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Archive for Glass Beads

I am the new Bead Awards judge

Tuesday lunchtime

I was really pleased to be asked to judge the British Bead Awards for Bead magazine again. We’ve already done the preliminary round and have called in finalist pieces for judging this Thursday.  As ever the standard is very high and I’m looking forward to seeing the work in the flesh when we get together this week. It will also be lovely to see Jennifer Airs and Elizabeth King again, and meet Linda Jones, who has written several books on making wire jewellery. I can’t wait!

More of my beads have been used in another project in Beads and Beyond this month. ‘Harvest sunset – String your favourite rose coloured beads to create this interchangeable necklace and earring set in sunset tones.’ Designed by Helen Bowen.

The design features my Tutti Ripple, and a set of these is available in my Etsy store, and they are also available ‘Made to Order’.

I also have more new tuition dates are available,
***1 day 10 – 5 Intermediate Course, Fri 5th October. *** SOLD OUT

but I have one place on each of these
***2 day Beginners Course, Tues 23rd to Weds 24th October***
***1 day 10 – 5 Intermediate Course, Sat 10th November***
Contact me now to secure your place***

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Ardingly Bead Fair this Sunday

Wednesday morning

Well hellooooooo, the sun is shining and I’m about to go down to my lovely blue studio and make some more beads for all you lovely people who come and support me, as of course you know it’s my next bead fair this coming Sunday 22nd July, at the South of England Centre in Ardingly, West Sussex, 10am to 4pm. More details on my events page.

I’ve been trying to get the summer spirit by making some new beach beads and fish in the hope that the sun will come out, and am planning to make starfish and maybe a shell or two if I can come up with a design today. Actually it would help if I popped out and switched the kiln on to warm up first…….back in a mini mo…….that’s better.

So this Sunday I will have my usual mix of glass bead sets and focal beads, with several new designs, silver chains, and my ever popular rummage pots, with bargains starting at £1. I’m working on some new didy sets (matching 2’s and 3’s) for all you earring lovers and I also have some new uncored Big Hole Bead sets, perfect for filling up your Pandora, Troll or other similar charm bracelet. I may even put more beads in my sale dish, who knows!

Do come and say hi.

 

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Open Studios countdown…..4 days to go

Tuesday morning and only 4 days to go……………..

It’s that time of year again, when artists around the Horsham area fling open their doors and invite the public to see their work at home. I’m taking part again, and this year I’m with my friend Angela Jenkinson, who mainly makes fused glass items, jewellery and home accessories.

My main focus this year is on my loose beads and bead sets, but I’ve also been busy making lots of small items, my very popular beads on adjustable length cotton thongs, and some reasonable priced earrings (I call them credit crunch earrings), I also hope to make some greeting cards and keyrings. I will have my posh glass cabinet with a display of my range of jewellery and lots of bargain bead pots full of yummy single beads.

Come along this weekend and next to see our art, watch us demonstrate how we make our glass pieces and take some refreshment with us.

Venue: Oakhurst, Pondtail Road, Horsham, RH12 5HY (5th house on the left)

See you there.

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More beads in Beads and Beyond this month

Wednesday tea time

Hello to everyone visiting from Beads and Beyond magazine. I’m very pleased to have some more of my beads featured in another project in Beads and Beyond magazine this month (June issue out 10th May). Again by jewellery designer Rebecca Anderson, who makes truly special jewellery, and certainly has a way with my beads. And here are the beads.

 

You can buy these beads, well, similar ones, from my Etsy store, and I’ll be putting some up in my web shop here also. I’ve been busy making more of these beauties today, and some donut shape ones too. I may even push the boat out and have these for sale individually, Whatcha think?

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Big Bead Show tomorrow – woop woop

Friday afternoon

It’s here again, and looming up so fast. I always love going to the Big Bead Show, (Sandown Park, Esher, KT10 9AJ) and have been getting ready for months (yes really, new year resolution and all). I did fail at getting my newsletter out early as you will know if you are on my mailing list, but there have been extenuating circumstances over the last couple of weeks…..

So I will be on stand 41, my usual, up near the food hall and visible from the Bead Magazine stand. I have loads of new beads in new colours and designs, and have restocked my ever popular rummage pots, as well as making lots of ‘Didy sets’, they’re 2’s or 3’s of matched beads.

I’m also continuing my nutty spring sale with reductions of at least 25% on some focals and sets, so come and grab yourself a bargain or simply buy that gorgeous focal you’ve had your beady eyes on.

