Friday, 29 July 2011

The Art Clay Silver Starter Kit

The Art Clay Silver Starter Kit contains everything you need to learn about making silver items out of this precious metal clay.  There's no need to invest in expensive items such as kilns while you're learning all about the silver clay as the kit contains a firing mesh which can be used on a gas hob.  The decision to invest in a kiln comes with experience and the need to experiment (find out more about firing Art Clay Silver Clay).

The kit contains a selection of tools which include a ring size scale, sponge backed sanding pads, a polishing cloth and silver polish, tweezers, a medium fine file, a burnisher (polishing tool), a stainless steel brush, 2 wooden mandrels, a stainless steel firing mesh, full instructions and a DVD.  The 10g Art Clay Silver 650 Slow Dry clay which is also included, provides enough clay to make a ring, pendant or earrings and the instruction booklet contains a choice of 9 beginner jewellery making projects. 

The best thing about the Art Clay Silver Starter Kit is that once you buy it, you will have all the necessary equipment to go on and make more items from Art Clay Silver.

Art Clay Silver 650 clay is available in 7g, 10g, 20g and 50g packets.  The Art Clay Silver 650 Slow dry clay has been formulated not to dry out so quickly, making it ideal for learners. 

Learn more about working with Art Clay Silver clay or browse our selection of Art Clay Silver products.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011


Batik is a method of patterning fabric or paper using melted wax to create a barrier, or resist, to prevent dye from colouring the waxed areas.

The safest and easiest way to melt the wax is with an electric wax melting pot. The temperature in this wax pot can be thermostatically controlled to keep the wax at melting point so that it does not burn. There are recesses around the rim to rest tools when they are not in use.

The melted wax can be applied using a stamp, brush or with a tjanting. A tjanting consists of handle with a bowl at the end of it for scooping up the melted wax. The wax flows through a small spout connected to the bowl. Leaving the tjanting in the wax pot stops the wax from cooling down and blocking the spout.

It is best to use cold water dyes, such as Procion MX dyes, for Batik work as this will prevent the wax from melting. The fabric is first treated with a solution of soda ash (approx. 5g of soda ash to 1 litre of warm water) and allowed to dry.

Roz Plant used a tjanting to apply the wax for this design of a cat. The colours of the dyes remain within the wax outline but where the yellow dye has leaked beyond the wax outline it has combined with the blue coloured area and turned green. To ensure that the colours remain within the outline, it is necessary to check that the wax has fully absorbed through to the back of the fabric and that the outline is unbroken. Often, artists allow this seapage to occur as part of the design.

Diana Fenney's paintings were created using Procion MX and melted candle wax on Lokta paper and Mulberry paper. The candle wax was used to block out the areas where Diana wanted highlights such as on the blossom in these trees. Diana has built the painting up using a wash from Procion MX dyes.

The very simple Batik below can be easily reproduced using cotton fabric suspended on a stretcher frame. A series of heart shapes were painted onto the fabric with melted wax and allowed to dry before painting over with Deka Silk paint. When the paint had dried, a further series of heart shapes were painted in wax before painting over the whole design a second time. The fluid Deka Silk paints intensify in colour with subsequent applications.

Please visit the website if you would like to see our range of Batik equipment, dyes and silk paints, or visit the Fact File to learn more about Batik and other dyeing techniques.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Ashford Wide Drum Carder

The Ashford Wide Drum Carder has arrived in stock, and is a great investment for production spinning and blending fibres for felt making.

The drum carder has an extra wide 29cm drum which can produce batts of up to 100g. It has an adjustable drum clearance and includes a packer brush to smooth, control and pack more fibres onto the drum. The drum carder has two speeds of 4:1 and 6:1 and the cloth has 72 points per square inch. It comes assembled and lacquered and includes a doffer and clamps. Find out more about the Ashford Wide Drum Carder or see what else is new at George Weil >

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Polymer Clay Pendant & Earrings

Here's proof of just how colourful and versatile polymer clay can be for jewellery makers.

A number of different canes were placed together lengthways to make this pendant and earrings
This pendant and earrings were created from Premo Sculpey clay by customer Hazel Hampshire.

Hazel began by making a number of different style canes (you can see how to make an effective Millefiori cane flower in our Fact File).

She then pushed them all together to make a large cane which she reduced and shaped by rolling it lengthways.  The cane was sliced into discs which were shaped, polished and finally assembled.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Jewellery Making & Braiding with a Lucet

An elaborate necklace, created using the advanced luceting technique, developed by Ziggy Rytka.

The beads are added to the necklace during the process of making the cord
The technique of luceting has been used for centuries, from the Vikings to the Victorians, to produce square sectioned cord. These strong cords were used as decorative edging and for lacing up garments.
Ziggy's Luceting Kit & DVD
Ziggy has taken the technique of luceting and developed it to include new effects which include splitting apart threads and rejoining them (the ‘Ziggy-Stitch’), adding beads and more. His development of the bobbin allows the addition of a skein of thread and it doubles as a lock when the lucet is not in use (the holes at either end fit neatly over the prongs to keep the cord in place).

