Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Launching Beadelicious Blog Spots

We’ve been mulling over how best to involve everyone into our little world at Beadelicious and have come up with the following idea.

Each month we’ll focus a Beadelicious Blog Spot on one of you and the jewellery you have designed and made using some of our Beadelicious beads.  If you have a business to promote then we’re more than happy to give you a mention too.  To take part please email us your pics plus any words you would like to say to mail@beadelicious-beads.co.uk – if your design gets featured we’ll send you a free goody bag of Beadelicious beads.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Guest Interview - Leigh Armstrong at Magick Minx

A little bit about Leigh:
Leigh is a very talented PMC Artist based in Hinckley, Leicestershire. She has her studio and Minxy HQ in the Atkins Building and can also be found online at http://www.magickminxproductions.com/

I can personally vouch for Leighs fab workshops having been on a couple myself - she brings masses of enthusiasm, expert knowledge and a little impromptu singing to every session she runs!

Website: http://www.magickminxproductions.com/
Blog: erm...busted! Ok, Ok, Ok, I’ll sort one!

How long have you been working with PMC and how did it all begin?
It all started about 7 years ago when I saw PMC demonstrated at the NEC Hobbycraft Show. Coming from a corporate background in Financial Services I was let’s say somewhat cynical about a bit of ‘clay’ turning in to a ‘precious metal’, didn’t make sense at all! I made the poor woman demonstrate it at least half a dozen times by which time I think she got fed up with me & told me to buy the kit!

In the early days I was trying to figure it all out myself but failed to understand the simple but key things you need to fully know about PMC so I wasted a small fortune, I guess that’s why I’m so passionate about Metal Clay education!

What inspires you?
Oooh lots! An awful lot of my work is Sea themed which I think comes from me spending weeks of my School holidays at my Grandparents on Hayling Island. The Sea has complete & utter power over me, I’m an addict, summer or winter, doesn’t matter to me just as long as I can hear the waves & smell the salty air!

I also do a lot of Fae work, for the Faery people! That sounds a bit bonkers doesn’t it!? I was approached by a lady who has made a Faery lifestyle choice who wanted me to make her some Jewellery that a Faery would wear & NOT Jewellery with Faeries on it! Lots of Oak leaves, acorns & tiny wee Faery Houses. Going to the Avalon Ball in Glastonbury (an annual Fae event here in the UK) was an eye opener, an education & a privilege, I got to dress up!

What equipment and techniques do you use in your work?
Well for the most part you can utilise a lot of tools that you may already have lying around the house or Craft Room such as a Scalpal, Workmat, Straws, Cookie Cutters, Texture Plates etc. The most expensive item you will need is a Butane Gas Torch & Firing Block. A good quality Jewellers Torch will set you back around £35.00. However, if you have a good ‘Kitchen’ Torch (for your Creme Brulee’s) already that may well do the job!

You can spend a small fortune on some ‘ready made’ kits that often have a whole bunch of tools that you will never use or are of a poor quality. My advice would be to take advice from someone who already uses PMC, a few good quality tools are all you need to get started & don’t buy a kit from ebay, whilst ebay is fab for lots of stuff & I’m a regular, the kits on offer are mostly terrible!

What is the difference between PMC and Art Clay?
Fundamentally they are the same thing,a Silver Precious Metal Clay, but they do work differently so you need to understand the working differences, you need exactly the same kit for both products. I suppose it is a matter of preference but I find that Artclay dries out very quickly & that there is more ‘finishing’ work required & being lazy that’s not something I’m fond of! Until recently Artclay has always been significantly cheaper but approximately 4 weeks ago their prices increased by 67% so it is no longer a cheaper option!

Where can people learn more about PMC and the workshops you offer?
Well Metal Clay has a much better presence nowadays than it did 7 years ago so you can find a lot of information on the Internet, websites such as Metal Clay Academy offer information on all things Metal Clay! Also there are some fantastic books available now.

I have a quick guide to Metal Clay on my Website, along with a photo demo & Gallery of work. In addition the website details our Workshop Diary & an explanation of each Workshops content.

What advice would you give to others interested in PMC?
GO FOR IT Of course!!! Find yourself a tutor who has been Certified & has taken the appropriate PMC Teaching courses. A Tutor that is offering Certification Classes is likely to be more experienced than most. Go & meet the person that you are looking to teach you before you sign up for a Workshop, if you are going to be spending a whole day with them then you really want to like them! Also it would help if their ‘style’ of work is one that interests you that way you are more likely to walk away with pieces you are happy with.

Also make sure that they have a well equipped Studio, I’ve heard some horror stories over the years where people have wasted a lot of money on poor training, myself included, harsh lesson to learn!

You offer tuition, what classes/workshops do you offer and what would anyone interested need to consider before starting?

We offer a wide range of classes from beginners ‘Introduction to Precious Metal Clay, The Art of Silver Alchemy’ to advanced Certification Classes. We also do project workshops: Rings, Faery House, Bronze/Copper Clay Adding colour etc etc etc. In addition we have visiting guest tutors, Nicky Townsend from Enchanted Handmade Jewellery, a regular project contributor to Making Jewellery magazine is a regular. In the future we will be having Carol Douglas aka The Creature Teacher (see http://www.silvershadowsjewellery.co.uk/gallery/creatures and hopefully Pam East from the USA will be coming over in October to do a 3 day enamelling on Metal Clay Workshop, very exciting!!! (see http://www.pameast.net/)

You need to consider what you are wanting from a Workshop, just to have a ‘play’? If so a Taster session would be appropriate or are you looking to ‘learn’? If so you need the Intro Workshop for starters. I have a wide range of students from all different backgrounds, some come to learn a skill that can then make them a new income or create a lifestyle change, some just want to ‘get away’ & lose themselves in something a bit different, often these people have very stressful jobs.

We offer lots of free services to Magick Minx Students & also they have the opportunity in attending our ‘Open Studio’ days which are fun, we have a bit of a community going on, lots of gossip & chat over naughty food, occasional wine & sometimes Johnny Depp comes out to play (well ok then, a life size cut out).

Three words that sum you up: Pink. Workaholic. Fun! (was going to say ‘Elle McPherson Lookalike’ but that would have been a fib!)

What makes you smile: A cupboard full of Metal Clay, Tools, Tools, Tools, Peter Kay, my Kids, remembering the 80’s, Chocolate, Sauvignon Blanc, Jason Stathem’s six-pack, my Husbands rubbish jokes, Pirates of the Caribbean films, Ironing Fairies, my Studio, The Sea, a Sausage Sarni with Fruity Brown Sauce, Mary Jaynes Fish & Chips (from Cromer), a bouquet of Flowers, my bezzie mate Vinnie, The International Jewellery Show in London (IJL, ooooh all those sparkly things!) crikey lots of stuff! I smile a lot! :0)