Wet & Wild

You know from my last post that cutting glass strips with the tile cutter turned out to be a bit messy, so today I decided I would do the next batch on the patio…… I’m thinking in hindsight that this may have made me a bit gung-ho with the use of the splash guard (or not!) – to say I got wet through is an understatement – *whispers* “even my knickers were soaked!” lol

me soaking wet

BUT – it was totally worth it – see the picture below of the blue strips I cut and you’ll have to agree – soggy under garments? Bring it on!

blue strips

I’ve since cut some of the strips into various sized squares and rectangles for cufflinks, pendants, rings and earrings. I’m still stunned at how much variation was found from cutting the strips from all sides (not something you would do if you wanted to make the repeating pattern for a dish like I did with the green – then you need to keep cutting from one side).

I’ve lots of ideas now for colour combinations and stack arrangements – this is feeding my inner geek/engineer as well as my creativity. It’s great to try new ideas, especially when it involves power tools! As my friend did say, when I got the diamond tile cutter for my birthday last year: “not the sort of diamonds I would have asked for, but whatever floats your boat!” And yes, it takes all sorts – I can’t resist tools and machinery. I’m now considering the possibility that a little pillar drill would be jolly handy to have in the workshop too!! I’ll add it to the list and keep saving my pennies ;0)

Have a fab weekend! Bev x


News flash – I love my job!

Earlier this week I was rambling about the boredom of creating the same old glass jewellery – well……… after an exciting couple of days of experimentation with random stacks of glass and a diamond tile cutting saw, I’ve decided it’s still fun after all!

The idea was to create jewellery cabochons from a slab created by stacking glass in a dam and allowing it to melt and flow into negative spaces – in doing this, you have no idea what layers of glass you are creating within the slab – VERY EXCITING!!

The first 3 pics below show the creation of a slab….

blue stacks pic 1blue stacks pic 2blue slab

Once the slab is made, the fun really begins!

I got a diamond tile saw for my birthday last year (I know, I’m a bit sad like that) and this was it’s christening. Just incase you are thinking of doing this at home, be warned, it makes a lot more mess than you think and you really need a waterproof mac and wellies!! You literally slice up the slab – I made 8mm slices, as this is a good thickness for most things I want to do.

Anyhow….. the next pic is actually of a green slab I also made, which as you can see, was cut into strips. These were then laid on their sides in an alternating way, to form a continuous pattern. All clear so far?

    green slab being cutgreen slab after firing

The green strips were re-fired to create a new slab which will become a bowl.

The blue strips on the other hand, well, they are practically edible!! I’ve cut a few into squares and rectangles and they are, as I type being fired to smooth the glass back off (as it gets pretty roughed up with the saw).

blue chunks pre firing

I am unbelievably excited about these little chunks – I’m seeing cufflinks, rings and necklaces – How funky are they?? VERY!! Yay – Mojo well and truly back, I’d say!

…..now there’s just the small matter of a tax return…… boo hiss!


Bling Bling!!

Sometimes I go back to my original passion of making jewellery and for the 1st two weeks of February 2014, Nucleus Arts Gallery in Chatham ( http://www.facebook.com/NucleusArts ) is hosting a special exhibition of jewellery for the run-up to Valentines – “Bling Bling!” So, what to make??

Having wrestled with the thought that in the end, fused glass jewellery all starts to look the same to me, I stopped making it for a while. I was also slightly obsessed with making BIG things so the precision of pairs of cufflinks and stud earrings vs the freeform style of frit, put up no contest. However, it’s always nice to revisit something that you feel was almost too far into your comfort zone that you felt it had become mundane. And by happy accident, I recently lent a hand to a new glass artist when she needed some cabochons fired – It was refreshing to experience someone else’s take on glass jewellery, and it reminded me that making miniature works of art that might become a ring, or a necklace, is actually quite exciting! We had great fun washing the cabochon’s at my sink and discussing their various merits and potential. Her new and inexperienced view of the glass was an inspiration to me – a prod in the ribs, urging me to ignore my self-imposed rules about layering and dimensions and precision (I blame a former life as a draughts person for my OCD attitude to cutting jewellery glass).

