Thursday, 29 December 2016 00:00

Prometheus white bronze experiment

 

SO I recently have bought some Prometheus white bronze and thought I would give this a try because it looks like a nice alternative to fine silver. Excited I made a few pieces and got them ready for the kiln. I love playing with the the different textures and especially enjoy making 3D shapes and hollow forms. 


Prometheus white bronze before firing

Prometheus white bronze before firing



The first firing (20 min at 500c, 2 hours at 770c) seemed to have gone well with no cracks or other damage. Some of the smaller pieces on the edges of the box melted (leaves and flowers) whilst the hollow forms in the center of the box did not sinter. Strangely some flowers had melted petals but an unsintered center... Others did not sinter either. Go figure...
Also weird is that one of the hollow forms had fully sintered (the one with the green stone) and the one next it did not.

 


Prometheus white bronze after first firing

 

Prometheus white bronze single sintered bead

Prometheus white bronze single sintered bead

 

Since I had damaged the hollow beads brushing them after taking them out of the kiln, I had to 'fix' them with a pattern. That done I decided to re-fire them (10 min at 500c and 2 hours 20 min at 770c) including the one that had sintered to see what would happen. I placed the beads only, evenly spaced and well covered, more towards the outside of the box. The result has me even more confused.

The bead that had previously sintered during the first firing melted to a blob. Randomly I had two pieces sinter fully, one piece sinter on one side only(!) one piece did not sinter at all and the largest one has begun to melt.

Prometheus white bronze after second firing

 Prometheus white bronze after second firing

 

I feel there seems to be no consistency to white bronze in comparison to silver and copper clay. My last attempt at the minute is to open shelf fire a few test pieces to see what happens but I am a bit weary by now.

So the conclusion is that I will stick to copper and silver clay until I can find some white copper clay in the UK. Sad because the white bronze looks so nice when it actually works. At least I have two beads that I can do something with!

Exciting news!!!

 show 17 01 16

In May this year I received a request to become part of a group of artists that teach in their various fields of expertise. This does happen occasionally. This invite, however, was a little different in that all lessons I will be teaching are aired on live TV! It was a long time in the making and I am very excited (and a little nervous, too) to announce that my first show as a Jewellery Maker guest designer will be on the Jewellery maker channel on Monday the 26th from 13pm - 17pm GMT. I hope you will tune in for some amazing gemstone deals and several micro macrame lesson from yours truly !!

Wish me luck lol xxx

Craft 'till you drop!!

 

 

Ever wanted to work learn how to make a soutache necklace? Or wondered how to make those amazing, high end looking wire weave pieces? I for one have been dying to know how to make a professional looking polymer clay bracelet as I seem to be all thumbs when it comes to that.

Why am I going on about this? Because now you can learn all of these amazing crafts by joining myself and 18 other artists in the ART JEWELRY ADVENTURE RETREAT

The project covers a great variety of art forms, all of which you can try at your leisure from the comfort of your home. The online retreat will begin in January 2016 and each month new projects will be released for you to view.

I am honored to be teaching alongside some extremely talented and amazing artists from around the world.

If you want to learn how to do:
soldering, torch fired enameling, resin, quilling, sutache, wire work, molding, mixed media (painting, stamping) shrink plastic, silver clay, epoxy and polymer clay, micro macrame.... the list goes on, all you have to do is SHARE and ENTER using the link below!! It's that easy!

Follow this link to find out more:
http://bit.ly/ArtJewelryRetreat

And we're live!

My first video tutorial is now available on the Craft Art Edu website at a discounted rate until Friday!  Save 25% off the normal price!

You can view this class online and print out the handout to use as reference while you work. All in your own time and at your convenience! Have some fun making these quirky and colourful earrings!

Monday, 09 March 2015 00:00

Thai waxed cord Pros and Cons

Thai waxed cord. After having tried many different types of cord, I finally settled for this one. There are several reasons why this is my cord of choice. The first being the finished look of my macrame pieces. Because the cord is not braided the knots blend into each other beautifully, giving your work a very smooth and even look. My favorite part is when I finish a project and heat it. It is almost like an ugly duckling kind of transformation every time, as the initial look is much less vibrant. Heating melts the excess wax and brings out the colours and 'cures' the cord. Once cooled it stiffens and prevents unravelling even further. The knots never loosen during knotting and it is very easy to manipulate. I have found this cord in several differnt sizes but use only two: 0.85 mm and 1mm in diameter. I prefer to work with the thinner of the two as Japanese Toho seed beads as small as 11/0 are threadable. No glue is required as excess cords can just be trimmed off and the ends heated to finish. Bad knots happen to everyone and another plus point for this cord is that, even when the cord has been undone several times and looks quite tatty, once knotted and later cured, you could not tell the difference! On the downside, because this cord is heavily impregnated with wax it is very sticky and tends to tangle and snag easily. Frustrating when having to work with longer cords for a large project. It is definitely not a cord that is suitable for kumihimo. Sadly, it is quite difficult to find and after extensive research I have only found two or three sources for this cord, and because of this, colour choice is also quite limited. I have found around 20 or so colours only. It is good value for money though as each roll has around 600m /656 yards and lasts forever!

