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Some of you may have noticed I’ve been a little quiet of late, three of the reasons are that I’ve been revamping my glass storage in my studio (thats a whole other post! coming soon!) I’ve been preparing for handmade Arcade, and finally, I’ve been working on some exciting new products!
So, firstly, Handmade Arcade, Yay! its back! the only regular independent art and craft makers market in Exeter!
Here is my little piece of the action:
what you can also see in the corner there is some of Heather from Little Owl Crafts delicious handspun yarn! That orange one was calling me all day! its still in her etsy shop looking rather lonely since she sold so many of its friends on Saturday!
and what else can you see?
thats right, my newest latest thing that I am excited about!
Foxes in boxes…Hares in Squares!
These are so much fun! I have had the designs for the beads in my head an indeed in my notebook since before Christmas, but no time to let myself play, finally I caved in and got some prototypes in my kiln
I was so pleased with it that more soon followed:
now, as you can probably tell, this bead isn’t really designed for wearing, so, having gathered supplies, I made this:
and since I’d also been playing with the fox beads:
Scuptural beads, removably mounted in little box frames, ready to hang on your wall, or they stand like this.
I have more, but I’ll show those later, keep an eye on my facebook page for more!
hope you like them!
Well its been a busy few months, I’ve been going to craft fairs, creating new designs, and rebuilding my website.
also I made big batches of stock for Galleries in Bristol and Canada.
So, first, the craft fairs, Handmade Arcade at McCoy’s Arcade Fore Street Exeter, its a little craft fair full of local & handmade products, its on the first Saturday of every month and I’ll be there, selling my beads and jewellery. In December, it will be on EVERY Saturday!
I also took my work to Unique Boutique, at Exeter Phoenix, here’s my stall,
So why not get off the high street, and find yourself something unique at the next Handmade Arcade on the 6th October?
Theres also live music and all the McCoy’s Arcade shops including The Real McCoy, Bunyip Beads, No Guts No Glory, Good Golly Miss Molly and more will be open as usual.
well, theres my little bird earrings for starters,
I make them in lots of colours, and I also do a few specific birds, such as Cardinals, Magpies and Ravens. Check out my etsy or my website to buy them, or if you just want to peruse beautiful images, try my flickr.
speaking of my website , its had a complete rebuild,
I’ve kept it fairly clean and simple, theres still a shop, but at the moment it has mainly made to order items, my one off items are in my etsy shop.
I also have a news and events page over there, which works like a blog, so be sure to check that out for news on where to find me
oh, there were some other new designs too,
This is my new cherry blossom design, its also available in blue, but each one is quite different.
Other new things? yes, theres more!
A new system of interchangeable jewellery, this one is great fun, small glass cabochons are mounted onto nickel free brass snap fasteners, then you have a bracelet with the other half of the snap mounted to it, and you swap and change to your hearts content! I think the poppers deserve their own blog post, look out for that soon!
Also when you buy one of my poppers, I supply the back half, which can be stitched on to anything you like! I have some attached to my flip flops (though sadly the weather for flip flop wearing is fast disappearing!)
so, I couldn’t be content with making just pretty round cabochons for my poppers…it had to be
I also made my raised flower design, both with a polka dotty background, and just as one flower taking up the whole space
and because I am just an awkward individual, I have very skinny wrists, and I felt that some of the bracelets available at the time were too chunky for me, I designed my own!
(though since that Manda has brought out her Mango Pops Bracelet which is gorgeous! you can usually find them in her etsy shop)
Heres my leather cuff design, which accepts a single popper, and is available in lots of sizes and colours
and finally, theres that big pile of new jewellery stock for galleries, photos of the Canada stock can be found on my facebook and if you are in Canada, and you’d like to visit The Glasshouse Gallery and Restaurant, or just their facebook page, that can be found here.
well, I think thats it for now, except to say that lots of my new stock, beads jewellery and poppers, is headed for my etsy shop over the next week or so, so keep checking in! (or be kept up to date on my facebook page, where I post new listing links!)
I’ve had this idea in my head for a week or two, but not allowed myself the time to play
I made some drawings, which I won’t be showing! they are…well, not as good as the wonky creature I’m about to show you!
