Friday, 23 January 2009


Well, I thought it was time to branch out a little, so I've had a play with lacy shapes and presses. I quite like the result, but there are issues to do with having to super-heat the bead for the lace to start appearing - doing the ends is a nightmare. However, I'm pleased with how these are going.

And, talking of experimentation, I *may* be the proud owner of a quarter stall at Towcester this year, which would pay tribute to my good intention for 2009. Here's to experimentation!

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Mailing List Competition

Here's my first New Year's resolution - I guess it's called being pro-active :o)

I wanted to run a competition for aaaaages and wasn't sure what on - so I decided to mix it all together. So, here's the deal. You have three ways to get your name into the pot:  

1) Joining my mailing list gets your name in once. 
2) Emailing or PMing me an idea for a type of bead you would like to see on my site gets your name in twice. 
3) Buying something or commissioning something gets your name in five times.  

I am running this competition across three boards and on my blog, for two weeks - deadline is 31st of January. I will announce three winners on the first of Feb. Each person can only enter once, but you can enter in all three categories (each category only counts once, so the most times any name will be in the pot will be eight times). 

I will backdate purchases for the whole of January, so if you already bought something in January, your name will automatically go in the pot 5 times. Each winner will be able to specify whether they would prefer to win a rose or a lace set, in a colour of their choice.  

I hope this makes sense, and I hope loads of people enter :)  


Tuesday, 13 January 2009


I wasn't going to post this, because it's not beadie, and, to my eyes, far from perfect. But it got so many nice comments on Flickr that I thought - what the diddle! 

I'm getting into PMC. Not in a huge way, fortunately (couldn't support another hobby the magnitude of my glass addiction!!!), but I have a good play in the evenings now and then. I like that you can just do 10 minutes of rolling and cutting, and accumulate dried bits over a week or longer before getting round to firing (whereas switching the kiln on for 20 mins of torching seems an awful waste)!

To begin this story where it starts: our village has, over the past three years, had local archaeologists helping a community group to dig for a mediaeval manor which, supposedly, is in the field right behind our house. I shouln't say supposedly, because they found it in 2007. Back then, we announced that we were thinking of re-doing our lawn (in preparation for our baby), and agreed to time it according to the following summer when the archaeologists were back.

Well, they found nothing - nothing at all - in our back garden that was mediaeval. Right at the very end, they found a bit of flint, which got them all excited. What they did find were tons and tons of pottery shards, blue and white, brown glaze, all 19th-20th century, more or less. All their finds have gone off for now, but when we re-did the lawn, we dug up the rest of the garden and found plenty more. We saved only the nicest few, and I've been trying to work out how to turn them into jewellery ever since. So over the week-end, I had a play with PMC, carefully moulding a setting. The man in the shard is in a boat on a lake - you can't see who he's talking to or what he's up to, and we didn't find the rest of the.........plate?? Maybe??? Either way, this piece of jewellery spells adventures all round: adventures of having archaeologists digging up your back garden, of playing with new creative media, and I hope the man in the shard is having a good adventure too, seeing the world again after being in the ground for a century or so :o)

Here's to a simple 2009

Well, it's been a while since I posted, hasn't it? And so much has happened. I've been to Florida for Christmas, with my lovely husband and very cuddly son, and managed to nab a lesson with the fabulous Rocio Bearer in the process. Although we both make flowers, they are completely different (bearing in mind mine are sculptural and hers are 'painted' on glass). She also does work with dichroic and cubic zirconias, neither of which I have dabbled with much. As a result, I felt like a beginner. The educator in me couldn't help but notice ways in which Rocio 'assessed' my skill - rather than asking me what I could or couldn't do, she demonstrated a bead, then suddenly said 'oh, I need to do x - could you just keep that warm for me?' - and before I knew it, I found myself twiddling a mandrel. Next on the list was 'could you just finish shaping that bicone for me?' quickly followed by 'could you just finish encasing that bead?' Her studio was buzzing with visitors, so she really was running back and forth, but I'll remember this approach (whether deliberate or not), as it certainly helped me getting to be 'at ease'.

As a result of the lesson, I've come out of my comfort zone a bit - I've only made one rose since coming back and quite a few lace sets, but also some painted flowers, pulling cane, etc. I have started thinking about new shapes, and I've started to be confident in 'simplicity'. I think this is important. When I started out, I always wanted to do one more rake, one more swirl. However, I did not have the techniques to create beads like some truly gifted artists, whose beads brim with twisties, murrinis and dots - all I made was an ever-growing mess. And to be perfectly honest, I'm not very good with colours. I admire beadmakers who can use 10, 15 colours in a bead, and it comes out looking like a coherent whole - my mind does not appear to work like that. 
That's why I like the sculptural beads, I guess - few colours, focus on shaping. My lace beads - one base, black trails. Simple. So is the new design I thought of, which I'm hoping to try tonight. 
But simple is okay. Simple is good. Simple means others can add the embellishment. 
One of my favourite beads of all times is simple, and look what the lovely George of did with it for me. 
'Creation' does not have to be complicated - if it had to be, it would be called 'complication'. And who in the world likes complications?