Sunday, 28 December 2008

A bit of Christmas Cheer

Okay, so its slightly late this one - but I was REALLY busy before Christmas (like I am not now??)

My son, who's ten (okay, nearly 11) plays clarinet and he performed a solo in the Christmas Carol concert at school.

I think he was incredibly brave to do it, I know it's something I couldn't do - heck, I can't even get a decent note out of the clarinet or read music, never mind stand up in front of an audience and play it all by myself.

I am so very proud of him, so I wanted to share the moment:

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Getting A Reaction

A few weekends ago, I ran glass fusing taster day at the Long Eaton Art Room.

It was a lovely day, and everybody seemed to have a great time. And they were a very productive bunch!

I went over to the Art room to see the work when it first came out of the kiln (I do wonder if that excitement will ever wear off, the feeling I get when I open a kiln to see the results!) - there was some fabulous work, but I was particularly intrigued by a couple of pieces that looked as though one colour had been outlined against another,

I'm sure lamp-workers will already know about these things, but I only really knew about striking and reducing, so off I went to do a bit of research.

Apparently it all depends on what is the glass - but if a glass containing say, copper added, is next to a colour with sulphur added, a reaction will occur and that reaction causes a colour change. Here's a piece I tried, using different colours that I knew should react:

The bottom piece was light cyan, the middle is vanilla and the frit on top is turquoise, all opal Bullseye glass.

I am pleased that the reaction occurred with both colour borders and it is something I would like to investigate a lot further (ha ha, when I have time!) - in combining more colours that should react to see what effects I can achieve.

Playing with Millie......


As part of one of out university projects, we're doing Restoration and Reconstruction - and in my infinite wisdom, I chose a Roman glass mosaic plate that is in the British Museum, so the last few weeks have been research into the techniques.

I have to get some cane pulled, but meanwhile, I have been playing with ready bought murrini that I got off a certain auction site....

Here's a couple of examples:

The one on the left was made with "Tronchini" which are the large ends of pulled cane that are usually waste. It is about 2.5 inches in diameter. The one on the right is made from the murrini, and is only about 1 inch.

Now, for my project, all I have to do is sort out the correct coloured cane and then I can make a nice Roman plate!

Saturday, 15 November 2008

This one's for my brother!

My son likes to draw, and he did this one yesterday, from nothing - as in, he had neither a picture, photograph OR a real bird in front of him - all out of his imagination (apart from the eye, which he couldn't get right at first, so I suggested he get a book to draw from for that).

I think its ace and I am very proud - he'll be eleven in January.

Sorry about the lines though, I could photo-shop each one out, but I just wanted to post it.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Not long til Christmas.....

I know, I have been terrible at updating the blog again - sooo much happening at Uni at the moment, and right now, this moment, I should be doing a label and essay - so I will have to make this short!

Last week we set up the exhibition, I really didn't think I would get a piece into it, I had proper fell out with my work by the time came to submit. But viewed with fresh eyes, and getting feedback, and especially seeing it displayed in a proper cabinet like "real" work, it didn't seem half so bad. I still don't think its my best work by half, but it's okay.

Moving on!! We're now on a batch production project (as well as R & R) not sure what I will be doing for it yet, but have a few ideas milling round in my head. No promises here, but I will try and keep you updated!

Yesterday I did a glass fusing taster day at the Long Eaton Art Room, and I think everybody enjoyed it - so I must be doing something right!

I like people to relax, enjoy the class, and be creative, so I try to give ideas of what's possible rather than be too prescribed. I wanted to suggest a few ideas for Christmas, and whilst not all of it came out of the kiln okay, I was quite pleased with this, which was made from ordinary window glass, wasn't planned or thought out - rather it was thrown together at last minute.

Sorry for the rather naff photo, but it's all I have right now!

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

I thought I better post a quick note, so that you know I am still here!

It's been a difficult couple of weeks - last year, I was SO looking forward to returning for my second year at Uni - but since I have been back, I can't say I have been "feeling it". I think yesterday was the first time I spoke with any excitement, and anybody who actually knows me will know that I can babble for England about what I am doing usually.

I'm hoping it will settle down a bit when we have got this exhibition piece sorted, its got to be finished by 27th October, and seeing as its my birthday next weekend, I really want to get mine done for next Friday as understandably I don't want to be in all weekend (when I should be recovering from a hangover....)

Now for some reason unbeknown to man, I have chosen to do this exhibition piece in ceramics. Why would I want to go and work in yet another medium that relies on the kiln gods? I must be mad, I tell ya. I'm doing combining stuff, when I have a chance I will post up some pictures, but the work involves broken bottles and different clay pots, and mixing these into a clay body. Not sure what the outcome is going to be yet!

