Friday, 15 October 2010

Glass Casting Workshop

My journey with glass continued into the world of glass casting this week. Its a whole new area to learn about and one I've been wanting to try for a while now. I very nearly signed up for a masterclass with Keith Cummings at the International Glass Festival this year but then decided I wanted to try it on a smaller (and cheaper!) scale first.

This week I started a 3 week course at Glass from the Past with Sue Chalk. She is an excellent, experienced glass artist who we've spent years asking, no actually begging, to teach us all how to cast glass. By day Sue is a science technician at the same school as me but this masks her amazing knowledge and skill for glass. For the past 13yrs Sue has been exploring glass, drawn to the play of colour and light and is intrigued by the plastic and manipulative qualities of glass. She is currently casting lead crystal and many of these pieces are on display at Glass from the Past and have a magical luminous quality to them. In 2006 she received the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers' award for creative glass and has also exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Now I'm pretty sure not many people at school know that!

So workshop 1 was all about making an item out of chavant plasticine ready to cast it's negative next week. I became completely absorbed by making my item, a mini conch shell but before I knew it the time was over and I came away with some chavant to try and make another item to cast next week. Who knows if I'll have time to do my homework though as I'm off on another workshop this weekend to learn how to make silver art clay. Happy times in workshops this week :o)

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

How paintings can evoke memories

Are there paintings that you've looked at that remind you of certain times, places or people? I know photos and music can do that so easily but have you ever had that with a work of art?

I've spent the day today with 40 Yr10 students visiting The National Gallery and The National Portrait Gallery. (We had a great gallery talk in The National and plenty of sketching time in the Portrait Gallery too....and I'm back there again tomorrow with another 40 kids for round 2!) However while I was in the Portrait Gallery this morning I had a 'blast from the past' moment with this painting of Sir Christopher Ondaatje by Daphne Todd. 

Now most people will say "who?" and be completely baffled but I was transported back to 1999 and my 1st job after uni at Blundell's School, Tiverton, Devon where I worked as their Theatre Manager/Administrator/Teacher in the school theatre called.....Ondaatje Hall (excuse the teeny tiny picture, it was the best i could find online!). I doubt it was the painting I saw today but there was a portrait of Christopher Ondaatje hanging in the theatre foyer for us to walk past every day and it was one that I often found myself looking at and seeing more and more in it and enjoying the painting style. 

So how come the school had a building named after the man who also donated money to build the Ondaatje Wing at the National Portrait Gallery? Well he was an old boy of the school and after a hugely successful career in finance/ publishing donated a large sum of money to build an arts centre at the this is the kid of former students I could do with in my dept!!! He also made some slightly strange stipulations about the design of the building though - a tower, a spiral staircase and a balcony needed to be in the building with the theatre, drama room, art history room and art studios. Now I guess if you are donating money you can make any design stipulations that you like but in this case it actually made for interesting architecture....although the meeting room balcony that opened up to a view of the theatre foyer was a little on the pointless side of things!

In my year at the school I got to meet the man himself when he came to give a talk with the National Geographic Society in my theatre and I didn't need to be introduced to him to recongise him. He was exactly like his portrait, very tall, kind of willowy in build but with a grand status kind of aura. If you take a close look at the portrait I think you'll see what I mean too.

So what paintings or music bring back happy memories for you?

Thursday, 7 October 2010

So true

I was reading a blog today by a fellow crafter and they'd been told this rhyme recently which I love as it sums up some situations we come across in life perfectly.

" I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
And you are not in this world to live up to mine.
I am I and you are you.
If we meet and respect each other,
Then it can be beautiful.
If not, then it's too bad."

I don't know about you but I tend to take far too many things to heart and find myself bogged down by other people or beaurocracy at work and could do with remembering this saying. I know I shouldn't be so sensitive but thats easier said than done and there are times I wish I could change my personality to shrug things off more easily but I am who I am and I'm happy with that.

As a secondary school teacher I am constantly put upon to get students ridiculously high grades for their GCSE's. According to the stats people anyone who can get high SATs in yr 6 for eng, maths, science and lives in a nice area is somehow supposed to get an A* for Art!?! Nevermind their artistic skills, lazy attitude or I've gone the extra mile to pull them through the exam course. It drives me mad and is a big cause of stress, perhaps I should think back to this saying next time I'm being quizzed about my students.

