Sunday, 25 November 2012

A neat idea

Well, quite a bit has happened since my last post. Last Wednesday I was invited to a private viewing at a gallery. I've never been to one before so I popped along to have a look. It was two couples showing their work. One of the ladies was Melanie Swan who I did the PMC and Enamelling course with at The Quay Arts Centre. You may remember I made her some headpins recently.

She absolutely loves my beads so I took a couple of my latest ones to show her.

This was the main one that I took as I was so pleased with it.

The owners of the gallery were so friendly that while I was there I showed them my beads and enquired as to whether that might be something they may be of interest in stocking in their Gallery. Well, they practically snapped my arm off and said yes please. They only charge a 20% commission which is very reasonable for a gallery and could they please have them before Christmas. How fantastic is that?

So since then I have been trying to get some stock together, working out prices etc.

I made these two wheel beads to match some silk ribbons of Sowereze.

I had some more wheel beads that I have made but didn't have the ribbons to match them. So I paid to visit to Harvest Moon in Shanklin and bought some faux suede thongs. I bought some ends for them but was unsure as to how long to make them as people are all different sizes and like them to hang in different places, ie; long over a jumper or above the neckline.

Years ago I used to sell name necklaces, you know the ones letters that hang on a thong and I used to do a slip knot affair so that the necklace was adjustable and could slip over the head. I tried that with the faux suede but it didn't look very classy. Then, whilst browsing the internet for some silk ribbons I came accross this blog posting:

This is turn led me to with step-by-step instructions on how to create it. Although to be honest it's pretty self explanatory from just looking at the picture.

I thought this was just perfect to finish off my necklaces. I used a 3mm mandrel to make it and finished the ends of with some little spacer beads.

Looks pretty good doesn't it.

Thanks for looking.


Thursday, 22 November 2012

A little bit of sparkle.

I love a little bit of sparkle in my beads and you may have noticed the addition of some Cubic Zirconias to my work lately.

The big wheel bead in the centre and the two florals beads have cz's to the centres of the flowers.

There are also flowers in the centres of these little white flowers.
I have to say they are very hard to photograph. Next week I have a photographer coming round to give me some tips. Watch this space.

Anyway, the reason I am posting this is that I have found a supplier of Cubic Zirconias suitable for lampworking on Ebay.

Delivery is quick and I think the prices are very reasonable.

If you purchase them through Top Cashback you can get a little extra back too. Any of the Ebay cashback tabs will pay out regardless of what they say on them. If you would like to join, send me your email address and I will refer you. (gives me a little bonus for recommending them). I also use them to get money back on insurances.

Thanks for looking.


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Yesterdays Beads

I was really pleased with yesterdays beadmaking session.

Colours used were: Effetre purple, baby pink, amethyst, yellow green, light green and rose quartz. CIM lapis, simply berry, peace and slytherin.

Thanks for looking.


Tuesday, 20 November 2012


I have been trying to perfect my big wheel beads after my glass with Anita from Unikal Glass Design.

You can see some of her fabulous wheels here: and here:

I also just found her Etsy store

I am fortunate enough to be the proud owner of this beautiful piece of art.

So the followers of my blog will know that I have been practicing my big hole/wheel beads since my course in September.

So Sunday night I started to make another one. I was over 2 hours into making the bead when craaaak! well, I say crack but it's more like a tink, or in this case several tinks. This is what happens when the bead gets to cold whilst you are working on it. I tried to heal the cracks by re-heating the bead but it was too late.

Such a shame isn't it? Any ideas what I can do with it?

Undeterred I had another go. Not such a big hole this one as I only have one mandrel that size. This one is made on a 9mm mandrel that I bought from Mango Beads.

This is the front and back shots of the second attempt. I am really pleased with it and I think I have finally made some progress with these beads.

I am really pleased with the colour combination. I need to work on the centre a bit more and I would like less white to show in the dot decoration around the top rim, but I'm getting there.

Getting a good photograph is tricky. I've emailed a local photographer to see if he can give me some lessons.


Friday, 16 November 2012

An early start

Yesterday I spent a lovely afternoon with the lovely Teresa from Bo Hulley Beads. We poored over one anothers stashes and admired each others beads. Teresa makes the most gorgeous ceramic beads. Check them out using the link above.

Whilst I was there I admired a bracelet by Rebecca Anderson of Song Beads. She has a lovely blog that I follow and admire her jewellery work on there. I had a quick flick through to see if I could find the bracelet on there but couldn't. It was an unusual combination of tourquoise with a splash of bright red.

Well, I found myself wide awake at 4am this morning with tourquoise and red beady ideas running around my head. I simply couldn't get back to sleep so decided to get up and do some torching.

This is the results:

I used various colours, Effetre tourquoise 232, Lt red 438 and teal 026. CIM Jade Palace, Clockwork and  Peace. I threw in a bit of Recichenbach Iris Orange both in frit and rod form.

