Tuesday 24 May 2016

Rant, jewellery, lovely calming strawberry flower

Lampwork glass bead and sterling silver bracelet by Laura Sparling

Occasionally I get an urge to make jewellery with my beads. I often feel bad about this because a while back some delightful Facebook commenter told me I should stick to making beads and leave the jewellery-making to other people. Wasn't that so very lovely of her? Yeah yeah, love, I know the jewellery I make is the basic-looking, plain-strung, unfancy, not silversmithed, no PMC, no clever knotting, no additional stones or crystals or whatever kind of jewellery, but I make the sort of jewellery that I like to wear, and I have always loved wearing simple and unfussy jewellery, OK?

*clambers 'pon soapbox*

Seriously, people need to think twice before giving unsolicited advice, or passing 'helpful' throwaway comments on the work created by craftspeople and makers. Whatever you think of it, that person has made something with their hands and their heart and they've had the balls to put it out there for the world to see, and therefore judge. Unless the maker is asking for advice or a critique on their work, people shouldn't give them negative feedback. If you have nothing nice or encouraging to say to someone about what they've made, hush up and move on. The brains of creative people are often weird things and they can be pretty flipping sensitive and over-analytical, making their owners doubt themselves and their abilities. Creativity is easily damaged or affected by thoughtless words, including ones about pricing.

*gets off soapbox*

Anyway, I pushed that commenter's words aside in my brain and this weekend I let myself make a couple of bracelets.

Lampwork glass bead and sterling silver bracelet by Laura Sparling

For some reason I made even more of those spotty red lentils (I think I'm just in love with their redness) so I decided to turn some of them into a bracelet and matching earrings.

Lampwork glass bead and sterling silverearrings by Laura Sparling

I also made some little 9mm diameter spacer beads in sea glass colours of pale aqua, pale green and clear.

Lampwork glass bead and sterling silver bracelet by Laura Sparling

I used hair-fine grey stringer to wrap each one with a trail of glass. The beads were then tumble-etched to a satin finish before I turned them into a bracelet.

Lampwork glass bead and sterling silver bracelet by Laura Sparling

All of these pieces are currently in my shop.

Sorry to have got a bit ranty on you there. I didn't intend to. I only sat down to write a blog post to show you my jewellery but I let my fingers type out the festering irkedness I had in my brain about the whole jewellery making thing. Ah well, better out than in and all that.

May your Tuesday be as sunshiny as the one I'm currently experiencing here. I think I'm going to mow the lawn, carefully avoiding the wild strawberries I mentioned in my last post.

Wild strawberry flower, taken with my iPhone 6s and Olloclip macro lens

I've been reading about how to transplant wild strawberries into pots so I might give that a go too. *Carol Klein face*

Have a good rest of the day!

Saturday 21 May 2016

The one with all the photos

Lampwork glass beads decorated with stringer, by Laura Sparling

Oh knickers! That's a big gap to have left betwixt blog posts. I shan't try and fill you in on everything that's happened between then and now as that would be highly boring for both of us, so I'll just skip through some highlights using the medium of photo-plus-caption. Ready? Here we go...

Curled gift wrap ribbon
Chris had a birthday that made his age start with a '4'

Pink flower, taken with my iPhone 6s and Olloclip macro lens
Chris' family came down to visit and we took a trip to the Cambridge University Botanic Garden where we saw this beautiful pinkus flowerus. (I didn't catch its actual name so I just made that one up but I can totally imagine Monty Don saying it on Gardeners' World.)

Green tendril, taken with my iPhone 6s and Olloclip macro lens
It was a very warm day and the greenhouses were mighty hot. See how this tendril dangles and curls.

Jade Vine at Cambridge University Botanic Garden
This crazy-beautiful Jade Vine looks like something out of Avatar

Close-up of the Jade Vine, taken with my iPhone 6s and Olloclip macro lens
Jade Vine close-up. Definitely a match for Effetre Light Turquoise 232.

Lampwork glass bee beads by Laura Sparling
I finished up the last of the Bumblebead orders. Are they whooping for joy, whistling, or horrified at the bead cleaning process they'd just endured? You decide.

Lampwork glass gravity swirl beads by Laura Sparling
Finishing bee beads meant I could faff about so I made Whirly-Go-Rounds with a finer 'whirl' than usual

Stringer for decorating lampwork glass beads
And then I entered my bead happy place and pulled a load of white stringer and made 'Rococo' beads that I'd not made for eight years

Lampwork glass beads decorated with stringer, by Laura Sparling
I offered the option of tumble-etching on the 'Rococo' beads and everyone opted for it. Behold their satin silkiness.

Lampwork glass beads decorated with stringer, by Laura Sparling
When I made this set I 'designed' them to be etched, layering two transparent shades to achieve a pretty 'glow'

Spotty lampwork glass lentil beads by Laura Sparling
After the 'Rococo' beads were done I had a desk full of stringer scraps, so I used it for spots on little lentils made in one of my favourite glasses - CiM Sepia Unique 2

Lampwork glass lentil beads decorated with spots, by Laura Sparling
I still had a load of stringer bits left so I made more spotty lentils, this time in glorious transparent red

And that, dear patient person reading this, brings you up to date with my goings-on.

The Cambridge University Botanic Garden really is great and I'll definitely be going back there soon. It's so relaxing and it makes you feel like you're a million miles away from the bustle of the town centre. (I sound like Judith Chalmers.) (I've just Googled Judith Chalmers to find out if she's still alive. She is and she's eighty, you know. Go Judith!)

If you'd like to see more of the flower photos I took at the Botanic Garden, you can see them on my personal Instagram feed.

Stuff is also happening in my own garden. Things are growing, especially daisies and dandelions, but I don't mind them. I hate that weeds have a bad name. They're lovely little things and the bees seem to like them, especially the dandelions.

Dandelion clock, taken with my iPhone 6s and Olloclip lens
Dandelion clock, taken with my iPhone 6s and Olloclip macro lens

I've got some strawberry plants that have appeared too. I'm assuming a bird 'planted' them via the act of plappage (yes, I mean poo) as they are down by the fence and I definitely didn't plant them. Cheers, bird! I'm growing chillies, munchkin pumpkins, micro sunflowers and catnip in a little plastic greenhouse and they're all coming along nicely. Maybe I'll do a garden-based blog post. That won't be at all boring for you, will it?

I'm off to make beads now, I've still got a bazillion scraps of white stringer to use up. Will I use them or will I bin them? We shall see... 

If you like the spotty red lentils, I have four pairs of them left in my shop. They're £4.00 a pair and if satin-finish glass is your bag I can etch them for you at no extra cost. I've also reduced the price of all remaining jewellery so you might be able to grab yourself a wearable glass bargain.

For full details of all glasses used for the beads in this post, please have a look at my Tumblr.

Have a super duper Saturday!