Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Painting A Thousand Words

Unbelievably, its been a whole year since my husband, Ed, and I got married. To celebrate this, we visited a part of the country very close to both our hearts - Cornwall.
As you're all probably aware, the traditional 1st year wedding anniversary gift is paper. Because of this, we decided to invest in a painting together whilst on holiday in Cornwall. It is a beautiful part of the country - full of inspiration, with picturesque views and colour splashed absolutely everywhere, making it a perfect location to find our anniversary gift!

One part of the county I was extremely keen to visit again was the charming St. Ives. This beautiful seaside town is understandably home to many artists and chock full of galleries (including the Tate!). There was no doubt in our minds that if we were to find our painting anywhere, it would be here.

As an Arty-Farty individual myself, I couldn't help but photograph nearly every colourful, chocolate-box nook and cranny of this town! It is so clear to me as to why artists move down there. 

After taking a walk down Smeaton's pier and watching the ocean for a while, Ed and I decided to wander in and out of all the art galleries we could find. The lovely thing about St. Ives, is there is a gallery for everyone. Whether it be a large, realistic style canvas you are after, something a little more abstract or the more modestly-priced print - it is here somewhere! You can spend a few pounds to a few thousand pounds and find something beautiful to display in your home. 

The view from the pier!

We were both very keen to find an original, and so had to bear in mind that this would come with a fairly sizable price tag. Although we budgeted, art is an extremely personal thing. If you fall in love with a piece, you have to be prepared to go over budget - do not settle for something you are not in love with! This is my one piece of advice when buying artwork.

There were a couple of galleries that stood out to us:
Porthminster Gallery - displaying the likes of Nick Bodimeade 
The Blue Bramble Gallery - displaying the likes of Sara Bevan 

But the art gallery that interested us the most and actually housed the painting we bought, was The Island Gallery. Home to the talented artist Bill Waldron and his work (along with other artists' pieces), it didn't take us longer than a cup of coffee to decide that we were more than happy to go over budget and buy his work.

The painting is of Smeaton's Pier, St. Ives, captured on a crisp February morning this year (2015). We loved how cool, bright and calm it looked. I admired the way Waldron had captured the sea, and Ed was taken by the sky. 

Not only was it a beautiful painting, but it was of somewhere that meant something to us. It was perfect.

A photo of where we thought our painting was captured from - minus all the people!

If you haven't already, I would definitely recommend you pay a visit to St. Ives. Not only for its art, but for its views, atmosphere, ice cream(!)... oh and the exercise you get - its very hilly and the walk down from the car park is steep! 

I would love to know what you think of our find. In fact, I feel we are both quite lucky we found a piece we both love equally as much. And if you do visit this lovely little town, pay the Island Gallery a visit - it's seriously worth the look.

Keep watching this space!

Thursday, 12 March 2015

M is for Mother

Now as all of you fellow Britons should be aware... Mothers Day is coming up shortly. For those of you not aware its Sunday 15th March! You better get prepping!
Since catching the jewellery-making bug at the end of January, I have not stopped creating. To me, Mothers Day seemed like the perfect opportunity to put this newfound skill to use and thought I would share it with you all.

At my most recent jewellery-making class (Beadelicious) we learned how to create a necklace using wirework. I loved the intricacy of this, and that how at the end of it you had a pendant that you created completely by hand.

My First Hand Crafted Wire Heart Pendant Made in Class

Inspired by this new creation, and eager to try out some new wire-work designs, I decided to make two new necklaces for my Nan and Grandma for Mothers Day - as gifts from my parents. I wanted to keep them theme-specific and so used one of my own handmade beads to fit the bill.

The handmade bead is made from white FIMO clay that I moulded into shape and then baked until hard. I then hand painted it with a gold letter 'M' (for mother!) and little pink flowers. I just used acrylic paint for this. Once the paint had dried, I finished the bead off with a clear gloss. To compliment the floral 'M' bead, I incorporated small pale pink glass pearls into the design.

The pendant was created by forming some 0.8mm silver wire into a heart shape. Some 0.6mm silver wire was then wrapped around the heart pendant and after every few wraps, a bead was added. This technique was used to evenly distribute the beads around the pendant and also strengthens it due to the extra wire.

