Sunday 1 December 2013

December 2013

November has been one of my busiest months in my new studio or any studio ever for that matter! But I seem to have lost my blog somewhere in draftworld ... Nevermind. I have been to Harry Potter at the Warner Brothers Studios at Leavesdon - maybe it was whisked away to a parallel world via Diagon Alley.
I have been listening to some very beautiful and I suppose rather old fashioned music by today's general standards, as I have worked in my studio into the night -
Richard Addinsell - The Isle of Apples
I love Richard Addinsell - here is a link for anyone who wishes to know more about this man and his life and work - Richard Addinsell link
No home of my own as yet but I am on the lookout. I also found some time at the end of last month to go to stay with my daughter in London for some mother/daughter time and to discover a bit more of my capital. I tend to regard London as my comfortable and sustaining mother city and other places - Paris, Venice etc as my favourite aunts and uncles - more unconventional and less predictable.
The National Portrait Gallery is providing me with a wealth of insight and inspiration, not only into the lives of others and into history in so many ways but also into my love of jewellery. There is a beautiful portrait of Emmeline Pankhurst that was painted in 1927 by Georgina Agnes Brackenbury.
I think that her brooch could be translated into papier-mâché very well. I have devised a series of pieces of jewellery based on those worn by iconic women. Emmeline Pankhurst gave me the idea. Now I am on the lookout for other pieces. Part of my research may well have to, most certainly will have to include visiting galleries to find original material.
The machinations of my Blogger world are beyond me sometimes - why does this picture refuse to rest happily where I place it? Why does it insist on being extra large and in the centre when I urged it into a modest left hand position? Perhaps because it is linked to Mrs Pankhurst.... After much experimenting I found that if I set the position and then copy/delete/paste where I want it to go it stayed there. This is quite a discovery after years of photos refusing my directions!
Back to the National Portrait Gallery and the bracelet worn by Jenny Lind.
Elizabeth Parcells in the style of Jenny Lind - known as the Swedish Nightingale. 
Frida  by Maira Kalman - the necklace.
From right to left - Chastity, Beauty and Love.

I have been making some lapel pins - as a tribute to Coco Chanel who was aware of their charm a long time ago.
Mine are quite simple - made from papier mâché that I have gilded and scorched. The backs are smoothed over with Milliput
Then I have gilded them as the gold leaf adheres perfectly to newly applied Milliput as it is an epoxy paste. One of its official uses is to mend broken pottery and it dries to the hardness of ceramic so a perfect addition for strength and durability. It also thoroughly and firmly embeds the disc of the stick pin. The surface is brushed with either epoxy resin or matte acrylic varnish. The pins are about 3cm in diameter and 5cm in length. I shall be sending them out to galleries in the January and have put some for sale in  my Etsy Shop
The photographs are looking rather dismal - i-phone and light box + photo-shop should work better than this. The finished pieces are really quite white apart from beautiful and quite subtle variations in scorching with a soldering iron. 
Earlier this month I went to see an exhibition at the V&A on the history of pearls
You know how when one is at an exhibition one often finds oneself in a a sort of a ruck of a few people with whom one seems to effortlessly travel the prescribed exhibits whilst pretending not to notice each other. There must be a word for these companions ... in the absence of which "excoms" will do. Well my excoms for the duration were Gilbert and George as in Gilbert and George
Delightful and always immaculate and honed to perfection. I came away feeling rather disenchanted with wealth and the pearl industry and in particular the resemblance of latter day mass produced pearls to ball-bearings. 
I have some lovely irregular shaped pearls to add to some pieces to make necklaces that I think will work well. 
Keshi pearls 
Natural white keshi and bronze fresh-water pearls between fragments of 18th century clay pipe stems that I have found on the river bed of the Thames at low tide on one of my mud-larking forays, make a necklace, whilst picking out the shifts of colour and contrasting textures of one of my scorched and gilded papier-mâché pendants.
I have also made some smaller fragments with papier-mâché by pressing air dried papier-mâché clay into a mould that I made from an Edwardian serving spoon using Siligum - made by Pebeo

The photograph is pretty dreadful but you can see what I mean regarding the transferred image. The backs are again strengthened with Milliput and I have embedded a silver lined transparent glass bugle bead into so that the stainless steel wire can be threaded through. The backs are then  if you would like to see how I make them - gilded with silver leaf. I have grouped three keshi pearls between pairs of my iridescent papier-mâché beads - 
Below is one of my many YouTube video tutorials - this one explaining how to make the iridescent papier-mâché beads.

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