2012 has been pretty good to me but as it closes out I find myself thinking more and more about what I've done and what I want to do in 2013 to stretch my creativity and keep things fresh.
This time last year I was selling my jewellery with reasonable success and was idly pondering whether or not I should try to sell some of the metal clay components I use in my own designs. It took another couple of months of procrastinating and prevaricating before I finally bit the bullet and went for it. It's well documented elsewhere how delighted I am with the positive reception they've received which frankly is just as well, because selling finished jewellery online has been a whole lot harder this year.
So, for the last nine months I've been pretty heavily focused on developing my components and inevitably I'm now feeling the need for a change, to shake it up a bit by trying something new or revisiting some things I've dabbled in in the past.
In the summer of 2011 I attended a kiln enameling workshop and just the other day I came across some of the pieces I made following that.
I also had a go at torch firing enamels and set up a makeshift area in my garage, but this didn't come quite as naturally to me as I don't seem to be very co-ordinated when it comes to working with mandrels. But in fairness I think it's one of those things that needs consistent practice and once I started on building up the metal clay components there wasn't really much time left.
Now that the bronze production is running pretty smoothly though, I want to go back and improve these techniques with the aim of adding an enameled range to the shop - a nice complement to the metal clay I think.
Back in November I treated myself to another workshop, this time etching and I LOVED it! I worked with copper and used a ranged of methods including PNP (press and peal) paper, Aquatint, stickers and Shelac. PNP was by far my favourite and I got some great results with some art deco images.
The butterfly here was done with a sticker and the other two pieces were done using PNP. Not everything came out as well as these as you can see on this next piece where fine grains of the pumice used to clean the copper have got under the PNP causing the blotches.
Still that's what workshops are for aren't they!
I have a 'slightly' addictive personality so it was all I could do to stop myself from going out and buying all the kit straight away but I've promised myself that this is something I will definitely be trying again early in the new year.
There are lots of other things I could put on my technique 'to do' list but by limiting it to just a couple I think I have more chance of actually achieving them rather than just being overwhelmed. Besides which, I still have a lot ideas to try out on my metal clays.
I've been working a lot with patinas lately, especially the new ranges of commercial metal patinas which can produce great instant colour effects like these...
It's also possible to get some great patinas on bronze which occur naturally as part of the firing process....
I love it when this happens but sadly it's very unpredictable and I'm very bad at keeping records of the conditions that pieces like this result from. I really have got to be more scientific about this. One thing I really want to do is try out some of the other popular patina techniques to see how they work with bronze. Ammonia, Vinegar, Potato crisps (chips)...most of the tests I've seen have been done on copper or brass so I'm planning to do some comparisons on bronze and will share that with you when I have some results.
Obviously bronze has a long and distinguished history when it comes to jewellery. How great would it be if I could reproduce some of these effects on my own jewellery and components....
|Bronze jewellery from the Neolithic settlement of Vinelz on Lake Biel, Switzerland, c. 2700 BC. Wiki Commons|
|English: German National Museum ( Nuremberg / Germany ). Bronze armlet with sun symbol, late Bronze Age ( 16th-13th century BC ), Hesse. Wiki Commons|
So that's what I've got my sights set on for 2013, how about you...what are your jewellery related ambitions for the year ahead? I'd love to hear about them.
Now, since this is the last post I'll be doing until after the New Year I'd just like to wish you all a very merry festive season and a peaceful and happy new year. See you all on the other side!
The Gossiping Goddess