Monday, 30 July 2012

First Etched and Enamelled Samples

Have you ever done a project where at the end you suddenly ask yourself, "my goodness this looks tragic, what was I thinking? Why didn't I realise sooner?" Usually when I think this to myself I'm referring to sorting out my wardrobe or some over-experimental cooking, but not with something I've made. With this mini project I had that sinking feeling that the end result wouldn't be as striking as I imagined, and all the work I put in would be a waste. Fortunately, a couple of accidents in the enamlelling kiln changed the colours more to my liking, and with a little more destructiveness I might come out with something that was worth the time I put in. 

Copyright Steffi Glaves 2012

Before I went home for the summer I had a month or so where I could pretty much do whatever I wanted in the workshops. After doing those triangular laser cut pendants I fancied having some done in copper as well, and it gave me an excuse to try enamelling onto an etched surface, which I have never done before. I experimented with liquid grounds, tape and marker pens for making resists for the nitric acid, onto large triangular pendants. I found that some resists worked better than others so the crisp geometric shapes and textures I marked out were lost. I was a bit peeved, but suddenly realised they would look better to cut them up into more manageable pieces. 

This came up a treat in the enamelling process. I didn't realise how little enamel was actually needed to fill the etched spaces I made. Plus, as I was grinding down the surface, the masked parts that were initially etched away suddenly were reappearing. Every time a piece was put back in the kiln and ground down the pattern kept changing. 

measures 55mm long
Copyright Steffi Glaves 2012

My next issue now is that I'm tempted to pierce holes into the blobby bits, as Ive crudely drawn on Photoshop above. I think the green pendant, which is looking a bit plain, would benefit most from this. I'm worried that the enamel could crack but if that happened I could always refire it again......could I.........? Could anyone give their opinion please?

Sunday, 29 July 2012

A Cosy Crochet Cover for a Cremated Loved One

18th May 1922 16th May 2011
May I introduce my Grandad Bill.  Although he passed away last year, he is still a big part of our everyday lives. He stands by the fireplace where he liked to read his paper, making him very much present on the three birthdays and the Christmas that my family have spent in his house.  His jobs in farming and gardening never stopped him from looking his best in a shirt, waistcoat, tie and jacket. Nowadays he is a bit more travel sized but this doesn’t mean he can’t look as distinguished as he did when he was alive. The functional green plastic urn we received him in may have appealed to his inner gardener, but it doesn’t quite reflect his warm persona, and neither would a traditional ceramic urn.  I didn’t want to create a cosy for him as such, that would put him in the league of a teapot cosy or a loo roll doll, but I wanted to cover him in something smart and familiar looking. Plus we still have a lot decorating to do in the sitting room and don’t want him to get freckled with white emulsion again…

Copyright Steffi Glaves 2012

I looked towards his waistcoats and jackets for colours and worked out a pattern with a few button holes so it could be easily changed. I started off with a granny square for the base, and when the square got big enough I stopped increasing the stitches at the corners so the walls can be formed, working my way upwards in single stitch. 

Copyright Steffi Glaves 2012

I’m really pleased with the end result. It almost has jacket lapels, and it doesn’t make him like a hot water bottle, which was my biggest worry. There's also an extra button hole for when we start painting the sitting room again.  I think Grandad would be happy with it too.

Monday, 23 July 2012

SO.......... MUCH........WOOL!!!!!

About a year ago I was very kindly given about 9 bin bags of wool by friends who were clearing out a house they had just inherited. However, in the midst of moving house in Yorkshire and spending most of my time at Uni in Leicester, the wool has been packed in boxes and I haven't had the time to have a proper look through them. I had some shelves put up specially and indulged a whole day in putting it all in colour order and stacking it. 

I can't have it like this forever though. I can imagine moths and spiders making a cosy winter home here when I go back to Uni, so it is my mission over the next month or so to find some nice boxes that I can have on the shelves instead.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Chien-Wei Chang Silver smithing Class

Earlier in February I was taught to make a cylindrical box as part of a class from Silver smith Chien-Wei Chang, which coincided with his own exhibition at the New Walk museum, Leicester. The aim of the 
session was for people to form, solder and make a tightly fitting lid. Everyone in the class had to bring along a personal object that is special to them to attach to the lid. This humble looking twig may look totally bonkers but it's special to me because it reminds me of a really nice walk I took with my Mum and sisters on the grounds of Shandy Hall near Helmsley N.Yorks. It also became the basis of one of my favourite projects this year. 

It may only be the ugly duckling that made me realise my appalling soldering skills but I love it any way. It was a really fun day and I came out with something that I can keep my beer money in. 

For More information on Chien-Wei Chang follow these links:

Monday, 2 July 2012

Guest Book for Artisan Exhibition

This is one of those posts that should have been done waaaaay back in April while the final 2nd year exhibition was happening, but was too busy tearing my hair out to give a thought on how bad my time keeping is. 2nd year Design Crafts students were given the task to organise an exhibition as well as creating artefacts for it. This involved finding a premises, Marketing, organising food, catalogues, fundraising and pricing etc. It took place in Fabrika, Leicester on 24th-28th April and was a huge success, but more on that later.......
Along with helping out with fundraising I was asked to make a book for guests to write cheeky little comments in.
 I had holes laser cut into the plywood to so I could crochet a spine onto the back. It took about 3 hours just to get the spine done, as no matter how I sew it the back cover just wouldn't match the front perfectly. In the end I just gave up and let the squew-wiffness happen. I decided that it is the nature of a crochet stitch that doesn't enable the back cover to be in line with the front, as seen slightly in the image below. It created a bulk on the inside of each covers that caused issues for gluing end-papers. I decided in the end not to have them as I could attach the folios neat enough for it to become a decorative feature on the inside.

The idea was for students to contribute images that I could manipulate on a digital format so that there was a little surprise on each page. What I didn't expect however was how guests would doodle around them.

This image, donated by Martha Harris was crying out to be on the opening page. I love how someone added the worm on the other side.  I also love her blog:

 Can you see what someone's put amongst Steffnie Percival's cut out shapes? Check out her blog too, she exhibited some gorgeous spun and pierced bowls :

other contributions were made by textile, ceramic and light designers on the course and truly completed the book. Although not all the pages were written on I did see the odd one or two flicking through it to find   more images.

UNDER THE SEA!!!!!! Check out Nicola's laser cutting loveliness on her blog:

I'm sort of itching to make another one...........