I found myself making this gorgeous big wheel bead which is just about to go for sale in my Etsy store along with this selection of orphans from todays bead make and a few extra from my stash

Isn't that a lovely colour selection. Just waiting to be made into lots of lovely jewellery.


Wednesday, 14 November 2012


I've had a commission for some headpins. The tutor from my course at the weekend saw some of my headpins and immediately thought of a use for them. Apparently she makes textile jewellery (which I haven't seen yet) and wants to incorporate them. She bought the four I had and ordered 30 more.

Here they are:

I hope she likes them, I'm going to drop them off to her this evening when I attend the Open Access studio at The Quay Arts Centre and finish off some of my work.

If you would like some headpins, email me. They cost 50p each and are made on .80 (20g) copper wire.


Monday, 12 November 2012

Beads for sale

I've added a new page to my website 'Buy my beads' from now on I am going to be adding beads that I have made for sale to this page and alerting you to them with a blog posting.

These are the beads I have just added:

Thankyou for looking.


PMC and Enammelling course at The Quay Arts Centre

This weekend I attended a Silver PMC and Enamelling course at The Quay Arts Centre in Newport on the Isle of Wight. The course teacher was Melanie Swan and I loved her relaxed teaching style. Fortunately for us there were only 3 on the course which meant we each had more of Melanies time and didn't feel at all pressured.

Silver PMC is very expensive and rather than dig in and immediately start working with it, we practised with Playdo, which was a great way to plan what you are going to do without ruining your clay as it dries out very quickly.

This is what I made. A matching pendant and earrings with a textured design on the front and enamelled on the back.

Front and back shots.

I had a great time experimenting with the enamels and copper. You can get some interesting effects. I really like the middle one which was a mistake as I left it in the kiln too long.

I had a nice surprise too. I told everyone that I made glass beads and they said to bring them in and show them, which I did. Ending up selling £75 worth and then when I got home had a sale on Etsy for £45. I am sooo chuffed! What a great weekend!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012


Well, I finally got to try out what I had learned at Anita's class and I am so proud of the results. The colours were inspired by this silk ribbon that I purchased from Di at Sowerze Designs.

I found the colours a little bit challenging and found myself pulling a rod of Effetre glass from my stash called Butternut (414). I just had one rod of this and I can't remember how I came to own it but I've always thought it was a most disgusting colour and could never imaging using it.

I found a couple of posts on it:

However it seemed to fit the bill so use it I did.

Here is the bead, front and back shots.

It has a real victoriana feel to it, I'm thinking tea roses and decopage. A friend suggested the name Gloriana so that is what I've called it.

The colours I used were

Effetre Silver Pink 255
Effetre Amethyst  040
Peace White
Effetre Pale Emerald Green 031
Effetre Med Amber 014
Effetre Purple 272
Double Helix Helios
Efftre Mid Purple 042

It was made on a 9mm mandrel purchased from Mango Beads and measures 3.5cm wide.

The big hole bead I made on Anita's course wasn't suitable for silver coring so I am going to send this one to David at Mango Beads to be done instead.


Friday, 2 November 2012

Unikal Glass Design course at Mango Beads

Firstly I would like to say that Anita's work is amazing.

I think this course was at just the right time for me in terms of where I am at in my lampworking skills. Anita was a very good teacher. She is from Switzerland and we all had a good laugh as her English is not so good and of course when learning, lampworking terms weren't really taught. We all manage to understand her though.

I was very pleased with my first bead. I was so happy that I managed to finish it as the bead release broke quite early on and I had a problem with low blood sugar so had the shakes. Didn't come out bad considering. It was made on a 9mm mandrel but is only 3cm wide.

The second bead I made wasn't too bad either but again, small at only 2cm.

The next day I was very tired. I hadn't slept well over the last few nights and the colour combination of this bead didn't come out as well as I had hoped.

Finally just to show that not every bead I make turns out well....

This was supposed to be one of a pair for earrings. By this time I had had enough and decided to make an early start home as the weather was awful. Took me 3.5hrs to get to the Ferry and was pleased to be home by 8.30pm.
I loved this course, I just hope I can remember everthing that Anita taught us when I get back.

Unikal Glass Design Website.


Thursday, 1 November 2012

Days tuition with Helen Gorrick

I'd booked a place on the Unikal Glass Design course at Mango Beads in Devon and decided to combine my trip with a days tuition with Helen Gorrick of Helen G Beads. I had met Helen a couple of times and purchased a couple of her beads as I am a big fan. I love the preciseness of her beads and this is what I wanted to learn from her.

I really wanted to add some pictures of Helen's here but I couldn't manage it so here is a link to her slideshow on Flickr.

These are the beads that Helen showed me how to make during the day and I got to keep. My Mum wanted a light pull for her bathroom so I got Helen to make one for me.

I'm ashamed to say I only made 2 beads. I like to watch, learn and then have a play in my own time.

These two came out pretty well though.

Doesn't look like a lot but we spend a lot of time chatting.

I would highly recommend Helen as a tutor if you are interested in starting in lampwork or improving your skills.

Unikal course coming up next.


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