Sorry I’m late?

The best planned intentions sometimes go amiss and I really can’t believe that we are have already arrived at the 18th of February and I haven’t yet posted a February Blog yet! To be totally honest, I am but human and like everyone else, life is busy and sometimes we all get swept along with other things so I know that an apology isn’t needed because you’ll understand!

Mary O’Brian – Journalist Valentines Day Murder Mystery. Combeinteignhead, Devon

February is the month that brings us Valentine’s Day reminding us to let our loved ones know how much they mean to us through the exchange of cards, gifts and invitations for romantic meals served by candlelight. Me? I was busy on the hosting side, entertaining our villagers at a fundraising Murder Mystery evening with the 1920s Valentine’s Day Massacre as the theme! Rehearsals in the preceding weeks, the making of decorations for the Village Hall, preparation of food and the setting up of the venue on the day are why I am a bit late for this month’s Blog. Anyway, a good time was had by all, our villagers shared some love for their community giving their time and talents to putting on a great evening and raising money towards a much needed new roof and if you do want to know, yes – it was me who ‘done it’ and I strangled her in the Snooker Room with my scarf!

The Devon Open Studios application call out also went out this month and this year will be my third year co-ordinating the group that I exhibit with and managing the application for this year’s event. The ‘Edge of the Teign’ will join together in September to showcase our talents and practices in a working environment on the edge of the River Teign. More will be posted about this later in the year closer to the event so watch this space! But, needless to say, the amount of time that I have been able to spend actually making jewellery in my workshop has been very restricted this month. As I have another job, and work part-time as a jeweller, finding the right balance between working ‘on’ the business and ‘in’ the business is a challenge that many of us artists and creatives have to juggle. It’s not easy when your heart is encouraging you just do what you love but your head is pulling you from the workshop to the paperwork (and the Blog!)

This month I would like to share some jewellery though and in keeping with the 1920s theme, I’ve chosen a small collection of Art Deco inspired pieces. I decided that I would use them for my image in the Open Studios brochure and although I had made them last year, I wanted to rework the finish on the pieces to enhance the simplicity of the design, geometric shapes and textures that are so iconic of the Art Deco period. As a designer and maker, it is vital that I constantly review my working practice to maintain a strong artistic voice and standards. I would always sooner withdraw a piece than keep it for sale if I didn’t believe it to be exactly right. I regularly review my jewellery to see if any pieces need to be remodelled or refinished but I believe this keeps my jewellery unique and easily identifiable as my work.

Art Deco Collection featuring geometric shapes and textures. Polished and oxidised Sterling Silver earrings, ring and pendant

The pieces shown have been oxidised – a chemical process that blackens the silver when it is dipped into a solution Liver of Sulphur. I have then removed the colouration from the highlights and selected areas to create a really strong contrast with the bright silver. It’s often not as easy as it might sound – take too much off and you have to go back to the beginning and re dip it again. Sometimes the oxidisation takes better in some areas than others suggesting that the silver wasn’t completely clean and again it’s back to the beginning after a thorough clean with a de-greasing cleaner. Using Liver of Sulphur itself is not the nicest process as it has the unmistakable smell of rotten eggs – you might remember from your old school chemistry lessons!!

I am now really pleased with the results and think they make up a collection that capture the essence of the Art Deco period – a style that I am especially drawn to and intend to develop further.
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