Tuesday 22 November 2016

Upcycling and Going with Instinct etc

I haven't has much beading time this last week or two. DIY stuff for the house has temporarily taken over. But if I hadn't been doing house related stuff I wouldn't have pulled some old, patinated and bent nails out of an old victorian bed frame that we got at a local auction, and which I was trying to construct, (without any instructions. . . It all made sense in the end, and hasn't collapsed yet so I think I got it right. IKEA it ain't).

Anyway, said old bent nails struck a bit of a chord with me. I just liked the way they looked so I kept them aside. You get an instinct for stuff you might be able to use. Not a strong instinct, but if you are aware enough, it kind of nudges you from time to time.

I was duly nudged, so next time I was in my workshop I tried threading some left over, or mis-sized beads that I had on my desk amongst the detritus and creative debris, onto the nails. They looked quite nice, so I decided to try to make something with them.

I flattened and widened the top of each nail and then wire wrapped it with a fair few turns of anodised copper wire leading up to a loop at the top, which I flattened a little bit too.
They looked good, so I decided that they would look even better as earring charms or drops or whatever you call them.

I cut a small bit of thick copper wire, flattened each end with my jewellery hammer and drilled a hole in the widest end. I had to use my power drill, which was a bit cumbersome for fine work, but my dremel thing wouldn't have had the required oomph to do the job.
The hole was conveniently the right size for the large copper jump rings I had lurking in my findings box, so I threaded one through the hole. Oh yeah, after I had wire wrapped the other end of the thick copper wire that is. Then I threaded the nail charms onto it, grabbed a couple of ear wires and had a look at what I had got.

I liked them, but was advised by a few knowledgable people to oxidise the copper ring and wire to match the nails and their wire, so I dug out some Liver Of Sulphur that I had bought a year ago and never used.
It worked very quickly and didn't half smell eggy, as it would of course. I brushed a small amount of Renaissance Wax onto the newly oxidised bits as that is supposed to stop it rubbing off I believe. The result is in the top pic in this post.

I like it when I can just follow a seemingly obscure train of creative thought to some kind of conclusion. Following my fascination you could call it. . .
Jon x

Friday 4 November 2016

Winter Drawers On. . . ;-) Birds, Beads and more Stickiness


Winter Drawers. . .

Well, we had the first bit of what passes for cold weather here in the Eastern bit of the South East of England. The winter visitors told me it was going to be a cold day. We had a flock of about 40 Fieldfares come through.
Fieldfares are large thrushes that come over from Northern Europe when the weather gets cold there. They overwinter here, as do some smaller thrushes called Redwing, (due to the red patches under their wings). I am pretty sure there were a bunch of them at the end of the garden, but as I have yet to find my binoculars after the move I have to make an assumption based on the fact that there were several of them, they weren't blackbirds and you don't get flocks of song thrushes, which is the nearest native bird to them.
Identifying birds is a process of elimination based on knowledge and experience generally.

As the colder weather is starting, I have put out bird feeders and have been agreeably surprised by the amount of interest they got. Being further out in the country we don't usually get many of the common garden birds we used to get at our last house, which was at the edge of a large village. I assume that there aren't enough gardens out here, and that the natural supply of food in the hedges etc means wild birds don't frequent gardens very much. They like the bird feeders though. I sat at the kitchen table and watched a Great Spotted Woodpecker on the peanut feeder. Magic ;-) Except I now realise that I need to wear my TV/driving glasses to focus at that distance. . . sigh. . . Getting old . . . ish. . .

DIY stuff has taken a lot of my would be beading time this last week or two. I've been ripping out an old sink in the kitchen that was fitted in about 1977 and was situated at the opposite end of the room to the cooker. No idea why it was sited there, but it was seriously impractical as well as seriously grotty. All gone now, and the new, I mean 'reclaimed' ceramic 'butler' sink we got really cheap from the local reclamation yard is in, near the cooker, and functioning perfectly despite my plumbing ;-)

But enough boring house stuff, here's some boring bead stuff.

Spottines beats stickiness every time. .

I have been exploring the stickiness I mentioned in my previous post, and have worked out a few things. One being that, yes, it does depend which ink and paper your prints are on. The photocopier at my local library makes copies that don't get sticky. I printed the same images that have gone sticky in the past from other machines, and they don't get sticky, so it's not the colours or the amount of black or any of the other vague possibilities I had wondered about. I have also worked out a process to stop the stickiness. I'm not going to tell you what that is, but it does mean that I can finally get going on a tutorial for my image wrapped beads, now I can get consistent results. All will be revealed therein in due course.

Non stickiness from the library photocopier. Comparatively expensive though. . .

The thing that worries me slightly, is that my images are the major part of those beads, and I'm not teaching how to make those images, just how to transfer successfully and wrap successfully too. I wonder if people will feel misled in some way. Ay well, we shall see.

The result of an interesting variation of the transfer technique. More possibilities. . .

Next time, if you are good, I shall tell you about the jackdaw that got trapped down the chimney. The other chimney to the bees, luckily, otherwise things might have got far too interesting. . .
J x