Julie Driscoll
Southwold Beach Huts by Julie Driscoll

"Julie Driscoll...she sounds really familiar...where do I know that name from?"

That was the response I got from a friend when I said Suffolk artist Julie Driscoll was the next painter to be featured here.

Then...

"Oh my goodness! Julie Driscoll - that 60s singer! Wow - she paints now? And lives in Suffolk?"

Er...no - this is a much younger creative talent who happens to have the same name and who, as far as I know, does not share a home county with the psychedelic sixties singer.

The next person I mentioned the name Julie Driscoll to said, "Oh yes, I've heard of her", to which I snapped, "Oh for heaven's sake - not the Ab Fab Wheel's On Fire Julie Driscoll!"

My friend looked at me perturbed and said, "Yes, I know - you mean the artist  - right?"

So it looks as if this Julie Driscoll may well become a household name too but, for very different reasons to the other one.

This Julie Driscoll has an incredible talent for interpreting the Suffolk landscape in ways reminiscent of artists such a Harry Becker (1865 - 1928).

And - her paintings sell.

Suffolk is a place that has inspired artists, writers, photographers and poets for centuries.

Once you have explored all that this area has to offer, it is easy to see why it has fired the creative urges of so many artistic souls throughout time.

Despite the relative flatness of the landscape in many parts of this glorious county, the scenery is diverse and breathtaking.

The apparent flatness of the landscape provides an incredible backdrop for the stunning cloudscapes regularly seen  in Suffolk.

(I say apparent flatness because I was once challenged on this by a cyclist who said I would change my opinion if I ever toured around Suffolk on a bike!)

It is these wonderful Suffolk skies that are often the main feature in Julie's work because they are such an important feature of the locality.

Julie Driscoll
Iken Church by Julie Driscoll

The Suffolk that Julie Driscoll sees is expressed in loose, impressionistic strokes and marks that truly convey the varying moods of the diverse landscape.

Many of her paintings have a timeless quality that would make it almost impossible to say what century they were from, if the viewer did not already know the paintings were contemporary.

The images remind me of how lucky we are to live in a place where so much of the vista has little evidence of our modern, sometimes unattractive, world.

The thing I love most is the impressionist quality of the images. For me, Julie’s paintings lay on the cusp where concrete reality ends and the abstract begins.

For me, Julie Driscoll's paintings lay on the cusp where concrete reality ends and the abstract… Click To Tweet

They have a beautiful dreamlike quality that, if the strokes were any less defined, would dissolve into blurs of colour where any suggestion of form would fade away into complete abstraction.

Maybe that is why she finds it so easy to cross the line from impressionism into abstract.

Julie Driscoll

The moment I first saw the abstract work of Julie Driscoll, I was intrigued by her ability to create such depth in her paintings.

Way back, before I ever had a go at painting abstracts myself, I was one of those deluded people who say things like “OMG - a child could have done that!” or, “what actually is the point of abstract painting?”

At age eight, I even upset a grand old lady in London at the Tate when I stood by a Henry Moore sculpture and very loudly asked my parents, “why is that thing in an art gallery?”

The aging lady’s hand flew to her throat and she exclaimed, “Oh! That’s a Henry Moore!” And then she fixed me (and my parents) with a deafening glare.

The aging lady’s hand flew to her throat and she exclaimed, “Oh! That’s a Henry Moore!” And then… Click To Tweet

But my goodness, as I grew up I realised what enormous talent goes into creating abstract art in any form.

To achieve depth and dimension in a painting and to fire the viewer’s imagination to ‘see’ another world in an image or sculpture requires skill.

As discussed in a former post on my sister website (see below), I am not a painter with a capital P but I dabble around cluelessly, (quite happy in my cluelessness!) with paint. However, I had never used oils. They scared  me.

Click here to read Can You Paint More than Just Your Toe Nails?
Julie Driscoll
The dreaded oils struck fear of failure into me.

So I was thrilled to be able take part in a one-to-one workshop with Julie Driscoll in her studio.

It was an extremely enjoyable few hours and I learned two main things; oil paints are not scary and, Julie is a very easy-going, encouraging tutor who believes anyone can do what she does.

She really does believe that and it is such a powerful belief for a teacher of anything to have.

I have known a few artists in my time and sadly, too many have appeared to be quite aloof and very keen to set themselves apart from people who 'can't paint', as if we are some kind of alien life form.

Julie does not fall into this category despite becoming evermore successful and selling her work at prestigious galleries and exhibitions.

