Monday, May 30, 2011

Death by pie

This is a snickers tart, from the local bakery- you know, that big one you have to walk past if you want to go to the Post Office- unless you're going to go the long way around, through the park and up the hill and let's face it, you won't. This tart is not recommended for people who are trying to watch their weight or cut down on sugar, because if you purchase this, you WILL eat the whole thing. Don't try to kid yourself that cutting it into tiny wedges 'like a pie for dollies' will mean you'll only have one piece. It will not work.

The only real way around this is to remind yourself that if you go just one block over- just one block, not even a whole block really, more of a carpark and a laneway- you can get yourself a nice big fat salmon steak for the same price. And it's so much better for you. And the walk across that laneway and carpark will do you good. Especially if you didn't walk the long way to avoid the bakery and now have a Snickers tart wedged carefully in your bag.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Shop update - rust and ruin

Leia - Tribal Sci Fi earrings - with reclaimed vintage charms and mis-matched beads. I'm really happy with the way the charms came out- they were super shiny so I painted them white enamel and hammered them at the ends, then oxidized where the enamel came off. Reminds me of rusted-out old space ships.

akashic - using reclaimed metal cut from a big thrifted hoop and very subtle labradorite, these earrings represent a step toward making more elements from scratch. And not just the super funky ear wires! You will soon see what my tin snips and I have been up to...

Charon - the two discs on this one are the backs of antique buttons, which when hammered take on a great ruined appearance that I'm enjoying so much I'm now shopping for buttons where the backs matter more than the front!

Epsilon - a really sweet necklace, I had to tear this away from myself! The little wooden ring beads in the chain have such a great hand-carved quality to them, and the blue flash on that Czech bead- wow! I have to get more of them. I'm really into that luminous night sky blue lately.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

countdown to junktown

New items in the shop!

Asteroth - reclaimed metal and black tourmaline

Gozer - spectrolite and vintage chain

Only 2 I'm afraid- I'm slack with updating this week- I've been feeling a little unwell with back pains and a pinched nerve in my shoulder (still annoying me), and that coupled with some serious cog-whirring in the brain department (which I shall speak of later) means I haven't much in the way of finished work.
On the work bench- it's like a teaser shot for new work! (Actually that's exactly what it is.)

There are just 3 more days till the sale in my shop ends and the items affected are carted off to the big junk heap in the sky. Taken apart for new work, sold off as supply, given away to friends and blog readers (hey that's you!) ...who knows where they'll end up. I'm working on some new pieces and this primitive sci fi thing is looking to be not just the next stage of creative evolution here in sparrowland but the permanent situation, so I want the shop swept out of all that old stick. If you want something (from the sale section) and it's out of your budget- make me an offer! I can do layaway too.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

visual binary

Alpha Centauri


Things have developed a distinctly tribal feeling of late, but I'm going with it. The space theme is still rollicking around in my head, and while it sorts itself out I'm content to play with dark wood and rusted metal. The feminine shapes and clean lines are still largely there, and that's my focus right now.

Friday, May 20, 2011

We're made of star stuff

Dark Matter - Victorian tribal earrings - reclaimed hoops - clock hands

Origins - victorian sci fi earrings - vintage chain - fireglow beads

Pillars of Creation - Victorian sci fi necklace - vintage rhinestones - antique button


"We are a way for the cosmos to know itself. We are creatures of the cosmos and always hunger to know our origins, to understand our connection with the universe. How did everything come to be? Every culture on the planet has devised its own response to the riddle posed by the universe. Every culture celebrates the cycles of life and nature. There are many different ways of being human. "

Carl Sagan

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Science is my religion

The beauty of a living thing is not the the atoms that go into it, but the way those atoms are put together.

There's your meditation for the day my children.

Box fresh

I like using unconventional materials in my work, the latest being (gasp!) plastic. I've avoided it for a long time but you can't really dive head first into post-apocalyptic futurist science fiction without getting your poly vinyl freak on. Speaking in terms of design and aesthetics, plastic is the poster child of the space age.

This is an 80s model kit from eBay- some sort of Japanese Mecha. I was disappointed it came purple (I wanted white) so I've had to buy some high-gloss spray paint to right it. But hey, spray painting things is way too much fun to complain about.

I've grown up watching my Dad build model trucks, I was forced to sit with my hands behind me back so I wouldn't touch. Now I've got my own kit, and it's not going to like what I'll do to it. Dad never stuck to the instructions, he does what's now known as kit-bashing (the milenium falcon in Star Wars IV is a perfect example of kit bashing) where you follow the basic form and add your own touches to make it more realistic or accurate (don't get me started on the inaccuracy of models- I'm still thinking of re-painting my Gozer).

I remember one night, pouring through magazines at the kitchen table looking for tiny pictures of the coke logo so Dad could cut it out, wrap it around a bit of dowel and make a tiny coke can for the dashboard of a road train. He was always getting halfway to the bin with something and then stopping and saying 'wait- I can use this' and then putting it in a box in the model room. And you wonder where I get it.

And look at the tiny glue that came with the kit! So tiny!!