Otherwise, we have an R&R project, which involves either restoring something (and I can't find anything to restore) or reconstructing something, using traditional or comparable techniques. I'm divided. Roman glass plate or turned lace bobbins??

On the glass front, well, my poor kiln is sitting lonely and dejected in the corner of the kitchen - I haven't had time to even think about that yet.

I am in need of a glassy fix (see, I keep sneaking glass into wherever I can at Uni, just so I can at least get a bit of it!)

Ho hum, I better go get some housework done. Or research. Or something.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Back to School Blues....

Thought I had better update the blog, in case anybody thought I had given up on writing it.

I started back at University on Monday - and I feel as though I have been hit by a big pile of bricks (perhaps I should save them and submit them for the Turner Art Prize - oh, wait, somebody has done that already, haven't they? Although, this would be metaphorical bricks, so that's new. Hang on, I am doing Crafts, not Fine Art, remember??).

First year seemed like hard work - second year is on a whole new level. We have an exhibition to be ready for in three and a half weeks (so exactly what am I doing on here, I should be making/sketching/researching/panicking/all of the above). We're off to London next week for the Origin show, and we have rather full diaries already. Let's hope I get back into the swing of things sooner rather than later.

On a better note, I had the kiln on last week (you know, we had a few days sunshine - that usually happens when the kiln is on, my kitchen gets warm, and so does the weather). I finally got everything needed for the commission order I took a while back. I decided to make eight coasters in case any didn't turn out, the order was for six. Typically, it looks as though all eight have worked really well! Just need to get them finished off, and they'll be good to go. Pics to follow!

Thursday, 18 September 2008

The kiln fairies have chosen to be kind

A couple of weeks ago, when I did the Beau Show, I think I must have upset the kiln fairies.

I'd made some coasters, and just wanted to add a couple of plates/dishes to offer a bit more choice - but first I managed to get a bubble the size of half a golf ball in one plate (and the plate looked like it had cellulite too with dimples) - and the second one, well that had a small air bubble problem, and despite several re-visits to the kiln, it decided it wasn't going to play - so that was two big pieces of Bulls-eye that are probably wasted - a lovely sparkly green and gorgeous rich red.

So, it was with some trepidation that I fired the kiln up again yesterday. Having told a friend that in some beading circles (okay, some mad people on Frit Happens!) reckon that you have to dance around naked at midnight to appease the kiln fairies, he very kindly offered the use of his garden for me and my friends - isn't that kind of him??

Well, I digress. No, I didn't practice some strange kiln fairy pleasing ritual, but the first fuse went okay, and it went back in last night to be slumped.

I am rather pleased to say, it has come out, not just fine, better than fine - I think it's lovely. And my son wants to keep it!

I haven't take a photograph yet, its not long come out and to be perfectly honest, I am not sure I will be able to capture it's beauty too well - it is aventurine green, which is a rich, deep, sparkly glass , so I am going to have to wait for some special lighting conditions if I am to show it to you - watch this space.

I am pleased, and now I want to fire lots more things (which is probably just as well, seeing as I have a Christmas craft fair which will be upon me before I know it!).

Another piece is in the kiln as I write, so again, I am hoping the kiln fairies are still in a good mood......

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Something borrowed, something blue (ish)

A while back I posted a couple of older pics and I am at it again (well, I haven't made anything new to show yet, that's the next on the "to do" list....

As you may have read, I was rather excited to receive my first commission order - and it was at that craft fair that it occurred to me that I don't have an album of sold work, or to show what other sort of things I can do.

At Christmas, I made my brother and sister-in-law a set of four coasters. They are squirrel made (nuts??), so I played with the theme. This is a technique called kiln carving, and explores the effects of different thicknesses of tranpsparent coloured glass, and how different edges can affect the light (boy would I like to photogram one of these!)

I never got chance to take a pic of them when they were being made, as they didn't actually come out of the kiln until Christmas Day morning - but they recently brought me a coaster back over to try and photograph.

I am not sure whether you can appreciate the full effect here or not. But do take a look, let me know what you think. I am now going away to scratch my head and see what other designs I can come up with.....

Front view

And the reverse side

Friday, 5 September 2008

What a grey day.....

I just got back from a week in Majorca - boy, it was hot! We had clear blue skies almost all week, one or two days were a bit overcast, but it was a blessed relief when it was, I can tell you.

No pictures today, hopefully I will catch up soon.

Over the August Bank holiday weekend, I did the BEAUshow at Long Eaton Art Room - I didn't do too bad, sales-wise, considering the weekend that it was, but I got some great feedback, some lovely contacts, a couple of people signing up for the next fusing taster day already, and my first ever "proper" commission (not counting special requests by my sister-in-law!) - so I am looking forward to doing that order now I am back in wet, grey England.

