Day with the Master!

Hello!  I wanted to tell you about my day with Italian glass master Lucio Bubacco.  He creates the most awe inspiring glass sculptural pieces and the most amazing thing as far as I’m concerned, is that he creates them from soft glass!  Soft glass has a habit of cracking due to thermal shock when worked in larger volumes, due to differential cooling throughout the piece and especially if you accidentally put it back in the flame.  I know this from experience 😉  It’s a bit disheartening to see your ‘masterpiece’ in little (hot) bits all over your work bench!

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The piece above was made by Lucio at Flame Off.  I didn’t see this one being made but I did see it being dismantled in the flame – I swear I held my breath the whole time, waiting for it to explode!  The man is truly a genius!

I had decided to take the class as I do a fair amount of sculptural work and want to take it to the next level – bigger and more off-mandrel pieces.  I tried working it out for myself but ended up producing lots of pretty tiny bits of exploded glass!  My day began with nervous anticipation – I have never had any tuition for flame-working and I am usually the one teaching.  Notebook in hand, I claimed my work station and donned my diddy’s (didymium safety glasses).

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I needn’t have bothered with the notebook  – it was probably the most fascinating day I have ever spent – I couldn’t drag my eyes away from the beautiful creations that emerged from the glass – expertly ‘extracted’, fast, fluid movements, a true Master.

I had watched him demonstrate the day before but from a distance – even then I was enthralled and was on the edge of my seat, as were the other members of the audience!  We were all ‘oohing and aahing’ in unison, gasping in awe and shaking our heads at the artistry…

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The mermaid was stunning and the creation of the watery serpents were jaw dropping in their creation – a ribbon of hot glass twisted and turned with precision and skill – joyous poetry!

We didn’t do much in the way of making ourselves – I made a weird beetle thing and a male torso but I just wanted to watch the techniques and the sheer marvel that was Lucio’s style.

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The final piece he made was a little naughty but perfect in her brilliance!  I have so much to aspire to!

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A day is not enough to truly learn and a dream come true for me, would be to spend a couple of weeks studying with Lucio.

I’m not going t spoil this blog by putting pictures of my own efforts on here but will show you some of the insects I have been making at a later date!

So, I hope you enjoyed your glimpse of my day and the wonderful work of Lucio.  That just leaves me to say take care of each other, forgive each other as none of us is perfect.  I want to leave you with these words – I don’t know who wrote them but they struck a chord with me…

Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish it’s source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.


— Love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.


Flame Off 2013

Before we start, I would just like to apologise for the above image – I was trying the panoramic ‘stitch 3 pictures together’ feature on my camera 😉

There was much excitement leading up to the UK flameworker’s event of the year as usual!  This year it was held at Silverstone in Northamptonshire.  The drive there was straightforward, if a tad tedious but it was well worth it 😀

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Have you ever tried to take pictures of racing cars driving past very fast?  I actually took about 20 but gave up in the end 😉

I was originally going to drive up on the Friday evening and spend Saturday at the event as I had a class with Italian Glass Master (note capitals ;)) Lucio Bubbaco on the Sunday – about which I had been peeing glitter since about October 2012!

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I am going to save that for another blog but needless to say, I was in raptures over the man’s talent!

Back to the matter at hand.  At the last minute, I decided to go early and take full advantage of the event of the year for UK lampworkers, rude not to really 😉

So, after a 3 hour drive, I arrived at the world famous motor racing course to the sound of fast cars and with the prospect of two days at Flame Off, which is organised by the lovely peeps at Tuffnells Glass, I was squealing with delight in a most unladylike fashion!

The venue was miles from the main gate and at one point I thought I had inadvertently strayed onto the track when I went over a little bridge only to notice that there was a gorgeous sexy racing car driving behind me!  Eeek!

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All was in full swing when I arrived and it took me all of 5 minutes to spend all of the pennies I had saved for tools and glass!  There were stands selling everything from glass to frit, from tools to beads!  And there were torches galore for everyone to try!  I was keen to take a look at the new Bethlehem torch – which was by all accounts very hot but I think I’ll stick to my Midrange Plus – unless anyone has a Lynx they wish to donate 😉

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The GBUK stand, with competition entries and the lovely new journal!

