Monday 27 April 2009

I'm being profiled today!

I am a little bit excited! Over on the Europe Artfire Guild blog, my profile has been published today. Take a quick scoot over there if you want to read a bit more about me, my creative history and my inspirations...!

Friday 17 April 2009

Gorgeous Freshwater Pearl Necklace in Natural Multitones

I've just added this elegant necklace in all-natural tones of freshwater pearl to my Artfire shop.

The pearls are handknotted on silk with a sturdy vermeil clasp. The blend of natural peach, mauve, pink and cream means that this necklace complements all skin tones. I have put the matching earrings on classic vermeil leverback findings but these can be changed for stud or french wire fittings.

Wednesday 15 April 2009

The Power of the Blog, or: Blogging works for Designer Rosary Beads!

As I have been sharing here in recent weeks, my newest jewellery-making passion is making designer rosary beads.

What has delighted me just as much is what happens when I google "Designer Rosary Beads". My blog entries, and the rosaries on offer in my Artfire shop, are top of the ranking on page One of Google! It really does prove the power of blogging, the simplest and often the most effective kind of SEO.

My rosary beads are made with tons of love and the best of ingredients: beautiful semi-precious stones and sterling silver wire, chain, centres and crosses, or the same centres and crosses in bronze with Vintaj natural brass chain and wire.

It is restful, if time-consuming, to make them, they are a joy to create, and the people who buy them know they are getting a very special piece whether to keep, to give as a gift to a beloved relative, or as a special First Communion rosary. It makes the four hours or so per rosary feel worthwhile.

My latest request is for a rosary in yellow for a 95-yr old Granny.

So are there yellow stones, you wonder? Of course. I probably do not have 'honey jade', a modern name for yellow jasper, and to me a little suspect since so many dyed 'jades' come out of China. Yet in offering alternatives, I find I have a surprising choice of materials:
* expensive citrine, which chained on silver looks gorgeous though perhaps a little too much like glass, with a really crisp translucent clear yellow colour
* African yellow opal, which I have paired with brass and bronze, initially as a one-decade Penal rosary, and which I really like
* the softer yellow of aragonite, still awaiting my attention
* golden lip mother of pearl, soft in colour and yet with a lovely glow.

I will post some pictures of the results in a few days time, meanwhile I'm getting back to my silver-chained First Communion Rosary Beads: one in faceted mother of pearl, suitable for a little girl, one in small labradorite which would delight any heart. Not to forget, my gorgeous peach moonstone rosary with cherubic Angel centre, just waiting for the 20-angel crucifix to arrive!

Wednesday 8 April 2009

Europe Artfire Guild: together we are strong!

I wrote recently that I had opened an ArtFire shop to make my designer rosary beads and my other jewellery available for purchase. You can find me at True Colours on Artfire.

Artfire is based in the USA but it has many craft workers from all over the world. Within it people set up guilds which sellers can join, on the principle of rope-making: a single thread is weak but a bundle of threads interwoven forms a strong rope. I've joined two guilds, the Europe Artfire Guild and the SRAJD guild - the latter is material for another day. The Europe Artfire Guild is full of lively and extremely creative people from Holland, Sweden, Spain, Germany and of course Ireland.

I should mention (this is an added edit) that our guild master, Linda at Moonstone Creations, is based in Belgium. My list of countries was not intended to be exhaustive but it reads as if we had members only from the countries mentioned.

To help promote awareness of the fabulous offerings by European craft makers, and to assist with being found in web searches, we have set up a blog for the guild.

The stunning logo and banner were a joint effort. The final version, which brings together references to Europe and the creative purity and uniqueness of the unicorn, was made by an Irish designer and jewellery maker!

In fact, meeting other Irish makers online in this guild is one of the unlooked-for pleasures of being there. The banner designer, Gwen, lives in Wicklow, her shop is called Silver-Soul-Design . Her jewellery work is really lovely!

Another guild member from Dublin, Gillian, left a comment on my blog having found me via the European group. She has an amazing shop makes all sort of things with hearts, she sells heart and angel inspired gifts and supplies under the handle iheartcrafts; she has a really cool blog, fascinating to read.

On the guild blog, we publish an interview with an artisan member each Monday, with regular features such as crafty tips, city trivia, a look at crafters from an outsider perspective ("If only I could do that...), and it is a great way to see a range of stunning creations while supporting local (local at least in world terms)! Do visit and bookmark our blog, or become a follower so you can see the latest developments and creations.

Saturday 4 April 2009

Penal Rosary in Zingy Carnelian with Sterling Silver

I have now posted one version of my penal rosary to my Artfire shop - which you can find at

I loved the look of this penal cross, which comes both in sterling silver and in bronze, it has an almost Egyptian feel with the symbols of crucifixion reminding a little of Egyptian hieroglyphics.

It is a copy of a wooden Irish penal cross dating back to 1722, the original to be found in the Hunt Museum in Limerick, Ireland.

Penal Crosses typically had short arms as they were held in the palm for concealment because of the religious persecution of the times, and longer arms tended to break off.

They tended to be one-decade beads, with a ring to slip from finger to finger to keep track of the decade being said. I am shortly going to make some of these one-decade rosaries.

For me it is important that in praying with a penal cross one remembers the words of Jesus on the cross: 'Father, forgive them for they know not what they do'. Also, the Our Father contains the words: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.'

My intention in offering rosaries with a penal cross is that they be used with forgiveness in mind. I certainly do not want to encourage anyone to hold on to old bitterness which has a corrosive effect on the soul. I think the stunning sizzling colour of the carnelian helps to underling the positive uplifting intention.