Wednesday, 7 December 2016

O Tannenbaum

A quiet combination of artisan beads, larimar and wood - each element reflecting the next.

Glossy,  smooth yet rustic wooden nuggets echo the branches of the regal fir tree of the clasp, and the darkness of the wood is picked up in the organic larimar slices, which also reflect the cool blue-turquoise tones of the button.

Linked together with the grounding quality of the forest olive green  - the tiny seed beads springing from the handwoven round, running through and closing the clasp and connecting the beads themselves. 

Thursday, 1 December 2016

2016 Mini-Retrospective - of Jewellery and Myself

I have been rootling around in my pictures from the past year, partly in preparation for doing a proper retrospective of 2016 at the very end of the year, and partly just for curiosity's sake. I thought I'd share a few here - a bit early for a proper retrospective, but for one reason or another, I kind of feel like most of my 'moving forward' work - the kind of work where you feel like what you are creating is part of a progression; a continuum - was done at the beginning of the year. 

It makes sense when I look back on this year. We are struggling (and have been for 3+) with infertility, and in the summer I was diagnosed - after a real struggle to make myself heard with the medical profession - with pretty extreme polycystic ovary syndrome and as hypo-thyroid.  Although there was a sense of relief with both of these diagnoses, there has also been a sense of unravelling, of life becoming somehow structureless, and the waiting waiting WAITING for my thyroid to finally come under control and to a level where I can go ahead with IVF. It is fair to say if the first half of this year was filled with increasingly-hopeless desperation (not all of which has passed, I freely admit), the second half of this year - post-diagnosis, and especially since it became clear that my thyroid was worse and more unpredictable than initially thought - I've felt scattered and disorganised, and fairly aimless in many ways. 

So that's where I'm at, and I'm sure if you look back at my social media presence - here and on Facebook in particular - that it's been sporadic. It's just me doing it after all, and when I've had a week getting thyroid results moving in the opposite direction to the one in which it's supposed to, and therefore further away from IVF - which is after all, still an unknown quantity - it's been terribly hard to motivate myself beyond that - at times, really impossible. Hope is a flickering candle which does go out at times for me. That's a struggle. Not only to cope without that essential light, but to somehow find a way to re-egnite it for myself. That's what I've been dealing with continually this year - each day I have to heave off the suffocating weight of infertility and childlessness to get up and get on - and some days that's easier than others. I'm sure if you have been through this or something similar, you will know exactly what I mean. You have my heart, you brave and dear and resilient warriors (even when this is the last thing that you feel), who keep on going, even when all you have that day is a thread of smoke leading up from your candle.  

Who knows what 2017 holds, but this strange limbo in which I find myself needs to hold more space for my own creativity. For music - also completely gone from my life since the summer. For creating. These pieces which I'm sharing with you here all date from the first part of this year, but I see that forward-motion within them - that sense of progression that has forsaken me (or perhaps I've forsaken it?) latterly this year. Here's to more of this - not just in 2017, but even to claw some back this last month of the year, some of my own creative normality, would be a huge blessing. It starts with me, I know - it starts with my own intention. I just need to find the space to allow myself that intention - and the light. Always the light. 

Colour Me Purple
This first piece that I'm sharing was I think the first time I used one of Sally Soul Silver's new triangle beads. These, along with her tabs, have been HUGELY inspiring to me this year. I turn to them with most bracelets that I make. The shape is just such a natural connector between a single and double strands - one of my favourite bracelet forms (and you'll see that in so many of my bracelets this year when I do a proper retrospective here later on). I also find that they sit perfectly on one of my own handwoven rondelles - a new shape from me this year - which is terribly satisfying. I'll be interested to count up just how many pieces have had this combination this year! I remember making this piece and thinking 'yes'. This works. This is me. This is something new, somehow. 

(I should say now, I'm not expecting you to necessarily see something 'new' in any of these pieces, or feel that they represent my best work of this year. I just know that they are all little pivots for me - significant cogs in the machine. Tangible signposts when I look back on the year.)

Florida Sunset 
Here's another bracelet which you can definitely draw a direct line from Colour Me Purple to. Another theme with the pieces I consider my best and most significant this year, is the materials I've used. They've contained more of a mix of media than some of the others - handmade beads and Czech glass, yes, but also gemstones, pearls, vintage acrylic and glass, mixed-metals - and here, some fibre-coated copper wire (Wooly Wire) which I'd been hoarding for literally years. Different shapes, textures and colours - all contrasting yet all (to me) harmonising perfectly. In fact, when digging around on FB to find out when I made these I found I had this to say:

'When I'm working with different materials, often individual elements seem to have their own character. Whether it's the colour, texture, shape or a little of everything, they bring their own little personality to the table and it's part of my job - a super-fun part! - to combine these elements together and tell a story with them.'