Her studio is comfortable with a beautiful country outlook. She very kindly shared her precious paints with me and encouraged me to jump in without feeling intimidated.

Her approach is probably the least threatening I have ever encountered because we both had blank canvases and she was busy figuring out her own colour choices etc while talking me through mine.

In a way, that made us both vulnerable, despite her many years of experience, experimentation and success. The focus was not all on me and that felt so liberating.

It seemed like the difference between teaching me to swim from the poolside as opposed to jumping right in and swimming with me.

It seemed like the difference between teaching me to swim from the poolside as opposed to jumping… Click To Tweet
Julie Driscoll

The great thing about Julie Driscoll is, she is not inhibited by the ridiculous fear most of us have of 'getting it wrong'.

She has no fear of the blank canvas and getting her first squirts of paint onto a new one.

She seems to approach the process as an adventure that gradually unfolds.

Maybe that is what makes people like her so successful.

She knows that to become accomplished at anything, you have to practice - so she has just gone ahead on that basis with experimentation in art.

I suspect the obstructive 'but I can't paint' voice has never whispered in her ear.

The great thing about Julie Driscoll is, she is not inhibited by the ridiculous fear most of us… Click To Tweet

Julie rarely uses a brush to paint. She uses a palette knife and a technique known as 'impasto', a method of painting that gives a three-dimensional appearance to the painting.

Texture and layering are important features of her work and she achieves this by using the palette knife to formulate different strokes, layering the oils thickly, over a period several weeks.

The effect of this is to provide depth and contrast of tones.

Julie said:

“Using knives allows me to move freely across the canvas, giving me a feeling of escapism.

"I have been inspired by local artist Maggi Hambling whose powerful wave paintings are full of texture and energy."

Julie Driscoll

It was a shock to me that Julie Driscoll is not an art school graduate.

Although she is mostly self-taught, Julie has studied with local tutors to develop her abilities.

After studying art at A Level, she took a Bsc and Diploma in Occupational Therapy.

She then went on to use art as a creative and therapeutic tool, in the UK and abroad, while working with people suffering from forensic, addictive and psychiatric histories.

She said:

“I hope my previous career path is reflected in my work by representing emotive and atmospheric impressionist landscapes".

Another artist who has inspired Julie is Harry Becker (1865 – 1928).

Julie had this to say:

“Harry Becker used muted colours that created the same sensitivity and serenity I aspire to in my own work.”

Most of Julie's paintings are created from memories and photographs of places she has known since childhood – places that are still rugged and unspoilt. Places she has still been able to enjoy with her own children.

Some of the scenes she paints are more realistic than others, allowing the viewer, she hopes, the freedom to create their own 'special place'.

Julie Driscoll
A painting by Harry Becker(1865 - 1928)

It should be a huge source of encouragement to others that Julie Driscoll is largely self-taught.

Her work is now in big demand and can be found in prestigious galleries such as Snape Maltings, where she has exhibited since 2013.

Julie Driscoll
Julie Driscoll

Snape Maltings gallery where Julie Driscoll sells some of her work.

For the past six years, her paintings have also been displayed by the Ipswich Art Society annual exhibitions at the University campus in the heart of Ipswich's trendy waterfront.

And popular Woodbridge shop Vanil sells Julie's work in their very up-market Church Street shop.

As a shop described as 'an ever-evolving, eclectic mix of Scandinavian inspired design', having work accepted here is a big deal.

According to their website, they only stock products they are particularly passionate about, which of course is what the discerning clientele of Woodbridge would expect.

And back in May of this year, Julie had a very successful weekend when she was one of 75 artists exhibiting their work at the renowned Glemham Hall, a private family home and events venue.

Glemham-Hall-South-Face

Julie's work was part of an event that featured many notable artists and sculptors including Maggi Hambling and Paul Richardson.

Julie's work was part of an event that featured many notable artists and sculptors including… Click To Tweet

The event was held by charity Art For Cure who were raising money for the care and cure of breast cancer. (Click on the link to find out more about the incredible success of that weekend when over 8000 people visited the exhibition.)

 

Julie's success there was swiftly followed by another exhibition she had been invited to participate in at Gifford Hall, Bury St Edmunds.

That's an impressive resume for someone who is mostly self taught. Julie paints and Julie sells.

What more could an artist want?

Julie Driscoll
Julie with daughter Caitlin at the exhibition.

Are there more plans for workshops or was I just very lucky?

I think I was just very lucky! However - Julie has got some exciting plans in the pipeline - so watch this space.

And aside from those plans, we are also discussing a collaborative workshop which will also be a unique and exciting venture for both us and the students.

