Thursday, 27 February 2014

New Acorns and Golden Oldies

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Smokey Quartz gemstones and Sterling silver acorns

This post shows pieces going into the shop that represent new beginnings while reflecting on the past. I read in a Psychology book recently about how it can be beneficial to look back at the ups and downs of your life and work out how you got through the toughest times, and to acknowledge that you always did get back up again. You are meant to learn lessons from your own history and take reassurance from it. Bearing this in mind I created this piece as an ode to new beginnings . I have a strand of these smooth tumbled Smokey Quartz gemstones, that resembled acorns, others can see grapes, buds and even olives - what can you see? I sculpted the stalks , vines and tendrils in Sterling silver. You can see from the picture of the piece in my hand how small and intricate the piece really is (below)

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By way of a coincidence, I also found this significant piece I made years ago. This "Golden Oldie" was created at the height of some really tough times I was going through, and had no sense of control over my situation. This piece represented something of a creative breakthrough in my wirework, which gave me such a sense of hope and serenity in the midst of all that hate being thrown in my direction. I guess I should value the fact that my art and creative outlets have always comes to my rescue whenever I have fallen down, I will always be grateful for that. I hope to get these two pieces in the shop within the next few days :)

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14 carat gold and microfaceted  Citrine gemstone

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Thanks for stopping by

Samantha Braund

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Seashore Chocolate Box and Being Noticed!

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It has been a wonderful week of unexpected pleasures!

I managed to have a creative breakthrough, which is something that provides me with a sense of zen, like nothing else! It all started with Musetouch Visual Arts Magazine sharing my Art Journal (see below), on their FB page last week. If you follow the link you'll see that the response was amazing, the photo was liked over 2000 times, and shared over 700 times! I have never had such an ego boost for my work!

The truth is that I made the art journal as part of my Uni coursework - it was a Summer project they set before starting in 2012, to create a concertina style book. I patched the cover together in haste, using Polymer clay for the sculptural seascape elements, and over time completely forgot how I did it! I wonder if this happens to other artists too ... now I try to document my process, especially as I jump about from medium to medium so often. Well, as you can see I managed to work it out this week with my Seashore Chocolate Box :) Yay!

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Original polymer art journal from 2012

The chocolate box is for a friend who had every faith I'd be able to recall my process and tried to allay my anxieties. She wanted a coffee table book or box, and I came up with a box construction, to store her chocolate mini treats that she gets out with the coffee.

It turned out better than I thought it would. I combined polymer clay elements, Decoart Modelling paste, die cut shapes and several washes of acrylic paint to create the Seashore on the box, and added her initial to top it off. I am definitely going to make more of these for the second shop, and will try out different themes too, although I do love my Shipwrecked, pirate treasure themes in all the media I work in !

The other unexpected thrill was this amazingly complimentary write up on my metal clay work in The Polymer Arts magazine blog . My Fine silver  Purple Spider Conch Shell (see below) was featured and the author made connections between the piece and a human heart which was so insightful. It was such an honour to read, and they gave a flattering description of myself as a Multi Media Artist which did get me thinking about the way my work is developing. I cannot claim to be purely a jewellery artist that dabbles in mixed media on the side anymore, I think my condition is getting worse lol! I suspect the University course is responsible for freeing up whole other aspects of my psyche,  allowing me to explore those themes in other media

I certainly tackle issues from the past and mental health issues etc through more traditional art forms. I wonder where it is all heading?! Well, I'll be back at university this year, and will make sure I sit down with my mentor there and hash it out ....anyway I will leave you with lots of different views of the Seashore Chocolate Box and will come back with more jewellery soon, I am sure :)

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Purple Spider Conch Shell in fine silver, freshwater pearls and sterling silver
(I hope to get the conches into the shop soon)

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Seashore Chocolate Box

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Box opened up - I used some distressed French script  paper to line the box

Close Up Views ... I love those!
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I added this piece into the following challenge:
Country View Challenge #12 "Painty Pleasures"

Thanks for stopping by

Samantha Braund

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Sea Urchin Mermaid Amulet Gone To A Mermaid!

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I had to post about this piece, one of my absolute favourites in the shop, has been sold
Inspired by the textures and form of a Sea Urchin I constructed the radial wire sculpture and fused it to the fine silver sculpted metal base. It is a technique I have pioneered and is unique to me , which makes this piece totally one of a kind. I know this amulet is going to a good home for a very special occasion and I am thrilled about that :) I even made a little certificate card to go with the piece as she  travels across the oceans onto her new Mermaid owner

I hope you love the photos...she will be very missed...

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Thanks for stopping by

Samantha Braund

Friday, 14 February 2014

Cassie's Celtic Forest Book

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Happy Valentine’s Day all! I haven’t been around much this week due to pesky hospital follow up appointments etc, but I have finished a little project for a dear friend that I wanted to share here

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My friend Cassie loved the grungy effect on Pete’s box book thing (technical term) and has been hinting heavily to get me to make her something similar. She is a bit of an amateur chef and collects recipes from everywhere, so I decided to try out an idea for an organiser notebook on her, as a gift.

