Monday, 25 April 2011

Self Assessment

This is the time of year when I spend a couple of weeks going through my stock of made-up pieces of jewellery, and work out what, if anything, is looking a little jaded, and needs to be taken apart again. It used to really upset me to do this, after all, everything I make carries a substantial investment of both love and time. But in reality, if a piece hasn't found a new home either through my website or via a show or event, then I have to face up to the fact that taking it apart and using the focal beads in a new way, is the only sensible option.
And by doing this, I am confident in the knowledge that the customers who see me at various events over the summer, will be looking at fresh, bright, attractive jewellery, rather than pieces that might have been out on display last summer and have lost the newly-made gleam.
This process can be rather tedious, and it involves cleaning up a substantial quantity of silver in the tumbler, but with the shocking rise in silver prices over the last year or two, every tiny piece is very precious.
I'm also in the process of working out what new pieces I need to make, often to match up with existing necklaces. One design that proved very popular last year was a decorative necklace featuring high grade freshwater pearls combined with clusters of tiny gemstones and lots of silver. I've made this in three colours - creamy beige, peacock black, and silver grey. So yesterday I made a matching bracelet for the silver grey necklace - Belle Etoile - with the other two colours to follow shortly.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Green and Pleasant...

Spring is a lot later here than in many parts of the UK, we are quite high up in the hills so the soil is much colder. There is never any point planting vegetables any earlier than now, they simply wouldn't grow.
So the veggie plot has now been rotovated, and hopefully by the weekend will be full of neat rows of edibles to see us through the year.

Have a lovely Easter weekend!
Nia xx

Tuesday, 19 April 2011


Arianwen by gemwaithnia
Arianwen, a photo by gemwaithnia on Flickr.

I had one little leaf left over from my experiment with silver clay, which I incorporated into this pendant-style necklace with cream keishi pearls, amethyst and garnet rondelles.
Nia xx

Friday, 15 April 2011

Normal Service Has Resumed...

Ok, now that I've got posh clay out of my system (for a little while), I've been playing around with some extraordinarily beautiful quartz - cornflower blue, and copper.
The quartz is heat-treated to bring out a range of stunning colours, then faceted in order to catch the light. I am always in awe of the skill of the lapidarists who undertake the painstaking task of faceting gemstones, and these particular stones have been beautifully cut.
I opted for bracelets eventually, mainly because I am still going through a bracelet phase. But also because the advantage of a bracelet over a necklace is that the wearer can actually see it and derive pleasure from looking at it on her wrist. Simple!

Have a lovely weekend!
Nia xx

Thursday, 14 April 2011

First Forays...

I was lucky enough to be able to get over to the Flame Off last weekend, a huge glassy gathering held annually at Towcester Racecourse, and organised by Tuffnells who are one of the main suppliers of glass and equipment to UK lampworkers.
More of the glass later, but while we were there, both Wyn and I fancied having a go at a couple of other things that were happening as part of the event.
I went along to an Art Clay taster session, being run by Lesley Messam, a senior Art Clay instructor from Chichester.
I've had a packet of Art Clay for years, but I've always been too terrified to open it. It's expensive material, and I was always worried that I would totally mess it up and therefore throw a lot of money down the drain. Or rather, in the bin.
But Lesley was a wonderful teacher, and I emerged a couple of hours later proudly clutching my first, dreadfully imperfect, pieces. I opted for simple little ivy leaves, which I have now tumble polished and turned into earrings. They are my babies and I love them!

And while I was happily playing with posh clay, Wyn was bashing the living daylights out of equally expensive silver. The aim was to come away with a pendant, but Wyn being Wyn, and a bit of a bolshie on the quiet, decided not to follow the others in the class, and instead of carefully cutting the silver with the help of templates, opted to do everything freehand.
The result was a really individual heart-shaped pendant, with a little brass heart applied on top. I call it a Happy Heart, because it has a carefree, casual look. He wants to finish it off properly, but I absolutely love it!

I definitely want to learn more about Silver Clay, and after I've bought a few more essential bits and pieces, and managed to fight my way to the kiln, I think I now have the confidence to try out some ideas ready for the summer.
Nia xx

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Tuesday, 12 April 2011


Astrid by gemwaithnia
Astrid, a photo by gemwaithnia on Flickr.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Decisions, Decisions...

Decisions, Decisions... by gemwaithnia
Decisions, Decisions..., a photo by gemwaithnia on Flickr.

Bracelet? Necklace?
Possibly both?
I'll think about it for a while!
Nia xx

Monday, 4 April 2011

The Rough With The Smooth

Over the last few months, I have been discovering the attractions of rough-cut gemstones. Unlike the tiny, immaculately faceted beauties I normally work with, these bolder, chunkier stones have a unique loveliness.
The best quality examples posess a distinctive irridescence, and can almost be said to glow in the light.
I was lucky enough to come across some fabulous rough-cut Watermelon Tourmaline a couple of months ago, along with Hessonite Garnet and Fluorite.
I already had prettily coloured Apatite and Iolite, so I've brought them all together in the blog today.
L'Epice now SOLD, thank you!

And finally the most delightful, and spring-like colours in these mixed stone cubes, mostly jade but with some fluorite thrown in for good measure.
(Now SOLD, thank you!)

I've just had my latest batch of new pieces back from the Assay Office in Birmingham, where they were being hallmarked, so I will be updating the website and the Etsy shop in the next few days, to include the newest jewellery.
Nia xx