Does this saying have resonance with you too? Share it with your friends if so.

Life Drawing Workshop


Full day life drawing sessions for all abilities.

Lunch, life model and basic drawing materials are provided.

Sessions are suitable for those who wish to access a life model for their own work through to beginners as an experienced artist and drawing tutor will be on hand throughout.

Sunday 10th October, 11am-3.30pm - Figurative drawing workshop  form and structure
And / Or
Sunday 17th October, 11am-3.30pm - Figurative drawing workshop  narrative and expression.

£12 per session or £20 for both - Over 18’s only

BIG DRAW events at the University of Essex
Studio 1, Clifftown Studios, Nelson Street Southend, SS1 1EF

For more info or to book phone Clare on 01702 328279 or email

Online art courses with Tate Gallery

Tate Gallery are now running online art courses. Via their facebook page I found out about this one that may be of interest to some of you. This would appear to be one of several online courses they have so if you want to learn more about art click on the link and see where it takes you.

Introduction to Drawing Techniques

Sketches, still lifes and studies – drawing is often considered as the primary method of artistic expression.

This course introduces you to a variety of drawing techniques, using a combination of video tutorials and examples of work by artists in Tate’s collection. See exclusive video footage of artists explaining their drawing practice, learn at your leisure and also discuss your works with fellow students in the online forum.

The Introduction to Drawing Techniques course costs £20 for unlimited access and can be purchased online. Find out more about the course content in the course overview.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

New lampwork bracelets

Today I finished making 3 new lampwork bead bracelets. These are my hot sellers at the moment. As quick as I make them they are selling. These 3 are also the last bracelets I can make for a while because although I have some beads left there are not enough to make any more bracelets (unless someone didn't mind completely random colour combinations!).

This one is perfectly autumnal with rich reds and browns in the glass beads and garnet seed beads too. Its also a longer length  £40

Summery, aquatic lampwork beads with mother of pearl £35

Pretty pink and lilac lampwork beads with swarovski crystals. This is so gorgeous I am thinking about keeping it but if you'd like it get in touch and I'll work out a price.

If you would like any lampwork for Christmas presents please get in touch asap as I will be busy with fairs/parties from late Oct-early Dec and need to start forward planning lampwork torch time at Glass From the Past. Watch this space for exciting new from the studio coming soon!

Saturday, 25 September 2010

To attend or not to attend that is the question!

Its the eternal question for every stall holder- do you attend an event or not? Does the cost of a pitch mean the event is up for the taking or ruled out straight away? Will people going to that event be up for buying crafts or are they there for a different reason entirely? Sometimes you make a good choice and at other times its not quite so successful.

2 weeks ago I went to Woodfest in Hatfield Forest. As I arrived in Takeley the heavens opened, I couldn't see a single sign and I began to wonder what I'd signed up for. Last week I went to a Handmade and Vintage Fair on a lovely sunny day and had seen lots of advertising in the run up to the day so had high hopes. Now which one do you think turned into the best day and my perfect kind of event? If you read my blog a few wks ago you'll know the answer, it was WoodFest by far or perhaps 'Takeley's best kept secret' as it could also be known.  I loved the atmosphere, the other crafts there, the friendly stall holders and then sold well too. 

One thing that really made the event special was the live music all weekend just a short distance from my stall. It was a mix of folk/ blues and of a very high standard. The music went on long into the evening on Saturday and on Sunday the added sunshine helped too ;o)

Now don't get me wrong the Handmade and Vintage event wasn't badly orgainised or lacking visitors its just that people were there for the vintage side of things much more than the handmade side. I was amazed at just how many people dressed up in vintage clothing/vintage hairstyles to go to the event and the vintage stock seemed to by flying off the stalls around me. I had lots of chats with people about workshops or larger pieces of glass as potential commissions but generally found myself a bit....can I say this?! er yes, bored. I am used to demonstrating at events which helps the time pass and if I'm not doing this its usually because I am so busy, but without this I felt at a loose end. The highlight of my afternoon was the live music by 2 fantastic singers.

