Monday, June 29, 2009

Pseudocode for jewellery

One of the things I had drummed into me while studying was that you have to write pseudocode before you start programming. For the less nerdy of us, that is you basically write in sort of english the framework for your program before you start chipping away in the programming language.

This was something that never sat well with me. I would write myself comments for the major milestones and go straight to programming. For the sake of my assessments I would reverse engineer that into pseudocode afterwards. I am not a programmer now, but I do write SQL code, yet I never ever write pseudocode.

Fast forward a few years to when I was studying jewellery, the message that was driven home constantly was that you MUST MUST MUST document your design process. I have a confession that reading the previous paragraph wont surprise you, this is something that I am very lax at.

While I was studying my designs were well documented, they had to be. But I found now that I have slipped into my old ways of thinking through my designs in my head. This is not to say I get an idea in my head and just make it, that is not really designing per say. The design process involves starting with a concept and developing that over time, working through design and construction issues, "if I do this it will be too weak" or "after I attach that I can't do any more soldering" maybe "if I change that from a circle to an oval it may sit nicer" or "if I attach the stone on this angle it will catch the light better" etc.

I have had a wakeup call today. I am a member of a team on Etsy of jewellery artisans. Controversy arose when one member of the team accused another of copying designs. Now it is quite possible that these two people independently came up with the same design. But what is important is being able to show the process involved in the design. This is not a drawing of just the item itself, but they way in which you developed this idea. It can be accompanied by writing, descriptions, annotations or whatever. I used to do this and sign and date it when I did.

My exhibition pieces started from the same concept which I explored and developed over two years. The newer pieces in the same range stem from these. One of the big inspirations for some of my pieces was a method called paper tolle that my sister and I used as kids to make cards. In exploring these childhood activities further I had planned to make some paper chain people jewellery, however I did a search on Etsy and found that someone has already done exactly that. Although our interpretations would have been different I immediately disbanded that idea.

So today I make a mid-years resolution (it's close enough). I am going to be much more studious at documenting my designs. It will probably help me as a jeweller to further develop my skills, and if god forbid anyone calls my integrity into dispute, it will act as evidence that my designs are all my own.

The images throughout this blog post are pages from my journal documenting my art deco opal ring. Although a traditional styled ring you can see a lot of design development and technical design went into this piece.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Today I would like to say thankyou for some lovely goodies that have arrived in my mailbox. It is such a pleasant feeling to find something in the mail that is not a bill!

Firstly I received a beautiful, soft and snuggly bamboo baby blanket from the Styled Baby blog. I can't even recall the last time I won something, I think it may have been a raffle when I was about 6 years old and the prize was a yellow football that had been signed by some players, you can just imagine how *thrilled* a 6 year old girl would be with that

This time however I am really happy with my win, and we will put it to good use when we have our next baby.

The next pretty thing in my mail box was a package of 'Thankyou' tags from Anna of Koko Vanilla Designs as a gift for doing a blog feature on her earlier this month. I look forward to being able to send some special 'Thankyous' with these pretty tags.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wishlist Wednesday

I am always in awe of the beautiful items to be found in the ceramics and pottery section of Etsy.

Here are just selection of my favourites, there is such a vast range of colour, form and texture.... Ahhh still wishing.....

Cozy mug pair...with star in reversible sherbert by vesselsandwares

Lacy bird bowl in raspberry and cream by PrinceDesignUK

Four finger vases by catherinereece

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Mokume Mead

Last week I showed you a ring that I was working on, featuring mokume gane and silver sleeved shank with an oval cut brazilian fire opal. This weekend I have continued on with that and it is now completed.

I had left of with the ring assembled, the next steps were to:
  • cut out the section of shank below the setting
  • file away excess solder and emery
  • apply 925 stamp to the shank
  • polish and clean
  • finally set the stone and tidy up

The finished result, I think the 1.248 carat brazilian fire opal picks up the colouration of the mokume gane perfectly.

This ring will be available later this week in my cube it will be replacing the Spearmint Swirl ring that sold on Friday.

Friday, June 19, 2009

incalesco @ in.cube8r

As of today you can now find incalesco jewellery at in.cube8r. I have delisted some of my one of a kind items on Etsy in order to put them in store.

I have been busy all week activating my ABN, registering my business name and making display materials.

As I had done a mock layout to test the number of pieces everything fitted in nicely. The location of my cube is great. I am in the second set of cubes back from the window, second from the top on the left.

