Tuesday, 17 September 2013

So, this is it then. I've got around to organising my first giveaway competition.  I'm just starting to think how easy everything has been to bring it all together...this must mean that I've forgotten something important haha.

I know you've seen this ring before, but Hortensia has turned out to be a popular choice and a personal fave, so I thought that you might like to have a chance at winning one for yourself,  handmade in your size.

This ring is made in sterling silver and features a bright and flashy labradorite.  The thing I love so much about this stone is that it's colour changes according to the light conditions and even the angle at which you view the stone.  Keep looking and you can spot flashes of gold, green, grey, blue and even pinks deep inside;

Well, what do you have to do to win I hear you ask, it couldn't be simpler, go to CheekyLemur's fb page
https://www.facebook.com/cheekylemurjewellery and hit the like button, next share the giveaway onto your own page.  For each of these actions you win one chance at the prize.
It all kicks off at midnight tonight  (17th Sept 2013)  and ends on the 22nd  and I wish you good luck;

Julia x

Saturday, 22 June 2013

My 'Normandie' collection

When I knew that The Zone Creative in Sourdeval was interested in taking a range of my jewellery, I thought that a Normandy inspired line would be a good thing to do.  

The first thing that I made was a set of necklace and earrings called 'La Pluie Normande'  inspired by the constant rain that we'd been experiencing since spring.  The focal stone is a labradorite,  which is naturally a blue/ grey colour, perfect for the subject haha. For the raindrop effect, I used some tiny faceted labradorite beads, wirewrapped to be free falling.

Luckily, by the time I finished the first set and was looking for something different, the sun had appeared, so I was thinking about stones with warmth and sparkle when I fell upon these citrines that we've had for a lifetime.  I'd always loved them, but never been moved to make anything out of them....until now.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you 'Eclat Du Soleil'
Born from the Normandy sun with a hint of Etruscan.

'Libellules'  or dragonflies are not peculiar to Normandy, but I love to see them in the warmer months around water. Also, I really wanted to try my hand at a technique of enamelling called 'plique-a-jour'  which is enamelling without a backing, leaving the enamel suspended between the metal frames for a stained glass window effect.  Dragonflies seemed like a good choice of subject for this project.  
I am pleased with how they turned out.

The next photos are not from the Normandy collection, but were added to my general collection headed towards the Zone Creative.

These earrings are made from a pair of ultra sparkly, micro faceted amethyst cabs, hanging from a stylised heart, on a pair of my handmade ear-wires. 

This next set features a stone not seen too often, golden rutile quartz, which looks like threads of gold trapped inside ice crystals, they catch the light every time you move. Sadly, the camera has a hard time picking up the detail :(
This is a set with a leaf design, the silver lines of the leaves echo perfectly the flavour of the stones. Also, because the stones are predominantly colourless, they can be teamed up with your wildest colour combinations .

If you find yourself in Basse Normandie during the summer, maybe you would like to drop by The Zone Creative in Sourdeval and see their range of artisan made arts and crafts they stock, or treat yourself to a cup of tea and a slice of cake in their newly opened tea garden.
You can find them on the high street in Sourdeval,  at No. 5 Rue General Millet

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Pale Watery September.

I was transfixed by the pale watery sun pushing it's way through the morning mist....even the trailer, piled high ready for the tip looks romantic and interesting lol

Don't you just love the way that the dew makes beautiful lacy masterpieces out of the spider webs along the lane?

I can't explain this effect that happened as if by magic, i always do get the feeling that this ancient lane is enchanted as you glimpse the hollowed out spaces under the roots of trees, the flowers and fungi. It must have been a place like this that inspired Enid Blyton to write her fairyland books.

Back home, and I really cannot put off starting work, my morning walk has been so refreshing, inspiring and makes you feel glad to be alive!  Don't be surprised if you start to notice a 'fairy' feel to some of my new pieces....

Sunday, 3 July 2011

A Path Lost And A Friend Found

 Just before the kids broke up for the 'grandes vacances' one of the exciting things on offer to the pupils of 6eme was a day of orienteering in the beautiful forests at St Sever in Calvados.  To help control the kids who found themselves set free to roam the forest, was the sports staff of the school and  a rather feeble army of four parent helpers alongside....myself included.
Now, I was so scared. I didn't know at this time whether it would be just me and 120 twelve year old French 'ados'. I was looking for any excuse not to go, examining each muscle and joint mentally, looking for a twinge or a sprain that could get me out of it.
 When I introduced myself to a rather dishy teacher, he seemed pleased to have me along,  so,  I was in.
I followed behind the coach in my fab new pale green Twingo, much to the delight of the boys on the back seat who thought it was hilarious!
The forest of St Sever is not far from the town of Vire in Calvados and is the natural habitat of wild boar, badgers and foxes, although we saw none of these creatures on the day that the forest was invaded by a tribe of wailing banshees.
The parent helpers were split up into two's ( two lots of two in fact) given a map and sent to patrol the border, marked quite clearly. I hoped that my partner would turn out to be a wizz at mapreading....it quickly emerged that she was hoping for the same thing,  we could't even decide which way up this map should be! We walked and we talked and we had a great time together with absolutely no idea if we were actually walking along the path or not.
Eventually we came across a woman walking her dogs who pointed us in the right direction, so we cooly finished the course on track, appearing to have followed it all the way round.

Whoever the wag was who first pointed out the fact that women and maps do not mix, was totally spot on!

