Saturday, 29 January 2011

The Prize Has Arrived!

That was me two days ago!

Time flies, and I was positive I was doing a blog on that day, but something happened, which was my oxycon went caputski - whatever the spelling is, the idea is the same: it stopped working and nothing would make it change its mind, so I was trying to sort that little problem out (no, I haven't solved it yet).

But back to the beginning. I was absolutely thrilled when a package arrived from Jane Tyrrell of "Jane's Jems and Jewels" and this was why I had a big smile on my face. I llllove receiving parcels, especially when it's a prize! Everything was really nicely wrapped, with ribbons and a card:

Whenever I unwrap something I feel a little upset that all the beautiful wrapping is going to be thrown away! I used to keep ribbons and things, but when we started moving houses I had to say goodbye to my treasures, as it was getting a bit out of hand, my collection of wrapping things was getting much too big! So when I opened the parcel from Jane, there were these lovely cards and the necklace presented in a pretty organza bag with little sparkly bits on it (I haven't seen one like this before).

And these are two more shots of my prize card and necklace - I love taking photos of pretty things!!! As you can see, Jane's handmade jewellery and cards are very individual, so check out her shop if you haven't done so yet (, I'm certainly coming back!

Friday, 28 January 2011

Second Review on Amazon!

I've just gone to and what do I see but an excellent second review of "Glass Bead Jewelry Projects"! Wow, thank you so much, Lynsey! Here it goes:

"5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and inspirational Book, 27 Jan 2011
lynsey adams "Kanga" (England) - See all my reviews(VINE VOICE)
This review is from: Glass Bead Jewelry Projects (Paperback)

This is a beautiful book, and very good value, sold at a huge discount from the cover price. It is one of the few lampwork books published in the UK, so that you can be reasonably sure that the materials recommended are readily available.
What I particularly liked was that the author is not only giving us detailed instructions on some stunning projects, but from her own experience tells of the expensive mistakes and pitfalls to be avoided.
As another reviewer says, it isn't difficult to find a lampworking book that tells you the basics of making a bead, the tools needed and how to set them up. Where this book really scores, is that the author goes on to illustrate the book with her own extremely beautiful beads, with instruction on not only how to make them, with detailed step by step illustrations, but follows this with inspiring ideas on how to make each particular type of bead into a piece of stunning jewellery.
She begins by telling us exactly what type and quantity of glass to use for the bead: 'if you want your bead to look exactly like mine you will need:', and follows this with the same information on the materials and tools needed to make the jewellery. Experienced beadmakers might not need this, but it is very helpful to a near beginner.
Projects are graded into 'beginners', intermediate' and 'advanced' level, and although I think that it would certainly take a good deal practice to obtain the results in the book, even to a near beginner like myself they do actually look achieveable. There are a few exceptions to this towards the end of the book which look much more difficult, but they are in the 'advanced' section and could be worked toward. However, even the beads in the 'beginners' section are stunningly beautiful and not just padding for the book.
This is also a great book for furthering your own ideas and designs if you are past the stage of needing step by step instructions. Change a colour here, transfer a technique there, and you can use the beads shown in the book as templates for you own unique beads and jewellery.
Many other lampworking books show beads made by other artists - beautiful to look at, but often one is left frustrated and wondering, 'how did they DO that?'. This book shows the author's work exclusively, and I don't think it suffers from doing that, as the work is of a very high standard. It reads like a series of excellent and detailed personal tutorials, written in an accessible and friendly way.
One more thing that I particularly liked - and this is only a very personal opinion - there is not a sign of any glass animal beads, distorted faces, vessels, cottages, gnomes, cartoon characters, baskets of flowers, or any other type of hideously naff, (albeit technically skilful), creations so beloved by authors of certain other lampworking books.
If you want ideas and inspiration, with detailed instructions for making beautiful beads and jewellery, with this book you just can't lose. "

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

"Cool" Experimenting Part II - Looks Like a Win!

