Archive for Glass

Double Helix delight

Wednesday afternoon

All is going well on the Double Helix (DH) glass front. I’ve kind of got to grips with Terranova 2 (TNT), the very colourful striking glass that starts off very dark brown, and here’s a pic to keep you amused….

Teranova 2

yay it worked this time…..Rick asked his mate Peter (now one of the lead developers for WordPress) and then sorted the problem the other night. The top row is TNT encased in Laucha clear, not too bubbly, the bottom is encased with Vetrofond Crystal Clear, bubble city, and the centre row is TNT on a mix of clear and transparent amethyst glass. The top 2 rows sold at the Big Bead Show, but the bottom row is available, I may even pop them in my shop…..

Today I spent a happy few hours playing with Pysche, another DH glass, this one is a reduction glass which means that I can get shimmery oil slick effects from it if I wish. So I’ve been noodling around with it seeing how it responds to clear dots and stringers. My main aim with all this, as well as hating to let anything defeat me, is to produce a stunning focal or set of beads to enter into the Beads and Beyond magazine competition. I believe I’m getting there by steps,  but we’ll see what the kiln fairy leaves me later tonight, and if it’s a goodun, I definitely won’t be sharing just yet.

But for your delectation and pleasure now I’d like to present the beads I was going to post last week……drum roll please..well, I have to make a fuss because I don’t usually post photos…..

Turquoise Frit SwirlersPink Frit SwirlersTurquoise RivenGreen & Blue Frit SwirlersBlossom Blues Mix

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Last few tuition dates for 2008

Monday afternoon

Phew, I’m glad this weekend is over. It was a very busy show on Saturday at Sandown, a huge event with masses of stalls and hundreds of visitors. Thank you to everyone who came to see us and say hello, and of course to everyone who bought my beads. My tray of new beads was decimated by the end of the show, I hope you all enjoy using them. I was so busy all day that it was only when I popped over to Tufnells late afternoon to collect my glass supplies that I realised how wet it was outside, yuch. Fortunately we didn’t have too far to drive to get home so were tucking into a well deserved curry and a bottle of wine by about 8 o’clock that evening, and today I’m sat here with my feet up having a second day of rest to get over the last 2 months solid of work. I now have to plan how I’m going to fit in the next 2 months work and sort Christmas at the same time, rather than leave it all until the last week before the event.

I have 3 tuition dates remaining this year, all of them for 1 person to attend a 1 day Beginners Beadmaking Course. The dates available are

Friday 7th Nov (yes…this week!)

Wednesday 12th Nov (next week)

Thursday 27th Nov

Email me to secure your place on one of these courses, the last dates available before next February! We are planning to replace the studio in January next year so I will not recommence teaching until February.

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Harrow again (revisited)

Wednesday teatime

Here we are again, a week later. Harrow was good, even though I was tired by the time I got there. I had been pushing it working everyday for the 2 weeks in the run up to the fair, and now I’m extremely pooped, but hey, I did it! Thank you to everyone who came to say hello and also those who bought my beads, especially to Elizabeth, my first customer of the day. So this week I’ve been trying to relax a bit which I’m finding difficult to do as there are so many jobs that I have at the moment, although that’s nothing new, there’s always something to do when you run your own business, and I thought October would be quiet. I have 2 days tuition this week and another hectic weekend ahead of me.

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A good time was had by all

Tuesday midday

Phew I’m wacked! Today is post International Festival of Glass and more importantly post Stourbridge bead fair which this year was an exhausting 3 day affair, but well worth every minute and great fun. Hi to all my friends, customers and forum mates who dropped by to say hello, you all made our weekend such a good one. We should really have rested every evening after the fair, but what’s the point of going all that way and not going out with your friends in the evening? I think the best meal (in terms of taste) was on our first evening when we visited Ruby Cantonese around the corner from the Ruskin Centre, with Di East, Paddy Bush and Ruzica Ruane and her son (sorry, I can’t remember your name). We also revisited a pub where you get 2 meals for 1 with Francesca Cerreta and Caroline McMillan (waves!) and then the penultimate evening visited the Crooked House pub with Julie Anne Denton, Di East and Vic and Ian Bamforth, 2 glass blowers from the Red House Cone. It’s so nice to be able to spend time with glassy friends and make new friends.

I think it’s fair to say a good time was had by all, including our daughter who we took with us for the first time, I think 4 days babysitting was a bit too much after all the time she spent away when I was in hospital! I will try and get some photos up later, it’s not like I don’t have many to choose from, Rick took over 400 this weekend…lol.

