The Street – Direction

I have taken inspiration from the town I’ve grown up in, Edinburgh. After taking pictures around Glasgow and looking down memory lane; travelling round New Zealand and my home London, Edinburgh is what I’ve known longest so it made sense to me to use this as a base.

There’s a lot of interesting shapes and textures in Edinburgh which I’ve captured in some pictures. The cobbled streets and the old stone detail around Edinburgh Castle. I made a few enamel samples using shapes found in the many cobbled pathways.



With these enamel samples I used yellows, pewter, cherry red and duck egg green. The colours used were inspired by the Autumn leaves I found in a puddle (picture below).


Yellow has been a prominent colour within the pictures I’ve taken along with green and deep reds/browns. I’m not a fan of green or red personally and have been drawn to yellow for some time so it’s felt natural to take this route. I’ll play around with blending colours in my next samples. Thankfully this batch of enamelling worked! This duck egg green has come out more blue however so don’t think it will be the best combination with the yellow (too bright for my liking?). I am thinking a burgundy/brown will look great though. I may not want more than one colour at all, so still experimenting here. To be continued!



Scrap Silver – Nugget Rings

Not college project related, but here’s a little video making what I call ‘Nugget rings’ (not the most creative name I know!) I had some scrap [pieces of wire, not long enough to make a ring shank and I wasn’t really sure what to do with them. That’s how this ring style came to be. Waste no more scrap silver! 🙂

More college project related videos on the way soon!


Experimental Techniques – Shapes

I haven’t done much sampling as of yet as I was still trying to determine what my shapes/colours would be. I did have a look through my previous makes over the last couple of years (I talk about this in an earlier post here) and concluded that geometric, angular shapes was where I’d been heading towards the end of the course and I continued to play around with that concept over the summer. I also had a cube theme going in last years CAD class so I have decided to combine these shapes. So below are some rough samples and how I’ve been playing around with them. Looking forward to having correctly enamelled pieces to get a better idea of what different colours/textures work best together.

I spent last weekend creating resin-filled cubes and cuboids. I made the shells from copper and then melted and reticulated tiny chips of silver over the copper. I love reticulation and this is a technique I always use when I’m working with copper as I love the icy, silver texture it produces. Plus I don’t need to use a lot of silver to get this finish. I’m still to master this with silver by itself however. After the shells had been created, I filled them with resin which I’d mixed with a yellow dye and let them cure for 24 hours. (Last year, Colin showed me a bunch of coloured dyes where you only needed a tiny amount to colour the resin. I took away a tiny amount of a few colours to sample my favourites for my final piece which is when I fell in love with the yellow. I bought a small tub from Cooksons for about £7, but the tub will last a very long time)!

After bringing them into class this week, Colin sliced a thin cube from one of the pieces for me. (This could be a quick and efficient way to get many at one time, making a cuboid and slicing it up with the band saw). I’m loving these resin-filled pieces!


I have been making jewellery with resin for a few years now and out of all the alternative materials I have worked with resin is by far still my go to material. I love the idea of enamelling but as mentioned before, it does not love me. I love seeing what others can achieve using acrylic and wood but I cannot happily or skillfully use it in my own.

I am loving my shapes though. I’m looking into distorting the cubes a little but I don’t want a big clash of angular shapes, at the moment I feel a little cube detail is quite complimenting to the geometric shapes. Will be sharing sketchbook snapshots soon!






Experimental Techniques – Enamelling

Like CAD, enamelling and I have a love hate relationship; I love it but it does not love me! I did a tiny amount of enamelling last year on just a couple of copper squares which I ended up under-firing. They were dark in colour and rough textured. I also made a little ring sample with a domed, copper cup. I sprinkled some enamel powder inside and placed a little enamel cube in the middle also. The enamel melted nicely and the cube almost fully, however, I liked that it had some depth to it rather than the cube being completely melted in with the powder.

Ring sample below. I used purple and turquoise enamel powders and a pink cube.


As for this year I have attempted enamelling again. 6 samples are needed to pass the unit and it seems as though I am going to be here a while until something works as I am now just burning everything. 1 minute, 40 seconds, I am gaining the same, over-fired results. This is disappointing. (You shall not beat me enamel)! Well, I’m sure I’ll get my samples eventually, however, some relationships aren’t meant to be.

Below are my attempts this week; some squares were domed, I then sprinkled a ‘Pale Yellow’ over one and a ‘Violet’ over the larger one. As you can see in the pictures, all have been over-fired. I love the yellow tone but the violet is unfortunately non existent. I think the two colours would compliment each other well, although I’d rather not mix a lot of colour for any of my final pieces, it’s nice to just try out in some sampling.

Using very thin copper that Colin handed out, I cut out a square shape and two random geometric shapes. Colin was also kind enough to let the class try out his corrugated roller machine which works pretty much like a rolling mill. I placed the thin copper between the rollers and used the handle to push the copper through, creating the corrugated effect and distorting the shapes, which I quite like! These were also covered in the same enamel colours (over-fired!). I do love the ‘pop’ in the yellow though.


My poor cactus was slightly over done also.

Below are the colours I sampled. I used the little sieve to sprinkle on the powders and also did the process over a creased piece of card so that any excess colour could be poured back into the tube it came from before trying out another colour to prevent waste and contamination between colours.


Well I had a game plan in my mind which unfortunately did not go as I’d hoped and was set back a bit. I shall be more aware of the time the pieces are spending in the kiln. I’m still determined and hoping my next attempt will be much more successful!

