I’ve been donated a pile of these beautiful choral & organ scores to work with, now they’re unfit for use. Really looking forward to starting off on them. First up, a set of jewellery using sheet music from Handel’s Messiah.
I’m still trying to decide what to do with the cover of this one, though – it’s such a gorgeous design in the beginning, and the years of wear from use look absolutely amazing. Any suggestions?
I was asked a while back if I’d donate something to a raffle in aid of Special Effect, who specialise in adapting console and computer controls for physically disabled children and adults – that’s everything from making a 360 controller a bit easier to use, all the way to tailoring eye-tracking software for the otherwise utterly paralysed.
I’d been planning to experiment with masks in any case, so here’s the results! Done using Fabriano pastel paper and Robeson metallic ink.
Also, this pendant, made using laser-cut pieces and ceramic wash.
I’ve accidentally put a couple of pieces through the wash before, and they’ve been fine. However, I just found this in the pocket of a shirt I put on, which had been through a 90-degree white wash.
So that’s a really useful data point!
Paper is amazing stuff. Historically very special and magical, but it’s so much a reflex these days to think of it as extremely cheap. We say “cheap as chips”, and don’t even think about the paper the chips come wrapped in.
The art papers I use are rather more expensive – I’ve been doing some research to compare what I use to some more traditional jewellery materials. The results surprised me a bit!
Griffen Mill Akbar Brown 115gsm handmade paper : £261/kg
Judd Street decorative paper: £101/kg
“Elephanthide” parchment style paper: £60/kg
Arches Velin: £45/kg
Khadi Atlas White 400gsm handmade paper: £43/kg
Gmund bierpapier: £26/kg
Daler-Rowney Studland mountboard (the base layer I use for most of my standard lines) : £12/kg
Of course, when you consider that a kilo of silver will set you back £860 and a kilo of gold £34,000 (spot prices at time of writing) then even the best & most wonderfully complex of papers are an utter bargain in comparison.
I’ve been working on a few new paper-jewellery lines recently, partly in preparation for trading at Alchemist Dreams’ Storytelling Speakeasy. Here are a few of them – as always, click through to Flickr for a better look.
This is the latest permutation of my text jewellery – it’s made not from an existing book, but from a handwritten copy of the first page, covered with a layer of washi, cut into jewellery blanks, and then edged & varnished as normal. I love the combined effect of the fountain pen ink, the glue (just watery enough to affect the ink but not to smear it, it turns out) and the transparent paper.
I’m definitely going to be doing more of these – the next text will be Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, and after that I may start on some Wells or Verne. In the meantime, here’s a photo of the original text panel for comparison. I love the way that cutting it decontextualises so many of the phrases or words, highlighting a particular word or even a piece of punctuation.
I’ve been making quite a few of these lately, from an old copy of Midsummer Night’s Dream rescued from the recycling. It’s the same technique I’ve been using for pendants, layered artists’ mountboard sealed with acrylic & varnish; the colours are Talens Ecoline watercolour inks, which I’m really falling in love with. The cheap paper (it’s a Wordsworth Classics edition) takes the ink really nicely, it turns out. Bare trees echo the play’s message that time is out of joint, and each one tries to respond to the partial quotation highlighted on it. Most have been going to friends, or as auction pieces for good causes (speaking of which: if you have a good cause, and are holding an auction, drop me a line) but I may be selling a few as well.
Not all of these are pendants – I’m experimenting with a new design of choker as well, with page fragments laminated onto ribbon. Still haven’t had them properly tested yet, though, so I won’t be putting them into proper production for a while. Always need more testers…
These are what I’ve been working on over the last week or two – they’re made entirely of paper & glue, painted & varnished. The handmade original (below) was sitting around for a few months, while I kept picking it up and thinking “must do an improved version of this”, and then shortly after that I got access to a working laser cutter again. This is ten teardrop-shaped petals, a small central circle, and a more or less key-shaped back piece – the loop is integral, bent back on itself & glued in place.
Here’s another version, in malachite because I’m still not quite up to tackling proper York, Lancaster, or Tudor roses. The design still needs more work – something about the shape of the petals, mostly – and I’m still trying to sort out an efficient way to deal with the assembly process.
I’d been wondering where this was for a month or so, and it turned out it had been in an inner pocket of my belt pouch all along, with the leather cord wrapped around it. The continual pressure (and probably the warmth) has pulled off a little of the paint, but that’s all. I’m fairly encouraged, overall!
This is seasoned holly, cut from a tree in my garden a few months back when a branch was threatening the elder across the way. I need a new short-bladed carving knife with a full-sized handle, so this is the first step towards that. For the blade, I’m going to use a dismounted Opinel No. 2.
These are always popular, but painting curves on the satin ribbon is awkward enough that I have terrible trouble getting around to finishing them off. One’s spoken for already, but the other will be up for sale when it’s done.
Like the Twelfth Night jewellery I made, these are cut from an old and much-used play script. They’re going to be quite a lot more ornate, though, using the text more as a background than a main feature, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they turn out.
For the next six weeks, my work is on display at Slate in Leytonstone—you can walk along Leytonstone High Road and see it in the dedicated street-facing exhibition space on the corner with Church Lane. As usual, you can click through to Flickr for the full-sized versions – they’re not the best of photos, but for December light, street reflections, and (frankly) a hurry to get to the pub they’re not too bad.