I wanted to create a bead with the feeling of those beautiful carved statues (or weeping angels if you’re a doctor who fan…and its possible my first attempt is a little more like them than I planned! maybe I should just try and make one of those and then it won’t matter if she looks a bit scary!)
so here she is, from one of her better angles
shes not much of a looker, and you haven’t got the full face on shot here, of course, typical me, I didn’t make the bead to be face on, I made her head turned to the side slightly. er, awkward!
the hair has real potential to look the way I planned, not there yet though…and it took loads of stringer…next time I’ll make more than I think I’ll need, and then some more!
I’m sure I’ll make lots of improvements when I allow myself time for the next one, but for now, I’m quite pleased
even if face on she looks like this…
well, its no real secret that I’ve loved Amy Kuczewski’s beads since I first saw them,
but now I own some!
oh, and they were sent by rocket or something, I ordered them late Saturday PM and they arrived first thing the following Saturday…from the States! I was impressed!
and it wasnt much longer before I’d made them into a necklace for myself,
but thats not all…
its actually a 2 part necklace, the front beady part detaches and can be worn as a bracelet
heres another shot of it, because, how often do you get a sunburst?
In the latest issue of Soda lime times, an e-magazine for lampworkers, there was a tutorial for making Amy’s Raja Heart,
so of course I had to have a go!
this is actually my second attempt, I made the first too small to get all the stringer work on, and oh its alot of teeny tiny bits of stringer! mine is so much more clumpy, and not teeny! Amy, you are clearly a genius…I bow down to your teeny tiny stringer skills ! (skills with the teeny tiny-ness, not skills that are teeny tiny…obviously?!)
here is her etsy shop for anyone who wants to buy or simply drool over more of Amy’s beads
enjoy all the fantastic juicy colours!
I’m really struggling to find my stride this year,
I wonder if its because I am being distracted by all those thing I put off til ‘after christmas’ ?
having a birthday is a bit distracting too!
another thing that set me back a few days was my kiln breaking , most of one day spent just running the program and writing down what the errors are, what it does, then doing it again and seeing if the error is the same or different each time, once figured out whats wrong have to wait for the part to arrive and fit it, and then finding that the thing you went to the torch to make the day the kiln broke has completely escaped your mind.
I have ticked the big studio tidy off my list now though, theres only a few little things to do left in there now, and it should stay at a level I can cope with. Oh, here it is, since you’re dying to see!
once again I cleared away my inspiration with all the mess, well thats not strictly true, I have one new idea, thats really a group of complicated ideas, that need to be researched, and then I need to spend about a solid week at the torch, just working on those things, and I know that once I start, I won’t want to do anything else, so I’m not starting yet, cause I have a fair few something elses that are higher up the priority list!
I’ve made a start on getting back into gear today, I made bunny beads & ring tops yesterday for some custom orders, I made lots, so that when my customers have chosen, the others will be available, I’ve now photographed and uploaded them, heres a few,
hopefully, I will be back to normal soon, producing lots of lovely things and sharing them with you on a more regular basis!
It feels almost as though I’ve hardly left the studio in the last few weeks, I’ve made loads of jewellery, but its all gone already, out to the galleries.
I have had a teensy bit of time to play with new ideas, I thought it was about time I attempted another animal design, something thats not a rabbit! I saw a fox the other day, he turned and looked at me as if to say ‘what are you doing here? its midnight.’ so I guess foxes were kind of in my head after that.
I find a ring top an ideal thing to experiment on, because its finished, its not a bead asking to be made into something, or waiting for friends to make it a set, it just is.
so, fox ring tops, I’m not showing the first two experiments, because, well they’re a bit pants, and I’m not entirely sure where I’ve put them, so heres the second prototypes
I rather like his wonky ear, it looks like hes listening out for something!
and just for fun, whilst I was looking for some fox images it struck me that the firefox logo was rather a nice fox, and then that he was conveniently wrapped around a circular base shape, so I had to didn’t I?
I used an opaque turquoise shard on the base, so as not to add to much bulk and to get the right quality of planet-y ocean-y feel to it. the colour was a blended stringer with various oranges in, think I mixed it a little too much though.
I think I’d like to stylize this a little more my way, somewhere between my fox and firefox, to just suggest firefox, but with my own stamp on it, and also not to come into any aggro with copyright type issues, that wouldnt be any fun would it?
