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 July 2010

My beads have arrived!!

Tuesday, I came home to a parcel on my doormat. I couldn't wait to get it open! Inside were all the beads that my 2 friends and I made on our 3 hour lampworking introduction last Saturday, annealed, cleaned and beautifully wrapped.

These are the beads I made; I don't think it's fair to show my friends work before they've seen them themselves (but I think we've all done rather well for a first attempt!).

They arrived, in a pretty organza bag (ignore the piece of paper, that's so I know whose is whose when I share them out). Inside Georgina, our tutor, had strung three together on a pretty silver chain.

I made 10 beads in all (and would have gone on longer had I not had the time pointed out to me) - I was about to start another bead when they pointed out it was time to go home. Not like me to not notice 'home time'! Must have been enjoying myself.

We chose our colours from the thousands on offer, with a little help on which go together well, hence a lot of my beads looking a bit samey. But then purple is probably my favourite colour.

Clearly making dots is a lot harder than it looks - but I guess it'll all come to me in time. meanwhile, I've ordered the basic kit from Tuffnell Glass which should be arriving tomorrow - I shall be waiting in for the delivery.

I think my studio may need a bit of sorting before I can set up - I already have an extractor ready to be installed so I don't gas myself. My current set up has a large cut-out in the worktop for a jeweller's bench (now hidden away) so I may need to replace the worktop. We'll see. If I can work with what I have I shall certainly be doing so as I want to get started.

So watch this space as the story unfolds.

Monday, 28 June 2010

All change at Blue Box Studio

No pictures for what is changing, not yet, but this pretty necklace was on the Folksy front page for all of about 5 seconds when I looked up this morning. I'm sure this is a first, even if it a fleeting visit!! Shameless plug .... it's a bargain at £5, and comes gift boxed.

Anyway, what's new Kookachoo?

As you know, I'm needing to change direction from silver work due to the, now well publicised, op on my elbow. I sold a lot of my jewellery tools in readiness for exploring the possibilities of lampwork bead making. Always one to put the cart before the horse, I've now got a new stool and extractor fan for the little workshop, courtesy of Freecycle in readiness for the change of use.

I persuaded a group of friends to join me in a 3 hour trial lampwork bead making lesson at Fire Works in Bristol and last Saturday finally arrived. I amazed myself in managing to make not one (my target - I thought keeping molten glass on a stick of metal might be a bit of a tough one for me) but 9 beads. I haven't got them yet, Georgina will post them to me in a day or so. If they are not too embarrassing, I'll show and tell when they arrive. So, even I can do it! There were moments when it was like rubbing your stomach and patting your head at the same time - no doubt I will learn to split my brain in 2 and remember to turn the molten bead at the same time as melting the other glass stick. Nothing dropped off though, and I didn't set fire to myself or the room. There is hope.

Fired up (oops, pun alert) with enthusiasm, I'm going to book myself onto Georgina's 8 week course starting September. It starts midweek the week Alistair and I planned to go on holiday but what the heck, I can't find a space for the guys in the cattery, or space in one that meets my exacting standards so looks like it's another 'staycation' [whoever thought up that phrase should be shot at dawn].

Back to carts before horses. I can't wait that long to have another go. Yes, I know I could rent torch space from Fire Works but I'm a home bird and like to practice dangerous sports from the comfort of my own armchair [or gas lift stool in this case] so I've ordered a big box of goodies from Tuffnell Glass which should arrive Friday. Emma assures me that I will have everything I need to have fun with glass in a small studio.

I'll report further once I have everything set up and my beads arrive and can be shown off.

If I never blog again, you know something went terribly wrong at the end of my garden. I'd say 'heaven forbid' but I don't believe in heaven and if I did I'd be in the down escalator, not up.

Next instalment Friday.