Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rafflesia Brooch

Well I'm busy felting away - I think come winter I will be felting Tentacle Hats, scarves, boots etc, etc. I LOVE WET FELTING!!!!!!

I just finished my latest art jewelry creation called "Rafflesia" - because it reminded me of a huge jungle parasitic flower. She kind of just got bigger and bigger as I was making her, rather out of control but I like the way she turned out!

The organic gemstone is a fab piece of Fossil Oolite from (a family run cabochon business in the UK). Very funky and unusual fossil stone with a great 'ooid' pattern.

Other materials used - Faux Bone (loving this material too its so versatile), copper (I got the patina by heating it up), brass & stainless steel micro-screws, fine silver etched heishi (Fair Trade from Thai Karen Hills Tribes), old silver colour heishi (Fair Trade from Ethiopia) and merino wool in great colours.

I got some of this merino wool from Oz - a great company called Tree Tops Colours at

I'm going to try a smaller one next.......(fingers crossed)!

Monday, February 23, 2009

'Garden' Ring

I am loving learning to felt! This ring (top) is wet felted with needle felted pink 'flower-balls'.
The ring band is adjustable sterling silver. The flower 'pot' is etched copper with prismacolor pencil and the base of the 'pot' is a vintage soda cap - 'My Pops Root Beer'. Cold connected with a brass micro-screw.

Maybe I should wear it when we next go to playschool?

Our First Wet Felted Ring!

We've just made our first wet felted ring! Wet felting is so easy and fun to do (especially with little kiddies). All you need is some bubble wrap, wool (I use Merino as its easy to felt) and soapy water.

No need for any sewing (thank goodness)!

This blog by Keek (Knitting Geek) has some fab wet felting tuorials -

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Green Bug

Its funny - I love bugs & beetles and so do my kiddies. But NOT spiders.......ughhh.

I'm busy making some combined metal (copper/silver) & felt 'squid' pendants and 'garden' rings at the moment and hope to finish these pieces and get some photos posted this week....

I've joined Kit & Caboodle!

Friday, February 20, 2009

I Love KAZURI Beads

I love buying and using KAZURI beads!

1975, Lady Susan Wood set up a fledging business making beads in a small shed in her back garden in an African village. She started by hiring two disadvantaged women, and quickly realized that there were many more women who were in need of jobs and so Kazuri Beads (Swahili for 'small and beautiful') was created outside Nairobi, Kenya on the former coffee plantation of Karen Blixen (of Out of Africa fame).

In 1988, Kazuri became a factory and expanded hugely with over 120 women and men. Today it continues its long and successful journey as a help center for over 200 needy women, especially single mothers who have no other source of income.

Here women are trained and apply their skills to produce these unique and beautiful beads and jewelry. The beads are made with clay from the Mt Kenya area thus giving them authenticity to their craft. The factory acts as a social gathering with the hum of voices continuing throughout the day. With unemployment so high, one jobholder often ends up providing for an "extended family" of 20 or more.

You can find out more about Kazuri beads at

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Estuary Arts Competition 2009

I made this neckcollar for a competiton about the effects of pollution on the Tamaki River Estuary. It didn't win and I was a little gutted as it took me about 6 weeks to make (every evening!). Its very detailed and uses loads of different materials and cold connection techniques. Oh well!

My daughter called the piece 'Bella'.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Fabulous FORDITE!

I made something using Fordite today (or Dagenham Agate). This is really interesting stuff and so very colourful....

FORDITE is a unique automotive enamel material, with an interesting history. The original layered automotive paint slag "rough" was made incidentally, years ago, by the now extinct practice of hand spray-painting multiples of production cars in big automotive factories.The oversprayed paint in the painting bays gradually built up on the tracks and skids that the car frames were painted on. Over time, many colorful layers built up there. These layers were hardened repeatedly in the ovens that the car bodies went into to cure the paint. Some of these deeper layers were even baked 100 times. Eventually, the paint build-up would become obstructing, or too thick and heavy, and had to be removed.

As the story goes, some crafty workers with an eye for beauty realised that this unique byproduct was worth salvaging. It was super-cured, patterned like psychedelic agate, and could be cut and polished with relative ease! Wow!

Sadly, the techniques that produced this great rough years ago, are no longer in practice. Cars are now painted by way of an electrostatic process that essentially magnetizes the enamels to the car bodies. This leaves little, or no overspray. The old factory methods that created this incredible material are long gone.

The Fordite “mines” are dry, so get some while you still can!

I buy mine from and from - both cool family run enterprises.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Something non-jewellery. A photo of my cheeky little kiddies....