Thursday, 30 April 2009

Nia does it again!

I just spotted an absolutely gorgeous necklace that Nia has made using some of my beads and some Crazy Lace Agate. Nia's pieces are always so classy. My beads look all grown up!

You can see more of Nia's work on her website.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Lucky Me!

Recently I was very fortunate to be gifted a gorgeous silver and glass pendant, made by the fair hand of Rebecca Hughes. It's a really wearable piece that I've hardly taken off since I received it, and it's also my favourite colour. Take a look at Becci's gorgeous silver beads and buttons at Fired Silver.

I have also acquired a new pet! This is Juan Carlos, and he was made by Lesley Jane Dixon. Isn't he cute? You can find Les's brilliant character beads, as well as lots more beads and some felt pieces at Flame Born Beads.

I have listed new beads on my website today, so pop along and take a look. I had real difficulty getting any nice pictures today, but this is a close up from one of the sets that I'm really pleased with. I mean I'm pleased with the bead, not the close up, which has a hideous reflection of the conservatory roof!

Have a great week!

Friday, 24 April 2009

Going Global!

Regular readers will know that I am foster mum to two orphan elephants called Makena and Shimba who are in the care of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

Shimba - Nov 2008

As blogged previously, auctions of my jewellery have raised £3201 and £2941 respectively for the DSWT.

For the past few weeks I have been busy making beads, and turning them into pieces of jewellery for a further batch of auctions that will take place in May. As soon as I have the precise date I'll blog it here, so keep checking back! I've come up with new designs this time, and as always each piece is dedicated to a specific orphan, and has an engraved silver tag bearing the orphan's name.

We didn't want to leave the baby rhino orphans out, so we have included them this time, which has been great fun!

Today I received a very exciting email. The US branch of the DSWT has heard of the auctions of my jewellery that the UK branch have been running, and have asked for my assistance. They are holding a fundraising event in Seattle in June and have asked me if I would provide two pieces of jewellery for them to auction at their event.

I am extremely flattered to have been asked to send my pieces all the way across the Atlantic Ocean, and of course I am very happy to assist. My details will be included in their event brochure, so this is a fantastic opportunity for my beads to be showcased in the US. I am thrilled and I hope the pieces raise lots of dollars so that the extremely important work that the DSWT undertakes can continue.

Keep checking back here for updates of the May auctions, but in the meantime I have provided you some teaser pictures of the beads that will be included in this next batch of auction pieces.

If you would like to foster your own baby elephant or rhino, visit the DSWT.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Flame Off 2009 - Day Two!

Day Two of the Flame Off was just as brilliant as Day One. Inevitably there was more shopping and oohing and aahing over beads and meeting up with friends, which was brilliant.

The first demo was Beverly Hicklin, who showed us how she makes her gravity swirl beads, and as a bonus she also showed us her disc beads, which she layers and then melts down. This gives a lovely effect of layered colours and randomness.

Next up was Julie Anne Denton. Today she created for us a fantastic sculputural She-Devil. Unlike yesterday, where she used boroscilicate glass for her dragons, today she used soft glass. Producing sculptural pieces in soft glass presents a completely different set of challenges to using boro, and there is a far higher chance of the glass becoming stressed and cracking. However Julie Anne's skills ensured this did not happen, and the resulting piece was visually stunning and technically miraculous. I only wish I had a photo to show you, but my iPhone just isn't up to decent close ups, so you will have to take my word for it!

Next was Sarah Hornik. When she told us she would be demonstrating an encased floral there was a fair amount of surprise, as this was not necessarily what most of us would associate her with. However, as always, Sarah put her own style into the bead, and showed us a gorgeous long encased floral, with lots of her trademark dots and scrolls inside. Her use of colour is inspiring and I learned a lot from her today.

I wasn't able to stay for the final two demonstrations, but by this point I was already full of ideas and new techniques to try when I'm next at the torch.

The entire event was extremely well-organised and Martin Tuffnell and Co should be congratulated. The only thing that could improve it would be making it a twice-yearly event! However I don't think Martin would agree, so I will start counting the months off until Flame Off 2010!

