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Today I took a trip out to Derbyshire to drop off some new work for the Lost and Found exhibition at The Beetroot Tree Gallery in Draycott. I have been supplying jewellery to The Beetroot Tree for about 3 years so I really wanted to offer something new and to take the opportunity to try out something different.

My new work  is a series of eight small three dimensional artworks using vintage photos, paper ephemera and all manner of bits and pieces I have collected over the years and that I couldn’t use for jewellery making. It’s great to be delving into them and bringing the photos to life again.

They will be available as originals through the gallery and also as prints – exclusively available through the Beetroot Tree for the duration of the exhibition but I will have them available in the webshop from the end of April.

The exhibition opens next weekend and runs until the end of April. It’s exciting but nerve racking – one of my creative resolutions for 2012 was to work a bit out of my comfort zone and stretch my artistic wings so now I just have to wait and see how it is received.

the view from my window today

I love days like this. The cold rainy weather is outside and it makes my little attic studio feel all the more snug and cosy. It helps me drift off into my own little world, the one where the radio keeps me company and I happily potter about finishing off a couple of commissions and playing with some new designs. Before I know it it’s four o’clock and I have to brave the weather to collect Matilda from nursery. For now though I will enjoy the calm before the storm.

Tools!! It does occur to me that perhaps my love of making things is an excuse to indulge my love of tools. Here is the first of a series of posts about what I use to make what I make. And where else could I start but with hammers. I have far more than I need and am still collecting, but each one is different with it’s own character and it’s own uses. Especially the vintage ones. They have their entire working life imprinted into them and it feels like every time I use them this history is infused into the jewellery, they add texture, personality and for me a sense of integrity and reality to my work. They are objects which were made for a hard and heavy industrial life and now enjoying a gentler retirement with me in my studio. Here are a few of the ones I use most often.

Left to right.

1. vintage cross peen hammer. I use it for adding all the letters and numbers to my jewellery.

2. heavy vintage claw hammer. Good for shaping and forging thick sections of silver or brass

3. vintage tiny cross peen hammer. I use this one for flattening off rivets

4. ball peen chasing hammer. This one has a lovely weighted handle and a soft, smooth mat surface on it’s flat end. Perfect for planishing silver or brass to a perfect but not too shiny finish.

 

Left to right.

1. brass/nylon hammer with aluminium handle. Tiny and light it is good for when I don’t want to leave marks on the metal and for very delicate jobs like adjusting claw settings.

2. vintage blacksmiths hammer. Possibly my favourite, this one has a fantastic texture to the flat face and is the one I use most often for adding a texture to silver work. Despite having a wobbly head this one is really well weighted.

3. tiny ball peen hammer. Used for finishing tube rivets on the sparkler and button rings. The rounded end finishes the open ends nicely and is just the right size.

4. nylon hammer. replaceable nylon heads. I use this for round off rings and for when I need to reshape something delicate but don’t want to leave any hammer marks. The nylon ends can be unscrewed and changed when they wear out.

5. jewellery planishing hammer. The first jewellery hammer I ever bought. It has polished faces to give a bight mirror surface to the silver.

 

 

Hello and welcome to the design blog for Alys Power Design. I am a jewellery designer/maker specialising in original and unique pieces hand crafted from vintage and precious materials. My work explores the challenges of forgotten and discarded articles into objects of beauty and value. I work from my home studio in Nottingham, England and sell work through local and national shops and galleries and at regional craft fairs and arts market. More info and online shop can be found on my website www.alyspower.co.uk. xx

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