Brooch Swap

The Flower Press Brooch Swap ran in May-June 2011. It was a great success with 88 bloggers joining in to make and swap brooches. Swappers came from Australia, the UK, the US, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand!
I've collected all the Brooch Swap posts on one page here. Rumour has it there will be another swap next year, watch this space!


Dear Brooch Swappers,
One last post as promised to share all our amazing brooches and to tell you how fantastic you are :-) What a completely fabulous bunch of swappers I was lucky enough to enrol in this mad scheme of mine. You took my little idea and made it something really amazing!

I can't tell you how inspired and delighted I've been by all your clever brooches. I've marvelled at your inspiring ideas and the many different techniques and skills you've used. And your generosity has touched me. I'm sure our Flower Press Brooch Swap Flickr pool will live to inspire many people in the future.

Brooch Swap Mosaic 3
On top of that I was blessed with a delightful group of swappers. I've had so many lovely emails over the past few weeks, full of inspiration, enthusiasm, and excitement. And gratitude. Thanks.

Did you know that there were 88 of us in the end! That's pretty amazing!! My little list is all crossed off (wow!), though I know a couple of brooches haven't made it to their final destination so if you are still waiting for yours give me a yell. My aim is that everyone who made a brooch receives a brooch and I'll work it out somehow. Thanks to everyone for fulfilling their commitments and making this such a great swap.

I think I need a little break now. In fact I might need a long one. But a tiny twinkle of insanity in the back of my mind is thinking this might have to become an annual event. What do you think?


As promised here's another link list to share your posts about brooches, made, received or still in progress. Thanks to all the people who shared last time. There were over 1100 link views last time we shared! So its a great way to meet other swappers and show your work.
Its been really inspiring for me to see all the amazing brooches coming out of the swap, and even more fun now they've started arriving at their destinations. Check out the Flickr group here.

This link will stay open till June 26th, which is five days after the swap deadline.

For all those who haven't sent your brooch you have ten days to finish and send it!

I haven't heard from anyone so I'm presuming we're all on track to get our brooches finished. Which is great :-)

Add your link below:



wren sketch

Like many people involved in the brooch swap, I thought long and hard about my brooch, I dithered, I stressed, I changed my mind a few times! But I've done swaps before and I think that the pressure is part of the process and often comes with big jolts of inspiration, experimentation and new skills.

I set last weekend as my deadline and starting making a few different prototypes but soon settled on this design, modelled on my great friend, the little blue wren. We have a wren family who live close and visit every day. Mr Blue Wren (above, photo from here) likes to sit up high and sing his little heart out while his delicate fawn coloured family bounce their way around the yard eating bugs, bathing and chattering. Occasionally they drop in on the back deck to check the dog's bowl, and sometimes sneak in our back door to look for something better. I just love them.

Though I haven't done much with felt before the graphic wren was easy to convert, I traced a photo roughly to get the shapes then printed out the pattern above and cut pieces which I layered up on a felt backing. I actually used a little pva glue to hold them in place and then sewed each colour firmly with matching cotton.

My brooch goes in the mail tomorrow, with some little extras I'll keep as a surprise for my swap partner! If you want to use the pattern to make your own wren (for personal use only) I've included it above. Check out all the other creatives here.

And if you missed it yesterday I'm having a giveaway below, to celebrate my new Flower Press facebook page.


As a jeweller, brooches are my favourite vehicle for creative expression. There really are no rules when it comes to brooches. Like a small canvas or sculpture, brooches offer an almost unlimited array of possibilities. With my brooch for the swap, I was interested in experimenting with mixed media, by creating my own cabochon using air dry clay and resin. I don't think it's giving away too much to say that my swap partner loves sewing and occasionally gardening. I started designing with this in mind.

pic 1. (above) I start with a leaf skeleton impression, rolled in air dry clay, covered in a layer of resin for a glassy finish.

pic 2. Making the silver setting - a sewing machine silhouette hand cut from the base plate.

pic 3. Cutting away the excess metal from the base plate.

 pic 4. Soldering a piece of wire to the back of the plate to make the brooch pin.

pic 5. The brooch pin shaped and finished.

pic 6. Beginning setting the clay in the silver bezel - pushing the silver over the stone at alternating points.

pic 7. The completed brooch back.

pic 8. And the completed brooch front. I've left the tool marks around the bezel as a feature.

I do hope my partner likes her brooch. Many thanks to Susie for organising such a wonderful swap!

p.s. Thank you so much Christina, for the tutorial and also for the wonderful brooch you've made for the Brooch Swap. I'm sure your partner is going to just adore it and treasure it forever! If you haven't seen Christina's beautiful work before make sure to check out her blog and shop. Her wares are at the top of my wish list, if only I could decide which piece is my favourite!
Its getting very exciting, I'm noticing a few blog posts around the place and some pictures being added to the Flickr group showing people's finished brooches. I might put up a linky post on Friday for people to link to any posts they've made about the swap. Has anyone got their brooch yet?  I'd love to hear.

