Looking Forward to being a busy Lapidary in 2011

In addition to working semi precious stones like Tiger Eye, Blue Lace Agate and the many others we have in stock I also want to revisit my big stock of Flint and get to know it better and maybe couple it with the copper wire to produce a range of “not too expensive” jewellery but keeping it in the same class as our Sterling Silver wrapped jewellery. I also like the Flint because it’s a material I collected myself from an excavation site, so there is more of a bond to it than the bought in rough that we have.

Happy New Year

Well 2010 has been and gone now and now we look forward to 2011 in a positive manner and to getting the grinding and sanding wheel a turning again in the Lapidary workshop.

2010 was a quiet year out in the workshop for many reasons like other work commitments and to be honest no real need for more cabochons and tumble stones, simply because there wasn’t a lot of selling going on at the craft fairs in the first half of the year.

Fortunately things picked up in the second half of 2010 with the sale of rough rock showing an improvement and Shalini’s finished jewellery sales have also picked up a lot, so now we have got to start producing more of unique free form cabochons and get those tumbling machines spinning again.

While I am on the subject I should also mention that Shalini has completely rebuilt her on-line Jewellery Showroom and Shop which you can visit at http://www.jewellerybyshalini.co.uk and I have got the Rough Rock Shop on line as well, although I still have to get some cabochons and slabs photographed to on there, but you can find the Rough Rock Shop at: http://www.roughrockshop.co.uk

On the subject of tumble stones it has been really nice to see how interested the youngsters are in these stone’s, in fact I would say the vast majority of tumble stones have gone to kids who are under 10 years of age which is really nice.

We are also going to explore the possibilities if using copper wire more in our jewellery creations, in fact we are actively looking for a good source of 21swg square copper and half round wire, looks like we will have to import it from the USA as we haven’t found a supplier over here in the UK.

In addition to working semi precious stones like Tiger Eye, Blue Lace Agate and the many others we have in stock I also want to revisit my big stock of Flint and get to know it better and maybe couple it with the copper wire to produce a range of “not too expensive” jewellery but keeping it in the same class as our Sterling Silver wrapped jewellery. I also like the Flint because it’s a material I collected myself from an excavation site, so there is more of a bond to it than the bought in rough that we have.

Our adventures with wire tree sculptures have continued throughout 2010 and now instead of a small copse of trees we now have a small forest so to speak. We have made all kinds of shapes and sizes of trees out of bare copper, plated copper, aluminium and brass. I also had the idea of creating wire sculptures of Ent’s, you may remember them from the Lord of The Rings films, the most notable of the Ent’s was a chap named Tree Beard.

At first I wasn’t too sure how these Ents would turn out but I am happy to say that most people who have seen them at the craft fairs have recognised them who they are, so I must have got them right I guess. So Far I have made 3 Ents, one has gone to a new home in the last few months and seems to have settled in quite happily with his new family. There is also a larger one who is taking a rest sitting on a pile of boulders, I will get a picture of him up here soon and then there is the bay Ent who only got completed about two weeks ago, he looks to be full of mischief!

The wire sculptures will continue into 2011 as I am just about to start one in bare iron wire, maybe a foot tall as this one is going to be an experiment as he will be out outside when he is finished. I want to see how the wire rusts and how it adds to the overall finish of the tree. If it works then there will be a range of taller outdoor tree sculptures made which can go in the garden or on the patio.

So there we have it lots of plans for 2011, so first up when it gets a bit warmer is to give all of the equipment out in the Lapidary workshop a good servicing so it’s ready for use however I think this afternoon I will make a start on that bare iron wire tree sculpture I just mentioned.

All the best

Dave

Lapidary Workshop Prepared for use

After the long hard winter we have all just endured the Lapidary workshop was just too cold to be worked in, even the wood burning stove couldn’t cope, so it’s lain dormant for a quite a number of months.

So yesterday we spent much of the day cleaning up out there, sorting out rocks, while all the time resisting the temptation to switch the machines on.

