Thursday, January 30, 2014

Caught my Eye in Dublinia

Caught My Eye  is a series of blog posts showing scenes I found interesting, odd, curious or beautiful. I am artistic and therefore an observer but I am not a photographer by any description. So if you expect top quality photography I'm afraid you will be disappointed.  But please do enjoy a snap shot glimpse of the world through my creative eyes. 
It's been a while since I posted anything in the 'Caught my Eye' slot. Between the busy-ness of Christmas, the cold weather and twisting my ankle a few weeks ago, I haven't taken my camera out on any walks at all lately. However, this weekend I revisited Dublinia a Viking and Medieval visitor experience that I haven't been to since 1996 or thereabouts.  Naturally, it was the medieval crafts and the market stalls that mostly caught my eye!
Weaving                                                            Leather work

       Pottery                                              gem trading

Had I lived 1000 years ago I'm sure I'd have been a silver smith or perhaps I'd have traded in exotic gemstones and trinkets. How about you? A barber-surgeon, slave trader or perhaps a warrior?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tuesday Treasuries

Treasuries are showcase lists of Etsy goodies from various shops. They are artfully put together by members of the Etsy community. As always, I am grateful to have been included in a few recent ones by my Etsy colleagues near and far and would like to say THANK YOU

'Dublin and Blue' by javierleite

Dublin local shops ... blue inspiration

SALE 50%, nautical wall hang...

SALE Turquoise Purse Charm, ...

Blue Pink Chain Dangle Earri...

Modern brooch in ombre turqu...

Abstract sculpture ceramic

Original Acrylic Abstract Ar...

Turquoise Necklace, Sterling...

REDUCED - Vintage Mid Centur...

Beach Decor, 12x12, Blue Sea...

Gemini Twins - A4 PRINT - Ma...

White Whale Painting, Origin...

autumn leaf photo print

Dublin Sea on cold January P...

Blue Tribal geometric Canvas...

Aqua Blue and Dark Blue neck...

Tattie, Stunning French Vint...
Love this cool blue treasury feauturing local, Dublin Etsy shops by Javier. Thanks so much for including my turquoise charm.

'I'm in Love!' by lynncorr

With RED!

Red cardinal bird painting 5...

Red Valentine Hearts Doily, ...

Baby bunting, Valentine, com...

Heart Art-Glass Pendant & C...

Paris Photography- Beautiful...

Scottish Tartan Punk pillow ...

Red and black handmade croch...

I Love Mom personalize with ...

Vintage Brooch 60s, Antique ...

Red Gemstone Necklace. State...

Handknitted Women Owl Scarf,...


Handmade Hand Crocheted Shru...

Red Black Earrings Dangle Fl...

Vintage, Silk Kimono Jacket ...

Czech Dragonfly Cranberry Bu...
In total contrast, Lynn Corrigan has put together a sizzling hot red treasury! Thanks so much for including my carnelian, citrine and agate statement necklace.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Inspirations January 2014

Like many artists, I garner inspiration from nature and what I see around me as well as things that stir my soul, such as the refreshing sea, culture and Irish heritage. Though I very much do my own thing, I am almost obliged to be inspired by current trends. Not least of these are the season's hues influenced by Pantone Colour Report.


Spring 2014 is sweeping in with a refreshing display of gentle pastels teamed with bold bursts of dazzling blue, freesia yellow, celosia orange and radiant orchid purple. I'm particularly loving the combination of deep blue with intense yellow in geometric and floral patterns already hitting the shops.

Many of these uplifting colours are making it into my Etsy store, Handmade by Amo'r.  It usually takes a combination of factors to move me to create something beautiful. Here are some of the influences behind my latest jewellery.


I found this naturally weathered shard of sea pottery on a Dublin beach last summer and wire wrapped it in silver plate. I wasn't quite happy with the ribbon necklace I originally made for it. I was looking for something that evoked the sea itself in some way. Then I spied the gorgeous cotton crochet chain in dazzling blue by HuggleKnits and knew It was a match made in heaven. The bright marine blue instantly lifted the white and blue porcelain for a look that is on the mark for Spring and Summer 2014.  

I posted earlier this month that I'd been overdosing on old episodes of Downton Abbey. I'm currently obsessed with early 20th century styles and trends from the Edwardian era through to the 20s.  Though the mourning jewellery of the first series of the British drama steered me to the colour black, Lady Edith's fiery necklace above is on the mark for this season's Pantone celosia orange. It may not be, but it looks suspiciously like carnelian to me.

I'm pretty sure I have some amethyst teardrops in the radient orchid lurking in my purple stash box....

Friday, January 24, 2014

A is for Amethyst, Agate and Acids

Introducing a new ABC blog series based on jewellery items and tools I use, gemstones and other materials, jewellery care and so on. It wont be all-encompassing but I hope it is of interest. Naturally, I shall start at the beginning...
Amethyst stones
There are several gemstones starting with the letter A. Let's focus on just two of the more popular ones, amethyst and agate. Born in February, amethyst is my birthstone. The photo below is of an amethyst and oxidised sterling silver necklace I made for myself , a design I will be tweaking for my Etsy shop. This purple stone is the most highly prized of the quartz group and is especially gorgeous when polished and faceted to reflect the light.
amethyst & oxidised sterling silver necklace
Traditionally it is associated with Royalty and healers consider it a power stone. The name comes from the Greek word 'amethystos' meaning not drunken as the Ancient Greeks believed it would help keep them sober. If you own a piece, keep it out of direct sunlight as it will fade. For more detailed information on this purple gemstone please read one of my archived posts 'Purple Amethyst, February Birthstone.

Agate Slice Pendant. Yellow Sunshine Slab of Stone. Celtic Sun. Optional Chain.
citric agate slice pendant

Celtic Pendant. Black Agate Slice with Sterling Silver Swirl. Midnight in Dublin
Black banded agate pendant
Another old favourite is Agate, a semi-transparent member of the chalcedony family of quartzes. It comes in shades of of cloudy white, grey, black, some blues and warmer shades of reds and oranges. The banded variety can be spectacularly beautiful with stunning 'stripes' of colour. Agate has been carved for decorative artifacts at least since the bronze age. It is a hard and durable stone which wears very well. It is very cold to the touch but warms up nicely against the skin.
red agate teardop pendant
Traditionally, agate has been used as an amulet believed to provide protection and strength, and as a healing stone aiding restful sleep and said to quench thirst. I love it for its bold colours and smoothness. 
agate burnishing tool for use on metals
In jewellery making, I use an agate burnisher for polishing and smoothing bumps and edges of wire. When making the (sold) Connemara marble pendant above, I had filed parts of the plated wire to expose the copper beneath for a rustic look. Then I painstakingly smoothed over the wire with the burnisher to ensure there were no rough edges or flakes.
A is also for Acids. Some can be useful to you, for example a few drops of lemon in water with half a spoon of salt is great for lifting tarnish off un-lacquered copper. However, gemstones and pearls generally hate acids, including cooking ingredients such as vinegar! Watch out for splashes when cooking or when cleaning with household chemicals.

Lastly, let's not forget, A is for Amo'r, Handmade by Amo'r!