jewellery

Last day for UK post: 18 Dec

by Suw on December 13, 2009

If you are interested in buying something from my Folksy shop, please remember that the last day for posting in the UK is 18th December. That’s just five days away!

Necklace

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Make yours a handmade Christmas

by Suw on October 2, 2009

I can’t quite believe it, but I’ve started my Christmas shopping early this year. I mean, it’s only just October and we haven’t even had Hallowe’en yet, but already I’m looking for presents for people. This is mainly because of the knock-on effects of recent strikes by Royal Mail workers which have resulted in a huge backlog of mail, delaying many items. The strikes haven’t been well covered by the media, who mainly seem to want to just bash the strikers, so it’s hard to say where we’re at, but there is a chance there will be more strikes and that could make Christmas shopping online quite hellish.

I have decided this year to buy as many of my presents as possible from Folksy, a new shopping site for artists and crafters. I really like the idea that when I spend 25 quid on something from Folksy, I know that the vast majority of that money is going to end up in the pocket of the person who made the item. Just 20p goes to Folksy, and PayPal take their fees, but the rest helps the maker have a better Christmas themselves.

There is some absolutely wonderful stuff there too. Browsing last night, I saw just a fraction of the items for sale, but favourited a whole bunch as possible presents. All I have to do now is marry up the things I’ve seen with the people I need to buy for.

There’s this Raku bowl, by Jude Allman.

Or this cashmere scarf, by Ellens Knitwear.

Honestly, I could spend my Christmas budget several times over without even breaking a sweat.

Of course, I have my shop on Folksy too and I’m hoping that I’ll sell enough jewellery there, either through people buying what’s in the shop already or ordering a custom-made piece, that I’ll have enough in my PayPal kitty to cover my shopping spree.

So if you want to support British artists and crafters and help them to have a wonderful Christmas, do think about buying handmade presents. And if you find things you like on Folksy, do tell your friends!

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New directions in time for Christmas

by Suw on September 12, 2009

I’ve had a little time lately to have a play with some of my jewellery-making supplies and whip up a few more items for my shop on Folksy. I thought I might try something a little different to my normal line, so I did a few sets of earrings and then some necklaces that use natural seed pearls.

I love real pearls and sometimes I wonder if I should go a bit more up-market and use real pearls and sterling silver clasps. I’m not sure if using the faux pearls and plated fixings put people off, but at the same time the cost of buying real pearls and sterling silver fixings up front, not knowing if you are going to sell the item, is quite a risk. But if people are more interested in the real thing, then I’d be more than happy to do it.

This necklace uses the seed pearls and the pendent is a lovely glass, foil-centred heart:

Necklace

This one also uses the real pearls, along with a gorgeous orangey-red crystal pendant:

Necklace

After that, I ran out of real pearls, so I used some 3mm glass pearls and a Swarovski crystal heart:

Necklace

Now for a few earrings! These are all glass pearls and, where used, Swarovski crystals. Again, these are silver plate fixings, but sterling silver can always be arranged.

Earrings

Earrings

Earrings

Earrings

Those aren’t all of the earrings, but they give you a sense of the main styles that I’ve been playing with.

Hopefully we’ll see an increase in sales in the run-up to Christmas. This year has been not so great for sales because of the recession (almost everyone on Folksy has had the same problem), but I’m hoping for an uptick.

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Folksy shop repopulated

by Suw on August 11, 2009

I haven’t had much of a chance to play with Folksy recently that I’d totally failed to spot that my shop there was empty. Items listed on Folksy are there for a limited time – six months I think – after which they get ‘delisted’. I just re-listed 12 items, but have a whole bunch more that I need to get photos of and list. This is one of them, my Elizabeth Brydges necklace:

Elizabeth Brydges
There are a bunch of other photos on Flickr. Most of my stuff is up for between £14 and £20, but this one goes for £45 as it’s a bit of a challenge to make!

Kevin and I went to the V&A today to go to their new jewellery gallery. I was hoping for some inspiration, but I have to admit that I was rather disappointed. The gallery is a small space, admittedly, but they’ve done nothing more imaginative than pin a bunch of jewels to a black background. Can’t we do better than that?

I would have liked to see some illustrations of how some of these items would have looked in situ. We don’t have breast jewels and stomachers these days, and it’s not entirely clear to me how they were usually worn. There was also some regional jewellery, such as wedding necklace from Spain and a headdress from the Netherland, that were entirely opaque in their mode of wearing. We really could have done with a bust with the headdress (or a replica) fitted as it would have been worn so that we could see exactly how the pieces fitted together.

But no, instead we got cabinets with stuff in. I really thought the V&A would have more imagination than that.

