Every year I decide that over the Christmas break I am going to get such a lot done - and then I end up not doing half of it. Most years I happily beat myself up about this, but this year I really enjoyed being quite lazy and I think I feel better for it.
I've been working on a few different things which I want to share with you here.
The first was my venture into 'proper' product photography. I have a great Canon camera but until recently I thought my product photos were very plain and boring. Through the Jewellers' Academy blog I heard about Karen Young Photography. Please check out her site if you need some inspiration and the Jewellers' Academy blog posts that she wrote for them.
I spent a pleasant afternoon taking notes, and another pleasant hour or so in Hobbycraft buying small props I could use as background elements, plus items already in my home. I'm really pleased with the shots I got, some of which I've shared with you below.
My seashell enamel earrings above are a particular favourite of mine now. It's the first time I've had anything cast in sterling silver, and I was even more pleased that after tests, many of the Nihon enamels I supply work directly on sterling, at least with one coat anyway. The company I used for casting was Jewelcast Ltd of Birmingham. They were very professional and helpful and I highly recommend them.
My Budgerigar enamel (below) has been a long time in the finishing. My original plan was to set it but it's not quite up to my high standards. It was one of the most complicated cloisonne enamels I've done so I'm actually pleased with myself even though it doesn't quite make the grade. I may redesign it and make a smaller one. One of the major problems I had was warpage of the copper base which I fixed with a hot flat iron on a marble plate and some advice from the Cumbria Subgroup of the Enamel Guild (thanks ladies!). For now it's sitting above my desk, catching the light when the sun shines and making me smile.
Finally, since Christmas I've been enjoying painting Toby in watercolour in a variety of festive poses! If you're wondering why he isn't standing up in any of them, it's because he lives his life horizontally as any 18-year-old pusscat should do and I don't have many photos of him upright! He gets up, eats, demands the shower to be turned on so he can drink, goes to the loo, then goes back to bed. Ah the life.
I hope you all had a great Christmas and are ready to get back into your art practice. Recently I've been diving into etching copper and silver which may be the subject of my next blog post!