Tiny glue now lives on the shadow box with the thimbles and the antique dominoes and other tiny things of merit.

Monday, May 16, 2011

An anthem for the masses

ps kids- don't 'kill the television' -it's a popular opinion put forth by the alternative masses, I never agreed with it. TV FTW! DIY FTW!

Thinking inside the tin - creative jewelry composition

As previously mentioned, I wanted to show you the method I use when working. A kind of way of organising my thoughts. I'm sure it's not original- that is to say I hope someone figured it out long before I did, it makes things so much easier! It's an extension of an older method; I'd go through my stash with an idea in mind and pick out 'pure' examples of the aesthetic I'm looking for then play with/photograph those elements.

Sparrow Slavage - thinking inside the tin
Now though I've refined the process and in doing so ended up with a more accessible system. I bought these antique mince pie tins not long ago, originally intending to cut them up for their fabulously tarnished metal...but I can't bring myself to get the tinsnips out. They're such sweet little buggers, and as I quickly discovered dead handy for organising things.

So now my work table is largely comprised of about 6-8 of these tins, each filled with a combination of various beads, buttons, charms, chain links etc that all have a connection to each other, usually in colour scheme. Most of it is instinct.

Sparrow Slavage - thinking inside the tin
Previously I'd just make a pile of objects (mostly pendants and focals) and work on a 'vibe', which was great to begin with but made it too abstract when it came to actually making the pieces. It can also be very distracting when you're pawing through box after box looking for the right bead- sooner or later you come across something you forgot about and before you know it you've got 6 completely different things laying around and your mind is scattered.

Sparrow Slavage - thinking inside the tin
Once I think I have enough in the tin, I tip it out and start looking at the pieces, removing what doesn't gel and adding something else to balance it out. One might need more pink beads, another needs a brown circular object, another may need more gold.

Sparrow Slavage - thinking inside the tin
In a way this method is sort of constricting myself- I'm forcing myself to think inside the box. Or rather inside the tin. But as I said before, having so much stash in the studio and in so many different styles, this can help me focus and refine what I'm looking to achieve.

Sparrow Slavage - thinking inside the tinI've found my productivity level has rocketed since adopting this technique. Go ahead and try it (if you haven't already!) -the constraint of having to build something from one small tin of elements often means your creative mind comes up with something totally unexpected.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Out with the old...

Two new pretties....

Orion's Belt - salvage textile wrist cuff featuring an antique button circa 1800

Vega - clear quartz necklace with vintage mother of pearl buckle


I gotta tell ya, I'm lovin' this new space thing. There's a whole new world opening up in my creative vision lately- and to help me shed the snakeskin as it were, I'm having a sale! I've created a section in my shop where all the sale items live- they've already been marked down. What ever is still there in 2 weeks gets taken down, taken apart, given away...whatever it takes to move it on!

As an extra surprise for all my Blog readers- enter the code CRIKEY at checkout to receive free shipping on your order- yes, even the sale stuff! Or the non-sale stuff, where ever your fancy lies.

The fantasticness ends May 30th- and yes I do lay away! Just convo me with your listing/s of choice and we'll work it out.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Greetings from Rigel 4

The Green flash - salvage earrings - labradorite - vintage chain

Gliese - Victorian sci-fi necklace - antique beads - vintage heart locket

Hoth summer nights - victorian sci fi necklace - crystal quartz - antique button

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Glittering and Gold

My best gal fanci gave me a gift certificate for my birthday (it was last month) for yummytreasures, a fabulous little supply shop on Etsy that has soooo much shiny!

With 193 pages of listings I guess 'little' isn't really the right word to use.

I'm having trouble staying under the certificate limit. I'm just going to have to pay out the overdose!

I can't cannot say no to this stuff, these elements are so perfect for my new work.

(all images the property of yummytreasures)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

In praise of small things

Reading the blogs of my two favourite girls recently, there was a similarity mentioned, that details make the difference. Fanci spoke about having the good supplies making your work easier, and Corvid singled out a tiny handmade nail from a parcel (from Fanci, delightfully enough- aren't we the three fates!) and mused on what I'd said in an old convo- that God is in the details.

So I figured I'd make a post about it. It's a tutorial sort of, it's also sort of a love letter to supplies. We all love supplies, there's no doubt about it. Business may boom, business may suck- we might have a creative drought or an art flood- whatever the circumstances, we almost always never say no to new supplies.

A History of Galactic Warfare, Vol.I

When I finally ordered the crystals you saw in the supply post recently, I felt a wave of joy. I've been putting off buying crystals for a long time because of my ethics- I pride myself that a lot of my supply is second-hand in some way, and these crystals are not. I don't know who made them, what country they were mined in and even how they were mined. I searched and found there really was no alternative.

ethically obtained crystals- while they're my preferred choice, they don't come drilled, nor do they have the clarity that I need.

I could just use vintage beads that looked like clear quartz, especially since most of it was 'lucite' (it's plastic, people- own it) and that just doesn't compare with the weight, tonal variations and shine of rock. But the muse doesn't understand ethics. All she knows is there are things she MUST have me make, and if crystals are an unavoidable part of that, so be it. We must humour honour the muse.

