Memento Mori (An Ode to Dead Dye Jobs)

Memento Mori
noun
 1. an object kept as a reminder of the inevitability of death.
2. Latin, literally ‘remember (that you have) to die’.

An Ode To Dead Dye Jobs
I collect my dead hair.
A strange habit I know.
A bit of a gross habit? yeah, I can see why you’d think that.
I’m not sure why I do it. It just feels like I could use it one day, so I save it.
When my hair brush is full, I pull off the tangled locks, and place them in a jar.
Okay… now you think I’m crazy right?
I don’t blame you.
One of the nice things about it, is I get to see colour gradients forming. I dye my hair, mostly, every month, and I never pick the same colour, so layers of colours form.

I’ve made a miniature sculpture to celebrate my oddness, and to “light a candle” for my now passed dye jobs…..

 

Saw-pierce out a copper oval.Working (1)

Sand and file the edges of the copper oval until smooth, and sand the surface with varying grades of sandpaper, until scratch-free.Working (2)

Clean the surface of the metal in preparation for drawing on.Working (3)

Draw! I’ve never used markers before, so this was a bit of an experiment.Working (5)

After sealing the back of the oval, place in etching baths, for roughly 3hours.Working (6)

After cleaning away the marker and etching grounds, drill holes all around the oval’s edge.Working (7)

After polishing the metal, seal with wax to prevent the copper from oxidising too quickly.Working (8)

Take a sheet of white silk organza, and alter the shape using heat.Working (9)Working (10)Working (11)

Find a ball of colourful hair!Working (12)

Stitch organza into the holes around the copper.Working (13)

Fill with hair, and continue to stitch until the end.Working (14)

Cut the organza into an oval.Working (15)Working (16)

Stitch beads all around the edges of the oval.Working (17)

 

Ta-dah!…..

Memento Mori (1)Memento Mori (2)Memento Mori (4)Memento Mori (6)Memento Mori (7)Memento Mori (8)Memento Mori (9)Memento Mori (10)Memento Mori (11)Memento Mori (12)Memento Mori (13)Memento Mori (14)Memento Mori (15)Memento Mori (16)Memento Mori (17)

What do you think?

Chloe out.

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Colouring-In: Titanium Edition

A few Saturdays ago we popped along to the fabulous Process Studios for their 90-minute drop-in Titanium Colouring workshop… and it was awesome fun!!

It was just like painting… with with electricity!! all the fun!

I should have taken some photos of the process… but I was messing about too much to remember! so, enjoy some images of the finished samples and my lovely “Starry Night” cuff.

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Thanks Elaine, Grant, and Sara for letting me drag ya’ll along :)

And thank you Karen Donovan for putting up with us in your wonderful class :)

Chloe out.

How to turn your unused tins into cute upcycled jewellery… and save the tin!!

I love blogging, and I’m always looking for ways to expand my internet-based ramblings…. so……. tutorials! I’m going to have a go at sharing some of my arts and craftyness with ya’ll! This way, I can share the bits and pieces I create when I’m distracting myself from my own project work…. ie. the times when I just need to cover myself in glitter because otherwise I’d drown inside my own work!!

Can’t wait to conjure up lots of these wee posts!!

Anyway…

How to turn your unused tins into cute upcycled jewellery… and save the tin!!

If, like me, you always keep those beautiful little tins that you get candy and odds and ends in, you’ll probably also have a pile of empty ones collecting dust somewhere!

This is the tutorial for you!!

This tutorial uses a small pink flowery tin and transforms it into a pair of earrings, but you can use any tin you want and you can turn it into any form of jewellery you want! This tutorial goes over the basic steps, but the fun bit is using your own creativity to come up with endless tin jewellery possibilities!

These make perfect gifts as they are present and packaging all in one!!

Beginner level but does require the use of a jeweller’s saw (the scissor alternative won’t save the tin but can be ued) and drill, so not recommended for young children, and with older children there should be full adult supervision when using any sharp/dangerous tools.

STUFF YOU’LL NEED

– A tin!

– Beads (small seed beads work best, but your imagination should know no bounds!)

– Chain, ribbon, findings, etc.

– Wrapping material (an organza bag, tissue paper, ribbon, gift tags, fabric, etc.)

