Until then, I have two sets of beads to show you that I made before my trip. These are of the organic variety.
This first set is named "Stepping Stones". I can imagine these beads just poking their heads above the surface of a babbling brook, their surfaces being worn smooth by the water.
The second set is set of six stone-inspired beads. The silver and black have been deliberately overcooked so that fine veins of colour web across the surface of the bead.
The two sets of beads go together beautifully, and would make a fabulous project for someone!
While we were away we visited Arlington Court and Dunster Castle, both National Trust properties, and both well worth a visit if you find yourself in the area.
At Arlington Court there is an impressive billiard table. The Guide told us that the billiard balls were made from dyed ivory. She explained that as they became worn, they were returned to the maker who would re-work the surfaces to make them smooth again. Each time the balls were re-worked they would obviously get a little smaller, which she said was "terribly inconvenient". I pointed out that it was not nearly as inconvenient as it was for the elephants who were slaughtered for their tusks, and she agreed.
The London firm that made the billiard balls apparently used 1000 elephant tusks a year, and there were another 40 London firms producing a similar number of billiard balls at the same time. That's tens of thousands of elephants being slaughtered each year, and many of these elephants would have had babies who would not have been able to survive without them.
It would be good to be able to say that slaughtering elephants for their tusks is a thing of the past, but unbelievably it is not. Sadly, for as long as there is a market for ivory and while the world's governments fail to take the necessary action to totally end the ivory trade, these beautiful, loving, emotional animals will continue to be hunted down.
Shocking isn't it?