Category Archives: PMC

Market

Had a lovely morning down in Roath at the craft and farmers’ market, sold lots of pretty things, gave loads of nice cakes away, caught up with a lovely friend that I’d lost touch with, spent some time with my mum and drank lots of tea. Job’s a goodun.

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Cooler than a polar bear’s frosty bits

I’m not one to share secrets, but this one is just too good to keep to myself!

If you are using silicone moulds for polymer clay or PMC, do you find it can get a bit squished when you try to get it out? I do, especially with deep moulds, like Lego bricks. The answer is so simple I could slap myself. Put your clay in the mould as usual, and freeze it. Then it goes nice and hard and is easy to get out. Once it’s defrosted, you can add surface details. And then fire as usual 🙂 Who knew?


Spiralling out of Control…

A very slow start to the day (I got eaten by the duvet monster this morning) made me think I’d get nothing done, but Beardy wanted to reacquaint himself with his cavernous garage and have some “man time” in there, so I snuck out to the shed when nobody was looking. My mum had made a heavy silver pendant with a panda on a swirly background a little while ago, but the two got separated while in transit to the Assay Office. Both parts were hallmarked, so we decided to keep them separate and rework them to make two pieces.

I needed to think of something nice to cover the flat part in the middle of the background piece, and toyed with the idea of a cluster of rubover set stones, but didn’t think that it would suit the rustic shape I had to work with. So I reached for the copper and made spirals – inspired by the Celtic Triskele, a symbol I have always loved. They echo the embossed spirals on the background and tie the whole piece together very nicely.

Triskele Pendant

Past, present and future – or maiden, mother and crone? Up to you to interpret it as you will.


Ruby Red Dragonfly

I love making bugs, as regular readers will remember! Here is my latest creation, a ruby red dragonfly.

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With a body of vivid red dichroic glass encased in hallmarked fine silver, delicately veined wings and sparkling eyes, who could resist such a little charmer? He is for sale in our eBay shop, at a very reasonable £60 with free postage.

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Excellent Expo

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I met some lovely ladies at the Expo today, and even sold some jewellery 🙂 The free cake was a big hit with the visitors, so poor Scroticule didn’t get much in the way of leftovers.

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I was quite pleased with how the stand looked, but had some very helpful tips from one of the ladies who suggested that it wasn’t immediately obvious that we design and make our jewellery ourselves. So Beardy is going to take some artistic (artistic being black and white, obviously. Hides a multitude of sins!) photographs of us getting busy in the shed which we can use on some publicity material.

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Cleopatra’s Treasure

I had a very special commission from my brother to make a Valentine gift for his lovely lady Cleopatra.

I took a stunningly beautiful thirty-five carat labradorite and made a bezel setting in strong sterling silver. The next step was to make a heavy plaque to display the stone to its best advantage and give it a nice weighty feel. I used fine silver precious metal clay (pmc) and textured it with a floral design front and back, one side embossed, the other side debossed. After firing the clay, I made a bail from pmc to suit the piece and soldered it to the back. After joining the bezel to the front, it was time to smooth and polish the silver to its final finish. The stone was the final ingredient, framing it in shining silver really highlights its shimmering beauty, colours flashing across the surface as it catches the light. Suspended from a lovely sterling silver chain, it’s nearly as beautiful as its new owner.

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Triangulation

My poor Beardy has been suffering with his back somthing rotten this last week, and just when he thought it was passing it’s laid him out again today. So I stuffed him full of painkillers and let him doze in front of the rugby while I bashed this together.

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It’s a crappy photo, but it was dark when I emerged squinting from the shed, so it’s the best I have for now! A triangular cabochon of amethyst is set off beautifully in textured fine silver. Time for similar, bedtime xxxx


Spiralling out of Control…

A very slow start to the day (I got eaten by the duvet monster this morning) made me think I’d get nothing done, but Beardy wanted to reacquaint himself with his cavernous garage and have some “man time” in there, so I snuck out to the shed when nobody was looking. My mum had made a heavy silver pendant with a panda on a swirly background a little while ago, but the two got separated while in transit to the Assay Office. Both parts were hallmarked, so we decided to keep them separate and rework them to make two pieces.

I needed to think of something nice to cover the flat part in the middle of the background piece, and toyed with the idea of a cluster of rubover set stones, but didn’t think that it would suit the rustic shape I had to work with. So I reached for the copper and made spirals – inspired by the Celtic Triskele, a symbol I have always loved. They echo the embossed spirals on the background and tie the whole piece together very nicely.

