Saturday, 13 January 2018

A lost treasure

A new year in the Lost Forest studio marks a new beginning in my business. All will be revealed in another few months! For now, I have a little treat in the form of a special edition piece in the Lost Forest collection; a magical woodland talisman- 'My Little World'.

I cast this piece from an authentic shard of quartz crystal, and created a pine resin replica that holds treasures from the enchanted woodlands of the Dublin mountains. Real tendrils of lichen still cling to a delicate pine branch, gathered from the forest floor after an autumn storm. The sculptural meandering forms of the lichen are showcased within the crystal clear resin. When you gaze at the crystal, you discover a new hidden detail every time, creating an endless sense of intrigue. 24k gold leaf has been hand gilded sporadically along the facets to add a touch of sparkle to this bewitching crystal. 

I created the crystal as a talisman you can carry with you wherever you may be. Place it in your hand, gaze into it, and feel like you are connecting with the natural world; a world not always accessible to everyone. Instantly, you will feel a sense of calm and inner peace, and ponder over the good things that life has to offer. The crystal can also sit upon your desk and offer a spark of inspiration to your day. Only one has been made and it is exclusively available here. 

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Memento jewellery

Last year I created a very special piece for a wonderfully talented lady who suffered a tragic loss. We worked together on creating diminutive pine resin pebbles that would encapsulate delicate strands of her baby's hair. She wanted a tangible memento to hold onto forever, and to comfort her during a very difficult time ahead. 

I made a trio of pebbles and raindrops; each one holding their precious treasures. I also added sparkling 24k gold leaf and swirls of pink dye, floating upwards through the crystal clear resin. 

The next stage of the project was handed over to the highly skilled Irish goldsmith, Helena Malone. She fashioned a gold frame to hold the pebble; creating an eternal protective embrace. A tiny pink diamond was mounted to echo the pink in the pebble. The outcome was a beautifully unique, elegant and enduringly sentimental piece of jewellery she could wear close to her heart forever. 

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Lost Forest Sale & Christmas Wishes

As a thank you to those who support my little business, I have launched a huge sale in store! Most items are heavily discounted. The majority are one-of-a-kind pieces, and once they're gone, they will be gone for good. If you have had your eye on a particular treasure, please don't wait. You can browse and purchase the collection here.

Lost Forest will remain open for business over the Christmas holidays, and any sales from the 21st of December will be shipped from January 3rd when postal deliveries will resume as normal once again. 

The current Lost Forest collection will not be made again, as I will be embarking on a new chapter in Lost Forest's story in 2018. As an artist who thrives on original concepts, it's imperative that I challenge myself and keep learning new skills and delving further into my imagination for unique ideas. I have an exciting new vision for my business, and I'm looking forward to sharing it with those who will continue to support and love what I do. It is my loyal customers who allow me to do what I am most passionate about in life; without you, my dream would never be able to prosper and evolve. A simple 'thank you' never seems enough!

Finally, I'd like to finally wish all of you a very happy and sparkly Christmas and a wonderful New Year full of hope, promise and new adventures! - Gillian x 

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Gifted- The Contemporary Craft & Design Fair 2017

Last week Lost Forest attended 'Gifted- The Contemporary Craft & Design Fair' in Dublin's RDS. The hugely popular national event showcases the best in Irish design and craft, allowing small businesses to sell and interact with new and old customers. 

It was my second time exhibiting at the show, and I was excited to show lots of unique sparkly treasures to the world. I was also delighted to have one of my pieces chosen for the 'Selected Gifts' display with the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland. 'My Wild Irish Heart' was exhibited amongst other Irish designers in the main hall. A little proud moment for me!

My stand design was slightly different to the previous year, and required a re-think due to a dual entrance. On the night of set-up we were limited for time, so we created a design that we thought best utilised the space. However, the next morning (after a sleepless night of procrastinations), we decided to create a new and improved layout. The 'Lost Forest' wall was moved to partially cover one entrance, and to protect the side of the till. The two tables sat next to each other in one corner, creating a little shop space that made it easier to greet and chat with customers. I was finally happy with the end result, and my little shop was open for business.

The show was a great success, and it was so heartwarming to see the twinkle in people'e eye when their gaze encountered my work. To have the opportunity to explain my process and inspirations was also a real treat, as I'm normally hidden away in the studio for most of the year. 

After a busy show, and a very busy week in the Lost Forest shop, it's definitely time for some relaxation, movies, cuddles with Billie the furbaby and my fiancĂ©, and of course plenty of chocolate. It's nearly Christmas after all, and calories don't count at Christmas!

Friday, 15 December 2017

A winter engagement

I always love to work on custom projects, and this piece was another highlight for me; a floral engagement ring. My client wanted to surprise her partner with a truly bespoke and whimsical ring that hold precious sentimental memories for them both. 

The handcrafted gemstone encapsulated cut flowers from their beloved garden; luminous lily petals, in vibrant purple tones and rich orange hues cast from begonia petals. Illuminated by the daylight, the stone evokes the effect of sun beams coursing through the resplendent panes of a stained glass window. Speckles of silver leaf were sprinkled into the resin to create an intriguing sparkle. 

What makes this ring even more special is the inclusion of their cherished pets. I weaved strands of cat and dog hair, which delicately embraced the petals. The effect is subtle, but on further inspection it adds a wonderful element of curiosity and sentimentality to a very unique ring. 

Monday, 4 December 2017

Crystal statement necklace

Time for another custom piece I worked on during the spring. I was asked by a new bride to create a magnificent statement necklace with vanda orchids from her wedding bouquet. She wanted the orchids to be juxtaposed next to a woodland scene with lichen and Irish moss; creating a contrasting purple and green colour palette. She chose large amethyst crystals I had in my collection to create a prominent piece that would sit along the neckline. We worked together on creating a very unique piece of wearable art over the course of a month.

