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Cufflinks and family ties.

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Handmade in polymer clay, these wedding cufflinks are personalised for the Groom with his wedding date in Roman numerals.

Step 1: Plan it out on paper.  Making Roman Numerals in polymer clay involves a bit of thinking.  There were lots of lines nad cuts to make so I planned it all out first and took it very slowly so I didnt make mistakes.

Step 2: Make the cuts….you have to be brave, but one you start adding your black sheets to create your lines it gives you such a buzz.

Step 3: Make the colour blends for the ribbon design of the cufflink.  I used a maroon coloured clay and blended it with black and white by rolling i through my pasta machine, a tchnique known as a ‘Skinner blend’.

Step 4: Make a long strip of blended clay into a ‘blended stack’ by carefully folding it back and forth.

Step 5: Cut and recombine the blended stack to create a block that blends to white in the middle  and dark at the edges.

Step 6: Line the long edges with thin layers of white and black clay to give more definition and an illution of dimention to the final piece.

Step 7: Reduse the size of the Romal numeral blocks so that they fit snugly within the arranged ‘ribbon’ blocks.

Step 8: When your blocks are all the right sizes and positioned correctly, gently squeeze the square cane to confirm the pattern.

Step 9: I wrapped the cane in a thin sheet of black to give a smarter look, then reduce to cufflink size whilst taking care to maintain the srqight edges and square corners.

Step 10: Slice, bake, sand and buff.  Then use Epoxy glue to fix the silver plated cufflink backs in place and allow to se for at least 48 hours.


comMission Complete.

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So here we are, finally I can reveal the finished commission pieces I’ve been working on day and night for 5 weeks.  My cousin Hattie asked me to make three unique gifts for her bridesmaids……of course I was happy to do so.  But when she also asked for cufflinks for the groom, it became a whole different ball […]

My July workbench

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my workbench covered in clay

looks like chaos, but it’s not

So I have 5 different clay canes on the go at once, all destined for a set of very special commission pieces for one customer.  I quite like the messy look.  I like that I can still lay my fingertips on exactly what I need, I can see beautiful colours and glimmers of ideas jumping out at me from amongst the piles of scrap clay and failed attempts.  At least if I’ve caused this much mess I must have been doing something!

At this point in the project I can say 4 our of 4 of the pieces have had to be started all over again due to some reason so while I’ve probably worked nearly 20 hours, I’d say about a third of that time has been put down to ‘a learning exercise’.

On to the next lesson…..

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I was so impressed with myself, pretty proud of what I’d achieved, it had been 2 and half hours sitting at the table, following all the design sketched I’d done over the previous days and the ens result was fab.  I was bouncing round the kitchen with glee at what I’d produced.  A commissioned pair of cufflinks with a very special personal touch.

I went to bed happy.

But when I took another look at my creation the next morning…………………I realised I’d made a technical error in the design.  I debated for a while if it really mattered, was it really worth wasting all that time and effort for something that most people probably wouldn’t even notice.  But I had noticed and that was all that mattered, I couldn’t live with it, I couldn’t give these cufflinks knowing I wasnt 100% happy with them.

So I started again.

“do you do commission pieces?”…..ermmm??

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I’ve always said “no, sorry” in the past.

But this time I said “yeah, sure”.


I’m honoured to be asked, proud that I was brave enough to say say yes and excited at the prospect of delivering something amazing to an eagerly waiting customer.

But I’m also terrified I’ve taken on too much, its not an easy job, 4 individual pieces for a wedding and only 4 weeks notice.  I can’t bring my self to charge as it’s for family but if I pull it off I’ll get quite a lot of exposure from it which is exactly what I need right now.  The thing is, I’ve always said no in th epast to commission work for a very good reason.  I prefer to work on a random, “let’s see what today brings” kind of free spiritted way, and never produce my best work when under pressure of trying too hard to conform to a pre destined design.

But never the less, I have done lots of sketching and plans for this and am ready to go it a go.  But the knot in the pit of my stomach tells me I am nervous that I won’t deliver the high standard of design and craftmanship that everyone, including myself, is expecting.  I can’t afford to mess this up, the opportunity is great and I don’t think my confidence could take a bashing like failing to deliver for a family wedding.

Everything to lose so got to go for it 100%.

Lovely Jubilee!!

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Me on my craft stall

Ready to welcome my first customer to Celebrate Creativity Craft Fair at The Waterhall in Birmingham

It took a lot of preparation to get ready for this fabulous Jubilee event, it was such a big opportunity I really felt the pressure to perform.  But all that stress really paid off, my stall looked great, we had a fabulous day, the crowds were friendly, good footfall at the stall and a fair few sales. There were busy times which fill you with excitement and slow times which made us doubt the whole thing, but I’ve found that’s always the way with craft fairs.  I struggle to be organised enough to keep track of sales on the day so counting up the pennies afterwards is always fun.  I took over £100 so I’m really happy with that.  I’ll be donating some of my profit as usual to my chosen charity.  And spurred on by this successful happy day…..I’ve booked another stall at an upcoming event.


An olive branch

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3 days left to prepare for craft fair………had a crisis 4 days ago when I discovered my last batch of jewellery glueing had gone wrong and all my pieces fell apart.  I think it was because the weather is so warm at the moment that the glue dried too quickly and became brittle.  So I had to sand the backs down and start again, this time on a ticking time limit…out in the cool evening garden to slow the setting time but before the sun went down so I could still see what I was doing!!

The rest of my prep has been going ok, labels and signs done, stock organised, float money collected……just need to iron my table cloth.

My dad gave me an old bare olive tree stump……I’m going to hang my necklaces off it on my stall…….it looks really cool and has spurred me on a bit.

Can’t help feeling I’ve forgotten something though.

Time will tell.

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