Tuesday 31 July 2007

Must be the Virgo in me . . . . .

I get many an email asking me how I do my stringerwork. My answer is always the same. It's just practice and patience. I know that sounds like a terrible cop-out kind of answer but it is totally true. When I started making beads my stringer control was virtually non-existent. I wanted to be able to create lines, scrolls, stripes and zig-zags but I just couldn't do it. My stringer went all globby and it always seemed to snap or melt when I didn't want it to.

So I left it for a while and stuck with dots - I made many dotty beads! Every now and again I'd go back to the stringer and try again. Then I'd leave it for another few weeks and I'd try again. And again. I had piles of crappy stringer beads. Then one day it clicked. My stringer was thick (like 2mm thick) but I managed to get spirals and scrolls on a bead. Over the years I've pulled my stringer finer and finer and now it is about the same thickness (or thin-ness, depending on your point of view) as dental floss. Actually, I don't think I could pull it any finer.

But, and here's the bit that you may be pleased to hear, I STILL make crappy stringer beads. Lots of them. And I have evidence of this to show you. The picture above shows the water jug that sits next to my torch. Inside it are over thirty mandrels with 'bad' beads on them. By 'bad' I mean that I've made mistakes on them - either dots aren't aligned properly, scrolls aren't 'scrolly' enough or my stringer simply snapped while I was applying it. On the right hand side of the jug are fifteen beads. The water jug was empty when I started making them and that is how the jug looked by the time I'd finished. Now, maths never was (and still isn't) my strong point but by my reckoning that works out that for every three beads I make only one of them is good.

That photo illustrates a typical beadmaking day for me. Two out of three beads die a fizzly-crackly death in the Pyrex jug and never see the light of day. People say I'm over-critical of my work. I say that I'm a perfectionist. Heck, I am a Virgoan after all!

So my water jug picture is surely proof to you that stringerwork (and all other elements of beadmaking) is indeed practice and patience and now you know that I'm not just fobbing you off with a terrible cop-out answer!

Wednesday 25 July 2007

Girly Pink

I was in a pink frame of mind yesterday and ended up making this set of soft pink beads - very girly, don't you think?!

I'm in a grey frame of mind today. Nothing to do with beads but the fact that I have a dentist appointment this afternoon. I can't stand going to the dentist. It's not a fear I have - it's just sheer dislike. I had braces for over four years when I was younger which involved monthly trips to the orthodontist to have wires tightened, replaced, studs re-glued and all that malarkey. My old dentist retired last year and I have a new one now who is first and foremost a cosmetic dentist. Last time he tried to sell me a fixed brace to close the gap in my front teeth. Yeah okay, like I'm going to have another brace fitted for the flippin' fun of it! And anyway, aren't front-teeth-gaps supposed to be lucky? He also explained how I could have them whitened. No thanks - pure white teeth look a bit odd in my opinion. I'll leave that one to pop singers, soap actors and movie stars . . . . . . . .

So today is just a check-up. No doubt Mr Dentist will find something that needs doing or renewing. Then he'll recommend a visit to the hygienist and I'll leave the surgery fifty quid lighter and in an even worse mood. Oh the joy of the dentist!

Monday 23 July 2007


I've been a busy beadmaker these past couple of days. I've even managed to get some new pendants made including the 'Princess' one pictured above.

I'm not going to complain about the wet weather because quite frankly the incessant rain we've got here is nothing compared to what's happening rain-wise elsewhere in the country. All those poor people who've been caught up in the floods - it's just terrible.

Abingdon has been very badly affected. My Grandparents live there and at the moment they're alright. Apparently the river very near to them could burst its banks at about one o'clock in the morning. The police visited them last night and told them to pack their bags just in case they have to be evacuated so it's just a matter of wait-and-see. Fingers crossed that the flood waters don't reach them.

Sunday 22 July 2007


These are a bit of a break from my normal round beads. In case you haven't noticed I do like making round beads! A lot of people ask me why I don't do many pressed beads. Truth is I just LOVE round beads. Beads want to be round. When the glass is molten it pulls to the centre of its mass (ooooh, get me getting all technical and scientifical) and makes itself round. Now don't get me wrong, I like other bead shapes and I do like pressed beads - it's just that I prefer making round ones!

