Thursday, 26 January 2012

Good Lunches, Good Business Books and News

Well, another week's over! It's been a bit of a grim one as I've had tonsillitis so have had a bit of time off from making.

So, have you all been and treated yourselves to some fabulous Debbie Orr, Skein Queen, products? I hope you enjoyed looking around her website and I would just like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to her for taking part. I have met some lovely people through my collaborative blogs so long may it continue - and I do have at least one more in the pipeline for you and I'm always open to suggestions of artists so do let me know if you come across someone we should all know about.

Last Friday, before the sore throat, I attended a really gorgeous lunch at the River Cottage Canteen and Deli at Royal William Yard, Plymouth.  The lunch gathering was held by Ladies Wot Tweat and consisted of a group of ladies who had met each other through Twitter, other social networks, business and word of mouth.  It was slightly daunting to walk in, not knowing a soul, however, I did find I knew one member when I got there and I definitely knew several more by the end of a fantastic meal.  I believe they meet regularly so I shall look out for the next date!

So whilst I've been feeling under the weather, I've been reading.  My husband bought me a great little book for Christmas which is a short punchy business guide, literally only a page or two on each aspect of business for artists and designers.  It's by Alison Branagan and as soon as I started to read it I felt that I also wanted to read her more in-depth essential guide on the same subject.  They're really well written and assume no previous knowledge which is just brilliant for me as I'm just taking the next steps with growing my business into full time hopefully.  I bought both books from Amazon and they're my recommendations for the week!

A Pocket Business Guide for Artists & Designers by Alison Branagan
ISBN 978-1-4081-2992-0

The Essential Guide to Business for Artists & Designers by
Alison Branagan
ISBN 978-1-4081-1903-7

If you fancy a read, these are interesting and not heavy going at all.  I've learned a lot.

So I'm hoping to work on a few designs in the next few days and I'll let you know how I get on and there might even be a Valentine's competition next week!!!

Are you all going to read this next week then? Be in with a chance of winning a very pretty piece? See you all then!!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Collaborative Blog with the Skein Queen!

Well last week I was trawling around the net looking for an artist/designer to feature on my blog and here we are - all done and ready for you to drool over!

When I was little I was taught to knit and well remember my grandad teasing me by suggesting I was knitting a waistcoat for a flea as my knitting never seemed to grow much!! My mum is a fabulous knitter (no cable design too difficult for her!) with a mega yarn stash, but it was my nan who taught me and like her, I knit in her style with the right hand needle tucked under my arm! I'm an occasional knitter only now as most of my free time is spent making jewellery but I love the colours and textures to be seen in a good wool shop.

This brings me to the mouth-watering hand dyed yarns of Debbie Orr aka the Skein Queen.

I asked Debbie a few questions and this is what she shared with me.


1. Where do you get the inspiration for your designs? For yarn colourways, inspiration comes from fairytales, birds, the sky, botany, food, literature and images in my head of rich, luxurious European palaces. For knitting designs, I always think of what the finished item will be used for, hence Lazy Sunday bedsocks and Day Trip mitts or how the finished item will make the wearer feel ie Cloud Nine socks.

Day Trip Mitts

2. Is there a craft medium you’ve always had a hankering to try your hand at? Two years ago, I learnt to spin and don't feel that I've truly mastered that yet, but if you're talking a brand new craft from scratch, I think weaving would be top of my list. Anything textile-related.

3. If you could see one famous person owning one of your designs, who would it be? For yarn ownership, I guess it would be one of the famous knit designers I admire rather than an out-and-out celebrity, someone like Stephanie Dosen of tinyowlknits or Ysolda Teague. That would be cool.


4. Where can fans buy your work? My yarn and patterns are available on I have shop updates every couple of weeks adding more hand-dyed to the shop. Or to be guaranteed of a monthly delivery of SQ yarn, you can sign up for the Queen's Surprise Club to get colourways inspired by books or film. I also have stands at Unravel in Farnham Maltings on 25th and 26th Feb. and at Fibre East in Thurleigh 14th and 15th July this year. And limited stock is available at yarn stores such as Loop, All the Fun of the Fair, Cornwall Yarn Shop, Lighthouse Yarns and Yarn Cafe.


As you can see Debbie's yarns are just gorgeous, and as knitting is now trendy and cool once more, why not treat yourself to something very very special? If you knit a garment in one of these yarns you will always love it!

Like Debbie Orr I am motivated by colour and texture and just looking at these fabulous yarns makes me want to dye some aluminium!

Lavaflow Cuff and Necklace

This piece is available from the Signature Collection on my website at

So that's all from me this week, apart from saying a massive thank you to Debbie Orr, Skein Queen, for sharing her thoughts and yarns with us.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Launch of the Signature Collection!

Well, hello again!

This week my husband's been away working so I've been cracking on with my list of things to do and working on my new designs.  I've also added a Signature Collection to my website although it needs a little tweaking here and there when my better half gets back.  I'm lucky to be married to someone who has a great eye for design and  website stuff!

I've also been on the search for new blog collaborators and have approached a couple of really exciting artists so we'll just have to wait and see if they want to be involved here.

So, last week I showed you one of my new designs and I promised to show you more as I developed the idea. So here we go, these are the latest explorations of my theme of 'Heart of the Matter', a kind of lateral thinking from Valentine's Day! These two pieces will be part of my Signature Collection as they are handpierced, forged, rivetted and completely finished by hand using all of my silversmithing skills.

Today I've been in the studio making jewellery for Valentine's Day. I'll put up some pics of those hopefully next week and you let me know what you think of them.

See you next week!

Saturday, 7 January 2012

A New Direction!

Hello everyone and hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year.  I also hope that everyone who received my jewellery as presents were happy with it.

Well, we had a crazy, but wonderful Christmas Day with 9 of us gathering at the home of my daughter-in-law's parents who are very good friends of ours for a lovely family day.  As is usual for any family gathering Jeff managed to set light to something, however, this time it was only a paper napkin in the bin! The indoor fireworks left us all staggered by their beauty.........

New Year was very quiet and saw me writing lists of things to do in 2012, mostly for SlickSilver Jewellery as it will be a period of change and hopefully growth as I plan to spend more time working in the business, funds allowing.

So on to some changes - I shall shortly be adding a Signature Collection to my website where you'll be able to see the highly individual pieces that form a crossover between my silver and my aluminium work.  I shall be featuring, as part of the collection, some new designs I've been working on which explore simple basic leaf shapes with handpierced centres.  The following design started as an idea for an alternative to hearts for Valentines Day, however, I feel that the shape lends itself to further exploration which I plan to do.

This example would make an ideal gift for Valentine's Day or at any other time of the year so don't forget to point the relevant people in the right direction!!

I had a week off this week from my day job and it seems to have vanished into a pile of paperwork for my tax return, however, it's all done now, but I have had a lovely treat to cheer me up.  Those of you who read this blog regularly will know that I often feature other artists in my collaborative items and you may recall that I featured Phiona Richards of Rare Notions with her exquisite recycled books.  I was thrilled to received this from her in the post the other day and I'm really looking forward to wearing it - thank you Phiona - do make sure that you check out her website

Ok I must get on with finding some more lovely artists to feature on here - suggestions anyone?