Sunday, April 17, 2016

New versions of older designs and fun of learning :-)

Recently I am playing a little bit more with wonderful possibilities of hand creating prototypes of jewellery in metal clay and then translating them into pieces made with lost wax technique. I am pretty happy with the results and I definitely think this is a fantastic way of using properties of metal clay. I already posted here a few of my flowery designs, but recently I also made a few symbols, which I always loved. All the pieces in this post are made of traditional sterling silver.

This is only the beginning of a whole collection of symbols, but I wanted to start with motif of trees, Sun ("Solar mandala") and tiny, crescent Moon. All these designs were totally hand formed and carved (no ready moulds etc.), then made into sterling silver, and adorned with natural stones. I really enjoy the whole process.

On example of my first metal clay designs meant for lost wax casting technique I learned really a lot about dos and don'ts of the whole process. Avoiding undercuts, paying attention to thickness of all elements, thinking about how wax will flow when filling the mould etc.
And, yeah - this was a hard lesson - I also learned that if I don't say a loud STOP to myself, I can work on a design FOREVER. It's never good enough. But the funny thing is that it seems these imperfections are what make my pieces natural, and interesting to the eye. At least this is what I keep hearing from my clients. My inner perfectionst is crying ;-).

I am also super happy that I designed my own bails - they work nicely and correspond really well with the designs they are meant for (at least I think so ;-) ). They will probably be suitable for some other pieces I want to make and some of my one of a kind work. So, definitely no more generic, ready bought bails in my jewellery and I have some more ideas for this type of articulated bails coming.

As for other interesting things - I finally visited Wytwórnia Antidotum - jewellery making school based in Warsaw, to "collect" my prize for a contest I won last year with my pendant "Natura abhorret a vacuo". The prize were private classes in the school and I used it all to learn a little bit more about traditional techniques of stone setting. We focused on faceted stones. Here you can see some of my trials with different types of settings (yeah... A drunken hedgehog would probably do it better then I did, and I definitely need to practice, practice and maybe practice a little bit more ;-) , but hey - learning on your own mistakes also works :-) ). I generally knew how all these settings work, but it's a completely different story, to actually try it yourself under a guidance of someone experienced (big thanks to Remigiusz Grodzicki :-) ). I also did a few tube settings, but they are not in the photo. I had a lot of fun, but my hands really hurt :-))). After all - I am a delicate metal clay girl ;->.

Just one more nice photo for the end of this post ;-). One of my sterling silver "Twig rings", which also started their life as metal clay pieces, photographed in a pretty surroundings :-).

Monday, March 7, 2016


This will be a very personal post, so if you don't feel comfortable with this kind of things, you can stop reading right now.
My dad died on 17th February, after three wonderful (yes!) years of fighting with cancer. The most kind, wise, patient and loving man I've ever known. The best dad I could ever imagine. During his life he fought so many life-threatening health conditions  and still lived a full, beautiful and meaningful life to the very end. I will be always thankful for him to all forces of the Universe.
He was also my greatest fan - always curious about new things I made, new tools I bought, starting his day from checking my website and Facebook page. Of course I know, that at the beginning, when I decided to start my own business he was worried about me. Still, he always was my greatest supporter. This is one of my favourite photos of him. I took it during one of our "sunrise" trips we had last year. Me, my dad (on the right) and my brother.

One of the last pieces I made that my dad saw, was that teddy bear with a heart I designed for the new one day class. He showed it immediately to my mom, and because she loved it too, he asked me to make similar one as a gift from him to her, for Valentine's day. I managed to finish it, just 2 days before he died. I will always remember him, so weak, in a hospital bed, giving it to my mom, with all his love. Now she wears it every day. This tiny, silver bear probably will remain the most important piece I've made in all my life.

The same day I also managed to show him the cover of the newest issue of Handmade Business with me on it, wearing one of my pieces. I was so happy I could make him proud once again. He was only able to smile, but it meant the world to me - I will always treasure this moment. He collected all the publications with my pieces, showing them to his friends. I miss him so much. So much. And I am so thankful for all these years. For all the books he read to me when I was a child (and recorded some of them! So I can still listen to them...), for all the conversations about science and philosophy, for unconditional love and all his wisdom. Also for showing, not only to me, but to everyone around, that being terminally ill doesn't mean dying. It means LIVING and appreciating every single day.

Thank you dad. I will always love you.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Three new workshops for 2016

Hello in 2016! 2015 was a really great year, full of smaller and bigger successes, lots of changes, travelling and meeting new people. One thing remains the same though - I am still  really great at writing regular posts on my blog ;-). Maybe this year, maybe this year... :-)
Today I want to tell you a little bit about my new classes for 2016. I will still teach my old ones ("Herbarium pendants" and "Twig rings") in a few places, but I felt need of something fresh and new. So here they are :-).

"Mushroom dreams"
I am particularly excited about this one.  It's a 3 days workshop packed with lots of different techniques, featuring a branch (empty inside, so it's perfect for a bead-strung necklace), various, 3 dimensional mushrooms, and a small, bezel set stone. Wonderful textures, interesting shapes, lots of tricks for creating secure openwork constructions in metal clay - this is what this workshop is about.

"Heart Deco"
It's a 2 days workshop featuring really cool "pillow" effects, interesting filing techniques for creating lovely ornamentation, various ways of working with coils, clean setting of fireable stones, articulated bail or a little "dangle" and much more.  Pieces created during this class can look in many different ways - not necessarily like stylized hearts. As usually in case of my classes - using the same set of techniques everyone can create something different.

"Miniature Teddy Bear"

This one is a one day class for those who love tiny, cute creatures. Creating a tiny teddy bear, which is mainly empty inside (to save on clay) is not as difficult as it might seem. It's just about following certain steps and using your imagination. Your teddy bear can hold a tiny heart or have a miniature tie or maybe a necklace... This class is about playing with miniature shapes and having a lot of fun! You will learn working in a small scale, building tiny, hollow elements and creating details in both wet and dry clay.

I already arranged classes in a few countries for 2016 - in some places everything is set, in some places we are still talking about some details.
In the first half of the year I'll be teaching in United Kingdom, then Belgium, and finally Austria.

-> In UK you can meet me in Metal Clay Ltd. (Wareham, Dorset). I'll be teaching two classes. First "Heart Deco" - 30th April- 1st May
"Twig rings" - 2nd May

-> In Belgium I will teach yet again in Inge Verbruggen's studio. Two classes.
"Mushroom dreams" - 14th -16th May
"Miniature teddy bear" - 17th May

-> In Austria, I will teach in Vienna, at Sulie Girardi's studio.
The plan is...
"Mushroom dreams" - 27th - 29 th May
"Miniature teddy bear" - 4th June
"Twig rings" - 5th June

Later you'll be able to take my classes in several places in USA, we are still working on some details though.

For sure you'll meet me in

-> Pennsylvania, Philadelphia area (10th-12th September) ( I will teach there "Heart Deco" class and "Twig rings" - contact Lara Ginzburg and Christy Anne Miller for more info)

-> Florida, Sarasota (I'll be there 15th-20th September). The hostess of my classes is Silvie Waals. I'll be teaching two classes there - "Herbarium pendant" and "Twig rings".

-> Texas, in July, 18-22. "Herbarium pendant", "Heart Deco" and "Twig rings". The hostess is Judy Padgett Darrow ( Art On The Veranda dba Three Frog Alley ).

I also have already some plans for 2017, but it's far too soon to talk about this :-).
That's all for now :-).

Ah, and in case you forgot what are "Herbarium" and "Twig rings" classes, here are the photos :-).