Once the pendant was complete, I trimmed some silver chain to size, attached a jump ring onto the pendant, and threaded it onto the chain. I then attached a silver trigger bolt clasp to finish.

And the Mother's Day deed is done!!

If you would all like a gander, I have worked on many other jewellery items including necklaces, pendants, bracelets and earrings. To view my range so far, visit my Handmade by ZibZob Facebook page here: www.facebook.com/handmadebyzibzob 

I would love to know what you all think! And I am constantly on the look out for new ideas to play with - so feedback would be very much appreciated.

Keep watching this space.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

A Spot of Upcycling

Hello everyone and a belated Happy New Year!
As with a lot of people, New Year to me is about fresh starts, new hobbies and learning a little more about yourself. In fact, next weekend I will be attending a jewellery workshop at our local Heritage Centre as this is not something I have tried before. I will be sure to let you all know how that goes! 
In-keeping with this New Year theme, I decided that for my first craft project of 2015, I would give something I own a new lease of life. Now this is my very first upcycling project, so I would love to know your thoughts (and tips for any future ones).

Back on my 13th Birthday, my best friend bought me a jewellery box that looks like a little wardrobe... And I loved it! I've always remembered the excitement on her face when she handed it over to me to open. Around a year later, she moved to Australia. We still keep in touch and she actually got married in December last year - so congratulations to you both!

Now, over 10 years later I still have (and use!) this jewellery box as a memory of our friendship. Over the years, decor and taste changes and so to bring my jewellery box up-to-date, I thought I would give it a little makeover. 

I worked on this over the past few weekends in the spare moments of time I did get. It did involve a little waiting around, so it was great as a project to keep going back to when I had a spare 5.

Please feel free to use my process for this as a guide for your own upcycling project. 

To start, make sure you protect your work area with an old sheet to allow for sanding dust and paint splatter.

Before I could do anything to the jewellery box, I had to prep it. I started off by covering all the components that I didn't want to get paint on (such as the handles and glass) in masking tape for protection. If you are able to unscrew and remove such components, you are best of doing that.

The jewellery box was coated in a layer of varnish so I then had to sand the whole thing down with sandpaper to remove it. I am not going to lie, this part was very tedious and took a fair bit of time and elbow grease. This process can create a lot of dust, so you are better off doing it in an open space. If I am to go totally health and safety on you, I would recommend wearing some kind of respiratory mask as well!

As sanding down does create a lot of dust, you will need to make sure to wipe down the jewellery box afterwards. I used a soft cloth which I dampened so that any loose dust would stick to it. Make sure to dispose of any loose dust that has also gathered on your sheet. With the dust out of the way, there will be no dust-related mishaps when painting!

Once the jewellery box was sanded down, I got some white primer and coated it with this as a base for the paint to adhere to. I needed 2-3 coats of it overall.
My dad had a spare tin in his study so I just used this. I wouldn't go out and buy any specifically for such a small project, as I can guarantee a family member would have some lying around somewhere!

Once I had coated the jewellery box in 2-3 coats of primer, I started to paint. I didn't want all one color as this would have just been too similar to what it was before. I opted for a pale gold to lift the mocha tones throughout our bedroom, and mixed my own dark teal colour for contrast. As this was a small project, and wouldn't be used to the extent a piece of furniture would be, I just used acrylic paint - which I had plenty of!

This process took a long time as I had to keep going back to it. Not only this, but the fiddly parts such as inside the compartments and ensuring I didn't get the teal on the gold sections and vice versa, took a lot of time. I painted 3-4 coats overall. 

Once the paint had dried completely, I was able to remove all of the masking tape that had been used for protection. To finish off, I inserted a cut sheet of paper featuring a contrasting stripe pattern behind the glass panel in the door of the box. Papers like this can be found in most craft / art shops. This particular one was taken from the Wildflower Premium Paper Pad which can be found from The Works. I simply cut it to size, and then used double sided tape to fix it directly onto the back of the glass panel.

And there we have it! My very first upcycling project, and first completed project for the New Year. Hopefully this time next week I will have some new handmade jewellery to keep inside it!

I would love to hear your thoughts and see your upcycling projects too. The whole process has become so popular and accepted over the past few years and its intriguing to see how creative people can get.

Again I hope you have enjoyed the read and that I have inspired you to do something creative in your spare hours.

Keep watching this space.