The Art of Living by Making Art

Jewellery inspired by nature and made by hand.
How I make it, why I make it, the challenges I face and the successes that come my way.

Monday, February 22, 2010


I'm very inspired by textiles and fabrics. I can spend hours in good fabric shops looking and feeling different cloth. I particularly like damask type fabrics where the pattern of stylised leaves and flowers is woven into the cloth. I never get tired of the curling leafy tendrils and overblown petals that often seem to crop up in these patterns.

My friend Janet, who owns a very stylish store in my town, was using some tissue paper that was white with a clear black damask pattern on it to wrap up items when they sold. I took a piece, photocopied it and transferred the reduced size pattern to a sheet of brass which I then etched. This master brass sheet now has the pattern incised into it and I can use this plate over and over to roll onto silver. I have used it to texture some earrings here, after which I overlaid the silver with a rich purple transparent enamel. I have it in mind to do a one of a kind piece using this pattern, but enamelling it to look like an old scrap of antique cloth. I'll keep you posted on that idea. Like most artists I have many more ideas than time to realise them, but I jot them all down in my big black book so I know where they are when I need them.

The purple earrings were a hit over Christmas so I decided to do a simple pendant using the same shape. This time I used a clear blue enamel, stoned back so the pattern shows up in a paler blue than the background. It makes me think of a piece of old Dutch pottery.

And it reminds me of a shard of blue and white china that came to the surface in my vegetable garden last summer. Now I want to do a more complex piece using the same texture again and colour and the idea of broken china, but again I need to spend the time thinking it out and sketching some designs before I start cutting into the metal. Where does the time go and why does everything take me so long?

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