(Is it bad form to quote one-self?!)

This was about Colour Me Purple specifically, but it holds true to each of these pieces, and more.

Gather Ye Rosebuds
This last piece (for today) contains none of Sally's beads but rather the lampwork glass is all from Helen Chalmers, another lampwork artist whose work I turn to again and again. Her sense of colour is a continual inspiration - I adore colour of course, and love working with it but I find Helen's beads always push me that little bit further.  That little pop of yellow in her Moroccan- or Gaudi- or just Helen-inspired tile design on the lentil, led me to Claire's rose bud which for me, just *makes* this piece. The fragility of the crazed and torn petals, formed in delicate yet hard porcelain. Or is it those spiky, sticky freshwater pearls, another resounding theme from my jewellery this year? They definitely add something key here - organic, rustic, natural; each one unapologetically different from the last. Perhaps the rose is simply the perfect bridge between Helen's glossy, smooth, vibrantly organic beads and the pale nubbliness of the stick pearls. And of course, there's always so much texture and colour saturation in my own handwoven glass. The final touch - two vintage tin hand-formed caps from Lorelei Eurto, around my rose-pink {song}bead. The only spot of cool colour in this piece. Needed, I think.

I'll be back with more a more thorough jewellery retrospective when the year is actually over. But until then, I have my December creative contributions to make! I'm closing this post feeling inspired.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Christmas Art, Craft and Design Fair this weekend

Coming up this weekend! Loads of amazing artisans will be there with a gorgeous selection of handmade goods. Do Christmas the right way - support handmade and shop local. At The Assembly Rooms on George Street (Edinburgh)

Here are a few of the pieces I'll have on my stand (unless they are snagged from my Etsy shop first...!):


Tuesday, 29 November 2016

A couple of the new pieces in the shop...

I had a bit of a photography session this morning - still quite a bit more to go under the lens, but the mission has begun! I am going to be sharing them here with you this week - and there will be more to come as the week goes on and I get back to the camera. Still time to snag your perfect Songbead piece in time for the festivities! 

You can also shop with me in person this coming weekend at The Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh with 3d2d - always a really great event - and in fact, I have a couple of tickets to give away! If you'd like to be in with the chance of winning them, then leave a comment below. I'll perhaps do something more official over on my Facebook page tomorrow or Wednesday but I'll make sure to put any blog comments into the hat too :-)


I couldn't come up with a title for this piece for ages - it contains so much of what I love about making jewellery; artisan-made beads, pearls, pressed glass, so much colour in so many of my favourite saturated vintage-inspired the end, I had to follow my colour love and go with my whimsically made up word 'Berriful' because those berry tones are really speaking to me, especially at this time of year! Perfect with a pop of turquoise. I've combined an artisan-made turquoise ceramic house with two of my own handwoven glass beads in contrasting purples with some gorgeous dyed freshwater pearls in rich and juicy burgundy (dare I say marsala?!) and beautifully rustic pressed glass chunks. I also used my 'end of day' process to create a short extender chain - a pile of beads left over from many hours of bead-weaving - to create a colourful backdrop for the larger beads.

Night Vision
I'll let you in on a secret - these are so-called because someone on Facebook said they looked like peas and carrots. Not quite what I had in mind when I created them but I can totally see what she means...! Gorgeous handmade ceramic drops in a vibrant yet rustic orange hang from a pair of my handwoven glass rounds in a pale celadon-sage green. The ceramic drops seem to have been top-dipped in burnished gold - elegant and slightly decadent whilst still bohemian and earthy. bronze floral caps separate the ceramic and glass elements and the earrings hang from my own hand-formed oxidised sterling silver earwires, perfect for sensitive ears.

There are several more new pieces which hit the shop yesterday so do hop over and take a peek!

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Stacked Earrings Challenge - Chapter 5

Hello! Goodness me, it's been a while since the previous chapter of this stacked earrings adventure but we are back again, with Heidi's bead selection. 

