Friday, 22 October 2010

A day in the life...

I never got to post last week so I thought I'd catch up by posting a kind of typical day post. Lots of pics, not much about jewellry making though.

 On my way to school, I pass this statue which is on a former shipping office. Maybe they had St. George as their patron saint ? I love the detail on the Dragon. I'll store him away for use as inspiration later...
 On the south channel of the river they built an Hotel and office block development. It's a nice place to get a coffee..                                                                                                                                                                                                  .

 I also pass my old high school. It was a commercially based school, specialising in accountancy, bookkeeping and so on, how would things have turned out had I gone to an art based school ? 
 Because I'm always early, I get to sit and drink a flask of coffee. For a while I have the place to myself.

 This is our workshop building. It was a church at one point. 

After some instruction, we get to work. This day we had a go at enameling. There's always a mad flurry of activity while we try and solidify in our minds the technique.


This is Chris, our instructor. How he manages to deal with everybody and keep a sense of humour is amazing.

Saturday, 9 October 2010


 So last week, we were to take a pattern and impose it on a piece. I opted for a bangle as I wanted to get through this brief quickly and get back to brief 3. Zebra pattern on a Bangle.  I selected Aluminium as a metal but spent a lot of time trying to polish out the scratches and marks so I'll be slower next time to pick it. I covered the bar in heavy duty tape, cut through with my pattern and peeled off the "black" stripes. I then sanded each stripe. The look I got is not the one in the photo's. On Thursday, Sam showed us a little tool that goes on the buffer, that whips the metal giving it an etched look. It took 2 minutes as opposed to 2 hours with sandpaper. I think next time I get an idea, I'll hold off until the Thursday afternoon instruction. Save myself a lot of pain and anguish. So lesson learned this week was, be slower in selecting materials, techniques, and sizes for the end product. Over and out !

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Week 3.

No Pics at all this week. We found the battery charger but not until Friday so it was too late to take any photo's. I'll bring it with me tomorrow and take photo's of the class, school etc.

 So last week was difficult. The work load is heavy but interesting. A lot of people caught a bad cold going around and I thought I was clear, but it hit me on Friday. Today I have the hot and colds, was awake all night with a hacking cough so I'll be glad to see the back of it.
 I thought actually, I caught a sinus infection, so before you go thinking I'm a wuss, here's how it involves my classroom. We were short on dust masks, which we wear for polishing and sanding. I was using a bandana over my mouth but on Thursday night my throat was raw. On Friday I had a sharp pain under my cheekbone.  A few other people had the same complaint earlier in the week. Manifestation of the recession !
 I was also noting how a lot of the equipment was worn out or simply broken and not replaced.  There is a good side to this, in that it makes you think laterally about how else to achieve the effect you need. This is also good because when I set up my own workshop, and won't be able to fork out £1000 for a clapped out rolling mill, I'll be used to solving problems. There's always another way !
 I asked our instructor would we be going on any field trips this year. He said they normally go to the Kilkenny design studios, but it depresses the students to see the state of the art equipment  they have there, and then come back to St. Johns. I suggested the National museum, and the Museum in Collins Barracks  so he thought that was a better idea. Won't be until spring time though.

 Next week, our brief is to design a piece we don't normally do (in my case, a pendant) and incorporate pattern into it. I've had the idea for a few weeks now to do something to "bring out your Urban Goddess/High Priestess", so I'm thinking a triangular shape with a zebra skin pattern. We'll see if it gets accepted tomorrow.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Week 2 !

I'm still not organised enough to Blog the way I want to !  I was going to take photo's of everything I did last week but camera battery is dead and the charger is not where it's supposed to be. (Not looking at anyone.)

So, last week we got a brief to design and execute a ring and incorporate the skills we learned the week. Before I show you a photo, I should say we've decided our class motto will be " Next time, I'll do it differently ". This comes from the self criticism skills we've perfected. So here's the brief and finished ring.

 On Tuesdays, we have a workshop with Chris Carrol who is a traditional Silversmith with a workshop in the city. With Chris, we do traditional apprentice excercises. In this case it was to make a Tea Caddy spoon. The point was to practice piercing (sawing) and pleinishing (hammering).

On wednesday we got a new brief, to make a ceremonial piece. Again we must use the new skills which are coming at us fast and furious. I thought of making a kind of Celtic Tiara but settled instead for a Binder. This is used in pagan marriage ceremonies to tie the wrists of the two vict... em, bride and groom together. It's still a work in progress. Our instructor gave me a crash course in repousse so I had a great time hammering out a spiral disc. I'm still evolving the finished look of the piece, so I'll have a photo soon. Meanwhile, I'm enjoying my walk to and from the train station everyday. Here's an old window above the Tikki graffiti I posted last time. I always liked that window and was glad to see them restore the building but with the economy coming to a grinding halt , so has the restoration.

I like this little flower design. It would look cool as a cabochon in a ring 

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Week one.

This will be a "day in life" sort of blog. I'm not used to blogging so bear with me for a while. I'm sure I'll be more efficient after a week or so.
I live about 20 miles from school so I have an hours journey every morning, divided between
Car, Train and a nice walk. Usually I have the train station to myself.

On my walk I pass some interesting graffiti. They have a "Tiki" feel to them so I'll store them away and maybe use them for inspiration later as a pendant

On Wednesday afternoon we had drawing class. I've never had formal art classes before so I was
really eager to see what was involved. We did lots of excercises based around assembled objects we brought in. I brought some sea shells and a crab claw. (I live near the beach). We drew them as we saw them, then with our eyes closed, without looking at the page ( oddly, harder than with eyes closed ) and so on...

On my walk home, I saw some things I found interesting. I like the contrast between the old red brick building and the new Apartment block in the distance. Brick/glass, dull/shiney, red/blue, old /new and so on...
There's also an art nouveau style design on a building just around this corner....

And on to the train station. I must show you this station in a future blog. It's been in loads
of movies where they need a really Victorian looking train station. This view is of St Lukes Church. It belongs to the city now and sometimes has Art exhibitions there. The windows were designed by Michael Healy. I've never been in it so I must make a point the next time I'm up there. (Henchys pub is just across the road, an excuse in itself to go up to St. Lukes !)