Saturday, 17 March 2018

Messing with Bails, Strange things in the Veg Patch and More Variations on the Usual

I have been considering some artily distressed image transfer squares I did quite a while ago, and trying to think where I can take them. They somehow got stuck as interesting small squares with no particular purpose. They didn't suggest anything in particular strongly enough to connect with people. Imho. 
Oh yeah, I am forgetting, I did make cufflinks using them, but that didn't add anything to their 'interesting small square'-ness, if that makes sense. (?)

Anyway, I had various odds and ends of wire of varying thicknesses lying about, so I decided to try making some hammered flat, or hammered flat looking bails to give the little squares a definite function as drop charms. If that's the right name for this kind of thing.

The options I had were a) to flatten a small bit of wire and cut it off, leaving about 1/8" of round wire underneath it, if you see what I mean. Make a loop using the flat bit, drill a small hole, carefully in the 'top' of the square, apply glue to the round bit and stick it in the hole. That worked OK, but I had reservations about how strong the bond would be. I used superglue, but 2 part epoxy would be better I think. Drilling the hole was fiddly. A thicker bead would be needed.

Option b) was to use a longer flat piece of wire, make a loop, grind a groove in the back of the square with one of the various Dremel bits I have accumulated, and glue the flat wire into the groove. It might make the back look a bit too rustic though. Not that it bothers me at the moment. I tried filling in the bits of groove not containing wire, with liquid Kato clear and baking briefly, as this would make the bond stronger and I just wanted to see how it would look.

The flat wire in this particular case wasn't actually copper wire I had flattened myself. I up cycled a copper coloured steel staple from a large cardboard box I dismantled for recycling months ago. I spotted the staples and saved them as they looked as though they may be useful, and because it's the kind of thing I like to do. . . I like the way it looks. Trouble is you can't get hold of them in sensible amounts. I don't want to buy 1000 of them for twenty quid really. Anyway, that's a problem for another day.

Option c) was a cross between 'a' and 'b'. To flatten some wire, leaving some round wire, make a loop with the flat wire and instead of drilling a hole, cut a rounded groove in the back of the square and glue the round bit into the groove. I quite liked the way this looked, though that might have been due to the way the dark oxidised copper wire (the real stuff this time) and the white, ceramic/marble look of the clay of this particular square. I shall let it all percolate in the recesses of my brain for a while before making some 'for real' and trying them out on the World.

Bails aside, I was digging the veg patch earlier, as it actually stopped raining or snowing for long enough to get out there, and found what I thought was a rogue onion from a previous year or something. I poked it with the fork and it revealed itself as a rather cool lump of stone, probably flint. I shall pretend it's a fossilised onion from the triassic era though ;-) I think it's rather amazing, and the fact that it looks like a vegetable and was found in the veg patch gives it a whole different significance ;-) It now lives on the windowsill with other odds and ends.

 Here are some variations on 'turned look' beads, and a pair of more deeply scratched or incised spikes. All sold on FB apart from the blue and yellow ones. My internal jury is out on those, but the clean lines and colours are certainly a departure for me ;-)
Right, off to the jam night in the pub in the next village. St Patrick's day, but I don't think there is anyone Irish in the village. Nevertheless we have a few Irish folk songs etc hastily added to the song list just in case. Have a good one wherever you are,
Jon x


  1. Interesting ideas with the bails Jon, I think b & c look good. Have you thought about using a loop as you do with the spikes, I think they would work well as earring pairs, love the distressed patterns and perhaps other shapes would look good also as earrings?

    1. Thanks Nicola, I need to experiment with the size of the bail or loop. A wire loop could work nicely. I need to try out some other shapes too. I'm glad the distressed patterns work as I am particularly pleased with how ancient they look, considering they are digital images on a twentieth century material ;-)

  2. Hi Jon,
    I liked both options b and c, c in particular. I'm always "struggling" to find ways to work metal in with my polymer. I too like to avoid glue but sometimes it cannot be avoided! :). Love your blogs by the way, always informative and entertaining! Linda Brooks (I follow you on Instagram)

  3. I was going to ask you last time if you were still jamming. Glad to hear you are! And I like your 'onion'!

    K - here's a different take on adding a loop to your lovely solitary squares.

    Make the loop - then make a squiggle out of the long tail. Lay the tail on the back of the square and cover with liquid polymer clay or bake and bond - then cover with another (textured?) square to fit the back of the piece and bake for however long you usually bake for. I personally do one hour then I know it's well secured and not going anywhere! You can even sort of squish your new backing piece into the wire to really hold it well.

    What I like about this is that backing piece can be just as dramatic as the front or plain and simple or even textured. Options are unlimited ...

  4. I tried the squiggle idea, and the thin layer of poly clay. I distressed/aged the backing a lot and it came out pretty well i thought, so thanks for that. It looked deliberate rather than unfinished. Like a point in between hidden and exposed. i'l try to remember to include a pic in my next post.