This exchange is the brain-child of Swedish jewellery designer-maker, Malin de Koning, who invited Heidi Post, Leah Curtis and Claire Lockwood and myself to join her. Here's the lowdown in Malin's own words:

"The idea is that I give each of us the same set of beads. Beads that I believe would be nice to use in earrings. Nothing exclusive, and no art beads. Just a group of different beads that I myself believe can be used in fun and interesting ways in earrings in a stacked style.

 I am longing to see how we all use the same things but in different ways. I am thinking we could all make at least one pair of earrings, but hopefully more. And that we are free to add our own extra beads and/or other components, if we at least use three (3) of the beads from my set in each design."

Since Malin began this challenge back in January 2015, we've taken it in turns to send out little curations of beads, and all turning them into our own creations. It's been so fascinating seeing not only what people have in their stash, but what they choose - how they curate these little bead collections. I freely admit that my selection (last time) was more about assembling an interesting grouping of beads, rather than gathering together items for specific designs. I kind of think this adds something to the design process though - not least the fact that we all start nearer the same point when turning to the bead collection. I wonder if the other designers did the same? 

Anyway, back to this round of the challenge. Here's Heidi's lovely curation (picture courtesy of Malin):

It's interesting looking at this collection here again, whole. You'll see below but I've stuck with a fairly muted, soothing colour-scheme in my creations - and I'm interested to note that, despite there being a fair quantity of coral/orange in Heidi's wee group, I've not used any of it - despite it often being a 'go-to' colour for me when designing. Instead, I've stuck to a tonal palette ranging from mint greens to cool blues to warm purples - nothing too contrasting, nothing too clashing. Fairly unusual for me, but I'm pleased with what I created! See if you agree...

Anyway, here's what I came up with:


First of all, these long, elegant drops. I've used the peacock-silver biwa pearl discs and the moon-blue faceted rondelles here, connected with some gorgeous fancy chain in a co-ordinating gunmetal dark silver. You may think that those are the only one of Heidi's beads that I have used here - but no! You see those little handwoven rondelle beads? Inside are some of the little wooden discs - top left of the bead collection picture. When I saw them in Heidi's selection, I couldn't resist seeing if I could bead around them - and yes I could. Which leads me onto these studs...

Not technically stacked earrings, but I wanted to share them here as they came from Heidi's beads - each stud contains one of her tiny natural wood discs and I love them! They are about 10mm across in width when fully beaded. If anyone knows a source for these discs, message me - I'd love to make more. 

In the Fires

Next, a pair in soothing pale violet - almost like cape amethyst - and minty green. I was so pleased to find these Scorched Earth droppers in my stash - how perfectly do the colours go here? Both pairs of discs and the tiny flower caps are from Heidi. I just adore Petra's glazing work here - the way both base colours have so many other colours flashing in them. 


These earrings are the cute shorties of the bunch. More of the pretty mind green spacers from Heidi, little wooden plum-purple cogs and some beautiful transparent glass rounds with deepest aubergine swirls throughout - topped off with some of my tiny handwoven rounds in dark pewter. I like the flashes of copper wire here and how they contrast with my hand-formed oxidised silver earwires.


Lastly, these long elegant chaps. Glass rounds and violet gemstone chips from Heidi - and beautiful long porcelain drops from Round Rabbit. I love how the graffiti-style decoration on the rounds is echoed in Nancy's glazing. I purchased these drops in a  'grab bag' from Round Rabbit and I admit when I saw them, I knew I would struggle to use them in their gorgeous earthy olive-brownness - a lovely evocative colour, but not one I work with often. However, I started with the two upper beads and then just knew that I had to hunt down these drops to go with them as the perfect earthy foil to Heidi's beads' bright and bold colourfulness.

And so that's it for this challenge - we've come full circle, each one of us having sent out a grouping of beads now. Who knows if we'll go round again....I've so enjoyed each of these challenges - and whilst we've taken our time with each round, that's been nice - no pressure to create things to deadline that we may or may not be satisfied with. I hope you've enjoyed following along with us! 

Now hop over to my friends' blogs to see what they created with exactly the same materials:

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Speckles are so hot right now

In the fibre world, 'speckles are so hot right now' is a familiar hashtag that you will see attached to artisan-dyed yarns - those amazing creatures which have been through a long and loving process of saturated dye baths, followed up by a flicked paint-brush splattering of multi-coloured speckles. Every time I see this tag on a beautiful skein of artisan yarn, I am so very reminded of my own end-of-day beads - and so this little bracelet is an homage to those lovely skeins. 