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My mate Vicki and her lovely frit and the Glass Alchemy Stand with gorgeous borosilicate glass 🙂

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Trudi playing on the new Bethlehem burner and folks having a go on the Big girls and boys torches!

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Loads of glass (mmmm!) and tools from Maria Louisa – I got a whopping crunch press 😀

There was glass blowing which looked a lot of fun – I didn’t have a go as I had blown the overdraft by this point… 😀

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The ‘scientific’ glass boys were there too, ready to help people wanting to have a go 😀

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Loads of fun was had by all and there’s a shot of my purchases and swaps – yet to get round to playing with everything!

The Demo artists were fab and all so helpful and friendly.  Leah Fairbanks work is stunning and she inspired me to revisit surface decorative work 😀

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And finally, a bunch of us girlies out on the town – conversation topics included glass and tools and somewhere I have a diagram of a rod warmer we were working on devising 😉

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Well, that’s Flame Off done and dusted for another year – I can safely say I had a brilliant weekend and want to say a big thank you to the lovely Tuffnells Glass for going above and beyond in providing for us glass addicts the event of the year!

Coming soon – my class with Lucio – prepare to be wowed!

Until then, take care of yourselves and each other, live hard, play hard and love with passion 😀  Mwah!

Don’t You Know Who I Am? ;)

I decided it was time to make a video of making a bead for my website, just to add a bit of interest, because melting glass is a pretty fascinating business!  I am also writing a tutorial for a Ha!  It’s a secret…for the moment 😉

I had a go at a DIY film, which was great, except that all you could see was my nicely in-focus hand, right in the way.  So I got the professionals in.  Kezia Martin is as professional as they get.  She arrived under a mass of bags and cases, camera’s, data cards and tripods.  We always need a back-up plan she said.  She was right 😉

Kezia is a successful film editor and is currently in Oxford working for a very prestigious University.  She very kindly offered to make my films for me and hopefully we will be working together in the future when I have more tutorials to write!


So, we do a few trial runs during which I thought Kezia might actually dribble on my torch!  A woman after my own heart, she got sucked in to the beauty of the flame and the spiritual nature of melted glass.  She was oohing and ahhing all over the place, which was just lovely for me – apart from when I had her elbow in my face and when she was almost sitting on my lap trying to get this shot or that shot!


It’s much harder being a film star than I had imagined.  Repeat this, stop talking, repeat that and doing the same thing over a few times….mind you there was time for us to quaff copious amounts of tea and scoff a packet of Digestives between us!

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So what was I making?  I had decided on Dragon Scale beads.  They come in all varieties.  With silver leaf, without silver leaf, etched, left shiny, little scales, overlapping scales and the colour choices are endless!

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For the purposes of the video, I went for the simplest option – plain ivory, silvered ivory dots over which I have dotted a little colour.


Basic Dragon Scale Bead Demonstration

Well, we did it in 3 takes plus the back up plan, when one of the data cards started playing up – not sure how much editing it required or how much was left on the cutting room floor due to my inane babbling, so without much ado, please take a look at my debut (click on the picture above) 😀


That’s all for today, next time I will hopefully be able to tell you about my new fire-breathing dragon and how much more quickly I can melt glass with it! 😉

As usual, take care, look after each other and live every day as if it were your last and don’t forget, anything is possible with the right attitude – and a hammer 😉  Nanoo, nanoo, over and out! 😀

Do Not Lick The Glass

January is a slow month.  That’s what they say allegedly, well I have a crick in my neck from sitting at the torch for weeks in a row!  Not that I’m complaining 🙂

I have had a lot of commissions recently, including a couple of technically challenging ones – but never one for following the rules or turning down an ‘opportunity to shine’ as they used to call a problem in my old job, I stepped up to the plate… What’s that saying?  Fools rush in!  Yup.  On that note, come into my studio and I’ll show you what I mean 🙂


First up is the challenge to make some flower murrini that looks like Anenome flowers, in pinks and purples.  Realistic looking flower murrini is built up with many layers of glass, so that by the time you have finished, you can have a lump of hot glass the size of a golf ball on the end of a mandrel!  If I’d had an extra hand or two, I would have taken a picture – by the way, if there is anyone out there that fancies taking pictures of me working, then pop in and say hello as I am in the process of writing a tutorial and need images!  🙂

Back to the business in hand.  I was quite happy with the result and since then have been designing more flower murrini!