I even made my first sale while I was setting up my cube. My Spearmint Swirl Ring found a lovely new owner. I hope this is a sign of things to come!

So if you are in Melbourne please drop in
in.cube8r gallery
321 smith street
fitzroy VIC 3065
(near johnston st)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wishlist Wednesday

I mentioned in a wishlist a few weeks ago that I would like a new handbag.

Well this is one wish that is coming true thanks to Kirrily from Plus 1 Design.

Kirrily makes lovely bags, keyfobs and purses like this beauty the Vintage du jour purse

But being a bit specific and set in my ways she is working with me to make me the perfect bag, who could wish for more!

So watch this space, I will be sure to show you my bag when it's done.

Monday, June 15, 2009

On the bench

This weekend I have been busily working away on a ring that I have wanted to make for quite a while.

I have started with a piece of mokume gane that we made when I was at 'school'. Mokume gane is a japanese technique. Two or more diferent metals are layered and fired in a kiln until they fuse but don't melt. You then carefully forge and roll the metal. Finally you burr the surface to reveal the different layers and then continue to roll until the surface is flat, and beautiful woodgrain patterns have been revealed. My mokume gane is made of copper and brass.

I have made a ring with a sterling silver inner sleeve. I am teaming this with a bezel set beautiful honey yellow brazilian fire opal. I love the bright milky colour of this stone.

I started by carefully forming the outer bezel which I soldered with hard solder. The inner bezel has been tightly fit inside the outer bezel and was soldered in using medium solder. Finally the based of the bezel was cut down and filed into a curve to match the profile of the ring and soldered using easy solder. Due to the large surface area of the ring a tremendous amount of heat (and a lot of time and patience) was required to get the solder to run, but by using the different solders I could ensure that previous joins did not melt.

A little way to go yet, including cutting the shank out under the bezel and cleanup before the stone can bet set. But I am sure you can already imagine how nice this will look when completed.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Incubation Preparation

This coming Friday 19th June Incalesco Jewellery will be taking up residence at in.cube8r gallery in Fitzroy. You setup and display your items in any way you like, rather than spending an exorbitant amount of money on commercial jewellery build ups and hangers I have decided to make my own. This is also very much in keeping with the handmade nature of my work.

It is freezing in Melbourne right now so I had to borrow the Hubby's flannel and go raid the woodshed. I have selected a lovely branch of the approximate diameter I was after. After clamping the branch in the vice I was able to quickly saw of a number of slices of varying height.

The next step is to mock up the arrangement that I will use in the 40cm cube to work out how I would like to lay everything out and which pieces I want to include.

Jewellery displays sorted so now I can concentrate on finishing off some pieces and taking care of some of the business admin side of things.

If you are in Melbourne be sure to drop in and see all the lovely goodies:

in.cube8r gallery
321 smith street
fitzroy VIC 3065
(near johnston st)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Koko Vanilla Designs

Who doesn't love raiding the stationery cupboard at work? I love to go and stockpile all the prettiest colours of post-it notes! At my husbands work the stationery cupboard is locked and only certain people can get stuff out, so my fetish can't be that strange!

Imagine my delight browsing through a store like Koko Vanialla Designs, everything is so pretty, I covet it all!!! So it makes sense that I have had a chat with the lovely Anna from Koko Vanilla Designs to find out some more.

How long have you been crafting and what made you decide to turn it into a business?

I have always had a love of all things craft, but when I started having children is when I started to have more time to pursue crafts so say I have been Scrapbooking and Card Making for about 11 yrs now. I was attracted to papercrafts, with both scrapbooking because it gave me an opportunity to journal my children’s lives, something they can look back on and I love making cards that are special and personalised for people and its also a good way of using up all the scraps of papers that accumulate. Each time my child has a birthday the invitations are always handmade and beautiful and I usually make matching lolly bags or boxes for their friends. It seemed like a natural progression to turn it into a business.

I grew up in a family business my parents ran their own reception centre for 25 yrs so being your own boss and running your own show has always been high on my list. I’m very much a believer you should love what you do as a career choice so I am being the example I always encourage others to do. Having kids of course it is much easier to work from home than having a job with set hours and the fact that it’s something l love doing and know the industry so well is a bonus.

How did you come up with the name Koko Vanilla Designs?