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In the driving seat

Saturday evening

The last day of Open Houses and studios is tomorrow, Sunday. Several venues will be open during the afternoon so do have a trek around and see some individual pieces of art. Today I woke up feeling so chirpy that I decided last minute to pack up my studio and take it down to Ediths to demonstrate making handmade glass beads. I was in the same place as last year, in a cosy little outbuilding facing out to the garden, although it was rather chilly in the shade there today. This was only my second attempt at making beads since my surgery, and I started getting back into the groove after a dodgy start last Thursday. It’s so good to be getting back to normality, and even though I had a rainbow of colours available to use today I decided to concentrate on making black and white beads with clear, to make a necklace for my mums birthday. It’s amazing how many different styles you can come up with even with such a limited palette, oh I had great fun, and even Rick joined in with a bumpy black and white creation just before we packed up.

Talking about new things, my recovery has progressed enough to allow me to drive again, amazing how fast all this is, so on Tuesday (seven weeks after) I attempted to get in the driving seat and had an enjoyable little tootle around the block, yay! This is really good news for me as it now means I have some independence and can actually leave the house on short errands or just to treat myself to a coffee in town, because I can. I can also start walking up and down a few of the stairs at home normally (instead of one step at a time with the same foot leading each step). I tend to walk around the house without a stick now, much better for carrying trays and mugs of tea, and even managed to wash my own hair this week. Now I’m guessing that for most of this you’ll be thinking ‘So what?’ but for a 45 year old it’s really annoying having to depend on someone else to do all this, and every new achievement is another step back to normality and independence. I’m hoping to conquer the shower this week, as up until now I’ve needed help to get in and out of the bath.

I hope that this little log of my progress will encourage anyone who’se reading and needing some sort of replacement, to feel encouraged by my experience and take the plunge to get help.

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Open Houses countdown 3 days to go

Wednesday morning

I have a zillion and one things to do today, OK not really, but I do have lots to do and I shouldn’t really be here talking to you but I am so there. Yesterday was my 6 week from hip hop day, and it was a good one. No more blood thinning jabs in my belly and I got rid of my sexy white compression pop socks just in time for the hotest day so far this year and spent the day sporting a cool pair of shorts. I even managed to get a steaming hot mug of tea down the steps into our garden so I could sit and slurp on my favourite bench. I also haven’t had any painkillers since Sunday night, how cool is that? I have to admit having a moment at 12 noon yesterday, as that was when they woke me up in recovery and I felt so chilled. This whole experience so far has been completely different from my last surgery, where I was still on crutches and using a wheelchair after 6 months, but here we are, 6 weeks on and I practice walking in the house without sticks when I feel up to it, although I do still need my crutches. Chalk and cheese.

Half way through my recommended recovery period and I think it’s going really well, now all I have to do is pluck up the courage to try making beads again. My brain has been and is still so ditzy and slow that I haven’t dared approach the flame for fear of doing something stupid and burning myself, also my mobility and flexibility constraints have made me wary of trying to sit for any length of time in my studio or reaching to get things and forgetting my hip precautions. Add to this my tiredness after short times of activity and you don’t really have the best of situations. So I’ve decided to leave well alone until I feel I can enjoy making glass beads in safety.

I do have lots to do to get ready for Open Houses this weekend. I’m setting up my first display at the 2×4 Studios in Horsham today and have several jobs that I must do for that, including fitting out my flat display cabinets, deciding exactly what I want in them and how I’m going to arrange and display them. I also have to get all the ‘stuff’ together to make my sales, for example packaging, a sign to explain what I do, a mirror etc…..phew. See you later.

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Time to play

Wednesday tea time

Yay, my accounts are finished and my tax return has been well and truly submitted, albeit at midnight on Monday. Typically I was so shattered yesterday that I didn’t do anything at all, but I think I deserved a day off after working all weekend, all last week and every evening last week. I’m now turning my thoughts to what jobs I can do before the next manic season arrives. I’d like to improve my studio and get the house and garden tidy (ha ha) but I bet something else gets in the way….it always does! I’m going to have to write a plan so that I can do preparation for the next bead fairs and jewellery exhibitions and dovetail it in with some home improvements. I also need to sit down and work out just how I can keep my accounts up to date as the year progresses, that would be so lovely, as then I wouldn’t waste all of January getting stressed and spending time on paperwork when I could be making beads and jewellery. It’s a nice thought but I can’t help feeling I won’t manage it, although if I take the defeatist attitude I don’t stand a chance, so, I’m going to make it work this year. I hope to start by tackling my current years accounts and getting up to date if possible. Oh what a boring subject, are you bored with this? I know I am.