Now this brings me back to my original question about what events to chose to do and which ones to leave out. Perhaps if I'd have thought about it a little more I'd have realised that the Vintage and Handmade Fair wouldn't be craft specific enough but I didn't so I've lived and learnt, so to speak. Its also make me think ahead to next year and which events I'd like to try and find more of. I'm beginning to think that festivals with live music are the way forward for me so it's time I bought my own waterproof gazebo and got those wellies at the ready....festivals here I come!

What are your favourite events? Where do you think you'll be going over the coming months/next year?

Don't you love it when other people love your designs

At the start of the summer holidays I made a lampwork bead bracelet as a commission to match an outift. Helen emailed me a picture to use as colour inspiration and then I got to work on it. Today she left this rather lovely message for all her friends to read on facebook.

Helen Gillespie: "*****" Helen made me a wonderful bespoke necklace and bracelet set for the Vegas Wedding/Harry's Christening.

It was really easy, all I had to do was contact Helen, email my picture and then she made a set that compliments the dress and shoes (most important) beautifully. I will post a picture soon.

You can either have it sent... or visit helen for a fitting, ensuring it is (as goldilocks says) just right.

Thanks Helen!"
Here's the finished design with the emailed picture of the fuschia pink bag and turquoise dress I was matching the design to. Thank you back Helen for the comment :o)

These bracelets are hot designs at the moment, as fast as I make one I am selling it. I only have 1 left in stock which is red/plum colours but I am off to the studio tomorrow to make more beads and fulfil a 40th birthday commission.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Glass Studio Supplies

Today I discovered glass heaven!!!

It came in the form of in Wickford, Essex. I've been hearing how lovely this new shop is at my evening class and as I needed a few bits n pieces for my workshop this weekend I thought I'd pop in and see what all the fuss was I know! They had an amazing array of glass in every colour, frit, stringer, confetti, glass tech books, display items and its was all displayed in a very enticing way....and yes I spend a small fortune, but thats what glass shops are all about. As its en route between school and home I know this won't be my first and last visit and its great to have such a good supplier round the corner (the next closest is a 90min drive away in Bedfordshire!)

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Bead making workshop

Bead making workshop

There are still spaces on a friend of mines bead making workshop in October, here are the details.
Handmade Beads

Saturday 23rd October 10am - 4pm. Belstead House, Ipswich.

Telephone: 01473 686321. Email:

Love Beads? This bead making workshop will give you the opportunity to design and make your own. Using various materials: formers, polymer clay, felt and friendly plastic; you'll create your own unique beads, which will enable you to create your very own personalised jewellery.

Cost circa £38 which includes a fabulous hot buffet lunch and dessert plus coffee and cakes! A course contribution cost is also requested from the tutor directly (circa £6).

Friday, 10 September 2010

WoodFest 2010

This weekend is WoodFest at Hatfield Forest, nr Bishops Stortford, Herts. Its the 1st time I've been to this event and felt quite honoured to be asked if I wanted a stall. Whilst I was at Cressing Temple craft fair over the bank holiday a friend and her daughter (Suzie) came to see me. Suzie then found my facebook page and sent me a lovely message saying how much she loved her white glass heart necklace. The following day she sent me another message saying a friend of hers wondered if I'd like to come to WoodFest so here I am with a day to go about to load up the car.

It sounds lovely. Here's how they describe the event online:
Small intimate weekend Festival set in the heart of the Forest adjacent to the Lake. Sale of timber and woodland produce with craft and forest machinery demonstrations and stalls. Live music on Saturday and Sunday on the green in our open air arena.

I'm keeping my fingers firmly crossed for a rain-free weekend with a chilled out atmosphere.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Glass festival 'People's Award' winner announced

’Contained Freedom’ by Fiaz Elson.1

Kiln-cast optical and purple glass with internal lens, polished curved surfaces. Photo by: Simon Bruntnell.
So this was the winning piece of glass from the biennale exhibition. I'm sorry to see that it wasn't the one I chose but its a pretty amazing piece of glass none the less.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Nearly ready

Today I've been working on my 'How to...' blog entries. I've written one about monoprinting and another about adding oil pastel and chalk pastels to a monoprint. All I need to do now is take photos over the new few days while I'm at school and then I will post them on here.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Coming soon...How to's

I've decided to post a series of 'How to do/make/create.....' on my blog over the coming months to help those creative vibes get going among my loyal readers. Sometime we all get stuck for ideas of what to make or just wonder how on earth something is done so my aim is to show you how. There are 100's of things I'd like to know how to do and I'm always looking for the next workshop to sign up to so I can keep learning(I've just found a silver art clay workshop to go to in October and will be signing up for that).

