Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Quirks, Wirework and the Washing Machine Accident

Bead of the Day: "Byzantine"

"Byzantine" has to be the bead of the day: it always cheers me up, and I get into a super-good mood when I make them. And today is one of those days: you either love it or you hate it. Or you just laugh at it - that's going to be my choice!

I've been trying to make lots and lots of jewellery recently. It's near Christmas, and I've got some beads that I can use for bracelets and things, so - great, let's do it! But, of course, I've also been making beads, so the actual jewellery-making keeps being postponed - bead making taking precedence. Today I also decided to wash pillows - god knows why, it's difficult to dry them even in dry weather! So those of you who have been on FB realise where it's all going to. Yes, the pillow exploded inside the washing machine. Never ever anything like this has ever happened before. I opened the door and... duck feathers were everywhere! Well, thanks to good friends Nicky Townsend and Jan Edwards (Jan is a writer, by the way) - they told me what to do, hoover time!!!

Then I went back to my jewellery. I had this lovely idea of making this bracelet using some of my wirework skills. All of you brilliant wireworkers, I admire your patience and reserve! After about two and a half hours (!!!) of sweating and managing to cut my finger (I really do not know what happened there!) I was finally looking at this super-duper bracelet:

Bracelet with "Quirks" beads and wirework

It's photographed on my lap, by the way, that's where I've been making it. I'm just glad that none of the duck feathers from the blooming pillow have got into the shot!

But. The bracelet was initially too short. I added this little red bead on the left at the top next to the clasp. Now it is too long. Oh, dear.

Let's see what tomorrow brings! :)xx

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Flowers for Jo

Bead of the Day: "Flowers for Jo"

About ten days ago I came across a post on Facebook. I couldn't make out who the lady was. I was sad, but it was kind of impersonal, because I didn't know. Thanks to GBUK's email received tonight, now I realise that we lost a great lampworker and a wonderful, wonderful person. So this post is dedicated to Jo Rohrer.

In those "olden" days I didn't know anything about lampwork or beads or making jewellery. One day I was happily walking around WHSmith's - oooooh, I don't know, four, five years ago? - when these beautiful beads caught my eye. Turquoise and red on the cover of Bead magazine. So I bought the mag. And discovered a whole new world! And it was only because of the beautiful beads on the cover! The beads, as it happened, had been made by Jo Rohrer.

But it was just a name then. We know the names - the stars of the lampwork community: Diana East, Ray Skene, Sally Carver... Many from abroad - Loren Stump, Akihiro Ohkama, Corina Tettinger, the list goes on... Only rarely we can see these amazing people, usually it's during demonstrations; it's quite difficult (at least it is for me) to come up to them and have a chat or possibly to become friends.

As time passed, I started making my own beads and jewellery, I went to fairs and various events. And once I was lucky to meet Jo. It was in Dulwich. She came up to us and we chatted, and she showed me her beads and her display. She said she loved fairs because they gave her a chance to meet her customers and her fellow bead artists. I remember her beads: elongated and flattened, in beautiful organic greens. After that meeting we wrote to each other; she gave me advice, congratulated me on my lampworking successes and simply just kept in touch. She was always very kind and generous sharing her knowledge: which fairs to go to, which events are cheaper than the others, what a pain Double Helix can be...

I never suspected that she was ill. Last time she wrote to me was about my book; she said she'd been reading it and it was very good and so beautiful. It was two weeks before she left us.

She was wonderful. Inspirational and very kind. My thoughts are with the ones who were closest to her.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

The Bead Awards

I can just sit here at my computer and read other people's blogs - very happy! But I've got to tell you a little about the British Bead Awards which took place in London on 15th October.

The Big Bead Show was very well attended, with lots of marvelous things to buy and many people to say hello to.

The creations of the Bead competition finalists were displayed in the Sports Bar. There were some gorgeous pieces. I can sympathise with the judges: I liked everything, and it must have been soooo difficult to decide who the winners were.

My "Matrioshka" set won 1st place in the Handmade Glass Beads and Components category. Unfortunately, we missed the actual ceremony: on the way to the racecourse we took the wrong turning and ended up somewhere else. I'd like to say Congratulations and Well done! to everybody who took part in this competition, especially to those who I know personally and who are some of my favourite people in the glass bead making community.

Chloe Menage, editor of Bead, agreed to have this pic taken with me. Thank you, Chloe, for the super event (and the award!), I have really enjoyed it! 

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Back Again

Beads of the Day: "Indian Summer"

Hello again!

I cannot believe that more than a month has passed again since my last blog! And I was starting so well, really determined to keep on writing. I looked at the date of the last blog: two days later my eldest daughter was in hospital undergoing a very serious operation. So I hope you'll understand why I haven't written for some time. I've prepared a separate blog about it, but every time I try to read it through and possibly edit it, I get very emotional again, so it's still difficult at the moment. My daughter is OK now.

The beads of the Day are the "Indian Summer" set in warm shades of oranges, yellows and turquoise: like those beautiful days in autumn with the quiet sun and golden leaves, when it is still warm, but you know that it's not going to last for long, as mornings are getting colder. We had this weather only last week, but now it's turned so cold, and one of my customers has mentioned that they've had the first frost: winter is coming.

There have been good things and bad things happening - isn't life all in stripes, a bit like a zebra, I suppose. And I'll be posting more, as some things are very well worth mentioning here. At the minute I just want to say that I am back, and hopefully will stay that way.:)