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Next up was a Goddess.  It’s the year of the snake!  So what’s so challenging about this?  Well, these Goddesses are around 7cms tall and the risk of thermal shock, when adding the snake, is quite high!  The first one has a couple of CZ’z strategically placed.  The second is a more tribal design.

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After the statuesque Snake Queens, I was asked about smaller pregnant Goddesses and guess what?  I ended up on a roll and made a few 😉

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There were a couple more but they sold before I could get pictures.  I like making big beads so it was inevitable that I would make the next one!


I have a commission that is in the planning process at the moment but is includes lots of sparkle, so I have been playing with cubic zirconia.  Now there is a limit to the size you can use in molten glass due to the risk of thermal shock but as usual, I have been testing those limits and pushing the boundaries!  A couple of test experiments below 😉  I love the second one – I haven’t set it yet as I have more in the kiln!

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After all that work, it was only fair to have a bit of play time, so a little boro sculptural tree, inspired by the snow and a few rings – I love rings 🙂

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According to a friend, this cabochon looks like an Arctic frozen ocean and this is it set into a ring 🙂


And now for something completely different!  I was having a tidy up, like you do and I found a bag of material that I have been hoarding for years.  Really lovely bits of silk and damask and stuff, so I decided I would do something with them.  Textile toadstools is what I came up with and here are a couple I made.  They are all hand-stitched, using couture dressmaking techniques.  John, our local wood turner at the Craft Village has made me some stands for them!  I am in the process of writing a workshop for making them.  To be held at Quex Craft Village – date to be announced 🙂

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Anyway, so it’s goodnight from me and goodnight from him 😉  A new owl clock from Mr Hatswell at Baroque Designs


Thank you for popping by and I hope you enjoyed browsing my creations.  And remember, nothing lasts forever, so live it up, drink it down, laugh it off, avoid the drama, take chances and never have regrets because at one point, everything you did was exactly what you wanted.

Take good care of yourself.  See you again soon 🙂  Nanoo, nanoo 😉

Point and Shoot…

Happy New Year everyone!  Normality has resumed – well, what passes for normality around here anyway, which amounts to organised chaos…so, I digress already – which in the past earned me the title of Lady Tangent! 😉

My camera died 😦  He served me well for a number of years.  I was upset, especially when the man in the camera shop laughed when presented with the little chap for potential repair…how very rude!


Those of you who follow my posts will know that photography isn’t my strong point.  I don’t know my F stop from my elbow!  And what the heck is ISO?  Information System Override? Intelligent Sock Order?  Isoelectric Sausages Overhead?  The meaning completely eludes me and I know I must have Googled it in the past… You know when something has no meaning for you?  No matter what you read about it, or try to, makes no sense?  I will look at a paragraph on camera settings and it’s like it goes out of focus ( 🙂  Excuse the play on words there – I just couldn’t help myself).  My eyes slide away, my brain thinks about anything but the subject matter – does that happen to you?  SEO does that to me as well.  Don’t get me started on that!  Meta tags…*shudder*.

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Anyway, I had to get a new camera.  I researched it.  I have no problem with that part…I am an expert shopper.  What choices!  Should I go for a similar camera to my poor little point and shoot?  No.  I am thinking I need to up my game where photographing my glassy creations is concerned.  Thankfully the beads look much nicer in real life that they do in a picture, but that is no excuse not to do the best you can!

Mind you, the same bead can look quite different, depending on the background, the light and how much you fiddle with them in photo editing software!

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Right then.  I am determined (I thought to myself) to face my fear.  SLR or DSLR (go on, click if you dare), when I looked it up my eyes were reading the words but my brain was doing the equivalent of sticking it’s fingers in it’s ears and singing ‘la la la’ very loudly!  I don’t get it?  Having been a scientist for years, I am used to dealing with and learning about complicated bits of kit – I can programme a robot for heavens sake!  Can you see what’s happening here?  Even trying to write about it is a trial… 😉


Long and very boring story short, I decided on a ‘bridge‘ camera.  This is one that has the facility to point and shoot with it’s automatic settings but if you want to, you can switch it to manual and fiddle with the F stop (that sounds positively rude).  Guess which route I shall be taking, despite my good intentions 😉


