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Spring is putting a smile on our faces

Spring is putting a smile on our faces

With Easter around the corner and the first signs of milder weather, we’ve put together an inspiration collection of some of our favourite beads, jewellery and arts & crafts supplies to help you to get creative. It’s a perfect palette of pastel shades, florals and springtime birds, butterflies and bunnies.

We’d love to see what’s inspiring you now spring is here. Share a photo of your Easter-related craft or jewellery project on Kookeli’s Facebook page, to @kookeli on Twitter or @kookelisupplies on Instagram using the hashtag #KookeliEaster.

 

Charming

Antique gold rabbits and mini bronze butterflies are just some of the charms you can use to create a tasteful pendant, bracelet, key ring or hair accessories. We adore this delicate birds’ nest charm with tiny, pearl-style birds’ eggs.

Pastels

Pick your shade from salmon pink or primrose yellow flower cabochons, multi-coloured flower beads or chic, designer triangle beads from Kheops par Puca® and Czech Rizo beads in pastel cream are just perfect for intricate beading designs. We love the bright blue rose cabochons against bronze so created these sweet earrings.

Floral

If it’s spring flowers you’re craving then browse our range of bright floral natural shell pendants, wonderfully varied floral cabochons,  printed drop beads with blue flowers or these rather special three-piece set of floral feature cabochons.

Organza butterflies

If it’s versatility you’re after, think organza for gorgeously delicate hair accessories, Easter bonnets, costume design, table decorations, kids’ crafts, decorative bunting, millinery, handmade jewellery… the ideas are endless. Fabric flowers in blue, artificial chrysanthemums, pink butterflies or how about these dainty silk roses.

Ribbons and bows

Wrap up Easter eggs and yummy, homemade treats with this delightfully happy ribbon by Dena Design, this red spotty, scalloped edge ribbon or this floral Suzani ribbon with its bright flowers.

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Bromley – Open Studio – Kathryn Zamar and Estelle Grandidier

The Open Studio is the opportunity to meet artists, see them working and find original pieces to buy and to take home.

Join Kathryn Zamar and Estelle Grandidier for their open studio, running daily from Wednesday the 23rd of November to Saturday the 26th of November from 10:30-4:00.

In addition to the open studio, pottery painting will be available from 10:30-3:30 Wednesday to Friday, you can find some great gift ideas for Christmas.

More details in attached photo.

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The Catford Arts Trail Open House event

24 – 25 Sep & 1 – 2 Oct The Catford Arts Trail : 11am – 6pm

A free Catford Arts Trail/Open House event, to celebrate creativity in Catford, where local artists and makers will be showing their work in various homes and public spaces.

This is the first ever Arts Trail in Catford, and has been organised by five local artists.

Over two weekends this Autumn, 70 local artists and makers will be showing and selling works in their homes, studios and public venues.

 There will be workshops, demonstrations, music, spoken word, pop up cafes and three sites where installations will be created by artists and visitors during the trail (including a piece being created by Channel 4’s Shed of the Year 2016 finalist – Michael Connell). There will also be a striking and amusing art installation in central Catford built for the event.

DOWNLOAD THE LEAFLET HERE

The event is supported by Lewisham Council and runs immediately after the first ever Catford Free Film Festival (16th – 24th September 2016) making Catford a new focus of creative intiatives this Autumn.

Catford Arts  provides both online and physical platforms to recognize and celebrate the varied and growing creative talent in the area.  The first major event will be the Catford Arts Trail.

Wendy Arnold-Dean, speaking on behalf of Catford Arts says;

“It’s always inspirational and fun to go around artists’ open studios. There’s a huge appetite for this kind of event in the area at the moment; we’re extremely excited to think of the creative diversity we will be sharing in September!”

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Metal Stamping: All of Your Questions Answered!

One of the easiest and most creative ways to personalise your artistic creations is to brand, sign and decorate them using metal stamps. Metal stamps are affordable, reusable and ideal for both beginners and professionals.