Until next time,





Elements – A Running Theme

Towards the end of our HND1 we were creating CAD pieces which we would be carrying through to our HND2 under the brief ‘Elements’. This will then play a part throughout our body of work for the rest of the year. I unfortunately didn’t like the piece I’d created in CAD and will not be using this through my work. I have new ideas however that I will take forward instead. If it’s to be my ‘staple’ then it should be my decision, not someone else’s. I’ve decided to go with my initial idea here and hope to fit this through what’s to come.

I think I’ve maybe found this more difficult than others. I know what materials I like to use, however, when it comes to shapes, colours or textures I’m not sure where I stand. I find I work very spontaneously outside of college and my work is pretty commercial based. Although I do now use a sketchbook for ideas, they are often one-off design ideas, rather than a collection of work. Commercial for me is not a problem but this doesn’t seem to be the way we are to go with college, which I also don’t have a problem with. I am just finding it difficult to pin point my ‘style’. I feel I am still very much experimental in everything I create after just 2 years of creating jewellery. I don’t feel I have a specific similarity to my work yet. I would like to design more contemporary styled pieces and maybe I’m just thinking too much about this causing a creative block.

I’ve had a look through the pieces I have made over the last 2 years to try and gain some clarity:

My NC work:

Triangles and angles generally were stronger in my work rather than curves (although I did dabble in this style for my final piece of the year). No colour in particular stands out to me as a continual theme but I did have a love for purple and often used a frosting wheel for satin finishes.
My HND1 work:

Throughout the HND1 I worked with angles. I took shapes such as pentagons and manipulated them into random, geometric shapes. I also took circles and gave them angles which is what ultimately created my final pieces toward the end of the year. As for colour, again nothing was particularly prominent to me. I used patina as a means to tick a box for SQA but not something I would generally use in my work. I did find towards the end of the year a new love for yellow, however, in the end I chose crimson colours to make the goldleaf pop in my final piece and the year was over.
I myself don’t see any link between my pieces here other than the use of resin and stone setting. I feel there’s not much time to continue pondering it all and have decided to go with my current passions and use those in the brief The Street. I’m thinking geometric, off-kilter shapes and squares. It may sound like a random combination but I’ll see how it goes. Yellow is the colour I’ve been drawn to since June so will go with this also. Resin is a big possibility for the final pieces. This is at least a starting point for my sketchbook. Ok, off I go to my sketchbook!


Casting – Wax Injecting Practise

I’m really looking forward to having my own designs cast. Making the rubber mold for these pieces sounds pretty difficult but it will all be worth it for the end result and having a few molds that will last for some time!

I had a play around with injecting melted wax into some ready made rubber molds. The first couple of attempts were off, I hadn’t injected enough wax to fill the mold completely. However, after a few practice runs they turned out pretty well. Casting is one of my favourite techniques to use and I have a couple of ideas I want to get round to trying out including some organic things I’ve accumulated. Looking forward to this!


Videos – The Next Level?

Colin made a very interesting point last week; taking pictures of your hand made creations is just not enough anymore. The next stage now seems to be little videos, a speedy version of the making process of a piece.

I love this idea and have wondered for some time now how it is done after last years lecturer Lisa showed the class a video of a jeweller making some wooden jewellery pieces. It turns out a simple video/pic app is all you need! So I did a little search and found an app called PicPac with good ratings so decided to give it a go. I ended up loving this app as it’s so simple to use (so far!) so decided to give it a go. Maybe when potential customers see a video of the process they can appreciate the price more.

Here I am making some simple, cactus pendants. They are not quite finished, as they need more polishing and I’d like to add some liver of sulphur.

This is the result of my first attempt at making a little video; Making a cactus pendant.

This video is about 50 seconds long. This isn’t too bad, I can upload it to YouTube and Vimeo and Instagram has extended their video play to 60 seconds. Perfect fit! Could work on the angles but balancing a camera around your workbench and whatnot is rather tricky. Looking forward to making the next one!


The Street – Research & Inspiration

Just taking a walk around the new campus, Glasgow and Edinburgh to get some ideas for new brief The Street. I’m really happy it can be interpreted so broadly. I could go down a similar path of ‘Architecture’, a brief I was given in the NC or even Nature. I could also continue down the ‘Wabi Sabi’ route, a brief I loved but the designs I was never pleased with. At the moment these are just a bunch of pictures, searching for inspiration as honestly, I don’t know what my colours or shapes are.

A slideshow of what I’ve found so far. Looking at skylines, weather (rain), nature, stones, buildings and texture.

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Above are recent images, below, some I felt were relevant to the brief that I’d taken last year.

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Experimental Techniques – Keum Boo

Today I tested fusing gold foil (23.5ct bizarrely!) to sterling silver, a method called Keum boo. Not excited about this technique as I feel there’s not a lot of security in the finish. It cannot be polished after the gold has been fused to the silver as it can flake/tear off. It does look beautiful though and if used well would make a great feature on some silver pieces. I wouldn’t mind testing this out again on an actual piece of jewellery. For now a small piece of silver will do.


(Well it looked not bad before I stupidly grabbed it with my grubby hands, then proceeded to scratch away some of the foil! Why hands!?)

4Hot plate was used to heat up the silver. I then used a scalpel to ‘chop’ a piece of gold foil to the required length and placed it on the heated silver using tweezers. With the burnishing tool I smoothed out the gold foil until it fused to the silver and gently pushed out any bubbles underneath the surface.


Cleaned up the silver here but of course the damage is done to the gold foil due to my clumsiness. Yeah, need practise!