Monday 30 November 2009

My Fab Neckwarmer

Here is a photo of the lovely neck warmer Laura knitted for me like hers but in lovely orange. I shall try to get a photo of me wearing it but sadly I will never look as elegant as Laura does wearing her gorgeous purple one!!! Still the plus point is it should cover up my double chin (just look at the photo of me lampworking in my earlier post! :))) )

I shall be wearing it this weekend at the craft fair in an outside marquee, that is for sure with the current weather forecast!! Thanks Laura.

My Second Go at Lampworking

So... here they are. My second ever batch of lampworked beads made on my one to one workshop with Laura Sparling. I was very happy with the results. A very long way from perfect but Laura did keep reminding me I could not expect perfect in two lessons! :-) I was at a craft fair when these arrived and hubby texted me to tell me. I sent back a message saying open them at once and tell me what they are like! (ok, I was quite excited they had arrived). I got a reply that they were "quite startling!!". That's husbands for you! Laura also sent me a fab burnt orange neck warmer she had knitted for me. I shall have to try to get a photo of me wearing it. It is cashmere and gorgeous!

The beads from my first lesson had rather a rainbow effect with me trying every colour rod of glass I could get my hands on so this time I had decided to keep it simple with just 4 colours. I am really quite taken with ivory so used that with black, a transparent red and an opaque red. I even got to encase a couple of beads in clear. You can sort of see my progression in the flower design as I eventually managed to get the dots big enough. The bead at the bottom is a sort of sculptural bead (!!!) that rather took on a life of its own as it went along as I had started making something quite different. Now to buy my own torch....

I did two craft fairs over the weekend. Saturdays was very good, Sundays was a bit lacking in people but that meant all the craft makers had a good chat and a laugh together so I enjoyed the day anyway.

I am doing an extra craft fair this weekend at Stone Cross Nurseries near Eastbourne. I shall be there on Saturday 5th in the craft marquee. Pop in and say hi if you are in the area. They are having their Xmas Tree event and I think you may even get a free glass of mulled wine. Now there is an incentive to come along!

Wednesday 25 November 2009

Glass Melting Fun

Well did I have fun yesterday? You bet! I even look as though I almost know what I am doing!! Laura really is a great tutor. I am now eagerly awaiting the arrival of my annealed beads to see what exactly I managed to create! I will take pictures and post them here no matter how bad they are - promise!!
If you want to learn how to make your own lampwork glass beads Laura Sparling will be running more one to one workshops starting in January. I highly recommend it.

Sunday 22 November 2009

A Little Bit of ME Time!

The last few weeks have been really hectic. This weekend has been the first one for ages where I have not either been doing craft fairs or teaching, so yesterday I got into my workshop and had a good old sort out. It was getting in quite a pickle and definitely needed it. By mid afternoon it looked a lot better so I opened a packet of Art Clay Copper Clay that I had not had a chance to try since returning from the Art Clay conference.
When you are used to using Silver Clay opening a 50g pack of Copper seems an awful lot of clay, especially as I wanted to use it all up in one go. I started off by using a bit of Gloves in a Bottle on my hands. I am fine with Silver Clay but I did notice when I tried the Copper Clay at the conference it made my hands itch a bit so I had bought a bottle of this ready. It coats your hands and prevents the irritation.
The photo above is just some of the pieces I made. I still have a large fish and a pendant which need finishing off and firing. I was mainly working with the idea of making elements to combine with Art Clay Silver. The Copper clay has to be fired first as it fires on the open shelf in the kiln at 970c for 30mins. At this temperature the Silver Clay would melt if you tried to fire them together.
Why the large holes in the flowers I hear you asking. Well the next stage is to combine the silver clay with the fired copper pieces, but silver and copper will not actually fuse together so to join them I need to have silver clay through the hole which will hold it all together after firing. Sounds a bit complicated? It will make more sense when I get a chance to finish them off.
I was delighted with the way the Copper Clay worked and felt. A bit softer and wetter than Art Clay Silver it took the textures well and moulded beautifully. Best of all once dried the baby wipes worked fantastically well on it. Any of you who have taken a workshop with me will know I am the biggest fan of baby wipes for cleaning up the edges of dried clay pieces. No dust and mess and lovely smooth edges. I had heard it suggested baby wipes might not work well with the copper but no - they were fab. Even better than on the silver clay.
The pieces come out the kiln literally red (well orange actually) hot and are dropped straight into a bowl of cold water. This makes the black firescale ping off, and then they go into the pickle to finish removing any black from the surface. After that these pieces have just been given a quick brush up with a brass brush under running water.
I wont actually be getting to finish these off for a few days though as this week I am off to do a workshop myself. Whoppee!! I am going to Oxford to learn a bit more about making lampworked beads with the wonderful Laura Sparling. I did a one to one workshop with Laura at the beginning of the year. I had never tried making beads before but I just love all the fabulous beads Laura creates. I had a brilliant day last time and under her expert tuition I was amazed to produce all the beads below.