Pros:

  • Absolutely stunning finish
  • Knots do not come apart (this can be frustrating as well at times)
  • It 'cures' when heated and does not require an adhesive when finishing off the ends.
  • It takes a lot for before the cord becomes unusable and can be undone numerous times without adverse effects
  • It is water repellent and can become wet without losing colour or shape
  • Cones are extremely good value for money and at 600m/656 yards per cone it lasts a long time.

Cons:

  • Limited colour choice (around 20 colours for each size)
  • It snags very easily
  • Knots are difficult to undo
  • Usable, but not the best cord for kumihimo work as it is very sticky and tends to snag
  • It is quite hard to find and suppliers are limited to just two or three

 

Specifications: 

           Thai wax cord imbali crafts

 

 Thai wax cord:

thickness:  ranges from 0.5 mm to 1.5 mm
bobbin/spool size: 600m/656yards rolls
type of cord: unbraided waxed cotton cord
threadable seed bead sizes:

0.85 mm cord:  8/0 (3 mm) is the smallest that can be double threaded - 11/0 (2mm) will fit with just 1 cord

for the 1mm cord: 6/0 (4 mm) is the smallest that can be double threaded. 8/0 will fit with just 1 cord

price: currently ranges from $14 - $40 per roll but is extremely good value as each roll as 600m/656 yards of cord

 Places you can buy Thai wax cord from:

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/HonnVillage

http://www.lookpud.com/aboutus.template.php?lang=en

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1-Roll-600M-Waxed-Cotton-Cord-1-mm-for-making-Bracelet-Necklace-450-g-/161416483180?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item25952c116c

Some of my projects made with Thai wax cord: 

thai wax cord choker imbali crafts   thai wax cord necklace imbali crafts  thai wax cord choker imbali crafts

            

 

Saturday, 07 March 2015 00:00

Chinese waxed cotton cord Pros and Cons

Chinese waxed cotton cord - I have no idea why it is called that as it does not seem to have any wax content - is a great cord for beginners. It is a firm cord that holds the knots well during the knotting process and is easy to use. I like using it for less detailed projects that I want to complete quickly. Its 1mm + thickness makes knotting a quick affair as there is a lot of volume with relatively little knotting. Even though it appears to have the same diameter as C-lon and Linhasita, the cord takes up much more space and the downside is that any beads smaller than 6/0 won't fit but you can still use many other beads with a larger diameter hole. I have made many earrings and necklaces with this cord and enjoy working with it. If you like to incorporate kumihimo into your macrame work, this is the cord to use! The woven columns are beautiful and the knots present very nicely. It does not tangle much at all and it is really easy to work with.

Pros:

  • Very easy cord to work with and is great for beginners
  • Hardly tangles and if it does, it's easy to sort out
  • It is readily available just about anywhere at a very reasonable price
  • It has a huge variety of colours
  • Can be used for kumihimo projects
  • Comes in many different lengths 

Cons:

  • Colours fade in sunlight eventually
  • If knots have to be undone the cords can look tatty thereafter
  • Its thickness means that all smaller beads are not suitable
  • Allthough it is called Chinese 'wax' cord an adhesive is required to finish off the ends

 

Specifications: 

 chinese cord specs imbali crafts          Chinese waxed cotton cord imbali crafts

 

Chinese waxed cotton cord:

thickness:  ranges from 1 mm to 2.5 mm
bobbin/spool size: between 10m/11yards sold loose & 100m/100yards rolls
type of cord: waxed cotton cord
threadable seed bead sizes: 6/0 (4 mm) is the smallest that can be double threaded - just!. 8/0 will fit with just 1 cord
price: currently ranges from $1 - $4 per meter or around $4 - $6 per roll

 Places you can buy Chinese waxed cotton cord from:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1mm-Waxed-Cotton-Cord-Various-Colours-And-Lengths-Available-Jewelry-Making-/171323633908?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&var=&hash=item27e3af30f4 (sample of a listing on ebay)

This cord is very easy to find. Many beading and crafts stores will carry this cord, and it is readily available on Ebay and other online stores.