Bead-weaving and knitting actually have a vast amount in common - not least the very ordered and almost pixilated nature of their construction - and my end-of-day beads really show this off perfectly - each orb is constructed from 96 individual 2mm glass beads, each one separate and distinct yet coming together to form an almost perfect sphere, with the help of nylon, a tiny needle and a steady hand. I've combined these burgundy-based speckled rounds with a gorgeous artisan lampwork bicone - this pale blue bead has an ancient-inspired feel to it - and a hand-formed chain of stainless steel, nylon and Japanese glass in a beautiful sea foam green - not forgetting a smattering of beautiful burgundy freshwater pearls. A real one-of-a-kind piece. 

Find me - and this bracelet! - today and tomorrow at The Art Market York at York Racecourse. Open 1st and 2nd of October (this weekend!) from 10am - 4pm. 

A note about the {song}beads in this bracelet - they began as some of my very special 'end of day' beads. These are each totally unique. Borrowing from a very old glass-working tradition, I gather the loose beads from the end of any [song}bead weaving session, and rather than tidy them away, I create a unique mix of seed beads, and stitch up little beads with these 'bead soups'. I love letting serendipity and chance take a part in my creative process like this! 

Monday, 13 June 2016

Some news and some jewellery...

Hello all! No posts for a while, where have I been, yada yada ya.....BORING - you don't want me to recite the usual spiel, so I won't. More importantly, I'm back on the blog now, and sharing a bit of news and a few new pieces of jewellery.

In my previous post from about his time last month, I mentioned that I'd taken up swimming again. It's safe to say that I'm still going strong! A couple of days after I wrote that post, I signed up to Swim 22 - a charity swimathon for Diabetes UK where you commit to swim the length of the English channel (22 miles) over 3 months. Well, the challenge was meant to run from the 22nd February - 22nd May, and I signed up on the 19th to say that, much as I've been building up my distances, I did not manage it in three days! Three days no, but three weeks yes - I completed it a week ago with a rather epic 152 length (3800m!) swim. Pretty pleased with myself about that! You can still sponsor me here - I've already raised over £500(!!!) thanks to several rather wonderful people - but I am sure that you, like me, know more than one person affected by diabetes, and so it's never too late to contribute. I need to get a silly photo of me with my Swim 22 swim cap on but I haven't managed that quite yet - it's coming!  

Other than swimming, I have been galavanting about the country (my sister's Masters recital in London, singing lessons in Kilmacolm, concerts in Glasgow) and  enjoying lots of gorgeous sunshine, although that's gone for this week, sadly. I have had an EPIC delivery of new beads for Curious (I've got a 'New-Restocks' section now to make it easy for you to check these out) so lots of beads to count and sort, and I am awaiting more favourite metal spacers and - new to the shop - some artisan polymer from Humblebeads! I'm seriously excited for these to arrive - SOON, I am hoping! And, last but not least, I have found a little time to create more jewellery. I need to find a heck of a lot MORE time for this, as in 10 days, I am taking part in the Royal Highland Show! First time for me so I'm excited/nervous/anxious - you know, the usual combination before a big event. It is a GREAT day out, so if you are around central belt Scotland on the 23rd - 26th June - or if you fancy a trip to Edinburgh! - then come and see me in the 3d2d tent. There will be tons of awesome craft exhibitors plus all the usual Highland Show excitement, so do come along. 

Now, onto the jewellery! Here are a few items that I managed to create over the last week.

A lovely long beachy necklace, with artisan beads from me, Soul Silver and Swoondimples. I've combined these with some cultivated beach glass which is just delicious! Perfect over a simple vest top, or with a summer dress. 

I fell in love with these awesome ceramic decal 'shields' with floral decoration on them from Grubbi Ceramics - the combination of softly feminine and rustic is just perfect. I've combined them with some awesome rough-cut citrine and a bunch of mixed metals - Vintaj brass, and hand-oxidised copper and sterling silver. Yum! 

Diving to the Lilacs

This necklace was made sitting in the hot sunshine in Kilmacolm last week. What a joy that was! I had the factor 50 on for sure. I have had this Round Rabbit diving swallow pendant for years (literally) and came across it whilst organising some of my MANY boxes of art beads, and felt that its time had come. I'm not sure where the double layer at the bottom of the necklace came from, but the pendant seemed to want it. Artisan handwoven glass from me, and a super-sweet word bead from Grubbi Ceramics again - the perfect turquoise glaze to go with the beautiful swallow.


