Is there any more satisfying and smug phrase in the English language than, “actually, I made it myself”? Not really and I have to admit to being very pleased with myself after attending a one day jewellery making workshop with the brilliant ArtisOn team in Masham, North Yorkshire.
I was lucky enough to win a free place on the workshop after entering a twitter competition last year. I decided to choose the Extraordinary Jewellery course as I liked the sound of making things out of everyday, recycled or found objects. Our tutors for the day were the lovely Josie Beszant and Rosie Scott Massie, both professional artists and designer-makers themselves, who were inspiring, encouraging and patient in equal measure. This is how I got on.
The course was split into four sections, teaching us four different techniques and the skill level increased incrementally, which was great as we slowly built up our confidence. We started by making a bracelet using safety pins threaded with beads. This was simple but the results were so effective and I really enjoyed choosing the different coloured and shaped beads (I am such a magpie I realise).
The next stage taught us how to make our own beads by tightly winding strips of paper (in this case Monopoly money) onto cocktail sticks, which were then glued and strung together with thread. This was quite tricky but you could create some great effects with different kinds of paper.
At this point, we broke for lunch and enjoyed a delicious home-made meal of vegetarian Shepherd’s pie followed by Apple Crumble and custard!
The afternoon session pushed the difficulty rating up a notch as we were shown how to make a button brooch by threading a selection of old and new buttons onto thin wire. This sounds easier than it was and required a bit more patience and elbow grease (attributes I’m not naturally blessed with) but, as you know, I love buttons so was determined to make a success of this one. Lots of lovely rummaging in pots and boxes was also involved as I tried to choose my favourite buttons. Perhaps I could just pay ArtisOn a small fee in future, so that I can just go and look through their stores of craft paraphernalia…?
Flushed with success, and fuelled by tea and homemade Rolo tarts (amazing!), we ploughed on to the fourth and final segment of the day, which involved customising jewellery. Again, there was lots to excite my inner magpie including old charity shop necklaces, watch parts, ribbons, lace, beads and broken pieces of jewellery. In fact there was almost too much choice and I nearly ran out of time. However, it was useful to learn how to dismantle existing pieces of jewellery and add new items, using different fixings. In the end I simply attached an old pressed flower pendant to a string of plastic beads – not very imaginative but I quite like the finished result.
|“Yeah, I made it myself!”|
For more information and to book a course visit www.artison.co.uk
You know I like a good teapot but I’ve often erred on the side of vintage, retro, even slightly chintzy designs. There, I have admitted it and one day I might even reveal my teapot collection to you all. However, I could certainly deviate from this path to include one of Lizzie Prestt’s teapots.
Lizzie’s cityscape illustrations cover lots of other things too, including fabric and wallpaper so you could find yourself sitting on a very cool sofa covered in one of her drawings of Amsterdam, staring at a wall covered in her English City Break print or drinking tea from a cup covered in England-upon-Sea (or all three?).
While I really like Lizzie’s endlessly interesting designs, I love the ceramics she has chosen for this part of her range too. This teapot is modern, angular and monochrome (words not usually on my checklist of teapot attributes) but it still oozes charm and character and what a fab talking point, if you needed one?
My little boy recently broke his leg and while I was hunting around the bookshop for things to entertain him, I came across this lovely book I thought I might share with you. It’s called Spot it! by Delphine Chedru (ISBN 978-0-8109-0632-7)
My son Charlie usually likes to choose books with dinosaurs, dragons or pirates and the story is very important of course, but I also like to choose books for him that I feel have a really strong visual element as well (let’s face it, I spend so much time reading these books I might as well enjoy them too eh?). I really like this book because of its simple, graphic quality and bright colours but I know Charlie will also love to search the pages and spot the hidden creatures. Can you find them?