When I initially asked if Julie did workshops, I never expected it would result in a one-off, one-to-one session where the most important thing I would learn was to lose a bit more of my fear.

After spending a couple of hours playing with paint, I no longer fear oils – that is a huge gain for me.

It fits perfectly with my ethos, explained here, that to be creative, we must overcome our fear of being wrong.

I am not sure that Julie Driscoll ever had that fear, which is why she is now a very successful artist.

To see more work from Julie Driscoll, click here to see a gallery of her paintings.

These are just a few of the many paintings Julie Driscoll has completed.

Her work hangs in homes and offices all over the country and this is a just very small sample of what she has produced.

Julie is a prolific painter and continues to produce new work for the many exhibitions she participates in.

making a living as an artist

Making a living as an artist - if you are a ‘starving artist’, those words may make you smile.

Having spoken to a few working artists lately, I realise there is a huge difference between making a living as an artist and making money from your art now and then.

In my next few posts, I will be showing you the work of artists who are making money out of their art and who are working towards the ideal of making a living as an artist.

There is a huge difference between making a living as an artist and making money from your art. Click To Tweet
making a living as an artist

Making A Living As An Artist - Rebecca Yoxhall

Rebecca is a highly talented young artist living in her native Cheshire and, she is making a living as an artist. One of her latest successes is having her work go on sale in Dunelm, a national chain store with  a prominent focus on home decor and furnishings.

And not only has Dunelm produced a superb, affordable canvas using one of her paintings, they have also identified Rebecca as the artist by providing a large tag with a picture of her with some substantial background blurb.

One of the things that puts me off buying generic canvases from chain stores is the impersonal nature of it - I like to know who painted the images I have hanging on my walls.

So it is a stroke of genius from Dunelm that they are putting a different spin on mass produced canvases and making them more attractive to potential buyers like me.

It is a stroke of genius from Dunelm that they are putting a different spin on mass produced… Click To Tweet

Ideally, we would all like to buy original art works but in today’s world, it just isn’t feasible for many ordinary people to outlay the money that professional artists have to charge. By making art available in this way, it helps both the artist and the buyer find a way to connect while benefiting both.

The canvas is available in store and online by clicking here. You can also order online and then pick up and pay at your local store.
making a living as an artist

So this latest success for Rebecca is another huge step along the winding path she has walked on her quest in making a living as an artist.

But, has it comes easily?

The answer to that is, of course, no. Rebecca is proof that talent alone will not guarantee success in the world of art - her success is down to a kind of tenacity that not everyone has.

Talent alone will not guarantee success in the world of art. Click To Tweet

And yes, she has had a ‘mainstream’ job. That was in retail.

“When my son was small, I worked in retail for a few years to help bring the pennies in. At that point, I had just begun to teach the odd watercolour class."

When I asked Rebecca if walking road the to success as an artist and getting away from the need to do non-arty jobs has been a struggle, she said this:

“Not really as I love what I do. I can’t say it has been easy though…it hasn’t been handed to me on a plate…I’ve got off my backside and I’ve worked. I have worked hard and I’ve followed my heart…and that has always felt right and natural to me. So not a struggle, more of a passionate determination.”

Is walking to road to artistic success a struggle? Click To Tweet

So where did this ‘passionate determination begin?

Well Rebecca comes from a creative family, a family that was always supportive of her own creativity. She has painted and created for as long as she can remember. So after achieving an A Level in art, Rebecca went off to Manchester Metropolitan University and came away with a BA (Hons) in Textile Design.

After working as a freelance designer for a short time, Rebecca’s creative talents went in a new direction when she produced on of the best works of art known to man - a baby. For a time, her career was on hold as she turned her attention to motherhood but as her son has grown, Rebecca has been able to develop her career as a professional artist.

making a living as an artist

After a short spell in retail Rebecca was driven by the desire for self-development and went into teaching.

She said:

“It just felt natural and I followed my heart. I’ve made the opportunities for myself by always wanting to develop."

I followed my heart. I’ve made the opportunities for myself by always wanting to develop. Click To Tweet

That quest for self-development meant that by 2009, Rebecca had gained her Post Graduate Certificate in Education - no easy achievement with a young family - and began to build up her art classes.

making a living as an artist

Making a living as an artist is not just about selling paintings.

It’s about developing various streams of income using the talents you have. And Rebecca certainly has done that. She does sell paintings of course, but she no longer focuses so much on commissions. She told me this:

“I have worked to commission on paintings but now prefer to focus on my own personal paintings and selling products with my designs on.”