Of course the machines all had to be cleaned down, checked over and lubricated, with that done, it wasn’t long before Shalini fired the cab machine up and gave herself a manicure again.

Now only the saw remains to be cleaned up, but there is no rush as we have plenty of slabs to be worked on.

She was working on some larger Labradorite tumble stones that didn’t quite work out in the tumbler, so far they are cleaning up nicely so lets see how it goes.

I found a small piece of Lapis and tried my hand at a bit of carving, didn’t really know what I was aiming to achieve at the start and to be honest I don’t really know what I have ended up with, maybe a “Gollum’s foot” would be a good description, but I will take it through all the stages and get it polished as it’s all good practice.

On a different note, we had a good show at the Stamford Arts Centre recently, Shalini managed sell all of the stalls so there was a wide variety of crafts on display and, considering there wasn’t a massive publicity push for this show, there were a lot of visitors. The wire tree sculptures got their first official airing to the public as well and they were well received with some nice comments.

I sat at my stall for a while making a tree and numerous people stood there watching what I was doing and asking questions, so I have learnt that doing a live demo does increase people interest in your wares.

The biggest seller on the lapidary stall seems to be the tumble stones, kids and adults seem to love them and it’s great to hear the kids telling me all about their crystal collections, who knows, maybe Lapidary will come alive again in the UK in future generations, that would be cool.

On the tree side of things I have two rolls of brass wire for another tree soon so am looking forward to getting into that one.

Following on from that one will be a bare iron wire tree, maybe 4 foot tall I hope to go outside in the garden, why bare iron? Well the idea is that it will rust and give the tree a natural colour over time.

On the horizon, we will be attending the Stamford Military Tattoo on the 19th June, the organisers have asked the Stamford Artisans Guild to set up a crafters area so we are busy on that and we have our next show at the Stamford Arts Centre on 25th July, so looking forward to that.

Anyway all for now, got to and sort out some more rough to go on the shop.

All the best

Dave

Pure Copper Wire Bonsai Tree Sculpture

The wire sculpture took approximately 10 hours to complete from star to finish, perhaps the most difficult part is hammering the end of the wire twigs flat to form the leaves, because space can because quite tight with so many leaves all being is a very confined space.

Bonsai Wire Tree Sculpture
Bonsai Wire Tree Sculpture

At last my first Bonsai tree wire sculpture is completed, this tree is made from 0.40mm bare copper wire, completely hand wound from start to finish, using only a wire cutter, hammer and jewellers anvil to complete the project.

The wire sculpture took approximately 10 hours to complete from star to finish, perhaps the most difficult part is hammering the end of the wire twigs flat to form the leaves, because space can because quite tight with so many leaves all being is a very confined space.

Once the leaves had been formed I mounted the tree in the small bowl, the bowl was filled with a gravel and PVA glue mixture and the mound under the roots was formed at the same time. Once this was dry the tree was mounted with small amounts of epoxy at the end of the roots and then the mound was build up with sand and finally once dry it was dyed with Indian ink.

The final finishing touch was applied after everything else had been done and that was to paint both sides of each leaf using green acrylic enamel paint.

Because this wire sculpture has been created out of bare copper wire, over time it will change colour over time, changing to a brownish colour and then finally after a considerable time this Patina will start to turn to a lighter green, so you will be able to observe the tree changing over time, all thanks to nature.

The wire sculpture tree is approximately 17cm high with a spread of 22 x 15 cm, making it an ideal display for an executive’s desktop or show cabinet.

This wire sculpture of a Bonsai tree is now on sale through the Jewellery by Shalini Showroom, he is a direct link to the item:

http://www.jewellerybyshalini.co.uk/gbu0-prodshow/25-Copper_Bonsai_Tree.html

Best regards

Dave

First Wire Tree Sculpture Finished

Well we have finished the first of the wire tree sculptures and we are pleased with the result

Well we have finished the first of the wire tree sculptures and we are pleased with the result, so is the recipient as we have it to my youngest daughter for her birthday yesterday.

