Sunday, 8 March 2015

Soldering Heaven!

Yesterday I was in soldering heaven. 

I have wanted to learn how to solder little boxes and jewellery for so long. Years and years!
Ever since seeing the artwork of Sally Jean Alexander and her book of Pretty Little Things.

To be able to make tiny works of artyness, collages of memories and love tokens has been TOP of my wishlist FOR EVER so when I saw photos of a workshop run by Diane Tinker Foster about a year ago where she was showing lucky people how to make these little treasures I have to admit I kind of stalked her. 

Luckily she is a complete darling and tolerated it all pretty well. I loved everything she made. Some made my heart beat faster, some made me weep with their imagery and poignancy. She spoke to my soul!

Luckily she was also found by Louise of the wonderful Hope and Elvis workshop studios in Worksop and she booked Di to teach 2 days of soldered boxes.

Hope and Elvis is a pretty fab place to visit in itself; the walls are full of inspiring art by some of the great artists that teach there and some wonderful vintage finds beautifully displayed so just walking in through the doors starts the day with a warm welcome and the feeling that something special is going to happen there.

This time there was also some of Di's fabulous work displayed right by the door. It was heart achingly beautiful.

 This piece below is inspired by the exhibition Threads of Feeling at the Foundling Museum: 

The exhibition documented the stories of the more than 4,000 babies left by their Mothers with a scrap, usually of fabric, to identify them when they returned to claim them. The heart is divided into two halves as a love token. It is held in a handmade,shaped box which has been lined with vintage quilt fabric. 

You can read more about the exhibition here:

Another love token.

On a much lighter note look at these French Girlies below. Vintage Half Dolls have been soldered onto an  Eiffel Tower made of glass.

And look at these cuties who are just waiting to be rehomed!

We couldn't wait for the workshop to begin. Here is Di telling us all about her inspiration and warning us about hot things! Look at her necklace!


Here she is demonstrating those HOT things! Her teaching was so good that nobody even got in a little bit trouble.

She spent months making us the gorgeous  little papier mache boxes to hold our treasures. They were covered with  beautiful vintage french papers. 
We could choose 3 different sizes. We started with the smallest which was only .75 " in size.

I made a teeny collage with a piece of antique lace, a brass bee and the tiny word from and old dictionary 'Bee Brave'

Di gave us beautiful bevelled glass to cover our boxes with before soldering them.

My medium sizes box was 1.5" square

Di had already made the box from fantastic Marie Antoinette  printed vintage paper and because I have been wanting to make a fabric Marie book for quite a while I decided that the box was waiting for me and just decorated the inside with glass glitter, diamante trim and a vintage carved gilded glass button.

For my biggest box which was 2"x 3" I had made a little embroidered piece the night before .

But Louise always has such lovely things for us to use at Hope and Elvis  that I made another from some snippets of fabric, stitching, little toy chicken and some flowers and buttons that I had in my stash.

The diamante embellishment on the top was a little found piece of broken jewellery that I had been saving since I first saw photos of Di's work.

Talking about stash, one of the loveliest things was going around being nosey about other  peoples fabulous stash. It got us talking about the exhibition coming up at the Barbican later in the year on Artists and their Collections.

This is a very long post but I'm just going to finish by saying a huge thank you to the wonderful Diane Tinker Foster for her inspirational teaching, her generosity and sense of humour and to Louise for the wonderful workshop. 
Here is one last photo for you to marvel at: A chatelaine! made from  delicious vintage found objects, soldered and wearable. Ohhh my goodness! xxx


  1. Wasn't it the most wonderful day, I am in love with soldering! Super to meet you and so many other creative ladies. Jo x

    1. Ooh yes Jo it was the loveliest of days and totally addictive. It was lovely to meet you. I hope I see you again at another workshop xx

  2. Golly - that looks like a pretty cool day! Inspirational.

  3. What a lovely write up! Thanks so much Paula - it was a pleasure to meet you at last and a very special joy to solder with you. Your boxes were wonderful and hopefully we will do circles soon too! Much love xxdi

    1. It was a total joy to spend the day with you Di. I am so thrilled with my little soldered boxes and will treasure them. I simply can't wait to have another go as soon as possible. I hope I'm lucky and can get a place now that I have told everybody how fabulous it all was. Much love to you xx