Here’s a peek at some of my new beads

 

See you there…….

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My Monet beads featured in Beads and Beyond Magazine this April

Wednesday Evening

Welcome to everyone new to my blog, especially if you have come here from Beads and Beyond magazine. I’m really pleased to have my beads used by Rebecca Anderson in her latest project in this magazine, the Monet inspired jewellery. You can buy my Monet Blues Mix beads on Etsy and see them here in my own shop and I’ve popped a photo below.

                       

I’ve been working really hard this month to keep my Etsy shop re stocked on an almost daily basis, and very busy making my new bead stock for the Big Bead Show at the end of this month. I have several new sets of beads and lots of focal beads, I don’t seem to be able to stop making long cylinder beads at the moment! I am at last getting to grips with another make of silver glass, called TAG, and most of my new beads feature this glass, especially the tubes. Poor Richard has his work cut out at the moment taking and editing photos of my beads to go on my website and in my shops, and my thanks go to him for doing such a fab job.

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I taught at West Dean College

Wednesday tea time

If you have been following me on Twitter or Facebook you will see that I have been a very busy bunny adding lots of new beads to my shop on an almost daily basis, I’ve ditched the Tuesday listing only and I’m popping stuff up every day at the moment. The only days I didn’t list was when I was suddenly invited to teach at West Dean College a weekend ago. Oh yes, did I tell you I taught at West Dean?!!! Here’s some snaps of the gardens.

So I had an email followed by a phone call the next day, and before I knew it I was booked to teach the Glass Beadmaking weekend class that started the same day, which meant I had 5 hours to organise my tools, glass, books and any other teaching bits I needed, pack my clothes, sort childcare and drive there to start teaching that evening. It was absolutely manic but so worth it. I had a super weekend, wonderful students who were so grateful that I had stepped in at such late notice to teach them, and my lovely Rick came too. He spent the time taking some fabulous photos and bobbing in and out of the teaching room, and also got to go on a short chocolate and wine tasting course (the lucky thing). So while I worked he stuffed chocolate……(It’s normally the other way around, lol).  It’s a fabulous place to spend time and be creative, and I was thrilled to be asked to teach there.

I’ve just added a new tuition date for anyone who is interested in coming to my studio in Horsham for a 2 day introduction to glass beadmaking. The course has one place remaining, but if you are interested in having a go and want to bring a friend, simply drop me a line and I’ll send you a list of other available dates.

New tuition date – Wednesday 18th to Thursday 19th April, Beginners Beadmaking, 1 place.

Here’s some of my latest beads added to Etsy.

 

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New Facebook page is here at last

Monday tea time

So the big news for this week is that I have at last set-up my own business Facebook page, yay. It’s called Sarah Downton Contemporary Glass beads (no surprise there then!)

If you haven’t already then click below to like my new Facebook page, it will be grey if you have already liked it.

I have to admit that it took the best part of Friday to do, and is a work in progress as I have a few little bits to add to it, but you don’t need to worry about them. You can also access a peek at my Etsy store page from the page by clicking on the Etsy button on the left hand side of my new page. Did I tell you I have a new page yet? 😉 You can follow the link to go and have a looksee, and I’d love it if you’d love my page. That way I can keep you in touch with my latest beads, happenings, fairs, and Etsy listings. To make it even more worth your while I will be having a giveaway, to be drawn randomly from everyone who likes my page. I haven’t yet decided what the prize will be, but I will be announcing it later this week, and you will be eligible for the draw even if you have already liked me.

With all this flurry of activity I have also managed to add yet more new beads to my Etsy store. and I hope to revert to listing regularly on a Tuesday now that I have my shop back up to respectable levels of stock.

Here’s a look at what I added yesterday and a taster of what will go up tomorrow

 

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New beads, new beads!

Tea Time Thursday

In case you haven’t already twigged, I have new beads in my Etsy shop, yay! Some designs are completely new, others, like the Grass and Sky Jupiters have been waiting impatiently for me to take the time and make them into a lovely set, and now I have (although they are still new in regards to never having been seen in those colourways). I have another set (Terra Firma) inspired by the lovely work of American beadmaker Kim Neely, whose inspiring book of colour recipes I bought last year to help kick start my creativity and get me out of the rut I felt I was in. I have been exploring using silver glass (mainly Double Helix) and all the effects that I can get from it in simple beads but needed the push to take it all a bit further.

