Devon Open Studios 2018, Silver Dust and Marram Grass

August finds me working on a couple of interesting commissions whilst also preparing for and counting down to the Devon Artist Network’s Open Studios; an event that runs between Saturday 8th September until Sunday 25th September (inclusive). I have loved this event for many years and am thrilled to announce that this will be my first year of taking part.

The forthcoming county-wide arts event, Devon Open Studios, is the largest showcase for artists in the county with 368 artists taking part in 151 locations and I will be exhibiting and making jewellery at Venue 103- the iMadDjinn Studio in Combeinteignhead alongside Annie Drew, Wildlife Artist and Angela Bennett, Ceramicist.

The iMadDjinn Studio (formerly known as the Madryn Gallery) here in the little village of Combeinteighead has been operating as a picture framing studio for over 30 years and we are very grateful to the new framer for hosting our event within the building’s ancient and historic walls.

You can download a brochure for the whole event at www.devonartistnetwork.co.uk/events/open-studios-2018

During the event, I will be working on current commissions as well as manufacturing and assembling new gallery pieces and really hope that you will come along and take advantage of the chance to meet with myself, Annie and Angela.

Silver Dust

Last month, I received an interesting request to turn dust into something beautiful and a little easier to wear! A retired chemistry teacher had saved silver from all the experiments she had done with her students extracting silver from Silver Nitrate Solution. She had, over many years, collected about 55 grams of silver which I have been melting down, casting and flattening out through my rolling mill to make them into a usable state. It’s been rather a hot process due to the current heatwave we have been experiencing but I do believe you have to suffer for your art! The plan is to make two, hopefully three, ‘Twist’ bangles so that she can keep one as a permanent reminder of her teaching, gift one to her technician as a thank you and one to her step daughter as a keepsake when she marries later in the year.

Silver Dust
Melted down, cut and starting to grow…
Just keep on rolling…and growing…and rolling…and growing…

 

 

 

 

 

 

A large part of the excitement I get creating commissions for people arises from the stories of how they have come about and the sentiments in which they are given. Commission pieces are always different as a result and that is why I love to take them on. Videos and images of the work in progress can be found on my Instagram page @charlottebiba and on CharlotteBibaBouchardJewellery on Facebook. Please do follow or like me to see new posts.

Marram Grass

I am really hoping that this project may lead to some further opportunities to work collaboratively with the very talented Mim Brigham of Made by Mim because I absolutely love her glasswork. Her collection ‘Microscopic’, fuses together her passion of science and art and yes, it does seem I am attracting scientists at the moment!

Mim discovered an image of a blade of Marram Grass, carefully cut to one cell thick, stained and viewed through a microscope, whilst studying Biology many years ago. She was struck by its beauty then, and it remained in the back of her mind until she developed a body of work. Her use of different glass techniques produces beautiful sculptural discs that are freestanding and hung or incorporated into furniture and in our case, jewellery. I am working with her to make up some trial pieces that combine our skills and styling. Currently I am making up a bracelet featuring 5 small discs in very simple but contemporary round settings. We are both very particular about the need for them to be perfectly uniform and so there is no room for misalignment or over filing. Each individual piece will be linked together with handmade components to make a flexible bracelet. It’s currently a piece of work in progress that I can fit in between other jobs which is perfect as I am finding it very absorbing but intense on my eyes! Plans are also in the pipeline for pendants and earrings so…watch this space to find out how we are progressing!

Silver settings for Marram Grass discs

Mim’s ‘Microscopic’ collection has won her multiple awards and has been published in the Design and Craft magazine, Cornwall Today and the Contemporary Glass Society magazine. Take a look at her website www.mbm-glass.com for more information.

So, on and up to the workshop now as there is lots to be done! However, I do look forward to welcoming you to the iMadDjinn Studio, Combeinteignhead, TQ12 4RA    between 11am and 6pm on:

Saturday 8th, Sunday 9th, Monday 10th, Tuesday 11th, Friday 14th, Saturday 15th, Sunday 16th, Monday 17th, Tuesday 18th, Friday 21st, Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd September.

LOVE was in the air.

So, what’s new? Last month was a very busy month for me, that saw love flowing aplenty!

Silver Wedding Anniversary. The 1st of May found my husband and I celebrating 25 years of marriage! We are not entirely sure where those years have gone but we are sure that most people would say the same!

Chris and I decided that we would work together to make each other a piece of jewellery to mark the occasion and despite Chris feeling slightly nervous, as he has no jewellery experience, we headed up to my workshop to make a bangle and a ring.  It may have taken rather longer than normal but at the end of the day Chris admitted that he had really enjoyed learning about the processes of texturing, shaping and soldering silver (and a little bit of gold!) and that he had a new respect for how much effort goes into creating each piece of jewellery. I am now the proud owner of a gorgeous textured bangle with a small gold bar detail (already much admired) and Chris has a matching ring made up from the same strip of silver. New, meaningful and personal keepsakes for our next 25 years!