We stock a wide range of metal stamps here at Kookeli. We have everything from letter punch sets to festive flowers, and are constantly updating our listings and supplying new designs from quality brands such as Beadsmith and ImpressArt.

As metal stamping is rapidly attracting the popularity of novice jewellery makers, there is a new demand for education on how to use these tools. At Kookeli we figured what better way to help you learn than to simply answer the most common questions related to metal stamping, and so that is what we’ll be sharing with you today!

Let’s jump straight in, shall we?

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Q1. What materials can I use Kookeli’s range of metal stamps on?

 A1. Most of the supplies in our metal stamping category are sourced from trusted, high quality brands such as Impress Art and Beadsmith. This means of our metal stamps are ideal for use on soft metals, such as brass, copper, aluminium, gold, silver, pewter and alkeme, but they can also be used for mixed media too. For example, many of our clients like to use them on clay, leather, glass, wax, wood and fabrics!

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Q2. Do I need any other tools to start metal stamping?

 A2. For beginners, normally just a household hammer will do. Those after a more professional finish will probably want to make a small investment in real brass hammer, though. Household hammers are usually made from steel, as are all of our metal stamps. As steel is such a hard metal this makes it hard to produce consistent results, as it often bounces back and creates a second impression on top of the first. Brass on the other hand is a lot softer, meaning that it is able to disperse the impact of the hit more effectively.

 Q3. Is there a reason I struggle to get a single impression with my stamps?

 A3. This is a common question asked by beginners who are using a household hammer made from steel. The problem is steel on steel, which is why we suggested using a brass hammer instead. The problem with steel striking steel is that is can cause unwanted vibrations, which in turn create an uncontrollable after-hit bounce. The after-hit bounce is what causes you to strike the stamp for a second time, and this is why you are struggling to get a single impression.

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 Q4. Is there a way I can add texture to my stamped metal work?

 A4. Once you’ve got the hang of metal stamping, you’ll want to explore new ways to make your pieces stand out. One of the best ways to add a new look and finish to your metal work is to use a texture hammer. Texture hammers are cleverly designed to add patterns to metal blanks, though they can also be used to add detail to any soft metal jewellery.

 Q5. What do the metal stamp measurements actually refer to?

 A5. When we display the size or measurements of our metal stamps, we are referring to the height of the stamped impression and not the dimensions of the actual stamp. Of course, the size of the impressions is very much dependent on the striking force that is used and the material it is used on.

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 Have your questions been answered? Are you ready to start exploring your metal stamping options with Kookeli? Click here to shop our selection of stamps and letter punches or tweet your queries to @KookeliLtd for a personalised reply! We look forward to hearing from you 🙂

 

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10 Basic Jewellery Making Tools You Need to Get Started

So you’ve been inspired to start making your own jewellery? Fabulous! Whatever it is that brought you here, be it your love for handmade designs or an urge to get creative with your own two hands, we’ve got something in common, so welcome to the Kookeli club 🙂

The first thing you need to know about Kookeli is that we love supporting those who are new to jewellery making and other crafts, which is why we like to make it easy for you to find the information you need to get started.

This week we’ll be helping you flush out all of the unnecessary tools while guiding you on which ones you really need to get your very first jewellery making project underway. Here are 10 tools to tick of your list first:

Scissors

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No matter whether you are stringing, beading, weaving or working with wire, you’ll require a pair of sharp and sturdy scissors. You never quite know when or why you’re going to need them, but trust us – you will need them at some stage!

 Wire Cutters

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A standard pair of wire cutters is the second tool you should look to add to your collection. Wire cutters assist you with the things scissors can’t, such as cutting through headpins, eyepins and jewellery stringing wire. Of course, it’s important for both beginners and experience jewellery makers to be careful when using sharp tools like this.

 Round Nose Pliers

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Round nose pliers are specialised pliers characterised by their rounded, tapering jaws and most commonly used for creating loops in pieces of wire by jewellers or electricians. If there’s any piece you create that requires a nice smooth curve, this tool will have your back and enable you to create beautiful bends like no other.