As an art teacher I probably take for granted how many art techniques I know how to do and teach the kids every day I'm at school. Each time I teach them something new I'm going to try and take photos to show you how its done too, although you'll have to forgive me when term gets hectic and I hardly find time to breathe let alone take photos or write a blog about it! Right now though its the start of term and I have good intentions so like every new years resolution we'll see how long I can keep it going.

What art technique would you like to learn to do 1st?
I'll try and respond to any requests 1st (although please note that I don't know everything about everything because as lovely as that would be I'm afraid I'm only human!) so let me know your suggestions

Friday, 3 September 2010

Red House Cone

So this is my final post about the International Festival of Glass and actually my favourite of all the venues. It wasn't just the exhibitions here that I found fascinating but the history of the venue itself too.

In the building behind the post box I came across a small glass studio with a lovely lady called Sarah Jones working in there. She is a lampworker and shares the studio with a friend who fuses glass. They had only moved in the week before but already seemed pretty established there. Sarah was saying that she'd only been beading for 2yrs but had spent around 4 hrs a day cooped up in her shed making beads at home, around her day job in a special school. This academic year she was able to cut down her hours to be able to focus more on her glass. Now there's someone living my dream!

Red House Cone is one of only 4 cone buildings left in the UK today but at one point many areas had cone buildings to produce glass and pottery. Producing glass in yrs gone by was labour intensive and 100's of people would have worked in this building creating wares needed by the local people. These were made at the cone and then distributed via the canals. There had previously been an inlet for the canal within the cone but this has long since been closed off.
The glass was made in sheets along a woodend conveyor belt (above) or blown in the middle of the cone part of the building (below). It was then left to cool slowlyt in the curved tunnels that joined these 2 parts of the building together. The tunnels were also right next to the canal inlet so perfect for packing straight onto the barges.
A glass collaboration still on exhibit in the Red House Cone.
I was a craftsman at work blowing this glass vase. At this stage he is nearly finished and is just sawing the glass off the rod he's blown it through.

I'd seen these glass curtains on the front of 'Craftsman' magazine 2 years ago after the last glass bienniale exhibition (was how I 1st heard of the exhibition and made me want to come to this one) and was really please to be able to see them in real life. The lace patterning in the glass is much more vivid in real life and the fact it seems to defy gravity is what makes this piece stunning.

I hope you've enjoyed my little write ups about the glass festival and might even be inspired to go yourself in 2012...if your not at the Olympics that is!!!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Plowden and Thompson Glassworks

Plowden and Thompson are one of a dying breed of glass manufacturers and still manage to create bespoke glass for glass artists, hospital equipment, window manufacturers, the local butchers! (yes they really do!!!) and pretty much anyone who wants glass made for them. Their glassworks is just along the river from the main festival venue, The Ruskin Glass Centre, and is a pandoras box of glass. I managed to sneak onto a tour of the glassworks (I needed a paid ticket but by the time I realised we were already inside having the tour, oops!) and then had a look at more amazing glass in the exhibition alongside the works (this bit was free to everyone so I was too cheeky really, honest!).

The glass gets gathered in the kiln and poured into a mold, the press above it then comes down to flatten the glass and creates a round window.

They manufacture glass rods of just about any glass COE (co-efficiency, when you work with glass it needs to be the same COE so that it melts together at the same rate, if not it will crack). This was just half of the room. In the VERY long space below this room (so long you couldn't see the end as it was too dark) they are able to pull glass lengths by hand or machine to create these. Their preferred method is by hand as the machine tend to leave a slight curl in the rod which isn't perfect enough and they like to be the best they can be. Plowden and Thompson are know for having the best red coloured glass in the world and are definitely determined to keep it that way!