The finished ring and bangle. A perfect commemoration of our Silver Wedding Anniversary.

Wedding Rings. Following on from ‘our’ significant anniversary, I was then busy making a pair of silver wedding rings for a couple about to embark on their married life together. The designs were talked through and agreed. For the bride – a simple flat band featuring two gold hearts to compliment her silver and gold square cut diamond engagement ring.  Simple in design, the heavier weight flat band gives the ring a modern more informal look and the satin finish sets off the contrasting colour of the gold beautifully. Incidently, the brushed satin finish is one I am being asked to add more and more frequently as it becomes increasingly popular.

Brushed satin finish Silver Wedding Band featuring 9ct gold hearts.

 

The groom’s ring is a plain version and had to be completely made from scratch due to the proportions requested. Normally I buy lengths of preformed silver to make rings but as this ring was needed in a size Z,   I had to cast a rod of silver and do lots ( actually lots and lots!) of filing to recreate the profile of the bride’s ring – flat on the outer surface but rounded on the inside for comfort. These were my first wedding ring commissions and I hope to be able to do more – Tammy and Chris, it was an honour to be involved in your wedding preparations and I wish you many years of love and luck together.

Melting down scrap silver for the size Z wedding band
After pouring the molten silver into the casting flask it is opened up…
to reveal the cast rod of silver which then has to be worked to make the ring.
The finished ‘His and Hers’ wedding bands.

And another! A further commission followed after I was approached by a couple who have been married for 5 years. The husband, a naval officer, had sadly lost his wedding ring on board ship. It took him some time to confess to his wife but after the initial upset, they decided to have a new one made rather than buying a ready made High Street store replacement . They felt that this would be a more apt replacement and would go some way to recapturing the sentiments encapsulated in the original ring.  Although the request was for a plain  band, I was very pleased to be able to make it for them and play a small part in their ongoing journey of married life.

Of course, the ‘other’ wedding of May was that of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and I have to say I was very pleased to hear that Prince Harry broke with royal tradition and decided to wear a wedding ring. Described as a ‘textured platinum band’, we didn’t get to see it during the ceremony but Chris and I cast a glance and knowing smile at each other when it was mentioned. Chris’s ring may not be platinum but it is a modern textured band !!

STOP PRESS!! Guest Maker Opportunity at The Devon Guild

I am delighted to share the exciting news that I was recently asked to be Guest Maker at the Devon Guild of Craftsmen.

The Devon Guild of Craftsmen is a charity and Membership organisation with over 240 Members and aims to create as many opportunities as possible for people to enjoy and learn about crafts. It strives to bring the newest, most exciting craft and design  to the South West and actively promotes the best craft in the area, nationally and internationally. With annual visitor numbers of over 100,000 a year – you can understand why I would want to SHOUT about it!

I will be displaying my Twist and Button Collections in the Guild shop between February 17th and April 4th 2018. For more information about the Devon Guild, it’s Freehand charity work, exhibitions programme, history of the Guild and the Riverside Mill building  please follow the link below – hopefully you will be inspired to pay a visit!

To view information about my Guest Maker promotion click here http://bit.ly/2oaaIWW

For a direct link to the Devon Guild website click here http://bit.ly/2Hk63u0

Silver Button Pendants. Sand cast from antique and vintage originals.

 

 

 

 

 

The North Wind Doth Blow….

Woah- it’s a tad windy out there but things are nice and cosy up in my workshop where I am busy making new jewellery for the forthcoming festive events. So, this is a just a quick post just to let you know I haven’t been blown away ‘Wizard of Oz’ style!!

Please have a look at my EVENTS page to see where I am heading. I hope perhaps to meet you at one of the events but if not, I am happy to discuss commissions and I will be adding new jewellery to my shop pages in the next few weeks too.

And so, to the workbench….

 

Open for Business!

Ta dah!!

Today I have finally opened my (virtual!) doors to the public! Yes, my ONLINE SHOP is now ‘open for business’ and you can atlast browse my latest pieces from the comfort of your own computer, phone or tablet and buy directly from me.

So, please do have a look and if you have any questions, requests or comments, let me know via the CONTACT page and I will do my best to answer or accommodate.

Finally, thank you for waiting so patiently- I hope that it was worth it. My plans now are to get back to the workshop where I feel so much more at home and get making for the coming round of Christmas Craft Fairs and Events although I will also be stocking up online with new jewellery pieces regularly and I hope that you will keep an eye on the NEW ADDITIONS .

