Preparations for a ‘different’ kind of wedding fair.

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Preparations for a ‘different’ kind of wedding fair.

I’ve spent quite a lot of time over the last month ‘thinking’ about my wedding fair display, as in just over a week’s time, I’ll be exhibiting at a weddign event that I’ve never done before. It’s called the Eclectic Wedding Extravaganza and, as the title suggests, its also a rather ‘alternative’ type of wedding fair. This has really got me thinking about how I can make the most of that 2x1m of space that I have to fill.  

The aim of this wedding fair is oh so simple. They want to find all those couples who feel lost in a wedding world abundant with cookie cutter, white wash weddings and welcome them into the ‘EWE’ flock with open arms. They are a place for those who want to break free from the ties of wedding tradition and have a day that's unique to them…their Motto “Don’t be a wedding sheep, It’s All About EWE!!

I’ve spent years refining my current setup, which I will probably never be 100% happy wih (apparently my indecisiveness and and always thinking I can improve everything makes me an ‘artist’ though so I’m fine with that). I think I’m about 90% there with my current display set up, but as this is a very special show, I think I need to at least try and find that extra 10%! I have some ideas, which hopefully I’ll manage to actually get finished before a week on Saturday. 

If you’d like to come and see me and the rest of the amazing exhibitors, then show is on November 11/12th at The Bond in Digbeth, Birmingham. Ticket’s cost £7 in advance but if you nip over to my Facebook page then you could win a pair of free tickets to visit on the Sunday. In the meantime, here’s a few photos from last years show...

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Colour changing Aquamarine?

This is just a quick blog about a ring resize that I finished off today. Earlier on this week, I had an email from a client that that previously bought an engagement ring from me, asking if it could be resized. Now, the lovely thing about precious metals is that they can be stretched and squashed, so a suite either way usually is a pretty quick job. However, this ring needed to be stretched 4 sizes bigger, so needed to have a small extra piece of metal added in. Again, not really a difficult job as there was plenty of space around the solder join to add in the extra silver. So, I did what I’ve done many times and stood the stone in a big blog of heat protection paste before soldering either side of the new metal. This all went well until I went to look at the stone after soldering.....and......agghh.....it wasn’t blue.....it had turned a kind of khaki green! 

I quite liked the colour, but my client was expecting to get a blue aquamarine back, so I accepted the fact that I’d have to replace it. BUT, this morning, just as I was about to email my stone dealer, I noticed that from the back of the setting, it still looked blue! I gave it a few minutes in the ultrasonic cleaning tank......a bit more blue, until after about 10 more minutes of cleaning it was fully back to its original spendor! Hoorah!! 

So what had happened? Well, I like to think that it was a magic colour changing aquamarine, or possibly it was just a build up of grime (moisturiser/hairspray/soap/dead skin cells etc) but the moral of this story is........next time, remember to clean behind all the stones BEFORE I heat them up! 

 

Before soldering in the extra silver. 

Before soldering in the extra silver. 

The rather gorgeous green.....that was only temporary! 

The rather gorgeous green.....that was only temporary! 

Extra metal soldered in place. 

Extra metal soldered in place. 

Yay! All back too the original colour! 

Yay! All back too the original colour! 

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Not my usual sort of repair.

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Not my usual sort of repair.

I shared a photo on all facebook, instagram and twitter earlier on today and asked people what they thought the ‘thing’ was that I had on my bench to repair. 

Currently, a couple of my musician friends on instagram have guessed, but nobody on facebook or twitter, so I thought I’d reveal what it is on my blog.

So.....drumroll......the strange mystery gold object is................ 

The ferrule from the frog (the bit that holds the hairs) of a violin bow! 

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So, this job came about because I’m a violinist myself and a couple of years ago, I had got chatting to the fab violin maker, Padraig O’dubhlaoidh (http://www.hillsarts.co.uk/hibernianviolins/) that lives near to me. I had taken my violin into him for a couple of repairs and when he found out what I did for a living, he told me about how he sometimes gets asked to repair the silver and gold parts of high quality bows. Well, a couple of weeks ago, this very thing happened and he asked if I would be able to fix a broken solder join.

He told me the maker was a guy called James Tubbs and I’m glad that I waited until after I’d done the repair to google him! Here’s what the good old inter web found out when I looked him up..........

 “...James Tubbs Bow maker (1835 – 1921)

James Tubbs was one of the finest and most prolific bow makers in the history of British violin making. His work rivals that of the finest French makers, and he is said to have made thousands of bows in his lifetime...”

As I returned the now fixed ferrule and frog to Padraig, he told me how much the whole bow was worth. I’m not going to share the number publically but I will tell you that it was big, and I ‘think’ may well be the most expensive thing I’ve ever worked on!!! 

Here’s a few pics of the repair ‘in progress’... 

The cracked solder join. 

The cracked solder join. 

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Not so shiny straight after soldering.  

Not so shiny straight after soldering.  

Cleaned up, now time for a polish. 

Cleaned up, now time for a polish. 

All finished! 

All finished! 

Close up pic of the finished repair on the James Tubbs bow. 

Close up pic of the finished repair on the James Tubbs bow. 

James Tubbs at his workbench in the shop at 94 Wardour Street, London. The photo taken in 1917 in his last years. (Thanks Wikipedia!)  

James Tubbs at his workbench in the shop at 94 Wardour Street, London. The photo taken in 1917 in his last years. (Thanks Wikipedia!)

 

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A (short) rest...

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A (short) rest...

I haven't had chance to write a blog or newsletter for absolutely ages, so this is well over due! It's been a busy few months, of wedding commissions and my Etsy shop seems to have been really popular too.

My personal life has also been really busy, and at times a bit difficult over the last few months due to having to fight in court to allow my clever but dyslexic and autistic daughter to be home educated! Thankfully that's all sorted now though and she’s absolutely flying along working on GCSE courses from home. Happy times resume!

Because I've been so busy though, I've never looked forward more to having a bit of a break, and so between the 21st of July and the 6th of August, I'm going to be putting my Etsy shop in “holiday mode”. I have another child at school, and so the first couple of weeks of his summer holiday are going to be all about family time! I've never put my shop on holiday before, as I've always just worked in the evenings throughout the summer holidays, but this time, I've decided to switch off from work completely. It's only for the first two weeks though, so I’ll be back at my bench on the 7th Aug. You can still email me during the next two weeks but unless something is a life of death situation, I don't plan to be replying to anything over the next two weeks.

I'm just about to update the website with one final summer and then all the autumn wedding fairs that I currently have booked and then it's time to set up that “out of workshop” email reply! So finally (for now), I just want to say a massive thank you to all of my lovely customers past and present as without you, I wouldn't have a business to be able to take a holiday from!

Anna x

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