Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Goodbye 2008.... Hello 2009!

So, it's the end of another year. The older I get the quicker they pass by!

While I was busily making jewellery today I was thinking about all that has happened in 2008. Here are a few of my 2008 glassy highlights;

  • My fabulous trip to Venice and Murano in May where I saw the glass masters at work.
  • Having my first project accepted by Bead Magazine. (To be published on 21st Jan 2009)
  • Developing my "Fossil Series" of beads.
  • Learning new techniques, including implosions.
  • Being featured as Artist of the Month on Frit Happens.
  • Visiting Ray Skene's fabulous studio at The Model House.
  • Learning to encase beads. (Thank you Lorna!)
  • Mastering Jens Pind Linkage! (Thank you George)
  • Creating my first pieces of silver.
  • Raising £3200 for the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust by auctioning eight pieces of jewellery. (Next auction taking place in January 2009!)
  • Being part of the very first UK Flame Off at Towcester in April.
  • Attending my first Art in Action event in July.
  • The International Glass Festival in Stourbridge in August.
  • Being included in the Frit Happens 2009 Calendar as Miss January!
  • Creating a piece of jewellery for Samantha Janus, and receiving a personal thank you.
  • Being featured in the Spotlight slot at
  • Having my work accepted in the Gallery of the Jinney Ring Craft Centre.
  • Meeting lots of fellow glassheads and making some good friends.

Wow, that was quite a year!

On the non-glassy front the best thing that has happened for me is getting a brand new job, just 15 minutes up the road, which I start on January 5th!

So that's that then, 2008 is almost over. Soon we'll have a brand new year to make our mark on. I hope it's a good one for all of us. Happy New Year!

Monday, 8 December 2008

Vintage Keys - with Beads!

When my Grandad died, all of us Grandchildren were invited to choose something that would remind us of him. Various items were chosen, including his infamous cap and his glasses. I chose the chain that he always had buttoned to his trousers, and which he kept his keys on.

A little while ago I was tidying my dressing table drawers and found the chain. It had his old door key on it, and straightaway I knew what I needed to do with it! I made a little bead on it, and I'm going to make it into a lovely piece of jewellery for myself, using my Grandad's originial chain to hang it from.

Anyway, I then found my old back door key, and made a bead on that too, and I'm now using that one for a keyring. It's great!

I have also discovered that although some keys appear to me made from iron, they are in fact made from a softer alloy. Holding one such key in the flame of my torch rapidly turned a key into a little puddle of molton metal on my work surface!

I have now decided to make beaded keys available to my customers to use in their own jewellery/craft projects, and I have just listed the first few in my Folksy shop.

Here are just a few of them;

Let me know what you think!

Sunday, 30 November 2008


Well I think I am beginning to thaw out after spending the weekend in a freezing marquee at the Jinney Ring. This has to have been the coldest weekend of the winter so far, and it is just typical that it coincided with the Jewellery Fair.

Half of the stalls were inside, and the other half were outside in the marquee, which was open both ends, so not much help in keeping warm! Despite the cold, it was a really nice event, and those of us in the marquee shared tips on keeping warm in Siberian conditions. When we arrived this morning we all looked twice the size we looked yesterday, because we'd added a few extra layers of clothing for today!

I have learned that a piece of carpet underfoot really prevents the cold from the ground chilling your bones. I've also learned that when your Mum says "Wear a hat, it'll make all the difference" it is actually true. Finally, I've learned that biros don't flow in cold conditions, but noses do.

It was really lovely to meet existing customers, and some new ones too. I even had a visit from a lovely gentleman and his wife who bought one of the charity pieces for the orphan elephants a couple of weeks ago. They left with my most favourite necklace, and I am thrilled it's gone to such a lovely home.

All in all it was a lovely weekend!

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Designer to the Stars!

Several months ago there was a Forum Challenge to design a piece of jewellery for an Eastenders cast member. It all started when Barbara Windsor (aka Peggy Mitchell) was spotted on tv wearing a gorgeous bracelet. Sooz, of the Forum, contacted Barbara to ask about it, and Barbara explained that the bracelet had been a gift but she had subsequently lost it. We all decided to contribute beads to make her a new bracelet!

Well then we all thought how nice it would be if we could send the other cast members something too, so I made this for Samantha Janus, who plays Ronnie Mitchell.