These beads started off round but I flattened and shaped them here and there to create a nuggety-pebbley-rocky kind of shape. I made a set of un-decorated beads shaped in this way yonks ago but I decided to give these patterened ones the nuggety-pebbley-rocky treatment. I love the effect so much that I'm definitely going to make more and I've given the shape a name. I can't keep calling them nuggety-pebbley-rocky beads so I'm going to call them 'Globbles'.

I've got another blog award! Jennifer has given me a 'Rockin' Girl Blogger' badge - wahey! Thanks Jennifer. I shall pass this on to five other RGBs - I'll be back later with a list.

Saturday 21 July 2007

Saturday Night Clapping

The beads above are called 'Retro Polka' but by rights they should be called 'Boyfriend's Flat' because a large number of items in my boyfriend's flat are brown and light blue! Brown and blue together always remind me of him.

So, it's Saturday night and the TV's on in the background. 'DanceX' is on (why did they call it that? It always sounds like 'Dance Sex' whenever anyone says it!) and there's the same old fame-hungry-saturday-night-talent-show-I'm-meant-to-do-this-and-my-life-will-be-rubbish-if-I-don't-win contestants throwing themselves about all over the stage while people clap. Saturday night clapping. What is it all about? Is there any other night of the week where TV studio audiences clap in time to opening/closing credit music and any other music in between? Crazy.

Thursday 19 July 2007

Thought I'd show you this . . . .

As I was making beads today I was working on a doodle in my head. I know that may sound crazy but my brain very rarely stops thinking about beads, pictures and and designs. I've been doing quite a bit of sketching and drawing lately. I intend to turn some of said sketches and drawings into paintings in the near future - just got to find a spare few minutes!

And then it occurred to me that I've often wittered on about drawing and painting on my website but that you've never actually seen any of my creations. This was the first scannable (is that a word?) piece I could find. It's an acrylic painting of Boba Fett from Star Wars that I did a few years ago. He hangs on the wall in my shed. The canvas is smaller than A4 so you can imagine the size of the brush that I used for the detailed bits. I think it only had about three bristles!

Wednesday 18 July 2007

New Beads & New Bead Ideas

Recently I've had a bout of beadmaker's block. I find this so frustrating - sitting at the torch and not being able to make a bead that I like really gets to me. After many hours sat doodling in my sketch book and studying art books I came up with a new design. The design was inspired by the work of Kandinsky and I have taken elements of his 'Composition VIII' and stylized them to create a new form of bead decoration. The beads above are an example of this.

Although beadmaker's block does happen from time to time after it has passed I always feel that my beadmaking has taken a new step. I know that sounds all la-la but this new Kandinsky-esque design has got me thinking about even more designs and I have an idea for a whole new range of beads. Just got to make the idea a glass reality now!

Tuesday 17 July 2007

My 'Schmooze Award' Post

A huge thank you to Jennifer Dangerfield for giving me a 'Schmooze Award'!

To read more about the 'Power of Schmooze', please click here.

As a reciever of this award I'm supposed to pass it on to five other people. I will have a good old think about it and I'll get back to you soon with who those five will be . . . .



This is all a little bit strange. I've read other people's blogs for a long time but I never intended to have one of my own. I do have a sort-of-blog on my website but I'm always aware of the fact that people normally visit my website in order to see what I've been up to bead-wise and they might not actually want to read my non-bead thoughts. Saying that, I know that some of my website visitors do like my random non-bead thoughts because they tell me they do and will often email me with matching random non-bead thoughts!

So why start a blog now?

Well, my wondeful friend Jennifer, who has a highly entertaining and captivating blog herself, has kindly awarded me a 'Schmooze Award'. This has finally made me get my arse in gear and has inspired me to create a blog upon which I can display my 'Schmooze Award'.

I will still post non-bead thoughts on my website but I will use this blog to post even more non-bead thoughts. Hey - I might even throw in a few bead-related thoughts from time to time too!

So many thoughts . . . . . .

I'm off now to find out how to add my award logo. I may well post again later . . .