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Stourbridge Glass Bead Fair Bank Holiday August Weekend

If there is one thing I dislike the most is labelling beads for a bead fair, I would much rather be doing something creative, like making more beads!

It leaves me looking a little bit like this…..

But, it is a necessary evil as this weekend, August Bank Holiday 26th and 27th, I will be in Stourbridge, in the Bonded Warehouse Bead Fair exhibiting as part of the International Glass Festival.  As much as it is a working weekend it is also a socialable event as both

Caroline of Blueberri Beads  and Lesley of Lesley Watt Artisan Elements  

will also be there and we plan on lots of eating and drinking in the evenings as it is an opportunity to meet up and catch up.



Bring along a copy of this flyer that Lesley designed for us – show us on your phone or mobile device is nicer to the environment 😉 – and receive a show discount of 10% off your purchases with us.

Hope to see you there

The Bonded Warehouse

                                                                                                              Canal Street



DY 8 4LU


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Tree Challenge

 Caroline from Art Jewelry Elements gave a challenge at the beginning of September – how time flies as now we are at the end of September! – for a Tree Themed Challenge and I said ‘go on then I will play’, then promptly did nothing for two weeks.
Panic set in last week and I realized that the month end was dawning and I had no ideas so I picked up my doodle book (most people call it a sketch book I just doodle in mine….) and was flicking through it and found this doodle…obviously it fit the theme.  
I LOVE eyes, I doodle them all the time and this one morphed into the finished doodle is now.
The other night I sat with doodle book on my lap watching the TV and this fellow arrived in the bark of a tree trunk….

…another evening doodle this time I was thinking about my dog walk and the ancient woods I walk through, a corridor of trees that can feel very spiritual and very ecclesiastical and I was reminded, during my doodle, of many Sundays spent in church listening to the organ and so doodled some music notes.  This doodle is actually quite flat and I really couldn’t get  a good feel to it so was a bit disappointed but all doodles should be for pleasure and we shouldn’t judge ourselves too harshly….
Before glass I used to do much more fine art, mainly pets and their portraits but sometimes I did trees too.  I was once told that to become more able to study a face, be it human or animal then practise ‘seeing’ trees as each one is different like a face they have unique lines.  Both of the drawings below are artist grade coloured pencil and ink.

This has to be one of my favourite paintings and it hangs in my bathroom.  It is approx 4ft wide and is painted with acrylic.  I am not a painter my use of the brush can be quite messy and I end up with more paint on me than the canvas, I prefer pencil, but I went through a stage of painting and produced many paintings, most of which featured a tree or animal.  This one was inspired by a wonderful trip with friends to Symonds Yat near to me on the River Wye on the border of Herefordshire and Gloucestershire within a few miles of Monmouthshire and the Welsh border.

Even in glass the trees, or more the spirit of the woodland, finds its way into my beads and small sculptures.  The first two beads are my take on the Green Man.
This one is supposed to represent the bark of the tree…
Oddly in glass my muse is whimsical, I suppose really my drawing is now too, being too serious doesn’t suit me and I am known for my beads with bums.  This little chap was inspired by my love of everything whimsical, he is the Tree Spirit or Elemental and came about after my looking at the work of Brian Froud.
…and.. this is Trevor and Trevor was inspired by the Tree Theme Challenge….   It is time for all good squirrels to start collecting nuts as Autumn descends the leaves turn golden brown  and ruby red and Trevor here is told by his wife to buck his ideas up and start contributing to the family’s stash of food for the Winter and to out into the driving rain and collect enough acorns to stock the larder. Poor Trevor is seriously hen pecked, in fact it has been known that Trevor is a frequent visitor to the hen house just to get some peace for an hour or so!

So after thinking I didn’t have a single idea about using trees in art it turns out I have been immersed in a forest of ideas for a good few years!!
I am looking forward to reading all about those that took part in this challenge and seeing the ideas that others have come up with, if you want to blog hop with me here are the links….

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Art Jewelry Elements Blog Hop Head Pin Challenge.