I used my own lampwork beads with some lace agate, and hammered some wire to mount them on. Then I used a pretty bail to hang them from a silver chain.

This week I received a thank you note from Samantha.

How nice! You never know, I may see her wearing it at the next red carpet event!

Saturday, 22 November 2008


I had a birthday last week, and Becky of Chameleon Designs produced the perfect blown glass paperweights for me to spend my birthday money on!

Becky and her fellow Uni students are raising money so that they can go to New Designers next year, and these paperweights are Becky's contribution.

This was my first purchase. A gorgeous ribbony swirl of blue, highlighted against a fritty white trail.

I liked it so much that when Becky made a second batch I just had to have this one.

Trails of cranberry captured in beautifully clear glass.

Well done Becky, these are fabulous!

Friday, 21 November 2008

Kitty, the Woodland Fairy

Meet Kitty, the Woodland Fairy.

Kitty is the fabulous creation of the very talented and generous Sabine Little of Little Castle Designs. Sabine is talented because she makes the most fabulous sculptural beads, and generous because she offered the stunning Kitty up as an incentive for members of the Frit Happens Forum to make a donation to Children in Need.

Sabine not only makes exquisite fairies, she also makes beautiful butterflies and roses and has a real talent for these sculptural pieces.

Sabine sent me Kitty to bring me luck and grant my wishes, and I have had a major piece of luck this week (more of that another day), so she's certainly fulfilling her role!

Massive thanks to Sabine for her generosity. I will treasure Kitty always.

Monday, 17 November 2008

::::::::::: Drumroll ::::::::::

The Charity auctions for the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust finished today and raised the grand total of...............


This will make an enormous difference to the Trust, and I'm so grateful to everyone who has been so generous.

The top price was made by the "Lesanju" piece, which finally sold for £670. Incredible!

And guess what? We're doing it all over again! Watch this space to find out about when the next auction will be taking place.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Organics Necklace

Just a quick blog today as I wanted to show you this necklace. I'm really pleased with it!

Click on the picture to see more details.

Oh... and the elephant auctions have now tipped over the £2000 mark!!!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Beautiful People

I have been completely staggered today by the level of interest I have had in my beads and jewellery. Followers of my Blog will have read about the Charity auctions that are taking place this week for the DSWT.

A staggering £500 was raised shortly after the auctions were published on the Trust's website. Now that is just incredible, but NOTHING compared to what happened today when the Trust emailed all its supporters to tell them about the auctions!

From the moment I woke up my iPhone hasn't stopped pinging with emails from people enquiring about my beads and jewellery, and I've had lots of sales today. The frustrating thing is that I have lots more stock to list, but am unlikely to have time to list it until Friday. Doh!

Unfortunately "Bumpy Beads" has to fit in around my "real" job, so apologies for not getting new items into my shop immediately.

But that's not all! As I type, the auctions are currently at over £1500! Elephant people are Beautiful People! If you have bid on one of my pieces THANK YOU.

I wish all of the bidders the very best of luck in winning a special Orphan Elephant piece, and if you're not lucky enough to win, perhaps you may find something you like on my website over the weekend.

Here's a sneak preview of some of the items I'll be listing shortly. I have fossil pendants, charm pendants and some gorgeous glass bead necklaces with maille chains. Keep checking back!

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Off to a Flying Start!

After a little more than 24 hours over £500 has been raised from the auctions of my jewellery for the DSWT. I am absolutely chuffed! Thank you very much to everyone who has bid so far.

But with 9 days left there's still plenty of time to grab yourself a Christmas gift. Just pop over here to the auctions.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Grab a bargain!

A little while ago I blogged that I'd been working hard on a commission, and I promised I'd reveal what it was all about in due course.

Well I'd actually been asked to create eight pieces of jewellery for the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust to auction off to raise funds for their exceedingly worthwhile cause. The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed that I support this charity by donating £1 for every item I sell to the Trust. I've blogged about the DSW Trust before, here.

So after much making of beads, and scratching my head to come up with a couple of designs, not to mention a batch of silver elephant charms going missing in action somewhere between my house and Chang Mai in Thailand, the auctions finally went live today. Yay!

