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Citrine – History of the November Birthstone

Citrine – History of the November Birthstone
I love gemstones and semi-precious stones and collected them as a little kid. Its not just their beauty, but that they have been formed over thousands of years. Its no wonder that before the mass production of glass beads, semi-precious stones we not only used for decoration and in jewellery but were also attributed meaning and stories.
I have been using semi-precious beads in my jewellery for a while, just because I liked them, but decided to start using beads to make birthstone jewellery. The tradition of having a single birthstone for each month of the year has been around for a few centuries (historians differ on the exact date- anywhere between the 15th and 17th century!) but the idea of having a stone related to the month of the year can be traced back to the 1st century AD. If you are interested in the history of gemstones, the book ‘The Curious Lore Of Precious Stones’ by George Kunz is available to read online. Its not exactly bedtime reading, but interesting to skim through!
I thought I would share the information I was finding  by writing a series of posts about the birthstone for each month.
A lot of people also attribute healing qualities to certain stones, which sometimes I will refer to, but generally I am interested in the folklore and historical mentions of the stones.

Citrine_text

For the month of November the modern birthstone is citrine!

Citrine is a yellow form of Quartz. It was known to the ancient Greeks and the Romans called it the stone of Mercury. It was once considered to be a talisman against snake venom, but it has also been referred to as the merchants stone as it was considered to bring success and fortune. Some biblical scholars also believe it may have been the golden yellow 10th stone on Aaron’s breastplate mentioned in the book of Exodus.

Queen Victoria was great lover of citrine, partly due to the stone being found in the Scottish Cairngorms, near the house she loved; Balmoral. So she started wearing jewellery with citrine stones and what the Queen wore, so did the public. Traditionally, citrine had also been used to adorn the hilts of daggers used by Scottish warriors in the 17th century.

Mark Making Workshop

Mark Making Workshop

It been a while since I last blogged (bad Emma), so I thought I would get the ball rolling again with showing you what I got up to on the ‘Miniature Modern Marks’ workshop I ran this morning at The Beetroot Tree.

Timed to link in with the gallery exhibition ‘Makers Mark’, this workshop was about investigating mark making with a variety of materials and tools before using shrink plastic to create a final piece.

As you can see, we created quite a mess, but it was worth it in the end!

markmaking_collage3

The ‘Makers Mark’ exhibition is on until the 9th November 2013, I really recommend going if you can!

Sherwood Art Week–Part 2!

Sherwood Art Week–Part 2!

After planning, making, finishing and a last minute drama over my allocated space, my work is up as part of Sherwood Art Week! Its in the side window of The Sherwood Cookery Workshop on Mansfield Road until this Saturday the 29th June.

SAW_2013mywork

As well as the Craft Fair last Saturday, the Art in Shops, Exhibitions and the Art Marquee at the Sherwood Festival this Saturday, Sherwood has been yarn-bombed! Lots of knitters and crocheters (?) decorated bus stops, bollards trees and railings with their creations and you really couldn’t help but smile at it all! Here are some of my favourites (and the lovely Welcome to Sherwood mosaic) –

SAW2013_yarnbomb

Josephine Knot Bookmark/Bracelet

Josephine Knot Bookmark/Bracelet

This tutorial uses a knot known by many names; Josephine, Double Coin/Prosperity and Carrick Bend. It creates a decorative strip that can be easily finished into a bracelet or bookmark depending on your fancy.

Josephine Knot Macrame Bookmark Tutorial
Its takes a couple of goes before the knot makes sense and its one that while not complicated, takes patience to get right. Although you can use any cord to do this, I would recommend a minimum of 2mm the first time you try as it makes it simpler to learn. 

Josephine Knot Macrame Bookmark TutorialStill with me? Ok, lets try doing another, this time starting on the right side (which creates a flatter form that doesn’t want to twist

Josephine Knot Macrame Bookmark Tutorial
PS, I’m using a piece of foamboard as a base, with pins to hold the top (and other parts of the knot if needed) in place, but you can use a foam macrame board, clipboard or just tape it down on your work surface.

Craft Fair @ Divine Coffee House

Craft Fair @ Divine Coffee House
So last Saturday saw my first craft fair appearance in about 2 years! I really enjoyed it; met some absolutely lovely crafters, got some great feedback on my newer pieces and sold a couple of things to boot. To me, craft fairs aren’t always about selling loads of items. Sometimes you need to get out there in the real world of selling and see you products alongside others, see how people react to different stalls. Its all valuable experience. I was really pleased with how my new stall display setup looked with my new packaging and cards.

divine Collage1

The other lovely sellers were 1. Lillybelle Likes Sewing 2.Guzzi Sue 3. Buffer Zone Nails 4. Pinky and Boo 5. Perfidious Jewellery 6.To Vintage and Beyond 7. Toyz N the Hood please do take a look at their websites, they really have some beautiful items.

divine Collage main finished

Thanks to everyone who came down to see us, in fact we loved it so much there is going to be another fair at Divine on the weekend of 8th & 9th December 2012 – I’ll be there on Sunday, so put it in your diaries!