Of course, an acknowledgement of the technical ‘rules’ is always wise, but I realise that it can also become constraining and make your work feel a bit too uniform and yes, I’ll say it, “boring”!! I can’t remember the last time I looked at glass jewellery and thought “hmmmm!? How did they do that??” I guess that’s what I want to achieve – that people will be intrigued, as I was the first time I bought some glass jewellery from the Leeds Castle Xmas Craft fair. It’s what made me want to buy a kiln and work it out for myself…..

Actually, as I’ve been typing this blog, I’ve had a couple of little ideas…… maybe I should get off the PC and go experiment?! Yes, I think that’s what I’ll do………


Are Hearts, the new Hearts??

I’ve been pondering what to make for the Nucleus Galleries and for Cherry Blossom Florist in the run up to Valentines…… I know it’s all an over-blown, commercially driven, fake event (according to a lot of men I know lol), but it has to be said, it’s still a time for us little business owners and makers, to make some money! So in the name of the new studio and kiln project, here I am making plans for Valentines.

Here’s what I’m chewing over – Hearts! Personally, I like hearts. I have several randomly placed about the house, made from a variety of materials and I know lots of people who are heart-mad! But is this the best I can muster for my Valentines products? Really?? I disappoint myself at times!! I guess hearts can be classified as an all-year-round type of thing so perhaps that’s OK? But how exciting is it? Thing is, I’m not really one for producing very commercially themed goodies – my work is usually more abstract. For me, it seems like an easy option, but if (as my taurean nature might suggest) I don’t resist the urge to conform to this popular commercial phenomenon, am I selling my soul to the devil or am I just practicing good business?

In reality, a glass artist cannot survive on the abstract butter alone – one needs the commercial bread items to fund the more interesting stuff! So here I still am, sitting on the fence…… Think I will just go and make a cuppa and think about it a bit more….. lol I did say that I hadn’t got my New Year Mojo back yet!

Bev x

New Year, New Ideas!

Welcome to 2014!

A horizon filled with the promise of new possibilities and fresh ideas… if it wasn’t for that damned rain and the wind, and the pending speed awareness course, I would definitely have got my New Year Mojo back by now!

Well the dreaded speed awareness is tomorrow, so then we just need the weather to start behaving and I’m sure that will be the beginning of an exciting year of new glass projects.

Actually I do have the seeds of a little plan in my head for the coming year but it involves me winning the lottery or some such other money-generating scheme. I ended 2013 with a flurry of activity – a stand at Handmade Christmas at the O2, my glass going into a new Florist as well as making Christmassy items for both the Nucleus Arts Galleries. The aim was to generate enough spondoolies for a much needed bigger kiln. In actual fact, I ended the year not far off my target, but then came the inevitable discussion with my family regarding where this BIGGER kiln was supposed to live?!? Ahha! Yes, there is that to consider, and my son didn’t fancy swapping his downstairs den for my upstairs ‘studio’ (AKA spare bedroom). So hubster put out the idea that a ‘garden studio’ would be the ideal solution….. yes, when you google ‘garden studio’ you can indeed get lost in the dreamworld of designer purpose-built, fully insulated, double-glazed, practically holiday-home-esque ‘garden studios’ that people who have indeed won the lottery, may be at this very moment, ordering from one of the many on-line bespoke studio builders!

I live in hope…… but in the meantime, I’m going to place a line of pebbles in the garden where my studio will be (one day) and look out of the rain soaked window, whilst summoning the Goddess of enthusiasm and the God of wind-fall (appropriately named for the current weather conditions) and drink my cup of tea…. and eat the leftover Xmas shortbread.

I hope your New Year has got off to a more creative and up’n’at ’em start than mine!

Best wishes for all your ideas and plans x Bev