Thursday, 30 May 2013

Earring Challenge Reveal 10 - Weeks 19 & 20/52

Sorry I am a bit late catching up with this reveal, readers of my blog will know I have just had a lovely time away in Venice.

I can't believe we are in weeks 19 and 20 already, the time is flying by.

This is my week 19 make.

The little fishes are made by my good friend over at Flaming Eck. They are so cute I couldn't resist them. I have another that I am going to make into a matching necklace.

My second pair were made with some beads from my Grecian Temple kit from the Curious Bead shop monthly selection.

As I make lampwork beads I really wanted to make some beads to go with them. So I made some discs using Double Helix Helios glass which has a golden sheen to it when reduced. I thought this would go well with the hint of gold in one of the beads.

Teamed together with some antique bronze spacers, pretty beadcaps and leverback earwires.

They are available to buy from my Etsy jewellery store: Grecian Temple Earrings.

Don't forget to check out the other participants earrings.

Thanks for looking.



Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Last day in Venice

Well what can I say, what a wonderful end to a fantastic trip.
I met up with Karen and her husband who are from the UK to go and visit the Effetre factory. Effetre is where a lot of the glass that I use is made. Of course we are not allowed to see the actual production, just the showroom. I have never seen so much murrini in my life. Karen bought a kilo of 3 different types of murrini and I said that I would go halves with her. We were also allowed to take a few samples. Karen's husband sneaked a few photos.

After that I wandered about some shops as I wanted to buy myself a little something to bring back. I came across a shop selling some reasonably priced beads and bought this one.

I decided to head back to the b&b to have a drink and a bite to eat for lunch but popped into Davide's studio on the way past. Maria, a girl that was on Kristina's course (from Moscow) was having some 1 to 1 tuition with Davide and Kristina was there which was a lovely surprise. Maria asked if I would join them for lunch, so of course I jumped at the chance.
Davide said that he would like to take me in his boat to a little restaurant on another Island. I thought he was joking but when Maria, myself and Davide went for lunch this is what we did. So I got to go in Davide's boat again, we went very fast and it exhilarating with the wind blowing through my hair, it was a beautiful day warm enough to just wear a t-shirt.
Unfortunately the restaurant he wanted to take us to was closed but he knew of another place so we headed there. It was very quiet but lovely to sit outside in the sun. Davide asked me what I would like for lunch and I said just a sandwich would be fine but Maria had other ideas and insisted that I have a proper meal. I let Davide order for me and had no idea what was coming until a plate of spaghetti with mussels and small clam like shellfish was put in front of me. Those of you that have been reading my blog will know that Friday night was my first time of really eating shellfish but undaunted I gave it a try and it was delicious. I have had the odd taste of shellfish back home but quite often found that it was it bit rubbery and chewy.
I was a bit concerned with getting to the airport in time for my flight, then Maria asked Davide if he would take me in his boat to the b&b and collect my baggage which was all packed and then take me to the water bus which was just outside his studio.  I insisted that I could manage ok as this would take more time out of Maria's class time with Davide but they both insisted. This saved me having to carry my case over 2 bridges and as my neck was giving me problems was much appreciated.
Consequently I had 20 minutes to spare. Maria insisted that I take off my socks and shoes and joined her in dipping my feet in the water. It was cold but nice once you got used to it. I said my goodbyes and Maria insisted on walking me to the boat and waiting until I boarded. I insisted that she go and make some beads with Davide as she had missed so much time with him already but she said that it was a Russian thing and that she would have to see me into the boat.
I caught the Aliguna back to the airport and was on such a high that I did not mind that my flight was delayed by an hour or that I had to wait until midnight for the ferry back to the island because Wightlink have decided not to have any ferries between 9pm and midnight. So I am taking the time to write this up whilst I wait the two hours for it to arrive.
All in all it has been a wonderful trip, new friends made, a couple of whom I will get to see at The Gathering in July and  meeting Davide who made me feel very special. I can't wait to go back.
I will write up a few tips might help other travelers with their trip to Venice in another post.
Thanks for looking.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Venice day 6

These are my beads from yesterday. Well two of them anyway. There were lots of spacer beads we made to practice and there was a small disc bead but someone stole it?????
I was pleased with this one, especially as all the dots were made using a full rod of glass and not stringer.
The class started at nine and Kristina showed us to make her famous disc bead complete with dots.
Then it was our turn. For me this bead was very similar to the bead I made on Anita Swengler-Juan's course at Mango Beads in October of last year and I discovered that Anita has taken Kristina's course so know I know where she learned the technique.
My effort, not the best colour choices and I ran out of time to finish it.
The last bead that was demonstrated was how Kristina does stringer decoration. Unfortunately they use a very strange way of lighting the torches here in Murano.  There use what is effectively a pilot light which sits next to the torch. The pilot light in my torch was too big and when I tried to do the stringer decoration it was too hot and I singed my fingers.  Fortunately this is something I have practiced a lot at home so it didn't worry me that I couldn't do it here.
Kristina then demonstrated a third bead which is the tube bead. We didn't have time to practice this bead as Davide wanted us to watch a presentation by Kristina on her journey over the last 20 years to how she arrived at her style of work today, which was very interesting.
Then Kristina showed us how to core a bead with silver using the rivet method.  This was very also very interesting and something that can be done with very few tools
One of the things that Kristina showed us in her presentation was photos that she used as inspiration for her work. This got me looking at the patterns in architecture here in Murano and I started taking photos on the way back to the b&b. Maybe you will find some inspiration in them.
Ok,  so the class is now over and I am a little sad and lonely after being with so many people, but luckily there is never anyone very far away when you have the Internet and I have been kept busy writing this blog.
Thanks for looking.


