When I first started out making things, I, like most other people sourced my materials at the local timber suppliers. This never quite sat right with me. I wanted to know the whole story behind the materials I was working with and so, I started to look at what I could find around me. This page goes through where I find my materials for jewellery making and shows their versatility in other projects.
The story begins with where I live. I’m lucky enough to have a garden that borders a national park so essentially, a good half of our property is dense forest. It looks like this and as you can see, contains the two main materials I work with. Wood and stone.
These are the biggest trees on the property, and they literally grow everywhere around here. They drop branches all the time so they provide an ongoing source of materials without having to actually fell any trees.
The timber materials produced by these trees ranges in colour from a very light cream colour in the younger branches through to a nice reddish colour in the core wood. It has a nice straight grain, is strong and easy to work with.
That said, we have had to remove one of them near the house. Ants made a home in it and they caused a very large branch to fall and demolished our washing line.
The ant damage had caused the entire core of the tree to start rotting out and it was just a matter of time before it came down. The timber produced by this tree is now chopped up and stored away ready to be used in other projects.
Oh, it also makes great barbeque fuel as there is far more timber than I can realistically use in my projects. In addition to the jewellery and ornament pieces, some other project examples made from this tree include
- Wood slice coasters
- A branch section lamp base
- A large hollowed out branch bowl.
Visit the Eucalyptus shop to see what’s available now.
Forest Oak (Sheoak)
One of several different Sheoak species, Forest Oak trees grow as part of the under canopy of the forest in my garden. A happy coincidence as it happens to be one of my favourite timbers, even if it can be a bit challenging to work with at times.
The trees themselves have a very distinctive bark and long thin needle like leaves, similar to a pine tree. The seed pods are distinctive and about the same size as a cherry. The challenging part about this timber is in the structure of the wood. It makes it extremely susceptible to cracking and warping as it dries out.
Why do I like it so much? Well, the timber has a beautiful stripy grain pattern and subtle colours that really come out under clear varnish. This is especially the case when a quarter cut is used when preparing the wood.
Visit the Forest Oak shop to see what’s available now.
Aside from timber, the other material I have in abundance is sandstone. Essentially, the entire hill we live on is made from it. The stone is great to work with as it’s relatively easy to carve and maintains a great rustic look. You do need to use a dusk mask though as the stone contains a lot of silica. Breathing silica dust is very bad for your lungs so this really is important.
With colours ranging from white and yellow through to pinkish reds. I have used it to make some impressive tealight candle holders, centrepieces and clocks.
Visit the Sandstone shop to see what’s available now.
Other materials for jewellery making
While I mainly work with wood and stone found locally, I will venture out to find other interesting materials.
So far, the most notable are the gemstones found in Inverell.
Sapphires, Garnets and Zircon
As it turns out, a large chunk of the worlds sapphires are found in Australia. We found this out when we visited Inverell in the New England region of New South Wales. We went to camp at a place called Billabong Blue where they allow fossicking at the camp site. It’s not just sapphires though, Garnet and zircon are also frequently found too.