Hurtling (love that word) Through Life…

I have neglected my blog.  Oh dear…. well, I’m back now – I have a good excuse, honest!  I have been poorly for a while now but have finally been diagnosed.  We are still experimenting as far as correct medication and dose goes, but we are getting there.  Fine, OK.  Then about a month ago I had a real scare – paramedics were dispatched and everything!  Long story short, I had a mild heart attack.  Thankfully I feel fine now apart from the nervousness of the tests I shall be undergoing on Wednesday for what they think is an underlying problem…hopefully my heart is not broken for good! 😉

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In addition, I am preparing for a couple of big events and am quite busy in the studio…no, don’t tell me to ease up at work!  I find being home and idle far more stressful than being at my tranquil little studio, creating and designing 😀

So, what have I been working on?  As my Facebook family will tell you, I have been pretty much obsessed with making flowers!  All sorts and colours and I am still enthralled by the endless combination possibilities…

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Necklaces, bracelets, earrings…

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And, as my mind is a tangential entity, led to trees,

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And then fairies and angels…

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And Dragons and damsels….not forgetting the odd mermaid! 😉

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Which brought me back to Goddesses 😀

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And finally, I’d like to show you my favourite piece – it would make a fabulous statement bridal necklace – me?  I’d wear it supermarket shopping but that’s just the way I roll 😉

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I am very thankful to have my dream job of creating lovely things with molten glass and I think it’s saved me, in many ways.  Why did I get ill?  Probably from a number of years of high stress and heartache…with a combination of an underlying condition, poorly managed medication and a viral infection!  I’m hoping to avoid this combination again!  What this illustrates, is something I’ve been banging on about for years now – life is too short, you only live once, grab every chance and opportunity and run with it.  Do Not Wait.  Live and love like each day is your last…live in the moment, not in the past or in the future – they don’t exist!

Great big hugs to all…yes, that means YOU 🙂

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Maybe Not Warts And All – 2013

I’ve been sitting here thinking about the year gone past.  Lots of quite big things have happened – some good, others not so good.  I’m wondering how much I should share…how vulnerable it would make me to divulge some of the emotional ups and downs that accompanied the events.  After all, this was supposed to be a blog about my journey with glass but on the odd occassion, like the time I wrote about my Grandmother, I find it difficult to separate.  I also needed to consider how much detail I could include as invariably, the highs and lows are intertwined with other people…I have tried to keep things neutral as a result but hopefully there are some ‘take-home messages’ that I have learned!

So, how to organise it!  Chronologically, it’s all a jumble, so I shall just blurt it all out 😀

I moved into my lovely new flat!  I had been waiting for it to be finished for quite a while, so to be able to have our own space again was, and is wonderful!  We can walk about the place in our pants – or not, as the mood takes us!  Oh the freedom 😉

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This was a year when I learned a lot about myself…and other people.  I, like most of us, consider myself a fairly good judge of character and always give people the benefit of the doubt.  I learned in the harshest possible way that actions, or lack of, really do speak louder than words and that I have to trust more in my inner voice, despite not wanting to sometimes.  I have always tried to give second chances, after all, we all mess up from time to time but there has to be a limit and we have to trust our gut feelings much more!  I have met some really unpleasant characters – individuals that are no stranger to lies and are quite happy, joyful in fact, in the telling – these people seem able to project a much different face than the true one .  One of them – not one of the worst ones – was the coach driver who almost squished me and my car, who blatantly lied about the circumstances!  Maybe I’ve led a sheltered life, as I am still shocked when things like this happen.  Thankfully there wasn’t much damage and I was just shook up!  Experiences such as that serve to remind us how fragile life is and how vigilant we need to be in our fast paced world as things can happen in the blink of an eye!  I have learned to forgive…

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The second picture is me being silly on a shopping trip…it’s just there to fill the space 😉

One of the worst injustices was with a government agency, who wouldn’t accept the evidence they asked for and who caused serious hardship – what made it worse was that the MP who I asked to help me was as helpful as a chocolate teapot! 😉  I have chosen not to forgive on this occasion!

I had an amazing day with glass Master Lucio Bubaco, who was a real inspiration – I would love to study with him!

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I have also met lots of wonderful, open, wise and joyful people this year.  In the studio I have met many kindred spirits, who have become my friends.  At the Goddess conference there were literally hundreds of amazing people – friendly, generous, helpful and accepting.  I know I shall see many of these lovely people again and the very fact that folk like these exist, gives me great hope for the future!

