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Getting there …

Time is going so fast ! Its now less than a week away from our re-launch as the Art Clay Scotland Jewellery Studio.  Our shop and studio will be closed for a week as we frantically paint the walls, sand the floors and  assemble the cabinets. The outside has already had its make over – we went from this

To this …..

To this

Our opening exhibition will feature the jewellery of 9 metal clay artists. It’s starting to arrive and is all stunning !! In the final count down I’ll be finally announcing  our exhibitors, and featuring each one individually over on face book, and here there and everywhere :) We are also thrilled to have Scottish Artist Ewan Stirrat exhibit his stunning paintings with us, I can’t wait to see them! Here is one of his paintings  – Spring, his work is just incredible !

 

So SO Excited !

Coming Together ….

One of the elements of our big change has been to transform our studio into a more user friendly space for jewellers. We have built 5 benches which will seat students during classes, and be available for hire during the day and on request.  Its been very very exciting to see the area go from an idea to a reality! I’ve been doing most of my designing and making from home, and am going to work from our studio. I am so looking forward moving in, and playing with all our new tools like the rolling mill!  The hardest thing now is for me to choose my bench !

 

From this …..

To this !

Now that the studio is ready we can really turn our attention to the front.  Because its our 5th birthday in February our re-launch on the 25th will have a party atmosphere. The shop is starting to be cleared of all our beads ready for the Gallery! I am so incredibly excited to open a gallery which showcases the jewellery of Metal Clay Artists.  As far as I know there is no other Gallery in the world which showcases Metal clay work in this way – and really – its about time !! The work that is being produced just gets better year after year.   I’ve been very lucky – all the artists I’ve approached to exhibit have responded with excitement almost mirroring my own. I am really looking forward to announcing and featuring all of them on our new blog and Face Book Page – they deserve to be shouted about!

There is still so much to do… and the clock is ticking…… but it really is all coming together :)

Time for a change

Next month is the birthday of our Business The Little Bead Shop & Art Clay Scotland. For 5 years The Little Bead Shop and Art Clay Scotland (the metal clay training side of things) have shared their premises in a beautiful area of Edinburgh, Bruntsfield.

Over the past 5 years many exciting things have happened in the land of metal clay. There have been exciting new products like Copper Clay, PMC Pro and now Sterling Silver Clay, but even more exciting is the incredibly high standard of the work that Artists around the world are achieving with this exciting medium. Though online & printed collections of outstanding work are common – like the PMC Annual, and Holly Gage’s Calender, there are few opportunities to view such collections in “real life”.

For some time I’ve been looking at venues with something of a dream to exhibit the finest metal clay work out there. I looked and looked, but couldnt find the right venue, at the right time……   the answer of course was so close to home it was staring me in the face. So it is to my great excitement and delight to announce that in March this year our premises will be home to a Gallery exhibiting the work of some incredibly talented and well known artists. Specifically Metal Clay Artists.

To make way for this change “The Little Bead Shop” will be no more, all of our beads are being sold.  I can’t wait to get the painting, sanding and assembling finished so I can view the phenomenal work we will have on show, all of which of course, will be available to buy. Wish us luck !!

I have just received notification from Quarto Publishing that an image of my work is to be featured in a new book by Anastasia Young “The Jewellery Maker’s Guide to Gemstone Settings; Styles and Techniques“. Now this is exciting enough, but its also HUGE surprise as I did not know anything about this book  – the publishers have images of my work due to another book submission I did back in the summer !!   What I find particularly exciting is that gemstones are featuring in my own work and designs more and more frequently. If a piece of my work does not feature a gemstone somewhere – either a huge trillion, or a tiny pipe setting, then it seems naked to me somehow. I’m taking it as a “sign” that I am on the right track :)

 

They liked my “Wedding Rings” which I made as a gift for one of my dearest friends…..

The book sounds amazing – here are a couple of synopsis I found after I googled the title …

From Scorpio booksGemstone Settings” is the most in-depth, technical guide to stone setting. Jewelry makers will enjoy an encyclopedic overview, which features an extensive summary of stone-setting and techniques for creating beautiful gemstone jewelry, from basic bezels and prongs to pave, carre, clusters, and numerous others–including cold joins, precious metal clay, settings for fragile stones, and settings that allow the stones to move.
You’ll also discover detailed information about stones and metals–including their suitability, gorgeous photos and illustrations for visual support, what makes a design wearable and durable, and detailed information on pre-made versus handmade settings.
Step by step, learn how to set your most beloved precious, semiprecious, and organic stones with projects that range from elegant diamond masterpieces to earthy pearl or coral everyday favorites.

