A rainy Sunday



A rainy Sunday is sometimes a blessing. The rain stops me from trying to run around and do all the things I forgot to do on Saturday. So I stayed in and worked on a couple of pieces of silver. One piece will be a ring which I'm going to try and imprint with a texture (by squashing it through a mill). The other is a brooch which I'm going to try stamping text into.
The problem with these two pieces is that you do so much prep work... sawing, filing, sanding... and then you do the fun part at the end. If you screw it up then, you've wasted so much work. So, fingers crossed.


Toby stayed in too, packing up parcels of books to send around the world. There are lots of patient people out there who have been waiting  for the second run of his book Alledaags to come back from the printers. It will soon be available at American Book Centre and Lambiek in Amsterdam.

Gember, kaneel en nootmuskaat


I had the urge to bake last night which doesn't come around so often. Pear and ginger muffins- a recipe from a great cookbook I picked up in London recently. They turned out beautifully.
One minor frustration when cooking in the Netherlands is having to translate the ingredients. Normally things are obvious enough and you can figure it out... but every now and then something completely throws me. In things case it was trying to find nutmeg at the supermarket. Otherwise known as nootmuskaat. And for some reason the Dutch don't use baking soda?

Around the world


Ping pong night at OT301 with Lucy, Gareth, Rosie, Nigel and Toby. Good times. 
(Gareth- your jeans were rolled up too high. )

Rose



Stories bind us. They convey our values and humour, our trials and our loves. Rose is the queen of stories. She left early this morning to go find some more.

Sushi party



In New Zealand and Australia, sushi is a simple takeaway meal. Something to be grabbed while waiting for the tram or to eat in the park in the sun at lunch. In Amsterdam it is a luxury and something that you hunt for. And often it's just not quite up to scratch.
Mariko put together sushi simply and easily with no fuss. It was delicious.

Relief



We have warmth now. And rubbish collectors*. So Amsterdam has been transformed from a grey filthy city into a green, clean, breathing city. And it is a relief.


* The rubbish collectors were on strike over a pay dispute. They won!

Susie




I was so organised for class. I'd bought gold and silver and pearls and even a ruby. Got to class and everything was missing. Ran home and frantically searched. Nothing. Went past a shop I'd dropped into on the way to class- nothing had been handed in. Went back to Susie completely distraught. Then remembered I'd put it all in a box. Which was sitting on the kitchen table. Adventures of a forgetful, somewhat clumsy jeweller. 


These drawings and pieces are by Susanne Booger, who I've been studying under. I've mentioned her a few times here and here already but I hadn't actually shared any of her beautiful work.


Susie laughed (kindly) at me for being a complete mess and sympathised. She too forgets stuff and drops precious bit and pieces. But the minute she picks up a file or a hammer you can see the skill and knowledge immediately. The way she holds a tiny piece of silver and can shape the metal into what she has previously envisioned is kind of incredible. The more I learn from her the more I understand how much more I need to learn!



Hackney City Farm


 Hackney City Farm is a little oasis of an English farm in the middle of London. After the exhaust and dirt of London streets, it's an odd contrast to be surrounded by chickens and the smell of manure. Strangely reassuring however.






Forgotten boyfriends


Marty and Mariko took us down Columbia Rd on Saturday and Mariko and I popped into a fabric shop for a bit. We then wandered down the road into a few other shops and after a while we started to wonder where our boyfriends were. We walked back to find them patiently sitting outside the fabric shop... looking like the two saddest boyfriends whose girlfriends forgot about them. Awww.

Mariko and Marty


I got back from London late last night, after spending 5 days with Mariko and Marty. They have just moved there from Melbourne, where I met them and then left them over 2 years ago. Nothing had changed however, they are still super rad.


Mariko is notoriously bad with directions. So bad in fact that when we left the house (we were heading to a local market) she only got as far as the first corner before the map came out! But she got us there, via the sweetest cafe I've been too in a long while. 


London is crazy busy, noisy and exciting. I love it mostly and hate it a little. Sometimes on the tube, where you can see the dark dirty underbelly, it feels like a beast than could swallow you whole. It's just so big. It makes me realise how small and pretty Amsterdam is. And how easy it is to live here, even though my Dutch seems to be getting worse.

In the slime you sink




The shadows where the Mewlips dwell
Are dark and wet as ink,
And slow and softly rings their bell,
As in the slime you sink.

You sink into the slime, who dare
To knock upon their door,
While down the grinning gargoyles stare
And noisome waters pour.

Beside the rotting river-strand
The drooping willows weep,
And gloomily the gorcrows stand
Croaking in their sleep.

Over the
Merlock Mountains a long and weary way,
In a mouldy valley where the trees are grey,
By a dark pool´s borders without wind or tide,
Moonless and sunless, the Mewlips hide.

An excerpt from The Mewlips by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Making and believing

Extra Curricular Issue 2 is out! Ok- so it's been out for a month in NZ but I just got a belated birthday package from Ellie, the creator/editor of EC. Also tucked into the package was a cute brooch and some postcards from some of the crafters mentioned in this issue. Super cute!

This issue features a great interview with my brother Daniel about his jewellery which I think is hilarious. Here's a short excerpt.
 "When I was 5 years old I stole my grandmother’s engagement ring from my mother’s jewellery box and took it to school. I told the kids it gave me super powers and they had to obey my orders. I guess from a young age I was drawn to the aesthetics of small and precious, and that ring seemed to have a secret power and authority which captured my imagination."

I love this because it totally sums up Daniel- breaking the rules, tall stories and crazy imagination! I took the photos for this when he was here back in March in Susie's studio. 

There's also an article I wrote on Claire Terry, a jeweller, musician and shop owner from Wellington, NZ. I've known Claire for nearly 10 years which made this article (my first) really fun to write. Emma took some really cute polaroids to go with the story.

It's so great to be involved in a project back home. Thanks Ellie! 

Mum



My mother Sheryl has always been a sewer and she taught me how to sew from a young age. I remember her patiently helping me sew floral overalls for a tiny white teddy bear. As a rebellious teenager I used to sew my own clothes (refusing to use patterns of course) and I'd never hem anything. Mum was too mortified to let me go into the fabric shops with her- what would the ladies think of her unhemmed child? 
This last shot shows me at my colour co-ordinated best. Mum made the skirt with the checked ribbon trim and note the matching hair ribbons. The socks take it to a whole new level. Rad Bata Bullets too!

Chasing copper

I spent a lot of time annealing and hammering this little copper bowl copper over a steel stake to give it the concave form. Susie was teaching me the techniques chasing and repoussé.

Repoussé is when the metal is shaped by hammering from the reverse side. Working on the front of the piece only is called chasing. The two are used together to create a finished piece.

The metal must be annealed before you work with it. Susie can hear it when metal has become too cold immediately (it sounds brittle) but I am still learning. And annealing takes time, because you have to wait until the metal becomes cool enough to touch. So sometimes I am a little impatient and I burn my fingers on the hot copper. A nice tip from Susie was to hold my earlobe between my burnt fingers. It takes the burn away because your earlobes are cold.