We are making room for new designs in 2017, and are busy filling up the Boxing Day Sale Section at feralstrumpet.co.uk. Starting on Boxing day, you’ll find some old favourites there and many more new pieces– one offs and prototypes, all an additional 50% off with coupon code KANGAROO. This offer is good from Dec. 26th-Jan. 2nd, 2016. (This offer can’t be combined with other coupons or offers and can’t be used retrospectively.) Here’s a peek at just a few of the designs that will be on sale!
It’s almost here. This month’s full moon is dear to my heart, falling as it does near the Heathen celebration of the Blessing of the Plough and the pagan Imbolc, the day sacred to Brigid, goddess of creative fires, among many other things. Tools are blessed this month, and I hope Brigid as well as the many wise dwarves who have forged for the Gods may bless my tools I use for forging. This year I plan to make friends with fire and solder, and may they bless this also.
This month’s moon has many names, but I love the Quickening Moon as this is the time of year we can feel the lunar pull on the seeds and plants that have lain dormant all winter. Sure, the sun might be coaxing them out but while they are laying in darkness, the moon that rules the tides and our own emotions is sure to be doing her own magic to bring out life again!
I wear jewellery for sentimental reasons mostly– I have stones I’ve found or been given, talismans of runes, my Thor’s hammer, my Freya/Seidkona. Many of the things I love to wear were made by someone else whose skill I admire and whose creative energy I would like to connect with– I think I’m a lot like my customers in that way.
I have a long list of dream pieces I would like to make for myself. Pieces so expensive to make, or so labour intensive, that they would not be practical to offer for sale. I think this summer I will make one or two during a slow period. I make very little for myself and maybe I should make more!
I do wear pieces I’ve made. Sometimes for whatever reason an absolutely gorgeous piece doesn’t sell and I feel justified then in keeping it for myself. Luckily my litmus test for selling something is– would I love to wear this? Am I dying to keep it? If the answer is yes, I offer it in my shop.
What am I wearing right now? Well, I’ll tell you.
Boudicca Glasses Chain–This is probably the most practical thing I have ever made, next to my pennanular brooches. I use this every day. I have two– one for my reading glasses and one for my regular glasses, which I need to take off when doing detail work. When it is sunny (that’s rare in Yorkshire) I also have one for my sunglasses.
Kitchen Witch’s Pentagram Ring–I made an initial prototype in the raku glaze which I ended up keeping for myself. Often I will wear a prototype to test out it’s mettle first before making more or offering it as a made to order piece. Many of these become fast friends and others go to the scrap heap, ready to become something else. This was a keeper!
Myriad Lozenge Rings— I love making rings with lozenge shaped beads, the prongs at the side framing and binding the stone. It has become a signature design and I have made countless rings for lovely people all over the world.
In one of my favourite books, A Mirror for Witches by Esther Forbes, Goodie Goochie, the androgynous preparer of the dead, wearings an iron ring on every finger to protect them from malignant spirits. My rings are mostly copper and silver but I can relate. I started making my own rings because I could never find rings small enough for my fingers, at least ones I really liked. My favourites are my amethyst, labradorite and web jasper rings.
Harpy Rosary Necklace–Here was a little orphan. This beautiful necklace never found a home. It is perfection– from its mid century wooden rosary with a slightly reddish tint to the wood, to the little harpy girl that moves up and down on her post like a magical merry-go-round creature. Maybe I loved it so much that I secretly wished to keep it, because now it’s mine and I wear it all the time!
Floating Castle Rosary Necklace–I have made many of these but again, there was one I paired with a gorgeous 1960s jet and AB finish glass bead rosary. I think it was waiting for me. Here you can see one of my early photographs– when I was just starting out and hadn’t learned how to light and edit tiny pieces!
Infinity Chains– These beautifully graceful chains are hella labour-intensive. I have made them in sterling, brass and copper. They look beautiful worn together, mixing the metals. Because it takes so long to make these I no longer offer them just as plain chains. Instead I will combine them with crystals, stones and beads to create one of a kind, luxurious pieces. The plain chains I saved for myself. I like to wear the clasp in front, sometimes attaching a talisman or charm to one lobe of the S clasp.
Sheila-na-Gig Brooch– Another mysterious sleeper. I wear my larger Sheila brooch with my hand knits. My other simple brooches are my most popular design. While these brooches are more delicate, I love their graceful curves and the fact that the curl on the ends of the circle keeps the pin on the clasp. I haven’t given up on this design! I am making more prototypes to offer them again in the future.
Mega Slayer Bib Necklace– I feel like this post has turned into the Feral Island of Lost Toys! I hope it offers some insight into my process. This slayer bib necklace was another orphan. I loved it insanely– but no one but me seemed to want to wear it! My single stake necklaces continued to be best sellers but this OTT version was clearly waiting for me.
Black Hearted Love– This is my signature necklace, the one that started it all. I was making these before I even started my Etsy shop, almost 4 years ago. I had a red cinnabar one paired with a red bakelite chaplet and a black one paired with a 19th century bog-wood rosary. I wore them all the time and one day I was sitting in my local medieval drinking hall whinging that I couldn’t find a job, and my friend Emma said why don’t you sell the necklaces you make? The rest is history.
Baby Bat Necklace– Another of my best sellers– possibly my first best seller, the one that really took off. I love layering mine with other longer pieces. The little fellow is so small, and such good company.
My recent designs have been inspired by organic lines and shapes, and the power behind certain materials that have come my way. Ritual enters into it, and the afterglow of superstition. And there’s the wild kitsune-fuel of Vali Myers who I fancy is overseeing the process.
I have written previously about the quartz stones which came to me in a large lot, earth still on them. I have cleaned them– both literally and ritually— and they have soaked up the full-moonlight of the Longest Night.
The other objects are ancient beads from, I believe, Mali. These stone beads defy dating, and are a contentious subject. It is certain they are not modern. Dirt from burial still clings to them, and they vary in material and size. My research has put some as neolithic, others 600-300 years old. One thing they have in common, they all look like hag stones.
Hag stones are naturally occurring stones with a hole– they are also called adder stones, druid’s eggs, Odin stones or sometimes holey stones. A traditional holey stone was originally thought to be made by water coursing through a stone to make the hole. Pliny claimed they were made from the saliva of a congress of snakes which I kind of wish were true. No doubt this is where the “adder stone” moniker comes from. It reveals the way language works in correspondence with the will– even if the drool of knotted snakes didn’t make them, surely the chthonic energies of earth and water did.
So when I say these old beads look like hag stones, I know they are not. A hag stone is naturally made, and these are stone beads are most definitely handmade. I am interested in these contradictions, and in simulating excavated talismans, perhaps from a fairy people of my own imagining. Vali whispers in my ear.