Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sale on Handmade Jewellery & Ornaments etc

My Coupon Sale for Cyber Monday may be over :-( but I have opened a Sale Section in my Etsy Shop. So grab yourself a bargain!  Here are a sample of items on sale. Click on the photos to view these listings:

SALE Butterfly Fairy Ornament. Silver and Pink Crystal. Decoration. Angel Fairy Charm.
Crystal & Silver plate angel charm on SALE

SALE Butterfly Button Pendant. Tomato Red and Black Button Pendant Necklace. Sally
Butterfly Button pendant on SALE
SALE Carnelian Heart Earrings. Sterling Silver.  Athena
Carnelian Heart Earrings on SALE

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 25, 2012



26 NOVEMBER 2012


Click on the image to enter Handmade by Amo'r Etsy store

Click here for simple instructions from Etsy's main site, for how to use coupon codes when purchasing: INSTRUCTIONS FOR COUPON CODE USE

*12% will automatically be deducted off the listing price of the item(s) in your cart when you apply this code

 *The discount does not apply to shipping costs, but please note the my shipping costs are quite low as the items are generally light weight.

*This code is not valid for other Etsy shops, only  Handmade by Amo'r

*This code is not valid against custom orders, only items that are already listed in the shop

*The code is valid from right now 6pm GMT on 25 Nov 2012. After all, it's already Cyber Monday somewhere in the world! The code expires 8pm  GMT Tuesday 27 Nov 2012.

Friday, November 23, 2012

More November Treasuries

A few more recent treasuries to share and say  
A BIG THANK YOU for. I am always grateful and honoured to be included:

Lynn of Lynn's Creative Crochet has to be the Queen Supreme of all Treasury Queens. Week after week she makes a whole bunch of lovely lists and hardly a week goes by when she doesn't include me in one or two. I am eternally grateful. Thank you Lynn for including my Cork red marble earrings in this dramatic treasury 'Ladies in Red.'

Thank you Emile of Prosinemi's Creations for feauturing my Irish tree ornament and a 'Merry Christmas' to you too! Cute collection Emile.

And thank you Kseniya of MelashaCat for this very chic collection, 'Winter Trends' and for including my Kilkenny marble pendant among these lovelies.

And how about Christmas Irish style? Thanks Petra of Petra's Creations for including my Connemara marble tree in this festive collection, 'Ornaments from Crafty Ireland Team.'
Another of my Irish tree ornaments was featuerd in this festive collection put together artfully by Katia of   Katia V.  Thanks Katia for 'Oh Christmas Tree'. Very cute!

And today my pink heart ornament was featured in this very pretty treasury 'Pink for the Girls.' Thank you Freja of Like Freja. I'm tickled pink with this!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Inspirations from Terra Cotta


Terracotta, plain tile and other uni-coloured sea pottery can seem a little mundane in comparison to a perfectly frosted piece of seaglass or a specimen of beach-worn Willow, for example. Yet somewhere in the recess of my imagination I've always known that the simpler and more ordinary pieces of slate and pottery have exciting potential. 
Irish Sea Pottery Pendant. Brown Beach Pottery Necklace. Tea by the Sea
brown sea pottery pendant
The prettier sea treasures are usually a challenge to wire wrap. You have to use as little wire as possible, especially on the front, in order to show off their beauty to its best. Yet, you still have to cage the piece securely so it wont fall out. And of course, it's important to keep your wire work aesthetically appealing at the same time. The secrets to this type of wire wrapping are not so easy to unlock.
I tend to go for the more exciting and sell-able baubles first, leaving the plainer pieces aside. Yet deep down I've always known that the simple sea pottery shards can turn out to be far more fun to wrap. They are blank canvases -  a backdrop for the wire itself. Often, the challenge is to get the pottery and the wire to share the limelight in just the right balance so that they enhance each other. 
I had some vague design ideas running around my head but hadn't felt very motivated to bring them to life until a trip to the National Botanic Gardens, of all places. Here in a glass house I came across some inspiring artwork made from terracotta pots.
terracotta pot sculpture by unknown artist
Celtic spirals feature heavily in my jewellery and ornament designs. So naturally, I was drawn to this clever Celtic artwork. I'm afraid I didn't catch the name of the creator of this simple but very effective garden sculpture. If anyone can provide the name, please do post it in comments below.

Initially, I thought to take inspiration from the sculpture a bit too literally. I considered creating a triple spiral using both solid copper and silver plate wire and wrapping it onto a plain piece of terracotta sea pottery. I've done something similar in the past with gemstone slabs. 
Copper & Sea Pottery Pendant from Ireland. Biscuit Beach Pottery. Celtic Tides
Copper-wrapped Sea Pottery pendant
 However, rummaging through my stash, I was drawn to this biscuit and white tile shard but felt it would be swamped by such a design. It called for a simpler look that would balance the proportions right and bring out the understated beauty of the shard.

