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.

New Studio

So here it is, my new studio space.
There are still things to sort out and organise but I am loving the new workbench which is so much wider and deeper than I've had at home before, am is a better height too so should help reduce any back ache problems. I'm sure it won't be long though before I manage to fill up thes space and need to have a clear out but I am full of good intentions right now to keep the studio clear. Are you the same with your workspaces?

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

This is my current work in progress as promised. Where you can see the silver pins I've ground the glass edges below this to fit the design perfectly. Any holes will lead to fat solder lines later on which wouldn't look very good so theres quite a lot more grinding to go. So far I've spent around 8hrs on this but the time consuming bit is still to come....more grinding, copper foiling verey edge with the copper tape and then soldering both sides...oh and not forgetting trying to fuse/slump curved sails which could well be the trickiest bit!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010


I'm now also on Twitter@helenroseglass

Studio day

Tuesday is studio time at Glass From the Past, at Barleylands Craft Village in Billericay. I usually go after work but as its the summer holidays I'm going for the afternoon and staying on for the eve session too. So thats 3hrs on the glass torch and 2h30 copper foiling. Ahhh a perfect day :o)
At the moment I'm trying to make enough beads in a 3hr session to make a bracelet ready for the xmas fairs. Last week I worked in the blue colour ranges so I'll see how they fired today and might have a go at earrings to match....which is easier said than done when trying to get the size to match perfectly.
I'll take some photos today (to post tomorrow) to show you the copper foiled sailing boats I'm working on and the beads too.

Monday, 2 August 2010


At a recent craft fair I was asked if I could make a lampwork bead bracelet to match a wedding outfit. After a little experimentation with cranberry pink colour combinations this is what I created, along with a picture that the client emailed me to based my design on.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Where to see me next

This time next week I'll be at Ipswich Marina for their 10th anniversary celebrations. Needless to say I'm going to be taking lots of my seaside themed glass with me to display on the stall.
The event starts at 10am-4pm with stalls and entertainment going on in and around the DanceEast building down to the marina itself. Pop over for a free day out in the sun.


This is going to be my blog about all things glassy and crafty. I'll keep you posted on my own glass creations and also talk about work that I find inspiring too. There are so many lovely talented designer makers out there that its good to share what they do too.