Sunday, 27 April 2008

Flame Off 2008

The Flame Off event last week in Towcester was absolutely superb! It was the first event of this kind in the UK, and such was it's success that there are more events planned for the future. Yay! The whole event was organised brilliantly so that it went without a hitch.

There were stalls where you could buy glass, and tools, and silver, and beads. There were benches of hotheads set up, offering taster sessions for the uninitiated. There were more benches with an impressive range of "serious" torches. I was eyeing up a GT Bobcat, but amazingly managed to quell my enthusiasm and chose some CIM glass instead.

There was some pretty impressive sculptural work and glassblowing going on from the Scientific Glassblower's contingency. I think they had their eyes opened too to the world of beadmaking.

Upstairs was where the brilliant demonstrations happened, and these were all filmed and relayed to a stonkingly huge screen, so we could all see every detail. Laura Sparling made stringer control look really easy. If only! Emma Green is a self-confessed "mentalist", and her demonstrations were expertly delivered and let us into the world of critters. Sally Carver showed us how to make implosion beads, and I've had fun this weekend creating my own. Judith Johnston makes the most gorgeous encased florals and I watched her demo in awe. Ray Skene is awesome! As well as showing us his renowned hollows, he showed us a couple of off-mandrel pieces, including a worryingly realistic spider. He seemed to let it cool for ages and yet it didn't go bang. Impressive. Dora Schubert creates fabulous beads and has a real eye for detail. Her dots and geometric shapes are perfect, and she works with stringers so thin you could tie them in a bow! Mike Poole also demo'd but I'm afraid I missed it on account of watching the Boro Boys!

The entire day had a fabulous buzz, and it was lovely to meet up with friends and make new ones. I travelled down with Lesley, Julie and Cath. What a treat to be able to talk about all things glassy with like-minded glassaholics! We had a gigantic bead swap at the end of the day. Beads were flying in all directions! I made a little set of fritty encased beads, which Shirley received, and I picked out the most beautiful silver core bead, courtesy of Bee;

Martin and Theresa of Tuffnell Glass did an excellent job of organising the event, which must have been a nightmare given that it involved lots of people, and lots of gas and explosive oxygen! The Health & Safety Officer must have been exhausted by the end of the day!

I can't wait until the next Flame Off event. I will definitely be there.

If you'd like to see some of the photos of the event, click here. Click on "Flame Off Event Information" and then scroll down and select "Photo Gallery".

Saturday, 12 April 2008

My New Etsy Shop

Thank you to everyone who entered my Easter Egg Hunt! All prizes have now been posted out. I hope you're all suitably chocolate-filled.

Have you heard about Etsy yet? Etsy is an online marketplace for buying and selling handmade items. It's a place where you can pick up some unique handcrafted items, instead of buying mass-produced objects. Etsy was launched in 2005 by Rob Kalin, and it now has 60 full-time employees, 840,000 registered users, 150,000 of whom are individual artists selling more than 1.5 million of their handmade creations. Etsy is based in Brooklyn in the States, so everything is priced in dollars, but if you think you can handle that, why not take a look? Many of the items are from UK sellers, and you can "Shop Local" if you want to restrict the number of miles your purchases have to travel.

I launched my very own Bumpy Beads Etsy Shop this month and will be busy stocking it over the next few months. So now you have two places to shop for my Bumpy Bead creations!

To make it easy for you I have a link to my Etsy shop on my homepage. To buy items from Etsy you need to be registered, but it only takes a moment, and will open up a whole new world of handmade items that need to be bought.

So what else have I been up to? Well, I bought a new camera, and so I am finally able to take better pictures of my beads and jewellery, both of which are notoriously difficult to photograph. I've made some new necklaces, and I took the opportunity to create a bit of a photographic collage, so that you now get more than one view of each item.

I've also decided to offer my handmade sterling silver beadcaps for sale. They have proved really popular, and the best news is that I have been able to source my silver at a better price than previously, and so I have managed to reduce the price!

They are just plain beadcaps, but they have a lovely contemporary look, and I have tumbled them so that they are deliciously smooth and shiny.

Tomorrow is the Bead Fair at Malvern Three Counties Showground, which I shall definitely be visiting. I'm picking up some new glass that I've not tried before so I can't wait to have a play with it. Then it's just one more week until the Flame Off!