All I needed to do was work out where the macro setting was and voila!  Lovely pictures!  Just as an aside – I have been experimenting with metal inclusions in my beads…Loving it! 😀

I would love to show you a picture of my new camera but couldn’t do it justice with my phone, so I’ll just show you this instead! 😉


Bet you thought with that title that I had gone all gangster!  No, not gangster but maybe a little bit ‘Gangsta’ innit 😉

I hope the year ahead brings you health and happiness and if it brings you wealth, you know where to find me 😉

Look after yourselves, remember, we only get one go at this life malarky, don’t put off stuff  – do it.  If there is someone you are thinking of?  Contact them. Something you have always wanted to try?  Try it (so long as it’s legal!).  Someone you love?  Tell them.  Until next time my lovelies 🙂  Mwah!

Monkeys Getting Closer to Writing Shakespeare!

I received an email this morning – I Quote: ‘The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog’.

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Is that allowed?  We have all heard the  ‘Infinite monkey theorem‘  – That’s all about one monkey sat at a typewriter but WordPress have gone one step further and got a whole bunch of them sat at PC’s doing number crunching.  Those stats programmes aren’t always the easiest to find your way around!  Still, they have kindly worked hard to produce this report for me and because I was so astounded that it was produced by monkeys, I wanted to share it with you 🙂

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,900 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

My apologies about saying my last blog was the last blog of the year – I had no idea this wonderful surprise from WordPress awaited me! Imagine my delight if you will, when I received the email!  I was completely agog when I realised that the report was prepared by monkeys and couldn’t wait to tell you all about it 😀

Anyway, now you’ve seen what monkeys can do, I will show you a few pretty pictures and then leave you alone until next year!

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I would like to thank all of my readers for visiting and reading my blog, for liking and commenting too.  I hope I have managed to raise a few smiles!  I have had a lot of fun writing them and showing you my work.  I hope you will pop back now and again to see what I have been up to and please make sure to leave a comment or suggestion – I quite like jokes too, if you have any to share!

So that just leaves me to say goodbye 2012 and hello 2013 – may it be the best yet!  Happy New Year everyone! Big slobbery kisses all round 😀

A Very Crafty Community

Hello, well as promised, my latest blog is about the craft village where I have a snug little studio.  We are based at Quex Park in Birchington,  Kent – the garden of England on the ‘dog’s nose’ 🙂  The last blog of 2012 – I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

What a diverse and interesting little community we have in the craft village – there is a Florist, a Silversmith, a Wood-turner, an Upholsterer, a beader, a picture framer, a potter, a Ukulele maker, a knitting – crochet shop and a glass artist (that’s me that is).

So, let’s start with Ian.  Ian specialises in Ukuleles but also builds guitars, Cuatros and other instruments from timbers sourced from the grounds of Quex Park itself.  He stocks strings and accessories and also produce a range of Jewellery Boxes and other artefacts built from these unique timbers.

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As you can see, Ian has a busy workshop and there is always someone visiting for a chat or to play – you can often here music coming from Ian’s studio!  His website is Ukulian pop over for a colloquial meander through his life to how he got here!  Ian runs a Ukulele club too and I’m sure he would love to hear from you if you are interested in musical instruments!

Next up is Maureen.  Maureen is our very own talented florist.  She supplies the local area with creative wonders and they come back to her year after year!

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I know nothing about flower arrangement, so am always fascinated to see the inventive ways Maureen puts her arrangements together!  She also keeps a variety of other handmade goods in her studio, such as Hand made soap…mmmm!  You can find out more about our Maureen at Bay Blooms

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Kerry is our Mad Potter.  The Mad Potter is a ‘paint your own pottery studio’ for all ages and abilities.  Kerry offers various classes that you can join – there are baby feet and hand prints (aaawww!), pets paws and parties!  You can have a go at painting your own ceramic item – everthing is supplied by Kerry!  She has a lovely vase put by for me which I am looking forward to painting in 2013! 🙂

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Next we have Martin.  Martin is a Master Upholsterer – I asked him for a piece about what he does and he said, ‘If it can be upholstered, I can upholster it, everything from chairs to car interiors, boats to mobile homes’.  Take a look at Martin’s Upholstery website.  His work is luscious! He can even make furniture from scratch!

