Introducing Hundreds and Thousands - New Earrings Just in Time for my Crowd Funding Campaign

This month I have been busily preparing to raise money for tools for my new jewellery classes here at Karma and Crow Studio Collective. Part of the deal with crowd funding is that I give you beautiful rewards in exchange for your generous donations. Coming up with a list of enticing rewards has been a great excuse to design something different and so today I introduce my new jewellery range, Hundreds and Thousands.


Naturally, I always manage to come up with the best ideas when I am in the middle of a huge project and have absolutely no time to work on it. Sure enough, this range of earrings was no different. The idea came to me at least three years ago and as much as I have tried to keep my focus and finish other projects before I jump into the next one, this idea just wouldn't stop nagging me. 

I started where any good piece of jewellery begins for me – in model form.

I started where any good piece of jewellery begins for me – in model form.

Following a similar geometric aesthetic to my Interlace adornment, Hundreds and Thousands are hand cut from a single sheet of copper and hung from matching sterling silver hooks. There are nine different shapes in the range and I am offering them in either duck egg blue or rustic blackened copper.

Each pair of earrings are hand cut from a single sheet of copper.

Each pair of earrings are hand cut from a single sheet of copper.

I designed a new hook to match the geometric shapes on the earrings

I designed a new hook to match the geometric shapes on the earrings

My new earrings: Only three years in the making! A small happy dance may have taken place when these were finally finished. 

My new earrings: Only three years in the making! A small happy dance may have taken place when these were finally finished. 

If you would like to snap up a pair of Hundreds and Thousands just in time for Christmas, keep an eye out for my Crowd Funding Campaign in November. I will be offering these as well as some beautiful new opal jewellery and exclusive pre-release jewellery classes in exchange for your donations.

Handmade Jewellery which is Truly One of a Kind - Interlace Studs in the Making

When I first designed my range, Interlace Adornment, I wanted to create an edgy, paired back version of my Plastic Soup exhibition work while continuing to develop my focus on sustainability. Leaving the microplastics aside, the recycled silver collection challenges traditional ideas of jewellery while also being very wearable. I maintained the same asymmetrical, geometric aesthetic and still hand make each piece with no set composition, ensuring that very little metal goes to waste. No two pieces are exactly alike meaning that when you purchase a pair of Interlace Studs they are very much your own.


To make a pair of Interlace studs, I begin by straightening my 2mm recycled silver wire which I then sand and cut into a variety of lengths. I always cut more pieces than I need to give me many options choose from when it comes to constructing the perfect shape. Nothing hinders my ability to create a masterpiece more than running out of sticks.

I begin the process by preparing a collection of tiny silver sticks.

After the lengths of silver are cut, I use a special tool, called a mitering jig, to hold them in place and file each end flat. I remove any excess metal and add them to the pile.

I then give the sticks a refined, geometric look by filing each end perfectly flat.

Once I have a good collection of silver sticks in different lengths, I move over to my soldering bench where the creative part of the process begins. I place the sticks together and the intersecting pairs are fluxed and soldered. I then progressively add more lengths of interlacing silver, positioning them at different angles all the while trying to create balance within each tiny composition. When soldering the lengths of silver, I have to be really careful not to overheat the piece as too much heat usually results in the surface tension of the melted solder pulling all the sticks together into an unsightly clump which means I have to start the piece again. 


The stud shapes are now complete and I choose a surface to attach the post onto, carefully attach it using a solder, then construction is complete.

A much faster version of the soldering process. This is my favourite part as I get to be creative while playing with fire.

After a good long soak in a mild citric acid solution to remove any remaining flux and oxide from soldering, the studs are ready to be cleaned and polished. I meticulously study each one, filing off excess solder and removing all imperfections. They are sanded to remove all file marks and then placed in a tumbler to give the silver a beautiful homogeneous, matte finish.

The final and most labour intensive part of the process is filing and sanding the studs. Though it is a long process, I use the opportunity to catch up on Netflix and podcasts. That's my kind of multitasking!