As you can see from the picture we applied more colour to the base using Indian ink, although the yellow hasn’t taken too well on top of the green, need to look into this further, maybe I am doing something wrong here!

After the ink was completely dry, Shalini took over and added the Amethyst beads to the branches which really finishes the tree off nicely.

Wire Tree Sculpture 1 Finished
Wire Tree Sculpture 1 Finished

We now have several wire tree sculptures on the go and Shalini is experimenting with very fine wire which is really looking very good.

Enjoy

Dave

Wire Sculpted Trees – Progress

Well the the three wire sculpted trees are now in various stages of production, trees 1 and 2 are now firmly secured to their bases and the sand layers are fully dry on the base. Both of these trees have had their sand bases dyed with indian ink to bring out the texture of the sand.

Tree 1

tree-1-stage3
tree-1-stage3

Tree 2

tree-2-stage3
tree-2-stage3

Tree 3 has now been wrapped and secured to its base, I used a lump of flint for this one, the next stages now will be to build up the layers of sand around the roots and trunk.

Tree 3

tree-3-stage-2
tree-3-stage-2

Tree’s 1 and 2 now need more colour applying to the sans on the bases and then we need to figure out which style of tree they are going to become. Tree 3 still has quite a way to go yet as there are quite a few layers of sand that need to be secured to build up the texture arond the trunk and roots.

More to follow

Best

Dave

Wire Wrapped Tree Sculpture

I was bitten, I just had to learn more about how he makes these wonderful wire wrapped tree sculptures, and fortunately

I am sorry I haven’t made a post for a while, I have been suffering with a prolonged head and chest cold which has been going on for over a month, gladly it appears to be getting better now.

Also, because of the very cold winter we have endured this year it just has been far too cold to go out into the Lapidary workshop, even the wood burning stove couldn’t cope with the sub zero temperatures so nothing has happened out there at all this winter so far.

I am one of those people who cannot sit idle for long so I had to find something t keep me occupied and I went in search of ideas. As you know I had a dabble with a gem tree a while back so I thought it would be good to expand on that idea and as a result I found a fantastic site which is written by the artist Sal Villano, his site can be found here:

http://www.salvillano.com

His work is really wonderful and the finished product is so realistic to look at, all manner of trees from Willows to Bonsai’s, but the real appeal of his work is how he mounts them in sea sand and the uses Indian ink to create an effect that makes the trees look like they are growing out of moss.

I was bitten, I just had to learn more about how he makes these wonderful wire wrapped tree sculptures, and fortunately he has a downloadable book which at only $9 is wonderful value. The content and instructions are really well written and it’s fully illustrated with working drawings so you really can’t go wrong at any step.

So far I have three trees at various stages of construction and they are starting to look good. The beauty of making these is that once you have mastered the basics, you can really let your creative juices flow.

Here are pictures of the three so far in various stages of production:

The first is mounted an a small flat pebble, I followed Sal’s instruction to use sticky tape to stick the branches to the deges of the dish, I found this quite fiddly to do. I am waiting for the glue to dry which holds the sand.

Wire Tree Sculpture number 1
Wire Tree Sculpture number 1

The second is mounted on a slab of rock, I got more creative with this one and made the roots longer than the first and I decided to try using small dabs of epoxy to hold the tree to the base instead of using sticky tape, it seems to have worked and is much less fiddly.

Tree Wire Scuplture number 2
Tree Wire Scuplture number 2

The third tree, well this one has only just been started, the root structure has been formed now I need to wrap up the trunk and get the branches formed. I really have no idea how this one will turn out because they sort of gorw their own shape as wrapping progresses.

The Start of a Wire Tree Sculpture
The Start of a Wire Tree Sculpture

I will post more pictures of these 3 wire trees as they progress.

I would advise anyone who has found this interesting to visit Sal’s web site and have a good look around and buy his little book to help get you off the ground with this art form, you won’t be sorry I am sure!

All the best

Dave