Welcome to my website! Have a look around, I hope you like it ♥
Friday 24th May 2013
Something a little different from me, and more on the way
Saturday 11th May 2013
I have spent the last three days intensively preparing for the cat show in Dundee tomorrow, only to discover just as I was planning the route for the morning, that it is actually on TODAY.
Utterly embarrassed, and apologetic. Cannot believe that I have missed the only fair I had booked for this year. Seriously.
Thursday 9th May 2013
I will be at this cat show in Dundee on Sunday 12th May, that’s quite exciting, it’s my only booking for the year, and I can tell you that I’m anxious already. One of the reasons for giving up doing fairs is the preparation stress I have around it, not to mention getting up at what I think is way too early to drive for two hours before I even set up the table, but hey, there will be real kitties there, that’s an incentive!
The plan is to resist taking any jewellery findings whatsoever with me, otherwise I will find myself trying to make jewellery on the spot. I can’t do that anymore without being utterly shattered at the end of the day and beyond, so what I will do is ask for a deposit, and make and mail any items up within the next week, the balance can be paid through Paypal. Of course I am happy for people to buy my beads just as they are.
I was asked to make some Siamese cat beads, and very serious they are too -
Monday 15th April 2013
Apparently, one ought to blog once a week. Oops.
The Flame Off was last weekend, and even though I didn’t rate the venue because of noise issues during demo’s, it was the Best Ever for me, because there are some really lovely, adorable, sweet, kind, hilarious people to hang out with, they made the trip for me. I had appalling sick making sinus pain over that week, absolute hell, but I felt cared for and part of things, so it was ok in the daytime at least. Nights were dreadful, cold dry air and lying down are a bad combo.
Some years I have left a Flame Off feeling lame and incompetent, lacking in originality, swamped with images of amazing work and the ‘I wish I’d thought of that’ wail in my head, and the disturbance has rattled me for quite a few weeks after, but this year I took something different home with me, a full heart, and that what I do is ok, for now. I would love to do more, and better and more variety, but I live with M.E., I have been awake for 4.5 hours and I feel sleepy already, just when I want to go to work. I’m afraid M.E. wins every time. Curses.
Friday 18th January 2013
It’s really cold, and there’s no way I can be in the drippy, draughty Shed of Destiny so I’m feeling a bit frustrated about things I have promised to make but that I cannot. It’s thrown me a bit. I’m floating around actually considering doing housework that has been neglected. Whatever next?
Here’s a picture of our cat. We call her…’Cat’, or ‘Pusan’, or ‘Miss Kitty’, ‘Kiki’, or even ‘MingMang’, it just depends on the moment. In the early hours of the night when she comes upstairs very slowly, miaowing on every step until we are properly awake, my husband calls her ‘Poisonous Pu’. He then demands that ‘someone’ makes her shush. I just laugh, fat chance of making a cat shush by force of will. She is 16 years old, we brought her over from sunny South Africa, to freezy Scotland. She has every right to complain.
January 5th 2013
I’m so happy. Yesterday was January 4th, my favourite date in the whole year, it means Christmas is over and I can relax again. Now that’s worth a Hallelujah.
Sunday, 2nd December 2012
I have listed a few beads in my Etsy shop, I am now going to reward myself with a hot chocolate, goat milk of course, don’t want to aggravate the sinus with cow milk, but that means a trip to the shops first…it is a clear, crisp, freezing day, and will be good for me. At least, that’s what the Voice in my head is trying to persuade me anyway. That I am dressed head to toe like a yeti may well amuse people who catch a glimpse of me out and about, so any reported sightings on the west coast of Scotland of large hairy beast disguised as a woman, it was probably me.
November 25th 2012
So, the last fair (a week ago already!) is over, and actually it was pretty good for me. The morning is always ok, it’s after 2pm that time seems to drag and I want to pack up and go home, perhaps it’s because sitting still and not doing anything in particular is actually quite hard.
My Etsy shop is currently empty, that will be remedied this week. I also intend listing beads on Ebay (a first for me) but it’s a way to re-home the beads I usually take to fairs. Otherwise, I am just trying to complete the commissioned work I have, and sometimes that takes a long time and many attempts, I agonise over getting it right. Occasionally it’s a helpful process, I was recently asked to make a grey Scottish Fold cat, I had known for a while that getting the grey to be dark enough (or even to stay grey and not look brown once out of the kiln) was something that bothered me, so yes, I made a lot of beads in pursuit of the right grey, but I’ve figured out how to do it to my satisfaction, and I don’t have to go through the experimenting again.