I’m taking some of my newest stock to the Vintage and Handmade Fair in Plymouth tomorrow, Saturday 8th October, in the Main Hall at the University, 11am to 5pm.
so if you’re nearby, come along and say hello! For the first time ever, I’m taking loose beads to sell too, rather than just jewellery, so you creative people can inlcude a piece of my glass work in your next project. The facebook event page is here
if you can’t make it, there are some pictures on my Flickr! heres a couple:
Firstly, The brand spanking new Glass House Gallery and Restaurant in Middleton, Nova Scotia, opening Early November. The Newest Venture of Glass Artist and Ceramicist, Sally Tully.
Here is the facebook page, and their blog
And a little closer to home (for me anyway!) than Canada, Glass Designs and Gallery in Bedminster, Bristol, run by Stained Glass artist Claire Dadswell, Here’s the Website
Just one more, I’ll also be sending work to Toe in the Water Gallery, Fowey, Cornwall very soon! Artist Max Harrower is the owner, another website for your perusal!
I have been such a busy little bee lately! with all these new galleries now stocking my work, its a wonder I have any left for my craft fair…but, there is still plenty, so don’t worry!
I was thinking just now, about how much nicer it is to make big holed beads with my new BHB pegasus shaper stubby barrels
its just easier and quicker to get them on centre and that lovely shape, and the encasing nice and smooth.
I looked at a bunch of BHBs I made not long before I got the shaper, and I rejected so many more from that batch than from the newest batch out of the shaper.
obviously there are other benefits, like consistency of size, though with as many holes as this its easy to make lots of different sized beads!
I noticed that someone had searched for ‘how easy are pegasus beadshapers to use?’
well, how about a little review I thought? and while I’m at it I’ll review my CG beadroller, and compare them, and chuck in a few tips along the way!
first these are the ones I own,
~ rounds 8
~ ovals 8
~ egg combo
~ stubby barrels BHB
and from CG beads the disc roller in the wand style.
Rounds, well, this was the first one I bought and I use it all the time.
it doesn’t take that much getting used to, you just start with a cylinder slightly narrower than the cavity you want,I use my flat marver and roll the edges so they are straight, then warm and roll again so the ends spread out onto the mandrel slightly, making the nice ends, then add discs around the bead until I have about the right amount of glass, and roll.
I have found that making a smaller one, then marvering the middle section so it forms a fat roundy ended cylinder, then adding a fat twisty, and melting it in, marvering and re-rolling in the next size up, makes a bead with good holes.
on all the rollers you can also use the outside edges to straighten up the bead holes.
not one I’ve given a full test yet, but initially I was finding that I wasn’t filling the cavity, I was using only the ends of it and producing a bead that was shorter and stubbier than the actual cavity size. and I couldnt use the smallest two much at all, its such a small amount of glass, but this could be because I just don’t like to make small beads, I’ll give it another chance and let you know!
now that I’ve taken a break from it to play more with my lentil presses, I think this will be much easier for me to use, I am refining my knowledge of exactly how glass moves.
Bear in mind that although I have been beadmaking for some years now,I have not owned a beadshaper/roller until April of this year. I also have not owned a press that I could use until about May of this year.
Now I have become somewhat addicted to both types of tool, and need to curb this spending habit! (just this morning I was thinking to myself, something squarish, like a nugget press would be a great bead to design jewellery with! oh dear… )
anyway, back to the point,
The egg combo,
Another that I’ve not yet given the full test to, what I will say is that the two biggest cavities takes ALOT of glass, so hothead users who are impatient might want to stay away from this one! these lead to making a very big, heavy bead, with not as many design possibilities as I’d like, though I havn’t tried them squashed yet.
The other cavity sizes are much more managable and have lots of jewellery design possibilities,like the smallest ones for simple earrings.
I found the slimmer ones a real challenge, theres not alot of room for error in shaping the original bead, and I can get a shape thats just as nice and quicker by normal marvering or marvering with a curved marver. however, if you want consistent shapes, then its the way to go.
I found the easiest way to get the shape (which is still somewhat tricky, need more practice!) is to make the small end first, shape it up in the cavity, then add the rest of the glass to the fatter end.
I think I’ll come back to these two rollers, and review them some more in another post. I am of course determined to master them , I wont be beaten by an inanimate object!
update 7.09.11 – made these yesterday, I think I’m improving with it, but this is definitely a ‘practice, practice, practice’ shaper! particularly these slim shapes. but as I mentioned, making the slim end first, then adding glass along the length, getting a good end on the other end, then fattening it out works reasonably well.