Making a living as an artist is not just about selling paintings. Click To Tweet

And in pleasing herself, it seems that Rebecca is catching the eye of retailers who are choosing work she has already done rather than commission her to paint what they want.

Speaking of her recent success with Dunelm, she told me:

‘ I paint what I want and if someone likes it, great…Dunelm just happened to like that particular piece. It just feels like a natural progression…it is a great feeling to be recognised. I’ve worked with Artistic Britain, who are effectively an agent dealing with artists and promoting their work to retailers. I have two other paintings on sale with an Australian retailer - although I am not sure what they are called!

I paint what I want and if someone likes it, great! Click To Tweet

Bec-4

It must be wonderful to be so laid back about where in the world your art is being sold and, to have someone else taking care of business but, Rebecca has worked very hard to get to this point.

Rather than stand still, this desire to improve seems to be what keeps her moving, always looking forward to the next development. This must be what separates someone who is making a living as an artist from someone who is simply making some money now and then from their art.

This is what separates someone making a living as an artist from someone simply making some money… Click To Tweet

But has Rebecca encountered many obstacles along the way to living her dream?

Yes, she has. I asked her what her personal obstacles have been and she said:

“Self-doubt, on occasion…being a perfectionist and doubting I was good enough. But at the same time, I didn’t want to do anything else. It has been tricky financially too at times when work was slow but, I just persevered because of the passionate determination I have."

making a living as an artist

So is passionate determination what it takes to be making a living as an artist?

It seems that way in Rebecca Yoxall’s case. She has gone from teaching a few sporadic watercolour classes when her son was small to gaining her PGCE and being in demand by budding artists who flock to her classes. Rebecca had this to say when I asked how her workshops are going now:

“Very successful…always full…and my weekly classes are always full. I never really advertise…it’s all word of mouth, which is amazing! But, you have to put the hours in to get paid. It’s all on you as the tutor to be on top form all the time; to be reliable and professional. If I didn’t, I simply wouldn’t get the students."

And what motivates Rebecca in her own painting? What medium does she love the best? She loves watercolour because of its luminous and flowing qualities and as for motivation, she loves finding finding inspiration in nature, especially in her garden.

“I also love being by the sea…I love the smell of the air and the sense of space and freedom…I love big skies.”

Bec-1

 

What other avenues has Rebecca gone down while building her career as a professional artist? Click To Tweet

What other avenues has Rebecca gone down while building her career as a professional artist?

She dabbled in book illustration with some success when she worked on some children’s books with a local author.

“I’ve not done much in that respect for a couple of years. I did work on the Tales From Beauty Bank books with Michael Beddard. However in recent years, I have focused on my own work, with Artistic Britain, for example, the company that got me the Dunelm deal.”

So, will there be more deals to follow? I asked Rebecca. And with the easy going attitude she has, mixed very powerfully with the drive that has got her where she is, she replied:

“Who knows…it’s all on whether anyone likes what I am producing."

And what a wonderful place to be at!

You can see more of Rebecca's work by clicking these links to her Pinterest boards and Facebook page

https://uk.pinterest.com/RebeccaYoxall

https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaYoxallArt

How about you? If you are making a living as an artist, or trying to, leave me a comment below and tell me about your journey.

making a living as an artist

sweet poppy stencils

Sweet Poppy stencils are absolutely beautiful, especially when combined with Sparkle Medium.

But what is the best way to use them?

And how can you get the stunning effects you see in the pictures here? 

Sweet Poppy stencils are absolutely beautiful, especially when combined with Sparkle Medium. Click To Tweet
Sweet Poppy stencils

Just look at the gorgeous effects you can achieve with Sweet Poppy stencils and Sparkle Medium!

The Sweet Poppy Stencils design seen here was used by craft demonstrator Dot Clark to show what can be achieved - if you know how.

Now I'm pretty savvy with craft products but I can't work out how Dot has achieved this amazing, seamless blend of colours and it's really annoying me!

I'm pretty savvy with crafts but I can't work out how to get this seamless blend of colours and… Click To Tweet

Thankfully, Dot will be at Keep On Crafting in Bury St Edmunds on Wednesday August 3rd to let us in on her secrets! 

And I can't wait because I really love the beautiful texture and sparkle of this technique (whatever it is!)

(Click here to see info on a couple of Dot's demo days.)
sweet poppy stencils
sweet poppy stencils

Dot Clark is such a pro with the Sweet Poppy stencils, her work appears on Create and Craft TV.