 

Some of my projects made with Chinese waxed cotton cord: 

    Chinese wax cord necklace imbali crafts  Chinese waxed cotton cord necklace imbali crafts      Chinese waxed cotton cord necklace imbali crafts

 

Friday, 06 March 2015 00:00

Linhasita Pros and Cons

This cord originates in Peru. Linhasita was the second cord I tried for my macrame projects. It is a very versatile and durable cord that sits somewhere in between C-lon cord and Thai wax cord in terms of ease of use and looks. It does not have the beautiful sheen that C-lon cord provides, but it certainly produces some stunning looking pieces as the knots tied with this cord are very even. The cord itself feels a little sticky due to its wax content, but is quite workable. It is perfect for any marame project. It is not as readily available as C-lon cord or Chinese wax cord, but there are some reliable sources that will supply you with this cord. Its 1mm thickness means that any seed beads smaller than 8/0 (3mm) are not threadable. All in all this is a great cord for beginners and advanced macrame artists alike, and I would recommend this cord.

Pros:

  • Projects made with Linhasita are very durable and can even become wet without losing shape or colour.
  • The cord is very evenly made and produces stunning results accordingly. 
  • Linhasita cords come in many different colours. There is a good selection available which will allow for great colour variety in your projects.
  • Spools are 180m/195 yards and offer good value for money.
  • It is UV and mildew resistant
  • No adhesives are required to finish off your projects due to the cords wax content

Cons:

  • Although I like the look of Linhasita it does not offer the smooth and completely even look of unbraided wax cords.
  • It is a little sticky which makes it somewhat harder to undo bad knots. Kumihimo projects still work with this cord but it can get a little frustrating when longer cords tangle.
  • Dirt will easily stick to this cord if care is not taken to keep the ends away from the floor or dusty surfaces while knotting

Specifications:

 

 

Linhasita:

thickness: 1 mm
bobbin/spool size: 180m/195yards cones
type of cord: 100% waxed polyester cord
threadable seed bead sizes: 6/0 (4 mm) is the smallest that can be double threaded. 8/0 will fit with just 1 cord
price: currently ranges from $7 to $15 per cone

Places you can buy Linhasita cord from:

www.linhasita.com (wholesale only)
http://www.peruincamarket.com

Sites like Ebay & Etsy also have a good selection for this type fo cord.

Some of my projects made with Linhasita:

 

  Linhasita necklace imbali crafts      Linhasita necklace imbali crafts       Linhasita necklace imbali crafts       

 

Thursday, 05 March 2015 00:00

C-lon Cord Pros and Cons

I have spent a lot of time browsing the net in search of different types of cords that I could use for my projects. It's often frustrating if you don't really know where to start and what to look for. I have decided to cover several types of cords and go into detail on each one. I'll start with C-lon cord. This was the first cord I have ever used, and it served me very well! So here it goes :)

C-lon is made in the US. It is lovely to work with as it produces very elegant looking pieces. Finished jewelry items look very classy as the cord has a subtle satiny sheen. I love working with this cord!

Pros:

  • Projects made with C-lon cord look very elegant due to its satiny sheen.
  • It is very easy to work with and bad knots are easy to undo.
  • There are various cord diameters available which gives you the option to choose a thinner cord if you wish to use smaller seed beads in your project.
  • C-lon produces cords in many beautiful colours, a huge selection to choose from which will allow for great colour variety in your projects.

Cons:

  • Unlike waxed cord C-lon is not 'waterproof'.
  • Jewelry made with C-lon is not durable if not cared for properly. Items can look tatty and frayed after extensive wear especially light coloured items that attract dirt easily.
  • Knots tend to loosen themselves and sometimes need to be re-tightened periodically during a project.to finish of the ends an adhesive is needed as your work will unravel without one.
  • Bobbins are quite small at only 39 yards/ 36 meters and relatively expensive in comparison to other cords.

Specifications:

C lon cord diameter imbali crafts

 

C-lon Tex 400:

thickness: 0.9 mm
bobbin/spool size: 36 m or +/- 39 yards
type of cord: 3-ply twisted nylon thread
threadable seed bead sizes: 6/0 (4 mm) is the smallest that can be double threaded 8/0 will fit with just 1 cord
price: currently ranges from $2.5 to 6$ per bobbin

C-lon bead cord:

thickness: 0.5 mm
bobbin/spool size:  82 m or +/-90 yards
type of cord: 3-ply twisted nylon thread
threadable seed bead sizes: 8/0 (3 mm) is the smallest that can be double threaded 11/0 will fit on just 1 cord.

price: currently ranges from $2.5 to 5$ per bobbin

Places you buy C-lon cord from:

http://www.store.jewelsinfiber.com (US)
http://www.spellboundbead.co.uk (UK)

Sites like Ebay & Etsy also have a good selection.

Some of my projects made with C-lon cord:

Clon cord necklace imbali crafts     C-lon cord necklace imbali crafts

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