Silicone mould making

Silicone mould making

What better activity for a rainy Wednesday than making new moulds to cast my resin jewellery in?! Mould-making silicone is nothing to be scared of. The one I use is an easy 100:10 ratio, the main part being the sticky silicone and the rest a coloured activator. I weigh out the amount of the silicone I reckon I’m going to need, check the weight then add in another 10% of the activator! The coloured activator enables you to see when both parts are all mixed together thoroughly. Easy.
In this case I am casting a couple of quartz needles and some of my own masters I have made out of polymer clay. I just stick them to a piece of strong cardboard and fold the sides up to make a box, but I know that Lego works very well too!
PicMonkey Collage

Tutorial–Reef Knot

Tutorial–Reef Knot
I mentioned using the Reef Knot in my Square Sliding Knot tutorial and thought I should probably do a little post on that too!

1 The Reef Knot is great for securing two pieces of equal thickness cord together
2.Take the right hand (shown here in red) cord and wrap it around the left (here blue) once.
3.Make another loop, this time taking the left cord around the right.
4.Start pulling the knot together
5.Make sure your knot is looking like this picture before completely tightening
6.Your knot is done!

Square Sliding Knot

Square Sliding Knot
My first blog tutorial, how exciting! Loads of people have been asking about these knots, as seen on the already ubiquitous Shamballa bracelets, and how to do them. Whilst nothing beats having someone showing you in person, I did feel there was a lack of clear step by step instructions out there, so decided to do my own.
This tutorial is purely about creating the sliding knot itself, so the actual bracelet design isn’t very exciting, but you get the idea! It does seem a bit long, but I wanted to include an image for each step so it was fairly self explanatory.
First thing to realise is that this knot uses one piece of cord for the bracelet and another to create the knot itself. I have used black for the main bracelet and for the knot I have tied a blue and red cord together, so there is a different colour for each side to make it easier to see, but normally this is just one piece of cord. Written steps are at the end of the images.
Square Sliding Knot Tutorial
1. Lay out the bracelet, making sure you have knotted the ends – this both stops the finished knots from sliding off completely and helps you identify which are the main cords.
2.Tie your knot cord on using either a overhand or reef knot around the bracelet cord. Then take the right hand (in this case blue) cord and lay it across the bracelet, leaving a loop.
3.Take the left hand (in this case red) cord and bring it down crossing over the right cord
4. Take the left cord under the main bracelet cords (make sure you go under both bits).
5. Then bring the left cord up through the loop you left in the right hand cord
6. Pull both ends together, checking it looks like the picture.
7. This is now one half of a square knot done.
8. We now repeat steps 2-5 on the other side. So bring lay the left hand cord across the bracelet, leaving a loop.
Square Sliding Knot Tutorial
9.Bring the right hand cord over the left
10.Take the right hand cord under the main bracelet cords and up through the loop in the left hand cord.
11. Pull to tighten. This is now one complete square knot!
12.Repeat steps 2-11 to make four more complete square knots
13.Tie an overhand knot or reef knot. Try to do this on the same side as the one you did at the beginning making it your ‘working’ side.
14.To hide the ends, take then back under the last couple of square knots(if too tight, take a bradawl, knitting needle or even a kebab skewer to loosen) and cut off the excess.
15.Dab superglue on the ends and the reef/overhand knot. Be careful not to get any on the main bracelet, but if you do, keep pulling the main ends to free them.
16.Turn it round do the working side is on the inside touching your wrist. And that’s it!
Square Sliding Knot Tutorial

New Workshops!

New Workshops!
Exciting news! I am going to be at The Beetroot Tree, in Draycott, Derbyshire teaching some of their ‘Try Its’ workshops on Monday mornings! The Beetroot Tree is a beautiful gallery, cafe and workshop venue, running lots of interesting art and craft workshops from full day specialist (in fact I attended one back in October 2009!) so it is a pleasure to be working with them. I currently have dates for April 9th – Spring Earrings, April 16th Sliding Knots, May 28th Beaded Cord Bracelets and on June 4th, British Bunting Necklace- just in time to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee! There are still a couple of place left on these, click here to find out more and book your place! More June workshop dates will be available soon. Take a look at the wonderful array of other classes and workshops taking place, including other Monday morning Try Its from Textile Artist Emma Learoyd and Beetroot tree owner Alysn Midgelow-Marsden!
Try Its pics