So, I think I may well have to go out to my studio tomorrow and make some beads, I have new toys to play with, a new press that I got before Christmas, a Creation Station and 10 pots of frit that Rick brought back from New York, also my stash of Double Helix glass and Vetrofond odd lots that I haven’t had time to experiment with yet.  Also watch this space for some new beads in my shop, most with a valentines theme. So much to do, so little time.

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Exhausted and happy

Thursday lunchtime

Je suis tres content merci. I’ve had a lovely 3 days on a glass course and I’m smiling from ear to ear and feeling very content with my world. After 5 years beadmaking and experience I decided it was time to push the boundaries out once more and increase my skills by learning some flameworking. You may be wondering what the difference is….well, flameworking is the term generally given for items that are not necessarily made on a mandrel (the mandrel makes a bead with a hole).  So flameworking can be anything from goblets to sculptural animals and fish, dragons, the human form, you name it, but generally not beads. Most of these items tend to be decorative, or pendants that can be worn from a chain or similar. I already do a small amount of flamework with my leaves and heart pendants, but now I’m revved up and raring to go on all sorts, so tomorrow when I go out to my studio to make dichroic focal beads to sell as pendants I’m going to be struggling to stay on track!

So a huge thank you to my friend Julie Anne Denton who was such a good and inspiring teacher, and an excellent artist. Do go and check out her website.

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Buzz buzz buzz, I wonder why it does? (ode to AA Milne)

Saturday lunchtime

Don’t blink, don’t turn away, don’t blink……..well I did and my week has been stolen. It hasn’t really, but it made an interesting start to this post. I’ve been busy teaching all week in what should have been a quiet and cooler month, and hasn’t it been hot and sunny? The weather’s been gorgeous and we’ve been getting soooooo hot with 2 burners, 3 people and a kiln in a relatively small space. It looks like summer has arrived at last, mind you the main problem with that is the wasps have arrived as well. But the good news is that most flying things haven’t bothered us this week with the new all singing and dancing fly screen. We had 2 sneaky wasps find a large gap when we hadn’t closed it properly but that was all. Not bad going really, so definitely an improvement on no screen and lots of screams!

Meanwhile the saga of the unruly house continues, you should see it (or maybe not). Stuff everywhere since we decided to decorate our daughters bedroom and are now having to accommodate 8 years worth of general stuff and art in the rest of the house. We really need to have a big sort out and de clutter before it all goes back in…which it’s NOT going to do. I’m well prepared for the sort out….got my dust masks and dust goggles last weekend to cope….I have a dust allergy see? I think it may end up looking like a scene from Silent Witness if we’re not careful. Now where did I put my white disposable coveralls?

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Wigwag paddy whack

Friday teatime

It’s been a fairly sunny day here today, and is now staring to cloud over, we just hope the weather holds for the party we’re having before Mike Frantz leaves for Holland and Germany. What can I say about Mike? He’s a friendly, kind man, who has done loads for the bead making art glass community by taking the time to forge links with the Italians so that we can enjoy a beautiful range of the finest venetian glass. He’s been awarded the ISGB 2006 Hall of Flame Award – ‘this goes to a person whose contribution to the world of glass beadmaking as well as the ISGB (International Society of Glass Beadmakers) has left a long lasting legacy worthy of recognition’.

We enjoyed having Mike to stay for 2 nights, and he showed us many goodies that he’d obtained along the way, including some very valuable Murinnis that were stunning in detail, various samples of glass that he’d obtained from Effetre and Murano and a few select designer beads. He generously gave me (among a few other things) about 1/4 lb of a brand new colour from effetre to try first and some interesting goldstone which is shaped like a ribbon. It sure makes a change for us in England to have the first chance of trying a new colour or product.

And this is what I made with the new green called Grasshopper…….including the wigwags that I talked about yesterday…..the blue one is grasshopper free.

Swirly whirly Wigwag beadwigwagsgrasshopper floralBlues wigwag foacl

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Broadfield House of glass

Thursday evening

Another week has passed since I last blogged, and guess what…I’m whacked out. We had a great time at Broadfield House on Saturday and then came home to get ready for Mike Frantz’s visit. Mike owns one of the 2 largest beadmaking supplies companies in the world called Frantz and knows so many beadmakers. He regularly flies to Venice from Washington state in America to visit Effetre who make the glass that so many of us love. I’ll write more about Mikes visit another day as he stayed with us for 2 nights, but today I’ve posted up some photos from our day at Broadfield House.