Here’s a peek at some of the new sets……

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Exhibition at The Capitol, Horsham and The Big Bead Show

I am pleased to announce that my exhibition of work is in the Art Gallery in The Capitol, Horsham. I have invited my friend Katherine Haynes of Popped Bubble Designs to join me and we share the 5 cabinets upstairs in the gallery. The exhibition started Tuesday 6th September and runs until Sunday 9th October, and is open during the Capitol opening times. Please enquire at the box office if you wish to purchase anything on display.

Saturday 15th October sees the return of the Big Bead Show at Sandown Park, which is fast approaching. I’m busy getting ready for this event and look forward to welcoming you to my stall on the day. Please look out for my show newsletter when I hope to be able to offer some free tickets and show specials.

and a big woops…….this post was supposed to be my news on the front page and as such is rather formal, but never mind. The next blog post should be more fun.

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Bead Fair this Bank Holiday weekend

Friday afternoon

The Beadwork Fair – Sunday 28th August, The de Havilland Campus, University of Hertfordshire, AL10 9EU  10am to 4pm

I have been persuaded (thank you Paul), to do this bead fair this Bank Holiday Sunday. As you know I normally do the Stourbridge Bead Fair, but decided to take a break from it this year and enjoy the summer, but due to one thing and another and not attending the Ardingly summer fair in July due to my mums’ sudden death, I thought maybe I should take the plunge.

So I will be at this event, this Sunday, with my usual mix of handmade lampworked glass beads, sterling silver chains, New Designs of Cloud Beads and my range of contemporary jewellery. There are many new £1 bargain beads to be had, together with some old favourites.

I hope you will come and say hello and make the effort to attend this fair, being a Bank Holiday Sunday of course means the traffic will be minimal for a Sunday. Go on, you know you want to!

 

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Horsham Open Studios are here

Monday 20th June

Hello peeps. It’s a been a long time hasn’t it? I’ve been really busy over the last few months doing a City and Guilds course, and I’m now eagerly awaiting my letter to tell me I’ve passed. I was really surprised how long all the homework and class preparation took, especially towards the end of the course. Anyway, that’s over now, and I have got my life back, sort of.

Horsham Open Studios started this weekend, and we have had a lovely first couple of days with so many visitors that we didn’t get time to eat lunch until 3:30pm on Saturday. Thank you to everyone who came this weekend, you made it really special for us, and we look forward to welcoming more of you next weekend. I have a cabinet full of colourful jewellery, with some new designs, lots of beads to choose from, my fun earrings (using sterling silver) and lots of big hole beads starting at just £3 each to put on your Pandora style bracelets (they don’t have silver in them). I also have other small bits and bobs to choose from, including my ever popular £1 rummage dish. Here’s a couple of photos to tease you.

I have several new tuition dates listed on my tuition page. The next available date is a 1 day Beginners course, Weds 29th June, 10am to3pm. Special rate of £79, class size of 2. Contact me to book your place now.
As always I have other availability if these dates do not suit, drop me a line for my list of dates to choose from.

I have one new listing on Etsy and will be adding more during the day, just follow the link on the left.

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The Birds – nightmare in Horsham garden

Saturday evening

Hey there, I am still alive. So Big Bead came and went in a haze of work, then Flame Off, and then the school Easter hols, followed by THE wedding of the decade. Thank you to everyone who came to say hello at the Big Bead show, we had a fantastic day and were so busy that we were still serving customers 40 minutes after the show closed and I didn’t get a proper chance to go shopping myself, apart from the odd snatched minute or two before was summoned back to my stall.

Enough of that though, today the most bizarre and freaky thing happened. We almost had a re-enactment of Hitchcocks’  ‘The Birds’. I saw movement outside the back door, a couple of minutes later I opened it to cool down and noticed a pair of birds hovering around a shrub and squawking really loudly.  I looked down to see a cat holding down a bird on our lovely gravel sitting area, shooed it away and the bird fortunately flew up into the tree above. The cat scampered off and jumped the 6 foot fence nearby. Sounds OK so far? I kept watching while the 2 starlings kept chirping alarm calls and flying from tree to tree to next doors roof and then back again, all the while followed by a little Coal Tit. So far so good. Well, this went on for a while, and I kept watch to see if the bird was injured and make sure the cat didn’t come back. After a while of this, the birds moved to the holly tree over my studio, directly in front of the kitchen, and some blackbirds and blue tits joined them, still chirping alarm calls. Very sweet, they were acting like a pack, and sticking together.