I had a custom order of these awesome polka dot nuggets from Jasmin French made up a couple of months ago, and I'm so glad I did - aren't they just awesome? The black and white polkas go so well with so many of my favourite colours. I used a few with some lagoon-blue turquoise previously, but here I've paired them with some handwoven orchid purple rondelles, and some oxidised sterling silver. They've got a touch of the 80s about them, don't you think (in a good way!)?

Last but not least, I whipped up this little bracelet last night - ceramics from Elukka, polymer from Swoondimples and lampwork glass from Soul Silver. A good friend of the top necklace, don't you think? I know I am not alone when I say that the sea is my spiritual home. It doesn't matter if it's a scorching day on the Mediterranean coast, or a blustery day on a Hebridean island - the sea puts me at peace in a way that nothing else can. (And I always have to take a shoe off and put a toe in the water - even if it's that blustery day we're talking about!) I've combined the artisan elements with my own handwoven beads as usual, and added in a strip of larimar nuggets. Very rustic; very beachy. 

I'm heading over to Etsy now to list all of these so they should be available online asap! Message me if you don't see what you're looking for however. 

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Hello, and other ramblings...

 Hello there! It's been a while since I carved out a little spot of time for blogging - even though I frequently think to myself "I must blog about this or that", somehow the time slips through my fingers like so much sand. I am now feeling like my blogging muscle is a little rusty, so I am just going to do one of those rambling posts; lots of pictures, telling you a little bit about the pieces and what else has been going on, in no particular order. Ok? 

If you follow me over on Facebook, you'll have seen that I recently returned from a fab surprise holiday in Tenerife. I know a lot of people are a bit snotty about the Canaries, but I absolutely love them! Sunshine, gorgeous coastal climate, great food, lovely people - what's not to love? We stayed in the north-east of the island, doing the Air BnB thing, and this meant we were in a totally non-touristy thing too - an added bonus, as far as I'm concerned. As usual, I packed up a shit-ton of beads (I have problems...!) so that I could sit in the evenings, and make away to my heart's content. All accompanied by a glass or 4 of local Sangria! I say local in that way that local somehow makes it classier, but what I really mean is local i.e. from our local supermarket. Like a glass of local Lambrini here in the UK. (Although I'm sure you will agree, local Sangria over local Lambrini EVERY TIME.)

Sometimes when I go on holiday, I must admit, my eyes are bigger than my bead belly, and I end up coming home with a pair of earrings and half a bracelet, but not this time. I was seriously productive! We were in a lovely wee apartment, complete with a mountain-view balcony (we were very lucky - right on the edge of the capital, Santa Cruz, which is all industry and skyscrapers, but the from the block of flats we were in you would never have known) and so we ended up eating in most nights - fresh veg, fresh bread, local (ACTUALLY local) cheese and the occasional Gambas Pil Pil (a long-standing family favourite), all washed down with the aforementioned Sangria. Slurp. 
Anyway, this wee bracelet is one of the first pieces I made on holiday. I've made a few of this design lately, and I do love it - the combination of the larger elements with the double-stand of more petite beads - artisan elements here from Soul Silver, Something to do with your hands and myself, along with a heavy helping of freshwater biwa petal pearls.  I'm really enjoying using those teeny tiny seed beads more in my work - linking my handwoven {song}beads with the rest of my designs in an organic way. 

Another holiday piece here - a really easy-to-make, easy-to-wear piece. Birds, flowers, artisan quirky beads and my favourite red and turquoise palette.  
I bought a whole bunch of different sterling silver clasps from a new favourite findings supplier, TH Findings, as I'm finding with my own metalwork, I'm using silver more and more. I still love my patinated copper and brass, but it's great to have silver as an option too. This is such a simple bracelet, it would be easy for it to be a little nondescript, but I think that wee heart clasp really makes this piece work. 