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I’ve had lots of visitors to my new home – not all scary I might add!  And met up with old friends from Uni days – prompted by a visit to the UK by Melissa and Emile, over from Australia!  It was fantastic to see them and we should all make more effort to keep up with friends – it’s just not the same saying hello on FB as it is sitting round a table, sharing stories and wine 😀

We have a new addition to our family 🙂  Her name is Beau Bear (as in Polar) Monroe (as in Marylin) but because she was too small to wash her own behind when we got her, has earned the nickname of Poo Head!  For a few weeks we had to chase her around with wipes to wash her dirty bum!

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It’s definitely been a year of good and bad – I have been unwell to top it all.  After having not visited a Dr for many years, I now have my own reserved seat – hopefully all will be sorted out in time…

And finally, I moved into my new studio, that already has a whole blog to itself!

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I hope you have all had a good year – if it hasn’t been so good, my commiserations go to you, along with a big hug. When things don’t seem to be going well, it’s easy to colour everything in a negative shroud – so next year, I plan to get a big jar and every time something nice happens, even the tinniest thing – such as getting stuck at the traffic lights but seeing the most beautiful rainbow ever, I shall write it on a scrap of paper and pop it in that jar!  Then I shall really be able to count my blessings!

I’ll leave you with a few glassy pictures – ah, you knew I would, didn’t you 😉

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The new Goddesses are from a range I call ‘Quaintrelles’.  A Quaintrelle is a woman who ’emphasises a life of passion expressed through personal style, leisurely pastimes, charm and cultivation of life’s pleasures’.  Sounds very much like me don’t you think! 😉

This is my last post before year end.  I know we have a few weeks to go yet and anything could happen (please make it nice things)! I’ll need something to start the new year off, so if anything happens between now and then, I’ll save it 😉

My very best wishes to you all, whatever you plan to celebrate.  My wish list includes peace on earth – please Universe!  Embrace each other’s differences, don’t hold back, live in the now – be true to yourself, honest to others…see you all next year! 😀

She Sells Sea Shells…

I can’t believe I have been in the new studio for almost a month already!  Still, it’s not surprising that time is whizzing past as I have been having lots of fun 🙂

So I rearranged the display space to make way for a new work bench to cater for my growing mini-laboratory.  I’m quite pleased with the cosy  feel of it!

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The windows are looking nice from the outside too 🙂  Anyway, I have been making lots, as usual… Dragon Eyes – there are a few one eyed Dragons flying about now!  Herbert the Killer Whale, a commissioned piece that was fun to make 🙂  A sweet little owl, inspired by the birds of prey at the Falconry SouthEast centre, which is at Quex too.  A Dragon’s head – for lampworkers out there, my tutorial for this can be found in the Soda Lime Times…I think it was the June issue.  A Goddess who was inspired by the full moon and eclipse, who as fine silver accents.

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Then there is a toga clad maiden, who is as sparkly as can be with lots of dichroic glass inside – you can just make out the flowery dichro in the bottom half of her toga and finally, a commissioned pair of sculptures, covered in fine silver and copper.  I have made them to look ancient and I’m pleased to report that my client was as pleased with them as I was – I wanted to keep them!  They are safely with their new owner in America now 🙂

So a new project I set myself, was to try to make realistic looking sea shells, which was inspired by an experiment I had read about, where hermit crabs would happily live in a glass blown shell.  My shells turned out ok – can’t say the same for my attempt at a Hermit crab but I guess he has a certain appeal 😉

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I shall continue to play with this idea as the possibilities are endless, plus I quite enjoy blowing glass – makes a change from all that hot air! 😉

And on that note, I shall leave you with this little fellow and say ‘smile’!  Make the most of each and every moment and put your phone away for a bit, look around and see what a beautiful planet we inhabit 🙂  May you all live long and prosper…nannoo, nannoo (Mork and Mindy) 😀

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Glass Makes My Soul Visible…

I have been thinking about this.  My whole psyche has made a sideways leap which has changed the way I view everything – in a good way! 2013-08-10 10.48.38 2013-08-13 10.50.41 2013-08-16 11.09.41

During my time on this planet, I have travelled many paths and achieved lots of diverse goals…I have taught, ran a music pub, been a scientist, ran one of a chain of stores and now I am a glass artist.  I have been searching for that ultimate place within myself – not a job but a place where work and life, me and what I do, come together as an expression of who I am.  I won’t call it ‘finding myself’ because we are all constantly evolving as we experience new things and incorporate those new things into our mind and settle them in amongst our existing memories and experiences, causing a slight shift in how we view and react and think.

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Melting glass is a lot like meditation.  You lose yourself in the creating, concentrating until the glass is your only focus, your breathing slows, everything else fades into the background and becomes almost inconsequential.  Melting glass helped to heal me when I was lost and bereaved and it keeps away those insidious worries that quietly invade your peace, like a sneaky virus that tries to erode feelings of happiness and well-being…you know, money, family, life!

