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.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

More tea, Vicar?


Each time I take part in North Somerset Arts Week I also offer tea, coffee and cakes to raise extra funds for my favourite charity Holly Hedge animal sanctuary near Bristol.  After the disasters of 2011, when visitors seemed to get through a lot of my crockery, I decided this year I'd roottle around local charity shops and source some china that wouldn't make me cry if it was dropped and broken.

I wanted some traditional tea cups, but they are harder to come by than you'd think.  I wanted the kind my granny would have have kept for best; for when the vicar or the Queen came for tea (the latter never did!).  Anyway, I found a couple of pretty tea cups and saucers and thought they'd look rather lovely planted up with flowers and perhaps could raise a few pounds for the charity.  Some old, some not so old, but all pretty.

My first thought was I could plant them up - then I remembered how easily I can kill a plant with over-watering.  A Plan B was needed - how to drill bone china tea cups?  My first effort, above, tried on a china cup that, in its second incarnation was a scented candle, now long gone, used my trusty Bosch power drill and a diamond tipped drill that I use for drilling sea glass.  

Discover number 1 - bone china is a lot harder to drill than sea glass!
Discovery number 2 - diamond tipped drills scoot all over the place on bone china, but have no problem embedding into flesh!
Discovery number 3 - the big drill bit I needed to make a sensible sized drain hole in the cup did not fit into my Dremel, which lives in a drill press.

After a lot of 'good heavens' moments when I realised how much US to UK postage had gone up and therefore how much my usual supplier of excellent drill bits was going to charge me I found some comparable drill bits in the UK, ordered and patiently waited for them to arrive.  These will fit my Dremel.  Using my Dremel makes things a lot easier because I only have 2 hands - one to hold the item being drilled and one to move the drill press lever, and my fingers don't not need to be anywhere near the drill, unlike using my trusty Bosch when it was hard to keep them out of the way.


Slowly does it, because the drill bit gets hot in only a small pool of water - I'd have liked to get the cup under water so the drill bit was immersed but that is a lot of water to have near electricity and I didn't have anything small enough but deep enough to do this so I just held my breath instead.  Fortunately my plan worked and with a sharp drill bit and a taking it slowly, I ended up with a perfect hole both inside and outside the cup.  


Then to repeat the task - fortunately everything went to plan and no breakages.   
So 'bottoms up!' here's a few as proof. 


The next stage is to get some small plants and pot up my cups, giving them time to settle in and establish - and hopefully be full of flowers in time for Arts Week.  No rush, I have until 3 May to do this.  The plant above is a pretty purple and white picotee viola which was flowering until I squished the flowers when I planted up the tea cup -  I swear I was left under the gooseberry bush by the fairies, the rest of my family are really good gardeners, I often let the side down.

This project was my 'make' for last week's Year Long Challenge to make 52 things in a year, on the Craft Pimp forum.  Now I need to think up something new for next week's YLC. Perhaps I should drill some sea glass as well, now I have the drills, and make some more jewellery for next week's fair in Salisbury Guildhall.

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