 

From Waterstones – “A complete and practical guide to setting precious and semi-precious stones in any metal, The Jewellery-Maker’s Guide to Gemstone Settings is a detailed, technical guide to stone-setting for jewellers and jewellery students. It explores traditional, modern, and experimental approaches to stone-setting, from the purely functional to design-led solutions for securing stones. It takes the reader through the entire process of setting stones from choosing a suitable stone and designing and making the setting to seating and setting the stone. The extensive setting techniques are combined with step-by-step demonstrations, precise diagrams and images of contemporary work from international jewellers. A comprehensive reference section featuring an illustrated glossary makes this book the essential stone-setting resource for both students and professional jewellers. Demonstrations produced using 3D modelling software provide the most up-to-date reflection of current practice and technology and allow explanations of skills and techniques to be presented with expert accuracy. The perfect resource for jewellers of all levels.”

 

It looks pretty good too 

 

The book is due to be published on the  28/02/2012 – just after my birthday! Its a book I would not have hesitated to buy – so to discover I will be IN IT has simply made my day !!

 

This is my second attempt at this blog post.. for some reason the time I spent on blogging about my rings before was wasted as wordpress “failed’ to publish my post – fingers crossed this time….

 

If you  are a friend of mine on Face Book or a fan of Art Clay Scotland then you will have seen my new gold rings already, but its far easier for me to talk about the process here. For there was quite alot that went into making these rings – which were made from my great grandmas old gold rings which were too small for my big fingers!!! First of all then we had to melt the gold down – which we did with a hot torch ….

 

Then this molten gold was poured into an ingot ….

which gave us this little nugget of gold….

Which was drawn through a rolling mill to give us enough length to make two rings…

So now we have our gold. And the actual process of making the rings began. This is the first time Ive ever worked with gold metal before – Ive only ever worked with Gold Clay in the past – so this was fun for me! First of all I had to shape the ring on a mandrel ..

 

  And then cut it and solder the prepared tube into place

and then set the stone …

Then a little polishing, and a repeat of the process left me with these two rings!!

 

I have worn them everyday with pride and really did make them myself under Jareds expert eye and tuition. They feel special and full of meaning to me!

Just as soon as I can I’ll be uploading,  onto our web site,  all the details of how you can make you own wedding/civil partnership rings with Jared. With an expert guiding you every step of the way its surprisingly easy to make beautiful, professional rings – and of course there will be that extra option of using your own gold too!!

 

Take a look at Jared ‘s web site here to see his stunning work!

Currently Gold prices are at record Highs. TV channels here in the UK are full of adverts encouraging us to sell our old Gold. On the flip side others are investing in Gold, and the UK’s first ever Gold Vending Machine was opened in London earlier this month. Yes – thats right  a vending machine that sells bars of gold in various sizes, with a 1g coin going for around £40.

I’ve got some old gold rings that belonged to my Great Grandmother. Two 22ct Gold Rings and two 9ct rings. A quick browse of internet tells me that I could expect to get around £200 if I sold them. Here they are …..

 

 

But I dont want to sell them!! And I am lucky as, just as I did with my scrap silver, I am about to recycle my gold. I’ll be spending the day with Jared Sanders in his superb studio melting down the gold and making it into new rings. I love the idea of wearing a new ring made from gold that was worn for decades by my Great Grandmother, and then my Grandma until she died. I havent ever worked with Gold before – only Gold Clay, so I will be getting tuition from Jared himself, and am really looking forward to it. Here are some rings he recently made – and these will be within my capabilities (so he tells me…..)

If you are getting married, or having a civil partnership soon, then it may interest you to know that we shall be offering a service where you and your partner can come to the studio at Art Clay Scotland, and make your own wedding bands with Jared guiding you every step of the way. As an option you can choose to recycle your own gold to make your rings from, or you can specify other materials including platinum.   We are really very excited about this, and full details will be up on the Art Clay Scotland web site very soon.

 

 

So, I need to pack my camera, and my gold rings and wade through the tourists to get to Jared’s Studio!! I’m so looking forward to making a gold ring….. now all I need is a nice man to marry :D

A good week!

This has been a great week!  First of all I spent a day with  Jared Sanders  , learning how to recycle my scrap silver.  I loved the whole process from start to finish – there was something very very gratifying about it !!

First of all the silver is melted down……..

 

Then its poured into the ingot ……

 

Which gave us one of these ……

Which was rolled through the rolling mill a few times – annealing every now and then …..

 

and then this was drawn through the plates until I had my pure silver wire!

Then yesterday I received the exciting news that my work has been accepted into the next PMC Annual! To say that its a huge honor to be amongst such incredible talent is an understatement.   I was in a celebratory mood as I arrived at the Axolotl Gallery on Dundas Street in Edinburgh to meet Elmo the 5 year old Owl who was on an outing from Edinburgh Zoo. The handler had the patience of a saint as everyone invariably asked him the same questions over and over again…… Elmo was amazing to watch and was there becuase the paintings  in the current exhibition feature Owls. Apparently Elmo did not know that they were only paintings (as far as he was concerned they were real), and he was very much on high alert, keeping his amazing eyes on every painting in the room!!

 

Finally Elmo was taken home and I got my second piece of good news for the day – my work has been accepted into the gallery. I’m very VERY chuffed :D

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