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.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Cooking on gas! .....................

Well, it's here! I guess I'm actually cooking on leccy, but it's not such a well known phrase.

I've hauled into place, plugged in, read the instructions and referred to the Frit Happens forum to make sure everyone else felt the same way I did yesterday. If I turn this on will my timber framed workshop disintegrate? Bravely I turned it on - frightening beep the first time you hear it - and ran an empty firing to burn off all the residues from manufacture. Thinking I ought to stick around, just in case, I sat next to it and made beads - what a stink! Anyway, we've all lived through that experience.

Up with the lark and not finding quite the amount of rain the weathermen promised at 10pm last night I've thrown open the doors and windows, read my instructions, referred to a firing schedule somone left on my current favourite forum, flicked the switch and am currently in the middle of my first proper firing, with beads. Granted I'm only risking my fuglies, if this goes OK then I'll fire my prettier beads tomorrow. I wasn't sure how long this was going to take but it's been going for hours and we're not at the end yet.

So, whilst we wait with baited breat to find beads (hopefully) or a melted mess (OMG) I thought I'd show you the view from my studio.

Fortunately my studio has a stable door, great for ventilation and leaning on with a cup of tea. Outside I have this stunning yelloow rose, was here when we moved in and usually flowers until December, when the froists get it. It looks pretty old and grarled but I prune a bit more each year and it's getting into shape.

Then, having spotted these arum lilies in the garden centre, they've taken off now that we've had a bit of rain. I used to have a large white one, again inherited and ratehr funereal but it didn't survive the garden makeover a couple of years ago - the landscaper (nope, we aren't that capable) didn't realise I wanted it and put it in the bottom of the skip!

The borders are now looking like I ought to get out there and hack them back a bit - I've not known roses grow as tall as mine seem to.

Then, of course, the time and motion staff are around - if I do 'motion' they think it's food 'time'. With DH being away at the moment I am their only amusement and they are following me everywhere. Ted, the long haried one, has a lump under his chin which the vet shaved clear of long hair yesterday. Oh the indignity, and aren't I being reminded of this, usually placated by a Whiskas Temptations or five. We're hoping it's nothing to get over-excited about - the vet gave it a long name which I think means a bite that's reacted badly and it'll clear up soon.

As you can see, Ted's not too worried, unless he thinks there's a treat in the offing.

So, that's my little world. On a warm day it's even hotter in my studio but I guess that means I won't need a fire on in winter.

Pics of beads will follow - if some of my sets survive they might be offered for sale!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Soon be kiln time!

I thought it was time for an update on my beading activities. The original 'blue box studio' has been tidied in readiness of my new kiln arriving. Up until now someone on the Frit Happens forum has been kindly annealing my beads for me but, as is my way, I decided to get my own kiln. It's on order, hopefully for collection on Friday.

In the meantime, to make space for the kiln I've had to sort out my ever growing collection of glass. I stocked up on some bits and bobs being sold on Ebay, which I thought were good value (and don't want anyone telling me they are not, I don't do 'depression'). I've lots of different colours and types of glass, so plenty of things to play with.

My beads, ready for cooking, are kept in a recycled pot so I thought I'd take them out and have a look at how I'm doing. There are still a few 'fuglies' coming off the mandrels but all in all I think most of them are getting more round and holes more central. I like the fact that they are not all the same size - neither are the pieces of sea glass I match them with for necklaces, bracelets and earrings. It's organic and handmade.

I've a growing collection of frits,and several of my favourite beads are using these. I'm still like a child in a sweet shop though, dashing here and there grabbing everything I can.

So here are some pics of the favourite beads so far, the tidy studio (I have an untidy mind so feel my workspace ought to make up for it) and space created for the kiln - I hope it fits! I think I might have to tile behind the kiln area to protect the MDF wall from heat - I've spied some slate floor tiles in my garden and might use them - there's posh.

Mouse killers!!!!!!!!!

Look at them. Butter wouldn't melt in their mouse; sorry MOUTH.

It's been a while since presents were left for me in the house. Usually it's a nice live frog, discoverfed at 6am as I come downstairs, perhaps something in kit form, often with parts missing. Once a slow worm was coming through the cat flap with a cat attached - but the resulting scream gave it other ideas and it slithered away thank heavens.

Today, as I am welcomed home by my 2 wonderful furry friends I spot a dead tiny mouse on the red rug in the conservatory. As I exclaimed 'who brtought that it?', Charlie (left picture) quietly went and laid down beside and hid it from view with his arm. Did he think I'd not spotted it? Did he think a cuddle would bring it back to life? I don't like mice but I wouldn't hurt one - I think they must live in the alley up the side of my house, an extension of my neighbour's drive which has to be kept free so people in the middle terrace next to me have a fire exit. I guess in a fire you'd not mind the mice, slow worms, weeds et al.

At least Ted has the sense to keep out of my way under the dining table. Poor mouse. I've not had hunting cats before, perhaps I was lucky, perhaps they were lazy. I'd rather these 2 teenagers (14 years) gave up this blood sport.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Beads by Laura - bead giveaway

Now, if you are a bead addict like me, then you'll be interested in this.

Laura Sparling, Beads by Laura, is having another of her very generous giveaways. These are stunning beads and something everyone who uses beads would love in their collection.

Click on the fabulous pic above to go to her blog, to enter.

One day I hope to be able to make beads as beautiful as these!! Right now I just watch her You Tube videos and read her tutorials wondering 'how does she do that and why can't I?'

New sea glass bottle stoppers - on Etsy and Folksy

These are my autumn bit of fun - I wander along beaches throughout the summer then make these bottle stoppers for my autumn and Christmas fairs. They make wonderful gifts for the person who has everything, for 'glass' wedding anniversaries, unusual wedding gifts, beach lovers and anyone else who you can't give a book voucher to yet again! Always a popular item at my fairs, once these are gone they are gone until next summer's foray on the beach allows me to collect enough large pieces of beautiful English sea glass to make more.

I do have a few more in reserve, ready for my fairs so if you are looking for one that is more green, more white, whatever, get in touch and I'll see what I have.

With sea glass being at least 50-100 years before it is smooth enough to be this beautiful, these are a real talking point. They are a really good weight, not lightweight and flimsy and a high quality item. Supplied with a gift box ready for giving to friends, family or just yourself.

So, these are available, as are a few others, from my Etsy and Folksy shops. Click on the pictures or the links to see them and everything else I have available for sale.