Of course I came home full of great excitement and enthusiasm to make more beads but then hit a very big logistical problem. My workshop is upstairs and a cylinder of propane needs to be stored outside for safety. I still have not gotten round this problem. Back in the summer I decided the solution was to clear the garage (full to the brim with years of junk). Hubby agreed he would have a go, but as it was the start of Wimbledon it would have to wait a few weeks. Then came the cricket, and then autumn and it was getting a bit cold etc etc and guess what!! - still no room in the garage. Oh well. I shall thoroughly enjoy my workshop this week and when I get back I shall see if I cant get something organised.
I shall also be doing my best to post here more often.
I only have 3 more craft fairs before Christmas so maybe I will see you at one of them.
28th November 2009
Wealden Craftworkers
Memorial Hall
The Tye
29th November 2009
Christmas Fair at the Llama Park
Ashdown Forest
10th December 2009
Wealden Craftworkers
Memorial Hall

Monday 16 November 2009

Ooooh now I'm Online!

If you missed the article about my Carnevale Venezia Mask pendant in Making Jewellery Magazine you can now read it online! Just click this link to the Making Jewellery website :)

Friday 13 November 2009

Almost finished....

It has been a really busy week and in amongst everything else I have been trying to make a few bits of new stock for the craft fair this weekend. Here are some of my efforts all made using Art Clay Silver. Now I just have to add all the findings! They are a bit of a mix muddle. I have found it is the more moderate priced things that are selling well so I just went for a bit of a variety. You will probably notice a bit of a lack of colour as well for me, but these are the sorts of things I sold well on last week. The gorgeous blue beads are by Laura Sparling.
This is also my first "evening" photo with my new daylight lights. Normally I always photograph everything in the natural light in the mornings. Now I will be able to photograph in the evenings as well. It is not perfect and needs some playing with but it is not too bad a photo for my first quick attempt.
Ok, now where did I put my pliers.......

Mitchelham Priory Christmas Fair

Sorry I have been a bit lax on the blog this last week. Last week I sold so much I have been trying to sort myself out for the next craft fair at Mitchelham Priory tomorrow and Sunday. It is a wonderful venue and I am there with the East Sussex Guild of Craftworkers and as usual we are in the Elizabethan Barn. The forecast is not too good for the weekend but this is normally a busy fair regardless. Do come and say hello.

Friday 6 November 2009

Teaching Assistance (Assistants?)

When Karen was here for her two day workshop she took these lovely photos of my two cats who do like to know what is going on in their house and keep up to date with things.

This is the girl, Shuki, checking out if the paint brush is edible or not

and this is the boy, Inu, looking very superior and in charge of everyone.
They did not really help too much with the workshop but just wanted to make sure we did not ignore them.
If you fancy a one to one workshop tailored to what you want to learn you can find details on my website or just email me for details. The cats' assistance comes free!!
I forgot to tell you I am doing another Craft Fair at Cooden Beach Hotel. Today was great and I am there all day tomorrow from 10am - 5pm.

Tuesday 3 November 2009

Great Beginings

Last week Karen Taylor flew over from Spain for a two day one to one workshop with me. Karen was a complete beginner with silver clay having only had one not very successful attempt at home on her own. As we never got as far as photographing the pieces Karen has kindly just emailed me these photos.

Karen obviously is very talented and took to Art Clay Silver really well. She made some great pieces. You can see more of her lovely jewellery she makes using Swarovski crystals and semi precious gems on her website Precious.

Over the two days she made

this beautiful owl brooch (my favourite piece I think)

An angel wing and a feather silver pendants

A jewel encrusted syringed heart

and a silver cross pendant with a fused gold top surface using Art Clay Gold Paste.

She also made a ring and set some small stones into flower shapes for future use. We really covered a lot in two days, but having travelled all that distance for a workshop we were trying to cram in as much as we could.
Certainly these are great first pieces. Well Done Karen.

Sunday 1 November 2009

Rings Rings Rings

For some reason I have never really made many rings to sell in the past. I guess I have always been wary of the "whatever size you make it is always the wrong size" syndrome with them. Recently though I have had so many requests that I decided I would start making them to sell. So here is a little stack (they really did not want to balance on each other very well!) and I have three more in progress. They all have fired in place CZs and are made using Art Clay Silver.
What do you think?

And the winner is.....


Congratulations Cheryl, please email your details and I will get the Purple Heart pendant off in the post to you.
Well that was fun. I'll do another sometime.
Hopefully this week I will start to get back to normal a bit as it has been so hectic for the last few weeks. More pictures of new work coming soon I promise.

Blog Giveaway Officially Closed

Ok as of this posting the blog giveaway is officially closed. I am off to write out all the names, pop them in a hat and get hubby to draw out one lucky winner.

I'll post the name later today...
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