I was glad that I didn't back out of going on this great day out, because I had a really good time, met a new friend, and also, sometimes you have to step outside your comfort zone and do something that terrifies you...it's good for you!

Saturday, 26 February 2011

fifth element in silver and peridot

Today is day 36.
I'm not managing to finish a whole piece of jewellery every day as I hoped I might, but I'm working every day at the creation of pieces. Maybe it's a little bit more of an uphill challenge to make a ring or pendant completely from scratch in one day, especially when there are husband, children and housework needing attention too!!
But I'm not feeling daunted by it and I won't give up the thought of trying.
 Don't know whether I've shown you this one before, but a stone as gorgeous as this one deserves another go! 'Welcome to Waterworld |Kid' from Day 12
 Such fab rainbow moostones are set into sweet silver studs. From Day 21
 'She's So 1970's'  Set of ten skinny stacking rings, hammered and polished, they're so dazzling they should come with a government health warning. DO NOT DRIVE IN THESE RINGS, RISK OF BLINDING lol
 This is a revamped version of 'Hortensia' this time she's a poison ring with a fully handmade hinge, sprung catch and the most satisfying click when shut. Made by Mr Lemur, my partner in crime.
 Showing off the opening mechanism.
 Love this one, the small piercings in the triangle applique give so much light to the back of the stone, which makes the stone sparkle and positively glow.
 Just sat down at the bench with no drawings or plan to work from, just selected a stone and channelled the inspiration. This one truly is from the soul. My fave way of working.
The drawings are made AFTER the silverwork is finished, backwards to the traditional method!!

I am going to make an extra special effort to log the pieces that I make.
There's a definite feel of spring in the air in this past week or so, the buds and shoots are starting to  unfurl and the sun is beginning to warm the cold damp Norman mud. These fabulously foggy photo's were taken at 9am one morning just before the sun quickly burnt away the fog, making such a surprisingly warm day. You could hardly see the apple trees in the orchard, they looked like ghostly shapes through the mist.
Enjoy the first signs of sprng, x

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Day 23

Today I've reached day twenty three in my 'A thing A Day' personal pledge and I must admit that  I have missed a day or two already , but I don't see it as a big problem. Other days are more productive.
I am not a person who needs a drawing to work from before I begin,  in fact,  I love to evolve my ideas as I go. I have made many of my best pieces in this way.
Each day I have been arriving at my work bench not knowing what direction my thoughts will take me, taking inspiration in the precious stones themselves and the things which lie all around.
A few weeks ago I decided that I would make my version of the famous Anne Boleyn necklace, the letter B with three pearl droppers which is so instantly recognizable. This is a period in history which I find intriguing and at the same time so cruel.  Day 16 I could put off the project no more. I made the B in silver with discreetly hidden loops on the reverse side to take the pearls. A neatly drilled hole would do the job just as well, but it's something that I can't bring myself to do lol. The necklace itself and the drops are cultured freshwater pearls in subtle tones of pink, silver and beige.
I have listed this necklace in my Etsy shop as being available in any letter as I designed the whole alphabet.

I made another pearl pendant on day six, this time using a mabe pearl. A mabe pearl is a curiosity in the pearl world, they can be cultured or natural, but the foreign body implants not in the flesh of the oyster/mussel but on the shell wall. this results in the pearl being part of the shell and being a concave pearl which they cut from the shell.
I think this pendant needed to be quite simple in order to complement and not detract from the pearl, so I made a smooth silver bezel to hold the pearl and added a touch of detail in the twisted and hammered wire link above. This I oxidised for definition

The third 'thing ' I will share today is a big, bold, blue labradorite ring. Again, simply set to emphasise the fabulous stone. The stone is so dramatic, it's almost like a piece of the rainbow is trapped inside, it's stormy colours searching for a way out.
 Lots of the names that I've called my jewellery have been taken from a favourite film of mine and this one is no exception.
Meet 'Welcome To Waterworld Kid'

A big shining hunk of labradorite, what could be better?

Monday, 31 January 2011

New year and new personal pledge.

Tomorrow will be the brand new start of a new month. I shall not be sad to see January wave us goodbye, hoping she takes with her the frosty coldness and whistling winds to make way for milder weather.

To aid me in my creativity and to help me to dedicate myself to the task, I've pledged  to myself that I will make 'A Thing A Day'.  The thing that I'm finding most difficulty with is putting all of my efforts down on paper as it were.
I intended starting this pledge in 2010 but because it was half way through January when I first read got the idea, I put it off until I could start fresh on 1st January.  Obviously, twelve months later I'd forgotten all about it again, but this time on the 22nd Jan 2011 I decided that I must do it.

The first thing I made was a petite silver and ruby ring which is so sweet and delicate, and such a beautiful colour. There's something about the depth of winter which makes you crave the shot in the arm that bright colours give to the spirit.

Next I made a wide band silver ring with holes, loops and beads all around. The beauty of this ring is that it makes a feature out of the annoying way that a ring always seems to turn around when you wear it. Each aspect is different, so the face of this ring is constantly changing.

Then came a day at the kiln when I made the two enamelled hearts and the next day when I made the vignettes for the friendship rings. These are a set of two rings which have an abstract motif which works well as a stand alone ring. But when you place these two rings together, just like your life became complete when you found your soulmate, these rings form the two halves of a heart and only feel really complete when next to the other.

Each day so far I have managed to stay true to the pledge....well with the exception of the day that I lost the key to the courtesy car around town and was obliged to spend the day searching for it.... oh well.