The name is a hard one I agonised over this for months. I really didn’t want a name that identified with just scrapbooking or just cards for example I wanted a name that could incorporate anything if down the track I decided to design something different. So I just kept playing around with different words until something sounded right and a bit different. Koko Vanilla just came from there. There is no real meaning behind it other than pick a name that you love because you will be using it over and over and saying it all the time.

Do you start out with an idea or image in you mind and then find supplies to match or do you draw inspiration from the supplies you have available?

I definitely draw inspiration from everywhere. Sometimes its from the products I already have, and sometimes its from endless hours of surfing on the web (my biggest time waster I might add), to see how others do things is great for keeping the creative flow happening. However when I sit down and actually create its whatever comes to me, so even if I might have seen something that someone else has created and think I might make a card like that I end up putting my twist on it and it comes out completely different. I love doing one offs I am not a repetitive sort of artist I don’t mind doing a few of the one thing but then I get bored with it. I don’t have the discipline to do production line items I love to create differently each time I make something.

What is your workspace like?

My workspace for the most part is a bit disorganised. I have a whole room in which to create, so I am very lucky but at the moment the supplies overtake the space and it needs lots of organising. It is a gradual process trying to work out the best system for things so they can be easily seen and categorized and taken out to pack into an order or made to use on a project..

As for my desk well it’s great when a project is finished and is tidy but during the creative process let’s just say I don’t have that much space left to actually create on by the time the project is finishing. I am a get all my supplies out (stamps, inks, papers, tape, scissors, bling, flowers, ribbon etc etc) and don’t interrupt me because I am in my creative flow type of girl. My cooking is much the same. I do clean up afterwards though.

What do you most enjoy making, and do you have any favourites in your Etsy shop right now?

I love making anything and everything. I especially love making the jumbo scalloped tags and cards. I just made a cute cupcake set of scalloped tags and I really enjoyed making those they are so cute and bright rainbow colours they are my favourite at the moment. Each one is slightly different great for popping onto a gift.

My other favourite is a gorgeous style shabby chic pink and white wish card with a bird and lace and chipboard on the front. It is even more beautiful in real life. The card took me a while to make but I am happy with the result.

There are too many beautiful things to show you them all, so please stop in at Koko Vanilla Designs to see them for yourself.

Feeling the love

I noticed this morning a sudden jump in the number of hearts my shop and many items had received and was happily surprised to find that my black seed pod earrings had been on the front page of Etsy overnight.

The front page treasury was curated by Michelle of michvanetta, another lovely Melbourne Jeweller.

Also this morning I have pieces in two new treasuries.

My new Rockpool Pendant is in 'Baking Hot Sand' by fionachapman

And my new Cyclops Ring is in 'Burnt Creamsilcle' by cooljewelrydesign

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Scratching the surface

I love to add colour to my work and in the past have regularly introduced colour by the inclusion of stones, fabric and accents of metal. I have also used surface treatments such as oxidising and fine silver finishing.

Lately I have been experimenting with some interesting colourful surface treatments. While it is not necessary I have chosen in my work to apply the patina to a texturised surface, this way I can remove layers to reveal different colours and patterns.

In my store right now you can see brass that has a copper patina, this comes as a result of the heating and pickeling process.

Halo Earrings

Cherry Drops Earrings

New in store is some work I have been doing with verdigris, the fabulous aged blue/green layering you can see on old copper roofs such as Flinders Street Station in Melbourne. I have used amonia to get the verdigris on these pieces, this gives a vibrant cerulean blue colouration. I have also noticed that the age of the copper seems to have some impact on the colour, I am finding I get a better intensity from the recycled copper than from new copper sheet.

Reef Earrings

Rockpool Pendant

You can get varying shades of verdigris depending on what chemical treatment you use. I would love to hear about what you have tried and what colours you have achieved.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Treasure Hunt

Today I have been very productive, I have nothing to show for it right now but hopefully I will have a few new pieces to show you by the end of the long weekend.

In the meantime I have been lucky enough to find my work in another five treasuries, I love seeing all the different and interssting themes. The selection of items is so diverse.

Spring Fling by claygrl

Woodland Creatures by beyondthethicket

Subtleties by jewelflyt

Metalmania by ReaganHayhurst

Cold As Ice by VanillaPixie

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wishlist Wednesday

I will have to attribute this weeks wishlist to the fact I watched some 'Animal Planet' last night! Here are some animals I'd love to have at my house...

Verdigris Lion Mask...handmade original leather mask by Merimask

Bunny -Brooch by HeliS

Small Fabric Brooch - The horse and the fox by rubyjo