 Chain Nose Pliers

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Chain nose pliers are similar looking to round nose pliers, but there is a difference.  The chain nose plier has a flat surface, which is ideal for gripping and securing wire without marring it. With extra fine tips chain nose pliers is a must have tool for every beader. Useful for crimping, jump rings and wire working.

 Flat Nose Pliers

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The flat nose plier works in the same way as all other pliers, the only thing setting it apart from the rest is that it has a much wider surface. They are great for holding wire tight whilst you shape it and are sure to come in useful for many crafts projects, including small woodwork and beadwork.

 Crimp Tool

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The crimp tool is really easy to use with crimp beads and crimp tubes. For those of you that don’t know, crimp beads or tubes are used to secure clasps on the end of beading wire. Sometimes they’re also used to create illusion necklaces, by keeping beads in a particular position. In order to secure crimp beads or tubes, you need a crimping tool and that’s exactly why it makes it into this list. It’s a practical tool that will help assist you with both basic and advanced jewellery designs.

Lighted Magnifying Glass

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When working with small objects, such as beads, catches and clasps, it can be hard for the eye to concentrate in great detail for long periods of time. Jewellery making is fiddly work, which is part of the fun, but to make the most of it invest in a lighted magnifying glass. A lighted magnifying glass will lessen the strain you put on your eyes and allow you to observe the object you’re working on properly. You’ll be able to discover things you’ve never seen before…

 Bead Tweezers

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Household tweezers will do for a while, and by a while we mean an hour or so, before you get fed up of beads slipping and pinging out from the prongs and move onto something else all together. Save yourself the aggravation and purchase yourself some proper beads tweezers, with metal ‘buds’ at the end designed to help you grasp small, delicate objects and place them precisely where they should be.

Bead Stoppers

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Accidents happen, which is something you have to accept in life. However, when you’ve spend hours threading beads and they end up, somehow (you know how if you have kids), sliding right off the other end, scattering bouncing beads all over the place like something out of a horror film, there’s good reason to look for a solution. Our solution is easy and it goes by the name of bead stoppers. Bead stoppers have a simple concept – all you do is squeeze the loops on either end, open up the springs, insert your bead wire or thread into between one of the springs and release the loops to keep your beads in place.

 

Your imagination!

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And last but most certainly not least, is your imagination. There’s no better tool out there, so use it – chances are it will open up possibilities you never knew existed.

Of course, as your skillset grows, you’ll require more advanced tools, such as tube cutters, holders, ring clamps, drills, reamers and vices – but that’s for another blog, another time.

For now though,  4-piece pliers set is the perfect starting point.

 

 

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Creative Ways You Can Display Jewellery at Markets

Jewellery making can be a hobby or a business, or both if you manage to create items you enjoy making and others love to buy. Starting out as a jewellery maker can be tough, as there aren’t all that many platforms to use as a launch pad. However, local flea markets, craft fairs and trade shows are the perfect place to display handcrafted items to a large variety of people in a short amount of time.

If you’re renting a stand somewhere in the near future, you’ll need to make the most of the little time you have – after all, every minute counts when you’re attempting to draw in customers and spread the word about your new business.

To make the most of your time at a flea market or craft fair you will need to grab the attention of passers-by. There are many ways in which you can do this, but with jewellery it’s best to be creative and original.

Today we’re going share 10 imaginative ways you can display your jewellery at markets and stand out from the crowd:

  • Antlers

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Antlers can look rustic and organic or you can glam them up with a bit of spray paint and glitter. Whatever your style, you can make it work.

  • Manikins

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Manikins come in all shapes and sizes and are ideal for showcasing jewellery as well as clothes. The ones with the material bodies are preferred for jewellery displays, as you can pierce earrings through.

  • Cake stands

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Besides looking all delicate and pretty, cake stands are actually a really practical way to display and store jewellery. You can put cushions inside to keep earrings up right or simply let the customers rummage through. Remember though, no one likes having to untangle necklaces.

  • Empty picture frames

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Empty pictures frames are a great DIY option, as they can be easily painted and done-up to look special. Try filling in the back with some material that matches your panache.

