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Dragon’s Teeth

Morning all, tis Monday again.

I have been working extreme hours over the course of this month, partly because I do not wish to be at home and partly because I would like lots of loot.

There are credit cards and bills to pay, the usual boring things. However, I also wish to finally invest in some glass working equipment and possibly make my escape from mundanity. My contract expires at the end of August and so I would like to rejuvenate my business. I do not know if I am skilled enough to push it through in this financial environment but I will try my best.

The house sharing thing appears to be going ok, although I find myself yearning for a property of my own. I have been on the look out for somewhere to live but in all honesty it seems like everywhere is pokey and expensive. Plus mention that you have a feline companion and the letting agents look like you have grown a few extra heads!

I am guessing you would like to know why this post is titled ‘Dragon’s Teeth’? well, my lovely blurkers and readers, this is why…

It doesn’t look like much at first, but look closely and you can see where this tooth used to belong. Made from solid bronze and awaiting stringing into a finished piece.

Many warriors found their lives ended at the jaws that held this little tooth. Yet it was gentle enough to lift the tiniest dragonling to safety.

Did I mention I am very fond of Dragons?

Flights of fancy allow me to keep going, frankly. Theres a lot of ‘stuff’ tumbling around backstage here at Purky Towers currently and the fantasical offers that sweet escape.

I finished off my friendship cake, by the way. It was very tasty and I passed it on to several people. Sorry there are no photographs but I do not have easy access to a camera at the moment.

Much love to Blurkers and Readers, xx

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Epic Bronze, Cluster charm pendant necklace!

I have put off writing this tutorial for nearly two months.

I was too tired to edit the photos, couldn’t think of the right words….Utter bollocks.

I was emotionally drained and very sad by the whole event surrounding the pieces I created while making this tutorial. Remember the poorly behaved friend? Well this is her birthday present and she recieved it graciously.

Without further ado, here we go, straight into the how to bit….

This is bronze clay. It is a 200g packet from www.metalclay.co.uk and cost about £35 quid I think..

It works along a similar principle to artclay silver and gold in that you form the object, dry it then fire it. The difference is that with this product you fire it in a kiln in an oxygen reduced environment.

Out of the packet it handles in a similar way to artclay, although it does need to be kept slightly moist I found personally.

I rolled out the clay using an acryllic rod on a glass sheet. I usually work on glass sheets because they can go straight inside my tabletop oven and they are easy to clean and transparent.

For this project I used Chinese seals to create four pendants. The were symbols for Health, prosperity, happiness and peace.

I applied even firm pressure to the stamp and carefully lifted it off. A few times I misted the stamps
with water so it did not stick.

Voila, cut out with cookie cutters.

I did not like the circular shape so I remade them as tear drops and pierced the holes using small Kemper cutters. The two items on the other side will be explained in a later blog….honest!

Also, I cleaned the charms up with a file and emery papers after they were dried in my tabletop oven. So when they were fired they would have lovely smooth edges.

Those little bad boys got fired in my cute little kiln inside a stainless steel firing pan filled with activated charcoal. I prefer the charcoal to coconut because of the patina it gives the finished objects.

I fired it up to 850 degrees centigrade ramped over approximately 8 hours and then held it for two. I am not superb at programming my kiln so its a bit hit and miss.

Here are the bronze charms. I left two as they appeared out of the kiln just to show you the difference that cleaning them up with a wire brush and some determination does!

The bronze clay has an organic binder that burns out during the firing and so the pieces shrink by 20% making them much more delicate.

The next stage involved my lovely pliars, happy sigh.

I carefully chose beads representing some of my friends interests like nature, the frog and ladybugs. She is also really into eastern culture hence the chinese seals, plus my interest in her well being.

Anyways, I strung up gold plated headpins with tigerseye and other accents beads.

To wrap them up, hold in your chain nose pliars like so.

Bend the head pin over the top.

Create a loop with your roundnose pliars and then finish by wrapping the tail around underneath the look to make it all lovely and secure.

And so we have bronze charms, gold plated chain and lovely wrapped charm beads on headpins.

I assembled this all with a toggle clasp to make a cluster charm pendant necklace.

I think it makes a pretty stunning piece of statement jewellery with genuine altruistic intent behind its construction.

Anyways my friend seemed pretty non plussed about it which is a shame really. I enjoyed making the piece and hope she enjoys wearing it.

In all honesty recent events have shown me there is not much point in worrying over the smaller things. Perhaps things between her and I will smooth out, perhaps despite the longevity of our friendship it was time to part.

Who knows, I will just keep being creative and offering acts of personal kindness. Living creatively, honestly and expressively, is my mantra and need to keep reaffirming myself with it. I am enjoying sharing tutorials though.

I have lots more ideas for things I would like to make using Bronze clay. I have also seen steel clay and copper clay which sounds intrigueing to me.

I really adore the idea of combining bronze and silver beads in pieces with polymer clay and glass beads that I have constructed, possibly ceramic beads and charms as well.

For now lovely blog followers, take care and catch you soon xx

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Bronze experiments

 So these were actually made last month but I did not have time to upload them and all that shizzle for various reasons.

I was recently featured on Tutorial Tuesday on Geek Crafts :).

It has inspired me to keep trying with my blog and also the fact that people have commented lately and seem interested in my Purky goings on. I hope the blog is not too personal and wonder if it should only focus on my artistic endevours but, my work does not exist in a vacuum. So…..I am gonna keep being personal for now at least.

I love opening up the kiln and peering into the black mass of charcoal to see what I find. Bronze clay is a relatively new thing for me and I am investigating because of its cost effectiveness and warm finish.