 As you may be picking up, I'm going through a bit of a bracelet-y phase. I know, I know - what's new?! - but I'm just going with it. The bead shop, it's fair to say, had a fairly slooooow start to the year, but things started to pick up in March and April, and so my time for making became a little limited. For that reason, I'm just going with my gut when making at the moment, rather than imposing my brain upon the process too much - must make more necklaces! must make more links and earwires! - and such like. The ebb and flow of Curious is back to a bit of an ebb again, and so I am anticipating having a little more time over the next week or so - which is always the silver-lining of a bead shop ebb :-) This bracelet is one I've made since getting back from holiday, but I feel it's got some of the lightness that a good holiday always leaves you with. 
That cool bottle bead is one I snagged from Lorelei Eurto's recent destash. No idea what Nehi is but I love the colour and design of the bead nonetheless! Again, you can see those seed beads doing multiple jobs here - my beaded beads, spacers between the larger beads, and forming a wee extension chain. I can't tell you just how long these take compared with popping a bit of chain or a few links on the end of the bracelet, but I love the visual texture of them, and how they keep the colour going within a piece. 

I know on the other side of the pond - and Australia too, I think? - it was Mother's Day last Sunday. We had ours a while back, but Sunday *was* my Mum's birthday. Mum is a great supporter and wearer of my jewellery and whilst she of course has a great deal of patinated pieces (which is own my preference for most of the time), she is a shiny silver girl at heart. It was the push I needed to get back to the torch - sadly neglected by me this year, despite the acquisition of a proper bonafide jewellery bench. The torch came out, the hammer and block came out, the pickle was switched on - the tumbler did its magic, and so Mum ended up with some shiny shiny earrings and a shiny shiny necklace. 

 A break from my bracelet addiction....
More beads acquired from Lorelei here - I just love this soft Spring colour palette. I made those tiny peach {song}beads just for this necklace - just the right shape and colour to go with these sweet pink/purple freshwater pearls - as well as that gorgeous bouquet on the ceramic pendant. 

 More pearls here - I go through phases - quite long phases(!) - with pearls, and this phase shows little sign of waning - more peachy, subtly textural pearls in this new bracelet below.

Another bonus of the holiday was the amount of swimming I did over there. Ok, not all swimming, there was a lot of obligatory bobbing around in various pools in the sunshine, but also swimming. I made a point of starting the day by having a bit of a lie-in, but as soon as I was awake, getting into my costume and hitting the pool attached to our apartment block. I really wish my flat here in Edinburgh had a pool out the back! Although I think indoors would be vastly preferable here in Edinburgh. I did a short blast of 20 lengths each morning, but the routine of it reminded me just how much I enjoy swimming. Believe it or not, when I was in primary school, I went swimming 4-5 times a week with Heart of Midlothian Swimming Club . Over the past fifteen years, I've tried again and again to get into running, going to the gym, yoga, pilates etc. and all without real success i.e. being able to stick to them. (I actually really enjoy yoga and pilates, but find that I am a quite intimidated by the idea of joining a class - I imagine everyone else will be lean and beautiful, and live off green smoothies and little else - you get the picture. The type of class where I'd stick out like a sore thumb, in my mind at any rate!). I don't know why, but I've never really given swimming another go - not properly. But on the Monday after our return, I went along to some local swimming baths and joined up for a month. Not cheap, but not too pricey - and since then, I've gone every day but two. Slowly but surely, I've been building up the distances I've swum - I'm now doing a mile every day. A brilliant thing about the membership I've bought is that it allows me to use any of the ten council swim centres we have here in Edinburgh. So the past two+ weeks, I've been working out where these pools all are in Edinburgh, and fitting my swims into whatever I'm doing on a day - the pool near my acupuncture clinic, the pool near the parcel office, the 2 pools near my wife's work where I can get a lift to in the morning if I'm feeling like a super-early morning dip! I am not making any promises to myself - I don't want to let myself down and feel all the guilt that that leads to - but right now, I'm really enjoying it being part of my day to day routine. Which pool today? How many lengths today? Sadly, I'm not a size 8 already (what? Two weeks of daily swimming - WHY NOT?!) but I am feeling really good about it - and *actually* enjoying it. Long may it continue!

The last little piece I have to share with you today is really a pair. One of my lovely regular customers wrote to me and said that these two would go well together, and of course when I looked at them I knew that they would. I am never sure what I think about sets though. I like jewellery collectors to be able to pick and choose what they wear together - but yes, I would definitely wear these two as a pair. 