*blows dust off blog…..*
I have recently joined Art Jewellery Elements via Facebook having long admired and read their posts via their blog and am a very proud member of the ‘staff’, yes I am one who will write stuff, interesting, intellectually entertaining stuff every month…how do I get myself into these things…..  so I thought that why not jump feet first into a challenge which had less than 24 hours left for the sign ups and about 4 days to create a ‘something’ that was brilliant!
So sign up I did.  Then instantly worry and debate my sanity.
The challenge is head pins and I ‘luckily’ had some in my bead box that I made last year.  I don’t make head pins as a rule so this really was a lucky find.  These head pins are lampworked glass berries, holly and mistletoe on copper wire.  I had (!) 7 – read on why I had! and a lone holly leaf glass bead.   After a long walk down at the river with the dogs musing on what on earth I was going to create, I had a brilliant  *light bulb moment*….
I would create a sculpture of wire and beads and it would be fabulous.
I obviously forgot the last time I used wire was circa 2000 – head pins not included in this realization.  I just don’t make jewellery.
So I gathered my supplies, a vague idea of a sculpture in my head, grabbed a piece of paper and dashed off a doodle of a wreath/garland being held by a fabulously crafted wire robin – the latter will get completed but I ran out of time.. 
The supplies I collected together was some seed beads in greens and silver and gold, some copper wire in various gauges, I found in my stash a rather cute silver tone charm of a Christmas stocking, some silver balls, the head pins and the glass bead.
Next came the quick doodle of the design. I am rarely this organized but with the lack of time I figured it was a good idea.  I thought the scale was about right in the doodle for the garland, in hindsight when I get round to making the bird (should I get round to making the bird) the bird is going to have to be HUGE for the design to work. 

First up bending the thicker copper wire into a round-ish shape.  Not that easy when you are round-ish challenged.. thank goodness for salt pots, I wrapped the wire around the salt pot and it was the perfect size. 

And this is why there ‘was’ 7 head pins.  As I have already stated, I don’t make jewellery and during my wire wrapping of the first head pin I was a little bit over zealous with the wrap and the glass berry bead came away from the wire, I could have glued the wire back in but if anyone has seen me with glue they will know that wouldn’t have ended well so I just had to use 6 and be a bit more careful.
Three on and three to go.  I was just seeing how the design would work out with the 6 pins.  After the breaking disaster I did decide to use some seed beads on the wire to separate the glass berry and the wrap and make me less heavy handed in the wrapping.  

We are all wired on including the glass holly bead.. Now to make it look pretty.

I decided to go with the gold seed beads and the green ones, they are different sizes which helped with the over all effect.  

I was quite pleased with how it was going but it really did lack a ‘something’.

So I dived back into my cupboard of beads and found some little green drops I liked and promptly spilt beads all over the dog, carpet, table…..  I really should have got out my bead board….

I wired the drop beads in groups of three and the balanced look I wanted started to come through and look right, despite me breaking the 7th head pin.  I added the cute silver stocking charm and declared my head pin challenge a success.
I am still wondering about making it into the sculptural piece with the wire bird – that has yet to be born – so will have to carry on with the wire and my doodle…..
To see more of those that joined in the challenge here are the links ..

AJE Team Members:

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Blackberries and mild days of Autumn.

….and as another week ends and we are a day nearer to the onset of Winter, we are still having very mild Autumn days and nights, last night reaching 18 degrees C still at around 8/9pm and did mean that Izabel panted her way through the early hours of this morning before either she, or I, nodded off to sleep in exhaustion.
I am still remembering Autumn, the berries and golden vines.
This bead is one of my favourites of the week, its a big bead with layers of glass, gold and silver leaf and lots and lots of hand pulled canes in which I can mix the colour to get what I want.

Its not always easy to mix glass colours as they don’t mix like paint, blue and yellow don’t always make green and red and white don’t make pink, its a lengthy process of layering the glass and pulling into canes which can be used to ‘paint’ onto glass.  I am really enjoying this painting style of bead making it both relaxing and meditative and I have found that I prefer to work without the radio on so I can disappear into my own world for hours at a time.
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Its Friday!

I don’t have much to say tonight, which is something coming from me, other than the rain lashing down at the windows after a very mild October day, I am sat at the computer with a cup of tea, I really know how to rock a Friday night.
I just listed these head pins, the blue ones, in my Etsy shop but to be honest I just can’t find the energy or the inclination to list anymore so I am calling it quits for the evening.  I might make myself some cheese on toast I have a fancy for that right now, and sit in front of the television for an hour before going off to bed to read my book, like I said, I know how to rock on a Friday night!
Blue icicle head pins now in the Etsy shop.

Head pin bouquet of lilac buds and leaves.

 A couple of buttons.

A two holed button.

Another head pin bouquet.

Have a fun Friday, it can’t be more exciting than mine!!