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.

Scottish Bead Fair

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.

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


deeeelicious colours…


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.



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.



It wasn’t really a surprise that Amy died, but it was shocking to hear that she had. I got into recovery when I was 28…(I’m 49 now) it’s tough going, it takes courage, it takes being around people one can trust, and above all, people who know what they are talking about. ‘Just Say No’ is so simplistic it must have been coined by someone with absolutely no idea about addiction. So for me it’s not just that Amy wrote great songs and had an amazing voice, it’s that she represents the people I belong to, she’s One of Us, and never got to appreciate what recovery could be like. That’s why I feel sad about her dying.

I’ve just had a couple of weeks of being on a lovely creative roll, it’s come to an end though, as it will, and the last three shed sessions have been a bit difficult, made worse because I didn’t realise that I had to have a break from melting glass so that I could go back to it fresh (I’m a bit slow around things like that). I was in the shed last night, struggling to make attractive beads to sell at the bead fairs next month, if I had had any sense I would have shut everything down and watched a film or something, anything but flog a dead horse. The news was on and I was thinking about Amy in her yellow dress, I had a sudden urge to depict her in bead form, out came the rod of yellow glass and off I went. It went so well, I could hardly believe it myself, but I felt terribly grave as I made it, and still do 24 hours later. Her death feels like another significant marker in my own recovery, because she didn’t make it and that could have been me. I know that sounds a little self absorbed, sometimes I am (it’s a selfish programme 🙂 ). Making the bead you see in the picture was as much an acknowledgment of my own survival from the devastating illness of addiction, as it is a tribute to Amy.

Arty Bollocks

It was such a joy to read this,

and this

because I really hate nonsense, and am disinclined to play ‘the game’ even if it means having shot myself in the foot.

Once upon a time when I lived in South Africa, I went to an exhibition with a friend, about whom it turned out that I knew very little. As we wandered around the exhibition I tried to read all the bumph, the wordiness on the cards by every piece, after a while I grew exasperated by what I thought was time consuming, confusing, and irrelevant to what I was seeing. I figure that ‘art’ should speak for itself, does it really need to have to have a pile of words stuck next to it to make it legitimate? As soon as I see a lot of words accompanying art works, I begin to suspect that they are a filler for something that is missing from the work, or even a filler for what is missing from the viewer that they need to be impressed by fuddle. All I really want to know is who the piece is by, their date of birth  (and death if applicable) and perhaps the date of the creation of the piece. The rest, I feel, is up to me, I either like it, or I don’t like it, I see something in it, or I don’t. Should I not understand it as intended, perhaps due to a lack of relevant education (which is quite likely) then that is a pity, but I don’t see why the accompanying slog of words should be so fuzzy that they begin to slide on the slippery slope to pretentiousness. The moment that happens, I get flashbacks to the exact and marvelous moment when I first fully comprehended the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes.

Anyway, I found myself on my soapbox, telling my friend that I felt that all the words one had to plough through were pointless, and that I felt that they aided in making the artwork inaccessible, art should speak for itself blah blah blah, and what about the school party just coming in, what would they make of it all? I certainly didn’t understand the references, so how would they understand them? My friend responded that of course they would understand and that she had written the accompanying words with the person putting the exhibition on, and I would understand if I took the time…oops. Talk about wishing the ground would swallow me up. Why didn’t I know that my friend did this sort of writing? I think I always felt that she moved in rarefied circles where there was an element of a secret language, which says lots about me and the circles I moved in, mine were not academic at all! Still, I’m glad I said what I said, and my friend was great about it, I know that I wouldn’t have been able to be so honest had I been trying not to hurt her. Years later I still can’t be bothered with the wordiness, and I’m not the only one, or this wouldn’t exist when I first saw it, I grinned and grinned.