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Melting glass is an expression of myself, my feminine power, my strength, the arty stuff that has been locked away in my head since age 11.  It has freed me in lots of ways.  Allowed me to quietly think and explore the human condition.  My condition and those around me.  It has helped me value my family and friends even more and has given me access to people I wouldn’t have met if I didn’t create glassy goodies.

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It seems like I have lived many lives and I have reinvented myself countless times, each serving it’s purpose until it’s purpose is done.  I feel excited by the reinventions to come!  At the moment, my ‘self’ is about bright colours, dancing and joy and I am revelling, hugging myself at my good fortune – a job that’s so fulfilling that I’ll never have to work again, family who I adore, each and every one; friends, always there, stalwart, supportive and beautiful.

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I feel blessed now more than ever.  I may not be rich in today’s monetary  measure, but I have treasure beyond counting and peace of mind…at last.

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Remember what’s important.  Be still awhile and listen to what’s inside.  Reach out, celebrate, throw your arms in the air and dance!! 😀  Thank you all for being part of my journey 😀

Glastonbury Goddess Conference 2013

Hello!  Long time no see I’m afraid.  What with the lead up to the conference, the conference itself and then the busy period immediately afterwards, I have shamefully neglected my blog 😦

But on with the story to celebrate and relive a fantastic week at the 18th Glastonbury Goddess Conference!  It all starts with me dying my hair bright orange – yes I know, ‘what was she thinking?’, I hear you mutter as you shake your head.  For some reason, I had the urge to have orange hair.  I can’t explain it, apart from the romantic notion of looking like a pre-raphaelite painting but I did it the night before we were due to set off for the West… I awoke startled at myself and a little bit horrified but soon forgot all about it as I hadn’t done any packing etc!

We set off at 10.30 am, thinking that we would have plenty of time to get there and set up in the Town Hall before 5pm.  Easy peasy, it should only take 5 hours if we include two decent motorway service stops.  You know what’s coming, don’t you.  Yup, traffic jams.  Horrible, long, hot jams that make you think the car will overheat…  Ok, so I should have expected the M25 jam.  It’s notorious after all and silly me for thinking we would get away with it because of the time we were travelling.  The worst was yet to come though, on the A303.  Next year, someone remind me to find an alternative route!  I kid you not, we sat in that jam for almost 2 hours and for what?  Two seets of traffic lights, that’s what.  Gggrrrr!  On the upside, the sign for Stonehenge was in our sight for a good hour and we even got to see the ancient site of Stonehenge itself, 2013-07-29 14.53.45

albeit as we sped past because as you might be able to guess, at the most interesting part of the journey, the lights were finally in our favour.

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Just in case you have never heard of it Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England. One of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge is the remains of a ring of standing stones set within earthworks. It is in the middle of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds.

Archaeologists believe it was built anywhere from 3000 BC to 2000 BC. Radiocarbon dating in 2008 suggested that the first stones were raised between 2400 and 2200 BC,[2] whilst another theory suggests that bluestones may have been raised at the site as early as 3000 BC.

Anyway, we finally made it to the Town Hall at 5.15pm (no one recognised me because of my orange hair), Just enough time to unload the car and realise that I had left my bank card in the petrol station the previous day when I had filled the car for the journey.  Deep joy.  No cash = no dinner.  We needn’t have worried as the Goddess came to the rescue!  There was a Pot Luck spread at the Goddess Hall and we were invited.  The food was delicious and we were very grateful for the generosity of everyone that contributed 🙂

We finally got to our Hotel, where I greedily consumed a number of cups of tea before crashing out as I knew we were in for a busy week (note the orange hair).

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We had decided to walk into town and back each day to be green and save some pennies but that first day we ended up in a cab as we had stuff to carry and it was raining but we were not perturbed and arrived early to register and sort out our table as we had just about had time to dump everything before the hall closed for the evening the day before.

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My gorgeous daughter and beautiful assistant for the week!  Next a walk round the hall to introduce you to a few of my fellow stallholders – amazing Goddesses, one and all!

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And Vikki, I call her Boudica ;), who makes jaw dropping silver and copper jewellery and yes, you guesses it, I have some of her lovely stuff too – and we are planning a collaborations and skills swap day, which I am very excited about!  She also teaches Yoga at The Little Yoga Rooms.

