Thursday, February 14, 2013

Our Other Loves...

Yay - It's Valentines day and the world is full of hearts and flowers and other such romantic stuff and, if you're anything like me, probably has been for quite a while where jewellery and art beads are concerned (warning - non romantic type here...!). So by way of a change I asked some of my AJE team mates to tell me about the other loves in their working lives - those things however large or small that made their creative lives easier, better or just more fun...And they were very forthcoming...

Pliers featured strongly with Diana sharing her love for her Lindstroms..."Besides the fact that they are perfection...they are ergonomic and can take a beating. They may be terribly expensive but they last". Oh and don't ask her to share them because she won't!

Melissa on the other hand is currently very attached to her more 'budget' priced Xuron flush cutters whilst my Wubbers are definitely up there on my list of loves.

Melissa is also rather taken with the 'Sizzix BigShot' she got for Christmas  "it embosses metal similar to a rolling mill (to a certain extent) but way, way less expensive!" This is one of the gadgets I keep eying up (since I can neither afford nor house a rolling mill) and I am rather jealous of Melissa's new love!

Torch fired enamelling is a technique finding favour with more than a few admirers on the team and certainly a major crush for both Melissa and more latterly Francesca - "I am currently in love with torch fired enameling - it's a relatively new technique for me, but I've become a little obsessed with it". From a tool perspective Francesca's jeweler's saw and her flex shaft rank highly as both are so versatile.

The objects of affection for Jo are her set of Vallorbe needle files of which she says "they cut beautifully but need very little clean up afterwards, and the range of shapes in the set mean that I've always got the right shape for the job. Expensive yes, but definitely worth it as they will set me a lifetime and save me a lot of time compared to using cheaper files". 

Running a close second is her favourite hammer... "I inherited it, and it's a bit knocked about and the head has imperfections that create the most beautiful texture, the texture that's on some of my clasps. I would be devastated if I lost it as its irreplaceable!" Hope it's insured Jo!

Sue Kennedy told me that lampworkers are fickle about thier favorites, because each new tool or new glass is a favorite but her current loves are her cab mandrels..."It is a lot of fun to make cabs, as I'm finding out...I need to buy more!"

Entertainment is also important for the team while they are hard at work at certain tasks and when Jenny is wire wrapping or stringing she loves to listed to Podcasts like The History Chicks - "a sassy funny informative podcast about women, both famous and infamous throughout history". Hmmm, I wonder if any of us will ever feature... 

One of Jenny's favourite bands to listen to while working are Frenchy and the Punk "upbeat, gypsy, punk... hard to describe, but infectious and energizing" says Jenny - sounds perfect to me.

Our esteemed leader Jennifer likes to listen to audio books while she's making beads and currently holds a torch (sorry couldn't resist it) for the books in the Dresden Files series..."It's way outside my norm, but it's entertaining and the narrator is perfect for the hero. Love it when that happens". I have to say I don't know these books at all but that chap on the cover does look rather alluring so I might just have to check them out!

Jennifer has also developed a passion for one of my loves - bronze wire. Obviously working with bronze clay this is a staple for me and I get through a ton of the stuff, particularly as It can be fired to very high temperatures and still retain it's strength and appearance. It's harder and more tensile than copper or silver and can be tough on the hands but I just love it and, as Jennifer commented, you get the most amazing colours when you take a torch to it.

Designer Linda's current passion is her camera - a Cannon Power Shot SD 4000 IS. "It's made a big difference to the quality of my photos in my jewelry listings. It has a low light setting that allows me to take pictures in most light situations. It also lets you get fairly close macro shots for a point and shoot. Love it!' 

And then of course there are some of us who fall for the supporting actor rather than the romantic lead. Kristen for example is much enamoured by a simple pair of nail clippers "because they get very close to the bead work to snip threads" and she always has to have a cross stitch needle close for pulling threads when there is a mistake.

As for me, I too have a couple of less than glamorous tools in my kit that I couldn't be without. I was gifted these dental picks/scrapers by my friend Cilla Watkins, a Dental Hygienist and the designer behind 'Tell Your Girlfriends' jewellery and quite frankly, I don't know what I did before I had them, As well as being perfect clay tools for cleaning, shaping and carving they have a myriad of uses from picking up tiny beads to getting those ridiculously small bits of steel shot out of nooks and crannies. Thank you Cilla.

And last up is a little gadget which has made my life so much easier in a way it was never designed to do...

This is the funnel from a fancy bottle of olive oil that has long since been disposed of and it now serves as a cutter for toggle clasps. It has a 2cm ring which slides up and down a central tube which just happens to be the perfect size for the cut out. I am terrible at centering things by eye and it's too time consuming to measure each one so this is just a godsend and, having just made in excess 100 clasps for a bead show I can tell you that I seriously LOVE this little treasure!

So there you go then - a few of our loves but what about you...what's the one thing you couldn't or wouldn't be without in your creative life...we'd love to hear.

Oh and while I'm here, don't forget that the next reveal for the earring challenge is this coming Sunday, so if you're one of our pinners make sure you have your designs uploaded to the Pinterest board if you want a chance to be featured on the blog.

The Gossiping Goddess


  1. That olive oil spout thingy is brilliant! If I were a metal clay person, I would probably kiss you for sharing that idea.

  2. What a great post! Thanks all for sharing some fav's - i found it very interesting!

  3. I loved this post. The olive oil spout is pure genius!

  4. Great Post!!! So happy my old dental hygiene instruments have a new life.


We would love to hear what you have to say, please leave a comment.