Then, one of the starlings did a loop down at my eye level, from the tree towards me standing in the doorway, and then back again. I thought it was maybe sort of coming to thank me. How sweet. Yer right. A few minutes later the same bird came storming out of the tree, straight at me in the door, and hovered, flapping it’s wings and  squawking very angrily at me for a few seconds. Ah, OK then. Then a couple of minutes later it did it again. OK, so now I’m getting worried, this is no lovely thank you, but a full on hate campaign. eeeeeeek. Rick’s also in the kitchen watching this, and decides that it’s time to shut the door in case we end up with a bird in the house.

He then ventures out after a bit to see if it’s OK, and nothing happens, but when I try opening the door and standing there the bird twitter campaign starts again. I thought maybe I would be stuck indoors all day, but I stayed in and away from the door for about an hour, while Rick decided to placate them with some food. Phew, and there I was thinking it might end up like the day we were chased indoors by marauding bees when we attempted a honey glaze on the barbecue several years ago. Now there’s another story. They we all banging against the windows trying to get in, hundreds of ’em!

OOO, and I have a few new beads in my Etsy store, including these…….ciao.

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I will be selling at the Big Bead Show 2nd April

Tuesday evening

Big news today…….I have booked my space at the spring Big Bead Show at Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey, KT10 9AJ. This huge show is on Saturday 2nd April and is well worth a visit. I’d be resisting booking, but the lovely Maria at Bead magazine said she’d squeeze me in if I wanted to come. So here we are, all of a sudden getting revved up for the big one. It’s great news for my mojo as all of a sudden lots of ideas for new beads are flooding in at last. Long may it continue. I hope you will all come and see me here, I will have some free tickets up for grabs later too.

Here’s a little sneaky peek at what I’ve been up to lately. At last I’ve had time to practice the skills I learnt last April at Flame Off with the hugely amusing and talented Sharon Peters, and have found some time to design some of my own characters. Here’s a green one…..

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I do like to be beside the Seaside

Friday lunchtime

Lampwork Classes – I have one new space on a 1 day Beginners  Beadmaking course, Tuesday 3rd May, contact me now for more information and to book your place.

I’ve popped some repeat sets on Etsy and a new whopper set of amber, ivory, black and brown beads. Here’s a taster including some of my new ‘Didy sets’.

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks as I’ve enrolled on a 10 week course down in Goring and so went to have lunch on the beach after the session this week. After my food I had a walk along the path down to where we often go in the summer with friends. It was very different with the mist and cool spring breeze, and people wearing coats to walk their dogs. The sun was shinning very brightly and dazzling my eyes as it reflected off the pools of water on the sands where the sea had receded away from the shore. It was very peaceful and energising although a bit windy, my hair was a complete state by the time I got back in the car to come home.  It was a treat to have a change of scenery and a chance to reflect on the mornings’ proceedings and life in general. Here’s a few snaps that I took with my new Canon Ixus 130, including the ones I shot after I had rolled backwards onto my back through trying to crouch so low….I meant to do that.

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Love Buns…well any cake actually

Friday afternoon

Valentines day has been and gone, and now we have the first half term of the new year upon us and Pancake day yet to come. We celebrated in style with a romantic candle lit dinner for 3 on Monday, which included using the chocolate fondue set I bought last year, and I made Nigella Lawson’s ‘Love Buns’ as a surprise. I couldn’t get the heart sprinkles she shows in  the book but bought some red edible glitter to use instead. The theory is that I can use it for Christmas decorating too. The only downside was that the icing was rather sickly, so I think I’ll stick to making a royal icing with freshly squeezed lemon juice again like I did last Friday. I’m so into baking at the moment, which is rather unfortunate as I just want to eat everything I’ve made, so I have to pace myself somewhat. I really wish I didn’t like cakes and puddings so much, but I won’t be hypnotising myself to give them up, like I did with crisps last June….I haven’t eaten a single real crisp, which is no loss really….empty calories.

I have yet more neads on Etsy (that should be beads, but well, maybe I should stick with neads as bead addicts need beads). I had another new set to put up for sale and went through the whole process until at the last moment I realised they were different from the photo I was using! I think Rick will have to do some more photography for me, especially as I have a real surprise of some really new beads that I’ve had in mind to make for ages and got my first chance to play with the designs this week. All will be unveiled later.

I have another new tuition date, a Beginners 4 hour taster session on Thursday 10th March, 10am to 2pm. There is one place available on this course. Contact me now to book your place, and come and have a lesson making glass beads.

Oh and here’s a photo of my Glitter Love Buns, I swirled in some red food colouring to some of the icing (I only made half the quantity and that was plenty), and unfortunately the whipped topping never set as it was supposed to.

