Well that went better than expected!

So, you may remember from last week that I was in what I like to call ‘a bit of a panic’. I mean, who actually likes tidying up stuff?! But with the help of my lovely sister-in-law Denise, I did actually get my studio all in order, work nicely hung and displayed and tea and cake set out for Open Studios, all by 10:58am on Friday!! I even managed to have a shower and wash my hair before the 11am opening! Phew!

As it turned out, it all went rather well; I had loads of lovely visitors, sold some glass, have lots of interest in both beginners glass fusing workshops and some bespoke, skill-specific days for some lovely novice glass fusers – so that went better than expected!! And as my studio looked so pretty with my work set out and hung up, I’ve decided to leave it where it is. One of my friends did point out that it will get dusty if I leave it out, but hey! who ever cared about a bit of dust? Not me! After all, I made it to be seen, not wrapped in bubble wrap and stuffed in a box in the garage! So until someone else wants it in their house, I may as well enjoy it myself. And anyway, I’ve already filled all the shelf space in the garage so it won’t fit ;0)

Here’s a little peek of some of it in my studio…..

Clearly the Fairy lights are an essential feature of any studio display!

It’s not too late to brighten up your summer wardrobe with some funky jewellery either! Look at all those yummy chunks of swirly glass – that was very popular! And yes, you spotted the Xmas display – to be honest I really never want to make another Xmas themed item again, so these were all in ‘bargain corner’ lol.

The other thing we did was some coaster or sun-catcher making – so much fun!

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I’m going to be doing some coaster and sun-catcher making sessions at my local Wisdom Hospice so Emma who is part of the team there, popped in with her lovely daughter to have a go and see what we would be doing. Great job girls!!

And finally, I received this lovely pic of Colin the Cockerel who flew off to a new home and is now sitting on the kitchen wall surveying the goings-on and looking very happy!

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All-in-all a fab weekend of chatting about glass, drinking tea and eating cake, and I still have a tidy studio! But more importantly, now it’s such a pleasant space, I have renewed motivation to get in there and get making stuff!! 50 jelly babies already in the kiln and 3 light sconces for a client in the planning stages – YAY!! The sunny weather helps and my view into the garden is a bonus, but I must admit, having a tidy, well ordered studio is the best motivation, so maybe if I just do the tidying up as I go from now on……..

Bev x

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A Crying Shame

Now I’m not one to get all political and shout about injustice and the wrongs of the world, but this week I can honestly say I have been so sad and disappointed in my local council that I totally understood the phrase ‘a crying shame’.

As you probably know, I am a small independant glass artist, lucky enough to be associated with a local charity that supports local art and I have volunteered in one of their retail/gallery spaces once a week for over 5 years now – Nucleus Arts in Rochester (Kent). Unlike most High Streets, Rochester, as well as having one of the oldest Castles and Cathedrals in the country, has the quaintest, most unique and friendly gathering of small local businesses – shops, restaurants, cafes and pubs. You could say that, along with being famously ‘Dickensian’ with it’s festivals and landmarks associated with the great man, these independent businesses are what makes Rochester, Rochester!

So it was with horror, but a sense that it surely wouldn’t actually happen, that I recently signed an e-petition (along with nearly 1000 other locals) to plead with our local council NOT to allow the massive chain that is COSTA COFFEE, to take over one of the most desirable, beautiful and best positioned buildings in the High Street! We already have (off the top of my head…) 10 fantastic, individual and welcoming tea and coffee shops – there may be more that I’ve forgotten. They rub along nicely together and fit in with the unique nature of our beloved Rochester extremely well. They connect with the local community, some providing space for artistic endeavours, and they are all owned and staffed by local people, who know who you are when you go in, and treat you with a sense of familiarity that these huge conglomerates never do.

So, imagine my distress when I read on facebook on Friday that our council planners in their 11-4 majority wisdom, have deemed that COSTA pose no threat or detriment to the wellbeing and livelihood of the High Street and it’s independent businesses! WHAT???? Sorry, didn’t they read the e-petition, the hand-written petition, the nearly 200 letters in objection to this application? Apparently not – apparently they read the ONE letter in support and were clearly dazzled by the corporate spin (and dare I say it, money) of the COSTA PR machine, who, I might add have already got permission  to put another COSTA unit into the new Rochester Station that is being built over the road from the high st and probably 150M away from this delightful old building. Grrrrrrrrr!!!!

Sorry, but my rant is not over – I could cry at the sense of disappointment I felt when I realised that money speaks louder than the local residents who pay the wages of the local SERVANTS who represent their interests. I can draw no other conclusion…. call it cynical….. call it whinging….. I am so outraged I can feel myself thinking I should organise a march of protest!! And that’s really not me lol I have messaged @MarkReckless MP and asked him how this has happened – no reply and no comment on his FB page or twitter.

I guess that the conclusion I have therefore reached is that independent small businesses actually have nobody but themselves and each other to look out for them. Medway is fortunate that the arts scene is strong and lively and supportive and we will do our best to support our local cafes and tea shops and vote with our purses – we will NOT be visiting Costa Coffee – and as one of my friends said, maybe we will pick up their discarded take-away cups off our historic flagstone pavements and post them back to Costa through their antique letter box!

There you have it! When I have calmed down (maybe tomorrow) I will tell you all about Bling Bling and show you some lovely pictures of the new jewellery collection x