My design board below shows some of the 'brainstorming' process I undertake for custom orders; filled with test casts, sketches and notes. This helps as a visual aid for the customer, and also for myself; refining little details and solving technical challenges. Any changes can also be made at this stage, as once the resin is poured, there's no going back! The result was a really stunning bespoke piece of jewellery that is endlessly intriguing and glamorous.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

An Edwardian woodland

One of my favourite pieces I recently made is the 'Pixie Potion Bottle'. I wanted to create something that no one could copy (unfortunately something I have to encounter a lot with my work). I scoured antique shops to find the ideal petite bottle for the project. I discovered the perfect one in the form of an original Edwardian cut glass perfume bottle. A complete one-of-a-kind find is always an exciting thrill. 

After making a mold from the original glass bottle, I was able to cast a crystal clear eco resin replica.The dainty bottle retains its beautiful detailing from the sharp facets of the topper to the natural curved contours of its body, and slightly mottled patina from the original hand blown glass. There is a wonderful sense of history exuding from this piece, and it is made all the more magical with its natural inclusions.

Eternally embedded within are luminous tendrils of real Irish lichen and moss in vibrant shades of green and yellows. The spectrum of the Irish woodlands is contained forever within. The very essence of Ireland can now be worn with you wherever you wander in the world with your own pixie potion bottle.

Each bottle is lovingly handmade by myself, taking several hours every day over the course of two weeks to complete. The bottle hangs from a 14k gold filled bail which is attached to a 14k gold filled jump ring and a 14k gold filled chain, in a 19" inch length. There's a limited number currently in store here.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Hygge hot chocolate recipe

December is finally upon us. These frosty crisp days are made more tolerable with a hot restorative beverage. I usually opt for a mug of steaming Irish tea or an invigorating cup of coffee. However, on certain days the only thing that will do is a blissful mug of indulgent hot chocolate to embrace the changing season. 

I have my hot chocolate in a mug without handles, which allows me to hug it with both hands, and absorb all the lovely comforting warmth. Here is my very simple recipe that can be whipped up in 5 mins, and deliver instant happiness to your day.

'Hygge' Hot Chocolate

Makes: 2-3 Cups | cooking time: 5 minutes

4 cups of whole milk (you can choose a milk of your own choice).
1/4 cups of chocolate buttons/chips (I used Dairy Milk buttons and two squares of 70% Lindt chopped coarsely to cut the sweetness of the milk chocolate).
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract (I used Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract)
1 Packet of marshmallows (I used Princess Marshmallows as they aren't too sweet and are lovely and fluffy without being too chewy and firm).

1. Heat the milk in a saucepan to boiling point and then switch to a lower heat.
2. Add the vanilla and mix gently into the milk.
3. Turn the heat down to the lowest temperature.
4. Add the chocolate in at this point and whisk into the milk until completely melted and frothy.
5. Serve immediately in large mugs and top with a handful of marshmallows, which will bob and gently melt on the frothy milky surface. Drink, relax and enjoy!

Thursday, 30 November 2017

On a cold November day

As November departs, we leave behind autumn, and all the wondrous changes of colour it brings. Winter is on its way, and it brings with it its own magical touches; frost tipped fingers, cosy nights by a crackling fire, dreaming of the coming festivities, and pondering about what opportunities may await on the arrival of a brand new year. Here is my snapshot of the last day of November.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Wedding memento necklace

Over the remaining weeks of 2017, I'll be showcasing a few of the custom projects I've worked on during the past year. The majority of requests were bridal memento necklaces, bangles and Puddle Plates. They are a beautiful reminder that you can keep long after the special day has passed. I've been making wedding memento jewellery since the early days of my career in 2012, and hopefully it will continue into 2018 with a new selection of happy brides (one of which will be myself!).

I always welcome a challenge, something a little out of the ordinary. As an artist it's what I thrive on; new, exciting ideas to turn the cogs in the creative brain. I had a long term client approach me with a project she had in mind for her friend who recently got married. Unfortunately, the flowers she had dried had succumbed to moisture damage and caused mold to set-in. This can be a devastating moment to discover after the long patient wait for the flowers to dry. 

However, when I received the blooms, I put my thinking hat firmly on and decided to create something special out of a bad situation. There was one petal which had survived most of the damage, it was starting to turn to the dark side, so I salvaged it and applied my Lost Forest 'secret rescuing solution' to bring it back to life! I then set the petal into a 24k gold framed pendant tray, adding tiny speckles of 24k gold leaf to the base to add some more sparkle. As the light passed through the sheer petal, it resembled a miniature floral stained glass window, and enhanced its delicate beauty further. The result was a pretty and elegant necklace that was the perfect every day accessory, with added hidden sentiment for its new owner.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Getting ready for Gifted

The Lost Forest studio is buzzing in anticipation for this years big craft fair- Gifted, at the RDS, Dublin. There's only two weeks left before kick-off day on Friday the 8th of December. Billie and I are currently busy boxing, stamping, wrapping and organising lots of treasures, and building props (she's not so good at that part of the process). 

Here's a selection of photos from last years show, which saw my debut at the largest event I've participated in so far. Hopefully this year should be bigger and better than ever. My new stand will be a little different than before; a more streamlined version to make assembly easier, and a few tweaks to the arrangement. However, the stars of the show; my upcycled farm tables will be back!

You can still buy tickets for the event here. I'll be at Stand C20 Friday 8th- Sunday 10th. It should be a great show, and is always a cosy 'Christmassy' event perfect for all the family. I'll have a blog post after the fair to show the new and improved Lost Forest miniature shop. For now, it's back to work and I'll continue trying to teach Billie how to use a hammer. Having no thumbs is not a valid excuse, it it?!