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Delicate and meaningful jewellery inspired by nature.

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Filtering by Tag: handmade

Cosy Winter

Erica Sharp

Hello! I've had a little break from blogging this last month, as this time of year gets so busy with orders! Thankfully I have been organised this year and managed to get all my international orders out on time for Christmas, so only have to worry about the ones for here in the UK. Things are winding down gradually...

Autumn has been wonderful here this year, we have had many sunny days and little rain. I am so lucky to live so close to woodlands and nature, and have loved watching the seasons change. 

I'd like to share some of my photos from walks around where we live, to celebrate the shift from Autumn to Winter.

Every leaf speak bliss to me, fluttering from the Autumn tree. - Emily Brontë

Every leaf speak bliss to me, fluttering from the Autumn tree. - Emily Brontë

Nature's silk and lace.

Nature's silk and lace.

Morning light and the magical sparkle of frost.

Morning light and the magical sparkle of frost.

Wildflowers in their winter's slumber.

Wildflowers in their winter's slumber.

Winter is such a lovely time for me; it's my birthday in December, and Christmas is soon approaching. One thing I find myself doing a lot now is nesting and making; darker nights are spent cosying up by the fire with my sketchbook and a hot cup of tea, or baking cakes to old Christmas jingles. It's a magical time of year. I am keen to carry this in to January and February as these are drearier months to get through, so all the more reason to create colour and loveliness indoors. I quite like the term "nest and make" and am thinking of starting a hashtag this winter on Instagram. 

Nesting and making. Cosy wintery bliss.

Nesting and making. Cosy wintery bliss.

What do you love most about winter?

Starry Starry Night.

Erica Sharp

Hi everyone! It's been a horrible week for a lot of us and it feels sad that there seems to be much hate in the world at the moment. Things feel quite bleak sometimes and hard to understand. In times like these I try to focus on the good of people and humanity, and move forward positively. It is the only way we can have hope for our future generations, to lead with love and compassion, and not hatred. 

I thought I would write about some new designs I have been working on recently, inspired by the darker winter months. Our dog Pedro barks at night when there is a full moon (he's a pug but thinks he's a majestic wolf), and because I'm a light sleeper I often wake up to gaze at the moon with him, it's so quiet and still in the middle of the night, there is something magical about it. It has been lovely looking at all the stars when the skies are clear.

I wanted to make some constellation jewellery, but nothing based on zodiacs as there seem to be a lot of these around already. I decided to look at constellations from different seasons, and chose Lyra, Cassiopeia, Orion and Ursa Major.  

My ideas always start in my sketchbook. I am always a bit embarrassed to show work at this stage as its just a lot of mess, notes and bad drawings. I felt a million times better about my bad sketchbook when I saw Alan Kitching's sketches at the Pick Me Up exhibition earlier this year; it was literally just scribbles and notes.  I think all artists have their unique way of working and I have to remind myself not to be so precious, to have faith in the process and not to get caught up in reaching an outcome.

My ugly sketchbook!

My ugly sketchbook!

I played around with some more drawing and painting, I love working with watercolour in particular as its such a quick medium. I did these paintings just to get in the mood for all things mystical and celestial. The first picture was inspired by an amazing star embellished dress I saw by Alexander McQueen.

Star gazer.

Star gazer.

I had some wax wire that I thought would be perfect for making the geometric forms of the constellations, and started to experiment with it. It was so hard to work with at first and really frustrating. I used heat to attach the wax together but it melted so fast into messy blobs. Eventually I found a way to make it work and to create textured clusters for the stars. 

Many attempts made to try to get these right!

Many attempts made to try to get these right!

When they were finished I took them to the casters. They said that they "should" work out okay but couldn't guarantee it as they were so delicate. So I prayed hard to the casting Gods....

Casting success!

Casting success!

Hurray! They worked. Now they have been tidied up, with jump rings soldered on, and multiples have been made. I'm at the stage of getting the finished pieces back from the platers, as I have some gold and rose gold versions too.  I will post an update about these soon.

If you want to follow my process please take a look at my Instagram page as this is where I post daily snippets of my work/life.

I'll end this post with a quote which seems apt for this week.

“Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light; 
I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.” -Sarah Williams.

The art of lost wax casting

Erica Sharp

Hello everyone! Welcome to my first blog post. I'm not a person who is very good at writing, but I would love to share some of my processes and ideas, and keep you posted with news. I think my blog posts will be visual rather than wordy but will hopefully convey my passion and creativity in an engaging way!

I've just recently listed some of our charms in the shop in gold and rose gold. These are our most popular designs from our woodland collection. If you follow me on Instagram then you may know that I am a little bit of a wax carving geek, and the lost wax technique is how a lot of my creations are made.

Our rabbit charm carved in jeweller's wax.

Our rabbit charm carved in jeweller's wax.

My work always starts off in my sketchbook as pencil drawings and little notes. Originally I wanted this little bunny to be hopping but as I started to carve him, it changed.  I love the way he is sitting quietly, observing the world around him.  For this collection I read a lot about the Victorians and their jewellery. Their jewellery is known to be symbolic and sentimental, and often given as gifts to symbolise a significant life event.  For example, buttercups feature in many Victorian designs for young women as they embodied all things jovial and youthful. 

A little buttercup wax. The woods near my house are abundant in buttercups during the early summer when I made this.

A little buttercup wax. The woods near my house are abundant in buttercups during the early summer when I made this.

Once my waxes are carved, I take then to the casters in London and they are cast in metal. I tidy them up, file off the sprue (the small vessel where the metal in poured into the cast) and make sure they are in perfect condition for making a mould.

The casters can then make a master mould so I can have multiple pieces made.  Each casting is filed, finished and polished by hand before attaching to a chain and sending off to their new home.

 

Our tiny rabbit necklace in sterling silver.

Our tiny rabbit necklace in sterling silver.

I had quite a few requests recently to make these in gold and rose gold. So I took some pieces to the platers in Hatton Garden where they plated them for me. I make sure I get a nice thick plating so the quality is lovely and long lasting. I love the pieces in yellow gold the most, the colour is amazing, and I think they are most in keeping with the era they were originally inspired by. A lot of ladies love rose gold now, and these have had some lovely positive responses too.

 

Mister rabbit glimmering in yellow gold.

Mister rabbit glimmering in yellow gold.

Our swooping swallow necklace in rose gold.

Our swooping swallow necklace in rose gold.

You can see our little woodland charms here.  I'm thinking of making a few more woodland creatures next Spring- perhaps a wise owl, a butterfly and a magical fern. What woodland inspired pieces would you like to see?

Now the darker days are drawing in I am designing a collection inspired by stars, planets and the night sky.  I will write an update about this soon.

Have a splendid week!