Yesterday I was making more beads with E cool Fossil. I decided to wrap it up with silver foil, and the result is shown on photo 1. Maybe, I needed to heat it more, but the shape of the base bead was so good that I was reluctant to make it back into molten glass. So it just darkened without producing any amazing effects. But don't worry, we bead artists are inventive when it comes to decorating. I wound some twistie left from the previous session (which, if I remember, was E cool Fossil and DH Aurae), paddling it down firmly, and then applied several chips of my murrini (this one is E Ivory with R Dark Multi). As the R stripes decided to be rather dark and didn't want to change into any other colour, I applied dots of DH Aurae with a stringer, reduced them to give this metallic effect and then decided to stop and put it away.

Next I had a better idea. Using just the Fossil on its own gave me quite a dark shade, which I wasn't entirely happy with. So I made the base bead with E Ivory and then decorated it randomly with Effetre cool Fossil, melted it in completely and kept on heating the bead up to the point when the middle of the bead started to move. It took me some time, but the result was great: the Ivory together with Fossil started "to break", the two colours interacting with each other, creating a lovely stony pattern. I cooled the bead down a little, shaped it and applied three murrini chips around the middle of the bead. The rest was even simpler: heat the middle of the murrini, poke it with a spare mandrel (that's what I do anyway), apply a large drop of crystal clear on top of the indentation, heat and watch how the bubble apprears. The very last bit was to apply some dots of DH Aurae (why is it always Aurae - oh, I've got an Aurae stringer right here!) and to reduce them a little. How more organic can you go?

Photo 3 shows a close-up of this lovely marble effect. The hand-pulled murrini here consists, if I remember correctly (I really need to start putting it all down for my next book), of Effetre Ivory, Intense Black, Double Helix Aurae (again) and somewhere there there is also Effetre Med Amber encasing it all. I've already got a name for them: "Stone Blooms" (Rod helped, as usual).
I was so busy that I'd run out of prepared mandrels! But I've still got to work out how to make nice beads with Effetre cool Kiwi...

Yesterday I found out that I'd won a lovely prize from Jane Tyrrell, a talented jewellery designer who lives in the UK. It was very kind of Jane to organise this giveaway prize draw, and I was thrilled to be pronounced one of the two winners! (A big Thank You to Jane's son!!!) So now I can't wait to see the lovely necklace designed and made by Jane, and some beautiful cards handmade by Jane which she will be posting to me. I was so happy that I went to Jane's Etsy shop ( and bought some more of her cards - they are really pretty!

A great day!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

"Cool" Experimenting Part I

Yesterday was a pleasant day - I mean, it wasn't freezing as usual. Although the temperature was only about +4C and it was grey, there was hardly any cold wind, so it felt warm (-ish). I'd been waiting for the moment to get to my torch to try out my new ideas and these "cool" Effetre colours I'd just bought.

To start with, the E "cool" Fossil didn't like my way of introducing it into the flame. I even did my little trick with touching the tip of the glass with my fingers before it went in - no, there were bits flying, so this is something to remember: to be extra careful at the beginning. The first photo shows a bead with the E cool Fossil base decorated with a twistie of R Dark Multi and E Ivory. Clearly, the twistie was too dark for this combination, so forget about this one. The next photo has an E Ivory base bead with a twistie of E cool Fossil and DH Aurae - obviously, the twistie should have been less "twisted" with bigger part of the Fossil to be better seen. Never mind, there is always tomorrow, i.e., today!

So when I realised that I wasn't getting anywhere with the new glass, I went back to my old "Art Nouveau" design (Mucha - the tutorial is included into my book) and I was relatively pleased with the result.

