Archive for May, 2006

Bits and bobs

Friday lunchtime

Another week almost over and the Whitsun half term is upon us. I’ll be taking a break from the computer and all things glassy to spend some quality time with our daughter, poor thing’s been rather neglected of late (and I think she gets a bit fed up of seeing me tapping away!) so I’m sorry I won’t be replying to any of your emails in the next week. Business will be resumed on Monday 6th June!
I’m really pleased to be able to add some more events, so please check out my events page for details, among them is the RAG Open Houses, but I’ll post more about that in June and The Beadwork Fair at Lingfield in July.

I thought I’d post my pictures of the beads I demonstrated last saturday, so just a quick snap of them, nothing fancy, and please excuse the bead poop. I’ve just been told (by Rick) that these don’t do me justice, but it’s hard to do great beads when you’re being watched and you have a shakey hand day.  I also just noticed I’m showing the shakey side of the star, rats.
Demo beads for Broadfield House

Also here’s my frog for the GlassHarmony frog challenge

Frog side view

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I want to tell you a story

Sunday evening

Helloooooooooo. Wow, nearly the end of the weekend already, I’m wacked! I had a craft fair on Friday afternoon/teatime and came home to pack for one night in Dudley and the following day at the museum. Well, we got ready and arrived at midnight to stay at the Copthorne Hotel for the first time. I got a cracking internet deal, cos I wasn’t about to stay in the Travelodge again after the grotty room we had last summer (that’s yet another story). We arrived bright and early at the museum at 9:45 (well I’m very honest when I say I’m rubbish at early mornings, and we did get waylaid by a huge tray of food for breakfast delivered by room service) and helped Amanda finish setting out the display. The day zoomed by, it was such a lovely atmosphere, with lots of interested people eager to discuss beads and glass, and several locals who had popped in to see what it was all about, only to be overwhelmed by the beauty of the lampworked beads on display and for sale.

Our demonstrations were well received, I had a whale of a time making a raked star, a penguin, a fish and a slightly wonky red dotty bead and of course I had that very silly grin on my face when I finished. We were also joined by Kate Drew Wilkinson for the day who’d been teaching at Plowden and Thompsons the previous week.

After we’d all packed up and finished chatting in the car park we went our separate ways, us on a mission to find a campsite for the glass festival later on this year. 4 campsites later Read the rest of this entry »

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Broadfield House Bead Day

Friday lunchtime

Just to remind you, I’m at the Broadfield House Glass Museum tommorrow at their beads day, demonstrating glass beadmaking together with Judith Johnston, Amanda Glanville and Roy Ayre. I’m planning to make Penguins, fish, stars and anything else that takes my fancy. I may even make some off mandrel heart and implossion pendants. We’ll also have 2 tables of lovely bead goodies for sale, beads, jewellery and accessories. The museum itself also has a range of glass beadmaking books for sale, and of course there’s Plowden and Thompson a couple of miles down the road in Stourbridge. There are also other stalls selling Vintage beads and other lovelies, and the museum itself is worth a look around.

Do swing by and say hello (after all, it’s free to get in!).

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crushing news

Friday morning

It’s a sad day today. The first one of our wedding presents from 10 years ago failed this week. Poor Kitty the white plastic kettle has been replaced by a more funky brushed stainless steel version (Steve) , which now stands proudly on our worktop, matching the whole kitchen much better than the old one did. Kitty has served us well for the last 10 years, tirelessly boiling water on demand. One now wonders what tragedy will befall her, will she meet her maker (Kenwood) or will she be simply crushed amid a pile of decaying vegetation and household rubbish? One also wonders what domestic item will fail next, since almost all our appliances are coming up for their 10th birthday, looks like we need pension plans for them all. Alas poor Kitty, I knew her well.

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She sells seashells….well, glass ones

Monday morning

Oh I’m sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo tired……but happy…….and itching to get out to my studio and play with glass, and put into practise what I’ve learnt.

The course this weekend was brilliant. It was extremely intense, and consisted mainly of Kate doing demonstrations of different ways to use enamels, metals, ceramic overglazes, reduction glass and a weekend long demo of electroforming and all the information on how to do it. She also treated us to demos of various fancy canes and some of her most popular beads like her seashells, buxom goddesses, and fantasy bead (you can see two of these in Cindy Jenkins book, Making Glass Beads). We didn’t do much lampwork ourselves, but what we did was play with some of the materials she was demonstrating to see what effects we could achieve. Consequently my beads are not that wonderful to show here, which isn’t a problem at all. As Kate said in her introduction in the bound notes, the class was a techniques class, and not a production class, after all, we can go home and practise what we’ve seen…..can’t wait.

What can I say about Kate, she is such a fantastic artist, very inspirational, very generous with her knowledge and a very lovely lady. Thank you so much Kate.

I did take pictures, but will post them later, together with snaps of the 2 beads I bought.   See ya’ll.