– A jeweller’s saw and 4/0 blade(s!) or scissors (i’ll take about this in more detail later)

– Files and sandpaper

– A drill and 1mm drill bit (for beginners I would recommend the hand archimedian drill)

– Needles and threads

WHAT TO DO

1. Select your tin! This is my tin :) It used to contain yummy French rose candies! and is approx. 8.5X6cm

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2. Cut a template out of cardboard. I’m using two 3cm heart shapes that will become the earrings.

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3. Draw around your templates straight onto the tin using a non-permanent marker. Select areas of the design you like the best, but remember that you’ll be saving the tin so think about the design placement of the cut-out segments.

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4. If you are not using the jeweller’s saw, ignore these next few steps and carefully cut out your design using sharp scissors. Unfortunately, doing it this way makes t very hard/impossible to save the tin, but does make it easier to do with older children or those less experienced with jewellery techniques.

If you are using the saw, you’ll need to drill a hole in one area of your shape to thread the blade through. I would suggest using a corner as this makes it easier to clean up.

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5. Thread your blade through the drilled holes. I would suggest using a size 4/0 blade or higher.

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6. Carefully saw-out your shapes. Be careful not to press down on tin when cutting as you don’t want to bend the metal.

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7. Scissor fans you can join us again for the next steps!

Wipe away the marker lines with a littler water (or acetone/nail polish remover if the water won’t budge it, but be cautious not to damage the tin design).

File the edges of your cut out pieces and the cut out segments within the tin lid. You can use sandpaper here as well to smooth the edges further.

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8. Drill 1mm holes all around the edges of your cut out shapes and the cut out holes in the tin lid.

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9. Sand down the drilled edges on the backs of the shapes and the tin lid, until smooth.

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10. This is where you can get creative with threads and beads!

For my tin lid, I stitched over the cut out shapes to create a pink thready web! This way, nothing will fall out of my tin and it gives the piece a kitsch patchwork feel that I quite like!

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I beaded around the edges as well for a little extra bling!

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11. Again this is a creative stitching and beading session!

My cut-out shapes were made into earrings. I stitched around the edges of the hearts in the same direction to give them a visibly stitched feel.

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Then strung them from a dangle of seed beads and a silver ear hook.

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Ta-dah!!!

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Hope you enjoyed this tutorial!

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to drop me a message below and I’ll get back to you asap!

Looking forward to making more of these in the future :)

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Chloe out.

Hardcore Balloons

Happy 21st Birthday Sophie Walker!

Ball

Still can’t believe we’re technically adults…..

 

 

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I’ve always loved this photo, from one of our many birthday raves, and decided it would make wonderful inspiration for some 21st Birthday joolz.

I drew up a design, told Sophs to pick a colour scheme (blue)… which made her curiously confused! and I got to work! And of course I’ve written this blog post specially for you bae Sophs since it’s really just you and my mum who are the only ones reading this blog :P and I know how much you luff reading how I make things, which makes my artist ego happeeeee :) Anyway…………………………

Process (0)

Prepare sheet silver with etching fluid… and take an arty shot of it with reflected trees…

Process (3)Process (1)

As soon as the fluid is dry, scrape away the blackness to reveal the pattern for etching. Here you see Sophie’s hand from the photograph and a base to mount the gemstone balloons onto.

Place into a bath of nitric acid, for approx. 20/30minutes for a medium depth etch.

Clean away the etching fluid using white spirits and wash with warm soapy water and a toothbrush.

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Saw out shape.

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File and sand the edges until smooth.

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Play around with placement of gemstones. I’ve used a variety of oval cabochons, using a blue colour scheme of course! There is turquoise, kyanite, iolite, blue goldstone, blue lace agate, lapis lazuli, sodalite and a lovely blue toned amethyst.

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A bezel cup was made for each stone and the bezels were soldered onto the base of the hand.

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Quenched.

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And pickled.

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I then soldered two small pieces of tube onto the fingers for stitching in the chain later.

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Ta-dah!

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The piece was cleaned up with a brass brush and warm soapy water and then was polished.

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After extensive polishing! the stones were set into their cups using the bezel pusher and a burnisher for the inside stones…… which were very tricky to get to!!