I love the patina that firing in charcoal produces. These four are just perching on my kiln, having been fired.

This is the view from my studio window. None of these pieces had been cleaned up and polished by this point.

This is easily my favourite, love a bit of stylised paw action. It also came from one of my eldest moulds. The bronze reduces by around 20% as it fires which means the details are massively enhanced.

So there we go 🙂

I am off to work even though it is Saturday. I have to clean seat pads on white leather chairs for 8 hours now and probably the same again tommorow. I need to earn some money to work out what on earth to do with myself. Its all a bit complicated and excruciatingly simple here at Purky Towers.

Much love to all

H
x

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Good bye, Cathy

I feel I should blog about this now, rather than allow the memories chance to fade or tarnish.

I drove to London last night and stayed at my friend Tamara’s mother’s house. Then about 12ish today we headed off to Petersfield to the sustainability centre where the funeral was being held.

It was such a beautiful place with a huge pond full of newts and tadpoles with lots of rushes and aquatic flowers. There were brilliant blue dragonflies zooming around and the atmosphere just oozed hope and vitality.

We both worried about what we were wearing because the dress code was ‘not black’ and paranoid about being scruffy I went with white 3 quarter lengths and a chocolatey brown cotton collarless shirt top thing.

Tamara looked lovely and baby Brian, well he was not too worried about what he was wearing.

I was honoured to push Cathy’s Bier (handcart) and transfer her from Bamfa (not sure of spelling) otherwise known as the ‘beathy bus’ to her final resting place. I can only remember the name of Ness and Mike who were also bearing the cart but it was a curious feeling. A mixture of pride to be assisting and sorrow at her loss mingled with happiness that she was free from pain and being buried in such a gorgeous place. My real feelings of sadness are for Mike, her husband. I hope that I/we as a group of people can support him when he wants and needs it.

Cathy was ensconced in a woven wicker casket and the whole burial was ecologically sustainable. 

http://www.sustainability-centre.org/

The journey from the bus to the plot concluded, some words were said at her grave side. Mike read a lovely poem and Ness gave a heartfelt speech. A few other folks spoke up to express their feelings and the atmosphere in that wood was one of love and sadness.

I helped the other bearers lower Cathy into the ground before we stepped back to allow everyone chance to say goodbye. It was especially sad to see the older generation weep for their lost daughter, burying anyone you love is not easy, particuarly your child. I can only hope it is a sadness that I do not have to bear one day.

Tamara introduced baby Brian to his aunty Cathy before we headed back up to the cafe. There followed a few more words and a really tasty vegetarian buffet. The staff at the centre were so kind natured and helpful.

As sad as it is to say goodbye to someone, especially someone you thought you had a bit more time to get to know, being in such a positive environment made the whole event much easier to bear. I fully appreciate that Mike may not feel that way because I do not think I have ever known a couple so utterly dedicated and in love with one another.

We staged a Beathy reunion photograph, hopefully I will recieve a digital copy so I can paste it up here.

I got home from London after dropping Tamara and baby Brian off at about 11:15pm so having written this, I think it is time to go to bed.

Much love and Purkiness to all.

Sleep well in the woods, Cathy. xxx

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Time to stop hiding…

Well, its been over a week since I was ‘dumped’ and now I really should re-emerge into the blogosphere.

I am rather sad still but trying to be positive. Neither of us is moving out of the flat so I will still retain my studio space and the glorious Phileous Mogg will have a lovely place to live with both of us.

My art and writing has suffered quite a lot and so I haven’t achieved a great deal. The odd bit of blocking out for a scene or a bit of cane splicing has been the majority of it.

The lovely Vix has given me a ‘friendship cake’ called Herman and it all seems a bit odd and gloopy but will give it the benefit of the doubt. I will also try to keep you folks updated about it.

My friend Cathy Wines died last Saturday having ‘lost’ (I do not like that word) her battle with long term illness. She was the first person who gave me the confidence to show my wares over six years ago and her advice and support took me a long way. My thanks and best wishes to her spirit wherever is may be right now.

I am going to take my Beathy (Cathys creations, a sort of frankenstein stuffed animal based around Igor’s from Discworld books) Hippolyta with me to the funeral. I hope people wear Purky Products to my funeral someday.

There is an annual bead fair at the Racecourse in Wincanton and I attended it for the first time this year. Having had a look around it seems like a good event with lots of goodies on display but the only thing that took my fancy was the lampworking equipment. I watched a demonstration and it all seems straightforward, of course the advanced techniques will take years to master but I feel that my craft abilities would transfer into the new skill.

Lampworking equipment is now much more firmly ensconced in my ‘to buy’ pile.

On a polymer clay note, I networked with a nice chap whose name eludes me currently but his business card is in my bag. I will post his e-shop details up here later.

I finished the buttons I have spent ages procrastinating over and think that perhaps moving in the direction of a ‘bead artist’ might be a good idea. However, creative decison making is sort of beyond me currently.

Looking at all the wares on offer I felt incredibly light and inspired, surrounded by the pretty orbs and much more interesting books. I also felt rather depressed and like a failure because I have not achieved the goals that I set myself.

The next few weeks are going to be about regaining some of my  creative confidence and channelling it into finishing projects.

Like these little buggers. They are stud earrings but I do not have the sterling silver backs for them. Pretty though, or at least I think so.

And this is just a random of a very old (now) test piece I did for the sheer joy of it.

Need more joy, I wonder if it comes in bottles?

Much love and thanks for your patience Purky people.

xx

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Solitude

My long term partner ended our relationship earlier today.

Feeling rather sad as you might imagine so my blogging may be somewhat curtailed for a few days.

H x