The DSWT is going to be emailing its supporters around the globe to tell them about the auctions and I really do hope people see what a perfect opportunity this is to do a bit of Christmas shopping and support a worthy cause at the same time. There might not be any 3 for 2 gift offers here, but you will be getting a one-off piece of glassy art. Not bad eh?

Here's a taster of a couple of the pieces being auctioned, together with a picture of the elephant that each piece is dedicated to.

Firstly meet Lesanju, who was rescued after she fell down a well;

And this is Siria, rescued when his sick mother failed to respond to veterinary treatment;

You can see and bid on all the pieces here, and read a little bit about the elephant that each piece is dedicated to.

The auctions are featured on the DSWT website too, here.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Hat Trick!

Yes, I scored a hat trick. Tagged three times this week. Thank you to Becky, Kelly and Billie who tagged me and proved that some of you do actually read my ramblings!

Here are the rules for tagging:

1. Link to your tagger and display these rules on your blog
2. Share 7 facts about yourself - some random, some WEIRD
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by including links to their blogs
4. Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog

So, here are seven facts about me!

1) I abseiled from the top of a water tower.

2) I have given a goat an enema.

3) I won a competition to design a chocolate. (My chocolate is the Strawberry & Black Pepper chocolate that you'll find in Hotel Chocolat's Exuberantly Fruity selection.)

4) I bumped into Christina Aguilera in a heliport in New York.

5) I passed my Advanced Drivers test.

6) I flew a plane over the Malvern Hills.

7) I always eat chocolate biscuits with the chocolate on the underside.

My seven "tagees" are:


Okay, tagging over! Need a glassy fix? Here are a few beads I've made for a big jewellery commission:

I hope the recipient likes them. Thank you for stopping by and enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Tagged again!

Crumbs! I've been tagged again by Kelly of KEBO Jewellery!

I really must get into gear and update my blog and reciprocate my "taggings", and I promise that by the time next weekend is over I will have done both! I promise I've been very busy, and have lots to show you, and as soon as I can be home during daylight I shall take some photos to post. Going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark isn't terribly conducive to taking mid-week photos. And we haven't even put the clocks back yet!

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

I've been tagged!

Yikes, I've been tagged by the lovely Becky of Chameleon Designs! Thanks Becky!

Seeing as I'm still in "busy mode" you will have to bear with me for a few days until I get a chance to type up seven fascinating facts about myself, but check back some time over the weekend. You never know what you might learn about me!

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Busy busy!

I can't believe it's been three weeks since I last blogged! I've still been in fossil bead mode, and seeing as I've had so many commissions for more I can't see that I'll be stopping any time soon. I don't believe I will ever get bored of making these beads because there is a never-ending combination of twisties to be made. Often the effect that the twistie makes in the finished bead bears no resemblance to the "raw" twistie, so it's great fun watching the effect develop in front of my eyes. I'm still making very long beads, as you can see.....

I'm also busy making commission pieces for a very special auction that will be taking place some time between now and Christmas. Intrigued? I will blog more about that shortly!

I anticipate the next few weeks being very busy indeed, so hopefully I will have lots to show you. I will also let you know where you can see my work in November "in the flesh".

Thanks for dropping by!

Sunday, 31 August 2008

"Taveta" Pendant and more Fossil Beads

Taveta is the latest baby elephant rescued by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. He is just 8 months old, and his mother probably died in a poacher's snare. Thanks to the DSWT, Taveta is now safe and being cared for with his new family in the elephant nursery. To celebrate his rescue I have made a special "Taveta" pendant, which will be auctioned on Ebay this week.

"Taveta" is a beautiful pendant comprising one of my fossil beads. The bead has a base of black, and I have trailed a twist of grey, black and silver around it, which resembles elephant trunks to me! I've added a special Taveta elephant charm, in sterling silver.

So, this is your opportunity to grab yourself a wearable piece of art glass, and at the same time help a worthy cause.

100% of the selling price for this auction will be donated to The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

I have added more beads to my Fossil Collection this weekend, and here are a couple of my favourites;

I hope you like them. Enjoy the remainder of the weekend, and don't forget to bid for my Taveta pendant and help the orphan elephants. Thank you!

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Sweet Dream Necklace

I'm very excited to be able to show you this fabulous necklace that Nia has made, using a set of my implosion beads.

I thoroughly enjoyed making this set. The deep blue transparent glass contrasts well with the soft white, and while implosion beads aren't the simplest technique to master, this set just seemed to come together. I must have been in the zone that day!

