Friday, 18 July 2008

Holiday snaps: including puffins!

Some photos from my recent holiday on the Isle of Mull. The puffins were on Lunga, one of the Treshnish Isles.

The photo mosaic was made here.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Woolfest 2008

An alpaca at Woolfest 2008

Two weeks ago I went to Woolfest 2008, held in Cockermouth in Cumbria. "Woolfest is an annual festival celebrating all aspects of natural fibres - their sources, uses and products." It was first run in 2005 and is organised by The Wool Clip, which is a co-operative of farming and craft workers. This was the second time I have attended. Last year I purchased the fibre used for my From Little Acorns necklace. It is a very enjoyable event to attend, with a wealth of fibre, yarn and associated tools to admire or buy, live animals, demonstrations, exhibitions, activities and workshops ....

This year I went to a beginners workshop (from Carol and Pete Leonard, Carol's blog is here) to learn how to use a drop spindle to transform fibre into yarn. This is the result of my first efforts! It was very useful to have this technique demonstrated, very much better than trying to follow written instructions. The key now is practice, practice, practice. I liked having the pre-booked workshop to build my day around, and will try always to book up an event in future.

This picture shows two of my purchases. The yarn is from Fyberspates, and the wooden nostepinne from Kevin Rhodes. A nostepinne is a tool used to wind yarn into a ball. I found these instructions useful when using mine for the first time. There's another good resource here. Now, you may be thinking that I'm straying somewhat from the jewellery-making focus of this blog. Well, yes. But there is inspiration everywhere. I chose this particular nostepinne because I liked the pattern in the wood (spalted beech). This kind of pattern might be fun to emulate in a piece of jewellery, possibly using etching.

It was a great day out, and if there's a similar event near you, I'd recommend going!

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Mull and Iona jewellery makers: three websites

Eleanor Macdougall's work includes forming metals by raising, and enamelling to capture the colours of nature. (

Jewellery from Aosdana is cast from the original pieces made by Iona's Alex Ritchie and then hand finished. (

The Isle of Mull Silver and Goldsmiths makes a range of celtic jewellery including gold rings. (

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Review - Brief number 3: Design and make

Image created using Picasa and the Hockneyizer.

The third brief at Level 3 of my course was introduced in this post, with a follow up in this one.

We were asked to produce a learning journal based on a theme, to design a suite of jewellery based on the materials in the journal and finally to make the jewellery we had designed. I chose "Coast" as my theme, and settled on the shape of a ripple in the sand as the basis for my designs.

I produced a set of three pieces (a bracelet, earrings and a ring) that all included the ripple motif. As with the previous brief I am very happy to have followed a documented design process, and feel I am getting closer to working like a real designer. I like the finished pieces too, which hasn't always been the case!

The Coast learning journal contains a lot more material that I didn't exploit this time around, especially concerning colour, so I shall return to it in the future.