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The final step was to stitch in the aventurine and pearl chain which culminates in a silver toggle clasp.

 

 

………………………. ta-dah!!!

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Hope you liked it Baby Sophs!!!

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Much love.

 

Chloe out.

 

 

The making of The Smaug Ring

Happy Birthday to my annoying, smelly little brother :)

For his Birthday, Jamie wanted me to make him a ring.

“something to do with dragons” was the remit…. so this is what I came up with…..

 

Inspiration, naturally, coming from the one and only Smaug.

I wanted to make Smaug’s tail the ring, and have The Arkenstone set into his claw-like tail end. I was also going to cut out a missing scale… even though I know his actual missing scale isn’t on his tale… but shh…. representations and artistic license and all that! I was also going to use brass, and use patinas and heat to create a darkened red colour and etch it to achieve a scaley look. And then pop into a box that would look like molten gold dripping over dragon skin…

And here’s how I did it!!

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Etching fluid is painted onto clean brass and allowed to dry.

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The ring design is traced onto the dry blackness.

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And a scribe is used to scrape away the black etching ground to reveal the final pattern.

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The metal is placed into a bath of nitric acid. Brass can take quite a while to etch, compared to silver or copper, so is left for about 30 minutes to produce a medium/deep etch depth. The black ground are removed with white spirits and the metal is cleaned.

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The ring is saw-pierced out of the metal sheet.

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And the missing scale is removed by drilling a small hole for the blade to slot through, and is then sawn.

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The edges are filed and sanded until smooth and all imperfections removed.

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The final shape is annealed, to soften the metal for forming.

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The ring is roughly formed. I didn’t use a ring mandrel because I wanted the coil to resemble a naturally curled up dragon tail. So, the band is a circle capable of comfortably fitting around the finger, but is not perfectly round. The ring is bound with binding wire, ready for soldering.

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The ring is soldered together, pickled and cleaned.

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To achieve this colour I painted flux on the brass and heated. This was repeated 7/9 times (I lost count!) and the metal was given a gentle clean and the patina was fixed with a little plastic coat.

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The ends of the claw-like, almost fleur-de-lis style tail are then wrapped perfectly around the labradorite faceted teardrop cabochan using a bezel pusher.

I picked labradorite to represent The Arkenstone because visually the colours match up beautifully, and I think the properties of labradorite fit in quite nicely with The Hobbit story.

Labradorite = “a stone of magic. wearing the stone allows one’s innate magical powers to surface.”

 

Ring finished. I moved onto my molten gold dripping dragon box.

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I striped out the insides of a found wooden box.

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Using a pendant drill, I scraped away little indents into the box.

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Which, using copious amounts of glue, were set into with off-cuts of faux chagreen.

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This material was also used to line the inside.

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And the book cover.

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Glue was built up around the scaled parts, which looks awful for now, but when leafed will appear like melting gold.

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The whole box is then painted with acrylics to match Smaug’s skin. Why? Well, the inside will be left as is, and I hope to have a few small cracks in the gold, so the red scales appear through.

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The surfaces are then painted with the leafing glue.

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And the leaf is applied.

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And smoothed over the surface.

 

Stay tuned for the next post…. sexy dragon makeup and the final piece will appear!!

 

Chloe out.

 

DCA Bookbinding (Part 6/6)

Was rather sad when the final session came around :( It was such a nice wee course, with lovely people. Thanks for a lovely six weeks lovely people :) and thank you Emma for putting up with us all :)

Well. Last session. Last book.

This time, Japanese Atlas Structure. A fun and pretty simple little book that we whipped up in a couple of hours.

Commonly this book is used to contain atlases into a small book… but i’ve gone for pages from an old book! I think a wee book like this would make a wonderful travel companian, each little segment of book could contain a different piece of your trip; stick in notes, tickets, photos, etc. So that’s kind of what i’m going for in mine… i’m going to make it into a memento of my 21st birthday (which i still need to post about!).

Anyway, step 1: gather your paper. Four sheets for the inner pages, and then something to cover the boards with.

Japanese Atlas Structure (1)

Here are a few shots of the folding procedures for the inner sections…

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Did that make sense? So, your folding it long ways in on itself in half, with a little gap left in the middle. Then you’re doing the same the other way and leaving a slightly bigger gap in the middle.