Some of my other experiments were twisting R Dark Multi with E Ivory and working it in various temperature environments, but it kept coming out green, or much too dark for a pleasing effect. Here is the pic:

All in all, a good bead designing day and I can't wait to start it again today!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Review in Bead Magazine and "Black Swan"

Hooray, the book has been reviewed in the Bead magazine Feb/March issue. This was a very pleasant surprise indeed. So far several people mentioned that the book is good for those who are new to lampworking. My aim, of course, was also to introduce wider audience to jewellery making - there is a chapter on the various bits and pieces, like findings and techniques, needed to make the jewellery shown in the book. That, I thought, is a good feature, especially compared to other books on lampwork, which usually have an enormous amount of photos of beautiful jewellery, but never explain how to make it. Nevertheless, the review is very good, so a big Thank You to Bead magazine!
I hadn't thought about checking with Bead if they had any spare copies of the book to give away, simply because I didn't know that a review was coming, so I might write to them and ask, and maybe I'd be able to write an article for them or a tutorial similar to the ones in the book. Also I've checked their competitions. I remember that previously they planned to have an issue dedicated to glass, so I will have to check this out too: I have noticed that there is a Readers' Challenge entitled "Glass, Glorious Glass" with the deadline for entries as 9th Feb. It would be very upsetting if I've missed this one!
I went to see "Black Swan" yesterday. I don't think I would have gone had I known what it was going to be like. I expected a psychological drama, but there was a lot of gory bits, lesbian sex (no wonder, male critics love it!) and other very scary things. There were good things too: the camerawork was great, the atmosphere of the main heroine living in a small closed shell-like world was portrayed very well. But Natalie Portman, although clearly having had some serious training and having spent a lot of time and effort, isn't a professional ballet dancer, and I'm sorry to say at times I kept remembering lovely ladies-competitors in "Strictly Come Dancing". The other problem was, just like Thomas, the ballet director, noted, Portman can't act sensual, and there was no sparkle between her and Vincent Cassel. There was one funny bit: without spoiling the plot, I'll just say: hiding the body. Ha-ha-ha!!! The ending could have been a lot more dramatic. The film left me drained, so, I suppose, that should mean that it was good. I'm sure a lot of people will like it, but it wasn't for me.

Friday, 21 January 2011

New Exciting Glass Arrives!!!

Ah, this cold seems to be going on forever! I can't start making any beads, though I have so many ideas! This is the problem with sitting in the radiator-less conservatory. Or, maybe, I'm just being lazy. Anyway, the other day I was thinking about what I was going to get from Tuffnell Glass with my £25.00 voucher. I had to go on their website to remind myself of all the beautiful and useful things that one can buy there. Effetre "cool" colours caught my eye - again. I hadn't tried them before: the thing is, one never knows how to work with the glass that one has never used previously, and what to expect from it. But most importantly, these "cool" colours look so strange on the photos, that I'd been struggling with getting ideas for beads made out of this type of glass. However, this time it just dawned on me! So I bought some Fossil Dark and some Kiwi. It arrived today, and now I'm just waiting for the weather to improve, so that I can open the door and make my beads away! Check out the results! :)

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Making a Rosary and Jane's Blog Prize Draw

"Rosary" was a new word for me this morning when I asked Rod what it was in English. My brother had asked me some time ago to make him some beads for a rosary (he reads about meditation, numerology and things like that). It was a challenge to come up with a design which would be simple yet effective; I really wanted something quite special. His birthday was approaching too, so this was going to be my present. Where there is a will, there is always a way. It so happened that I started working with Double Helix Ekho, and I have to say, I love this glass. I couldn't get enought of it, I tried lots of things with it. But wrapping it around a black base covered in strips of silver leaf and then encasing it did the trick! The beads come out looking so warm and shiny, with lots of colour inside. They remind me of honey and warm summer days!

This is it - you know what I mean! They look gorgeous no matter what lighting you are using: the photo on the left was taken with the weak January sun out, the photo on the right - just in daylight. So simple, yet so beautiful!

I have made forty of them, that's what I was asked. Then I started reading about how to make a rosary, and I realised that I needed one special bead, maybe, a little bigger in size. So I thought I was going to make one with my "Angel" design, but this time not on the ivory base, but possibly also with Double Helix and encased, with the figure of the Angel coming up only at a certain angle of lighting. I'm still thinking about it though. Nothing is ever simple.
I've entered a prize draw on Jane Tyrrell's blog: so I'm sitting here getting excited - you never know, I might just win! Those of you who haven't yet entered still have some time to do it!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Voucher from Tuffnell Glass and a Hoped-For Book Review!

