About Me

My photo

Never know what to say in these short bios - so I won't say anything. I am a mystery even to myself.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Playing in the Frit Pit

I have been experimenting with Frit. Little bits of glass that just transform the beads into little beauties.

Got the goodies from Beadysam who makes and sells glorious bends of colours.

I am not going to ramble on about these - just let the piccies speak for themselves.

If you want some frit then follow the link (Other Links - bottom right of the page) to Beadysam.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Frit Happens Team give away.

Take a look at this. The Frit Happens Team on Etsy are holding a superb prize give away - just follow this link to find out more.


Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Prize Draw - The Result!!!!

The winner is Victoria Tierney - congratulations Victoria.

Thank you all for entering, please be on the look out for more prize givaways in the future.


Monday, 16 August 2010

Blog giveaway!!!!!!

I have been making vague noises about a blog giveaway in various forums for a while - so now I am making good.

The prize is....................................................a goddess bead, and she is silvered.
This is open to all my blog followers who leave a comment below. If you don't already follow the blog - then just click to follow and leave a comment - couldn't be easier.
I will draw a name on Sunday 22nd at 8pm.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Silvered ceramics

Well I have been busy. For ages I have wanted to try silvering some ceramic beads - just like the greek ones. Did a lot of researching online - well tried to but there is not a lot of info on how it's done. Did find some references to 'poor man's silver'. This is 'silvered' ceramic jugs etc, from the 18 century (I think). They made jugs etc in the same designs as silver ones and coated them with a metallic paste which, when fired, made them look like they could be solid silver. The recipes I found were full of nasty toxic stuff - so thought perhaps I'd give them a miss.
Instead I have used PMC paste. Not on a glazed surface - just tumbled. The clay has not been high fired so it was still a bit absorbant. I think this has given me a nice 'textured' kind of surface. Definately goning to make more of these. Will have a go on glazed beads as well for the super shiney silver finish.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

New lampies

Not content to tumble just my porcelain beads - I have been tumbling glass beads as well. I know a few lampworkers use this techinque instead of etching to create beads with a 'sea glass' effect, but I wanted more of and 'etched' effect - without the chemicals.
I put them in with the porcelain beads, together with some tumbled stones and some polishing compound as an experiment and I am very pleased with the result. You can see that the 'shine' has been taken off and the beads have a very pleasing matt surface now. I think it makes the details and delineation between the colours and the reaction lines much crisper. The are a few nooks and crannies that the polishing compound just doesn't get to, but overall a success I think.

I also managed some torch time this week. I got hold of some CIM Sangre and gave it a go. A very nice red, but I think I need to practise 'stricking' it a bit more - you can still see some orangy/yellow on some of the red beads. For those that don't know what stricking is - some glasses only form their colour if they are worked then cooled and then heated again. Perhaps after they have been annealled they colour will improve. I will certainly be making some more with this lovely glass.
Also been playing with pinks and mauves. Practising encasing and inclusions. I have created champange bubbles in the two beads with murrini and the mauve lentil next to them. The results are still a bit hit and miss - but at least they didn't crack.
I also used my own 'home made' bead release for these beads and I am very pleased with the results. The beads came off the mandrels very easily, and the holes cleaned up a treat with a run under the cold tap and a gentle scrub with pipe cleaner. There are a couple of bits that need a bit of a scrap at or a soak perhaps and they should then be as clean as a whistle. I flame dried the release without any problems, after double dipping the mandrels. Got a few cracks, but not near where I was working - may try a slightly modified recipe to see if I can stop the cracking.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Goddess Beads

I have been experimenting with Goddess Beads. These are a quite popular type of bead based on various goddess, but mostly the Venus of Wilendorf. It is believed that the beads were made by women in rituals related to fertility.

After several failed attempts to fashion something that I found even remotely pleasing I decided to try 'pulling' the clay. For those of you that are experienced with pottery making, this is how you make handles for mugs etc.

One of the reasons I went for pulling was that porcelain dries and cracks really quickly - and with the weather being so hot and dry when I was making them it was proving a thankless task to hand mould them.

So small lumps of clay were roughly shaped and then pulled/coaxed into shape over a bowl and using liberal amounts of water. They were then left to stiffen up a little and the breasts were applied and moulded in and the details sgrafitto'ed in with a pointy tool.