  • Pegboard

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Ah, the practical pegboard – nothing really beats it in terms of ease, efficiently and cost. They don’t always look particularly creative though, so think of ways you can enhance its appearance. Stickers and stencils can work well.

  • Logs & twigs

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If you really have no budget whatsoever, you can still make a stand work for you. Find organic, natural materials like twigs and logs and drape your items across and over them in a loving manner and you’ll soon realise just how easy and cheap it can be to think outside the box sometimes.

  • Paper fans

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Paper fans are easy to make and simple to customise, and they also happen to make great displays for jewellery components and rings. Simply place your items along the creases and wait for interest to flock to your table!

  • Icing tips

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OK, so icing tips that are all icky and over-used aren’t going to be the best way to represent your new business. However, most of them can scrub up well and look gorgeous holding a few rings – chances are everyone will think they’re designed specifically for jewellery anyway!

  • Ladders

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A decorated ladder can act as a great focal point at market stalls and take up a lot less space than tables and life-size manikins. You can have one or a few side-by-side acting as shelves.

  • Towel rod & shower curtain rings

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Household objects, such as towel rods, shower curtain rings, hangers and key holders, are all around you. Use your imagination to make things work for you.

Have you found this post helpful? If so, share the love by sending your feedback, comments, pictures and results on social media! You can follow Kookeli on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Image credits:

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5 Reasons To Get Into Arts & Crafts

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The two words “Art” and “Craft” get put together a lot, and this is because they often feed into each other. They both involve a creative process, and both are seen as hands-on hobbies. As a result, getting into one means you’re likely to strike an interest with the other too.

Getting introduced to arts & crafts usually happens very early on in life. Most children are taught to paint and create from a young age and though some of them continue to use these skills throughout life, many others move on and forget not only how much they enjoyed arts and crafts, but also how good they are at it.

Getting back into arts and crafts as an adult can be daunting, because it can mean learning new techniques and using unfamiliar tools. Nevertheless, there are so many unbelievable benefits that only half a day in, you’ll admit it’s all worthwhile!

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To help you convince yourself, we’ve put together a (massively condensed) list of reasons to get into arts & crafts:

1. It can be great for the soul – therapeutic & fun!

 The way we spend our downtime affects our overall lifestyle – you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work that out. Even so, a large popularity of Brits spend their ‘out of hours’ time binge drinking, overeating or exercising. There’s nothing wrong with this, but moderation does need to be applied. With arts & crafts, there’s no real risk of causing your body damage – you simply get to relax and do something you enjoy.

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2. It encourages children to be confident

 This point mainly applies to parents and guardians bringing up young children, though teachers, child minders and siblings can also take it on board. Arts & crafts help children to be creative and imaginative, which is proven to make them more resourceful and resilient when they are faced with barriers or obstacles in adult life. We all know the best way to encourage a child to do something is to set a good example yourself, so let him/her see you get your hands dirty and your footsteps will surely be followed!

3. It allows gifts to become more personal & cost-effective

 Besides using arts and crafts as a hobby that can fill your downtime, there are other benefits, such as saving money on gifts and being able to create handmade pieces for the people you love.

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4. It can be an extra way of earning money

 Ever heard of the saying, “do something you love and you’ll never have to work again”? Well, if you love arts & crafts, you’re one step closer to making that a reality. Hone in on your skills and start putting your work up for sale. Who knows… within no time you could turn your hobby into a part-time (or full-time) job. The world is your oyster!

5. And last but not least, it can unleash creative juices’, helping in other aspects of life…

 If none of the above reasons are enough to persuade you, then you may want to consider how getting into arts & crafts could help you in other aspects of life. Unlike many subjects, there is no right or wrong in art – it is subjective and with no concrete format to follow. This means that applying yourself to arts or crafts for a while could help you unlock the areas of your brain you haven’t been using. Thinking outside of the box could be just what you need to solve that work-related problem or make that all-important life decision.

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Do you love arts & crafts? Has this article inspired you in any way? We want to hear from you! Use the comments section below or tweet @KookeliLtd 🙂