Saturday, 25 May 2013

Venice day 5

Ok, so last night a group of us went for a meal at a fish restaurant joined by Kristina Logan who is teaching the class over the weekend.
Davide sent us a menu from the restaurant (the best fish restaurant on Murano according to Davide) before we came out but it was in italian. I had to look it up on google translate, some of it made sense but some of it didn't.  Snails were definitely mentioned.  Now I am not a big fish eater but decided to go along with the group and give it all a try. My mum asked me to take photos of the food. There were 5 courses in all and I ate snails (small baby ones from the lagoon), octopi, shrimp and other fish. I have to say it was all quite tasty.

Starter - this is what had the baby snails in but Kristina and Davide wouldn't tell me what was in it until I have tried it!
Seafood Risotto.
Battered seafood and vegetables.
As you can see I finished everything!
Mint sorbet to finish.
They have been having an unusually high tide the last couple of days and we were lucky to walk home without getting our feet wet. The tide rises by a good 3ft and when the vaporetto goes by creates waves which flood the sidewalk.
So today Isobel (from Luxembourg) and I were lucky enough to get a lift in Davide's boat to the school -  a real treat.
Kristina is lovely, so friendly and a great teacher. If anyone gets to do a class with her I would highly recommend it. (Davide has just announced dates for next year). She is very good at explaining how she makes beads and takes the time to come round and help everyone.  As well as teaching her style of beads she is really teaching a foundation of how to lay the glass down and how to apply the dots so that the technique can be taken home and used on any beads. I found this very useful, if a bit of a learning curve, you'd think I had never made simple spacer beads before but the technique being taught would be really useful when making the bigger disc beads tomorrow.

We all went out for lunch which we had by the sea and were lucky enough to see some sun.
It still amazes me how lucky I am to have found a hobby where I can travel to a workshop in the UK or a foreign country,  meet people I have never met before and have something in common with them and feel so part of everything.
After the class Davide offered to drive Isobel and myself back in the boat only he told me I could drive. I thought he was joking but he wasn't. So I drove the boat back , it wasn't very far and once I got the hang of it I did ok.

We all went out for a lovely meal this evening and now back to the b&b to write up this blog and have a early night.
Thanks for looking.


Friday, 24 May 2013

Venice day 4

Ok, so today I had my class with Davide Penso making blown hollow beads. I met Davide at his studio, took some photos whilst we waited for others to turn up and then headed for the school where Davide rents a studio for larger classes.


There were only 5 of us in the class from various parts of the world,  Spain, USA,  Russia, one lady from Italy and me from the UK.  So the course was mainly in English but there was lots of chat in Italian.
I was so pleased that my workshop was today, partly because I needed a day of rest from all the walking I have been doing, but mainly because the weather had turned and it was very windy. Apparently the tide was very high last night and the water was going into Davide's shop. It was tipping it down with rain when we went for lunch and the water was nearly lapping over the side of the canal. The forecast is not good for over the weekend either.
So the beads we learnt to make (or should I say tried to make) are made on the end of a blow pipe mandrel. A blob of glass is added to the end and then a small bubble is blown.  Special shaped scissors are used to create a neck and then repeated until the glass is blown into a round bead. A hole is the melted in one end and the bead is tapped off the mandrel whilst it is held in hot fingers.  The end is tidied up and there you have your bead.  Sounds easy doesn't it?  I can assure you it's not and I don't think any of us got it perfect,  some not at all.
Quite a good looking chap!
Davide's beads

Davide took some lovely photos of me making a bead which just happened to come out pretty good.

My efforts.
The course was supposed to start at 9am but was a bit late starting because a couple of people were late.  We broke for lunch at 1 and went to a restaurant because one of the ladies wanted pasta. I only wanted something light as we we're all going out for a big meal tonight, so the waitress suggested a salad of artichokes and parmesan. This sounded ok so myself and another lady said we would have that.  Well it was a good job there was a bread basket as when the plate of food came parmesan and artichokes was all their was on it.  No green salad or tomato and that cost us €12 with the cover charge! What a rip off. They had some small rolls at the counter which were €1.50. I wish I had had a couple of those instead.
I was torching on my feet so pretty tired after concentrating hard all day. I stopped by a chemist in the way back to the b&b as the mosquito bite on my eye is not getting any better and is still hot and swollen causing my eye lid to press on my eye a little. The chemist thinks I may have an infection so gave me some cortisone cream with antibiotic in it. Said that it was prescription only but as I didn't have a doctor and was a visitor he would let me have it. The word he used was pleasure but that didn't make any sense.  The bite on my finger is very hot too.
Going to have a rest now and then off to the restaurant for 8pm.
Thanks for looking.
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