Sterling silver is the most requested metal for specific pieces like earrings and shawl pins, and is one of the most popular metals for my delicate necklace designs incorporating stones and recycled pearls. Unlike copper or bronze, it is less forgiving and carries with it a certain responsibility as a precious metal.
Silver has long been imbued with magical qualities– aiding in warding, healing and liminal divination. With correspondences to the moon and the element of water, it is a metal I have enjoyed wearing as almost an extension of myself. Increasingly I have moved into this kind of jewellery that the wearer can enjoy daily, that almost becomes part of the self. You can find such pieces in the Feral Sterling Collection.
All my sterling pieces are hallmarked at the Edinburgh Assay Office, which has a long and fascinating history, hallmarking the work of silversmiths since the 15th century. I am proud to be working as part of this tradition.
The Hallmark consists of my Makers Mark, the metal purity– which for my sterling pieces is 925, the lion rampant which is a symbol of Scottish silver and the mark of the Assay office itself, which is a castle. Lastly the letter denotes the year of the piece in the Assay Office dating system. The hallmark is a guarantee of precious metal purity and dates back to 1457 when the law was passed making the mark a requirement, and the castle hallmark dates to 1485.
Much of the work I make is delicate and the hallmark is now applied on such small work with a laser, meaning you will need a jeweller’s loupe to clearly see it on smaller pieces. The photo on the right taken with a macro lens shows a the hallmark on a section of the back of a shawl pin.
We wanted to make shopping with us even easier, so we’ve wrangled with the postal sprites and can now offer FREE SHIPPING on all U.K. orders– as always, orders ship via Royal Mail First Class Post. Plus, International shipping rates are even lower— a flat rate of just £1 to the EU and £3 to the US and rest of the world. No matter how many items you purchase, you’ll enjoy the same reliable international air mail service.
The Sound of the Sea
The sea awoke at midnight from its sleep,
And round the pebbly beaches far and wide
I heard the first wave of the rising tide
Rush onward with uninterrupted sweep;
A voice out of the silence of the deep,
A sound mysteriously multiplied
As of a cataract from the mountain’s side,
Or roar of winds upon a wooded steep.
So comes to us at times, from the unknown
And inaccessible solitudes of being,
The rushing of the sea-tides of the soul;
And inspirations, that we deem our own,
Are some divine foreshadowing and foreseeing
Of things beyond our reason or control.
–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I have long been influenced by the sea, but now its proximity seems to come into my work in more subtle ways. I have always loved using shell shapes and ammonite fossils in my work, as well as abalone and repurposed pearls. With my daily visits to the sea I now find different lights and moods and even movement come into play. One instance of this is in the Sea Chains earring design. The hues of deep reds and bright blue-greens echo the diversity of colours in the tide pools at New Aberdour– red, brown and grass green seaweeds mix with blue crabs and pink anemones, and all seem to flow in a meditative dance.
I designed these earrings to move and flow with the wearer, much like the seaweeds in the rock pools!
In this shop update I’ve focused on sterling silver pieces, taking the sea and lunar beauty as my inspiration. There’s a mermaid worthy wedding set of abalone earrings and necklace with freshwater pearl accents (the pearls are all up-cycled from vintage pieces). This set is perfect for a casual seaside handfasting or wedding, and could be worn long after your special event.
The luminous moonstone drop is paired with rustic, faceted garnets in the second necklace. All of my designs are created one at a time, by hand. I’ve created another pair of my ever-popular alchemist hoops–Delicate and lightweight, these hand forged sterling silver hoops are adorned with three stone drops: faceted pyrite and garnet with lovely strawberry quartz, all with hand wrapped sterling silver bails, inspired by the alchemical ideal– through magic you can turn blood, sweat and tears into something golden.
This update corresponds with the Full Thunder Moon this weekend– sometimes called the Buck, Hay or Blessing Moon. It is the last full moon before we start our harvests in ernest. How will you celebrate?
We are back on schedule for a weekly shop update after our move– I’ve forged an exciting selection of pennanular brooches, all a variation on my best selling simple brooch which has been featured in one of Staci Perry’s (Very Pink Knits) patterns.
These variations have semi-precious stone adornments– labradorite, amethyst, moss agate and carnelian. Another is in a playful snake shape and another has scrollwork that is reminiscent of a moustache!
Like all my brooches these are cold forged, pantina’ed in sulphur and then tumbled to harden and polish them. Lastly, they are hand polished to bring out the detail in the work and the warmth of the copper.
After moving to a chilly part of the world (Northern Scotland) where on midsummer I was wearing a hand-knit cardigan, I have realised that my knitting is going to become an even more important part of life. Knitting styles have a strong tradition here and I am looking forward to sharing what I learn. These designs were fuelled by the excitement of living somewhere where even the summer climate is sweater weather!
So many exciting changes are afoot for Feral Strumpet. Stay Tuned! In the meantime, thank you for being along for the ride– happy May Day/Beltaine/Beginning of Summer! To celebrate I’m offering free worldwide shipping until May 2nd, only at Feralstrumpet.co.uk. Just use coupon code MAYFIRE at checkout.
