A long weekend of making stuff

I love when Australia Day falls on a weekend. That means we get the Monday off as a public holiday. This year, I spent the entire three days making jewellery. Two of those days I was housebound as B had to drive to Sydney and now that we only have one car, I really couldn’t go too far. Which is nice, and everything we need is close by anyway.

Probably the main reason for this creating frenzy is that a week ago we had a heat wave of 44 degree days for 5 days in a row. Unless you went through this horror of weather, not unlike the end of the world as I imagine it, you have no idea how absolutely horrible such a heat wave is. It does not cool down at night, when it can still be 35 degrees at 4am. There is no wind, and the house never cools down, the aircon packs up and spews water everywhere because it can’t cope, and you think your dog is going to die from heat exhaustion.

One evening it took me 2 1/2 hours to get home because the trains failed, and the trams were on infrequent schedule. I ended up packed into a full tram, aircon barely working, stuck in the stairwell with the sun beating down through the window. After the hour long trip to get part of the way home (B came to get me from the terminus) I was delirious and sick – took me a good three days after the cool change to feel better again. So the point of telling you this story is to explain why I did not even go into my studio for a whole week, and we have another slightly milder heat wave on its way for this week – mid-high 30s all week. Every ounce of your energy is spent on simply existing, and it is exhausting.

I really need to get to making more antique designs, as they are selling fast at the markets I go to. I have a few designs in various stages of construction, but I did put together this simple piece for myself. I’ve had these 18th century carriage tokens hanging around for ages, not really knowing what to do with them. Then when I came across this stunning reproduction book chain, I knew exactly what I would do with them:

Carriage token necklace


If I ever do find more I can always add to the necklace, but for now there are three, with the oldest dating to 1731.

For many years I’ve been getting rare antique charms and elements made into moulds and cast for components. These one-off elements need to be preserved and I think I have nearly 50 moulds in my name. I had a whole bunch of random charms and things made from these moulds just hanging around in a box, so I decided to make some charm necklaces and bracelets with them. Here are the results, which are for sale at L’Atelier de Talaru.

I also finally used this amazing 18th century paste shoe buckle to make into a necklace. I had been pondering for over a year what to do with it. It is quite rare and very stunning. My new book chain came to the rescue in this simple but very harmonious design. To think that this piece was treading the footpaths of 18th century France….

Shoe buckle necklace


On the tribal side of things, I have been busy as well. My latest interest is in making my own polymer clay beads. I love the rolling, texturing and painting of the beads, which results in something totally unique for my designs. With polymer clay you get bulk without weight, and the end result is entirely up to you. It is a cheap component, and the value is added by the work put into the finished product. Here are some earrings I made with some of my beads:

Polymer pod earrings


The above are textured beads paired with Rustic bead caps and wooden beads. Below is a completely different design with clear glass beads and rustic bead caps.



I do also like to use components from other designers, and have been buying up lovely handmade ceramic beads. The earrings below are made with handmade yellow porcelain beads and very old glass whorl beads from Mali.

Yellow pumpkin bead earrings

Finally, I have been working with copper and using patinas to give different colours and patterns. For the pair below I paired my unique copper teardrops with ancient Roman glass. I like the result.

copper and roman glass earrings


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