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Gorgeousness on Folksy

by Suw on January 4, 2009

I joined up with craft marketplace Folksy in November, in the hope that I could sell some of the necklaces that I made last year. I’m really enjoying myself, because although I’ve only sold one piece so far, the community is so much fun that it rather makes up for the slow sales. So far I have just over a dozen necklaces listed, and I took a whole raft of photos this morning so will be able to list more over the coming week.

But what’s impressed me about Folksy is just how gorgeous many of the other sellers’ work is. I thought I’d present a selection of my current favourites to give you a flavour of what’s available.

The beautiful silver, red agate and pearl crocheted bracelet is one of the most beautiful pieces I’ve seen. Made by Ali Bali Jewellery, who does some wonderful work, I’ve been coveting it since I first saw it.

Folksy :: Buy

I love the rich green of this lampwork heart necklace by Leeski. For those of you not familiar with lampwork, it’s a technique using a gas torch (originally an oil lamp) to melt and work glass rods and tubes.

Folksy :: Buy

Nicole Hill has made this stunning star ruby and silver necklace, which would be just an amazing piece of jewellery to own. Like Ali Bali, Nicole’s shop is one I could quite happily empty, were money no object.

Folksy :: Buy

Finally, and again proving that you can do things with silver wire that ought to be impossible, is this wonderful knitted necklace by Rhea Clements.

Folksy :: Buy

Of course, there’s a lot more to Folksy than jewellery! There’s lots of knitting, crochet, felt work, art and photography, and lots more. I’ve bought a couple of things – a notebook and a photo print, both of which came really promptly and were just lovely. I’ve spent a lot of time looking through the site, watching what new members put up for sale, and wishing that I had more money. If you’ve a little Christmas cash still to spend, you could do no better than visiting Folsky and supporting British crafters.

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Let’s get Folksy!

by Suw on December 5, 2008

Isabel

Christmas is coming – a fact confirmed by the fact that I’ve already eaten one huge turkey (Thanksgiving!), there’s about 18 inches of snow on the ground here in northern Illinois, and there are more Christmas lights up than you can shake a stick at.

I’ve just joined Folksy, a UK-based crafts site, and put up four of my necklaces for sale there just in time for the Christmas rush (I hope!). I already have them up here on Lost Yod but obviously this is a bit of a backwater so not exactly getting lots of traffic.

Lots of people have suggested that I put stuff on Etsy, but they only work in US dollars and the exchange rate isn’t kind to British crafters. I also haven’t heard great things about Etsy, and my own experiences of the site have not been enjoyable or profitable.

eBay’s also out because most of the jewellery there is either tat or so obscenely cheap that I wonder if it hasn’t fallen off the back of a lorry. I also dislike auctions for the sort of thing I am selling – I would rather just set a price and if someone wants it, then they can buy it there and then, without having to worry about bidding and deadlines.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time on Folksy today, and the vibe seems pretty good. The forums are friendly and the quality of stuff that others are selling there is very high indeed. The site is new, so it’s still bedding in and gaining visitors, but there’s so much good stuff there that if you’re buying Christmas presents I’d strongly recommend that you visit very soon.

And of course, if you like my necklaces, you can either visit my small shop on Folksy, or buy direct from me here on Lost Yod. I’ll send stuff out as soon as I get home, (i.e. Monday).

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Necklaces all up for sale now

by Suw on October 30, 2008

All the necklaces that I made over the summer are now all up and for sale via PayPal. Yay!

There are 37 available right now, and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to sell all of them before Christmas. I have a few beads left, so if you see something you like and want a bespoke piece let me know. I think I’ve figured out how to make something without aggravating my wrists, but if you order bespoke it might take a while for me to get it together, so bear with me!

So what are you waiting for? Go do your Chrimbo shopping!

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Shhh! It’s the mad blog woman…

by Suw on August 21, 2008

I know it’s insane, and I know I’ve got too many blogs already, but I’ve started a new jewellery-focused one, called Lost Yod. I’ll explain the name one day, when I’m a little less busy. Meantime, I think I’m ready for the Medieval festival down in Herstmonceux on the weekend, so if you’re in the area, pop along and visit Kate and me in the Craft tent!

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For sale: Six lovely necklaces

by Suw on June 21, 2008

You’ve probably noticed that I’ve been making jewellery, ever since the preparations for my wedding exposed me to the jewellery making bug. My friend Kate (who’s busy finishing up her degree and therefore hasn’t blogged in, oh, eight months) and I are off to Herstmonceux in August, and I promised to make 30 necklaces in a roughly renaissance style. I found a great gallery of portraits and have been basing my designs on some of the jewellery depicted in those paintings. Some of the necklace names reflect the portrait from which I drew inspiration. Some don’t.