The demo she is doing at Keep On Crafting on August 3rd is a chance to watch and learn in a more intimate environment.

You can rock up for half an hour and ask loads of questions to get a good grip on how to use the wonderful products Dot will be demonstrating. 

Shop owner Mandy Shedden was very tight-lipped when I asked how Dot gets the subtle blending of colours. Not really sure if she was joking but she said, "If I tell you I will have to kill you."

So for Health & Safety reasons, I'm going to the demo!

sweet poppy stencils

This is the lovely friendly environment in which people will have the opportunity to watch Dot Clark working and to ask her questions about the products.

Keep On Crafting is a very friendly place where Mandy welcomes all crafters new and old.

If you have never been before and are new to crafting, just take the plunge and go! I have found that everyone is really keen to share their knowledge with others.

And you have never seen such a variety of amazing craft products under one small roof! Click here to see maps of the shop and adjacent parking.

The Sweet Poppy stencils are the tip of the iceberg and I am sure you will come away with more than a ton of new skills.

craft awards

Craft awards don't come easily to the shops that receive them.

They are earned by the hard work of the craft shop owners who provide their customers with great service and products.

Last year Mandy Shedden of Keep On Crafting in Bury St Edmunds was given an award. When we spoke to Mandy this week about her hopes for this year she said:

"Thanks to the support of our loyal customers in 2015, we won the Silver Award in the International Craft Awards Best Independent Retailer in the South East"

And she hopes that this year she can retain her title. But we hope she doesn't - we hope she gets Gold! I travel a long way to visit the shop because I love it so much.

These Craft Awards are like the Oscars of the craft world - seriously!

If you want to get a feel for what a homely place Keep On Crafting is click here to see pictures and read about my experience doing workshops there.

Speaking out to her many valued customers, Mandy also said:

"Please consider nominating us again this year and you will be in with a chance to win a spa break for two."

And guess what! It isn't any old spa break - it's at the original Champney's Health Spa!

Look, look, look below!

craft awards

So get voting for Keep On Crafting in the 2016 Craft Awards and you may be living it up at Champneys!

And Mandy will be very happy that all her hard work is paying off. You can vote very easily by clicking on this link www.crafts-beautiful.com/awards

Fill in whatever is relevant to you but pay special attention to box number 19 and any others that you feel Mandy deserves a mention in. 

Please note the closing date for nominations is July 21st 2016.

Craft awards may not seem important to you but Mandy will be a happy bunny if she wins - go on - there is a spa weekend at stake!

paper bead workshop

This week, I ran a paper bead workshop at a popular West Suffolk craft shop. 

 Thanks to the artistic skills and dexterity of Mandy, Beryl, Sonia, Clarissa and Alison, the workshop ran really smoothly and was good fun.

They were a brilliant group who picked everything up really swiftly; that meant there was plenty of time for a tea break and time to set the world to rights!

Keep On Crafting, at 98a Risbygate Street, Bury St Edmunds, was a great venue for running a paper bead workshop.

As I have said before, the shop is an absolute gold-mine of crafting supplies and I defy anyone to leave there without a gazillion ideas for new projects.

Mandy is a great hostess too because she is knowledgeable and enthusiastic about everything she sells. 

Mandy had TV crafting personality Lizzy Curtis demonstrating at the shop in the morning.

That left me with massive shoes to fill with my paper bead workshop in the afternoon!

Lizzy presents regularly on the Craft Channel and has made quite a name for herself in the world of crafting. 

Thankfully, I had a different group to Lizzy Curtis so I was ok - it was just li'l ole me, not off the TV!

Mandy regularly has TV channel tutors demonstrating at the shop so it is well worth checking out her diary of upcoming workshops and demos here. Keep visiting the workshop page as the site will soon be updated with more classes.

There are some exciting Christmassy classes coming up and Clarissa, who was in my paper bead workshop, has been booked to do an Origami class. More about that in a future post.

None of my group had made paper beads before and they all took to it with lots of enthusiasm.

People are always amazed when I tell them the jewellery begins life as a sheet of paper. Once they see how the bead tool works - they really get it and they are off!

paper bead workshop

This is the bracelet we made (single strand though due to time limitations).

At the paper bead workshop, we used the Easy Beady tool which makes the whole process really quick and easy.

As a paper bead maker who was frustrated with other methods of making the beads, I set out to design a paper bead tool that was as efficient as possible and I would not be without mine now.

paper bead workshop
The 3mm and the 5mm tool (for making Pandora style beads with a 5mm core).

You don't have to attend a paper bead workshop to get the tool.