November 5th, 2012
I blogged shedofdestiny.blogspot.co.uk
October 18th 2012
I’m struggling chaps, I am. I’ve had a good spell of lots of lovely energy, and suddenly…boomph, I’m sleeping like the proverbial log all afternoon because I have no choice with the M.E. This means fewer hours in the day in which to achieve anything of substance and my promises will take longer to fulfill, but orders and requests won’t be forgotten (God willing). It doesn’t help that I work best in the evening and it is jolly dark, cold and wet outside, that short journey to the shed feels long, but at least I have a working radiator under the table, luxury. The hardest thing is switching my brain on to consider what I have to make, whereas if I just had to pick up a rod of glass and make anything I fancied, it would be easier. I don’t want to let anyone down.
What did I manage today? I posted the necklaces off to the winners of The Cat magazine draw, hurray : )
October 12 2012
I have here the two necklace and earring sets ready to send to the winners who entered the draw at ‘The Cat’ magazine, it was tricky to know what colour ways to make them in, so, in the end, I chose my two ‘best’ cats and made spacers to go with them. I must have had a transparent lilacy/pink day, because they are pale and pretty. I have been quite worried that the recipients be disappointed not to have red, or bright blue…I do hope not.
October 8th 2012
I have been seduced…it’s taken some time, but I have finally succumbed…I bought a big hole bead bracelet. You know the brand names, Pandora, Troll, Amore & Baci, Chamilia, and so on. ‘What’s the big deal?’ you ask…well…for a time, UK lampworkers got hot under the collar about big hole beads and quality, and mass production and bad working conditions for the makers in foreign countries and the prices charged for a bead over here compared to what people got paid for making them ‘over there’. They can be found for ten a penny on eBay, which suggests that they were not properly annealed and may therefore crack, they can be unlined, or lined in base metal, and I recently sat mouth agape at the prices of sterling silver lined beads straight from China – cheap, I tell you! And of course one can find them beautifully presented in shiny stores in malls where prices are higher and overheads need to be met, which is fair enough. There is the tricky business of charging a sensible price for beads made in the UK, one must take into consideration UK fuel costs (gas and electricity go into beads) actual glass, time, and then there’s skill and artistry. There are many people who appreciate the lampworker’s skill, and then some who expect everything practically free, ‘I could get these at Claire’s Accessories’ was one memorable comment I had at a fair, ‘umm…no you couldn’t’ I thought to myself, it was almost funny. I mean, it would be wrong to correct someone who doesn’t care about seeing the difference, because to them, the beads are the same as from the high street, they don’t care if they are made from plastic or glass. Leave them to it I say, if they are happy, life’s too short. Just as long as they don’t waste my time telling me nonsense while I’m trapped behind my fair table obliged to be nice.
Anyway, my mum had one of these bracelets, she wore it without beads on it, and I thought it was lovely on her. So I followed her lead, and bought the same brand with a basic lock thinking that eventually I might buy a beautiful fancy lock and change it. I had considered making myself a bracelet thereby avoiding buying into the branded market (some sort of snobbery going on there, bad me) but, I happened upon a sale online and knew I couldn’t match the quality if I made one from scratch, especially as I am a complete novice at silversmithing, even if I do have the tools and very basic skills. When I unwrapped the bracelet I was so delighted and impressed with the quality and workmanship, it felt like a real present to myself, I’d have been happy to have paid full price for it, I almost felt guilty for not doing so. Initially I had thought getting one was mainly for taking photos and testing out the things I make to go on them, but I find it is so much more than that.
I totally get the charm collecting thing, I think it is very sweet that people will go out and treat themselves or someone else to a bead, a charm, or receive one as a gift on a special occasion, the whole concept of these jewellery systems is brilliant. I loaded my new shiny toy with all the big holed beads I had made, and showed my husband, who pulled a face and shook his head,’no, it’s not you’ he told me, and my heart sank a bit because I wanted it to be ‘me’, but I’m one of those ‘less is more’ people unfortunately, and I had to agree. It did look a bit like a weapon on me, I’m not exactly sylph like as it is. I kept them on most of the day to see how much of an encumbrance a giant bangle would be, and I found that it wasn’t at all. I made a small pink cat bead up into a charm, took all the lovely rattly glass beads off, and popped it on, and I love it. I really like seeing the light catch the glass, it is jewel like, I keep looking at and admiring it, slightly surprised that I made it. I don’t really experience my beads made up into jewellery, and I’m enjoying it.