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Zumba Zoom

Friday afternoon

Phew, feeling a bit jaded but very happy. Anyone heard of Zumba? (links to You Tube)  Cos that’s where I’ve been this morning. All my life I’ve hated exercise classes, especially aerobics, but I think I may have actually found some exercise that I like. I adore dancing and have been given the all go by my hip specialist to do Latin American dancing so I thought Zumba might be right up my street. I was so excited yesterday when I booked it, and fortunately I was not disappointed. I’m definitely going again, and need to buy some new jogging pants as my existing ones are 3 sizes too big, yay!

More sets on Etsy, some are new designs, others are repeats and variations on a theme.

I’m off to do more washing (boo hiss boo) and make some cup cakes for tomorrow (yay).

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February blitz

Thursday evening

Here’s a couple of photos of some of the new beads I put on Etsy yesterday. I had a mega blitz and went mad putting 5 sets up for sale on Etsy in a sitting, and then uploading bead photos to Flickr and joining lots of groups there. I also madly ordered a brand new oxygen concentrator that I’ve had my eye on for several months…since last April to be precise.

Today I’ve been having a bit of a paper clear out. Very boring, extremely tedious, and unfortunately necessary every so often. I’ve managed to get rid of a 2 foot pile of paper from my work area, and while going through the oddments came across a major task list from 2 years ago. It was brilliant! I was able to cross off every single job except one, I had actually achieved all I planned back in 2009. Ok so it took 2 years but I’d done them. The main and exciting reason I stayed indoors today, was because I needed to welcome the courier with my new super doopah wizzy powerful oxycon that should have enough wellie to power the bigger Nortel Midrange torch that I’m hoping to get in April, or even just give my existing torches more power, hopefully like using tanked oxygen. It arrived successfully and is sat on the carpet in front of me waiting to be carried down to the studio tomorrow.

I should also announce that I have responded to several requests to sell pairs of beads suitable for earrings so I have a new section in my Etsy shop called Didy Sets. This is my new range of mini bead sets, these contain 2 or 3 beads and are small enough to be used for matching earrings and a pendant or simply to add to a charm dangly type bracelet or similar.

Here’s what I have for sale so far

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Mojo a go go

Monday evening

Hellooooo there, thank you to all my friends, customers and students who came to say hello yesterday at the bead fair. You all make my bead fair days so special, it’s great to catch up with you all and share news and coo over beautiful beads and bits.  I’ve spent the day recovering from all my preparation efforts from the fair, as I had 4 full days bead making and spent all Saturday stringing up sets, pricing stuff and packing up. Of course we celebrated the day with a lovely curry when we got home, yum yum.

So now all I have to do is finish my accounts (ha ha) and get my tax out of the way, then I can start on my new efforts for this years business. I’m hoping to spend some time developing some new designs and hopefully some new colour combinations, although I will be continuing my favourites, as they are so lovely. I’m looking forward to spending time playing with new ideas without the pressure to stock up for an event, I just hope my mojo doesn’t go go.

Here’s some snaps of the bead fair from my stall, and ‘the boys’, sorry Jim, you’re out of focus….

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I’m reviewing the situation

Monday lunchtime

More new beads on Etsy! OK., so I’ve only listed repeat sets of my most popular designs, but hey, that’s what I planned to use Etsy for. To get to my shop click on my name in the widget on the left or click  here.

Also I have another new teaching date on my tuition page, Tuesday 1st February is a one day beginners course. Just drop me a line now to book the last place and learn a new skill for a new year.

I’ve been thinking for a while about adding another category to my blog, one where I review what film, TV series or more exciting, the latest book I’ve read. I’m not sure how good I’ll be at reviewing something without giving the bulk of the plot away, but it could be fun to try. Just recently I’ve actually started reading books again. It’s been a long time coming as I used to read like a mad thing when I was at school (I had oodles of time then) and when I commuted on the train to work, but since I bought my first car and moved away from home (that would be around 1985 I think) I have let my fiction reading slip completely. I’ve read at least one book a year on holiday and that is all for the past few years, conveniently the new Harry Potter books came out in the summer, but since picking up Stephanie Meyers’ Twilight series I’ve gone potty for her books and reading in general. So much so, that I’ve made a new year resolution to keep reading fiction throughout the year, and also to try to take up some of the others things I used to do before lampwork glass bead making took over my life. I was going to start with my first review today, but I’ve already written enough and my accounts (yuk) are calling. Toodles.

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