Students at my workshops all get to use the tool to complete the class.They then have the option of buying a brand new one still in the packet at the end.

But you can also buy the paper bead tools on eBay by clicking here if you don't have the time to attend a class. The Easy Beady tool comes with complete instructions.

The paper beads you see on the right were the kind we made while waiting for the glaze to dry on the faux willow pattern beads we made in class. 

The sealing/glazing process means the beads need up to an hour to be ready to string, so in every paper bead workshop I do, we use the drying time to explore  how to make hand-coloured tapered beads.

paper bead workshop
paper bead workshop
paper bead workshop

The pictures above and below show workshop students using the tool to create their beads.

paper bead workshop
The Easy Beady paper bead tool is
really easy to use - once you get the
knack.
paper bead workshop

Would you like to attend a paper bead workshop?

Mandy has booked me for a follow-up workshop on November 5th of this year to teach people how to make the pandora style paper beads with the silver core inserts.

If you would like to attend this or another paper bead workshop, please get in touch with me by emailing info@funcraftstodoathome.com.

You can find more on my Easy Beady tool and paper bead making by clicking here.

I also run classes closer to home at The Thrifty Thistle - so if you live closer to Felixstowe and want to do a paper bead workshop, send me an email.

Comments are very welcome - if you have a comment about the paper bead workshop or something else, please scroll down at the end and talk to me!

Paper Bead Cuff

Paper bead cuffs are my way of using my own art to create pieces of jewellery.

To create the paper bead cuffs, I do an abstract painting in acrylics on a sheet of paper slightly bigger than A4 (US letter size roughly).

The paper I use is usually quite thick and sturdy to create chunkier beads.

To find out more about making paper beads and the tool I use, click here to see a previous post that explains the process.

To create my paper bead cuffs, I do an abstract painting in acrylics on a sheet of paper slightly… Click To Tweet
Paper Bead Cuffs

To create my paper bead cuffs, I use one of my pre-designed templates.

My templates are available on Etsy here.

They are very easy to use. When using chunky art work that will not go through my printer, I simply print the template on a sheet of plain white paper.

Then I use removable glue tape to keep the template in position on the back of the artwork while I carefully cut the strips.

For the bracelets you see above, I used the one inch double template. This makes the shorter strips that are necessary with thicker paper.

 

Paper bead cuffs

The reason I love making these paper bead cuffs is because it gives me a reason to paint; I know the paintings will not just sit in a draw.

On the days I feel like painting, I just get to it using whatever colours and mediums grab me at the time and I have built up a huge collection of paintings I can use to make paper bead cuffs.

paper bead cuffs

This is a typical painting that I have used for making paper bead cuffs.

Paper bead cuffs are easy to make once you get the hang of the process.

I run fun, friendly workshops in Suffolk to teach people how to create paper jewellery and how to use my Easy Beady paper bead tool.

At the classes, students get to use the tool and then have the option of buying one at the end.

Most people find that once they have done a workshop and have the tool, they become addicted to making paper beads!

If you do not live in Suffolk but would like to learn more about the tool or ask any questions about the paper bead making process, contact me via the form found here

Paper bead cuffs are easy to make once you get the hang of the process. Click To Tweet

I will have you making paper bead cuffs from your own artwork in no time!

 

Alcohol Ink Pendants
 

Make beautiful 'Moon Glow' alcohol ink pendants using kitchen tin foil.

 

Alcohol ink pendants are my latest arty happening!

After seeing someone online doing crafty things with ordinary tin foil, I thought it would be fun to try and make some jewellery using that technique.

My previous post was also about using alcohol inks - you can find it by clicking here.

I have been making bottle cap necklaces for years and so I was inspired to use the bottle caps I have in my stash of resources to create some alcohol ink pendants.

Alcohol ink pendants - so easy to make and sell at craft fairs. Click To Tweet

To help you create your own alcohol ink pendants, I have made a YouTube video.

A link to the video can be found below.  I have also added some Amazon links further down, for some of the resources I used in the video.

I do get a very teeny commission if people buy from Amazon, however, there is nothing promoted on this blog that I have not used myself and can genuinely recommend.

alcohol ink pendants
alcohol ink pendants
alcohol ink pendants

To create the alcohol ink pendants
I have designed, you will need:

  • Ordinary heavy duty kitchen foil
  • Alcohol inks in several colours
  • Alcohol Blending Solution
  • Craft bottle caps
  • A tool to punch a hole in the bottle cap
  • One 9 mm split ring per pendant
  • Some stringing material
    (I used an 18 inch curb chain)
  • Some Diamond Glaze
  • Some tacky glue 

So easy to make
and perfect for
giving or selling.

alcohol ink pendants

Below are the alcohol inks I used to tint the foil for the pendants.