Friday, 17 April 2009

Flame Off 2009

I had an absolutely brilliant day at the annual Flame Off in Towcester. It was really enjoyable meeting up with friends, old and new, and there was such a lovely atmosphere. I shall be going along again tomorrow, but thought I'd give you a quick rundown of today's events.

Obviously the first thing I did when I arrived was head straight for Martin Tuffnell's stall to see what delicious glass I needed to buy. I bought some copper green and rubino oro, which are two very special colours that I use quite often, and then stocked up on some basic effetre colours, such as black and periwinkle.

Then I headed upstairs to watch the first of the demonstrations, which were relayed to massive screens as well as to various monitors around the room. This meant that we all had a great view wherever we happened to be sitting.

First up was Sean Taylor, who made a stunning marble containing a green and aventurine vortex. He didn't use boroscilicate glass, as is usual for marbles. Instead, he used Bullseye, which is stiffer than regular soft glass, but melts more easily than boro'.

Next up was Sarah Hornik, from Israel. This is Sarah mid-demo;

Sarah demo'd one of her gorgeous ribbon beads. She made everything look so easy, and has inspired me to perfect my linear encasing technique. Gravity, as a tool, is often overlooked, but Sarah's ribbon beads rely on it to twirl the glass and achieve the twisted ribbon effect inside. I've been wanting to see Sarah at work for a long time, so today was very special.

The next flamework artist was Julie Ann Denton, from the Isle of Man. Julie Ann makes the most exquisite flameworked dragons, and this is what she chose to demonstrate in her mammoth two hour demonstration today. I didn't get to see the entire demo, but I saw her creating the dragon's wings by blowing a boro tube, cutting the wing shapes and then pulling them into just the right shape. A massive amount of patience and skill is required to pull off a glass dragon, and Julie Ann is one talented flameworker.

I then did an hour stint manning the GBUK stand. It was a great opportunity to chat to fellow beadmakers and try to persuade some potential beadmakers to take the plunge and have a go on the torches that were set up for taster sessions.

The final demonstration of the day was Anouk Jasperse, from Holland. Anouk demo'd two beads. In the first she showed us how she uses silver glass to stunning effect, and then she showed us one of her "caterpillar" beads. To make these she cuts into the glass and then carefully encases over them, and this creates a gorgeous twisted effect.

I spent some time ogling the delicious lampwork beads in the Lampworker's Village, and bought some silver beads. Then I went back to Martin's stall and bought a bit more glass. It was inevitable really! I bought some Reichenbach Magic, some Pink Gold and a few other "essential" bits and bobs.

Finally I joined the rest of the Frit Happens members in the Big Bead Swap! I pulled out a lovely dotty and raked bead from "Pat from Canvey". It's gorgeous!

So tomorrow I shall return to Towcester to watch more demo's, meet more friends and buy more glass. When I began beadmaking it was still relatively new within the UK, but today's event really opens your eyes to how it's growing in popularity, and that can only be a good thing!

Monday, 13 April 2009

A bit of Everything!

This week I have another set of mixed organic beads, this time with silver droplets, and some swirls, and a mini set of dotty beads.

I still have some more beads on mandrels, so check back later in the week and I shall show you those too.

The Flame Off at Towcester is very much on my mind, with less than a week to go now! I'm looking forward to two entire days of glass demonstrations, and to trying out some new torches. I'm also looking forward to all the stalls of things to buy. Glass, beads, silver, tools. Paradise! Most of all I'm looking forward to spending time with people I've not seen since last year's Flame Off!

Saturday, 11 April 2009

New Beads, New Look!

I've given my blog and my website a bit of a makeover. I hope you like it! I've been meaning to do it for ages, but you know how it is. I'd put it off for months, and when I eventually got around to it, it was a 20 minute job!

I have sets of beads to show you, and there are a couple more sets sitting on mandrels, waiting to be cleaned. I've put off doing that today too! Do you see a pattern emerging here?

My first set is a lovely set of mixed organics;

This second set is called "Tinker's Beads";

I'll try to get around to cleaning the others tomorrow, inbetween eating Easter eggs!

Have a Happy Easter!