Me Demonstrating at Broadfield HouseThe TableRoy Ayre DemonstratingA Captive Audience

I should also add that today has been a first for me as I spent a few hours being one of the first beadmakers in the world to try out the new colour from effetre. It’s a minty green colour that Mike is going to call Grasshopper and is very close to a shade that I mixed myself in February. My beads from today are annealed, cooled and cleaned and await Ricks photographic treatment. I also made several wig wag canes today using this colour and may put up a photo of these tommorrow if you’re lucky, that’s if I can move my arms tommorrow, all that wig wag twisting has made them ache like mad. Ouch. I also get to try out the goldstone ribbon that Mike picked up in Venice, that’s what I’ll do on the morrow what ho!

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Broadfield House beads day

Wednesday morning

It’s been a manic few days. I’ve been busy with preparing for and doing a couple of informal sales of my work. Both these mini events went well and now I’m gearing up for the Beads Day at Broadfield House this Saturday. This will be my third time at this event, selling my beads and jewellery together with those of other GBUK members and demonstrating glass bead making the studio. This has always been such a lovely day and we’re all looking forward to it. There are several bead stalls arranged in the various museum rooms and the museum is well worth a look around. Open 10am – 4 pm See you there!

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Don’t stop me now…I’m having a ball (ode to Queen)

Wednesday lunchtime

I love making beads I do. I’m having a great time this morning, and just popped indoors to make a mug of coffee. I’m making huge beads today, with a view to submitting them for a couple of exhibitions, deadlines looming. So must dash.

Also I need to get some more beads in my shop, there’s been a real flurry of sales this week and I now need to restock. Thank you to everyone whose bought something this week whether in the shop or by request. There will be some lurve stuff coming in a couple of days as I’m getting in the Valentine mood and have been making hearts and lots of pink beads in general. TTFN, deadlines, you know.

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Guildford, here we come

Saturday afternoon

Rick’s asleep on the settee. Honestly the man’s got no stamina. We got home from a short Christmas fair an hour ago and now he’s zeding away, anyone would think he’s been lugging boxes around or that he got up earlish for a Saturday. We now have to decide what to do with the remainder of our precious Saturday. We have 3 fairs next weekend then we’re done, although I’m beevering away busily to keep my cabinet at the Gallery in Milford stocked up, where my jewellery is out of the shop quicker than I can keep it stocked (they are buying it, it doesn’t just hop off on it’s own like an enchanted thang).

I have to say that I’m feeling a bit less stressed now yesterday is over, which had to be ‘The day from Hell’. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t that bad but it was bad enough. I had to drive over to Guildford with my pieces for the Exhibition at The Guildford House in the High Street, and couldn’t find the gallery anywhere, having never really been to Guildford before. I had to park on a meter near where I thought it would be and walk until I could find it, stopping to ask knowledgeable looking passers-by where it could be, not like I was in a hurry or anything (hmmm). When I’d set up my part of the display and helped where I could (the room looks great by the way, lots of scarves) I whizzed back uphill to my car with 2 minutes to spare on the meter and planned my trip to Millford to restock my cabinet.

I was told it was 10 minutes down the road……I suppose it would have been if I hadn’t kept taking wrong turns and going round in 15 mile circles, or getting stuck in traffic jams while I tried to correct what I’d done wrong. Then my phone ran out of money in the middle of nowhere. nnnnnrrrrgh. I should have reached the Millford gallery by 4:05 at the latest but ended up staggering in totally flustered at 4:47 with 13 minutes to spare before the shop closed. Then I left my only pen that works well with my jewellery labels on the top of my cabinet. rats. Still at least my cabinet looks a bit fuller again.

Here’s some snaps of the gallery at Millford


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OOps I forgot the title.

Tuesday morning
Yipeee, at last I get to make beads again. I’ve been so busy the last week that this is my first chance to blog or bead and I may not be doing experimental work or trying out all the new glass and frits I have ordered lately, but I’m going to enjoy myself. I have to make pendants and beads for my craft fairs and the Guild exhibition, so will be in production mode, but the good news is that I can please myself on what I produce, oh the joys of being self employed and setting my own targets.

I must say though that it is going to be very hard to stop myself from trying out the new ASK104 glass from Kugler or the gold pink frit that I’ve waited years to get hold of. It’s also going to be fun working in a studio with more space, it feels so much better now the shelves have been removed and storage is below the benches like it should have been from the start.

I’m also very relieved that the weather is still so mild, I’ve been kind of dreading working in the freezing cold, but last night as I dipped mandrels at 10pm it was still warm enough to work and I had to stop myself sitting down for a play. Must dash. (moustache?)