I ordered them online from www.keeponcrafting.co.uk

Keep on Crafting has a brilliant range of colours in stock; if you live near enough to the shop to visit in person, I would recommend going along to look at what owner Mandy Shedden has on the shelf.

I also got the alcohol blending solution and the Diamond Glaze from Keep On Crafting. I have been using Diamond Glaze to attach the glass overlays to my bottle cap pendants for years. 

After trying many other glues, I found Diamond Glaze is the one that works the best for me.

 

alcohol ink pendants
 

These inks are available from www.keeponcrafting.co.uk in Bury St Edmunds Suffolk. 

 

The EuroPunch Pliers from Amazon (below) will
easily punch a 1.8mm hole in your bottle caps.

I have had mine for a couple of years and have still 
not had to replace the punch pin, even though I
have pierced hundreds of bottle caps.

The black bottle caps (below) come with
sticky resin domes.

Resin is fine but I prefer the weight of glass domes rather
than resin.

Glass domes are available online.

 

The one inch circle punch (below)
makes cutting out your foil circles
really easy.

You can of course cut them with 
scissors - however, I found that too
fiddly and inaccurate.

Have you used alcohol inks? We at funcraftstodoathome.com would love to know how you use yours so leave a comment and let us know.

If you would like your craft work featured on this blog, get in touch with us.

How to make alcohol ink pendants - they make brilliant #handmadegifts Click To Tweet

These alcohol ink pendants are another adventure in my arty explorations - I am sure there will be more soon!

Alcohol Inks - My Latest Happy Discovery

alcohol inks

Alcohol inks - oh my goodness - you know when something really sets you on fire and you don't want to sleep?

Well this is it for me! It's all Mandy Shedden's fault - since I went to visit her fantastic little craft supplies store in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, I have not been the same.

The store, Keep On Crafting is an absolute Aladdin's cave of art and craft goodies. I seriously didn't know which way to turn.

If you click here and read one of the first posts I put on here, you will see that I encourage people to have a go at art regardless of age or perceived ability.

Alcohol inks are a fantastic way for people who are 'no good at art' to explore their creativity without the fear of being 'wrong'.

Alcohol inks are a fantastic way for people who are 'no good at art' to explore their creativity… Click To Tweet
 
alcohol inks
 

Alcohol Inks Will Keep You Busy For Hours!

I have been wanting to try alcohol inks for years but just didn't get around to it. Also, I have never found a craft shop that has the range of colours that Mandy stocks.

It's ok buying online but with materials like alcohol inks, I like to physically hold the product in my hand and study the range of colours.

Alcohol Inks Will Keep You Busy For Hours! Click To Tweet

I only bought five colours just to see what I could do with them before I committed to buying the whole shop ;-), also, my husband was there so, well you know, my husband was there.

They don't understand the need for having ALL the colours, they really don't, so a mass buying trip with some arty crafty friends who understand will be coming up soon.

 
alcohol inks
 
The five colours I bought - the bottles are looking a bit used now even though they are less than two weeks old! There are about 55 colours to choose from - ooh, decisions,decisions!

You Can't Go 'Wrong' With Alcohol Inks

The beauty of alcohol inks is that you can't really do it 'wrong'. You can produce images in so many different ways and the effects can be quite random.

They work well on glossy paper, so I dug out some paper I had left over from my adventures into encaustic painting and let rip with the alcohol inks.

Even though I had no idea what I was doing - I had huge fun just playing around - which is what art is all about for me.

The beauty of alcohol inks is that you can't really do it 'wrong'. Click To Tweet

I can't wait to go over to Keep On Crafting again because Mandy tells me there is a range of metallic mixatives which I cannot wait to get my hands on.

If you click on the link above, go to the metallic fixatives page and look at the colours listed in the drop down menu. 

I seriously have to get all of them!

What you see below are my first couple of images. It's totally addictive once you see what the inks will do.

alcohol inks
alcohol inks

After my first couple of dabblings with the ink, I decided to try scribbling little designs over the top to see what would happen.

I did this late at night, in poor light, while babysitting and I had forgotten my glasses too!

However, you can clearly see the potential for doodling over the top of alcohol inks.

 
alcohol inks
 

Once you get the hang of how alcohol inks work, you can start to push boundaries.

What you can do with the inks depends entirely on you imagination and your willingness to experiment.