Nia has matched the beads with amethyst, which she explains "is believed to aid restful sleep and promote intuitive dreams" - swarovski pearls and crystals, and Hilltribe silver.

Nia is a very talented jewellery designer, and you can see more of her work on her website and on Etsy. She has a Flickr album too, full of her gorgeous creations.

Charm Pendants

No new beads this week, but I have been making some jewellery. I've had all the components for making these pendants for ages, and I'm really pleased that they turned out exactly as I'd imagined them in my head. It so often happens that designs in my head don't translate well when I try to produce them in practice, so it is always something of a surprise when they work!

These are best worn on a longer chain, or leather cord, and these are both on 24" long necklets. I love the way the charms move when they're worn, and the slight tinkling of glass on glass. The beads are quite dainty at around 13mm in diameter, so not heavy enough to do each other any harm.

I've listed them on my Folksy Shop, but it will be a wrench if they sell as I'm rather fond of them!

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Fossil Collection

I'm still in "Fossil Zone", and I had a very productive day yesterday experimenting with different colours and effects. I absolutely love making the complex twisties that are the basis for these beads. Not only are they an excellent way of practicing heat control, they are also tremendous fun. I like to set myself little challenges, such as making the thinnest twistie, or the thickest twistie or the longest twistie. I just like to play really!

I will be listing these beads on my website some time over the weekend.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

I'm Website of the Week!

Gosh! I have been featured in the Spotlight slot over at

It is a really nice article, and I'm so pleased they have chosen my Bora Bora beads, because I absolutely love them! Those are them on the right-hand-side. I was so excited I took a screen grab. I've never been featured on someone else's homepage before!

They have also mentioned my fossil beads and included a photo of Mesozoic. They have described my designs thus; "whilst traditional in origin they are wonderfully contemporary". I am always interested to discover how other people perceive my work, as I'm highly critical of it myself, and it is impossible for me to view it objectively.

Pop over to Dichroic Glass's website for some great articles, and tutorials. It is an excellent resource for what's new in the world of glass. It's really flattering for me, as a lampworker, to be featured on a website that is mainly concerned with glass fusing.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008


I have just discovered It's still in Beta at the moment, but it's set to be a contender for Etsy. While Etsy is a US marketplace for all things handmade, Folksy is based in the UK. Hurrah! At long last there is a UK site where we can sell our handmade items in £ sterling!

I have set up a Bumpy Beads Shop on Folksy, although I have yet to list anything there , but it's good to be prepared!

There are some very talented crafters selling some beautiful things on Folksy, and it strikes me that this is yet another site where I will end up parting with more money than I end up taking! I love these;

Ah well, there are no pockets in shrouds.... :))

Sunday, 3 August 2008

More Fossil-inspired Beads

Ideas are like buses. You don't get one for ages, and then several arrive at once. At the moment I could spend every waking hour at my torch, and I still wouldn't have enough time to turn the ideas in my head into beads. Lack of torch time is a continual source of frustration to me, and so I have to make the most of the time I do have. Unfortunately it's not unusual to find that I sit in front of my torch, after waiting for days for the opportunity, only to find that every idea I've had has fallen irretrievably out of my head. Argh!

I've learned to jot my ideas down, so that on my empty-headed days I have somewhere to refer to. It certainly seems to be working at the moment. Here are today's offerings;




Saturday, 2 August 2008

Fossil Hunting

I happen to think this bead is one of the best I've ever made, and so it's definitely a "keeper". "Keepers" are those beads that you know you could just never sell, no matter what. I had a lovely session at the torch yesterday, and just before I finished, I decided to have a go at producing the bead that had been in my head since returning from holiday last weekend

We spent a fabulously sunshiney few days in Cornwall, and it was lovely catching up with friends. However, on the way to Cornwall we took at detour down to Charmouth in Dorset. We'd visited there last year, and I'd been eager to return. Charmouth is on the Jurassic Coast, and is the perfect place for fossil-hunting. So, armed with our hammers we set off to to find our own prehistoric relic. It's fairly easy to split the rock between its natural layers and find impressions of ammonites. It's not quite so easy to find an entire ammonite that has been washed out of the rock. But this time we did! It is tiny, measuring just 8mm in diameter, but perfectly formed. It has an irridescent sheen to it and I find it completely breathtaking.

