Thursday 7 October 2021

Autumn 2021

Maybe its Autumn's inescapable 'back to school' vibes, but I almost always get a renewed burst of creative energy at this time of year. Did it happen in 2020 when time became distinctly shaky?! In all honesty I can't quite remember, but it definitely has this year. There are a number of additional reasons behind this - and the main one is that I have moved into an out-of-the-house workspace with Songbead! We are planning on moving house next year, and the new flat will not quite have enough room for a home studio, and so my wife and I took the decision that it was time for Songbead to spread her wings and leave the nest. Initially, I'd hoped for a self-contained studio but the venues local to me were full, and so I've taken a desk in a co-working space - not quite what everyone else based there does, but I'm not the only creative there. We have a writer, an interior designer and web designer amongst others - but still, I definitely feel I have the most densely packed desk, even after a week! 

So far, so good, but the rent is a month by month rolling contract so if for whatever reason it doesn't work out in the way I want it to, there's nothing lost. It feels full of potential and low risk and I'm enjoying having to GO to work, rather than merely step into another room in our flat.

There are other 'new' things happening which I won't list here, but suffice to say, Autumn 2021 feels back to school-ish plus plus plus! And so with this renewed sense of purpose, I have turned to my beads and created a few new pieces, with my head and heart full of the colours of Autumn. I am a little out of practice listing items on Etsy, but I am slowly getting them into my shop. I'll share the few I have managed to get up and listed today, and the stories behind them. (Aren't stories the best? Don't stories just make everything a bit better, and a little steadier, and make a little more sense? It's strange how often fiction can ground us more than reality.)

One of my favourite things about the changing seasons is how the light changes throughout the year. I admit, I struggle with the short, darker days of the colder months - but when the sun shines, it is at its most beautiful. The long, low light of Autumn is bewitching - a sunny walk home from school, a blustery yet bright walk along the coast of even a cosy coffee in town, looking out over the granite-toned buildings of the old town of Edinburgh. The light infuses everything with a little magic and its little wonder that special hour before sunset is called the 'golden hour' by photographers - nature's own filter. The handmade glass boro lampwork beads always put me in mind of this time of day - the deep, swirling colours within seem to hold so much. I have paired them here with some of my own handwoven glass rounds in a peachy lilac golden frosted tone, and a striking statement clasp, handmade and cast in bronze. The double strand of gold rondelles are faceted Czech glass, and the other metal elements are made from my favourite nickel-free brass with a hand-finished deep patina. This is a OOAK special piece, perfect if you want to carry a bit of golden hour magic around with you. 

A beautiful, burnished copper is a thing to behold! I adore these stamped solid copper oak leaves, complete with a rich, burnished hand-finished patina. They lend themselves to so many different colour combinations but here, I gone with the classic autumn leaf tones of glowing umber orange and a rich and vibrant aquamarine, in lovely Czech faceted glass rondelles. Long, light earrings that will sway and move like their real-life counterparts. The earrings hang from my own hand-formed oxidised sterling silver earwires, perfect for sensitive ears. 

I always love making some jewellery inspired by the changing seasons;  I believe you can and should wear whatever colours and items make you happy all year long (I certainly do!) but as an artist, I can't help but be inspired each year by the changing of colours and light surrounding me. I also find it helps me to deal with the bit of me that struggles with the rain and the cold that sets in for a good while when the Autumn arrives here in Scotland. Here is one of my new Autumnal offerings. Inspired by the vibrant colours of my local park - one of my favourite places in the whole world - Starbank Park in Newhaven, Edinburgh. My children and I talk about the changing colours of the leaves and my daughter insists on collecting a bag-full each time we visit - I love to seek out the extra-vibrant ones and the orange beads here amplify their vibrancy even more! They are vintage glass beads which I have had for a number of years now, and they seemed the perfect pairing for the tiny white cottage, complete with a sweet green roof. This also echoes the park-keepers cottage within Starbank itself (which must surely be my dream home!). To pick up on the green roof, I added a handmade ceramic bead in a verdant green just above the cottage, and a few of my favourite stick pearls for good measure. The bracelet closes with a nickel-free lobster clasp and is adjustable due to the short extender chain. 

So there you go. Just a few new pieces in the shop today - but more will follow, hopefully tomorrow. And there are lots of older pieces, sitting in the shop, ready for their new homes. Will one of them speak to you? 

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