Fired then tumbled. The tumbling taks off almost all the making marks etc, and some of the detail. The result is silky smooth and warm. Glazes put such a hard and brittle barrier between you and the clay. Though I may well try some of these glazed as well.

I have listed a couple of these on my Etsy shop - and I think one may well be used as a Blog giveaway soon!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Etsy Treasury

Today someone featured some of my beads in a Treasury on Etsy. And I am absolutely delighted. It is the first time I have been included in a treasury (to my knowledge). There are some delishiously English items featured in this Treasury which is called 'Made in England.

Treasuries expire after a few days - so be quick and follow the link to take a look.


Tuesday, 29 June 2010

New lampwork

Having recently aquired a new but 2nd hand lentil press I have set to experimenting, after getting my torch set up that is.

Starting with the lush turquoise and ivory effetre glasses I made a few beads and then got to work with the press. First one is on the bottom left of the picture - and I think it must have been beginner's luck!

Then moved on a bit to try some other techniques. I have got myself some murrini and some brass mesh. I have been practising using the mesh as an inclusion encased in clear, and the idea is that when heated enough it creates bubbles that look like champange bubbles. This worked best on the one that cracked - sod's law. I guess I just didn't get the others quite hot enough. I will get the hang of this sooner or later!

Other than that I have been busy updating my Etsy shop, adding new stock and posting much improved photos. Go on over and take a look.
Back soon,

Sunday, 20 June 2010

I'm still here!!

I know...a very long absence. I have moved house and am still in a bit of a muddle but getting there but have not got set up for ceramics and lampwork yet.

I have started making again. I have been experimenting with some polymer clay. I decided to enter the monthly competition on the Making Jewellery magazine forum. Taking inspiration from the picture published there I have come up with these beads. Working from the elements that I found the most interesting - the colours and the textures. The brief does say that you should make something 'wearable' and I suppose in that respect I have not entirely fulfilled it - but they are in my opinion potentially wearable.
I will be getting the polymer clays out again soon. I enjoy the immediate results you get with polymer clays. Yes they have to be baked, sanded and perhaps varnished but compared to ceramics this is all so quick - packet to bead in less than an hour. I suppose then you could even make the bead, then the jewellery and wear it tonight!
I have been developing a load of ideas for my ceramic beads, which has now started a train of thought towards making some trinket boxes and even larger ceramic items. This is quite exciting as I haven't really make any ceramics of this type for a long time. I am looking forward to getting stuck in. I suppose I will have to start a seperate blog for them - lol.

Moving on from bead making and ceramics I have been busy with a commission for a tiara. I have never made one before, but here it is. Crystals and freshwater pearls. I am happy with it........but the bride has not seen it yet. I hope she is happy with it. It's for my daughter's friend. My daughter thinks it won't be bold enough to stand out against the bride's blonde hair, but I think the sparkle from the Swarovski ABs should do the job - especially if they get a sunny day. I am sure I can alter it a bit if necessary.
Well that's all for now folks. I will be back soon with lots of new work and news of a new competion.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

New Beads

It's been very quiet around this blog recently - sorry! I have been involved in organising our house move and the laptop has gone away for repairs so I have dug out an old and very slow one to use for now.

Have been making beads though - lampwork and porcelain. Only have photo's of the lampwork for now though. I have been trying a number of techniques - and failing miserably with many. But there are some worthy of showing to the world. I have been playing around with encasing and making tablets/lentils. No presses - just flattening them against a metal surface. I like the 'organic' quality of the shapes this gives and has nothing at all to do with the fact that I don't own any bead presses - lol! No really I do like working in this way and really do like the results.

Also been making more of the red and yellow daisy beads and some new floral designs. These beads are much more sculptural than the tablets. Not sure working with two very different techinques at the same time is a really good idea - but I enjoy the challenge.

Made a load of porcelain beads as well, but not been able to get them photographed yet - so watch this space.

Bye for now


Saturday, 10 April 2010

I have added my voice to the Crafts Council's latest campaign to raise the profile of Crafts in the UK.

Their site says, "Craft Matters was launched in October 2009 to encourage people to stand up and be counted as supporters of contemporary craft and tell us why it is important to them."

Over 6000 people have supported them so far. Go along and take a look, even if you choose to not leave a quote yourself you will see it is full of amazing affirmations about the power crafts has in people's lives.

