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.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Challenges and challenges


This last week has been full of challenges and challenges - it's the first week of my business course that will hopefully set me on the road to fame and fortune and finding the discipline to knuckle down and do that has been one challenge.  I've already learn things, and discovered Pinterest - but once I've worked out how best to use it as a tool and not a distraction, I'll use it more.

Life's challenges have been prominent - once things are sorted, one way or t'other I'll say more.  But with them came the challenge of finding someone to give me professional advice, but hopefully have that organised too - ask me after Friday!

Then there is my 52 in 52 challenge - finding time for that was a challenge too, but I made it, even if I wasn't feeling very inspired with all the faff going on around me.  Life will sort itself out in time; it always does.

I managed a couple of hours in my studio yesterday.  Once I got going it was quite toasty in my tiny studio.  The kiln was working at 500C, the radiator was on full blast and I was leaning over a hot flame.  At least there is no one in there to ask if I really need the heating on.  I'm married to a polar bear, doesn't like the heat!

Someone commissioned some bright blue beads but as luck would have it, no bright blue glass, so had to put in a glass supplies order - will have to show you those next weekend.  In the meantime, as my brain was now in glass and silver mode, I made similar beads in teal green, a repeat of technique #1.  These will soon be for sale in my Etsy shop.

For my 52 in 52 challenge - beads #3 are small spacer beads.  I know I can make spacer beads.  The bit I struggle with is getting more than one or two on each mandrel and them surviving.  The problem for me was, once the first bead was made, whether to keep flashing it through the flame or let it bathe in reflected heat from bead 2, and beads 1 and 2 from bead 3 - and how many could I get on a mandrel before I heard that heart-sinking ping?  I've tended, in the past, to make them one bead per mandrel.  So far, 5 is my maximum, some people get far more so the challenge for this alone continues.  I tried the reflected heat approach and that seemed to work best and easiest. And it's using up my pile of short ends of glass, which is no bad thing in the tidy up stakes.

I've picked the best 20 from those beads made and will list those for sale in my Etsy shop soon.

With only a little time left before the polar bear wanted to wander onto the polar ice cap (husband wanted to go out into the cold for coffee and cake - one of our hobbies!) I tried stripy beads.  Not very successfully in my opinion but I always said that some beads would not be brilliant and here they are!  I read the principle of doing this on-line, kept the idea in my head, fed the cats, went into my studio and suspect I'd have done better to print it all off and read it as I made them.  My stripes kept spreading, so I wonder if a dot of clear in between dots of colour would have kept things in check.  These are #4 of 52 and will be revisited until I get the hang of them.  These can restock my bead pot for craft fairs; the shape is OK, they are just a bit wonky-donkey.

To see all the beads in my 52 in 52 challenge, mosey on over to my Flickr page.

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