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Now we move on to Robert, our resident silversmith.  Artisan is Robert Hull, he was born in 1967 and has worked within the Industry since Graduating from the Kent Institute of Art & Design, Rochester in 1988. Robert started his glittering career in one of the leading British firms in London but has been working on a self-employed basis as a Designer and Silversmith since 1990 when he set up in business with a fellow student and friend. After 16 successful years together and going on to win “Young Designers” in 1994 at the UK Jewellery Awards, their ambitions took them in separate directions and Artisan was born in April 2006.

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Next meet a lovely lady and friend of mine, Sara from Knit & Natter!  She runs knitting and crochet classes and sells all the supplies to do it all!  I have found some lovely yarn in there 🙂

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If you ever fancied learning to knit of crochet, or would like to join a friendly, like-minded group, then give Sara a look 🙂

We have our own resident woodturner too!  His name is John Wright and he is a traditional wood artisan and makes all manner of turned pieces!

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You have all met Pat in a previous post.  Pat runs Thanet Beads.  She runs many classes a week and sells all types of beading supplies 🙂

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She also serves up tea, biscuits and a special brand of humour! 🙂

Last on my list, but certainly not least, is Pete.  Pete is an artisan full of character, who is notorious for feeding copious amounts of sweeties to the visiting children!  They all run to Pete before they go anywhere else!

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Pet makes beautiful treasures from eggs!  Yup, that’s right, eggs 🙂  This is a Faberge inspired art – fascinating, delicate and very detailed!

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There is a picture framer and the new Falconry Centre will be opening shortly – no doubt I will find time to blog about that!  I love Raptors – having hand-reared 61 Falco spaverius for my final year undergraduate project in Canada!

Well, that’s us!  A motley crew but all passionate and dedicated to our work.

For me, 2012 has been a life changing year.  I am more passionate than ever about creating from glass and very excited about the future!  Opening my studio has been a huge thrill – I love being at Quex and am really looking forward to the new directions I will be taking in the year to come!  To go with my new studio, I have a new website.  The site brings everything together under one umbrella, so from there you can reach my shop, my Facebook page and here too!

I hope this past year has been everything you hoped it would be and the next is wonderful – I love that feeling of anticipation as the future unfolds 🙂

Take care of yourselves.  Take care of each other and don’t sweat the small stuff – until next year lovely people… Mwah!  Big hug, live long and prosper 😉

Not from the Village…

Three weeks!  Leading up to the move into my new studio, time seemed like wading through treacle.  Now though, it’s speeding along like the Eurostar on an ice rink!  Three weeks in and I am settling into a new routine.  No more working in my Jim Jams all day, oh no, now I even have to put a bit of slap on! 😉  Not quite corporate power dressing, with my bright red leather pinny and slouchy work boots but just the thing for melting glass – lots and lots of it! 🙂

As you can see, there is still a bit to do as far as storage and display goes, but the essentials are sorted – like the tea making facilities and the biscuits!

Before we get to that, I would like to introduce you to a good friend of mine.  A very talented and accomplished artist, who I shared a house with in my Uni days.  He has kindly let me display some of his work in my studio and now it not only smells like an art room, as my friend Mel commented when she paid a visit but it looks like a proper art studio now! 🙂  Julien Hatswell was born in 1968 – well that’s what he would like us to believe. I for one think that he spontaneously popped into existence following the brief opening of a little wormhole, that spewed him and his gorgeous art into our Universe, because it’s out of this world!  Following graduation from college in 1991, Julien briefly worked for a London toy design company sculpting prototypes and production pattern making. In 1995 he set up Baroque Designs, designing and manufacturing Gothic and Art Nouveau inspired ranges of home giftware sculptures. Over the years there have been many themes, inspiration fuelled by Goddess’s, Green Men, Gargoyles, Dragons, H.P.Lovecraft, Dali, Hotrod culture, and more recently, Owls. For over 25 years, Julien has also painted in his favorite medium of oils, selling originals to collectors in the UK and around the world.  I just wish I had more wall space, his paintings are amazing and I adore the clocks!  Can you see the fishy one to the left in the first picture?  I want one of those 🙂