Copper & Sea Pottery Pendant from Ireland. Biscuit Beach Pottery. Celtic Tides 
I'm pleased with the result. The warm copper comes into its own against the soft beige and creamy white background. There is no need to contrast with cold silver. With time the metal will naturally oxidise and darken, developing into a new phase of beauty. 
 Copper & Sea Pottery Pendant from Ireland. Biscuit Beach Pottery. Celtic Tides
My Etsy friend Mo of HuggleKnits had accompanied me to the Botanic Gardens that day. It so happens that she was handing over some cotton crochet chains I'd commissioned her to make. This russet brown one complements the pendant to perfection.

Friday, November 16, 2012

November Treasuries

A few more recent treasuries to share and say  
Don't you love this colour? Thank you Nicole of Lunas Unique Gifts (Winners Photography and Crafts) for 'Aquamarine' treasury. Delighted to see my Irish seaglass pendant, 'Cool Water' feautred here with these lovelies.
 'Handcraft All In Ireland' is an ecclectic mix of local, Irish items showcased by Margarita o
 Linen Artesan. I'm delighted to see my ornament in such good company thanks!

 And yet again Lynn of Lynn's Creative Crochet has come up trumps and has featured my Irish seaglass pendant or ornament in a pretty treasury,  'My winter flower Garden.' I feel like you adopted my shop Lynn you are so good to me! I am indebted to you.

 And the Winter season has got off to a good start with 'An Early Christmas Stocking' by Shona of Mireog. Thanks for including my green and black necklace, 'Bewitched,' in this festive collection.

'Chilling Down' by Handmade by Amo'r (that would be me), promoting members of the Top Treasury Team on Etsy.
I was getting frustrated with the lack of light for taking decent photos. at this time of year. I gave   up and decided to take a break and make a treasury, aptly titled 'Winter Light.' This one features to promote European craft workers suppliers and artists on Etsy 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Geometric Musing Part 2. The Christmas Star

In Geometric Musings Part 1 I covered Celtic Influences. Part 2 ponders the shape of Christmas stars:
One of the most traditional, geometric shapes associated with Christmas is the star. The design is traditionally based on either the 6 pointed hexagram (above) or a five point star whether simple or showing the internal lines as in the 5 point pentagram. Other variations occur too, especially today.

This star above was cut by a Galway mason in dark green Connemara marble. It is a  hexagram; a geometric shape with 6 points, one at the top and the bottom and two at each side.

Some friends have mused whether it is truly a Christmas star as the hexagram is actually the Jewish Star of David.  Yes this is indeed so,  and by the way, this form is also known as the Star of Bethlehem. Up until now, to me a star was a star no matter how many points. Intrigued, I decided to do a bit of research. (I checked out several resources but I mainly link back to ol' Wiki as a fairly neutral reference source.)

Irish Christmas Stars. Connemara Marble Set of 3 Ornaments. Tree Decorations from Ireland.
mini Connemara marble star set (SOLD OUT)
 Yes indeed, the 5 point star (above) is frequently used for Christmas ornaments. This star has two points at the bottom, not one.

And yes it is true, the 6 pointed hexagram is the Star of David, but the form is not exclusively Jewish. This shape is also found in art across several religions, particularly in Eastern cultures and to some extent, Christianity. This religious painting featuring the 6 point star can be seen at St Nikola Church, Madeconia, Europe, for example. The hexagram star is also featured in the ceiling at Washington National Cathedral .

File:Giotto - Scrovegni - -18- - Adoration of the Magi.jpg
Adoration of the Magi, Giotto, courtesy Wikimedia
Historically, in paintings of nativity scenes, the Star of Bethlehem was mostly depicted as either a comet (a ball of light with a trail behind it) or more stylised, in the hexagram shape, with the trail of light shooting down to earth from the point at the bottom.
Christmas Star - eight-point gold
8 point star
Somewhere along the way it even became an 8 pointer! And this latter is very commonly seen atop our festive trees today.
Christmas Star - four-point gold
4 point star
 And just to confuddle things further, let's not forget the simple elegance of a 4 pointer, featured frequently in the nativity scene on modern greeting cards.

drawing a hexogram is easy
To me the Hexagram seemed a perfectly natural shape for a Christmas star even though the one we had on our tree growing up was definitely a simple 5 point and my current one is in fact, an 8 pointer. It dawned on me then that as a small child, when learning to draw the nativity scene and make Christmas cards, I was taught the hexagram. I've also seen my 5 year old niece do the same. This is hardly surprising as it is probably the easiest way to draw a star, especially for a child. You just draw a triangle first and then an upside-down one on top. 

I conclude that anything goes when it comes to a modern Christmas ornament. A star is still a star and to question it might  be a bit.....well, pointless.......

