Friday, 1 June 2018

Write what you know

Handmade lampwork glass beads by Laura Sparling

I'm well and truly back in the beady swing of things. In this post I'm going to prattle on about the last couple of weeks and here and there I'll drop in some photos of beads I made during May to pretty up the post.

CiM Oobleck with black and white

Most of the month was spent catching up with trying out new-to-me Creation is Messy colours, and seeing how they work and what they are like to use. I've mostly been making these little 'potpourri' sets because the variety of beads within them allow me to get a feel for what the glass will and won't do in various applications. For example, a glass that works well as a base might not work well as stringer. This is the case for CiM Mermaid (not a new glass, I know) which looks marvellous as a spacer or encased as a base bead, but spreads when used as stringer. Sometimes you can use that effect to your design advantage. Glasses which do the whole stringer spready thing normally make weird two-tone dots and spots too, where they get a dark patch in the middle. So it's that kind of thing that I look for when testing new glass.

Handmade lampwork glass beads by Laura Sparling
'Portillo' Potpourri featuring CiM Harvest and Mermaid

Sometimes you get a glass that does everything really well. CiM Harvest is one of those. It's a glorious streak-free orange that works equally well for base beads and stringer, where it retains its uniform colour and crisp edges.

Handmade lampwork glass beads by Laura Sparling
'Seville' Potpourri

One of the CiM colours that totally passed me by was Pixie. This is a bright blueish green and it's fab when its encased but it sort of reacts with itself if you faff with it too much; it feathers and webs on itself. Because of this it is absolutely pointless trying to use it for the kind of stringerwork that I do.

Handmade lampwork glass beads by Laura Sparling
'Seafoam' Potpourri featuring CiM Pixie

That's the thing with glass; you have to use it, learn what it does, make a mental note of its quirks, and then store all those notes away in your bead brain files because one day one of those quirks will be just the thing you need to create the particular effect you're after.

Handmade lampwork glass beads by Laura Sparling
'Grellow' Potpourri

My bead brain files are beginning to overflow. It's why I keep my Tumblr full of glass recipes. I have a very good memory but fourteen years' worth of beadmaking (which must equate to absolutely thousands of beads) has me saying "What glass did I use for those ones?" or "What did I actually do to get that effect?" more often than I'd like. I wish I could back up the bead department of my brain to a hard drive, or download it every now and then so I have a copy of it, but sadly the technology for this does not yet exist. To get around this, I'm going to do the next-best thing - I'm going to write the book I've been tentatively threatening to write for yonks now.

Handmade lampwork glass beads by Laura Sparling
'Mokey' Potpourri

I’ve always intended to write down all the stuff I know about lampworking but this past month or so I’ve come to the decision that it’s actually time to pull my finger out and get on with really doing it. “I’m going to write a book” sounds a bit pretentious, doesn’t it? Like I have things to say that people might want to read. The thing is, I think I do. I’m entirely self-taught and everything I know I have found out for myself through mistakes, hard work and learning from the glass. Do that for fourteen years and you’re bound to accumulate valuable beadmaking information.

So what’s the plan?

I’m going to get the bulk of the thing written and the tutorial photography sorted. When that’s done, I’m thinking I will crowdfund it on something like Kickstarter or Unbound or somewhere, so people can pledge to buy the finished article and I can get it printed into an actual factual book. I’m very keen on it being a real book you can hold, as opposed to a PDF or digital thing as these are open to unauthorised sharing. The working title for the book is ‘Everything I Know About Making Lampwork Glass Beads’ and that’s exactly what it will be. There will be step-by-step tutorials and information on all aspects of making and selling lampwork beads. It will be written from my point of view and my personal experience so it’s not a general ‘how to’ guide as such; it will literally be all my bead knowledge put together into a book. So if you want to know about making borosilicate beads, goddess beads or selling at craft fairs, this will not be the book for you because I don’t do any of those things. Does that make sense?

Handmade lampwork glass beads by Laura Sparling
Bzzzzz

I've made a start on the book. There is a plan thing all typed up which lists all the areas I want to cover. And there are many. There is to be much typing in my future and this book is not going to be some flimsy thirty-four page pamphlet. I've had so much positive feedback about my book plan so far, with many lovely people telling me they're going to buy it, but it's going to take me a while to write it. I'm not putting a time or deadline on it because times and deadlines and I do not mix, but please know that I am working on it. Thank you for all your encouragement and enthusiasm. I will keep you all posted with updates and news of how the book is coming along.

Handmade lampwork glass beads by Laura Sparling
'Hydrangea' Potpourri

In other news (this is becoming like some kind of regular blog-closing feature), I've finished all the Cormoran Strike books and am eagerly awaiting the release of the fourth one as I am absolutely hooked. I'm now reading (actually reading with my eyes, and not listening to) J.K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy which is as addictive as Branston pickle Mini Cheddars. I've never jumped aboard the Harry Potter train but I'm in love with Rowling's work. I know I'd probably love Harry Potter too and I shall read them one day.

Handmade lampwork glass beads by Laura Sparling
'Nautical' Potpourri

I'm still moving my legs at semi-speed on a regular basis and on Monday I completed my first ten mile run. Ten miles! I've written about that here if you fancy a read. I've got a quarter marathon (6.5 miles) on Sunday so all being well I will have another medal to add to my fledgling medal collection.

Handmade lampwork glass beads by Laura Sparling
'Beach' Heart

I'm off for a gentle three mile jog now and then I shall spend the rest of the day in the shed. See you later!

5 Comments

Anonymous said...

Hola! I've been reading your site for some time now and
finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Dallas Texas!Just wanted to mention keep up the good job!

Laura Sparling said...

Thank you so much! Cheers for reading.

Benja Blue said...

Please write the book!

Handyann said...

Hi Laura,
Having seen all your videos etc. I can confidently predict that your book will be another 'Passing the Flame' - highly desirable for any lampworker to have. I just hope it isn't £77 straight off!

I've also discovered Cormoran on audiobook and binged my way through the first three too. I haven't tried The Casual Vacancy yet, but will do if it's THAT addictive!!

Best of luck with the writing - looking forward to my copy!
Regards,
Ann

Laura Sparling said...

Benja Blue - it is being written!

Ann - I haven't even calculated a book price yet, but I would have thought that it will not be far off that price. Self-publishing is not a cheap thing. Also, it's going to contain a LOT of knowledge and experience. Beadmakers sell PDF tutorials for one type of bead for around the £20.00 mark, so when you think of it like that, £70-odd for an entire book is not too out there.

Glad you're enjoying Strike too!

Best wishes,
Laura