About Me

My photo
North Somerset, United Kingdom
My parents were worried when I ran around with scissors – now I play with fire and (intentionally) break glass! Based in the beautiful South West of England, close to the sea and often the scene of beautiful sunsets, I am inspired by the countryside around. Working with sea glass collected from remote beaches, soda lime glass from Murano, Italy, Europe, USA and beyond, I create artisan beads, for use in my own jewellery or for you to enjoy in your own creations. But I couldn’t stop there; continuing the theme from round rods to flat sheets, mostly from the USA, I break large sheets of transparent, opaque, multi-coloured and dichroic glass into much smaller pieces to make a kiln-formed range of bright, colourful jewellery and home decoration. Each piece I make is individually designed around the shape, size and beauty of the materials and intended to be unique, wearable, usable and affordable. All my glass work is kiln annealed for strength and durability and designed to give pleasure for years to come.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Oh I do love to be beside the sea side

This weekend sees us at the Winter Gardens in Weston-super-Mare. Right on the sea front and next to the shopping mall and high street, this is a convenient venue to come and get your quality hand made Christmas presents.

There is a cafe on-site for a warming lunch, hot chocolate, coffee and more. I was brought up by my mum's side of the family, keen shoppers, to buy something then have a cup of coffee to stop and look at your latest purchase before going off for the next item. As a result I love shopping and cakes (which is a little apparent when you see me).

There's easy parking around the venue in nearby multi-storey and open air car parks.

Lots of lovely bracing walks along the sea front and beyond. Weston even has donkeys on the beach although I can't guarantee they'll be there when you visit!

If you read this and then visit and purchase from me at the Weston fair this weekend, just mention you've read my blog and I'll add an early Christmas present to your bag (of my choosing, at my discretion and purchase necessary).

Even if you don't want to buy from me, do come over and say hello.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Ooh, pressies!

I do love it when parcels arrive, even if I have paid a fortune for the contents. Combine this with my love of textiles, the feel, the expectation of what I can do with them and you have my perfect day.

Today is one of those days.

Last weekend I was busily screen printing scarves when I ran out of black velvet. To me it's a bit like getting to the end of a jar of coffee (except I don't drink instant coffee), there's the expectation of banging the spoon through the foil cap on the new jar (but I have instant for visitors who don't like proper coffee). It was raining, blowing a gale and I couldn't get my screened and steamed scarves on the line to dry. My studio may seem big but it isn't when it is filled with hanging rails, steamers steaming, screens dripping ... you get the picture. I sneaked some washed scarves into the dining room and hung them on the old wooden airer that comes into play when the weather is not up to drying things outdoors. In Clevedon that's most days, but not usually the days I am also printing fabrics. At the moment I have no choice. It's my busy time of year and my galleries keep asking me for black velvet scarves that I've painted.

As well as making all the things I make, I also work 3 days a week in an office. My job isn't stressful but it can be very pressured so coming home and locking myself away in my studio painting and making scarves is the perfect antidote. Usually there's something worth listening to on the radio although this week I treated myself to Rod Stewart's Soulbook CD. Not that I've had a chance to listen to it yet. I come home, make a cup of tea, paddle (on a bad day) out to my studio, shut the door, crank up the heating and settle in for some dye painting. Usually DH comes out (dry days) or rings me on the phone, we have ones with an intercom (wet days) to ask who's cooking dinner and has the answer 3 letters ('you') or two ('me'). I like odd numbers so guess the answer. I'll make it up to him after Christmas.

My supplier in the US was out of stock of my usual velvet so I started looking around for a UK supplier and found one which offered a very similar price, taking into account the $£ rate, VAT, import duty, customs charges, Parcelforce fees and the hassle of having to go and get from the Parcelforce depot. DH collected it from the courier today, they needed a signature and couldn't get it in my parcel storing dustbin and I've just unwrapped it. 14 metres of lovely, pristine, soft, beautiful silk viscose velvet, just waiting for me to haul it to the studio when it stops raining and start work on it.

Pictured here with the scarves I printed, steamed and washed on Sunday, desperately trying to dry themselves on the old airer by the radiator. If DH has noticed them he's not said. He doesn't like me dripping dye all around the house, hence needing a studio for this, perhaps he things these don't have a drip potential. Last weekend's scarves will be hand painted tomorrow, dried, washed and sewn, ready for despatch to some of my galleries or perhaps an up-coming craft fair.

Unwrapping the roll of velvet is just like popping the foil on a new jar of coffee to me.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Who sells these in the UK?

Another last minute panic. I've almost sold out of my lovely sea glass bottle stoppers. I get the metal parts from the US and think they are made by Aanraku but I don't think I can get more in time for my big fair the weekend after next. So I'm panicking.

Does anyone know if you can get these in the UK? I can get them much quicker if I can buy in the UK.

They are not the same as the wood turning versions that are available as those only have a short screw to screw into wood. The ones I want have a mandrel that can be unscrewed to add beads, glass, whatever. Perhaps they are in your glass work catalogue or in a wood turning catalogue?

Where is the time going?

One minute I have all my autumn fairs ahead of me and the next they are nearly all over. When I booked them 10 months ago the plan of fairs seemed a doddle, now it feels like a day off would be a nice treat.

So, this weekend was 2 fairs at the opposite ends of the spectrum. Saturday in Portishead, the heavens blew and rained on us but we saw lots of people and overall had a brilliant day - even if we got very wet loading the car afterwards. Sunday should have been in a permanent marquee in the grounds of a busy pub, but we were relegated to a temporary marquee which felt it wouldn't keep the rain off our heads in the ensuing gales and downpours. Sunday was a bad day. Cold, wet, damp, and that was just us sitting in the marquee. Never mind, taken as a whole in wasn't a washout financially, even if it was physically. I'm yet to thaw out completely but hot toddy's are staving off the chills and colds, coughs and sneezes.

Thursday evening will see us at Northleaze School in Long Ashton near Bristol, from 7pm to 9.30. I've never taken part in a short evening fair before and don't really know what to expect. I'm taking a mix of inexpensive items which will be ideal for children's gifts and more expensive items for Mums. I'm used to a 9 foot space but will have 44 inches so it'll be a challenge although the organiser has said she'll try and find me a couple of feet for my scarf and bag stands. Wish me luck, I think I might need it.

Saturday and Sunday sees us at the Winter Gardens in Weston-super-Mare. It's right on the sea front so we'll either have lovely views or be battered by the high winds and waves. This is the only Weston-s-Mare fair that I do. There is a lovely restaurant so visitors can spend some time in the venue; it's close to the shops so is not off the beaten track. We'll be in the Ballroom, sounds grand, and hopefully we will see a good crowd of both visitors and stall holders.

And the seaside pictures? I guess they just resemble time for me and are photos taken over the last year or two by Yours Truly. they are, from the top:

Wooden pier, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight
Remains of wood posts, somewhere on the Isle of Wight that had no sea glass on the beach
Receding tide - I think that was in south Wales
Setting sun, Totland Bay, Isle of Wight

All photos on this blog are (c) Sue Harris and may not be copied without permission.