As you'll see, I'm continuing with my love-affair with gemstones, as you may have spotted from several of the pieces above. A couple of weeks ago, when I was in the throes of a horrible throat infection which floored me for several days, I scraped myself out of bed and onto the bus to the Knitting and Stitching Show, which I knew from my Mum's visit the previous day had several bead stands. Including a really, really awesome gemstone stand - Ilona Biggins - and, well....let's just say I went to town a bit there! She had very kindly passed on a free entry ticket to my Mum for me (otherwise entry would have been £16 - outrageous!), so she'd saved me a fair bit of cash already, PLUS I got a wee discount - probably because I spent so much it would have been rude not to. Oops. But just look at all the beautiful gemstones and pearls I snaffled! Well, you can't most of them - but have a look at those you *can* see! The gorgeous agate above, but more than that, the rough-cut amethyst. SO AWESOME. It is part of a mixed strand of amethyst and citrine (you can see a spot of that in the necklace above) and I could NOT leave it behind. Could I?! 

Just look how fantastic they look with the ceramic shards in these earrings! They came as part of a small set from France, with the bird in the bracelet above. Oh, and I should mention another bead in that bracelet above - the amazing lampwork disc beneath the bird. Look how *glowy*. How magical and otherworldly. All from the subtly wondrous hands of Julie Wong Sontag of Uglibeads. Seriously, if you didn't notice it a minute ago, take a wee scroll back up and have a peek. Yep, see what I mean? 

Anyway, you've made it through this epic post! Well done, if you're still with me. I'll be back SOON with slightly shorter posts, when I don't have approximately 2 months so gallop through! Thanks for sticking with it and I promise, I'll see you soon. 

Thursday, 17 March 2016

A few new pieces...

A few new pieces from me....

Sea and Sand

Be True

Golden Shores

Honey Pot (these have a bit of a story to them - more about them in another post!)

Perching (link to this coming soon - I haven't got around to listing it quite yet!)

As you can see, most of these are available in my shop now - hop over and check it out.

Monday, 29 February 2016

And the light poured through - the story of a bracelet

A couple of weeks ago, I snagged a few bundles of lampwork glass in a sale. Who can resist a good sale? (Not me.) One of the bundles was the set pictured below Rachel aka Puffafish had created a beautiful and unusual set of beads, with raku frit (tiny pieces of crushed glass) on a black background, encased in a thick layer of crystal clear glass. The raku reacts with the heat and beautiful colours are brought out to create unique and sightly unpredictable (in a good way!) results. The set immediately leapt out at me - I'm not usually drawn to black for some reason, but these were just incredible - a combination of the colours set against the dark backdrop, and the way light moves through clear encased beads, made this set extra special. 

Rachel had entitled this set 'Fireflies' and you can see why - the flickering lights captured within perfectly mimic those tiny creatures (determined to see them in the flesh some day!). But they immediately reminded me of another beautiful form of light - the light that falls through stained glass windows, and specifically of a trip I made to Paris a few years ago, and an afternoon spent sat in L'eglise Saint Eustache

Can you see what I mean - light falling on the stony ground, dispersed and softened by centuries-old stained glass windows? 

I am lucky enough to have visited Paris a few times (although it has been far too long) and L'eglise Saint Eustache is one of my favourite places to visit. Built on as epic a scale as its more famous neighbour, Notre Dame, but not nearly as touristy - or quite frankly, as fancy - it has a quietness and a reflective, peaceful quality that I've always found incredibly moving. I'm not religious, but the solitude and peace one can find in a religious building is a remarkable thing. Last time I was there, I was by myself in the city, and I sat, taking it all in. I (discreetly!) took a bunch of pictures with my phone, and played around with instagram afterwards, trying to draw out the qualities I'd found within this huge, ancient building whilst sitting there alone. 

It's this last photo here that Rachel's beads reminded me of - I still remember sitting by myself, looking at the lights on the ground, and thinking how amazing they were, and how lucky I was to be there at that moment to take in the solemn yet playful beauty of it all.

And it's that combination of the solemn and the playful that I wanted to capture within this bracelet. I knew I wanted to use several of these beads in one piece for impact, and the same day the lampwork glass arrived, I also had a small delivery from Vintaj Brass - a small company who create nickel-free brass components for jewellers, and who are known for the beautiful, naturally developed warm bronze-brown patina which they develop on their pieces. A new component to me were these decorative bell caps - the perfect component to pair with my stained glass light beads:

Playful handwoven glass {song}beads in matte coral, and some pressed glass rounds in hyacinth and turquoise completed the band, offsetting the black backdrop of the lampwork and bringing out the glimmering raku flickers. I added a simple beaded extender and a heavy sterling silver clasp, which I oxidised to tone with the patinated brass bells. 

You can pick up And the light poured through over in my etsy shop now


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