She wanted something “earthy” and “Tolkien-esque” Blimey! Not an easy request lol…. Anyway, I finished it today and will present it to her later as a sort of Valentine’s Day pressie. I saw a couple of You Tube videos on mini book album making and combined a couple of them to come up with this design. It has a signature of good quality plain paper, either end, with 2 pages in the middle with pockets galore to store her recipes in, adorned in pretty patterned paper. The plain paper can be written or even painted on

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  There are many niggles to iron out with the design, like making the spine a shorter width and curving it more gently before strengthening it. There is an obvious kink, which bugs me. I have diligently written down my process, which is so unlike me, but I am determined to do it again and improve upon it! I think I’ll also watercolour paint my plain paper first before binding, it needs some subtle background colour

  The front cover, has lots of texture, created with die cut shapes and stencilled modelling paste (my new favourite thing to do). Then the whole piece has been painted in acrylic paints, with additional touches of metallic, courtesy of Decoart Metallic Lustre - "Iced Espresso". The focal is a copper wirewrapped Snakeskin Jasper gemstone that compliments the earthy tones I think. I was going for a forest, Celtic kind of look, but grungy! Well, I hope she likes it - she better lol, “Tolkien-esque” indeed!

I entered this piece into the following challenges:
Country View Challenge #12 Painty Pleasures

Anyway, thanks for stopping by :)

Samantha Braund

Friday, 7 February 2014

Grey Skies Seafoam Mermaid Amulet

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This is the latest necklace I finished making today. It is the follow up piece in the Seafoam Collection, inspired by Hans Christian Anderson's Little Mermaid short story. The first one as you may recall contained Aqua Blue Chalcedony gemstones, this one contains White Chalcedony gemstones

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These gems arrived in the post a few days ago, and I was instantly captivated by the milky grey - white hues, and I especially loved the luminescent glow that seems to emanate from within the gems themselves. They reminded me of grey rainy skies with the sun peeping from beyond the clouds. I had to start making the necklace within two hours of opening the parcel! I used 5 of the gemstones for this piece, and tried to emulate coral and barnacles with my woven swirls and beads, to create a piece suitable for a Mermaid.

It was a tricky piece to photograph, I do have some high contrast images against a white background, but I personally prefer the grey against grey...for the shop I used a close up crop shot for the primary image. Anyway I am in love with this latest precious and may even anoint it the new "Queen of the Shop" (there is always one lol) . The hubby is very enamoured with this one too which kind of clinches it for me. It is strange though how much I adore colour, riotous bright hues all the way through to sombre darks, and yet my new favourite piece is such a watery, cloudy desaturated coloured piece...very ironic

I hope you love the rest of the views of this piece, which is already in the shop (I've been pretty efficient with listing lately, how unlike me lol)

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Thanks for stopping by :)

Samantha Braund

Monday, 3 February 2014

"An Ode To Spring" Art Journal Page

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I decided to take a break from the jewellery side of things this weekend. The hubby was bogged down under a pile of academic stats and figures, which left me at a loose end. I interpreted this as time for fun in the studio!

I have made a cool storage chest for my newly acquired Ink Sprays and Mists. It's all shiny and black at the moment , and in desperate need of a makeover. I want to give it a kind of heavily textured faded grungy wallpaper look, but I needed to make some practice samples first. So that was what I was supposed to do, but instead I turned to my art journal and got a wee bit invested in constructing this art journal page lol. It started as a grungy wallpaper background in purples, browns, blues and greens....then it transformed as the weekend progressed

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I used papers I'd printed ages ago, using the fabulous Gelli Plate. I find having a good printing session to be fun and therapeutic, and ultimately really useful. I just use "copy" paper, it's cheap and cheerful - I have a stack of these printed sheets waiting for me to use. The mood struck me to use a blue-purple print and matched it with this photo from the photographer Kasia  Pietraszko

The background was made from layers and layers of papers scraps, with gesso, acrylic paints and stencilled modelling paste. I think it does look like grungy wallpaper, so I am happy with that at least. I am still unsure about the overall composition, I got bogged down with too many options! I covered my table with stamped papers, brown paper bags, die cuts etc and became overwhelmed ...ultimately I came up with this Ode To Spring

I haven't posted up other art journal pages on this blog for some reason?! I really should pop them on here, as it is a brand new thing I have been getting into this year and would like to catalogue my efforts somewhere other than on my Facebook page lol...

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EDIT - I've amended the post to include images of my Art Journal cover, and a few pages :) I only got the journal in mid December last year, as a present, to channel any anxieties and nervous energy into...I carved my own Blackletter style stamp for the cover, and the rest of the pages shown are inspired by xmas and the hubby. Anyway, I hope you like these snapshots :)

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Thanks so much for stopping by xx

I entered my Ode To Spring Art Journal Page into :-
"Anything Goes With Twine or String" Simon Wednesday Challenge Blog
Country View Challenges February "Painty Pleasures" Challenge  #12

Samantha Braund

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