Some of you may already be familiar with Camden Lock, in Camden. The luckiest ones among you might even be familiar with We Make London, the active group of artists and creatives who are at the center of many initiatives, among them the books featuring so much of the creative talent active today in England.
You might be luckier still and know that We Make London recently opened a Popup Boutique in the West court of Camden Lock. You might even have been there...if not, a visit in the near future is in order. With so many designers displaying there and so many crafts represented, you are likely to find something to bring home with you, both for yourself and your dear ones.
As soon as I became aware of We Make London's Popup Boutique, I applied to sell there and I was thrilled to get an invitation back from them. Starting today and for the next four weeks, some of my necklaces and earrings will be available for sale from the Popup Boutique, and you would make me very happy by going and taking a look at them.
I can only thank Mary, Lee, Lizzie, and everyone else working at the Popup Boutique for making this possible through all of their hard work. You are creating a very welcoming space both for the crafters whose work you are displaying and for the many Camden Lock visitors who may wander in and discover something truly beautiful and original to treasure for years to come.
Update: The Popup boutique is no longer open. You can find my jewelry here on this site instead.
You know I'm not fond of noxious chemicals, and some of you asked me to elaborate and explain how I manage to avoid using them. I finally have a chance to show you how it's done with a short and sweet tutorial on how to oxidize silver – by using things you probably already have at home.
But first of all, let me explain to you how I ended up oxidizing the earrings in this tutorial, and why. I have some very nice agate beads in a very delicate gray color. It's a beautiful shade of gray, but it doesn't look like much against silver, until the moment the silver is oxidized. At that point the agate stands out much more, and the contrast between the color of the stone and the wire-wrapped frame of the earrings looks really good. As you see from the pictures, the stones are already in place and they can go in with the rest of the earring without any danger.
The earrings I am using in this tutorial are indeed very small, it's not just your impression. I love making small earrings - in fact, small and ultra-light earrings. I have such small earlobes that anything heavier than two grams is a bit too much for me for extended periods of time. However, it's not easy to find earrings that are light and decorated with the gemstones I like. The desire to start making my own earrings was in part what led me to take up jewelry making. It goes without saying that the technique described in this infographic can be scaled to work with much bigger earrings and even with more than one jewelry project at a time.
I hope you'll find it useful, and please, feel free to contact me with any questions!
First things first. The method I am going to describe is not difficult and can be used at home with minor preparation. Chances are you already have everything you need: the silver jewelry you want to oxidize, one or more eggs, and a sealable plastic bag.
After chopping up to pieces your hardboiled egg, place it in a sealable bag with the silver. Make sure the two don't touch as this might result in uneven oxidation.
The sulphur from the yolk will slowly work its magic on the silver. Give it several hours, or leave everything there overnight, and be ready to be amazed by the results.
At this point all is left to do is to get rid of the excess oxidation. Some soap and/or some fine steel wool will work wonders.
It's obviously easier when you do all this before you assemble your pieces, but in a pinch it can be done also after they have been assembled.
You assemble all the pieces, some more polishing and... ta dah!
Two weeks in, and “One Jewel A Day” has already been a revelation. I had several expectations of what would happen, and some of them turned out to be correct, others less so - but most importantly, there have been some very positive surprises.
Creating so much and so fast, by my standards at least, has occasionally been as stressful as I expected, but it also brought me benefits I didn't anticipate. First of all, instead of being frozen in a world of constant deadlines and rushed work, I quite enjoyed the new pace. My natural tendency is to take things slowly and ponder every single move, but working at a faster pace brought a new lightness to my work. I found the challenge of coming up with something original to very energizing - and, as always, I like a challenge.
However, the real discovery was that I have many more ideas and models ready to be put into practice than I ever suspected. Instead of coming up with mere repetitions of jewelry that I have already created, working faster actually freed me from my usual patterns, and my work is now more spontaneous - more adventurous, even.
After admitting from the beginning that not all of my work might turn out equally well (at least by my standards), I have been much more ready to take risks, and they have been very rewarding. I am glad I had written about these things in my last post - that “One Jewel A Day” might mean forced progress, and that it might mean that my standards might slip. However, as I found out, there is something very liberating in having a sympathetic audience. I am very grateful for those of you who reached out to me about #onejeweladay.
Last but not least, in addition to what happens here between me, my materials, and my readers, this project has also had the great advantage of indulging my love of photography by giving me the perfect excuse to take pictures and post them on Instagram and Tumblr, two platforms I knew poorly and which I mostly neglected. I discovered that I quite like them, so now I'm actually very much at ease with these two image-based platforms. I think that things between me and Instagram and Tumblr are serious - I might have found two keepers!
While we were busy doing something or other, 2014 ended. 2015 is already here and as is typical at the beginning of each year, resolutions are back on everyone's mind and Facebook feed.
I'm not a big fan of resolutions. They seem to exist just to highlight how lacking our lives are. This is partly why I don't usually make any. However, that doesn't mean I don't like to make big plans and change my routine.
Just a few days ago I started a new project, "A jewel a day". The title says it all. Every day, a new jewel will be photographed and posted online, both on Instagram and on Harsh and Sweet's website. The first few images are already up, and I gathered some together for you in the banner below.
I already work on my jewelry on most days, but I have never taken pictures and organized my earrings, necklaces, bracelets day by day. I am curious to see what I will come up with, and how my style will change over time. The idea of doing this makes me think of those videos made up of pictures someone has taken each day for years. Once you see these pictures in a speedy sequence, you can see the subjects change right under your eyes, and a lengthy evolution takes place in a matter of minutes.
This is what appeals to me in the "A jewel a day" project. I want to see how my style evolves. However, given that listing a new jewel every day is quite demanding for someone who doesn't repeat the same model twice, I'm sure that there will be times when I will be photographing pieces that I don't find particularly resolved and that I would normally just modify or set aside for future reworking. In this sense, this will be an exposé highlighting what it is like to create every single day, even when I am having a bad day. I don't expect it to be an altogether positive experience, but nothing truly new can be accomplished without taking risks - so you'll see me taking plenty of risks.
I don't know how hard or easy it will be to keep up with this project, but it would mean a lot to me to have your support. Please, follow me on Instagram and let me hear some cheer from the peanut gallery. Or follow me on my site - it's up to you. I hope you'll find some value in it and enjoy it too!
In the meantime, I wish everyone all good things in 2015! Happy new year!
I love hematite, onyx, and chocolate.