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Friday, 27 May 2011

Forget-me-not flower necklaces

It has been very busy here at Shpangle jewellery over the last couple of weeks and it feels like I haven't blogged for a while! Had a couple of huge orders that I have been working on as well as producing a few items for fun, especially these necklaces containing real forget-me-not flowers.

You may remember in a recent blog post My Favourite Flowers and Real Flower Jewellery when I mentioned my fascination and love of Forget-me-not flowers. Well, I have been busy since pressing a few of these flowers amongst many others for encasing within my jewellery.

The first necklace has layers of pressed Forget-me-not flowers within a heart shaped resin pendant. This necklace sold within a couple of days of me putting it into my shop (but thankfully I have lots more flowers ready to make another!).

Forget-me-not necklace
This next necklace has a few Forget-me-nots and a pink flower from a flowering currant encased within a pale pink teardrop necklace.

Real Flower Jewellery
And the last pendant is from a recent custom jewellery order that incorporates a Forget-me-not flower and a lock of hair from a pet...these are becoming popular as it is quite appropriate to incorporate these flowers with a lock of hair from a loved one or pet.

Forget-me-not and Hair Keepsake
You can see a few more examples of my jewellery incorporating Forget-me-nots and other real flowers on my Real Flower Jewellery website page.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

STV ‘The Hour’ Program – Free Publicity?

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Scottish Television (STV) who asked if I could supply some of my lock of hair jewellery for a program that they were to broadcast. Not wanting to turn away some free publicity I obviously jumped at the chance. The feature was to be part of ‘The Hour’ program, which is Scotland’s very own lifestyle show and is presented by Michelle McManus and Stephen Jardine; this particular show was to feature wonderful ways modern mothers are celebrating having a baby.

Lock of hair keepsake ring
I made some lovely new samples of my lock of hair jewellery for the show and even engraved them, and off they went to the Scottish Television studios. The day of the program came and I let everybody know through Facebook, Twitter, my blog (which I subsequently deleted), friends, neighbours and family. I sat down and watched the recording of the show on their website that evening and did I see my jewellery....NO!

Quite frustrated the next morning I emailed STV and they replied saying that they didn’t have enough time (planning?) and asked if they could feature my jewellery on another program, to be broadcast in a few weeks time when they could devote more time to it. Now that is better than nothing but I asked them if they could send my jewellery back to me since the program was due to be broadcast in several weeks time.

STV The Hour show
My jewellery arrived the next day and I was shocked when I opened the jewellery boxes to find STV had not added the protective packaging that I had included to prevent the jewellery from being knocked about during posting. Necklace chains were tangled, pendants had been bashed around within the cases and a sterling silver ring was completely damaged beyond repair! A few furious emails later I managed to calm down a little but still wondering if free publicity like that; is it really worth it?

On a positive note, the day after receiving my jewellery back I received a call from a children’s hospice wondering if I could send some lock of hair jewellery samples and literature. They would like to have them so that they can show them to their families who have unfortunately lost young children. I feel very honoured to have been asked and even more honoured that I am helping people through such a difficult time.


Monday, 16 May 2011

Psychedelic fabric pendants – made from recycled fabric

I little while ago I managed to get my hands on a piece of this fabric and I just love it! I adore bright fabrics and the psychedelic elements to this fabric are fantastic and great for making jewellery from...I just wish this fabric was never ending, but I only have a small amount of it however I am going to have so much fun with it over the coming weeks.

Psychedelic Fabric
After working with fabrics and resin jewellery, I tend to now look at fabric in a different way; rather than looking at fabric as a whole, I tend to look at small segments of it. My jewellery tends to be one or two inches in size so I tend to look at very small areas of patterns and combinations of colours and objects.

For the first pendant I took an area of the fabric that incorporated a flower and suddenly what was previously quite a multicoloured and psychedelic fabric becomes predominantly orange in this pendant.

Recycled Fabric Necklace
Resin is a great material to use with fabrics as it tends to magnify the weave of the fabric slightly. You can also include other objects or colourants to the resin to compliment the fabric. With these pendants, I coloured the backs of the pendant orange to match the material and gave them a slight twinkle with glitter dust.

For the second pendant I took an area of the fabric that incorporated some swirls and flowers that I thought matched the teardrop shape of the pendant.

Psychedelic Fabric Necklace
If any of my blog followers work with fabrics and regularly have waste material that can’t be used for anything else (all I am looking for are one or two inch pieces), please don’t dispose of them as they would be often sought after by a resin jewellery artist like myself!


Saturday, 7 May 2011

Gone Today Hair Tomorrow

Just a quick blog post to let you know that Shpangle Jewellery will be on BBC Radio 4 on Monday 9th May 2011 describing my lock of hair jewellery and in particular my pet hair and fur jewellery. But please don't blink because I will only be on air for a minute or so in a short burst towards the end of the program.

Hair Keepsake Jewellery
The program is called 'Gone Today Hair Tomorrow' and airs at 11.00 am on Monday May 9th on BBC Radio 4 92-94 FM, and I think it is a 30 minute program. According to the BBC Radio 4 website the program is described as:

Gone Today, Hair Tomorrow - For centuries hair has been used as a symbol of remembrance; from a simple lock kept to the more intricate practice of weaving hair into bracelets or its use in art and jewellery. In this programme the historian and biographer Juliette Barker traces these practices through history and talks to some modern collectors. Now that it has become apparent that hair offers us the chance to retrieve good quality DNA could it be about to enjoy a renaissance as favoured medium once more by which we remember our loved ones and ancestors?

Sounds like it will be an interesting program!


Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Resin Jewellery – Disposable Latex Protective Gloves

As any resin jewellery maker knows we get through lots of disposable latex gloves used for protecting our hands whilst working with resin. Just like all the stirring sticks and measuring cups used in making resin jewellery, they are all used once and then disposed of. I am always on the lookout for inexpensive but good quality protective gloves and when I recently discovered some for sale at a very reasonable price at my local Hinckley market I obviously bought them; little did I know of the problems and potential safety issues that purchase was going to cause.

Hinckley market is a bustling and award winning market with plenty of quality produce on offer and I quite rightly assumed that my new protective gloves were going to be fit for purpose. How wrong was I, the first few pairs that I plucked from the container just didn’t fit; I have a pretty much average hand size for a man and these protective gloves were marked ‘large’, but I couldn’t get the gloves over my fingers let alone my hand.

Protective Latext Gloves
Thinking it was me and that my hands must have had a growth spurt over night, I investigated the rest of the container. Out of the 100 pairs of disposable gloves, approximately one quarter of them actually fit and the rest were a mixture of smaller sizes. Looking at the gloves closer I also found small holes present around the fingers; most certainly a safety hazard when working with dangerous substances like resin.

But the scariest thing I found on a pair of protective gloves near to the bottom of the container was this...

Faulty Disposable Gloves
There were faces drawn onto the palms of the gloves, how scary is that!

I contacted the manufacturer of the gloves who confirmed that they ‘had a batch of Nitrile gloves delivered in 2010 which were of a very poor quality. We in fact threw this container of gloves away but unfortunately they were then reclaimed by someone who now sells them at market stalls and car boot sales and we have no control over this at all. This is a nuisance because it de-values our brand.’

So the moral of this blog post is that if you are looking to purchase items that are there to protect your health, please purchase them from a reputable supplier. Also avoid purchasing the Nitrile disposable gloves (pictured below) from market stalls or car boot sales.

Disposable Nitrile Gloves
I wrote an article a while back about resin jewellery making and general guidelines to be followed for staying safe here: Resin Jewellery Making - Safety Precautions and Equipment.