Today’s 1″challenge

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Day 16…only 15 to go. I’ve enjoyed doing these so far. I’m even drawing them early! Last year I kept adding pictures late.

The glass should be fired in the next couple of days, then I shall haveĀ  pieces I can turn into smaller necklaces. I loved being able to do it, but the lady who runs the workshops is moving away. I shall have to find someone else who does it, or the pieces I did today will be my last experiment in this craft.

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Lots of pictures

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Yes, these are all paintings I did over the last few days. Some are tiny, some are small and some medium sized. These are for my craft stall for tomorrow at the Hotel on Spode Site. I hope people come in and enjoy what will be on display and for sale. There are a lot of quality crafts and art which will be there.

I guess I had better get back to work and finish off what I’m doing.

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Blacksmithing

We went to a blacksmithing workshop today and bashed metal with hammers between heating it up in a forge. It took a few hours to learn how to make a coil of metal as a keyring and a letter opener.

Our tutor was Charis Jones, who runs Sculpted Steel at the Forge at Etruria Industrial museum. She patiently talked us through the many steps to turn both a bar and a strip of mild steel into the objects we chose to make. Other choices included a snail and a poker.

I don’t have the grip I used to have and trying to hold a piece of metal in a pair of tongs was very difficult. I dropped my work on the floor a few times, and you can’t just bend over and pick up red hot metal, you have to be very careful. Luckily no one got burned despite handling white hit metal.

The hardest thing is being able to hammer properly, my wrists felt weak and my arms were aching. (They still are).

You can see our efforts and what we were trying to do in the photos. They are next to the examples of how they should look. I overheated my letter opener blade and the tip broke off. Luckily Charis sorted it out (which is why it’s shorter than my hubbies work). He seemed to take to it naturally and it helped calm him down. Very good for concentration and ‘flow’.

I think having an experience like this gives you an insight into how difficult the craft of blacksmithing is. What you realise is that it may look simple, but it isn’t!

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Middleport

I’ve got lots of images to show you but I’ve run out of space on my plan. I have gradually deleted old photos from posts but my camera takes pictures in megabits not kilobits so it eats memory. I shall probably pay and upgrade because I use a lot of images in this blog. Anyway Middleport pottery is hidden in the backstreets of middleport in Stoke-on-Trent. It is interesting to visit as it not only makes pottery but also sells it and is home to several craft shops which make studio pottery, sell photos and other craft ware.

If you are not doing a tour of the museum entrance is free. We went in the cafe then sat by the canal for a while. There is a boat tour that called at the pottery and we may go on it soon.

There is also Clay college based there where you can learn the craft of throwing pots, and it is the setting for the TV show the great pottery throw down.

Worth a visit.

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Glass for necklaces

I made these glass pieces in my friend Angela’s glass workshop. Now I’ve bought them to another friend who is going to wire weave round them and turn them into necklaces. Glass is fascinating. I now want to find out about stained glass and glass blowing. I’m only dabbling my toes into this craft but it’s great. I’m going to maybe get an enamel kiln but that’s another story…..

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Card illustrations

I did these cards about a year ago. I had taken photos in a friends house because she wanted some home made cards.

If you would like to do something similar all you need I’d a thin black ink pen and acrylic paints thinned down to watercolour consistency. They work as well as watercolours and it saves having to find them out from whatever cupboard I’ve got them in!

I basically drew outlines then filled them in with the paints.

I’ve only done a few more of these. Maybe I will paint more in future.

Making Stuff

Im doing lots of things to take to two craft fairs at the weekend. Looking for inspiration and the right things to paint on. The tiniest are paintings of baubles. I have ribbon to add to them so you could even add them to a tree. I saw a robin in a photo and he was sooooo fluffy I had to paint him…finally Im trying to paint directly onto the little chalk boards so the abbey will need more work.