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a surfeit of mandrels

Friday afternoon

Lovely day today here. I decided to try and do wifey thangs and do some washing and shopping and stuff. I also got some lovely purple nail polish to mark my tools, it’s called Passionale. Of course I couldn’t stick to the wifey stuff all day, I just had to go and get something more tooly. I’ve invested in a leather apron for tommorrow and general use, and a huge container (5kg) of welding rods to make new mandrels. I’m going to have a surfeit of mandrels soon, so I may just put some in my shop….coming soon!

My tools are nicely marked now, together with the black kitchen worktop, oops. Have a good weekend, I know I will, hurrah! and I’ll hopefully have some pictures for you next week.

p.s. pot of beads still crammed full to the gunnels…..can’t put this off much longer

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5, 4, 3, 2, 1

Wednesday morning

Paperwork morning again! I’ve had 2 lovely days in my studio making dichroic beads, and now I’ve a shed load of stuff to clean, all of last weeks and 2 days this week, rats. I love making the beads, but the cleaning bit, well, anyone who knows me knows that I hate housework (cleaning you see, and dust (high in calorie, low in calorie?)). I have a tendancy to procrastinate with jobs I don’t like and consequently my ‘beads to clean’ pot of water is overflowing, just like the laundry basket I hear you say.

The good news is that the countdown to my course on Saturday has started, and I’m starting to get excited. I have to take my own favourite tools with me and am wondering just how I’m going to label them so I don’t end up with a sticky mess of chewed up sticky label or black marker pen that gets all over my hands. Now if that’s the least of my worries I’m a happy woman. (note to self…..must go and buy lurid colour nail polish.)
Other stuff that’s happening, well, if you’re eagerly awaiting my shop, I was poised the other day to open it, when Rick pointed out that I couldn’t take Paypal yet, rats. So a few more weeks delay I’m afraid while I get that sorted.

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Sunday evening

Oh the joy of second chance Sunday, I’m on the sofa indulging in the 3rd episode of the new season of LOST. It’s been a long wait.

I had a very frustrating afternoon trying to get to grips with Autosketch by Autodesk, a CAD drawing package that we got free with a magazine. I thought it would be a cinch with my previous CAD experience but it all looked so different. After 2 hours farting about I gave up and had dinner and even had a quick look at Ebay for a real second hand drawing board, but a good bit of thinking later on (I always resolve problems sitting on the toilet – but that’s another story) I remembered how I used to use Autocad, and started getting somewhere. What a relief.  I’m hoping to be able to use this for drawing all sort of stuff, from garden plans to special tools.  I live in hope!  night all.

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Spark city

Friday morning

woo hoo. It’s a lovely day and I’m about to go outside to fire up the kiln and make beads. I’m feeling a bit nervous about the spark lighter…..but the good news is that all my beads from Tuesday were OK, no blips or notches on them from sticking to other beads, which they obviously didn’t.  Ooo and I should say that I DID manage to repair the pendant with the broken loop, so I’m well pleased.
I’m busy making beads to send to France for a gallery, so that should keep me occupied for a while. Also the Bead bazaar at Redworth in County Durham is looming so I’ve got that to prepare for too. And…..I’m going on a bead making course next weekend. This will be my first one since I learnt to put glass to mandrel 4 years ago. It’s an advanced class with Kate Fowle (I think I’m up to it) over at Creative Glass in Rochester, where I popped in a couple of months ago to stock up on glass. I’m really looking forward to this, and hope I’ll meet some new glass budies. Must scoot and get on. byeeeeeeee.

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….and again

Tuesday evening

I don’t know about ‘Passing the Flame’ but I’ve been doing a bit of ‘Thowing the Flame’ today. Oh yes the new Spark lighter briefly turned my torch into a high velocity flame thrower, again. It’s only my first day of using it but I’m obviously doing something wrong. Cindy Jenkins in her book ‘Making Glass Beads’ says this about spark lighters “These tend to be a little more difficult to use than matches and may require a bit of practice”, no **** Sherlock!

It hasn’t been a marvelous day making beads. My zone was here big time and I made some gorgeous beads, but every time I went to put those focals in the kiln I managed to clonk what was next to it, or put them in too hot and then clonk the adjacent one making a blip. Oh man, sometimes you just get those days, I decided to quit earlier than I would normally on a Tuesday, before I do anymore damage to my precious works of art.

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Tuesday morning

I’ve got a new toy, nothing particulary exciting, just a piece of equipment to let me light my torch flame safer than what I’ve been using previously. But you wouldn’t have thought so an hour ago. I managed to turn my torch into a flame thrower with huge flames coming at me and licking at my left hand which was controlling the gas knob! I tried again to see what would happen and the same thing happened……I’ve singed the hairs on my left hand and had a lovely smell of burnt hair lingering on my hand and in my studio for the last hour. I think a bit more practice is in order. OK so I need to go back out and light up again now, must process information and work out how to do this safely in the next 5 minutes………..

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