Friday, January 10, 2014

Novelty Brooch Friday - January

Happy 2014 and a new year of Novelty Brooch Friday!

This month we are featuring a fantastic crafts woman who creates the cutest brooches from glass.  I first discovered Sally’s work through her Instagram account @pixelsandpicas and loved the material she uses and the subjects: cute wolves, birds, cactuses and watermelon’s to name a few – definitely ‘novelty’.  

Recently Sally has launched her Etsy store Pixels and Picas where you can see an ever growing collection of brooches and pendants.  Thank you Sally for agreeing to answer 5 questions to give us an insight into your creative process and donating this fantastic cactus brooch to giveaway to one lucky brooch lover in January.

When did you start making jewellery?
I've always been creative and made things and it was about two and a half years ago that I first made some little birds out of glass and turned these into brooches. I originally created them as I had lots of small pieces of glass left from some bigger glass projects and thought this would be a good way to use it up. Also I found the smaller pieces gave me the opportunity to hone my skills in creating with glass and experiment more without a big outlay that bigger projects would need. I've found I now focus mainly on the small pieces and really enjoy making them. It's a real buzz seeing someone wear one of my brooches.
Why do you work in glass and is it an easy material to work with?
Glass is an interesting medium to work with - I love the colours and the glossy finish it has once it has been fired. It's not always an easy material to work with and I've had many cuts and injuries from handling it, thankfully nothing too serious. Some colours are particularly difficult and splinter - my favourite red glass does this!
Each piece I make, I draw the basic shape onto the glass and then cut out using a glass cutter. I then refine the shape if necessary using a glass grinder and cut the extra pieces (such as beaks, eyes, wings, etc) using tile nippers. The glass is washed and then the project I'm working on is assembled and put into a kiln, where it is fused together in intense heat for many hours. The glass becomes very robust after this process. It's always a lovely surprise to see the glass once it has been through the fusing process as it changes physically and you never quite know how it will turn out.

What inspires you?
I am very inspired by colour both in nature and the man-made environment and most of my glass work is very bright and colourful.
I was very lucky to spend a bit of time in Barcelona years ago and saw a lot of Gaudi's work there which has been an influence on me ever since. After seeing Park G├╝ell in particular and the amazing mosaic there, I was very keen to learn mosaic  which then lead me to then exploring glass as a medium many years later.  

Also I have a large library of art and craft books and and addiction to buying craft magazines and these constantly inspire me - often the concept of a new design comes from looking at these and converting the idea into glass. I look at felting, crocheting and sewing projects and think about how these will look in glass and go from there.
Are there any artist/crafts people you admire?
I love art and photography and my favourite artists range from Monet to Frida Kahlo to Banksy. I admire people who've taken the risk and are living the lives they have dreamed about.
I'm a member of BrisStyle and have met many clever, creative people I admire through my involvement in the BrisStyle markets. Seeing other artists and crafts people confidently creating and selling their work has helped me get out there and do the same. 
Your work has a sense of playfulness about it, is this intentional?
I work in a very corporate environment  as a graphic designer, which I do love but can be very restrictive regarding what I can and can't do regarding design. So creating whimsical things in my spare time is my way to go wild and have fun creatively. I love colour and when I look at the brooch collection I have made, it is very colourful - I guess it's where I break out of the constrains of what I do day to day and have some fun playing with colour and fun subject matter. 
Also I love to brighten up my clothes with a fun piece of jewellery and it's so nice to be able to say "I made it" when people ask where I bought it.  
So for your chance to win this cute brooch just post a picture of yourself on Instagram with your favourite brooch, entries can be submitted on Friday from now up to and including Friday 31st January with the hash tag #noveltybroochfriday.  We will announce the winner (randomly chosen) on Monday 3rd February. Open to everyone, you can enter as many times as you like, either new or vintage brooches.
Erin and I aim to showcase those sellers of vintage brooches and designers of brooches we admire and love to wear ourselves.

*If you are a designer or sell vintage brooches (worldwide) and wish to donate a brooch for an upcoming month and have your shop showcased, please contact me at