Well, my favourite bead shop – Semi Precious Beads – has a sale on now – don’t miss out!
It only continues until the 3rd of January 2013 so hurry!
Today I took a beginners PMC course with fantastic tutor Di Osman. I had so much fun and I don’t think I’ve ever been so pleased with something in such a short amount of time.
The best thing about taking a course (as opposed to experimenting at home) is that I gained the confidence (and had the resources in front of me) to try more unusual techniques; for example dipping the finished piece in liver of sulphur to get a marvellous effect (in the top left pieces in the picture)
We found out the effect varies depending on how warm the water you add the sulphur to is. As I used it later on; the water had cooled quite a bit and gave this almost golden effect. If used in warmer water the effect is a bluey purple one.
Who would have thought you could get a chunk of silver by moulding clay, baking it for 3 minutes with a hand held torch and polishing it off!
Finding materials and stamps to get certain effects will be my new quest. In the class we used rubber stamps, pastry cutters, leaves and leather to get fantastic results. Little tubes can be used to cut holes or make patterns like on my star.
PMC is expensive but I made all this with still some left over out of a 30g pack with costs around £30. I’m sure I have enough left for at least another pair of earrings or a pendant. That works out at £6 per set and considering your end result is a chunk of 99.9% silver I think it’s fantastic value for money.
Best of all we all achieved these sort of results just on our first day and there is so much more to learn. We don’t need to invest in lots of equipment, just a small blow torch (very cheap) and some files, cutters (also dead cheap) You can find textures outside such as leaves, pebbles, bark, stone etc…
I would definitely recommend having a go with PMC!
It’s been a long time since my last post but alas this does not represent a decline in my love of jewellery making. In fact I’ve gone and opened a bead shop. I know, I know – in this financial downturn? am I mad? well yes but also more happy than I’ve ever been in my life because I’m doing a job that I really enjoy and working for myself. This is most welcome after my previous job where office politics reigned and fluorescent tube lighting was my sun.
Its been over a year since we started Semi Precious Beads and discovered we weren’t alone on our quest for unusual gemstone beads. The spare room was getting cramped and I couldn’t move for boxes of beads. It was when I spotted a shop on the Devonshire coast with plenty of room I knew it was meant to be.
The trouble with opening up in the crunch is not money – it’s people’s preconceptions; both business owners and customers. Only yesterday a lady came in and said “these sort of things don’t usually last very long.” Another comment – “even if you go into administration in 6 months you will have learnt lots of lessons.’
We also have plenty of very kind people wishing us luck but it is usually with a head tilt with undertones of “you’ll need it.”
However the positive airy people who visit us are fantastic. We have families in at the weekend sitting around the tables making and experimenting and going home happy with a piece of their own creation. As for business owners – it’s so easy to get caught up in this depression but the key to overcoming it; is to remain focused, unaffected and proactive. Thinking differently from the rest is surely going to make you stand out and mean that each business in the industry will have something unique to offer so there will be plenty of business to go around. Ignorant? maybe.. Blissful? definetely!
Here I have made a hoop charm pendant with a rose quartz briolette, crystal quartz briolettes and Karen Hill Tribe battered findings. A chunky Amethyst bracelet with Karen Hill Tribe findings and a simple necklace of rutilated quartz and a Karen Hill Tribe flower pendant…
Here I have used some lovely chunks of ametrine and citrine with 24k gold wire which I feel gives a nice warm look and the facets make it extra sparkly!
I have fallen in love with copper and these colours!
An experiment with rondelles as I think they’re just as beautiful front ways on as they are stacked next to each other when strung.
If you’d like to try something similar use 20 gauge wire, cut a strip as long as you want the base to be and make a loop on either side. Hammer this flat. Then simply add the rondelles onto the base by twisting wire through the rondelle and around the base, making sure the rondelles lie flat. Great for bangles as well!
Would look great strung on ribbon or suede in a complimentary colour!
This is made from 12 gauge sterling wire, shaped and hammered flat and then hammemered with a rounded hammer to give it slightly dimpled look.
I am really pleased with the results this technique has given me. It was so much fun to make as well; not at all tedious as repetitive work can be. I simply shaped 20 gauge gold craft wire into ‘S’ shapes and jump rings and flattened them with a silversmith’s hammer on a block. Then made a large ‘S’ shape with curled ends for the ‘S’ clasp! A large green fluorite drop and smaller green drops compliment the gold well I thought.
Watch this space for charm bracelets using a similar method
If you’d like to make beaded jewellery you only have to invest in some basic tools and you’ll have a fantastic hobby for life.
To make everything shown in the following tutorials you will need;
Round Nose Pliers
Flat Nose Pliers
Tigertail (strong stringing material)
Open and closed jumprings
Reels of wire in varying thicknesses (20,24,28 gauge)
A selection of beads of your choice
A box to keep it all in