The studio has been well and truly Christened now as I had a student in for a days tuition last week.  We had loads of fun!  I got to yak about glass, tools and glass techniques all day 🙂

Christine made some lovely beads – you would never believe they were her first lot! Very proud of her 🙂

I have found the time to make a few bits and bobs… I had to make mermaids and Goddesses as someone swept in on the Saturday and almost cleaned me out! 🙂

I just had to slip that little snake in 😉

I have been working on a couple of new things – one is a new line of jewellery…

Lastly, I am utterly fascinated by Tonbodama, Japanese lampwork and have been working on trying to recreate the 3-dimensional flowers in soft glass.  Satake glass is used in traditional Tonbodama (Dragonfly Eyes) and has a very low melting point compared to the soda-lime glass that I predominantly use, which means that minute detail can be achieved a little more easily – when I say easily, of course, there is nothing easy about it and it takes many hours of painstaking work to create some of the components used to make the bead, let alone the whole bead!  Fantastic contemporary examples are  made by Ayako Hattori.

Anyway, I have been plugging away at this behind the scenes – below are a couple of examples – please excuse the poor photography!

I can’t wait until the morning as there are two more in the kiln! 🙂  I will try to remember to post pictures next time – talking of which, I will be interviewing my fellow studio owners at Quex Park Craft Village, so watch out for an eclectic mix of artisan types to be features soon 🙂

And on that note, my little Stangler fish – he started off as a Stone fish and ended up an Angler fish!

And don’t forget, live life to the full, love each other and SMILE – it looks good on you 😉  Big hugs, Nanoo, Nannoo 😉

P.S.  I am from the village – I wanted to strike through the ‘Not’, but it wouldn’t let me – and I couldn’t think of another title 🙂

I’m In!

I had been planning and waiting to move into my new studio at Quex Park Craft Village in Birchington for a little while but now I’m in!  I took possession of the keys a week ago today 🙂

I was a bit taken aback to find the floor in such a mess but hey ho, it will be sorted out.  I have had some new electrics to cope with my lampworking paraphanalia – you know when you mentally plan something out and then, when faced with the reality, all the little fantasies evaporate and somehow, nothing is quite how you expected.  Circumstances dictated that  I wasn’t able to move everything in until the following Monday, so I did what I could and made do with a mini set up – at least I was able to get my beads out! 😉

I was pleased when the weekend was over and I could get moved in properly.  I kept busy in the meantime by finishing off orders and making lots of signs – including the letters spelling the business name, with the help of my daughter!

I managed to lose and ‘S’ for a while there!  Not sure the sign is staying as already a very smart young man put his fingers all over the tools and then asked where the Smarties and puppy was. :-/

Getting there – one of the torches is in, kiln and ventilation sorted!  I found the ‘S’ too!  Surely it’s time for melting glass!

I was a bit nervous  – after melting glass and creating in an isolated environment for so long, was I going to be able to concentrate – was I going to be distracted by what was going on outside?  I needn’t have worried – I plugged myself in to a bit of loud ‘Muse’ and guess what emerged from the flames! 🙂

I’m still not finished moving in properly, I am waiting for some new benching for displays, the floor needs to be finished, art work and sculptural pieces installed (more about that another time – you will love it!) and I need a cost effective way of heating the studio but I’m getting there…in fact, being surrounded by the other artisans in the craft village and the wonderful countryside environment of Quex Park, I have had a creative burst!  Hope you like them 🙂

Finished off with a new Dragon…I was thinking Henrietta…what do you think?  If you would like the opportunity to take part in my Facebook giveaways, make sure to pop over and ‘like’ my page – at particular business milestones, you will automatically be entered into a draw (see notes for details).

Well, although there is still a bit more to do, the new studio is operational and my tuition diary is filling up!  Loving every minute!

Thank you for stopping by and being involved in my journey 🙂  And remember, whatever you put out there today is coming right back at you, so make it good!  Big hug -mwah! 😉

Elvis is in my Fish Tank…

SO, woke at stupid o’clock again today.  You would think that with it being darker in the mornings that I would be able to stay asleep for at least an extra hour or two!  Well, there was nothing else for it but to write a blog…

I still have a few weeks to wait until I can move into my new studio but I know that when I get there, I will have to take a few days off to get organised and set all of my equipment up.  I will need to make some counters, install my two Nortel burners and make sure there is room for my Hot Head (no, not me…well yes actually, me too but the Hot Head is a propane only torch!), install the ventilation system and display my work – so, I have been slaving over a hot torch more or less non stop for the past couple of weeks!  Are you ready?