21st September 2012
Where am I at right now?
Good question. My shop is depleted, I do not like to see it in this state – well, I do, but I also like there to be something for people to look at when they visit, so I need to get onto that pronto. Meanwhile, I’ve been making necklaces and at last, sending them out to my patient customers – thank you all! I managed to have a vile migraine yesterday, and it hasn’t quite gone today, but I’m functioning (sort of) with the aid of medical science which has made me very thirsty. Hopefully I can start tying up the loose ends now and then get back to the shed to start making some of those specific orders. I really don’t like to keep people waiting.
One of the reasons for opting for the more personal approach to presenting what I do is that I will never ever manage a glossy impersonal image with slick photography and prose, I get nausea inducing migraines/sinus and have ‘low level’ M.E. neither of which aid a supremely professional and disengaged image. Anyway, I figure that behind companies that are able to appear untouchable are real people who also get ill or hormonally challenged on occasion, I’m just not trying to hide my madness. I would need Elves scurrying around on my behalf, and I don’t have any of those. They’d only get in the way.
The draw for the necklaces in ‘The Cat’ will take place soon, how exciting! What an honour to be a part of that.
11th September, 2012
Amazing how fast that date comes around again. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment, but if ever there was a date that reminds us that small quibbles are exactly that, it is this one.
So, I had a lovely write up in The Cat Magazine. Rebecca Evans interviewed me over the phone, it was great fun, and she did such a fab job of writing up everything I had told her, I was impressed by how she managed to get my ‘voice’ to come through in the piece, and I love the little quip at the end. As a result of the magazine I have been pretty busy, to the point where I have been worried that I might forget something I have been asked for. I wasn’t ready at all, and the shop wasn’t as well stocked as I would have wished, so I’ve been rushing about making and listing, and trying not to forget things. Yes I write them down, but one also has to look at the lists…oops. Upshot is, I am not catching up with myself, but, it won’t last forever, and meanwhile, I am grateful, and delighted too. I just have to remember that I have to take an evening off sometimes and not keep going until I fall down, useless. Anyway, unless I take a little time out and rest at the torch, I’ll be no good at making anything for anyone, so I think I might go and do that now, I might even come up with something good. I’ll make jewellery tomorrow.
30th August 2012
I’m delighted to say that I have a mention in The Cat magazine, I didn’t know exactly when it was coming out, so have been caught slightly by surprise as I’ve had few enquiries already and am now rushing to get more into the shop for readers to see. I am giving two necklace and earring sets towards the giveaway taking place at the end of September. If you have ideas for a cat you would like, of course I am happy to see if I can make one to your requirements, meanwhile my shop usually has a few stalking around, and I will be adding more cat beads over the coming days.
26th June 2012
Thank Goodness for Etsy
I’ve done it again, I’ve cancelled a fair. I won’t be at Stourbridge, wail! I’m not taking part in the Glass Festival, oh, the agony! I wanted to be there, it’s wrong not to be.
It took me ages to make a final decision because I don’t like letting organisers down, Head and Heart battled it out and then Gut Feeling had enough and stepped in and sorted them out. I only hope that GallowGlass has a waiting list and someone hopped into my place quick smart.
‘If it causes that much pain, why aren’t you going?’ you may question, and fair enough too.
Well, it’s so far to travel from Scotland and I can’t do it with this fickle illness called M.E without long reaching consequences (and mine is not the worst case by any means). I simply can’t guarantee that I’ll be on top form in August (I keep having to sleep in the daytime, it is such a monumental bore) and the worry about being ready for a big fair is not an aid to getting better now.
I was looking forward to seeing fellow makers, I really was. I have two more fairs booked this year, both much closer to home, and then that’s it for me, I’m not attending any more in the foreseeable future.