From there I look at all of the studs and select pairs from the group. Each individual earring I make is unique but I try to pair them to complement each other aesthetically. 

Depending on the piece, I either choose to oxidise the finished earrings, giving them a semi-permanent rich, black surface coating, or leave them with a brushed silver finish. I can never decide which finish I prefer and so I have pinched a pair of each!

Interlace Studs ready to go. No two pairs are exactly alike.

Interlace Studs ready to go. No two pairs are exactly alike.

You can purchase your very own pair of recycled silver Interlace Studs through my Online Shop. They are most certainly made with love.

My First International Show

Ahh, 2016; a year that was meant to be filled with making product, releasing a bridal range and approaching a few more galleries around Australia to stock my work. As is usually the case, life had other plans and I had the honour of being invited to exhibit with a group of established South Australian Jewellers at a fantastic new space, San W Gallery, which has recently opened their doors in Pudong, China. How could I say no?

San W Gallery is an absolutely stunning space with a fully equipped teaching studio, specialising in jewellery, glass and ceramics. Their passionate founder, Yiwei Wu, has worked closely with South Australian craft and design association, Guild House, to ensure that the space is a world-class facility. 1

San W Gallery in Pudong, China. Image courtesy of San W Gallery.

The exhibition, Nature, featured eleven contemporary jewellers, Julie Blyfield, Catherine Buddle, Jess Dare, Christian Hall, Kath Inglis, Sue Lorraine, Leslie Matthews, Alice Potter, Regine Schwarzer, Lauren Simeoni and myself. Each artist was invited based on their creativity, innovativeness and craftsmanship and the work showed great variety in technique and style. 2

A new Plastic Soup Brooch I made for the show at San W Gallery

The gallery had some beautiful images taken of my exhibition pieces worn by a model. Image courtesy of San W Gallery.

I am also excited to report that after the success of the show, the gallery have asked to display a collection of my work in their retail space and soon to be launched online store. While I am supplying them with some of my original Interlace styles, I will also be releasing some new asymmetrical earrings. I think I will definitely be keeping a pair of these for myself!

Thanks to Yiwei, the San W Gallery and Guildhouse for a fantastic show!

My new Asymmetrical Interlace Earrings for San W Gallery

 

(1 http://guildhouse.org.au/projects/san-w-gallerystudio, accessed 04.04.2017)

(2 http://guildhouse.org.au/projects/nature-san-w-studio-jewellery-exhibition-pudong-shanghai-28-may, accessed 04.04.17)

And the Winner is......!!

Last month I ran my first Instagram jewellery competition to celebrate the opening of my online store. I had quite a few entries, but there could only be one winner.

We Have a Winner

Congratulations to the lovely Khadijah Khalid from my home state, Western Australia, who is now the proud owner of these lovely earrings!

Instagram from Khadijah

Jewellery Giveaway!!

To celebrate the launch of my online store I'm running an Instagram competition to win this beautiful pair of handcrafted sterling silver earrings.

Win these lovely earrings which are inspired by the wallpaper patterns of my Great Grandmother's house! They are hand cut out of sterling silver and blackened to give them an antique silver look.

Win these lovely earrings which are inspired by the wallpaper patterns of my Great Grandmother's house! They are hand cut out of sterling silver and blackened to give them an antique silver look.

How to win:

1. Download the Instagram app on your phone or tablet
2. Follow me @clairejbrooks
3. Repost this image (it will be uploaded on my Instagram feed) and tag #clairebrooks and @clairejbrooks so that I know you have entered
4. Keep your fingers crossed!

Rules:

The giveaway will run for three weeks and will be drawn at 7pm (ACDT) on Monday the 23rd of February 2015 at random. I will announce the winner on Tuesday the 24th of February 2015. There is a limit of one entry per profile and you must be an Australian resident (sorry overseas followers!!). To enter, you must have a public profile and have parental consent if you are under the age of 18. This competition is not sponsored, associated or administered by Instagram.

Good luck!!