Brooch Swap Inspiration
Sign ups for the brooch swap are now closed, WOW, thanks everyone! There's been an amazing response and there are a whopping 86 Brooch swappers joining in for our swap.We have sign ups from around the world too so this is truly an international swap. Its going to be great!

You will receive your swap partner details this week, just as soon as I can get my head around it all, and send out 86 individual emails! The swap is a secret swap which means you will send to one person, and receive a brooch from another.

In the meantime please come and join our Flower Press Brooch Swap Flickr Group. Thank you to the  people who have already uploaded inspiration mosaics. These are full of inspiring handmade brooches and other inspiration pics. Mosaics are a great way to share your tastes and likes with your swapper and to kick start your making. They are simple to make too with the Big Huge Labs online mosaic maker. There is also a discussion thread within our group to share ideas and resources. Flickr also has a dedicated Brooches group which makes interesting browsing.

I found the brooches above with a quick search through Flickr using the tags brooch and handmade. Click on the photo to see the credits. You could also take a picture of your favourite brooches to share.

For those of you who don't have a Flickr account why not take the plunge. You don't have to share all your photos and a basic account is free. Flickr is a great way to share your interests and get feedback on your work.


Its two weeks today since I sent out partner details for the Brooch Swap and some wonderful people have already made and sent their brooches, gold stars to them! Not me, I wish I was that organised but I must admit I need a bit of deadline pressure to get my creative energies flowing. No need to panic though we still have three and a bit weeks to last post on June 21st.

Whatever stage your brooch making is at - drawing board, cutting mat, packaging - we'd love you to share it here. Blog about your progress and process and use the link list to share. Don't be shy, join the fun and post about your making, or even the lack of it. Then visit some of the other swappers and see the what they've been up to.

Also if you're one of the lucky ones who have already received your brooch blog about it and add a blog link here. Post some photos of it pinned to your favourite outfit, or nestled in your jewellery box.

Of course don't forget to add all your brooch pictures to the Flickr set. And come and see the amazing work that's already there.

Links (below) are open for a week and can be added until then, so keep checking back to see how the other swappers are going.


Flower Press Brooch Swap
My blog is really close to 500 posts (wow!) and to celebrate I'd like to (finally!) officially announce the Flower Press handmade Brooch Swap!

The idea came to me about six months ago and I haven't been able to get it out of my mind. I love brooches and I buy them all the time, but for some reason I've never made one. With this swap I'm hoping to inspire my own brooch making and yours too.

In my research I've realised that there are limitless ways you can make a brooch and the bigger problem will be choosing just one! You can make a brooch with patchwork, felt, acrylic, clay, broken pottery, embroidery, beading, wood, vintage jewellery, resin, perspex, fimo, buttons, metal, leather, glass, lace, doilies, crochet, knit, game pieces and ephemera, card or paper, veneer and more.

handmade brooches I bought last year made by left Kristen Doran, right Erin Lykos.

Swaps can be lots of fun and give you a sense of community, they can bring inspiration, ongoing friendships and, in this case, you get a brooch too! I find they help fire creativity and its great to see what others come up with. This Swap is open to anyone anywhere (or if you only want to send locally leave a note in your sign up.)

I've set up a Flickr group for the swap to share inspiration, progress shots and finished brooches. I'll be sharing some photos of brooches from my collection and some inspiration mosaics. I'd love to see your favourites too, to share ideas and making. I've already found one great tutorial from Melissa of tinyhappy which explains how she makes her beautiful brooches, below.

In the last couple of weeks I've run the idea past a few lovely talented people to see what they thought. Luckily they were all excited about the idea and promised to join in. Thanks to lovely Kate for sharing her swap organising experience.
More of my brooch collection, a recent purchase from Anna Betts and a gift (the daisy brooch top left) from Melissa Wastney.
The Brooch Swap will run over two months starting from today. Sign ups will be open for a week from today until May 10th. Then you have seven weeks to make your brooch, until June 21st. I'm being generous with the timeline because the most important thing to me is that everyone follows through with their commitment. Please don't join if you aren't 100% sure you will come through with your part of the bargain. I know how those swap deadlines can suddenly appear at the worst time, and of course I'm happy to work around unavoidable delays.

To sign up leave a comment below with your blog or email and then email me directly with your name and address details (my email address link is up there on the left below the swap logo). I will send you your swap partner's details once nominations finish. Grab a Brooch Swap logo for your sidebar (on the left there) if you want and spread the word. Let the swap begin!!!

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