Anyway...let's see some details.

3 blue beads. The first is just a plain round blue bead- taken from a cheap thrift necklace. The 2nd one is a wobbly hand-cast one from a vintage Indian string. The 3rd one is an antique faceted bead, made with a metallic finish and hand-cut somewhere around 1900. They look different up close like this, and while you might think any blue bead will do when you want one, I promise you these subtle variations make a difference in your work.

4 black beads- well no, not exactly black. Some black beads when held to the light will be purple, brown, blue or green, since it is hard to get a true black when any kind of transparency is involved. The 1st one is a big-holed one from India, roughly made. The 2nd is a neat and tidy factory bead, the 3rd is a Roman bead (yes, as in made by ancient Romans) and the 4th is a faceted metallic of unknown age.

3 clear beads- a frosted oval, a pink-tinged rose quartz , a faceted primitive sand cast.

Okay so you're getting the picture- what bead you use depends on the look and feel of your finished piece, and by choosing just the right (and not necessarily the more expensive) bead, you're changing the face of your piece enormously.

Let's see it in action!

An earring. Nice enough- good tarnish detail on the bow. But with a factory-made ear hook and a plastic bead...well, there's not a lot of joy there, huh? So take out that factory hook and replace it with a hand-made one, and swap out the plastic bead and put in a glass one on a handmade headpin.

Suddenly you have something that looks special, even though the ingredients aren't.

On the left- basic headpin, factory hook. On the right- handmade hook, handmade wrapped headpin. Maybe 10c difference in manufacturing cost. Which one would you pay $25 a pair for?

Detail is so so SO important in your work. If you want to make pretty things and do well from it, then go ahead and use whatever you want, I'm not saying that's bad. But if you want your work to really stand out, to look handmade, to look artisan, to look unique - get the details. Trust me when I say this- it's half the work done for you! All your awesome ideas will look 200% better because you've listened to the details.

The North- earrings made just that little bit more special with unique crackle beads

Now go buy some pretty things!

Tomorrow I shall show you something else- the method I use when working at my desk. It's a process that has helped me organise my creative thoughts (as if you really could) to such a degree than I'm hoping in sharing it, it might work for you as it does for me.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

List Lover

moonrise over Saturn

five fantastic things about today

1. listening to dreamweaver reallly loud

2. ginger beer

3. Autumn sunshine

4. my t-shirt has banjos on it

5. I make art and get paid for it.

When Three Worlds Collide

I've been out of my mind on futurism this past week, and now things are starting to mellow, coming together in a style that's set very much in the future and still remains typically Sparrow Salvage.

Part Victorian underwear model, part futuristic apocalypse, part tribal culture, my new works focus more and more on faceted angles, sleek white finishes and hand-cast lines. I'm very much enjoying this fresh clean landscape of crystals and metallic leather, but there's still a good dash of my usual lace and hammered metal.

Our Lady of the Cosmos

I feel more 'at home' in this round of futurism than my last one. I feel this is something I've moved forward to, rather than just dancing around it for a bit.

The ghost of Jupiter

At any rate, I'm certainly more pleased and more excited about my work than I have been for some time.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

new Stuff from Space

Okay it's not really from space exactly...more like Etsy. I ordered a haul of new supplies just before I went away, so when I came back it was like christmas! This stuff is taking my mind on one big ol' rocket trip for so many ideas I think I'm about to have some sort of creative aneurysm!

let's take a tour through the galaxy...

huge pale lavender quartz barrels, so very frosty and pretty, I can see these as feature beads in necklaces, linked for chunky bracelets or pairing for some serious rockstar earrings.

Antique nailheads in a lovely black steel colour- these will be for cuffs! Hooray cuffs!

oil slick blue-black pearls for delicate earrings and encrusted brooches, flat gold snake chain with the most wonderful rippling slither. I love snake chain.

These Czech beads with the most amazing labradorite style finish, and tiny shimmery peachy moonstone Czechs.

I couldn't believe how gorgeous these ceramic cabs are! I can't capture their stunning sparkle- I don't use the word stunning very often, but trust me, these are stunning.

mmmm Labradorite! A great mix of shapes and sizes with lots of rustic ones.

Teeny tiny vintage glass cabs with clover shapes- don't know what to do with these yet, but they're so Deco sci-fi I had to have them.

Amazing old clock hands that will make kick-bottom spacey steampunk earrings.

More art deco style Science Fiction - I love how alot of Art Deco looks futuristic. Also shown here are some lovely slender clear quartz blades. good for earrings!

These exquisite handmade beads with drops of silver among their grey-white clouds...these are even more fabulous than I can capture.

Lovely rolled clay beads with great tribal undertones.

Labradorite again, with white (!!!) snake chain and mauve pearl discs

Super cool tapered ovals of quartz rock, and some great vintage earring components - you can see I have already beaten them with the oxidising stick...

All of which joins the chaos that is my work desk right now. So many things, so many ideas, so many hours under the warmth of a work lamp. So happy.