I arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare and the plane left on time, but approx. 10 mins. into our journey they captain announced over the speaker that the plane had just been struck by lightning and we would have to turn round and go back to Southampton Airport to get it checked out. Back down on the tarmac, we waited in the plane until they announced that they had found a small hole and we would have to disembark and wait in the terminal for further details.
So we all trouped off the plane and had to go through passport control to get back into the airport. (A bit ridiculous I think seeing as we hadn't actually gone anywhere!) Anyway we sat and waited and after 45 mins. were told that the plane had been cancelled and we would have to go back out of the airport and queue up at the Flybe desk to find out our options. I quite expected to be going back home, there was a plane later on the same day but I couldn't imagine that there would be that much space and not everyone would fit on, as It turned out I was one of the lucky ones and I only had a couple of hours to wait until the next flight. Back through customs I went and thankfully the rest of my journey went without a hitch.
Anyway the reason for my journey to The Nederland was because back in July last year I attended 'The Gathering' in Houston Texas. For those of you who don't know what it is, It's a lampwork convention run by the International Society of Glass Beadmakers (ISGB). I've been lucky enough to go for the last two years and have made some fantastic friends.
On the left is Debbie Weisbord Smith, who I met and the first Gathering I went to in Rochester New York and on the right is Monique Swinkels who I made friends with this year. She is a lampworker like me but has been working at the torch for about 8 years compared to my 3. Monique likes sculptural work and has a fascination with the body. She is very lucky in that she has the opportunity to work with other glass workers and gets to explore other mediums of glass like sandcasting.
This is one of her combined lampwork and sandcast pieces.
We spent a lovely couple of days in Monique's studio. Monique showed me some of her techniques at the torch and I had a play at engraving beads with a dremel and grinding with a lap grinder. Great fun!
|This is me engraving beads with a dremel|
On the Friday we took the train to Amsterdam and went to visit Sieraad International Jewellery Art Fair
It was held in this amazing building, I found this picture online of a previous show). This is a photo I took of the ceiling.
I wondered what the building was used for originally and with a bit of research I found out that it was a gasholder or Gashouder in Dutch. The Gashouder was built in 1902 – at the time it was the largest in Europe. The gas was stored above the Gashouder in a steel tank that extended telescopically to a height of 40m. Nowadays it's used for all sorts of venue's like the art fair and concerts.
I didn't like to take any photos of the stands and jewellery in case the stallholders didn't like it But it was very interesting seeing the standard of the jewellery on offer and the different mediums being used. As well as the usual gold and silver there was quite a bit of 3d printed jewellery and some resin jewellery among others.
I loved the resin jewellery by Carla Edwards who turned out to be from Edinburgh. She was actually the first stand we saw as we walked into the building and it was a lovely bright orange which really stood out. If I didn't only where my jewellery now I would have been tempted to buy a piece from her.
I couldn't find any photos of my favourite necklace but I loved her colour combinations.
There was some really wacky jewellery there too. This piece was by Silvia Beccaria from Italy and I had trouble wondering what her target customers would be.
There were only 2 lampwork artists there. 1 was Davide Penso from Murano who I met when I took a class with him last year.
and the other was Perlamadredesign from Venice. As you can see one of their designs was very similar. I have since found out that Perlamadre was one of Davide's students and although understandable he is not very happy about it has accepted that this is what happens when you teach.
We found the fair very hard to go round, as it was in a circle. It was easy to go round the edge but once we had done that it was very hard to get lost and make sure all the stands had been seen.
I've never been a big fan of gold and silver jewellery and I found myself drawn to the stands with more colour and larger necklaces.
It was shocking how many stallholders were on their phones and tablets and ignoring potential customers. I even had one stallholder glare at me when I smiled at her!
I enjoyed looking at the displays and getting ideas for which ones worked and which ones didn't.
Once we had finished looking round I headed back to the airport and made my way home. However that wasn't the end of my trip. I stayed the night at a Premier Inn (very impressed) next to the airport and on Saturday I made my way by train to Winchester to the 'Desire Jewellery and Silversmithing Fair'.
Back in the summer whilst at a craft show I was chatting to another stallholder and she suggested that I might look to having a stall at Desire so I thought it would be a good idea to go and have a look before I booked as it is very expensive to do. Also I thought it would be good to compare with the Amsterdam fair.
Desire have two jewellery fairs, 1 in Chelsea and 1 in Winchester which is held in the Guildhall.
It looks very grand from the outside but the inside is split into smallish rooms and the fair was in 2 of these which felt very cramped. All the stalls were in a shell scheme, the same as in Sieraad but they were all grey instead of mixed colours. The stall holders didn't have much space either. I would say that there were about the same number but it only took me around half and hour to visit them all. It was a bit easier though as they were up and down rows rather than all over the place.
Again most of the stalls were selling silver and gold jewellery. There was 1 resin, 1 polymer clay and 1 fused glass but no lampwork. I picked up a card from the Polymer clay stall as I loved the colours. The designer is Hadas Nussbaum and she makes all her beads using millefiori.
Again I was astonished to see so many stallholders on their phones. there was one stand with a man on his laptop and the lady sat next to him on her Ipad - unbelievable. I mean they are there to sell and if they don't engage with the customers how are they going to do that?
I wouldn't say that either show was buzzing with customers, just a steady trickle, even though it was a Saturday in Winchester.
I think it will be a long time before I am ready to have a stand at an event like this, if I ever have the sort of designs that will be suitable to sell here I don't know but it was an interesting fact finding mission.
Most of the photos used here have been found online, if anyone objects to me showing their work please contact me and I will remove them.
Thanks for looking.