Tag Archives: Copper

Sign your name…

I went to the Welsh Entrepreneurs 2012 conference in Cardiff a couple of weeks ago, it was sponsored by the Welsh government and held in the very beautiful City Hall. I have no idea how they found me to invite me, but I’m a sucker for a free day out! And when I spotted a certain Mr Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden was speaking, that made it a definite 🙂

So I got my funkiest suit on and schlepped into Cardiff with the masses on the train. The conference was very good, especially Dan Sodergren’s social media workshop, and Bruce Dickinson’s talk about Cardiff Aviation, Iron Maiden and the idea of 360 degree marketing really got me thinking. I just happened to have a bangle sized strip of brass and a marker pen in my enormous weapons-grade handbag, and as the session finished was first in line to nobble the poor bloke. Anyway, he very graciously signed my bit of metal with a rather bemused look, having not being asked to do THAT before, by all accounts. He had quoted William Blake in his talk, so I asked him to scribble that on there too, and explained I was going to make it into a bangle. I gave him one of our Mantra bangles in return, it has an Einstein quote on that reads “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds” – the three of us here at Spiny each have one.

In the meantime, I have engraved it, polished and now silver plated it, I’m just thrilled with it! It has given me the idea of offering the chance for any of you to immortalise your own handwriting on a piece of jewellery that will last forever and be worn every day. You can get yours in my eBay shop 🙂

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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.


Steampunk Butterfly Part Three

Well, I’ve finally finished my Steampunk Butterfly, having had a wonderfully productive day in the shed with Sally.

I finished the final components, a cog to screw onto the back so that it can be worn as a brooch through a buttonhole on a coat or jacket (it’s way too heavy to be pinned to anything lighter) and some loops for a chain or cord so that it can be worn as a pendant.

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So now it was time to rivet everything together, first a wing, then the body, then the rest of the wings…

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So, I proudly present my Spiny Sharkly Steampunk Butterfly in all it’s glory! Just need to make a chain, I am working on a sympathetic design at the moment…

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You learn fast, young Paduan!

Had a lovely day with Sally today. She turned up with a trolley full of her new toys and a box of cake. Game on.

We’d done some metal bashing in the kitchen before the shed landed, but that’s nearly a year ago now. I’ve been doing it pretty much on a daily basis, but Sal has been concentrating on her beadwork since then. So we went back to square one and decided to make copper rings. Stones chosen, it was time to cut a bezel strip and solder it. It took her a few goes to get a good soldered join, got there in the end though!

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Amnoyingly she didn’t break a single saw blade. Grrrr. I broke at least three today! Cutting and soldering her ring shank was a very smooth operation, just going to show that I am a fantastic teacher 😉 With a talented apprentice, obviously.

The clock was against us as usual, so Sal had to load up her stuff and head off in time for the school run. She’s planning to finish her ring tonight, can’t wait to see it!

This is my finished ring, the ammonite I mentioned in a previous post. Rather pleased with it, I have to say!

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The excitement is mounting…

Sally is coming over tomorrow to try out all the new jewellery making stuff she had for her birthday, so I got some fiddly little jobs done today so that I can give her my undivided attention. I’ve accumulated some gorgeous stones in the last year, and being a bit of a magpie by nature, I love to just gaze at them and play with them. Sometimes I have a design in mind and buy the stone to fit, but more often than not I just buy what I love and let ideas come. Sometimes it’s instant: more often it’ll take a while.

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Amethyst has always been a favourite of mine, but labradorite and opals vie for the top spot. So today I made mounts for a few stones, so they’re all one step closer to becoming something stunning to wear… Mostly in silver, as it sets the stones off perfectly, but I think the blue adventurine unicorn I have will contrast beatifully against copper. I also made a copper bezel mount for a gorgeous little ammonite that has flashes of rainbow opalescence running across it, the warm metal tones beatifully with the muted browns of the stone. No pictures today, but I’ll be showcasing the finished pieces here first!


All you need is love. La la la la la.

Not done any blogging for ages, what with Beardy being unwell, and all.  I’ve kind of got out of the habit.  He’s a lot better now, although there’s still a way to go before anything is back to normal.  Whatever that is!  Not sure we’d recognise it though…

With Valentine’s day now being rammed down our throats by every shop in the land, I thought I’d make my contribution.

I had enormous fun making this heart! I blasted some silver with the blow torch on a firebrick and when it was all melty, I teased it into a heart shape and quenched it.  By repeatedly heating it to just under the melting point and cooling, you achieve this fabulous textured effect called reticulation.  I’ve been trying it with copper as well.  When I had a shape I was happy with, I carved away the sharp edges and soldered a loop onto the back for the silk cord.  The engraving (below) was done with my lovely new Dremel kit – my Christmas present from Beardy and my mum.  Cariad is the Welsh word for love, so it seemed like a good place to write it.  My son wants it for his girlfriend’s Valentine’s present. But as they are eight, I politely suggested that he gets stuffed and made him a pretty little copper ring with a heart on it instead.

These are for sale in my Etsy shop, the bangle here and the pendant here.

Stop press: The pendant is now sold, but if you’d like something similar, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you just as soon as I can. 🙂


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.


The Claws are Out

In amongst all the post that awaited me when I got home from my mum’s was a book on stone setting I had completely forgotten I had ordered.


So I put on my “how hard can it be?” head, and as usual, realised that the answer is “very”… No change there then.

There was an 8mm labradorite cabochon knocking about, so I thought I’d have a go at a claw setting, as up until now I’ve just done rubover settings.  I didn’t want to risk wasting any silver, and copper goes nicely with labradorite, so I used that.  The results aren’t perfect, but for a first attempt at a totally new technique, I’m quite pleased!


Button It

I’m totally obsessed with buttons. One of our favourite weekend sans enfant activities is to mooch around the junk shops of places like Hay-on-Wye, and Beardy loses the will to live while I spend hours fossicking through baskets of buttons looking for inspiration, ideas and things to spend his money on. One of my favourites is an old five-hole jobbie I found in the soil on my allotment a few years ago, so I made a mould and cast it in silver… Cracked bakelite buttons don’t look much in the flesh, but turn them into metal, and they are quite something – it’s the texture that does it for me. And of course all those holes are just begging for something sparkly…

I think it’s rings I like to make best of all, and buttons are just perfect for that, a little bit of whimsy on your finger goes a long, long way. I’ve been mixing silver with copper, making shanks from hammered silver, woven wire (well, my mum did that bit, years of plaiting horses’ manes and tails certainly came in useful!) and plain copper with a silky satin finish.

I’ve made some copper buttons too, so will be busy over the next week turning them into something wearable too – as well as some wonderful vintage mother-of-pearl buttons which are begging to become bracelets and pendants.

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When shall we three meet again?

20110628-195704.jpgThe three of us got together today for the first time in ages, and spent a lovely sunny day making things.  Pauline on wirework, Sally on beading and Mel on silver clay monograms.


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