As you can see, there's still a fair bit of sediment attached to it, but I'm too afraid to clean it up for fear of it completely disintegrating. What a tragedy it would be for it to have survived for 65 million years only for me to dissolve it in a bowl of water!

Anyway, back to my bead. (I can bring any conversation back to beads, I assure you...) Sometimes I see something, maybe a colour, or a shape, or a texture, and I can't settle until I've attempted to recreate it in glass. I've been like that since we unearthed the ammonite, and then yesterday my muse was in the right place to create something organic, and suddenly this fossil-like bead had created itself before my eyes. I can't really take the credit for it, because it honestly just sort of... happened.

So now I've awakened a new creative streak, and my head is buzzing with how I can take this in different directions. I'll let you know how it goes!

Monday, 28 July 2008

Making a difference with Beads

The more observant of my website visitors will note that I am now donating £1 for each individual item sold on my website to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Firstly, I want to pre-empt the inevitable question of whether I have increased my prices to account for this. The answer is "no, I haven't". The DSWT is a very worthwhile charity, and I wanted to find a way of using my passion for glass to benefit its work. Until the time when beads become an accepted currency once again, this is the easiest way for me to do that!

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust was established in 1977. It is dedicated to the protection and conservation of wildlife and habitats. If you have ever watched the BBC's "Elephant Diaries" you'll know about the outstanding work they do in rescuing orphan elephants. Many of these have become orphans through the illegal trade in ivory, and The DSWT operates several de-snaring teams that work very successfully, along with the Kenya Wildlife Service, to pursue illegal activities, thus making a safer environment for wildlife.

The orphans are taken to the Nursery in Nairobi, where the keepers care for them. They soon begin to bond with their new siblings and the most wonderful relationships are formed. Once they graduate from the nursery they transfer to either Voi or Ithumba, within the Tsavo National Park, and here they stay until they are ready to be reintegrated into the Park to live alongside the wild elephant community.

I have fostered two orphans. A little girl, called Makena, and a little boy called Shimba. I receive regular updates on how they're getting along and I take particular pleasure in reading when they've been up to some mischief! Makena is three years old and has recently graduated from the nursery and is now at Ithumba where she was joyously reunited with some of her elder foster siblings. Shimba is just two years old, and still finding his feet in the nursery.

It costs just £3 a month to foster an orphan elephant or rhino. If you would like to find out more about the DSWT, or how you can foster an orphan too, visit the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust's website.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Art in Action

Yesterday we went to Art in Action at Waterperry Gardens in Oxfordshire. I hadn't been to this event before, even though it's now in it 28th year. It was a fantatstic day, and an event I will definitely be returning to next year. I was in my element all day!

Art in Action brings together artists and craftspeople from all over the country, and further afield too, to demonstrate their skills to the public. All manner of crafts were represented, including leatherwork, sculpture, calligraphy, metalwork, ceramics, textiles and more. Of course for me the glass was the biggest attraction, and I watched several of the demonstrations by talented glassblowers and lampworkers. Anthony Wassell's plate spinning demonstration was fantastic! The final stage where he span the plate out was magical!

There are many similarities between glass and ceramics. The application of heat and cool can effect the colours in each, and we watched as some of the Raku pottery was fired. The smell of the burner was delicious!

This pot in the ceramics tent was born surprisingly quickly and it was really interesting seeing it come together.

Dora Schubert was in the Market Place, and I watched Diana East make a beautiful hollow bead from boro tubing. Julie Ann Denton's flameworking pieces are exquisite. We also watched beautiful wine glasses being made in the flame.

I was enthralled with the jewellery. Particularly I loved Lucy Sylvester's work. Her work is inspired by nature, and I was especially taken with her rings, with seed heads and acorns on them.

The best thing about Art in Action is the fact that you can roll your sleeves up and get involved. There were a plethora of practical classes to sign up for. My husband took the opportunity to take a winetasting class, while I watched yet another glass demo!

If you've never been to Art in Action I would recommend it wholeheartedly. The setting is beautiful, and the house and garden are open to visit if you want to pack even more into your day! It was really well organised, and the atmosphere was completely chilled. I took the opportunity to meet up with a couple of lampworker friends, and it was lovely to see Diana and Dora again too.

The event is on tomorrow too, so it's not too late!