Some of you might have seen this design already, it was my entry into the "Beads & Beyond" Jewellery Maker of the Year competition. It was inspired by Van Gogh's famous painting, hence the name "Van Gogh: Sunflowers". I was very proud of it, as finally I was able to explore the "painting" possibilities of working with glass colours. And, of course, my favourite goldstone insertions as the middles of flowers are also present, and again, I think, they are very successful design-wise.

We were not allowed to mention or to show the pix anywhere so that the public would vote not knowing whose work it was. It was a very pleasant surprise when I received news that my beads were short-listed for the award. Never mind that I didn't get it in the end, after all, I was up against many very talented designers whose work I admire. But I was even more pleasantly surprised when yesterday I got in the post a £25.00 voucher for Tuffnell Glass products as my reward for being a runner-up! Yippee! So now I am very excited about spending it!!! I'll have to go through Tuffnell's website carefully, as this should be really a present to myself - any suggestions?

Also I had another piece of extremely great news: finally one lovely lady posted a very good review of my book on, giving it five stars! Here it is:

"***** Lovely lampwork book, 11th Jan 2011 by Jessica R. Mytum (Lees, UK)

The thing about lampworking is that there aren't that many books about it that don't have all the basics of how to make a round bead, a tube bead and so on. This was a great book for the lampworker who already knows a little bit about lampworking and is keen to make some more complex beads. The price means that it's great value for money compared to tutorials that can be bought from bead artists.

Each style of bead is demonstrated with plenty of pictures and then in the second section of the book is shown how to incorporate it or them into a lovely piece of jewellery.

Highly recommend."

Thank you so much, Jessica, for this lovely review!

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Going to the Forbidden Planet for a Signing

Yesterday was the Old Russian New Year, so my best wishes to everyone!

I've been busy helping Rod to promote his book, "The Demi-Monde: Winter", which involved going to London. I like London, it's always fun. I guess, I'm still a city girl at heart. Crowds, dust, traffic jams - brilliant. Rod had a signing at the Forbidden Planet, and it was interesting to meet the people who came to buy his book. He insisted that I do a little dedication in Russian from one of the main characters, Vanka Maykov, a dashing young conman. So I was busy too, not just opening the book on the right page and blotting Rod's signature at the end, but writing "With the very best wishes from Vanka Maykov" in Russian (and being very nervous not to make a mistake!).

Talking about blotting. Rod has had a special stamp made in the shape of three Valknuts - the emblem of the ForthRight Sector of the Demi-Monde - which also says "The Demi-Monde: Winter". He stamps this first volume of the Demi-Monde saga with it, plus he has a special numbering stamp, which he says he is going to use up to 999, and after that he'll be just putting his signature down. So there is a lot to dry out when you do many books altogether. I had to find a blotter - this old-fashioned piece of office and, for me especially, post office equipment, and it wasn't simple. But the good old ebay helped, as always. To be more precise, the company called "Lucky 7 Pens" (or lucky7pens as their ebay member name). They were terrific: I bought it late in the afternoon and wrote on my paypal payment that I'd love to have it posted asap. They came back to me immediately, so I explained that I needed it for London etc. They posted it specially that night, after their other things had already been despatched, so I got my blotter the following morning. This is what I call Service. Thank you so much, guys!

The Forbidden Planet also video-interviewed Rod for their website, and the three parts of this interview are now also on youtube ( - for those of you who are interested. :) I thought it went very well, considering that nobody had seen the questions of the interview beforehand.

We had dinner in a Greek restaurant with Rod's colleagues from Quercus Publishing, including Rod's new editor. That was great fun: some people just open up from a different angle when they are not in the office, and it was great to see that they all have such good sense of humour!

Overall, it was refreshing to go down to the capital, and we both enjoyed it very much.