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.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

The 52 challenge continues


Last year I 'signed up' to a Year Long Challenge - we would all be making 52 things in 52 weeks.  Some joined in, some dropped out, some were on the ball and stuck to the schedule, some of us, like me, managed 52, but not something every week.  But it kept me going!

Week 52's make is above, a beaded pen for my husband, for Christmas.  I wasn't sure he'd like it but getting it back to photograph was a bit of a task, he seems very pleased with it.

More about the challenge can be found here.

I made more beads than I needed to make sure I had a good selection to choose from, so have listed those left over on Ebay, along with some other 'orphan' beads, some more small spacers and assorted other things in the 'I need to have a bit of a clear out' category.  

These listings will end in a couple of days so why now have a look at what is on offer and perhaps restock your bead box for next year?

So, what for 2014?

Looking ahead, there will be changes and challenges.  Some affecting Blue Box Studio, some affecting life in general.  Some things will happen or not happen (keeping 'what' under my hat for now) and that will make other things happen or not happen. Who knows.  Early days.  Some changes will bring challenges, if those changes don't happen there will be other changes which will also be challenging, but for different reasons.  Right now, everything is very uncertain. And a little stressful. 

I enjoyed the momentum that a year long challenge brought so have decided that I need a focus for 2014 too.  I have settled on making 52 different kinds of beads - they might be different techniques, different styles, different ideas; I'm not going to be too prescriptive but have, over the years, amassed rather a lot of tutorials that haven't really seen much use.  I need to get out of my comfort zone and move on to the next level.  I see courses I'd love to go on but haven't the confidence to convince myself I'd get the most from them and, most being several hundred pounds, I need to get the most from them!  Sadly I am not 'of independent means' or bankrolled by a rich husband so if I want to do things I have to find the money myself so choosing what to do is paramount.

So watch out what new things turn up  in my repertoire.  I don't suppose all new techniques will be an instant success, but they will be fun.  Some of them might be good enough to sell and there will be my usual lines of beads on offer alongside.  

With less fairs booked for next year I will need to be selling more beads on-line - or selling up altogether and going back to working full time - this is a business, not a hobby, after all.

Probably the best place to follow what I get up to is my Facebook page, I get far more response there than I do from my blog!  So follow me there - and also be first in line to hear about sales and offers.

Happy New Year and wishing you all that you would wish yourself doe 2014.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

New HANDMADE earrings in my Etsy shop

Just starting to list some earrings in my Etsy shop - not all of these are there yet (but if there is a pair you want, email me and I can invoice you or list them.

I have just 2 pairs left of my new glass ball studs.  These are on surgical steel and the glass is wound straight onto the steel pin.  Why steel?  it has a higher melting temperature than sterling silver, which would melt in the flame, and it is (apparently) hypo-allergenic, which is probably why they use it for surgery.  These are £10 a pair + postage.

Several pairs of very pretty earrings made from my own lampwork glass beads, decorated with genuine Swarovski crystals and on sterling silver ear wires - some hoops like above

and some on French (or Shepherds Crook)  ear wires.  All are £15 a pair.

And I am starting to list some sea glass earrings too.  Again with Swarovski crystals and on sterling silver.  All my sea glass is personally collected from beaches around the UK so I know it is genuine.  Then I carefully drill it to make sea glass beads.  

These pieces are perfectly frosted by the movement of the sand and waves - you do not get the same effect from mechanically tumbled glass, chemically etched or frosted with abrasive wheels - nor is that sea glass!  I do not make my own glass using these methods (although Ebay is full of it, masquerading as genuine sea glass - price for rare colours such as red, yellow, blue should be a clue), I take holidays where I can walk along beaches collecting this for my own use.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

1 to 60 and T4

Today is a good day!  You fink that me, Charlie Sooper-cat has a fast motor bike - I can't reech the pedles, silly.

No, today is good day because my T4 number is good.  Four weeks ago I was off the scale.  That is not fare as I am a good boy and when vet putz me on the scale I think hevvy forts and try to way lots for Mrs Hooman, she sez I must not looz more wayt.  The scale goze to 99.  Today I am 59 but I downt no why as I am 14 and even she is not 59.  But she iz happee.  Vet iz not happee, he never happee, he want me to be under 30.  But I am under 30 I am 14.  And no one sez my T1, T2 or T3 is good, why the fuss over my T4, the others must be very good if no one sez abowt them. Fuss, fuss, fuss.