I absolutely loved this piece in their exhibition, probably my favourite of all the glass I saw. Its by Gill Hobson and called 'Celeste Amethyst' but with a price tag of £2200 I'm afraid to say its not yet in my house. Each individual piece of glass was a mini work of art in its own right and woven together with the wire in this way looked gorgeous.

This piece was going to be auctioned for 'Help For Heroes', its by Diana Dias-Leao and called 'Glass Corset'. Although it looked kind of spikey and uncomfortable the poppies softened the work and it was certainly drawing a lot of attention. I hope it raised a lot of money for the charity.

The lampworker who made this piece was at The Bead Fair at the Bonded Warehouse (which was also a venue for the festival) on Saturday. On her stall I noticed similar beads and spoke to her about this piece. She was clearly quite proud that someone had recognised her work from this exhibition. If only I could create something like this with my own lampworking I'd also be very proud. I'll keep practicing and see how I get on.

Next venue- Red House Cone tomorrow

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Glass Bienniale 2010

The International Festival of Glass is an event that happens every 2 yrs in the Glass Quarter of Stourbridge in the Midlands. The best way I can describe it really is that its like a huge arts trail but one all about glass. You get given a map and a list of whats on at each venue, along with a timetable of events at the Ruskin Centre (which is the main venue for demo's, talks, workshops etc) and then its down to you to find your way around and have a good look at everything. I managed to get to most venues in the 1 and a half days I was there and had a great time wandering around all the exhibitions.....and yes I did make a few purchases along the way too!

The Glass Bienniale is a huge part of the International Festival of Glass and really shows of the best of the best in the world of glass. The work on display includes just about any warm or hot glass technique you can imagine (warm glass is fusing in a kiln where as hot glass is more about working with molten glass like glass blowing). I don't think I was the only visitor to be walking around the displays thinking "wow, how on earth have they done that?!" The quality really was amazing. I took a few piccys of my favourite pieces for you to see. Which one would you have voted for as an entry into The People's Award?

Lattice work with noodles of glass that were then slumped to create 3 free form shapes as a sculptural piece.
This was sooooo delicate. Its been created with fine powders and print onto glass. How on eath she managed to keep it all in one piece I have no idea. It was simply stunning and actually looked like real a result this was my vote for The Peoples Award.

I loved this dynamic lighting installation, quirky and fun!

I liked the sculptural form of this piece and also how fresh it looked, almost like ice.

These flowers had been created on a hot lampwork torch to form part of a glass headdress. Not sure I'd be brave enough to wear it though for fear of breaking it!

Copper foil inclusions in glass with printed imagery. Several pieces like this were joined together to create a dress shape on a wire frame.

So having seen a small snippet of the exhibition who would your vote go to?

Coming soon: Next festival venue - Plowden and Thompson Glass works....the only glass makers left in the UK today

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Back from the International Glass Festival

What a busy few days its been (and is going to be for a while). As I'm writing this I'm thinking that I should really be packing up the car ready to go to Cressing Temple Barns tomorrow for what is usually my biggest fair of the year but I've had a long day driving back from Birmingham and I feel all I want to do is go to bed and sleep.... but just incase you were wondering if I was ever going to write anything on this blog again I thought I'd stop by with a few lines for hello! and to let you know that on Tues you can expect to hear all the inside info on the International Glass Festival 2010...the good, the bad and the unbelievable amazingness (ok so thats not a proper word but it does emphasis what I mean!) that was some of the glass....and yes I took lots of photos so you can see just how gorgeous some of the work was!!!
Until than have a fab bank holiday.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

International Festival of Glass

On Weds I'm off to the International Glass Festival and have just found out about the Fun Auction that I can be a part of, the question is what piece of glass should I enter into it?

The International Festival of Glass happens every 2 years and this is the 3rd time it has taken place. For 2 weeks Stourbridge becomes the home of all things glassy and is an international showcase for glass artists. This week has seen numerous masterclasses take place in Stourbridge and at the University of Wolverhampton in their fantastic glass department. I was seriously tempted to sign up for the glass casting one but in the end wasn't too sure if I really wanted to spend £500 for a 4 day workshop. If there had been a taster day 1st I'd have gone for it to see if I liked it but otherwise its a lot of money to see if you like something new. I wasn't even sure I'd be able to do more of it at home after so all in all I opted to go to the festival instead.

