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Photography

You might have noticed this week that I have changed my banners on my shops, I have been thinking a lot about the images I present and decided it was time to get a little help to ‘up my game’ as far as photographing my work is concerned.

I have been really lucky recently to have been introduced to a fantastic photographer Lottie Judd,  she’s recently moved to Scotland and last year we were lucky enough to win a family photoshoot with her, over the last few months we met up a few times for coffee and a natter, we have a lot in common, neither of us are native Scots,  we both love images, colour and jewellery and seem to find things to natter about endlessly, naturally it made sense to as Lottie to help me with my photography.

I knew that I needed an idea of what I wanted out of our session, I knew that I wanted help ‘staging’ my jewellery but I also wanted to create images that were inviting and warm, over a couple of days prior to Lottie coming over I collected a few props together including some lovely pussy willow sticks, pieces of wood and dried leaves/petals.

Lottie helped me to check my camera settings in manual were correct for the photos I wanted, we talked about depth of field (blurring the background so the foreground is in focus) we talked about F numbers and why they are important and we talked about white balance and light, more importantly I came away with some wonderful images, the knowledge to create them again and a sense of direction and purpose to take forward.

If you are a small craft business and you want help to polish your images and sharpen your skills I can honestly say investing in an few hours with a professional photographer who is happy to share their skills with you is invaluable! Consider these things:

  • Choose someone who appreciates your work and understands the images you want to create.
  • Choose someone who has patience and is willing to talk you through your camera and its settings
  • Have a good idea of what you want to achieve before you pay for a session, look at Pinterest, think about how you want your images to ‘feel’ to the viewer.

You can see Lottie’s photography on her website here: http://www.lottiephotography.com and follow her on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/lottiephotography/?fref=ts

 

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Workspace Sharing

Recently my best friend moved house, like me she’s a lamp worker, her new place doesn’t have a shed, or workshop, no where for her to light her torch and melt until her hearts content. Lampwork is a meditative process, it can be restful and restorative, when you are told that you can’t do it, or you’re restricted for a period of time it can feel like your world has shrunk, like a part of you is cut off, with this in mind I offered my friend the use of my second torch.

I dont think I was really prepared for the benefits of shared workspace, I don’t think I was prepared to observe how differently someone else worked,prepared and used their tools. I have spent time with other people in their workspaces, I have taught people in mine, but this is different, my friend has the space set up in a particular way to suit her needs, where I am scattered she is neat, where I know where my tools sit and can just reach for them hers are laid out ready for use.

The week my friend took me up on my offer was a bad one, I was in a creative slump, feeling lost and directionless, contemplating all the other things I could take up without really seriously considering any of them it would have been really easy to resent someone invading my space, I didn’t, I actually enjoyed the company, the chatter and feeling of camaraderie, having someone on hand who totally understood my slump and didn’t utter the words ‘you should’. The silence wasn’t awkward, it was companionable, it was easy.

Having chatted at great length about being in a bit of a slump we decided to create ourselves a private Pinterest board for things that inspired us. It has proven already to be a wonderful source of ideas, not only for colour combinations but for patterns and structures of beads, my favourites so far have been a series of totems, gorgeous brightly coloured poles with lots of pattern, you can see the pin here https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/398005685800173378/

Below you can see the dolls I have made inspired by those poles.

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I think the best part of all of this is the genuine excitement and thrill of making something new, having someone wonderful to bounce ideas around with,  we have even been talking about collaborating on some projects 🙂

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Experiments

One of the things I love most about what I do is the opportunities to diversify, as with so many other crafts, one often leads to another and another, in some respects its distracting, in others its a joy, I will never be at a loss for things to do, try, learn. It does on occasion leave me with a sense of panic that I will never have enough life time to experience or try out all the things I want to do.

Anyway I digress, this week I was having a long overdue tidy up in the workshop, and was distracted by some discarded copper sheet (my kids do this when I ask them to tidy their rooms, they always end up playing with forgotten toys and the room never gets cleaned) I started by cutting a circle of copper and using my sandbag and a ball pein hammer started hammer in a spiral from the centre ( its at this point I wish I had taken photos of the process) after repeatedly annealing the copper and gradually hammering until I reached the outer edges I ended up with a small copper dish, I know I haven’t done it properly because the edges of the dish shouldn’t be fluted so I must read up on properly sinking bowls.

Having left the project alone for a day I had another look at it and decided to enamel the centre, I have some lovely enamels that I use for glass beads, I layered them up and then heated the kiln, it has to get really hot for the enamel to melt. copperdish2

You have to be careful moving the unfired piece to the kiln so you don’t disturb the powdered enamel.

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You can see from the second photo that the enamel has fired but there are still small spots of it where its moved slightly when I’ve placed it in the kiln.

When it comes to this type of work I am a complete novice, I really do need to read up more on the proper processes, but it was a fun distraction project and I am left with a pretty bowl that looks like it has a pool inside 🙂

 

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Bunnies

When I first started on my lamp working journey I was determined not to create character beads, its odd really but at the time they somehow didn’t feel quite ‘proper’ ….I know, right!  Since then I have had a massive change of opinion (helped along by selling a good few of them) Character beads are a touch of escapism, a journey into the storybooks and favourite toys of childhood.  When I was little my favourite teddy was a rabbit (called raddit) so in honour of the easter holidays I’ve been making bunnies.

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Kiln Treasure

This week has been about trying out new ideas, playing with colour combinations and thinking about where to take my work next, it often feels like I’ve been making dolls for so long that I have forgotten where all this started, with a huge passion for beads, making jewellery and components.

These are my first lampwork headpins. IMG_3480

One of the greatest joys of trying out new ideas is opening the kiln in the morning, its like finding treasure, the anticipation of finding out if what you’ve made has worked, if your ideas have translated successfully into glass.

I love the versatility of these pins, they make great simple earrings, perfect dangles to a charm bracelet and are made more interesting by the addition of beads to the stems or wire wrapping, I can’t wait to see what my customers make.

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