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Sunday Studio Visit – exploring new jewellery making techniques

Readers may know I have been a bit absent from this blog lately, as per my last BLOG POST, so I haven’t offered a Sunday studio visit for a while.

Readers may also know that I love sustainability, recycling and upcycling, as illustrated by lots of past jewellery POSTS, and of course the PRESERVING frenzy I go into during the growing season! So with the recent giant iceberg break away from the ice shelf in Antarctica, and all the other crazy occurrences in the world at the moment, my mind has been drawn toward new ways of using synthetic products our society has created and can’t be recycled – such as CDs which are now largely obsolete!

I don’t know about you but I have hundreds of CDs…. from kids games, to movies to data storage, and I have never thrown them out because i just couldn’t bring myself to adding to the city dump!!

So, after a bit of research and refinement I have made a few jewellery pieces using cut up CDs with the addition – in some – of acrylic paints.

I will be making more of these pendants soon as I have heaps of CDs and enjoy the process, so the next time I do some making I will take some process shots for a tutorial.

In the meantime I have actually listed my first piece in my ETSY shop! Happy weekend and see you next time 🙂

DeeDeeDeesigns white handmade necklace

Happy Earth Day 2017 🌏🌲🌱

Today, April 22nd is Earth Day – are you doing anything special? Planting a tree, turning your lights, tv and computer off for a few hours?

I am not planning on doing anything special per se – my television never goes on until about 9pm at night for the news anyway! … and I do, on a daily basis, try to live sustainably, so will do more of that today with a little more mindfulness during the day.

I find it important to recycle and reuse as much as possible, especially in the current political state of climate change scepticism.

I also consider it important because as a ceramic artist I do use alot of gas, water and electricity. My clay and glaze ingredients have a large carbon footprint also, in terms of miles travelled and mining.

I try as much as possible to offset this footprint by growing as much food as possible, composting waste, not using chemicals when cleaning, being a vegetarian, and of cause recycling as much as possible.

Here in Dunnstown,, where I live, we are approaching the end of the Summer/Autumn growing season and I have been doing lots of preserving, bottling and preserving – I will be doing more of that today. I still have lots of apples left which I will be using to make more apple chutney and apple paste (which is great with strong blue cheeses). I have made bottled apples in the past, which were great, so I might make more of them too. I have also recently delved into raw apple cider vinegar!

As followers of my ETSY shop may know – and if not you will now – as well as making ceramic homewares and jewellery, I also make a range of jewellery made from upcycled materials such as guitar strings, plastic bottles, buttons and beads. Love jewellery, or know someone who does? Today, being Earth Day is the ideal day to purchase an upcycled gift for yourself or a friend…. and remember Mothers Day is coming up on May 14th.


Happy Earth Day and Happy Sustainable Living and Shopping 🙂

Sunday Studio Visit … new jewellery designs AND saving the World!

This Sunday did not start out wonderfully!! I did not sleep a wink last night so am a bit behind the eight ball…. or am I? It actually meant I got alot done!

The weather is cooler today, which is also good… I think if I had been tired AND hot I would have been grumpy, maybe.

Yesterday I fired the kiln for classes I teach in my studio – you can check out some pics of classes and finished student masterpieces on my ClayMotion blog here.Today I unloaded the kiln and everything turned out wonderfully, except I forgot to take a photo…. I put it down to no sleep!

This evening I have been playing around with some new jewellery designs. While I do make jewellery from handmade ceramic beads and pendants, I like to combine them with other upcycled materials, or make jewellery completely from upcycled materials.

I believe that repurposing is important for the planet and try to incorporate this as much as possible into my everyday life as well as my art practice. This philosophy, in my everyday life and jewellery making, helps to offset the carbon footprint within my ceramic practice. While I recylce my clay as much as possible and also finish alot of my sculptural pieces using pit firing, I do purchase factory processed clay which requires transport = carbon footprint; and use a gas kiln = carbon footprint; and throw using an electric wheel = carbon footprint. So, you can see why I try to neutralise this footprint within other aspects of my art practice and life in general.

Well, after that bit of philosophising I’ll leave you with pics of what I have been playing around with this evening. In a nut shell I have working on combining a handmade heart shaped ceramic bead (made by me) with other upcycled beads and wire.

I also love stones, and have collected many over my lifetime both in Australia and overseas. I like to create pendants with them using wire wrapping materials, and find them to be very strong statement pieces.

I have also been experimenting with fabric beads using some of my own old 90s dresses. The wound fabric strips are securely wire wrapped with upcycled cake decorating wire. These beads I am then combining with other upcycled materials such as jewellery components I bought a few years ago in a bulk lot from a jewellery chain who was throwing stuff out because it was out of season. I take this jewellery apart and put it back together in different ways combining it with handmade beads and pendants of my own making.

And onto the pics…. have a great week 🙂

PS : Click on them to make them bigger!!

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This work by Dawn Whitehand is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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