A weight has lifted, what a lovely feeling! I am not giving up lampwork, I enjoy it too much, but the element of stress around money, ideas, display, travel, somewhere to stay and sales just wasn’t acceptable anymore, it was not fun. I spend far too much time on it for it to be another source of anxiety, that’s just silly.
11th May 2012
Announcement -I have had to make the unhappy decision not to attend the Nor’East of Scotland Cat Club show tomorrow at Caird Hall, Dundee, I am Not Well. I don’t cancel fairs lightly, the last time I did was because I had broken my ankle.
If the lady who bought the cat bead from me at the last cat show reads this, I am terribly sorry to let you down. If you would contact me, I am sure that somehow, we can organise setting your bead on silver for you.
I am so upset to be missing the day at the cat show. Not good.
28th April 2012
A surreal moment for the day -
11th April 2012
I made a sun catcher using one of my large hollow cat beads. I tell you, in Scotland one needs anything that might catch the sun as it doesn’t get a look in that often, what with the persistent cloud cover. I hope it raises some money for charity at the Flame Off happening at Towcester this weekend.
Fair’s over, phew! Next up, Nor’East of Scotland Cat Club on 12 May 2012, so plenty of time to make some spotty cats, stripey cats, blue cats, orange cats, etc, and prepare for a day of plaintive miaowing from the cats on show. Maybe there’s even time for me to do something totally unrelated to glass, like housework, or gardening. Hmm. Probably not.
9th March 2012
At last, I’m packed and ready for the Scottish Bead Fair, Perth this Sunday 11th March, and hopefully I’ll have wound down a bit by this time tomorrow. The amount of preparation for any kind of fair is enormous, and I’m shattered! I’ve been organising for days now (display does not make itself and one can’t just buy it off the shelf) and I know other exhibitors have been too, so I’m off to the shed for a bit of relaxation. Anyone wanting to make beads and sell them will soon find out that it’s not all about melting glass, there’s a list of skills that need to be developed that have nothing to do with melting glass.
Be afraid, be very afraid.
28th January 2012
I’m so intent on melting glass that I don’t make jewellery very often, as usual I
was surprised at how good a bead can look on a simple setting, it’s like putting
a frame on a picture.
22nd January 2012
Well, I have listed new things in the shop, I’ve been making a new style of owl bead, taking my inspiration from an owl fridge magnet sent to me by Judy Munford, because it reminded her of me. I suppose I do look like that sometimes : ) I thought I’d share how I came to be making round owls with flappy finger wings rather than the flat owls. It was fun making a new style, I had one day where I just couldn’t stop making them to make anything else, not even a cat bead. More to go in the shop in the next day or so, and the second the gales give me a break, I’ll be back at the torch.
I have also booked two more fairs ~
25-26 August 2012 9th Annual Stourbridge Bead Fair
18 November 2012 The Scottish Bead Fair Glasgow, Scotland
10th January 2012
Happy New Year!
I’m almost ready to put new work in the shop, I’ve been developing my owl beads and am very pleased with them. I have only two booked fairs for the coming year (so far), I needed some time to draw breath and give myself space for creating without pressure. I found myself referring to my work as ‘stock’ and it felt wrong.
Effort, skill, artistry, creativity, and thought goes into making a successful bead, and to nurture and enable those things I need to step back and give them space. I can imagine how awful it must be for a creative person to have to sit and make the same bead style, colour, size and design repeatedly all day long for a wage, it would bring out the absolute worst in me, I’d be sacked.
Here’s a close up of ‘Knuckles’, I was honoured to make him as a Christmas present
I needed something ‘new’ (well, new to me) to get my interest sparked again, so I’ve been trying out ‘painting’ with molten glass, and here’s my first attempt at an owl on a branch bead
Below is a photo of my newest bead display, I have handmade individual stands for each bead, I really like this idea, it means that favourite beads can be displayed while they wait to be made into jewellery. They are made from plaster, can be painted, and have a good weight to support a large bead without falling over, they are £2.00 each.
So, I was trying to recover a bead that wasn’t playing nicely, I pulled at the glass a bit here and there and was considering dumping it in the plunge pot and going to bed, when I realised that I had what looked liked an elephant face on the surface of the glass, so I gave it eyes, and there it is. I love it. I really do, and it’s completely accidental. Of course I had another go and made a couple more over the next few days, but they’re not quite like this one. First time lucky.
I’ve been amusing myself making ‘sheep’ beads…