Nahushas on Instagram– clockwise from top left: @ninarosewylie, @missmagissa, @dagger_dutchess and @misslunapoison
The Nahusha Hoops are inspired by my ouroboros Anglo Saxon brooches. Designed in lightweight, work-hardened aluminium to be worn through tunnels or bare stretched piercings. The tumbled and hammered aluminium takes on a moon-glow. Perfect to wear if you don’t want to stretch your gauge further but still want a minimalist rustic statement earring; they look heavy but are actually light to wear. This abstracted hoop is inspired by the World Serpents known throughout world myth as a creator-destroyer and keeper of secrets.
I make these hoops in 2 gauge sizes: large 4g (4.50 mm) and medium 6g (3.25mm). All hoops measure approximately 2″ in diameter as well as 12g or 2mm in a cold-forged bronze. The bronze I use is a lovely rose-gold colour. Keep your eyes on the shop, as I will soon be rolling these out in pure sterling silver in a 12g.
You can open the hoops by gently pulling one end toward you and then sliding it back into place, like a jump ring.
The popularity of this open circle is found in many of my designs, including the pennanular brooch and worry ring as well as hidden away my logo! Known to the Gnostics as the Wise Serpent, the Ouroboros revealed the mysteries of the heavens, protecting the world-egg. This symbol can be traced back to an earlier Goddess, Nehushta, a parallel of the Hindu world-serpent Nahusha. The Norse called this the Nidhogg, the World Serpent eating away at the roots of the World Tree. A wingless dragon, she took on a darker significance in the Middle Ages when female snakes were thought to swallow the male in order to reproduce.
Here’s what one satisfied customer had to say about these hoops:
“Perfect weight to them. Love the hammered texture. Easy to wear and goes with a lot of shit. Thank you again. Will be ordering new earrings soon” – Kali
Thank you to my gorgeous and inspiring IG community who have posted images of themselves wearing these hoops– noteably @ninarosewylie, @missmagissa, @misslunapoison and @dagger_dutchess Do you have a pair? I would love to see them– send me a pic!
Spring is here, lovelies! I know because I saw a massive Queen bee buzzing around my garden, (Seriously, she was the size of a small bird) and the daffs have started to bloom on the Medieval city walls!
This is such a special Equinox, coming as it does on the heels of a waning half moon. We have all needed this spring energy so much for all the wonderful changes that are afoot in our lives.
To celebrate, I’ve collected all my spring favourites in one spot, The Ostara Stars Collection, and am offering 20% off everything there with coupon code OSTARA17 from now until March 21st, 2017.
What signs of spring have you seen? What are your plans for Ostara this year?
The Flying Ointment Necklace, inspired by an old hedge-rider’s recipe.
Flying Ointment, the poisonous balm that aided witches in flight, has many recipes. Modern ones might not get you there, as the most potent and potentially lethal ingredients will have been omitted. In this necklace, however, I’ve included three of the most dangerous. Datura, henbane and nighshade are represented with Czech glass flowers and the beautifully detailed little Queen stands in for the beeswax vehicle. Soot is often mentioned as an ingredient– hence the black colourway of the piece. I’ve included the skulls because if the recipes for flying ointment teach us anything, it’s that witches were skilled poisoners as well as herbalists, and the nuanced proportions of ingredients in the ointment could either aid in soul flight, alleviate the pain of childbirth or other woes through “twilight sleep”, or of course, kill you.
One of the oldest recorded accounts of the use of flying ointment is from the 2nd century in Apuleius’ delightful Golden Ass. There are also recipes mentioned in Margaret Murray’s exhaustive (and exhausting) Witch Cult in Western Europe, which modern day witches can only read critically, trying to decipher the truth through the lens of these “confessions” often elicited under torture. Much of the evidence we have left to us from our powerful female ancestors is weighted with such distortions. Perhaps by flying ourselves to visit them, through soul-flight and meditation, we might know a better truth. Often witches are depicted flying in groups, communing– there are few solitaries where flight is concerned! So were such ancestral Sabbats the ultimate destination of their night flights as well? Did they also meet with those who’d come before, not at a literal Brocken but somewhere else beyond this time and space?
This necklace was made to honour the hedge riders of the past who risked everything for wisdom and the healing of others.
For a more in-depth treatment of this subject online, see Sarah Ann Lawless’ Blog.
Meet the new logo for Feral Strumpet, created by Alaura of Desnoir. After seeing the work she did for Black Moon Cosmetics, among other brands, I knew she was the woman for the job! After giving Alaura some ideas she was able to create this design which is medieval, gothic and also based on some of my best selling designs, the Nahusha hoops and Pennanular brooches as well as the Worry Ring. She created the perfect design on the first version– I love it and feel it encapsulates the mysterious, delicate and beautiful world of Feral Strumpet that I have created. Alaura was a joy to work with and I recommend her highly.