Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Playing with colour

After a few months away from the torch due to the horrendous wet and windy winter I decided it's about time I got back in the saddle and started making again. However, I must confess that despite suffering from itchy fingers for the last month or so I just couldn't seem to get the motivation to actually get out into the studio. 

All that changed this week and subsequently I have been busy beavering away making lots of spacer/heishi beads, great for just easing myself back into making again and good eye/hand coordination practice. Perhaps it's got something to do with the sun finally appearing?!!

It's good to be back :)

Sunday, 24 November 2013

The Christmas Collection, Ilminster

Wispy aqua earrings
Each year, Ilminster Arts Centre puts together a wonderful Christmas Collection of goodies from artists and craftspeople in the South West. This year I was thrilled to be invited to take part and have been busy in my studio making pieces for the last month or so.  
Yesterday I popped down to the centre to drop off my work and had a sneak preview of some of the lovely work that will be on show.  I didn't stay long as the wonderful volunteers were busy beavering away trying to set everything up ready for the opening.  I shall pop back there next week to see the end result and take a few photos (and maybe have a lovely coffee or two...)

The exhibition runs from Monday 25th November until Saturday 21st December and there are some fabulous pieces of work on display.  I do hope some of you can find the time in your busy Christmas schedule to support local makers and maybe purchase a handmade crafted Christmas present or two?

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Hen vs Bead

Sitting at my torch can sometimes be quite a lonely pastime, one of the things I enjoy the most about lampworking. The peace and quiet, the low hum of the oxygen concentrator pumping oxygen into the flame and the occasional 'click' of the kiln as it regulates itself on and off.  However during my torching session last week a 'lurker' in the studio created a bit of a stir!

The lovely photo above is Toffee is one of our new hens.  She came to us from Happy Landing Animal Shelter in Shepton Mallet two months ago, rescued along with three others and now living out the rest of their lives happily exploring the garden of our Somerset home.  Toffee is the most adventurous of them all and enjoys exploring new territory.

On this particular day, Toffee came to see what I was up to in my little garden studio and, like previous visits contented herself with being nosy near the doorway.  However, she must have felt particularly brave on that day as she decided to join me at my bench by hopping onto the oxygen concentrator and then proceeding to jump practically onto my lap!  At this point I don't know who was more surprised out of the two of us but thoughts of Kentucky Fried Chicken came to mind as I visualised Toffee leaping into the 1000F torch flame in front of me so I knew I needed to act fast. 

If anyone was watching at this point it must have been quite a comical sight, a women frantically trying to shush a chicken off the bench whilst attempting to keep a metal rod with hot glass up in the air so as not to burn either of them :)  The more sensible (and non-creative) person would at this point have put the mandrel down and sent the bead to the great bead maker in the sky but heck, old habits die hard:)

Suffice to say, I managed to get Toffee down without any incident (much to her disgust) and quickly put my bead back in the flame only to hear the dreaded 'tink' sound of breaking glass which meant it didn't survive - unlike the chicken who was happily pecking away at the raspberries outside when I finally surfaced from my studio.

Another day, another drama.....

Oh, and here's a pic of the finished bead which probably has a crack in there somewhere:(

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Facebook page now live!

Despite having a nasty cold coming on I still managed to upload all my photos and set up my Facebook page in time for its grand unveiling last Friday. 

I'm quite pleased with the results and so far I've managed a grand total of........ 19 'likes' :)  Well, you gotta start somewhere!  Here's the link for you to check it out, share on Twitter, Facebook etc.

Facebook cover photo

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Facebook Page

After thinking long and hard I have finally decided to set up a business Facebook page. I must admit that although I do use Facebook personally I'm not the most proficient of users so it took some time for me to finally come around to it.  Social media seems such a large and scary place for those of us who are not digital natives and I consider myself pretty PC savvy!!  Bear with me if I seem a little behind, I may need some hand holding in places...

So, what does this mean for the good old blog?  I can see this becoming used more for longer posts about what I'm up to, where I've been and what I'm interested in - a little flavour of my inspiration and muse shall we say:) whilst Facebook will be a little shorter and with photos of my latest work for sale. At least until I ever get my website or Etsy shop up and running. (Yes, I know that I should have done it ages ago but what the heck, life's too short to spend it all at a computer!)

The grand unveiling will be..... (drum role please)


Friday 15th November!!!!!

See you there:)

Monday, 9 September 2013

Practice makes perfect

After dusting off the torch I have been busy trying out some new designs and playing with my presses and bead roller.  It always surprises me how many hours of practise are needed to finally master their use.  

I have been using my round bead roller on and off for a while now but it wasn't until this week that I feel I've finally cracked it.  How do you now when you reach that point?  For me, it's when I can put a press or roller down and know that when I come back to my bench (even after a few days break) I can pick up the roller and make a perfect bead first time.  A combination of hand/eye coordination, skill and and understanding of the melting points of different glass all combine to create the perfect bead. For example, making a round ivory bead vs a round transparent aqua bead requires a very different approach.  Ivory is a very drippy, buttery glass whilst aqua is very stiff glass like a thick toffee.  Melt either of them too much or too little and your chance of making a nice neat round bead are about 0% !!

I think that's one of the things I find the most interesting about melting glass, there's always a new technique to try or press/roller to try out.  The learning curve is endless and that's what keeps me coming back for more.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

It's been a long time....

Sometimes, life doesn't always follow the path that you predict and the last 18 months has certainly proved that to me.

After a successful Art Weeks in Sept 2011 (including being asked to make the visitor's prize by the SAW committee) I then planned to push on with the development of my website and workshop before promoting my work further however life and the greater universe had different plans!  My house extension, like most builds, took six months longer than planned and my studio which was based in my garage has been buried under a sea of insulation, wiring and general building materials since last September which meant no torching for me.  

The good news is that I've not got a new studio space and I can finally reach my bench at last and have been thoroughly enjoying clearing and sorting everything out as well as starting to get back into the swing of melting glass again. So, without further ado, here are a few pics of my latest creations.   The green necklace is a commission piece and the blue one I made for myself using beads by the lovely Kate Sullivan of Sublime Beads. Enjoy!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

GBUK Journal unveiling...

At last, the long awaited copy of the GBUK journal!

It arrived from the printer a week ago but this is the first chance I've had to take a photograph and post it up. Unfortunately, I'm not one of those people who currently own a smart phone, however,  as I am currently searching for one that fits the bill I maybe be posting to my blog more often in the future.

The Next Generation?

All packed and ready to go to another Flame Off.  This time my youngest is coming with me and to celebrate she's made her own bracelet using a mix of beads that she has made plus a few of my little colourful spacer beads.

I think it looks really cute and hopefully it will make her feel like a 'real' bead maker:)   Not bad for a 10yr old!

Monday, 12 March 2012

GBUK journal *Latest news*

The journal is nearly here!  For those GBUK members who are anxiously waiting for their copy I can reveal that it is currently in production at the printers.

As a GBUK committee member it has been my privilege to create the design and layout for this year's journal. We had an amazing selection of photos sent in by members throughout the UK and it was lovely to work on a publication which promotes the best of British Lampwork today.

If you would like to purchase a copy, they will be launched at the Flame Off in April at Towcester Racecourse or will be available to order from the GBUK website from May onwards.