Do this with all four sections. Use the first one as a guide, as this will ensure they are all the same size.

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Flatten the folded edges using a bone folder.

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Mark out and cut your board. It needs to fit one edge (ie. the bound edge) exactly, but can be a little bigger on the other three edges.

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Cover your boards. We made cushioned boards, ie. only the inside edges you see here are glued, the front is not, therefore giving it a cushioned effect. But… i’m always one for encouraging creativity, so go wild with your cover!!

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This strip of paper is the binding. Cut it to fit the side of your board, and fold as shown (ensuring you have enough valleys for your sections).

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Glue the two edges to your two cover boards. Hold tightly shut while the glue dries.

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Then glue in each section. Sections are glued to each other, not the binding. So the first section is glued to the cover, the next section is glued to that first section, and so on until you have a finished book… oh and top tip with this is to hold it tightly shut for about an hour or so until it is completely dry to avoid any movements in the binding and…..

ta-dah!

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Well this wee course has filled me with a love for a handmade book and i can say i don’t think i’ll ever buy a sketchbook again (unless it is truly superly awesome)!

Now all i’ve got to do is whip up five artist’s books for each of my Lexicon collections…….. no bother!!!….

See you on the other side…

Chloe out.

DCA Bookbinding (Part 3/6)

After last session’s successful binding! we’ve moved on to a new stitch in this week’s bookbinding class.

Coptic Stitch, and to make it more exciting (and learn more skills) we are also making a hard cover, covered with book cloth.

But first, a little background on the coptic stitch before going into the how to’s……..

Coptic binding or Coptic sewing comprises methods of bookbinding employed by early native Christians in Egypt, the Copts, and used from as early as the 2nd century AD to the 11th century. The term is also used to describe modern bindings sewn in the same style. Coptic bindings, the first true codices (a book made up of a number of sheets), are characterized by one or more sections of parchment, papyrus, or paper sewn through their folds, and (if more than one section) attached to each other with chain stitch linkings across the spine, rather than to the thongs or cords running across the spine that characterise European bindings from the 8th century onwards.

And this is the sample that we were shown to aim towards:

Coptic Binding (11)Coptic Binding (12)

And here are a few more image examples, i’ve been collecting up on pinterest, of coptic stitched books i adore:

After that wonderful inspiration, on to the making i go!

First step: folding the paper into sections. For this wee book, we have 8 sections, and have used three different colours of paper.

Must ensure paper is properly folded by using the end of the cutting utensil, a butter knife, to smooth down each crease.

Coptic Binding (1)

Turning the knife over, and cut along the crease. Some of my cutting was a little dodgy, it’s hard to get into the rhythm of it and some of my edges tore… in future binding i must work on ensuring that i don’t tear my paper (especially as i don’t have a handy guillotine to trim down the edges!).

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After all that creasing and folding and cutting, we have 8 little sections each! As you can see, i was cutting the vanilla white paper!

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A little bit of swapping and we soon had different coloured sections: vanilla white, caramel cream and mushroom grey!

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Using the handy guillotine we trimmed down the edges into smooth, neat sections. And we trimmed little covers to fit using thick card. It’s important at this stage that the card cover fits exactly flush to the book as when the cloth covers it a millimeter or so is added and if it isn’t a flush cut cover the whole thing ends up looking a little wonky!

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Next we set our sections to one side and picked out our book cloths. There were so many to choose from, but i, naturally, settled on this wonderful purple! But isn’t that yellow magnificent too? and the cream?

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We cut our cloths to fit the covers, just a centimeter or so larger on each side.

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Next the glueing process… i didn’t take any photos of this part due to sticky fingers! but basically we were sticking cloth to the cover.

Couple of tips: glue from the middle of the sheet out, ensuring your cover is pressed firmly against the table surface, this way no glue gets onto the front/underside of the cover. Also, use a bone folder to ensure the cloth is firmly stuck along the edges and corners.

Ta-dah!

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These covers will go in the press for the week and they will be all flat, dry and lovely by the time we’re ready to start stitching next week!

See you on the other side…..

Chloe out.