So, my newest addition, which I am somewhat biased towards, being as I designed it myself (see here incase you missed it), the stubby Barrels BHB shaper.
I love this, I can’t tell you how much! this, along with the round shaper, now lives on my desk, it doesn’t get put away!
The first few beads I made I had some issues with bead release, it cracked off whilst making, a couple of the mandrels had been sitting around having been dipped for a while, and my current pot has been diluted a few too many times I think, but it helped to really warm the whole of the bead release up, not only the bead section, and to keep it good and warm throughout making.
once I’d got that issue under control I was away! the current design of beads I’m doing involves marvering a wig wag down onto a base bead, so the beads are very nearly the shape of the beadroller already, but it saves loads of time smoothing and rounding up, and produces a uniform shape. its also handy to use just the ends of the cavities to straighten up a bead that is narrower than the hole, and to curve them down slightly.
I’ve yet to try this shaper out with a smooth surface design,other than a couple of simple dotties which when rolled at the right temperature did not drag.
these make a fantastic shape for coring (if I do say so myself) because they are a little straight sided, and I personally think they look fab on the charm bead bracelets.
and lastly, the CG beadroller disc.
I loved the idea of the wand style, and I love this shape, but its not actually the easiest one to use until you get the hang of it, and getting the hang of it did take a bit longer than the rounds.
you need to start with a really narrow footprint, and build outwards. however, if the hole goes wrong, melting it down into a plain donut spacer means the glass isn’t wasted!
it took me even longer to work out how to use it the way its meant to be used, for making more than one bead on the same mandrel, theres a trick to that too, make one bead, shape it and finish it, then make the second. and either dont touch the first with the flame or be sure to keep it warm, whicehever is the most successful for you. I was trying to juggle them at first, make a base donut, then make a second, then go back and add a bit to the first…er no. that doesn’t work. again I find the smaller cavities hard to use, this bead relies on making a narrow footprint first to get nice holes, but you’d have to be using stringer to get a footprint this narrow…now theres a thought!
the thing about this size and shape, is that it really is only any good as a spacer bead, there really isn’t much room for decoration, maybe a few dots or bits of stringer, but you can’t get enough layers into it to encase anything, at least not right to the edges. potentially you could make something layered and stripy. but you have to think about how it will look threaded up, and you dont tend to see much of the design unless you do something cool and thread it so it is displayed end on. the good thing is though, because it is such a pretty and unusual shape, just a single colour, or a simple dotty looks pretty cool. Like these black ones, and the following coral and turquoise ones
CG rollers and Pegasus shapers comparison:
well, theres not much of one, they are both excellent quality graphite, and very well made. Personally I have a slight preference for a tool manufactured in the UK, that isn’t going to incur high postage costs, customs charges and take weeks to arrive, and I also have a slight preference for the Pegasus simple dowel handles, they are lightweight and feel good in the hand, easy to flip over and use the back as a flat marver. the CG handles look pretty cool with their flame design, but the thickness of the handle is a little too big for my little hands, but that is purely personal preference! Then of course theres shape availability, and sizes too, I chose the Pegasus rounds over the CG ones because the size range I wanted was on the Pegasus, to get the size range I wanted out of a CG roller, I would have had to buy two. though the range of different shapes available from Donna at CGbeads is vast, both her range and Bev’s range are growing all the time. I am aware this is not the fairest of comparisons, being as I have 4 of one to test and only one of the other, and of course there are other manufacturers who make similar items, but I can only test what I have, but I’m certain that ease of use is down to shape, not who made the tool, unless you particularly favour the chunky handle over the slim or vice versa.
Some words about beadrollers/shapers:
these are not a quick fix for bad bead shapes/holes. they do require learning how to use them properly, if you havn’t quite got the hang of marvering, and you’re rolling whilst too hot, you will simply drag your bead into a lumpy mess which can be tricky to re-round. and if you had a design on that bead…well now you have a smerged design.
however, it is fairly quick to learn how to use some of the shapes, round for example.
and some shapes are not possible, or at least not very easy/fast to make any other way, discs for instance
I love these tools, and they have made a real difference to my beadmaking, for instance I can now make a set of beads without wanting to scream, infact I think I might even be beginning to like it!
and on that bombshell…
a selection of wig wag beads.
I made these from my own wig wags, I’ll be silver coring them soon, but I liked them as a group so I took a picture.
hope you like them!