Triskele Pendant

Past, present and future – or maiden, mother and crone? Up to you to interpret it as you will.


Incy Wincy Spider…

This enormous purple stone has been glinting at me for quite some time now, I made it into a ring once, but didn’t like it so I recycled it into this cute little spider.  I love making bugs (click here for a previous post!) and he seemed just perfect for this time of the year.  We live in a semi-rural area, and have had some enormous spiders wandering in to the house, which is hilarious when the big beardy biker I share my life is turns into a screaming girly when he sees one – he was tidying up some shoes in the hall the other week, and picked up one of our lad’s plastic spiders, only to realise it wasn’t plastic… I think they heard the screams in the next valley!

I made Incy’s head using a small piece of black Murano glass that I had made in a glass making class, silver clay and eight 1mm white CZs for his eyes – that was a fiddly job, with much swearing 😉  The bezel was soldered to the legs, the shank added, and finally his head popped on – so many joins needed some really careful heating on a very makeshift jig made from copper nails bashed into my fire brick.

 

So after a nice warm bath in the pickle, he was polished up and oxidised, repolished and ready for setting the stone.  I’m really very fond of this one, and by sheer coincidence he’s just my size, but if you’d like one, just give me a shout!

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A Very Happy Customer!

We’re big lovers of nature and finding things when we are out and about here at Spiny Sharkly Things, and a particular favourite haunt is the beach at Llantwit Major, in South Wales.  It’s a fabulous stony beach with a very sharply defined set of dinosaur footprints in some petrified mud flats, and there are many other fossils to be found – from ammonites embedded in rocks the size of a VW Beetle to more manageable fragments of dinosaur bone, shellfish and plants.  I regularly go down there with my husband and eight year old son to just mooch about – “fossicking” as we call it in these parts.

It was on one of these outings that I found this lovely nugget of seaglass – it just glinted at me from amongst the pebbles, so I just had to pick it up.  I gathered a fair bit of driftwood that day too, and when I was back home and rechained to the kitchen sink, I decided to create a ring inspired by the finds of the day.  This was back in the days when my workshop had to double up as  kitchen (or was it the other way around?) and I was only using precious metal clay instead of the sterling bullion that I work with mostly now (in the shed).  I love the way the clay can be easily textured, and until I get a rolling mill, it’s the only way I can get texture into silver that isn’t hammered.  I took a mould of an especially nice piece of driftwood, and made the ring shank from that.  It oxidised beautifully in the liver of sulphur and really gives the feeling of the wood on which in is based.  In my opinion, a perfect combination, and I was really pleased with the final result.

It’s been languishing on eBay for a few months, but that never fazes me, all our creations are individual, unique, and just waiting for the right person to stumble across it and fall in love…  I’ve not been silversmithing for all that long, not even a year yet but I really think I’ve discovered my vocation in life.  I just love working the metal, it whatever form it takes, and what craft gives you chance to hit things with big hammers as well as twiddle about with fine details and create something beautiful, wearable and above all, SHINY!  So everything I make has a lot of myself put into it on the blood, sweat and occasionally tears front (often quite literally!), and it’s usually quite a wrench to let something go.  I’m always happy when they go to a loving home!

As my regular readers will already know, I have just registered with the London Assay Office so I can get my jewellery properly hallmarked, and this ring went off to be verified and stamped a couple of weeks ago.  Sod’s law struck, of course, and I had an alert come through on my phone that the ring had been sold to a lady in Canada…  Cathy had already been in touch to arrange International shipping and so forth, and explained that she had Welsh ancestry, and she had relatives an many parts of Wales, so wanted something Welsh!  After explaining that it would take a week or so before I got it back from London, and all was fine, the ring was sent across the Atlantic to Ontario.

I just wanted to share this lovely message I received yesterday from Cathy…

Hi Melanie, I wanted to tell you how amazingly beautiful this ring is! I’ve been wearing it since it arrived and it’s incredible — when the light hits it, there is an inner light that shines like a tiny beacon and is wonderful to behold! Also, the surface markings and crenellations are so exquisitely intricate, it’s great to observe how it responds to all light patterns! I’m so thrilled with it and it’s especially dear, because it’s Welsh — Diolch yn Fawr! I used to know quite a bit of Welsh, but most of it has slipped away with the passing of time — my Mother-in-law is a native Welsh speaker and used to be a teacher, so hers is still beautifully perfect. Thanks again for all your help and I do hope that you’re having a wonderful evening. Cathy

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That will do nicely 😉


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