Click here to view my Irish Christmas ornaments on Etsy

Click here to view my Connemara marble jewellery

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Geometric Musings Part 1. Celtic Influences

Connemara Marble Ornament. Sterling Silver, Irish Marble & Onyx. Christmas, Patrick's Day, Rear View Mirror
geometric Connemara marble, onyx and Sterling silver ornament
 Geometry was about the only aspect of mathematics I enjoyed as a teenager and I suspect that had more to do with aesthetics than actual maths. My father is a retired accountant and avid mathematician. My mother, however, is very much an artist, who has mastered multiple crafts and now in her autumnal years, has finally turned to painting.  I take after both of them in many ways, but guess I know who influenced me most.

Though I tend to doodle flowers and swirly shapes, as a teen I whiled away much time practicing Celtic knots, spirals and 'plaits' and other intricate, Celtic borders.

Irish Celtic Earrings. Cork Red Marble. Celtic Knot. Rare Stone.   Roisin
Cork red marble earrings with Celtic knot bead
Hardly surprising that these elements crop up in so many of my designs today. I didn't start out using Irish references in my work. It was a natural evolution once I started discovering beautiful Irish materials.

 Irish Connemara Marble Statement Pendant, Chunky.  Celtic Air.                                 Christmas Tree Ornament from Ireland. Connemara Marble. Celtic Spiral Charm
   spiral charm on Connemara Pendant                                                    tightly wound spiral on tree ornament

The spiral is one of the most recognisable Celtic shapes, though it is not exclusive to this ancient culture. It shows up in various parts of the globe including Africa and South America. It is believed that for the Celts, the spiral may have represented infinity, the circle of life or even afterlife.

Bookmark. Irish Sea glass & Silver Plate. Beach Glass Bookmark Handmade in Ireland.
loose spiral
Irish Connemara Marble Decoration. Christmas Ornament from Ireland. Celtic Art.
Spiral & squiggle wire work

I find it most relaxing to form a spiral out of wire. If I've hit one of those creative blocks, where nothing inspires me, I wind and hammer spiral charms and swirly hooks to use later. I guess it's akin to taking a few stretches or taking a short walk when you can't motivate yourself to launch into strenuous exercises.
Green Chrysocolla Pendant, Wire Wrapped Gemstone, Sterling Silver. WAVES
wire wrapped pendant with triple spiral
Spirals are found frequently in modern, wire-wrapped jewellery all over the globe. They are aesthetically pleasing and an alternative way to 'finish off' the wire ends neatly rather than flattening them around the base of the bail.  The triple spiral in this wire-wrapped pendant was a slightly more complicated spin on that concept.

 Connemara Marble Star Ornament. Christmas Tree Decoration in Rare, Green, Irish  Stone
I formed the wire hook on this Christmas star out of silver wire, vaguely referencing another typical, Celtic shape, the figure 8.

In part 2 I will be comparing the 6 pointed hexagram (above) versus a five point star  for Christmas ornaments. Which is the 'correct' shape? Do please pop back on Tuesday to read more.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Inspirations. The National Botanic Gardens, Dublin

It's been a while since I've posted about any inspiring rambles or hiking trails around Dublin. That would be because I haven't been on one in months! I've had the misfortune to suffer a bad case of Plantar Fasciitis that has hobbled me for at least the winter, but I'm working on getting back on my feet, so to speak, by mid Spring.

However, I am not letting it coop me up entirely and still manage to get out in the fresh air even though I can't walk very far. I need to get close to nature to breathe and generate some creativity.

A couple of weeks ago I met up with Mo of Huggleknits and Heli of Heli Creations for one of our 'inspirational' days out. We took the number 9 bus from O'Connell Street, northwards to one of my favourite places in the city, the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland

Tap by Alan Corrigan & Finbar O'Neill
We thought it would help us tap into new creative energies (sorry, couldn't resist that pun if you paid me). The tap was part of the exhibition 'Sculpture in Context' held in the gardens in October. 
a glass house at the Botanic Gardens
 It was a stunning October day, perfect for taking photos...if only I were any good at taking them! 
 Though the gardens were still very green, they were also awash with seasonal golds, coppers, rusts and reds.

Seaglass & Copper Pendant. Rich Autumnal Reddish Brown. Irish Beach Glass.  Sunset in Dublin
Inspired by the warm tones, the next day I was lured away from silver and instead, made this rich, autumnal brown sea glass and copper wire pendant, 'Sunset in Dublin.'  ...
Irish Jewelry. Cork Red Marble Pendant. Red Heart.  Love & Truth
Cork Red Marble pendant
...and this warm, Cork Red marble pendant, Love & Truth. I've been working on various other pieces and ideas inspired by our visit. In the meantime,  here are few more photos from the day:
spooky Halloween tree?
The wild Irish garden section looked like an impressionist painting.