Friday, 30 May 2008

Jinney Ring Craft Centre

I am absolutely thrilled that a local Craft Centre has taken my jewellery for their Gallery. The Jinney Ring Craft Centre is a great place with a diverse range of craft workshops.

One of my favourite things to do on a Friday is visit the glass studio where Stuart and Carina produce the most fabulous freeblown glass objects. While there are lots of similarities between studio glass and lampwork, there are enormous differences too. While I'm manipulating blobs of molten glass on the end of a 9" mandrel, Stuart and Carina are hefting great dollops of the stuff on 6' long punty rods.

I would definitely recommend the Jinney Ring Craft Centre if you're in the Worcestershire area, not least because they have a Chocolate Deli in one of the workshops. From molten glass to molten chocolate in just a few paces. Heaven!

You can find out more about the Jinney Ring here;

Monday, 26 May 2008

Lyme Necklace

I love Bank Holiday weekends! I have been busy making beads this weekend, but for reasons I won't go into (nice reasons!) I won't be listing them until next weekend, so don't forget to come back then!

In the meantime, I have a necklace to show you. I made this for a challenge on one of the online forums. The necklace uses five lampwork beads from my Lyme series, as well as three agate beads. I've mounted the beads on some hammered silver wire, and bunched the drops together on a silver ring. A pretty silver bail finishes it off nicely. As it is a fairly hefty necklace I've mounted it on a 30" long silver chain.

This necklace is actually going to be sent to a famous actress, along with a whole box of other gifts for cast members that the forum is putting together. You never know, I might spot this necklace on the pages of "Hello"!

Friday, 16 May 2008

Venezia e Murano!


I have just returned home from the most fabulous trip to Venice and Murano.

This was my first trip to Italy, and I have to say that it definitely won't be my last. We had beautifully hot weather, but with a nice cooling breeze. The temperature certainly encouraged lots of gelato eating, not that I needed much encouragement, it was delicious! The pizzas were fantastic too.

We took in all the usual Venice highlights, such as the Basillica, the Doges Palace, the Rialto and the Campanile, but not surprisingly, the real highlight of the trip for me was the day we spent on Murano. Murano is truly a glassy paradise! As well as being the most picturesque island you could wish for, it is wall-to-wall glass! There are enormous glass sculptures in the open air, and the canals are lined with shops selling beads, jewellery and all things glassy.

I visited Carlo Dona's toolshop and had a long chat with Carlo's son, Roberto. He is the nicest man, and spent ages talking with me about the tools he makes for glass artists. Then I visited Andrea Guibelli, and watched in awe as he expertly made one perfect hollow bead after another. He blows his beads using a technique I hadn't seen before, and I was fascinated. I could have watched him all day. I bought some beautiful hollow beads from him, and I'll post a picture of them once I'm organised.

Next stop was the Museo del Vetro (Glass Museum). It was really interesting to see that so many of the glass techniques we use today are identical to those that were used over a thousand years ago.

Finally, we visited one of the many glass factories and watched lamps being made.

The holiday ended far too soon, and I'm already planning a return trip!


Monday, 5 May 2008

Over the Rainbow

I have just added two set of beads to my Etsy Shop. The first is another set of faux boro beads, called "Over the Rainbow";

and the second is an entire set of implosions, called "Lotus Blooms";

We've just got home from a trip to Hanbury Hall, which is a National Trust property local to us. We've visited numerous times, but today was an extra special visit. They are currently in the process of replacing the vast roof, which is set to cost around £750k. This means that the entire Hall is covered in scaffolding and a massive temporary roof structure. It also provides a not-to-be-missed opportunity to gain a birds-eye view of the Hall! So, we donned our flourescent safety vests and our hard hats and scaled the heights of the scaffolding and were able to view the building from an entirely different perspective to usual. It was awesome! A pot of tea and a scone with jam and cream finished off the outing perfectly.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Playing with Fire

Despite not having very many new beads in my shop, I have actually been quite busy at my torch. I was inspired by so much of what I saw at the Flame Off, and I have been playing around with some new techniques. I mentioned last time I blogged that I've been playing around with some implosions, and (in true Blue Peter style) here is one I prepared earlier.

I've noticed lately that some of the things I used to find difficult are suddenly much easier. As I learn more about glass, and heat control I'm able to tackle techniques that I previously wouldn't have considered. It's really heartening to know that practice does pay off. I'm a bit like a butterfly at the moment, flitting from one new technique to another, but I'm sure I'll settle into something less akin to mania some time soon!

I've also been having fun with some faux boro effects, and I'm particularly pleased with this little set. Amazingly, no blue, green or purple glass was used to create these effects. They are all derived from a fancy reaction using frit. This technique is wonderful, because the same ingredients can produce completely different colours just by changing the base colour of the bead. Being a simple person, this simple technique is ideally suited to me!

I've also been playing with some silver glass from Northstar. This set of April Shower beads uses Sasha's Silver. It's really easy to work, and a nice change from Double Helix glass.

Finally, just for a bit of fun, I made these Tiger beads.

Have a lovely Bank Holiday!