I've spent this evening going through the 16 page brochure of taster classes, lectures, demonstrations, exhibitions, walks, tours, book launches, you can probably see there's a huge range for people to go and visit. The difficulty is deciding where to start and what you want to see the most. I've printed off the timetable of events and starred those things happening at specific times so I can hopefully make the most of my time there. So far Fri 2pm is a bit of an issue- 3 things I want to see clash!!! I'm sure it won't be the last of the clashes by the time I get there though.

Monday at 4pm sees the final event of the festival- the Fun Auction- being led by Will Farmer from BBC Antiques Roadshow. Glass work is auctioned off by him with 50% going to support the festival and 50% going to the artist. Its a great way to get your name known and printed into the festival auction brochure for all to see so I'm going to do it but that brings me back to my original question....what should I enter? The organisers say fun, quirky, imaginative and fabulously frivolous so what do you think? Should I take something seasidey or something cupcakey or something else entirely?

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Christmas Decorations for sale

Over the past few weeks I've mentioned making glass Christmas decorations and until now you've only had a sneaky peek at a few of the designs. After an email from Mary yesterday, who's been waiting patiently to see what they all look like, I thought I'd better get snapping so here they are. I've still got a few more to make and I'm waiting for the gift pouches to arrive in the post to put the sets into but these are basically my designs. I won't be taking them out until the Handmade and Vintage Fair, in Leigh on Sea, on 18th September but from then on I'll be going Christmasy with the stall and in the events closest to Christmas I'll take my mini tree with me to put on the stall complete with fairy lights and tinsel....but until then you have 1st dibs on any of the decorations. 

Friday, 20 August 2010

Christmas Decorations

Over the past few weeks I've been getting ahead with making Christmas decorations (got to make the most of the school holidays!). So far I've made Xmas trees, icicles, Xmas puddings and presents and am now going to get cracking on snowmen and refining the robins (wasn't happy with the 1st few as the tails were too short so I'm going to adapt how I made them. I'm not sure there can be many designers out there who get things perfect 1st time so this is an essential part of the process for getting the best work for sale).
Here is a sneaky peek at the decorations so far. Prices start at £5 per decoration so get in touch if you'd like to buy some.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

New Beads

Over the summer holidays I've been going to use the lampwork bead torch equipment every Tuesday and these are the beads I made yesterday. I am a novice beader really but the regular practice has definitely improved my skills and I'm starting to feel like I'm finding my favourite colour ways too. Last week I experimented with a new shade of blue, and have just made a fresh light blue and white bracelet with these beads, but as much as I loved those I'm loving the blue green combination even more. Its definitely one I'll be coming back to soon.

I've been experimenting with layering opaque and transparent colours to create depth in a design and make the bead have an aquatic feel but on top of this I've been trying other techniques too including the twirl patterns.

In July I visited Art in Action at Waterperry Gardens in Oxfordshire and bought 'Passing the Flame' by Corina Tettinger. The book is an absolute must for anyone learning to bead as she explains new techniques so clearly with witty writing and step by step photos. You can read it and almost hear her saying the words which is a style I have found very helpful, as its meant I sit on the torch and remember what I've read fairly clearly. I've still obvioulsy had my mishaps but at the same time I've known what's gone wrong and what to change next time. I've barely got started with the tutorials in the book and I've already learnt a lot. Over the coming months I'll keep working my way through it and learn more and more.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Young artists

Tomorrow is D day for many a 17 or 18yr old, and that includes 12 of my As/A2 students. No doubt there will be stories in the news about A Levels getting easier as more and more students get good A Level grades but when was the last time they picked up a pencil or paintbrush to create several A3 skecthbooks and numerous canvases or essays about artists to fulfil exam criteria?! Art A Level takes serious dedication and time committment to pass with a high grade which can be blissful hours for some or stressful times for others.

After a tiring year July finally arrives complete with the exhibition, which was full of superb quality pieces. We are predicting some of our highest grades achieved in recent years, not due to easier criteria but down to sheer hard work from our students. Have a look at this to see just how good the work is 

The top 5 students in the A2 group are all off to university to do foundation courses or arts degrees so we'll keep a keen eye on their progress as they are already good artists who should excel on specialist higher ed courses.