There were lots of others both new and people I had met last year but I didn’t manage to get pictures of everyone as we were all so busy but you can see more if you click the link to Tatomir’s article below!  Anyway, Shoshana, Sue and Ruth deserve a mention for organising us all and taking care of us.  Ember Vincent was there again this year with her lovely creations – yes, I do have one of her pieces 🙂  I am hoping to make some largish sculptures soon and she very generously gave me lots of useful information, for which I am grateful for.  There was Gwen, who did the most amazing Henna body art.  She makes her own henna – brilliant stuff, lovely and dark, so I had some of that too, as I have been known to dabble 😀  I popped up the the Assembly rooms to see who was there this year – if you recall, that’s where I was last year…

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There were many more and I’m sure I took more pictures but sadly, I can’t find them 😦

So, the first night brought the opening ceremony – wow!  It was amazing, beautiful, primal.  There are no photographs of this event once it got going as it was not appropriate but it was a very powerful performance and we all joined in the singing and dancing – what a great evening 🙂

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The next night was the night of the Lammas bonfire!  The procession left the Town Hall and we sang all the way to the location of the bonfire, which was uplifting and much fun!  The route took us up the high street, through an alley, round the houses and finally across a big field on a hill with lots of cow pats.  I had been serving a last minute customer and left my walking footwear under the table, so have a little chuckle now, as I fell off my shoes a few times and finally succumbed to borrowing a pair of my daughters sandals, effectively dragging my trouser bottoms though some suspicious looking brown gloopy material…did I mention it was a cow field?

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In a workshop earlier that day, many people (including my helper) had made a clay piece – their depiction of The Mother – which had been arranged around the bonfire.

There was much singing and dancing as the Mother was invited to join the ceremony!  There was a magical moment when the torch bearers came into view…

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More singing and dancing ensued when the fire was lit!  It was a lovely and joyous evening for everyone!

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We didn’t stay until the end as I was unsure if I would make it back down the hill in one piece in my daughters shoes in the pitch black!!  So we made our way back to the hotel exhausted but happy 🙂  And no, I didn’t fall flat on my face in the muck 😉

The walk to ‘work’ and back each day was refreshing, past the sheep, who we exchanged pleasantries with each morning and we returned the salute afforded us by the lone tree trunk.  Before we returned each night, we partook of tasty vittles at a local hostelry, The Beckets Inn, which I highly recommend – great food at great prices and lovely staff.

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As the week wore on, we met some wonderful people and had lots of laughs.  I have to say hello to Sarah – who bought lots of beads from me this year.  Sarah was the inspiration last year, for the pregnant Goddess beads.  Sarah was expecting twins when last I saw her and she had them the very next day – she had managed to hang on to them for the duration of the conference!  They were delivered safely and are a little pair of sweeties.  Sarah is planning a visit to my studio to see how I make my Goddess beads soon.  I look forward to that! 🙂

We also met Tatomir Ion-Marius, a journalist from Romania, who wrote an article all about us, which was published online.  The article appeared in the   Lots more pictures of the Town Hall stalls.

As the week draws to a close, there is much excitement about the masked ball.  Everyone gets to dress up as the Goddess or God of their choice and entry is not permitted unless one is suitable masked 🙂  I was the Goddess Sedna of the oceans deep!  We decided to make our own masks and my helper was dispatched to the local shops for paraphernalia and gubbins whih which to construct them.  She did such a great job, that soon others were asking her to make theirs too, so Lauren is now known as The Entrepenuerette 🙂

The following pictures were taken at the ball, among them are Sarah and her beautiful twins and one of my favourite ladies, Georgina 😀

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On the final day, the closing ceremony procession took place.  Sadly we couldn’t join in as we were preparing to pack up in readiness for our long journey home.  We start with a picture of Karin, whose outfit is entirely hand-stitched!

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And end with one as everyone returns to enter the Town Hall to finish the closing ceremony.

My helper and I had the most amazing week!  The atmosphere was fabulous and everyone was so friendly.  I also saw some of the local people who came to see me last year – and even though I have only been there twice, in a way, going to Glastonbury is a bit like going home 🙂

So, it’s over for another year and I have much stock to make to replace what I’ve sold.  More inspiration has been ferreted away ready for when I have time to play and many new friends have been made…

The journey home wasn’t quite so fraught as the journey there but is still took an hour longer than expected!  Anyway, just before I go, I would like to put a question to you.  We stopped in one of the M&S service stops on the way home to…never mind what for – in the conveniences, there was a soundtrack of birds twittering away.  I was wondering if it was playing to a) cover the sound of ladies tinkling or b) encourage said tinkling to improve turnover – answers on a postcard please 😉

Before I go, I would like to wish you well on your life’s journey.  Treat each other the way you like to be treated and hug lots.  Someone told me you need at least four hugs a day to maintain your health, well I’m not taking any chances, so if you find yourself hugged by a random stranger with orange hair, it might be me 😉

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!

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 😉

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 😉

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! 😉