Vampire vet wants to have more of my blud in 4 weeks.  I must try to remember this and be hiding that day.  He sez 59 could be 60 and I must be normal wich is 1 to 60.  I am not normal, I am Charleeeee sooper cat.  He wants me to be 1 to 30, but big number better, no?  No!

I snooz now, the numbers make me tiard and the hot wall is on to warm my feet. Nite nite.

Friday, 13 December 2013

I'm the cat and I've got hyperthyroidism

No wun tells my tail, so I will tell my tail insted.  I am Charlie, sooper cat extrordinair.  I liv wiv too hoomans who is bizzy rite now, I liv wiv my bruvver Ted too.  That's him there.  He is shy, he hid his face.  He sez he don't want the publissity.  

Beeing a cat, I can't spell well, but Mrs hooman sez I can play on her pooter and rite this.  She is bizzy with her work.  I like her pooter mowse, but it duznt sqeek like the wun I brought her this morning.  She sqeeked like the mowse, she scerred it to def, it was working wen I poot it on the kichen flor and then it stopd wurkin.  I have big paws, so sumtyms have problems with the black plink plonky and my claws get stuck in the gaps.  Then I get thizzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.  So stay wiv me, I will tell yoo my tail.

Mrs Hooman takes me to see the vet a lot.  I eat lots but I looz wayt.   It upsets her and I tell her give me maw food and I will be big.  I think she gives me maw than Ted, becos Ted eats my dinnr and I eat Teds.  I no fool, she is up to sumfink.  Vet makes me stand still, stix a needle in my neck and takes blud.  I wish he get his own blud and not take mine.  He says my T4 is rong, bet my T1, T2 and T3 are purrfekly rite, but no, make a fuss abowt the wun fing that iz not rite.  So I hav pillz. I no fool.  She putz my pill in the midl of sum soft cheez so I lik the cheez off her finger and leev the pill.  She givs me more cheese he he, I leev the pill agayn.  She then putz the pill in my mowth and i spit it owt.  We play this game for owers.  Wen I had enuff cheez I swallow the pill, but not wivowt a fuss, I dont want to mayk this eezee for her. Then I hav my dinnr.  If Ted has left me enny.

This is Mr Hooman, he is not as owld as me, I am 14.  Guez wot, he has a rong T4 figure too.  He has the same pillz as me, ownlee mine is 15mg now and his iz 10mg.  Mine is bigger than hiz, na na nena na.  He is a ginger too, perhaps ginger toms get rong T4.  It must be wot she feeds us.  Perhaps she feeds him my cat biskits too, it must be her.  I will ask Mr Poirot.  But she lyks Mr Poirot, perhaps he will be on her sid.

I eet my dinnr off a tray from Sandringham Howse, it is a big howse and qween livs there.  I don't know who qween is, I look and it is not in my rowed.  Perhaps Mr Hooman knows qween too, Mrs will not be happy if he stayz with qween as well as her.  Norty Mr Hooman!  

Beyin a skinee cat now I get cold.  So I sleep in my bed with lots of blankets and warm my feet on the hot wall.  If the hot wall is not hot I compayn wen she comes home until she pooshs the thing on the wall to make my hot wall hot agayn.  I have to conserv my ennergee.  Sumtims I snoor.  She is horrid to me, I do not snoor, she just sez that to me and Mr Hooman to upset us.  She is not nise perzon, she taks me to the vet.

Mrs Hooman sez she nids to no wot is goin on, she always sezzing wot is goin on hear?  So me and my bro Ted sit on the wall and wach wot is goin on wiv next daw.  Uwshally not a lot.  Next daw had a big dog, it was scared of me so the dog left and took its hoomans wiv it and the new hooman dusnt have a dog.  Or a cat.  She has little hoomans.

Mrs Hooman has a biznis.  She spendz a lot of time in my gardin but sumtims she taks picturs of wot she maks in her wood howse in my gardin.  This iz me checkin out the thing she taks pictures in, just checkin for mowses.  She got cross becos I left it with ginger hair, but I fort that the blak stuff woz boring and ginger woz betr.

I tired now and nid a snuzz. I tell yoo maw abut me anuffer day. She wont to look at sumfink in her Etsy shop and best go befor she nowtisses that her plinky plonky thing is stickee wiv my lunch.  We had owshun feesh patay or sumfink, but I pooshd the bits togever wiv my paw so as not to miss any of it as I lyk this won a lot.  My fayvoreet.  But my paws is a bit sticky.  And fishy smelee.  If yoo wunt to no abut her beeznis yoo can see it hear - she rote it on paper for mee so I spelz it rite.  She sed if I got it rong you wud look at anuffer bizniz and I then thaird be no cat biskits.  It is www.etsy.com/uk/shop/BlueBoxStudio - that is a lot of / and . wen you have beeg paws as they iz neer to ich uffer on the plinky plonky.