I am still in the very early stages of experimentation and I am already keen to go further that just dropping alcohol inks onto glossy paper and watching what they do.

Once you get the hang of how alcohol inks work, you can start to push boundaries. Click To Tweet

I have tried floating them on water and then sliding glossy paper underneath. The image below is the result of that experiment. 

There is huge potential here for creating backgrounds this way and doing further work with doodling on top.

alcohol inks

You can see in the image below that the top half is more freeform, although I did manipulate the inks a bit.

The bottom half is where I really started to manipulate the inks with blending solution and various techniques to start getting an impression of poppies.

alcohol inks

You can get a bit more adventurous with pushing ink around if you use blending solution. I put mine in a watercolour 'pen' as shown below. Mandy has both in her shop. You can find inks and metallic mixatives by clicking here, and the water brush by clicking here.

 

alcohol inks

Don't be afraid to try these inks, they are huge fun and you don't have to be 'good' at art. We just need to get back to where we were at when we were five years old and do it for the fun of it, not to please anyone but ourselves.

If you live in Suffolk or are planning to visit Suffolk, I highly recommend a visit to Keep On Crafting.

You can find them listed here on Yell.com to get directions.

If you do not live close enough to visit - you can order from Mandy online.

If you want to get arty but are scared of doing it 'wrong' (and what have I told you about that!), get some alcohol inks etc from Keep On Crafting and start making art today!

What do you think of alcohol inks? Have you tried them? Please comment below and tell me what your experience has been - especially if you have any expert tips to share.

Have you done a class at Keep On Crafting? If you have produced anything using any of Mandy's products and want to display your artworks here, let me know. It doesn't have to be with alcohol inks, it can be anything.

Paper Bead Finished necklace
 

Beautiful Paper Saucer Beads

Saucer Beads
 

Saucer beads can be quite tricky to master when you first get into making paper beads.

I tried all sorts of ways but then I found the best way to make saucer beads of all different sizes is to use the layering process.This works best of all for me.

To make the necklace you see above, I used an old 12 x 12 inch sheet of scrapbooking paper I had laying around. I cut it into quarter inch tapered strips and then layered them to get a variety of shapes and sizes.

Saucer beads can be quite tricky to master when first making paper beads. Click To Tweet
Saucer Beads

Easy Beady Paper Bead Tool

Saucer Beads

Quarter inch paper strips

Saucer Beads

Saucer beads made from quarter inch strips

Saucer beads of varying sizes can add shape and design to a necklace.

I designed this necklace on paper before I even made the beads, so I knew what shape the necklace would be. Using the saucer beads gives the necklace a focal point. 

Having one larger one in the centre, followed by two smaller ones on either side and then two even smaller ones breaks up the line of the necklace.

Saucer beads are much easier to make if you have the Easy Beady paper bead tool.

One of the reasons I designed and made the Easy Beady paper bead tool was because I struggled to make paper beads that were of a consistent high quality.

Other bead rollers, particularly those made from bamboo skewers, kept dragging the middles out when I tried to get them off the stick after rolling.

Saucer beads were very difficult to master using a bamboo roller. Since I designed the Easy Beady using a metal shaft for rolling, my beads have been really easy to make.

Saucer beads, while still fairly tricky, are much easier with my bead tool. My tool is available to buy on eBay.

Saucer beads are much easier to make with the Easy Beady paper bead tool. Click To Tweet

 

 

Saucer Beads

The 3mm Easy Beady Tool

Saucer beads

The Easy Beady Duo 3mm & 5mm in one.

There are two bead tools to choose from. There is the 3mm Easy Beady which gives a 3mm threading hole through the beads.

You can go straight to the eBay listing by clicking here. The cost of the 3mm tool is £5.50 plus £1.84 p&p signed for.

Or you can buy the Easy Beady Duo which has a metal shaft at either end.

At one end you have the 3mm tool and at the other end you have the 5mm tool.

The 5mm tool gives you a 5mm threading hole through your beads which is ideal for heavier weight stringing materials such as leather.

You can go straight to the Easy Beady Duo listing on eBay by clicking here. The cost of the Duo tool is £9.50 plus £1.84 p&p signed for.

With this tool and some practice, you will be making brilliant saucer beads to make gorgeous jewellery to wear or give as gifts. 

If you have any questions about saucer beads or any aspects of paper bead making, please contact me via the contact form.

I do hold paper bead workshops in Suffolk where I cover everything from the very basics for beginners to more advanced techniques such as layering for making saucer beads.

Saucer beads