Until next time… Happy Shopping!

http://www.shop.charlottebibabouchardjewellery.com

The Countdown Is On

I’m getting quite excited now as I am almost ready to launch the Shop pages of my website – I hadn’t really anticipated quite how much there would be to do getting everything ready! I have spent what seems like an eternity writing policies, researching postage costs, measuring, weighing and photographing my jewellery, editing and uploading images, writing and redrafting descriptions but, I think I will be ready to press the ‘live’ button by the end of next week – fingers crossed! In the meantime, my jewellery is still on sale in the Gallery Shop at Cockington, Devon or send me a message if you are looking for anything in particular as I now have a new improved photographic archive of all my stock AND I know where it all is!! Just another advantage to all the hard work and organisation!!

PS. Since launching my main site, I have had quite a few people asking about the image I used for my header page.So, to satisfy your curiosity-  it is a photograph of a seed head from a plant called Yellow Goatsbeard  (Tragopogon pratensis). I found it whilst out walking the dog. The heads are like giant dandelion clocks but this one had mostly been blown away and had dried out so I brought it home intending to use it as inspiration for some jewellery designs. As I was popping it in a vase, I realised that it would actually make a great image.  I had lots of fun(!?)  trying to get a good image and eventually photographed it against the patio windows with my garden behind which I was at last really pleased with. Perhaps I will still get a jewellery design out of it sometime too!

Here’s another photo of it in full.

 

Almond Leaf Brooch

This almond leaf brooch is the most recent piece of jewellery I have made. Commissioned as a gift for Joan, it is a brooch to remember her great friend Phyllis who passed away very suddenly and too early.

I was asked to design a leaf brooch and used silver sheet which I have beaten out to give the leaf it’s form. Whilst I was adding a wrapped ribbon of silver, I was struck by how it naturally took up the shape of the leaf which I decided was a poignant touch and decided to keep in the design. It gives the impression of both a physical and ethereal leaf bound together. The leaf is an almond leaf and it was chosen by the client because an almond tree is the symbol of Phyllis from Ancient Greek mythology.

The Greek myth about Phyllis can be read at the link below. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phyllis

 

 

Here it is!!

So, here it is! My brand new website! It’s been long overdue but I am so pleased with how everything has come together. I have to thank the incredibly patient Anthony Pullen who has supported, guided and encouraged me along the way so that I could get to grips with the technicalities and continue to update and manage it myself.

My Online Shop will be following very soon so do please continue to ‘watch this space’ and get in touch if you would like to.

Ready to get making with my workshop buddy- Loli!

Website under review.

Following a very busy and successful time at the end of last year, I have decided that I cannot put off the inevitable and so…

I am currently upgrading my site here. Please do come back and visit again soon for up to date designs, shop and event information. In the meantime, my jewellery can be found at the Cockington Court Gallery shop, Cockington, Devon or please take a look on Facebook at CharlotteBibaBouchard Jewellery email me or give me a call for a chat about current stock, private viewings or commissions.

Thank you for your patience.

Brooch with attachable chain- silver, 18ct gold and  opal.

I’ve been a bit quiet for a while….

I haven’t posted anything for a while because I have been busy trying to sell my house but I’m back now and although I am currently surrounded by packing boxes and piles of things ‘to sort’ I have been working on a few commissions which I will be posting about in the Studio Jewellery page.

Silver Violet and Bud Bangle.
Silver Violet and Bud Bangle.

A simple bangle with winding violet buds twisting around the two sides of the bangle and one open flower. It has been made for an ‘Annie’s mum’ who has always loved violets and it is going to be a gift from Annie and her two granddaughters who commissioned me to make the piece.

I love making and using flowers in my jewellery as I like to take something beautiful, that in real life is almost impossible to preserve, and create something lasting that will continue to give pleasure to the wearer. I am also fascinated by the connections and significance given to what flowers represent and mean, in this case spiritual wisdom, humility and faithfulness- qualities that I am certain will have been identified by Annie and her daughters in their mother and grandmother. The flower and buds have been made from silver sheet, wire and tube that have been hand cut, filed, formed and soldered in parts before careful and delicate assembly (not for the faint hearted!).

As with all commissions there is a personal expectation to finish a piece to an even higher standard than usual. It comes from knowing the background of and information about the recipient- the design and making process becomes very personal and as it develops I feel an increasing connection between myself and the recipient even if I haven’t met them directly. I can only hope then that Annie, her mum and her granddaughters will all be as pleased with the bangle as I am.

Silver Violet and Buds Bangle
Silver Violet and Buds Bangle