Unfortunately Art is still seen as an easy subject but if only those news reporters really knew just how many hours of time and effort went into achieving an A or B A Level grade I think they'd change their minds!

Saturday, 14 August 2010


These are some of my new designs from Thursdays kiln firing.

On 18th September I'm going to the Leigh-on-Sea Handmade and Vintage Fair so thought I'd try to join in the vintage retro theme of the event. Of all the things in the kiln these were the ones I was most unsure about but now I'm not sure why. These pretty cupcakes have holes through the top ready for ribbon to be slotted through so they hang up on a hook or over a door handle. I am now going to do some multiply cupcakes on plain glass for larger pictures and try to develop some home decor items this space for 1st viewing!!!

Jannie Jan Felt

This is a fantastic link to a blog by a good friend of mine who makes fantastic felts (and I'm not just saying that cos she's my friend, they really are excellent). Jan recently made me a beautiful seascape from felt that you can see in some of my studio pictures below and is now beginning to write about what she does on her blog. Have a look and I'm sure you'll agree with me about just how lovely they are.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Dichroic Glass

It's a question I get asked nearly every time I do a craft stall somewhere.... How is the glass made? or how do you get it to be so sparkly? I'm sure many of you will have seen the amazing effects of dichroic glass and will know that no photo can do justice to the true sparkle that can only really be seen in real life, which is what makes dichroic jewellery so eye catching and a must have buy.
So to answer those who want to find out exactly how dichroic glass is made I've found this article. Click on the link below to find a pdf download explaining how dichroic glass is made including stunning pictures of the only dichroic glass museum in the world!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Christmas decorations

To many people it may seem too early but for anyone making/selling things its actually the perfect time to be thinking about ......Christmas, yes i mentioned the C word months before its even in the shops and these days that is pretty early, but if I don't start thinking about designs now I won't be able to approach shops with my work before they get other suppliers in or have enough to sell on my own craft stalls.

This year I'm going to have trees, icicles, xmas puds, robins and snowmen. In a change to last year I'm going to package up sets of decorations too so that people can have a mixed range of tree decorations in a box or gift bag. I still need to find the packaging but I've got a few ideas up my sleeve. I'll also be making some mini trees to go on the front of xmas cards as these sold particularly well last year but this year I'll be doing personalised cards too, get in touch if you are interested in one of these. The challenge of a commission is one I am happy to accept.

As soon at the decorations are out of the kiln I'll get some photos taken and you can then see what I'm getting all excited about.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Crafty friends

I have a fantastic arty crafty friend who has added this lovely post to her blog. Thanks to the Internet we have stayed in touch and can bounce ideas off each other and get feedback on our art, which we all need from time to time. I'm not goin to say much more because Jan had summed it up perfectly. We all need good friends like this :o)

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Ipswich Marina Festival

Tutu by Stuart Haygarth
Today I've been stood pretty much underneath this amazing lighting design at DanceEast Dance Studios in Ipswich. Its been the talk of the day with the public and has received mixed reviews too. Its all too rare that creative installations like this are commissioned and seen in buildings. Too many people seem to think its too big a risk to take with a space but do we really need something dull and boring in its place instead. A few light bulbs hung from office style fittings?! An arts environment should be a place that encourages all forms of art so in my eyes this is a fun piece of art and perfect for the space. What do you think?

Saturday, 7 August 2010

New Jewellery Designs

Over the past few weeks I've been designing a new jewellery collection and last night put the kiln on with anticipation and excitement.
I'd not fused any jewellery in the new kiln before (having previsously only had a few bits I'd been using the small kiln). I've pretty much got the schedules for larger pieces to my liking but small pieces were a little bit like unknown territory so there was the added anxiety of how well the schedule would work. Was the temperature correct, was the ramp up speed too fast/slow etc etc but with the kiln at 66 degrees celcius I finally took the plunge and opened it to find these little gems inside....

I'm very pleased with the results and will be selling them for the 1st time at The Guild of Essex Craftsmen Fair at Cressing Temple Barns over the Aug bank holiday weekend.