe’s work with you and invite you to learn more about Njia Studios and The Promise Project in the artist’s own, eloquent words.
How did you get your start in Jewelry design?
I am a completely self-taught precious metals artisan. As a graphic artist, I first began by designing a line of angels as symbolic reminders for those touched by death (having volunteered with our area Hospice). I thought that they would make nice lapel pins but wasn’t sure how to go about creating them. Having attended an art show and admired the designs of a jeweler who specialized in Precious Metal Clay (PMC), was when I had my first aha moment! The rest was herstory!
What led you to using PMC?
Having stumbled across the medium at a local art show, I loved the idea of being able to create original pieces of jewelry/art without a large overhead. I was amazed that I could create beautiful pieces of jewelry by merely using a few inexpensive tools and my kitchen stove!! (I’ve since invested in a digital kiln)
What do you like about the medium?
I truly love the flexibility of the clay. It lends itself to being sculpted, rolled, overlayed, hollowed out, carved, imprinted–you name it! I love the eco-friendly nature of PMC. It is comprised of finely ground recycled silver particles, water and an organic binder. Once fired by kiln, torch, or stovetop, it becomes 99.9% fine silver!
Does it present any challenges?
The major challenge I’ve found is the limited amount of time in which to work the clay–it dries quicker than traditional clay. Additionally, the cost has skyrocketed since I first began using the medium five years ago.
How has your interest in the environment influenced your design and your business practices?
My family was eco-friendly long before it became “the thing to do”. I think some looked at our practices as pretty strange! We could often be found tagging alongside my Dad picking up roadside trash back in the 70’s! So, caring for our environment has always been a part of my being. I love knowing that I can build a business while not further compromising our environment. Whenever possible, I also use recycled materials for shipping and packaging.
Tell me about The Promise Project; how did it come about?
As an artist, I feel the importance of creating positive images of hope and encouragement. As a social entrepreneur, I felt a deeper need to empower our community. There are so many social issues that affect our society, but the loss of self compares to no other. It is so easy to be pulled from living our purposeful path–from being who we were born to be… our authentic self.
Who attends the workshops?
My workshops were initially designed for girls and women from all walks of life, through various community organizations, i.e.: hospices, girl scouts, schools, social service agencies. Although, at several of my contracted public schools, I’ve had wonderful young gentlemen in attendance!
What do your participants take from the workshops (besides their silver token)?
I stress the symbolism of each and every step in the process as they create their promise tokens. I present the idea that we are each artists–we are each co-creators of our world. We may not necessarily be able to choose every experience we encounter along our journey, but the choice to create joy is always ours. Participants take with them greater awareness, empowerment, and a tangible commitment to self.
What have you learned from the girls/women (and young men) who have attended?
That age and social economic status are illusions. We are one in the same. Hearing “You matter”, feels the same wherever you may happen to be along your road through life.
Barbe’s jewelry can be purchased through her shop. (Be sure to sign up for her shop feed to be kept abreast of new designs. )
Plarn is the new yarn (or wool, as us Brits call it.) It’s name comes from combining the words ‘plastic’ and ‘yarn.’ Plarn is made up from folded and shredded plastic bags which are then rolled into a ball and is used as a replacement yarn. It is then crocheted into various items. I’ve seen bags, (like the above) necklaces, ear rings, koozies, cuffs, scourers, coasters and even headbands made from plarn. (Top image: Arny’s Etsy)
Yep, I said necklaces made from plarn. This was one of my favourites from the Arny shop, but if you wanted something a little more low key and less chunky you could opt for something like this:
The Arny shop strapline is; “Giving Earth a second chance.” And after a recent de-clutter and purge of my un-used “stuff” I came across Plastic Bag Mountain in our kitchen.
We have a huge collection of plastic bags and here’s why; we don’t drive otherwise we’d invest in some strong milk cartons which would carry our groceries home, so every time we hit the store, we (read: my husband) forget to pack our ‘Bags For Life’ (a cotton bag that the stores have taken to sell near the cash registers in order to encourage customers to opt out of using plastic bags.) So more plastic bags are used, collected, stored in the tiny kitchen we have and generally they get forgotten about.
I have heard it takes 1,000 years for a plastic bag to break down in a landfill site. Bearing this in mind, I wanted to check this out for myself. There are conflicting studies; some studies suggest that it takes between 10-20 years to break down (The New York Times, Nemve E. Metropolitan Diary, October 1, 2001) and Ohio State University telling us that by adding moisture to a landfill site that it will speed up the decomposition process.
Either way, plastic bags are becoming a growing problem; clogging up drains, being a general eyesore and have even more serious fatal consequences when wildlife mistake plastic bags for food.
In the UK our supermarkets have started to charge it’s customers per bag when they opt for plastic as a way to bring down the usage of plastic bags.
So while I still have Plastic Bag Mountain I will opt to learn to crochet, make plarn and try my hand at plarning myself some necklaces for next Christmas. And thanks to eHow and their step by step “how to” on making plarn I can make my own ball of plarn.
My name is Amber Bryce-owner, designer, and soul creator of Blue Scarab Jewelry. Jewelry, to me, is an extension of oneself-your personality, your being, your soul.
From a very young age I had an intense interest for art of all kinds. I always enjoyed creating-anything I could get my hands into I would put my own spin on it. As I grew older I found myself dabbling in many different artistic medias, from drawing and writing to clays and mosaics. But creating Jewelry has always been what I come back to, because I feel such a strong connection with each piece I make. So much of myself is poured into each piece, because my creations are spawned from such a deep inspiration. I find inspiration in the moldings of old buildings, victorian dresses, fabrics, textiles, and most importantly Mother Nature herself. Moods, textures and even music spawn my creativity, constantly etching designs and images in my mind.
When I create jewelry, I don’t like to limit myself to any one technique. My repertoire of skills as an artist is ever growing-I love learning new techniques, all the while mastering old ones. Craftsmanship is very important to me-I want my customers to feel good knowing that I take great pride in providing them with an heirloom quality piece of jewelry that they can wear and pass down for many years.