Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Recycling at its most beautiful - bone china flower jewellery

Back in 2013 I found a beautiful, vintage bone china pansy brooch in a charity shop.  I recalled elegant ladies of my Grandmothers' generation wearing fabulously naturalistic and delicate floral brooches just like it when I was a child.  I knew I had to have it, but frankly I'm just not a brooch kind of girl.  I set about converting it into a ring and it proved really popular.  People started asking me if they could have one too.  A new Urban Magpie range was born.

My original pansy ring

Most of the famous pottery manufacturers in the Staffordshire area of the UK seem to have produced bone china flower jewellery from the 1930's to about the 1970's. The brooches, clip earrings & hatpins were all handmade and skilfully hand painted. 
I like to think that by up-cycling them into rings I'm celebrating this craftsmanship & giving their work a new lease of life.

Packing a punch

When I acquire the vintage flowers they've usually been languishing forgotten at the bottom of jewellery boxes and are often in a sorry state.  I clean them up & start the painstaking restoration process.  I file out any chips, sometimes having to completely re-sculpt individual leaves and petals with my trusty multitool.  Next I re-paint & varnish the damaged areas to blend them in with the original paintwork.  Finally they're fixed to silver plated adjustable ring bases.

Restoration work in progress

The flower rings proved popular, but my next concern was what to do with all the old, redundant clip-on flower earrings I kept acquiring. The blooms were too small to turn into rings, but it seemed a shame to let them go to waste. The solution was to recycle them into a collection of dainty floral hair slides. 

My popular hair slides

At the start of this year I felt ready to take the range a bit further and started incorporating the vintage flowers into simple pendants and statement necklaces.  The first pieces from the new collection have just gone on sale this week at my central Leeds stockist Our Handmade Collective and you can have a look at what's in store on my Facebook page.

One of the vintage flower necklaces
The rings are also available from my online Folksy shop.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Postcard artwork

I have a little something un-jewellery related which I'd like to show you.
Back in November, a friend asked for contributions to a fundraising anonymous Postcard Art Fair at her school, in the style of the one at the Royal Academy in London. The majority of the 500 postcards were done by the girls at the school and some were done by the school's Art Department staff. The rest were produced by a bunch of local creative me.
My contribution was this bejewelled lady in a billowing dress. It was painted in watercolour, acrylic, & silver enamel paint, against an iridescent copper background. The details were picked out with a fineliner pen.

I hope she found a nice new home.....