March 30, 2015

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Vintage Wallpaper Collection - The 1970s

Blog Branding ImageThis is the branding for my new collection of little birds... After my siblings and I flew the coop many years ago, my parents decided to sell the house that we grew up in. While helping with the move I found a roll of wallpaper in the attic that had been on the walls of my sister's bedroom when we were kids in the 1970s. It was so gorgeous I decided to keep it . Back then my sister had been an avid-bird watcher, spending hours sitting alone at her window taking  copious notes on the birds that came to our garden. I recently came across that roll of wallpaper again and it inspired me to design this new range of bird jewellery. WD2 Little Wren Inside Donut 2 close up The birds are handmade from sterling silver. The original models were etched using Nitric Acid to get a recessed area for their wings. Then I had moulds made from the master patterns and they are now cast. The colour bit, the little copper discs and donuts, are enamelled in a kiln at 800 degrees using pure white powdered enamel. Then I put the wallpaper decal on. I basically scanned the sheet of wallpaper and had it made into transfers. These have to be fired at a much lower temperature (700 degrees). I cut each transfer out of the sheet by hand so no two are ever the same - it just depends what section I cut out. There is going to be a promo at The Kilkenny Shop in Dublin for the week of the 20th of April...with a little pair of wren earrings as a giveaway when you purchase. See you there! I'm the one in the middle by the way, my sister Adrienne is far left and Conor, my brother is on the right. Yup, middle child.
March 30, 2015

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The Carolina Collection - Inspired by Penland

  Feminine with an Edge This new collection is all about the spiritual side of ourselves – that parallel universe of energy, spirits, intuition –– that exists alongside us but keeps itself hidden from view. The range is completely monochromatic (for now, I love colour so we'll see about adding some further down the line...)
Skull NecklaceTwo weeks in The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina last summer inspired me to design this new collection as an addition to my Guaranteed Quirky range.
The Carolina Collection is a series of esoteric talismans with a very graphic design, depicting symbols that are meaningful, comforting and stylish. The collection has more 3D elements than I normally use. I usually design work from flat sheet metal, then do a bit of hammering, texturing and folding to get depth.Enamel Fuschia Bracelet large I was conscious of bringing the primary elements into the design of each piece which is why I chose to use only black and white – oxidized sterling silver chains and white enamel, as well as pure, highly finished silver. For the black and white pieces I wanted to juxtapose light and dark – and silver is very strong symbolically as it is associated with the moon. It works both from an artistic perspective and from an allegorical one. Talismans, as purveyors of good luck, have deep meanings that come from ancient cultures and traditions. Look at Buddhist mandalas, Mexico's Day of the Dead, Tarot and Cabala symbols. We recognise these, they are comforting – and yet, a little bit edgy too. Saba Enamel & Oxidised Silver ANGEL WINGS Nlac PROSHOTSYes! I definitely have a spiritual side, think most people do. I’m quite a solitary person and need to spend a lot of time by myself, mooching around, gathering my thoughts. I meditate, I walk my dogs along the Dodder River, I read voraciously – all sorts of books as well as lots of books on spiritual topics. I don't know what or who is out there, but there is something out there for sure.
The Carolina Collection is much more of a ‘fashion range’ than I normally design and it was fun to create some new, non-animal inspired work.
Black and white always looks good. It looks chic and never goes out of style. This range can be worn with any colour, any neckline and for any occasion. I want the range to appeal both on a fashion and on an emotional level. Jewellery is a very personal thing.Day of the Dead Enamel Skull 28 Necklace Grainne CAT
This range works for those who want to make a subtle statement, as well as those who want to make a big statement.”
The Carolina Collection, like all of Saba Jewellery, is handmade by Geraldine in Ireland. Check out the collectiWhat the symbols meanon by clicking here Below is what the symbols mean. This is the insert that goes into the box with each piece of jewellery
March 30, 2015

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Penland School of Crafts - Heaven!

Last summer I spent two weeks in The Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina while taking a workshop at The Penland School of Crafts in June (http://penland.org/). What a beautiful place.Penland Craft School There were approximately 200 people at Penland for those two weeks, either teaching or taking part in the 15 or so different classes, which ranged from ironwork and printing to ceramics and illustration. Everyone was living on the small but gorgeous campus and there were 10 people in my workshop. A bell was rung just before every mealtime and you could find yourself sitting down to eat with an 18 year-old on one side of you and an 80 year-old on the other. They had free yoga classes at 7 in the morning and 5 in the evening; I couldn't believe how lucky I was to be walking to yoga at 6.45am watching the sun rising through the mist in the mountains every day. StepsThere are no locks on any of the doors (including bedrooms) at Penland which I initially found disconcerting. But there is no point in having locks – the place is really remote and probably has crime rate of 0%. The studios are also open 24 hours a day so you can literally work non-stop if you want. Hydraulic Press 3During the spring and summer the courses there change every two weeks; the tutors are invited to teach whatever they are specialists in and it is considered a real compliment to be invited to be an instructor. The course I took was in enamelling, taught by a woman called Marjorie Simon (http://marjoriesimon.com/). I had always admired her work and was thrilled when I found out she was teaching a class. I couldn't put my deposit down fast enough. Marjorie is one of America's finest craftspeople; she is also an educator as well as a writer for Metalsmith Magazine amongst other publications. On top of that she turned out to be kind, patient and fun – teaching is hard work but she never flagged. That was inspiring to me. These are some of the little houses she is working on for an exhibition this spring in Wales. They are made from copper and enamel.Houses1Houses 2 The remote location, the incredible scenery, the quality of the teaching, the studios and the equipment were without compare, but the thing that stood out most about the two weeks was the atmosphere; it was electric with shared enthusiasm and joy. This may sound cheesy to some, but its true nevertheless. There was no emailing, texting, Facebook, newspapers, television, cars, laundry, cooking, dirty dishes to wash...you get the picture. Just designing and making – and talking about designing and making. The group There is an exhibition of everyone's workSamples at the end of two weeks and then an auction - where you can come away with work made either by the other students or by the instructors - for a fraction of the price that it would sell for at a gallery. Ironwork2Alas, I wish I had the money... I actually cried on my last day there, but came home from Penland relaxed, filled with ideas and energy, having learned metalworking and enamelling techniques I would otherwise never have learned. Auction I put these techniques to work in my Carolina Collection of Talismans. The only thing I was disappointed by was that I never got to see any of the beautiful black bears that live in the forest on the edge of which the school is situated; there is a sign in the dining hall warning you to remain calm if you come across one – apparently screaming your head off and running away is a recipe for disaster...yikes.