To start with, a few little sets.  Those of you that know me understand that for me, making more than three beads the same is the equivalent of slow Chinese water torture BUT, having plugged myself in to a very loud dose of Muse Showbiz (to drown out the sound of my own singing), I managed a few sets and even enjoyed making them! 😉

The last two sets were made using blown shards.  This is when you use glass blowing techniques to blow a glass bubble, then you smash it all to bits (hahahaha).  The great thing about shards is that the most interesting patterns can be made by understanding what reacts with what!

Next, a bit of fun 🙂  Whenever walking in the woods with the kids, I would tell a story whilst getting them to investigate the surroundings.  The fairies, pixies and elves live in the woods but so does the wicked witch.  The game was to identify which house belonged to who 😉  Below are two pixie houses – they have windows because pixies are notorious spies – they keep an eye on the witches spies.  The next two are fairy houses, whilst the last one is a witch’s spy house 🙂

More fun but playing with technique rather than shape this time!  Meet Little Miss Muffet’s spider with two legs missing – we think the cat in the last picture got at her 😉 ,  and Charlotte, or Charlotte Warlotte as we call her, is a very willful bundle of two year old cuteness!  Her new word is ‘no’ 😉

Now for some serious beads.  My fish tank uses up a lot of my spare time, in that I sit there watching the antics of the inhabitants – they have very distinct personalities.  Elvis is an inquisitive and talkative Angel fish, Tinkerbell you have already met.  SHe likes to rearrange the tank furniture and we have a group of naughty little Balloon Mollies who insist on a show of fish porn from time to time!

On Monday, in a little fit of madness, I threw out a challenge on my Facebook page *   (Gah!  you may need to copy and paste the link to your browser) for people to suggest what they would like me to make that day.  A moonlit scene, with a tree was suggested, so I set about it!

Different sides of the same bead.  This is how I made it. *For people with flame-working experience only!*

I used 104 COE but it would no doubt work equally well for others.  I also used a Mega Minor but other duel fuel torches will suffice – with pateince, this could be done on a HH too.

You will need, clear; opaque dark green; opaque dark blue; pale green transparent frit; white enamel; opaque white; opaque dark brown stringer and Reichenbach siver brown stringer.

First make a small wind of clear on your dipped mandrel (2.4mm advised).  I do this to give a stiff base, especially if using a very ‘runny’ colour.  Next I wind dark opaque green on what will be the bottom half of the bead and dark opaque blue on what will be the top half.  Melt it in – it doesn’t matter if the demarcation isn’t straight, in fact it looks better if it isn’t!  You can shape at this point – this bead is about 3cms – I used a lentil masher.  Next, heat the green portion and dip in a little light green transparent frit (remember to do both sides!) and melt in.  Heat the blue portion of bead and to whichever side you want your tree to be, dip onto a little pile of enamel, gently melt in and repeat. For the moon, on the opposite side to the enamel ‘cloud’, place one dot of white to the side, marver in, melt again so it’s flush with the bead. Then you will need to encase the whole bead in clear.  I did this by melting a large gather, placing it on the bead surface and pushing it to cover each side, add more to the sides, taking care not to let the opaque colours bleed. Finally, make the tree with the brown and silver brown stringers (melt enough so it will not ‘pop off’ but don’t melt it in as we want it to be raised).  Use the dark green to dot randomly on the tree branches and then using a reduction flame, reduce to bring out the shiny silver on the tree.  Place in the kiln immediately and wait an interminably long time for your bead to anneal!   Let me know if you make one, I would love to see it! 🙂

So to wrap up (I think it might be time for breakfast!), I have had this design in my head for an age but was waiting for just the right bead to come out of the kiln!  I am undecided as to whether I will part with it or not 😉

And I can’t go without showing you these 🙂

And finally Boudica!  I am in love with black etched glass 🙂

And remember, don’t live in the past, or you may miss what today has to offer… love each other and be kind to yourself.  Big hugs, mwah! 😉