Ziggy Rytka's Luceting kit includes a lucet, 2 bobbins and a hook (all in durable plastic), an instruction leaflet, an advanced book and 2 skeins of cotton thread (colours vary). His DVD also demonstrates the advanced techniques he has developed. Visit the website to see other Braiding tools available from

Thursday, 14 July 2011

New Books from George Weil

A Year of Afghans - the best of Annie's Attic
Our buyer's comments: Which one do I make first? Easy knitting, quick result - Christmas presents for everyone to be started now and finished in good time with great satisfaction.

Find out more...

The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook
Our buyer's comments: For any spinner, this is an essential book for a detailed understanding of animal fibres from around the world. The active research that has been done by the authors is impressive.

Find out more...

17th Century Women's Dress Patterns

Our buyer's comments: An extraordinary book - both coffee table book and detailed work-book for all craftsmen. Much detailed and intelligent work has gone into producing this outstanding collection which will be enjoyed for reading and inspiring a craftsman's own work.

Find out more...

Harvesting Color - How to Find Plants and Make Natural Dyes

Our buyer's comments: On first examination, this book is disappointing to the European reader, as many of the plants used for dyeing seem to be particularly North American. However, many of these plants are available in our gardens (fennel, hollyhock and zinnias) or available from George Weil & Sons Ltd (logwood, indigo, cochineal). The presentation is easy and after deciding how many dyes are obtainable, the North American bias of the book becomes unimportant.

Find out more...

Knit One Knit All - Elizabeth Zimmerman's Garter Stitch Designs
Our buyer's comments: You could think that Elizabeth Zimmerman's patterns are well known and a bit old-fashioned. This book proves that EZ is a perennial.

Find out more...

Kumihimo Wire Jewelry
Our buyer's comments:
Clear patterns for making designer jewellery accessible to anyone with a simple Marudai

Find out more...

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Tried & Tested: Schacht Sidekick Spinning Wheel

Susan Litton's review of Schacht's latest spinning wheel 'The Sidekick':

'I have been spinning for twenty five years and for a long time have been a very happy owner of a Schacht Matchless wheel. This wheel does everything I could want from a spinning wheel, except that it is takes up the space of a person in the car. So, I have been very tempted by the idea of a Schacht wheel, with all their built in quality, that folds and is easy to carry and transport.

George Weil already has the new Schacht Sidekick wheel in stock, so I was able to 'test drive' it. It looked a little odd when I first met it with the Drive Wheel sideways on. Unfolded it spins just as you would expect from a Schacht wheel: with ease and comfort, exactly what you want. The first small question was where to put the threading hook whilst I was spinning, but I am sure that can be easily resolved with a bit of handspun yarn. The unusual sideways view of the wheel from the spinning position was not a problem, I starting it running by hand in the clockwise direction, but a beginner spinner may find it confusing at first to remember which way to turn for an S spin and which way for Z spin.

The folded Sidekick
The wheel was already unfolded on first meeting , so I read the Schacht instructions and got some advice from the helpful staff there on folding and unfolding, that really is a better description than 'opening and closing' . It seemed very fiddly on that first attempt and I was a little disappointed with the number of bits to be screwed and unscrewed, unlatched, moved and tucked in on the fold and unfold. They do all fit together and there is a safe place for every part when carrying the wheel around with the built in strap. Then, I undid the wheel again, spun a bit more and then folded it up on my own. I did that a couple more times, so that I could really understand the procedure and it did become quite routine, so it is now on my list for a birthday present - and I don't want to wait until Christmas!'

If you would like to know more about the specifications for this spinning wheel, please visit the Spinning section of our website or see the videos on the Schacht Spindle website.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Mixed Media Embroidered Message

Linda Chapman worked for George Weil as our Sales Manager.  She studied a BA Honours degree in Design and specialised in fine art.  Her love of textiles was inspired by her travels to Malaysia, India, Nepal and Australia and her experimentation with mixed media textiles and felt making has now progressed to making and selling her own creations (Moorend Felts).

Linda's freeform embroidery is so exciting.  She uses a variety of mixed media and brightly coloured, silky threads.  The close-up below shows how she has used the inkjet printable Organza to create a translucent layer which includes a personal message printed from her computer.

The handmade silk paper base (see more about this technique) has been painted with Jacquard Lumiere paints and then machine stitched.  Linda has also incorporated threads and other textured items, such as the Silk Carrier Rod which although hidden by the turquoise coloured paint, adds another texture to the finished piece. 

Although the camera hasn't captured the true texture and reflectiveness of this work, the detailed shot above does show the amount of work that has gone into it. 

Friday, 1 July 2011

Tornado Strikes Supplies

As customers we rarely consider from where our purchases originate.  We choose a product from a website or take it off a shelf in a shop, we pay for it and enjoy it.

George Weil buys Art Clay Silver clay from Japan and stocks and production were miraculously not affected by the disruption of the terrible earthquake and tsunami.

Our latest supplier to be affected by the elements is from Missouri, USA.  Some of their stock of Bubble Jet Set 2000 was damaged in the destructive tornado that hit them in May.

When you consider these life changing and devastating events, we have to count our blessings and never complain about the British weather again.