Two drawers, each 45x95x25mm internal diameter, in a sturdy case. All made from the same layered-painted-and-varnished paper I use for jewellery.
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’m not a fan of the consumption-and-expectation culture, nor of the idea that love is best expressed by garish red heart-shaped dustcatchers from a High Street shop. But there are a lot of other ways to express love, and even when I don’t mark a celebration myself it’s a very rewarding thing to help others do it.
So: here’s one of the designs I’m selling this year. It’s lasercut from Gmund bierpaper (recycled using beer labels and brewery waste) and layered onto an absolutely gorgeous Japanese unryu-textured metallic brass paper. There will be a couple of others too, but I wanted to show off the luxury cards first.
I’ll also be offering package deals – card & envelope, up to three matching gift tags, and a sheet of complementary wrapping paper, all at a very competitive price.
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.
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.
Lleu Llaw Gyffes was cursed by his reluctant mother – he could never have weapons & armour, a bride, or even a name until she gave them to him. His foster-father, Gwydion ap Dôn, tricked her into bestowing the first and the last, but there’s nothing she could do about the second, and frankly that family was screwed up enough already.
So Gwydion and his uncle, Math ap Mathonwy, made a bride for him out of flowers. This branch of the Mabinogion is usually told as Gwydion’s story, and to an extent Lleu’s, but I’m not the only one with a lot of sympathy for Blodeuwedd. She didn’t ask to be made, or to be married to Lleu. When she falls in love with Gronw Bebyr, she tricks Lleu into revealing the arcane way he can be killed (it involves taking a bath with a goat) and then murdering him. It’s a bit extreme, but then so is everything else in that drama-laden family.
And she really didn’t ask to be turned into an owl by Gwydion.
I had a lot of fun making this. It started out by working out what kind of owl she was (I decided on the secretive and nocturnal long-eared owl, widely hated in the avian world) and as you’ll see took a lot of liberties with the design. The text panels are from the portions of the Fourth Branch that deal with her directly, in both English and modern Welsh. I’d originally intended them to show up more clearly, but this dense green works well with the brown – which I’d planned to be lighter, but the technique I’d been envisaging didn’t work out the way I’d thought it would! The rose is adapted from a jewellery design I’ve been playing with, using hand-assembled lasercut petals.
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…