I’ve now made more than 30 necklaces, and am starting to run out of raw materials, so it’s time to sell some to fund my habit! Rather than use Etsy, which is set up for American sellers, or eBay, which mostly lists stuff at such low prices that I wonder if they fell off the back of a lorry, I’m just going to list the necklaces here, with PayPal buttons. That’s the option that most of the people who have completed my survey so far have said they prefer. (Please do pop over and spend a minute or two filling my survey in, as its really useful for me to know what people like, rather than base everything on assumptions.)

Memling
I have two necklaces in this style, based on the painting, The Presentation in the Temple by Hans Memling c. 1463.

Memling

Dark grey 6mm glass pearls with silver fixings, roughly 16 inches (41 cm), with a toggle clasp (bar and hoop). £18.00.

SOLD

Memling

Ivory 4mm glass pearls with gold fixings, roughly 16.5 inches (42cm), with a toggle clasp. £16.50.

SOLD

I also have these available in silver/light grey & gold/champagne in different lengths. Email me if you want more details, or want me to custom make for you.

Isabel
This necklace is based on the painting of Isabel of Portugal by Rogier van der Weyden from the mid 1400s.

Isabel

Light grey 10mm glass pearls with silver fixings, roughly 16.5 inches (42cm), with a toggle clasp. £14.50.

SOLD

Also available in ivory and champagne.

Medici
Based on the portrait of Maria de ‘Medici by Agnolo Bronzino from 1551.

Medici

Ivory 6mm glass pearls with silver fixings, roughly 17 inches (43cm), with a toggle clasp. £15.00.

SOLD

Also available with smaller ivory pearls.

Half Anne
Based on the portrait of Queen Anne of Denmark by Marc Gheeraerts the younger, c. 1600, but with one string (the lower) of pearl instead of two. I also do the two-string version if you’re interested.

Half Anne

Ivory 6mm glass pearls with silver fixings, 17 inches (43cm), with a toggle clasp. £17.00.

Also available in other colours.

Bridgette
Inspired by a necklace I saw at the British Museum, this champagne 6mm glass pearl necklace features tiny metal beads between the pearls.

Bridgette

Champagne 6mm glass pearls with silver fixings, roughly 15″ (38 cm), with a toggle clasp. £14.50.

Also available in light grey, dark grey, ivory and white.

And lots more
I’ve got lots more up on Flickr, so if you fancy buying any of them, or if you want something made in a specific colour or to a custom length, please just email me.

Materials
All necklaces are made of the highest quality glass pearls I can find, but you must look after them carefully – they should be the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off. Do not ever spray perfume, hairspray or other solvents onto them, as you’ll take off the shine. Mum put her wedding pearls on and then liberally sprayed perfume all over them, which took off the pearl coating completely and covered her skin with pearly blobs, so don’t make that mistake! To clean them, polish with a soft cloth.

Fixings (clasps, wire, rings, etc.) are generally plated silver or gold. When necklaces are threaded, they use Beadalon stringing wire which is nigh on indestructible as far as I can see, and which won’t stretch. All necklaces will be sent out in simple packaging, i.e. no presentation boxes. If you want to make a gift of the necklace, please let me know and I will go out and get a presentation box for you.

If you ever have a problem with your necklace, email me and I’ll give you an address to send them back to. I will mend or replace them free of charge.

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I’m still sitting here of an evening, making jewellery, usually when my brain has turned itself off for the night. I’ve come up with a few new styles since my last post, and am going to put some of them up for sale this weekend. It’d be nice to earn back some of the money I’ve spent on making them, and be able to buy some more materials.

Meantime, I’m very interested in your opinions on things like colour, whether you like matching sets, etc. so that I know where to focus my efforts. I have put together a short survey of eight questions, and I would be very grateful if those of you who buy jewellery could spend just a few short moments filling it in. Just pop along to PollDaddy and get cracking.

If you’re curious, these are the questions:

Q.1 When buying jewellery, how important is it that you can buy matching set of earrings, necklace and bracelet?
Q.2 If you like matching sets, what is most important to you?
Q.3 When buying a period bracelet, do you have a preference for a clasp type?
Q.4 Your favourite colour for pearl jewellery is:
Q.5 What other colour pearl jewellery would you like to see me make?
Q.6 Your favourite colour for jewellery ‘fixings’ (the clasp, etc) is:
Q.7 When you buy stuff online you prefer [to buy from]:
Q.8 If you just answered “Another option”, what other option?

See! Really very easy.

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Which one do you like?

May 19, 2008

So, I’ve been spending quite a bit of my spare time lately making jewellery inspired by the Renaissance era. I got so hooked on making jewellery for my wedding, I didn’t really want to stop, and as my friend Kate is going to be running a stall at a medieval fayre in August, we agreed [...]

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