Friday, 31 May 2013

History Hop Challenge.

Here it is, June 1st, Reveal day of the History Hop.

The early period of glass bead making, the first 1000 years or so, hold such a fascination for me it was a no brainer to choose Merovingian 500 - 751 AD as my period in time.

My Lampwork Beads with "Fibula" in the Background
I did a lot of research online and found lots of photographs and drawings.  I also visited the British Museum and saw some Merovingian pieces close up, (as well as some amazing Ice Age art. More about that later I hope.)
Merovingain women would have worn their gowns fastened at each shoulder with a very distinctive fibula type broach. Probably with a string of beads suspended between them. 

The Beads

Being a lampworker making glass beads in the styles I was seeing on the net was not a great problem. I had to mix different colours of glass rods together to get just the right colours for most of these beads. I also used sodium bicarbonate to give the aged look I was after. I wanted them to look as though they had just been exhumed.

The Seed Bead Fibula

Next came the fibula. This was my real challenge. The shape and sunburst style was so distinctive I knew I had to find a way to reproduce it. But I am not a metal smith and I knew I could not do it in glass.
My only real option was beadwork. And so I headed off to Lynn Davy and using her pattern for a Celtic boss I was able, after much cursing and tangled threads and a fair bit of help from Lynn, to redesign the pattern, and make this. The central bead is one of my lampwork lentils, made for the job.

I would have made two of these but I ran out of time.

The earrings are a poor approximation of the skilled metal work done by the smiths of the time, but as I said earlier, I am not a smith. Faceted cubes on simple ear hoops. The originals were filigree set with gems.

This squat conical bead  is a reproduction of a style found commonly from this time.

They were believed to be worn in this orientation but nothing I read said as pendants.  So this is my own interpretation. Threaded on a fine leather thong with a small crazed amber bead.

 Here is all my Merovingian Inspired work together. The half finished boss (right) is my prototype for the full one.

 A big shout out to Leah Curtis for organising this blog hop. My first ever. 

Thank you Leah, I have had a lot of fun.

Thanks for coming to see my blog. Feel free to visit all the other participants in this hop whose blog links can be found below. I can't wait to see what every one else has done.

Leah Curtis - Indus Valley -
Laney Mead - Māori -
Becca - Art Nouveau -
Melissa - English Romanticism and Mourning Jewelry -
Tracy Stillman - Native American -
Gerda - English Romanticism and Mourning Jewelry -
Liz E - Native North American -
Ahowin - Māori (New Zealand)  - 
Jasvanti - Indus Valley -
Lizzie - Art Nouveau -
Julia Hay - Merovingian -
Dini - Celtic -
Caroline - Art Nouveau - 
Charlie - Moche of Peru -
Karin - China -
Niky Sayers - Rome -
Marcia Dunne - Celctic and Mourning Jewelry -
anafiassa - Mesopotamia -
Kokopelli - Native American -
Christa - Native American -
Clair - Roman -
Susan Bowie - Native American -
Gloria Allen - English Romanticism -
Sheila Garrett - Early Russia - 

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Adventures with Fuji part 2

This is all rather self explanatory I think. I have been playing with the film speed, ISO. To see the effect. The higher the film speed the faster the shutter speed. which means the less light is needed.
Pretty much notes to myself rather than something useful to others.

ISO 100, f8 1/180
ISO 100 Fill light
The next lot of adventures will involve playing with f stops and depth of field.

ISO 100 Highlight

ISO 200 f8 1/350

ISO 200 Highlight

ISO 400 f8 1/680

ISO 400 Highlight

ISO 800 Highlight

ISO 800 f8 1/1400

ISO 1600 Very grainy f8 1/2900

On ISO 3200 I couldn't get the shutter to move fast enough to get a photo that wasn't completely overexposed.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Adventures with Fuji.


 I have been playing in the garden with my camera.

Lampwork Glass and Silver Necklace: My Heart is Blue For You Again
I am trying to improve the photographs I take of my beads and jewellery for my Etsy shop. 
No, these first two are not mine, they are what I aspire to. Lovely white back grounds that show off the true colours of the beads and have a light modern feel to them. These are the work of jewellery designer and fellow 'Craft Pimp Team on Etsy' member, Lynn Davy, whose shop can be found here Nemeton
The back grounds are uncluttered and white, the image is clean and crisp, the beads and silver sparkle and invite you to look more.

My first attempts.

ISO 100, F8, 1/1000 Macro mode
Same as left with fill light added
As left but with highlight added
These first photo I took on auto mode in bright sunlight.  Colour wise the beads are very close to the actual beads themselves but the back ground looks so grey and dull. But adding fill light has simply washed out the photo and made it look flat.The highlight seems to effect the background and leave the beads alone which is preferable to the fill light effect.

As left with fill light added

ISO 100, F8, 1/500 Macro mode

As left with highlight added
I tried shutter priority next but found I was limmited with how slow a speed I could choose. probably because of the bright sunlight. Again the colours of the beads themselves are OK, but the background is dull and seems to absorb them in. Highlight works better than fill light in PP.
ISO 100, F8, 1/680 Macro mode

Aperture priority seems to be a bit of a fail. It wouldn't let me make it any smaller than F8. and so, although the shutter speed is a little faster, the result is not much different from shutter priority.

Fill light

ISO 100, F8, 1/500

These I took after setting a custom white balance from the paper itself.  These are the best so far. The colour of the beads is the best yet but the background is still not white, the white balance change seems to of added a rosy glow.




And Finally...

ISO 400, F32, 1/50
Fill Light

High Light
These where taken by my friend using her Nikon SLR inside a light tent but still in the bright sun in the garden. I like the absence of deep dark shadows around the beads. Will use the light tent from now on.
I would still like a little more crispness.........

The Highlighted version, cropped and sharpened.

 I feel as if I have been staring at these beads for far too long now and anything I do will not make them look right. I will have another go soon, play with the ISO and light tent and see how that works out.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Ginkgo Paper

The Ginkgo is a beautiful tree. Every year late Summer/Early Autumn the leaves are mature enough to pick and turn into the most unique paper. I do have to get there before they fall and begin to rot on the ground.

My Ginkgo Tree

A trug full of leaves translates into a pot full of leaves and caustic soda.

After it has cooked down for about 15 minutes.
After an hour or so the leaves are all brown and the outer cuticle begins to separate away from the veins inside. Time to rinse off the caustic soda.
You can see really clearly here how the veins of the leaf begin at the stalk and radiate out from there in straight lines, not dividing like other leaves from a central  rib. The Ginkgo is the only tree that grows in this way.

I soak half the pulp in bleach, which turns it a beautiful golden yellow. Unfortunately, as it dries, it looses this lovely hue.
The vat of bleached pulp and a jug of unbleached leaves that I choose from to decorate the sheet of paper as I make it.
A freshly pulled sheet of paper waiting to be pressed and dried.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

This Morning

This Morning 

As I write my kiln is warming
Mandrels dipped and drying
I should use up the silver leaf I cut yesterday
I don't want to
Instead thinking
Tiny spacers
& play with C.I.S.