Happee snuzzes too yoo.

^. .^


Sunday, 8 December 2013

Beads on the 'Bay

The highlight of my day is that my Blogger nav bar has finally reappeared - turned out to be something Avast, my anti-virus thingy, had turned off, or on, or something.  Anyway, it is back, which makes posting a whole lot easier than it was a few days ago

I've had a bit of a tidy up in my studio and put together a few sets of beads - one matching set, one set of really pretty orphans and lots of smaller spacer beads

I think the spacer beads, mostly in the 9mm - 11mm range would make very pretty bracelets used as they are, perhaps just on some memory wire - now there's a quick Crimbo pressie idea,  but my little pot was getting a bit full so I thought it was time to sort through them.

There are also a few listings still current from a few days back, the lovely Lush  hoops - perhaps with some of these beads they'd also make a lovely necklace or bracelet, or perhaps into earrings?

All the spacer sets are in 20s, plenty there to be working with and to perhaps inspire further projects if your mojo is a bit lacking on these grey days.

Friday, 6 December 2013

New listings, new scarves, new direction

First up - new listings

I've listed lots of Lush hoops on Ebay - these are small coloured rubber O rings which can be used as spacers on charm bracelets like Troll and Pandora, or on the popular PVC jelly bracelets that so many are wearing.  They can also be used in chainmaille as slightly expandable jump rings or whatever use you have for a rubber O ring.  These are from Lush Lampwork, hence their name and on sale because I am having a studio clear out. 5-day listings starting today and at no more than 99p starting price, combined postage and at less than they cost me to buy.

I've been listing and re-listing silk and velvet scarves in my Etsy shop, along with some more bracelets, brooches, with necklaces are to follow.  It's all a bit dependent on my not living under a dark cloud so I can get photographing.

And what 'change of direction' I hear you ask.  Well, I have mentioned it in passing, if you were passing at the time.  I've made two decisions which are inter-related and linked.  

After a lifetime working with textiles, from making my own clothes through knitting, dressmaking, working with silk and velvet, I have decided to stop making my range of scarves and concentrate on my glass work.  That's not to say I won't come back to textiles in the future but for now.  If I'm not selling scarves it follows that I can't really sell my shibori dye silk scarf kits either because they will not fit within the glass discipline at fairs.

Sadly it all comes down to money.  Or the lack of it.  My small business has to pay its way, it is not bank-rolled by a wealthy man (although I am open to offers, so long as husband approves) is is not a 'little hobby' to stop me being bored (the tax office, the NI office and the business insurance people seem to have an opinion that it is not and I guess at least 2 of the 3 should know).  

 Each of my scarves is handmade from fabric that has to be textured, dyed, printed, sewn and over the past 2 years the cost of the fabric has increased considerably.  My range of silk dyes has also changed - the manufacturer sold out, the new company reduced the range considerably, changing many colours so to continue making the shibori dye kits would need me to start again researching colours and blends. Oh, and they almost doubled the price to boot!  Yet my scarf prices have gone down not up.  Rightly or wrongly, to keep selling in a depressed market I now sell my scarves for what used to be my wholesale price; this is not sustainable so, for the moment, this is it for textiles. I have some fabrics left but not enough to make another run of scarves viable.  If you are interested in buying dyes, fabrics or dyeing equipment, keep an eye on my Facebook page or here on my blog, I will be listing them for sale at some stage. 

Other things that will not be repeated are my sea glass bottle stoppers ("wine bottles all come with screw caps these days") and my range of polymer clay brooches which I had great fun making but, it seems, are what my husband refers to as 'another one of Susie's mad ideas'.  If you work with polymer clay, keep an eye out, I will be selling off a lot of tools at some stage - unusually for me, I didn't start out by improvising and bought all sorts of things to make these (including a pasta maker! - great for rolling out the clay in preparation of you don't have strong hands, like me).