I have also been asked to have a go at something for a lady who does sculptures - as someone on Frit Happens pointed out, if somebody asks me what I do now, how cool will it be to say "I make minotaur eyes"!

On top of these, I plan to do the Christmas Craft Fair at the Art Room which we are holding in November, so people can place commission orders in time for Christmas - so, I have to get my finger out and make some stock for that, and I am back at Uni in 3 weeks....

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Experimental - and it's not glass!

These are following on from a project I was working on at the end of term before we finished Uni for the summer - I promised myself I would use the summer break to experiment loads but to be honest, it hasn't happened much.

These are made from a combination of two different types of porcelain - a plain white body, and a black "grogged" porcelain - after a biscuit firing, the black clay was a sort of burgundy/purple colour. After a subsequent firing at stoneware temperatures, it has indeed gone darker, but isn't a true black - a few of the pieces are darker in areas than others, probably depending on the ratio of black to white, but generally they are dark brown.

There are a few more pieces still a Uni waiting to be fired to even higher porcelain temperatures, so when these are done, I wonder if the dark clay will then go fully black?

Of course, I will let you know!

Sunny Side Up?

I've the the kiln on overnight, so these aren't finished yet, but thought I would post a picture for you.

The first one, I've called "fried eggs" (gosh I am imaginative!)- I don't know whether to make these into cuff-links or earrings yet - but I think they're funky and fun, and I like them!

The pendant on the right is a favourite method of mine, for forcing bubbles - I think this a lovely sunny pendant, let's hope we get some good weather to match it soon!

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Craft Fair News


I don't seem to be very good at updating this blog! Actually, I have been quite busy, making for a craft fair this weekend.

Its being held at the Long Eaton Art Room (link on the right) and its called the BEAU Show (Borough of Erewash Arts Unlimited) - it will be showcasing local artists and designer/makers, as well as recent graduates from local universities (including some people who have just completed the course I am studying on, I do believe)

As well as an opportunity to purchase individual gifts, there will be craft activities for children so you can have a browse at your leisure.

I will have a range of glass pendants, and hopefully some new ceramics jewellery pieces that I have been working on (I will post some pics as soon as I have taken them!) There might be a couple of bowls and coaster sets available too.

It's actually going to be a rather busy weekend for me - as well as preparing for this show, I will be going to the Stourbridge International Festival of Glass on Friday and Saturday, which I am REALLY looking forward to - all that eye candy! Better take a very fat chequebook methinks......

Friday, 8 August 2008

She flies like a bird.....

in the sky-ay-ay-ay..... wasn't that the song from the Nimble advert? Gosh, I am showing my age I guess.

This evening, about 8.00pm, just out the back door, we saw a hot air balloon over the school. So what, you ask? Well, the school field runs along the bottom of my garden, so it was rather close! It really looked as though it wasn't going to clear the trees.

The tree you can see in the picture is at the bottom of next door, so about 60 feet from where I was standing.

I also took a video, and whilst they were flying over right over us, we were able to actually talk to them, well, shout I suppose - could quite clearly make out faces and so on.

My son was fascinated - so was my cat! After the initial shock of the noise of the burner, when they both (cats that is) scarpered, the boy, Thistle, who's just plain daft, came back and jumped over the left side fence to follow the balloon on its way... nut.

My son followed it to the local field, only a couple of minutes walk away to see it land.

It's the most exciting thing to have happened round here for a while!

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Bright Lights!!

I was sorting out some pendants today to send up to Bluebird Beads in Lancaster - the lovely Georgia is trying out a few more of my pendants in her shop.

Last time I sent some up I forgot to photograph them (I know, silly me) so I made sure I did so today.

It can be quite difficult to photograph glass sometimes. You cannot always capture the depth of colour, and of course, by nature it's often highly reflective - the last thing you want to see when you're looking at my pendants is me and my camera looking back at you!

Most of the items I selected today are made from one of my favourite types of glass, irridised - it shines and sparkles beautiful colours, which show subtle changes depending on the angles. I love its surprises.

It was early evening when I was taking the photographs - the sun was low enough that my gigantic sized parasol had no effect whatsover, so I took refuge in the shade from the fence - however that meant that my glass was picking up reflections from the house.

I really must get myself a light tent (I am sure I can make one actually if I put my mind to it!)

Anyway, I've put this first one in as I loved the group composition - unfortunately, the white pendant got completely bleached out as the camera couldn't cope with getting the light right for every pendant - not even Photoshop can tweak the white blob back into something resembing a pendant in anything other than shape.

Just to prove that I haven't managed to make a pendant that would light up Wembley Stadium, I'll finish up with some individual pics of some of the seven pendants I will be sending to sunny Lancaster.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Hot Stuff!

