Saturday, 23 April 2011

"Untold Tales" or "When two glass people talk"

My friend Emma Mackintosh and I recently had a natter - it was something to do with having a 'style', which kind of morphed into 'getting stuck in a rut'. We both love our 'usual fare', namely dragons and roses, of course, but we thought it might be fun to start some collaborative work to challenge ourselves, or to set some parameters for 'structured playtime'. So, over the course of a few messages and phone calls, we decided to start a joint blog, and to post about our efforts and outcomes. To give ourselves a bit of a framework, we thought we might tackle one fairytale each month. Since we both have leanings to the slightly obscure, we figured that it would be interesting to see how we each interpreted each fairytale, and promised each other to share out thought processes behind the pieces as well as the results.

To cut a long story short, there's a new blog on the block, called 'Untold Tales', and this month, we've been playing with 'Sleeping Beauty'. At the moment, there are only a few posts on it, but it will grow over time. We thought that, maybe, others might like to see what we're up to, too. This doesn't mean that this blog will stop, if anything, it'll get more interesting, because I'll be pointing to our blog posts as and when they occur.

If you're interested, you can find it at :)

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Ring Top Tutorial

Due to popular request :o) A quick explanation of the techniques behind making ring tops :o)

Option one - no pictures:

Make a cab on the end of a dipped 4mm or 5mm mandrel. Cool, glue in a nut with your favourite 'will hold even in the apocalypse'-glue, and you're done.

Option two:

When you make ring tops "on the go", it helps to burn off the nylon insert first. To do this, hold the nut in a pair of tweezers, and hold it in your flame. Burn off the nylon out (you'll see a small flame flaring up, then die down), then leave to cool.

Dip a mandrel in bead release - *either* a 2mm mandrel (left in pic) or a threaded mandrel (right in pic - trust me, the end is threaded, even though it's hiding under the bead release). If it's a normal 2mm, just pop the nut on top (as shown), if it's threaded, screw the nut on. Leave to dry.


When dry, get the nut in the back of the flame, to pre-warm, as if you are warming a rod of glass.


Then, moving to the front of the flame, get you nut glowing gently - don't go hell for leather!


Wind glass around the nut, near the bottom, making sure not to cover the underside of the nut:


Cover the top of the nut as well, and make the top as large or small as you dare (but make sure there is enough glass to give the nut a nice even coating. Hold it so the glass can start to cover that last bit of the nut (you can till see an edge here):


Here, the nut is covered:


Decorate as you like (or make it bigger)!

A few hints and tips:

1) If you want to make a large top, use a marver and marver the bottom to ensure it doesn't creep underneath the nut.
2) If you choose the 'balance-on-top-of-2mm-mandrel' option, the bead release may break if you engage in too much poking and/or prodding, so be careful!
3) As you can see from the top above, light transparents aren't very pretty options, since you can see the nut. Use frit, or etch, in order to cover the 'evidence' :o)

And *cough* nuts, threaded mandrels, and rings and pendants in stainless steel and sterling silver are on my website: ;o)

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

There *will* be glass - Part 2

Can you tell what it is yet?

The lovely Rachel came over today, and my education in willow weaving continued! A morning well-spent!!

A Cunning Plan, Pt 2

A Cunning Plan, Pt 2


A Cunning Plan Pt 2

A Cunning Plan Pt 2

It's living willow, so it'll green over, carry on groing, new shoots will be woven three years or so, you won't be able to see the structure, just a green play den!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

There *will* be glass - Part 1

As those who know me know, I do love playing with natural forms, and tying them in with fact, maybe you don't know, because I never shared my glassy moss, did I?

Here it is:

Fairy's Abode1

...and it glows in the dark:

Glowing Glass Moss

.....but that's not what I wanted to show.

There's a clever project taking shape in the garden. It *will* involve glass, but only in step Three. Step One involved clearing a bit of the garden, making a circular hole, and filling it with concrete:

A Cunning  Plan

It is happening thanks to my lovely friend Rachel, and a text she sent me last Monday...and the idea kind of grew from there. I realise this is a slightly mysterious post, but all will be revealed ;o)

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Meet the Twiddle-Fiddle-Diddle

It's a twiddle-fiddle-diddle

Isn't it funny! I spent ages trying to get a sculptural piece just right. No, I can't show it to you yet. Be patient. But as part of the prep for it, I found myself with large (we're talking at the torch here, so please see this in context) gather of glass. Sooooo....I pulled. And twisted. And twirled. And then stood like one of those kids who has played with a piece of string and tied herself in knots. So I melted one end off, all prettily, and shoved the whole thing under my fibre blanket. And forgot about it.

A couple of hours later, I started tidying up, when I noticed this rod sticking out from the fibre blanket.'s the thingy. In order to get my rod back, I melted the other end off. Hmmm........there's quite a bit of glass at this end. If I heat it enough, I wonder if I can make a little base. Heat, heat, heat, plop. Oh yeah, a base. Great. I made a ... thing. It's small, it serves no purpose. I suppose, if you really wanted, you could plonk a couple of rings on it and call it a ring holder.

I photographed it for a laugh. And three people told me they liked it. The little twisty-twirly thing, now lovingly named...Twiddle-Fiddle-Diddle.

Is there a moral to this story?


There is a place for twiddle-fiddle-diddles, for useless gathers of glass, random rod ends, bits and pieces. And it's not always the bin. Or the water jar.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Homemade Confetti

I've been asked by the lovely Kati to take part in her 'world beautification' project, since the current topic is......the Royal Wedding. The idea is to post a crafty tip, a recipe, anything that inspires others to get crafty. And with the Royal Wedding coming, is there a better time to take a patterned hole-punch to a newspaper (or a Shakespeare-Anthology), to create your own heart-shaped confetti? is also a great way to - erm - recycle/destroy all that annoying press about *that* date and *that* event :o)

Marjorie Moo

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Vorsicht Glas No. 16

The latest issue of Vorsicht Glas has been out a while now, but I wanted to get the British Craft Trade Fair out of the way before I got a chance to blog it.

The lovely Isi Merkel contacted me around Christmas, asking whether I'd be happy to be featured, and of course, I was absolutely chuffed to bits! Lampworking spread quicker in the German-speaking countries than it did in the UK, and I am always absolutely inspired by the talent there (this is not to say that I'm not inspired by the talent here ;o)) Being able to participate in glassy discussions in both English and German has been one of the best advantages of being bilingual that I can think of :o)

So, as well as posting photos of the article and crowing just a teensy little bit, a very big thank you to both my German-speaking and English-speaking glassy friends, for their ongoing inspiration!

Vorsicht Glas No. 16

Vorsicht Glas No. 16