Plant lore workshop

Lots of people came to the plant lore and jewellery making workshop at SSW today.

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About 17 people came along

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and worked hard

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I demonstrated how to make some pieces

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These two brooches were popular

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and several variations of the aspen earring were made

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This simple earring was one of my favourites

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And this brooch had a lovely composition

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We had plenty of local plant material to incorporate using mainly wire wrapping and threading techniques. We also shared some stories about plant use in Scotland and the local area.

Non stuff festival

Earlier in the year Craft Scotland put out a call for musicians and artists to share their art at the first Non Stuff festival. I went and did 2 workshops in up-cycled jewellery. On the Saturday we repurposed catfood tins and charity shop fabrics; wiston10

This is Anne Philbrow’s fabric and berry brooch.

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on the Sunday we used organic materials. This is Wendy Grubb’s work in progress.

I met some lovely people, made candles and woven fish, learned how to make cans into soap dishes and tasted raw chocolate.

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another autumnal necklace worn by its creator.

Coptic icons

The rest of my time was for my work. My inspiration recently has been about listening to what the landscape still holds of people from disappearing cultures, so I chose to develop work about Coptic Cairo. To date I have been using organic materials as found objects in my work. As Cairo is quite short on plants and trees, Estela challenged me to make work from rubbish – which is everywhere here. We walked from the studio to the main Coptic area salvaging rubbish on the way.

The Coptic icons of the Virgin Mary breast-feeding drew me, there is a suggestion that they link back to pharoanic Egypt where Isis is depicted breast feeding; but they also seem at odds with the current Islamic culture. There is much suspicion between Moslems and Copts today.

Anyway, my starting point was to make 60 virgins from the street rubbish.

The first thirty or so were quite figurative, but they allowed me to identify shape and line, which linked with the Virgin but maybe had something more.

I could show you all 34, but here are the top 6.

1chipii 2chip 3coke copy 5triptychi copy 8medallion stone copy

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We also tried wax modeling for lost wax casting.

The was was warmed then extruded through a large ‘garlic press’.

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The wax string was then wound round clay formed models.

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We made elephants.

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Again the designs were made to order for craft outlets.

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The wax thread models were then coated in another layer of clay and were then ready for casting.

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In the village they also did beading using these beads and wire wrapping.

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We watched a man in his 70s make solder and then forge solder a small box.

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The forge was heated by hand turning a fan/bellows.

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The work was poorly finished, but was for the local market – the boxes were for herbal talismans worn on the arm.

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Holiday in India, with a jewellery theme. The first jewelers’ village made pieces to order using traditional labour intensive skills. I had a go making mustard seed beads – which are sparkly and you may see them in Traidcraft or similar catalogues.

First the wire is hammered in swaging blocks to a triangular section.

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It is then cut in bead lengths and hammered to a right angle.

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Then each piece is hammered closed around a nail, then the individual facets are hammered.

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