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Happy buffdee to me again!

Wednesday tea time

Oh he’s so funny my hubby Rick! Today I’m officially another year older and what did I get for my pressy? A plant that I can never kill…..oh yes, I can starve this one of water like all the other houseplants and it won’t ever die. Marvellous. I will be getting something nicer cos I’d like a digital radio to listen to while making beads in my studio. That way I’ll be able to listen to some of the books read on One Word. All I need to do is choose one, hmmm, like I have time for that at the moment. We have 2 fairs this weekend and I need to sort my pieces for the next Surrey Guild exhibition at Guildford by Thursday next week. I just can’t believe how the time is shooting by and how little time I seem to have, to do stuff. All my wishes to be less stressed in the build up to Christmas are going horribly wrong. But the good news is that I’m extra busy because of joining the Guild, with all the extra opportunities that it has brought. Must dash and get ready for my birthday treat.

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The fair frenzy begins

Friday evening

Oh I’ve been a busy bee this evening.  I’ve made a few updates to the information on this site.  Details of the Surrey Guild gallery can be found on the outlets page, and a link to the website on the links page. I’ve also updated my tuition details announcing the second workstation, so ‘learn with a friend’ is officially here. yipee.

We have an early(ish) start tomorrow as we attend the first of our official Christmas do’s.

We can be found at Croham Hurst School, Croham Road in South Croydon at their Craft Fair, from 11am to 3pm. We will have our usual mix of my contemporary glass jewellery together with my fun fashion ranges and my hand-crafted silver chains, bangles and earrings.

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Two’s company

Saturday evening

Brrrrrrrrrrr. It’s definately cooling down for winter. It was 0.5 deg C in my studio yesterday morning and 5 deg C today, although Rick had put the heater on to warm it up before we went out there. I’ve had the joy of teaching several beginner beadmakers lately and have 2 more coming together next week, so it’s a relief to finally get my spare oxygen concentrator and second torch hooked up and working. Rick changed part of the worktop last week so we can accommodate a second student, and I’ve been buying the bits to furnish a second workstation and to posh up my glass storage, which at the moment consists of long cardboard boxes stowed on the shelves in the studio. Those are coming out to make room for 3 people at once in the studio (2 students and little ole’ me). Oh it’s so exciting, I love changes, especially when it’s for the better.

Of course I will be sticking to my one to one lessons, so if you book on your own, that booking is one to one, unless of course you want to bring a friend to learn with you. I will never add another person to a one to one booking that has already been made, but I’ve had so many requests for 2 friends together lately that we felt we needed to do something. I’m off to put me feet up with a coffee now, have a good weekend.

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Much too tired to think of a good title……

Tuesday evening

I thought I’d better pop in and say hi. I’ve had my head down again, desperately trying to get an important project done (not telling you what that is, in case it all goes wrong). Of course it involves glass beads and a bit of silver, isn’t it great to realise you need a particular colour glass bead and be able to pop out to the studio and knock a few out? The only drawback is that you have to wait for the kiln to heat up and then wait for your beads while it goes through the anneal cycle.

I have several jobs on the go as usual, my favourite at the moment has to be organising a batch of 30 T shirts which I’m having printed, actually this year it’s a full colour iron on motif. Previous years have been screen printed.

The bad news is that my daughter finishes school tommorrow for half term, so I shouldn’t really be working for the next 11 days, but I will be fitting in stuff as and when I can. Night all.

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We’ll always have Parrots

Monday morning

I’m back. I haven’t really been away but it feels like it, having had my head down getting ready for Harrow. It was manic last week, spending every hour possible in my studio making new beads (yipee), cleaning them (yuk) and then Saturday photographing them (thank you Rick) and pricing them up (boring). I made several new favourites last week, and it was lovely to see them sell early on in the day, always reassuring that but also a bit sad that I can’t enjoy looking at them this week. Oh well, I do have my photos. Or should I say we’ll always have photos…….we watched Red Dwarf when we got home last night, the episode called Camille where Kryton falls in love with what turns out to be a blob, then they go on to reenact Cassablanca. Sorry, rambling, but I would recommend Red Dwarf (series 4 episode 1). I’ll be putting the new boxed set All the Shows 5 to whatever it is on my Christmas list. Although I didn’t like the last one so much cos it got all posh with film type production instead of the low budget, wobbly set, naff sound I loved at the start. Not at all like Blake 7 wobbly sets that they took so seriously….but oh, I’m starting to sound like a sci fi geek.

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