Here is the link: http://www.craftmatters.org.uk/

Or click on the big orange button.

Bye for now


Monday, 29 March 2010

Tumble Polished Porcelain

Well the first batch is out of the tumbler - only took about a week of constant tumbling to get the finish I wanted. Phew!

But, even if I say so myself, they are just lovely. I will most certainly making more of these. A bit of a shine - tho more of a sheen on some. Even the finest details are still visible.

I have some porcelain that I have stained that I am sure will look stunning in this lovely finish.

I have started listing these on my new Etsy store along with a lot more, so go along and take a look. The link is at the top of the page. The picture quality here is not as good as it should be - they are not as blue as they would appear to be.

Bye for now


Sunday, 28 March 2010

And the winner is!!!!!!!


All names went into the hat this morning and Sarah was drawn. Congratulations Sarah!

A bag of beads will be on their way to you just as soon as you send me your address details.

Thank you all for taking the time to look and leave a comment - and such complimentary comments they were too.

I will be getting my new Esty shop stocked over the next couple of days - if you are interested there is a direct link at the top of the blog page.

Well must get on.......beads won't make themselves y'know.


Wednesday, 17 March 2010

The first batch of finished beads!!!!

This is the first batch of finished beads - fresh from the kiln. They are porcelain finished in stains and unglazed. I like the feeling of unglazed ceramics - though that is not to say I will not be using glazes at times as well.

Once my Esty shop is launched on the week before easter these beads will be listed for sale - but you can get your mitts on some sooner than that!

I am offering a bag of mixed beads in a free draw.

The rules are:

Sign in, register as a follower and leave a comment giving your reason of why you should get a bag of free beads - simple! But the conditions are that there must be at least 20 followers registered for the draw to go ahead, and you send me a picture of the piece that you make using the beads to be published on the blog.

Closing date is Sat 27th March at midnight.

Good luck!


Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Experimenting going well.

Here are the lastest beads. In the first pictures is a big pile of porcelain beads that are straight from the biscuit firing this moring. They are destined for various finishing techniques including glazing with under glaze colours, coloured without glaze. A few are going for a special test - I am going to attempt to silver them - just the the Greek Silvered beads. Watch this space.
Also featured in the bottom photo is the latest batch of Egyptian Paste or Faience. Turquoise and creamy tan. Still needs some work - but we are getting there.
And last but not least - lampwork. Following the tutorial in the current edition of Making Jewellery Magazine these are my first attempt at scuptural lampwork. Not having any lampworking mashers to hand I adapted some stainless steel tongs and they did the job in the flower petals just nicely. They have not been cleaned yet so ignore the dark stuff in the hole. I will be making plenty more of these in the near future and listing them on my Etsy Shop.
Shop is not live yet - but will be by the end of the month.
Any comments and feed back is always welcome.
Till the next time

Sunday, 7 March 2010

The beginning!!!

Here we are, at the beginning.

The beginning of what? - I hear you ask.

The beginning of my adventures in the land of bead making. This blog will chart my progress through my experiments in bead making. Glass, ceramics, silver and polymer clays are my materials of choice.

I hope you will enjoy following this blog through all the ups and down of my progress, and get to enjoy the beads first hand. I will record the failures and celebrate the successful. As things progress I will offer the beads for sale via my online shop (when I have set it up) and there will be regular competitions and offers as well. So come by regularly and get your friends and colleagues to follow as well.

I have already made a start. I am practising my lampworking 2 or 3 times a week and making decent progress and I will soon be offering my glass beads via my online shop. So keep an eye out for news of that.

Porcelain beads. I am working on several ideas with these and will have some ready in the very near future - hopefully by the middle of next week.

The more technically difficult Faience or Egyptian Paste is still very much in the experimental stages. The first trials had mixed results and a second batch is on it's way to the kiln. They should be ready by the end of this week. Fingers crossed.

Polymer clay. Have been working with Cernit polymer clay that I bought from Emma Ralph at EJRBeads. Much softer than Fimo in the making stage but is making some very nice beads indeed. I have made a bracelet which has been entered into the Making Jewellery Forum - February competition. This was made of Cernit polymer clays, sterling silver wire and finished off with a Tibetan Silver toggle clasp. I have loaded a picture of said bracelet here and would welcome all your comments.

Cheers for now