If anyone is specifically interested in tools, dyes, fabrics email me and I will let you have first dibs when I have got everything together.  I have several rolls of silks that I never got around to using, bought from another artist who was selling up; from memory I think there is a roll of raw tussah silk, some heavyweight silk which I think is probably lining material and some silk chiffon.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Quick update - latest listings, latest offers

Just a few listings on Ebay this weekend!
For those who follow my Ebay listings to buy my beads, I've listed a few sets.  I've not had much time to make beads today so these will probably be the last (unless I relist any) for a couple of weeks
As well as beads, I've listed a pack of Lush hoops, as sold by Lush Lampwork - little rubber O rings, ideal for use as spacers, for brightening up a charm bracelet, using in chainmaille to give a slightly stretchy weave, and lots of other uses I've probably not thought of.  They fit on jelly bracelets but I no longer have any for sale and am destashing the 'now, what do I do with these' box!
I've also listed some silver cored big hole charm beads, handmade and carefully lined with sterling silver tubing by me in my studio and fitting Troll (and similar sized) bracelets.  They have a low starting price, so grab a bargain for Christmas presents for friends, family or yourself.
There are lots of other items listed, a handy camera case, a lampworking DVD, some sea glass beads.
Current offers:
In my Etsy shop there is a 20% sale on all necklaces and pendants until Friday 29 November.
At craft fairs I have an offer on my shibori dye scarf kits - 2 or more are now reduced to £12.50 each - limited stocks remaining.
My last public craft fair of the year is next weekend in the Curzon Cinema in Clevedon
The Curzon is the oldest purpose built continually operating cinema in the world and not a multi-plex in sight!  Well worth a visit, and they often have heritage open days.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Fresh baked beads on Ebay (just for a while) and the tale of the poorly merry mog

I've had a few spare hours over the last couple of weekends and managed to rediscover the joys of the inside of my studio.  Judging by the number of little spiders appearing, bigger spiders have also been enjoying the inside of my studio as well - we are known not to co-exist and battle lines have been drawn.  Some of them have got hairy legs that really should not be seen in polite society!

One of my merry mogs has also been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism which we are hoping is the conclusion of nearly 18 months of tests (except the right one, obviously!) and medicines to get to the bottom of why he eats more and still loses weight.  It has been a stressful time. Now husband and cat are on the same meds, same dose.  Husband seems to need less coaxing with Primula cheese to take his pill. 
Husband is ably supported by the NHS, cat isn't and the bill for this latest round of tests and appointments in veterinary private practice, even with exorbitant pet insurance (you could get a decent old car for what I pay per year for 2 cats) and claim excesses leaves me with a Mr Micawber moment ("Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.") so I have decided to not store the beads I have made but get them listed in case anyone wants or needs a winter project.  
There are 8 sets listed in all on Ebay, all with low starting prices and with 10% of the sale price being donated to a local animal charity which gave home to the merry mogs in their time of need.

I also have a lot of beads listed in my Etsy shop and there is still 20% off necklaces and pendants in my Etsy shop too, so an ideal to do a little Christmas shopping, for yourself, friends or family. There are also earrings, scarves and lots more, all handmade by me in my Etsy shop - over 100 lovely handmade things to tempt (I hope).
I hope you see something that you like and thank you for looking.  All my work, including my beads are made in my studio - by me, not in a factory, not by a machine.  The only masters I serve are my merry mogs :)

Merry mog thanks you for looking too, he has a vested interest in the price of Primula cheese at the moment - who would have thought he'd have loved it so much.  He likes Marmite too.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Make your own bracelet - pvc bracelets and hoops - supplies destash

 I have decided to no longer sell these pretty PVC and leather bracelets or the PVC hoops that will fit them.  The pvc hoops could also be used with metal rings in chainmaille - I've seen a bracelet made this way and it was very attractive.  So a quick de-stash of supplies - perfect for upcoming craft fairs or quick and easy gifts for friends and family.

To BUY: Email me which you would like, give me your Paypal email address 
and I will send you a Paypal invoice

Postage per order  £1.30 UK, £3.30 Europe and £3.80 everywhere else

 First up: PVC jumbo jelly bracelets (above) - approx. 4.6mm diameter tube x 20.5cms inc connector
3 black, 2 cherry, 1 pale blue and 1 pale pink Lush Loop 3mm diameter x 22cms inc connector
Perfect to make some quick bracelets for friends for Christmas; just add beads.  
Just cut to size and reconnect the silver coloured connector
 £10.50 for the 7

leather  plaited bracelets with approx. 4.8mm ends x 18cms + 4cms extender chain
3 purple and 2 pale blue - £2.50 for the 5 (yes, 50p each; I'm practically giving them away - you won't find this cheap on Ebay!)


Lush PVC hoops – large size – approx. 10mm o/d, 6mm i/d   - 12 lavender, 12 black, 12 dk pink, 12 bright pink, 11 orange, 12 turquoise, 12 brown, 12 bright green, 8 dk green, 10 dk blue, 12 pale blue, 12 olive green, 8 dk purple, 8 lt purple, 4 white (157 in total)  £14