About Me

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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.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

At the end of the day

Sea glass
(also known as beach glass, mermaid's tears, Neptune’s jewels, and many other names) is glass found on beaches that has been tumbled and smoothed by the movement of the water and sand, creating small pieces of smooth, frosted glass. It includes glass made from various techniques and for various reasons: end of day glass, flashed glass, pressed glass, milk bottles, poison bottles, the list is endless……... Sea glass is one of the very few cases of a valuable item being created from the actions of the environment on man-made litter. Most sea glass will be 50 - 100 years old, some much older.

I only use genuine sea glass, most of which has been personally collected from beaches around the South West of England. Other pieces have been sourced from fellow collectors around the world, when UK beaches will not yield the colours I am seeking.

"End-of-day" glass was any item made by the glass workers in their own time at the end of the day using up the remaining molten glass in the crucibles. It therefore tended to be a mixture of colours. Another name for the items they made was "frigger" (UK) or "whimsy" (US). Often the items they made from the glass were walking sticks, rolling pins or animals; sometimes items for their own home or for their sweethearts and sometimes the items were made for sale. End of day sea glass is an even rarer vintage find than ordinary sea glass and much will be from the early 1800s. Many of the English glass works were in the North East, and the last of these closed in 1933.

Equally rare and just as beautiful is beach pottery; shards of wave smoothed pottery from plates, bowls, vases, pots, long discarded. To find a piece with a discernible pattern is exciting although I am yet to find a piece I could actually attribute to a recorded maker or pattern.

Who knows what these items were originally and what pleasure they gave before washing up on a distant shore to give more pleasure to the finder and the wearer?

All of these pieces are available from my shops, click on the pictures to be taken to the item. All are also £10 / $15 plus postage, boxed ready for giving to friends, family or perhaps for yourself. Who doesn't need a treat from time to time?

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

A bit of inspiration ...!

I don't know what made me remember this today. At a time when my life was, frankly, a pile of what my late aunt would have called 'doggy do-do' and I believed my life had little value to myself or anyone else, I came across the following quote by Eleanor Roosevelt. In my case it was very true. Having picked myself up by my bootstraps (metaphorically speaking) I realised no one else would fight my corner if I didn't do it, and do I darn well did!

"A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water."

She also said "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

Next time you or someone you know feels the world, or someone in particular, is making your life a pile of doggy do-do, remember these.

As a friend said, noticing the change in me after the light in my brain came back on; "Hell has no fury like a woman scorned" [
William Congreve, in The mourning bride, 1697] "The bitch is back!" [I'm not a bitch but neither am I a doormat any more].

Have you a favourite inspirational saying? Share them here.

Comfortable? Really?!

Charlie must have been a dormouse in a former life. However much space he has to sleep in, he is often curled into a tight ball.

But is sleeping with your front paw stretched beneath you and poking out at the back really comfortable?

He also sleeps on our laps, nay, legs, with his legs astride ours, and is therefore known as Splat the cat (as well as a few other choice names at times), looking as though he has crash landed from a great height.

Monday, 29 March 2010

"It's raining!" A cat's tale.

You can't expect us to go in that! we'd get our paws wet!!

Besides I am playing a supporting role.

And if I go out in the rain I might lose my tail so it's better I stay here and hold it down securely.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Do you need a new project?

More impulse buys from someone who is ideas rich but time poor! I have listed these books in my Folksy shop, desperately needing new homes. Both books are new, unused and in pristine condition so if not for yourself, are suitable to give as gifts.

Nuno Felt by Liz Clay

Making vintage bags and purses by Emma Brennan

Also available:

The Sewing Book by Alison Smith

Create Your Own Greetings Cards & Gift Wrap by Priscilla Hauser

Craft & Art - The Business by Elizabeth White

If buying more than one book, let me know as it may be possible to come up with a cheaper postage rate.

Spring has sprung ...!

But where are the daffodils?

For a variety of reasons our garden used to flood. Badly. We took steps to put in our own land drainage and eventually gave up on the lawn, nay moss border, and had raised beds made from oak sleepers, with a pond built in. Nothing really grew before so we invested in some new plants in the vain hope we could have all year round colour. My parents were brilliant gardeners, my father gardened semi-professionally and my mother could get a dead plant to flower. My sister has inherited green fingers. I fear I haven't.

On a trip to Cornwall 18 months ago I visited a daffodil farm and stocked up on all sorts of daffs. I love them for their cheery colour, something we were sadly lacking in our garden. We planted away, with a few tulips for good measure and sat back waiting for things to happen. Last spring we had a reasonable show of flowers, this year is disappointingly less. Only the bluebells show great promise, and they were here when we moved in, albeit under polythene sheeting to keep down weeds and plants under gravel. Transplant them to the middle of a bed and they creep back to the edges, these poor things think they are wall flowers. Yet again they may be my best effort for the year.

A few things are doing quite well for us. The double hellebore comes from a local nursery. I love hellebores (except the green stinking hellebore for obvious reasons) and happily pay money for them. So far this one has survived the last few weeks and I'm hoping will manage a little longer than the daffodils. Perhaps the daffodils are a summer variety!

The primroses hold a special place in my heart. My family came from Norfolk, with my grandparents and their grandparents living in Oxborough. A few years ago I went back to visit family and friends after a difficult chapter in my life and we visited Oxborough Hall, where my family had worked in the past. Having been visiting Norfolk and family for nigh on half a century I'd never been to the Hall nor the ruined church besides. As we walked around the church ruins and I explained to my husband what this place meant to me we saw that some plants were displayed for sale. Two words struck a chord with me: 'plants' and 'sale'. As I thought about how to spend the few pounds in my purse, a lady brought along a basket of primroses. As we talked she explained she lives in some converted workers cottages in the road where the 1881 census showed my grandparents and family living. These were from her garden and had always been there. Deal done. Pretty flowers from the road where my grandparents had lived was too hard to resist. Each spring they remind me of Oxborough, my family and a wonderful holiday.

Our new pond is in early stages; no fish - the cats would catch them in minutes and we already have enough problems with frogs being brought into the house from the ponds next door. Whilst we work out how to get around this we have planted a few things. I can't remember what this is, a yellow marigold perhaps, but it's showing more life than the water lily and yellow iris. In fact I think it needs either re-potting or a root pruning.

I think the star of the show though for long distance visibility is the cherry tree. At the far end of the garden, it can be seen from the kitchen window. Like everything else in my garden it's not without a story. The tree was bought back in 2001 when I lose one of my cats. Ginger was a stray who arrived one Christmas, gashed face and unloved and stayed 4 years before losing a battle to stomach cancer. He was gone before we knew it and we were devastated. We wanted something to remember him by and decided a tree flowering about the time we lost him would be fitting. The tree was a Prunus Mume 'Beni Chidori' chosen for it's spring flowers but aptly named because our other cat, Benny, constantly chided Ginger. Grown in a big pot, it moved several times as my life changed, never failing to have peach leaf curl whatever I did to help it. Then it seemed to grow another branch way down the stem, much stronger, healthier and no peach leaf curl. Soon the lower branch, not obviously from a rootstock but must be, took over and the original plant was cut off. The new plant is much more successful and happier with its surroundings. We hope it's symbolic of the changes in my life.

Meanwhile we eagerly await the bluebells, another month should do it!