Well, the day has been - not the glass (a few weeks ago I had a mass making week, kiln was on almost constantly for four or five days, and my house was SO warm - I should do all my fusing in winter, reduce my heating bills!

I do need to do some more fusing, but it has been far to warm for that. So, instead I was going to sort out my pieces, get everything photographed and post a few more on here (and update my website).

But in the end, I have not done a lot today - took my son swimming, him and his friend were in the pool for THREE hours (mind you, I was tempted to jump in myself!) - and because we (they) were in the pool for so long, the cafeteria had closed. So we took a walk to the local chip shop and then spent the rest of the afternoon at the park - it was lovely, but boy it was hot!

So not been a particularly productive day at all - hey ho!

Friday, 25 July 2008

Something old, something new....

Well, people who know me from Frit Happens might have seen some of my stuff, but I am noticing visitors from other places now (I am loving that Live Feed!).

So, over the next few days I will publish a few photographs of some of the work I have done in the past - to some, it will be "old", but some visitors to the blog (or my website) they will be new pieces.

This was my first pair of coasters that I made a few weeks ago - not sure the photo shows their true beauty, they are irridescent and reflect beautiful colours. I just love Bullseye glass!

This plate took some doing, and kinda developed as it went along - I had a problem with the underside not coming out totally clear, so I ended up sandblasting the whole of the reverse - but I love the effect. The plate is really shiny on the surface, and frosted underneath, but because of the thickness of the glass, the pattern on the top looks like its floating - now I know how to get this effect, I can try that again!

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Construction Time is Over....

Well, nearly, anyway.

I've spent a good amount of time over the last few days tweaking my webpages and checking that everything functions as it should.

It now seems to do so, and I am about to "reveal" my site to the people on the Frit Happens Forum - a wonderful crowd of people who hopefully will give me lots of feedback as to what they think of it.

I know there is still work to do, but hopefully how that the framework is in place, it is simply a matter of me updating images and so on.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Anybody speak HTML?

Well, on and off for the last few days, I have been trying to sort out my website.

Of course, instead of just getting a tutorial, learning about style sheets and HTML code, I have to be awkward and try and teach myself, don't I?

But step by step, by trial and error, I am getting there I think. I have worked out how to get pictures with clickable thumbnails on, and I am beginning to work out how to use the style sheet (that the lovely Julie set up for me) - still lots of tweaking to be done, but at least I can now start updating the site.

Here it is if you want to take a look:

Now all I have to do is work out how to make that (points above) a proper link.......

(edited one minute later as I found out how to do that!)

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Last one for now!

This is one of my favourites and was from the first ever batch I did in my own kiln at home - this is before I made it into a pendant, and its one I wear a LOT.

I used a combination of glass and copper foil - now that does some strange things in the kiln, copper - sometimes it goes reddish-purple, and other times it goes a blue colour, like here - although in certain lights it still reflects back more red than blue.

If you look closely at this one, you can see a fingerprint on the top surface - hence why this one never made it for sale (although, honestly, quite a few don't make it for sale because I end up wanting them for myself!) - I was concerned about it, but the lovely peeps over on Frit Happens! said it was individual and like a signature - the mark of the maker! Doubt I will be leaving finger prints in all my work though!

Dennis the Menace...

Well, what else?


This is one of the first pendants I made in my own kiln at home - my good friend Claire nearly snatched my hand off after this one.....

Again, some of my favourite glass, irridised, and a clever juxtaposition of different textures (big word, huh - wikipedia anyone?)

Good mood today!

I'm a happy bunny this afternoon - I've had two e-mails, from friends I met recently from the beading world, to say they have received, and are very happy with their pendants. That always puts a smile on my face.

I thought I would show you a bit of what I do - this is a pendant I made a few months ago, using one of my favourite types of glass, irridised. It has a sterling silver bail and currently lives on a silver plated snake chain.

I am not sure yet how to get the photos where I want them in a post, so I will have to post seperate blogs for now for each pic.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Boring, boring.....

Well, its the nicest morning I have seen so far for ages, it's probably going to stay sunny all day, and where am I? Hmm, helping out in some dingy, no-windowed office...... grrrr.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

My First Blog

Hello there

Well, I hadn't really considered setting up a blog before - heck, I can't even get my website properly up and running, never mind do this.

But I met some lovely people from the beading world the other day, many of who had blogs, and one of them asked me if I had a blog.

Then my brother to tell me he now blogs too, so I have to keep up, don't I?

So, I am not sure what I am going to do with my blog yet - whether it will be a personal one, or a glassy, related to my art, blog - I think I might just have to make it up as I go along. I might even get more than one blog going (because I really don't spend enough time in the t'internet already.....)

So, I will start it off with one one of my favourite pieces of glass work - and it happens to be my first ever foray into the murky world of kiln formed glass (I did stained glass a few years ago).

Do you like it?