pikitup!

Well, I’m busy making beads again after a little backing off period, and have found (again) that if I don’t make beads for a while I have to fight to get back into the happy beader zone. It’s like having a row with someone and then taking those tentative first steps to making up. The good bit is getting back onto the same page as the glass and becoming as one, which makes opening the kiln in the morning a pleasure rather than an anti-climax.
My new neighbour Jane, and I, bustled up to West Kilbride recently, the home of Scotland’s craft town to see if The Gallery would be amenable to selling my beads, and after a meeting with Maggie a couple of days later, I am happy to have another outlet. This means actually having stock to take up there, hence the renewal of my rampant affair in The Shed of Destiny, and what with the four craft fair bookings slowly creeping up, I absolutely must be in there lustily following my passions.


I met Louise Nelson, a glass artist, at The Gallery, and we had a fun day when she visited, her main comment being ‘I thought you’d have a sign on your shed with ‘The Shed of Destiny’ on it, I’m going to get a sign on my garage before you get your sign up’. So, a challenge. Hah! Will I be beaten? We shall see. Somehow I think her sign ‘Gorgeous Garage’ (don’t tell me anything you don’t want in my blog he he) will be more professional than mine. I might get a plank and write on it in white paint, then nail it over the door, done in ten minutes. Luckily that look works by the seaside. The long term plan being to totally rebuild my shed and have a big neon blue sign Vegas style, arrow pointing downwards, lighting up the Saltcoats sky.


We’ve had fab fab fab weather, absolutely beautiful. People have flocked to the beach, and I love watching them enjoying the view and the space, although I am a bit baffled by those who bring folding chairs and sit on the verge by their cars, they are most fascinating. Yesterday there was a marvelously pot bellied granddad in full topless glory kicking a football (while attempting to avoid the dog shit) with his grandson…this is people watching paradise on a sunny day. But who are the people who spend a day on the beach and see fit to leave piles of rubbish behind them? Who are the people who don’t pick up after their dogs? All the facilities are there for them. They are candidates for being made to run naked through briar patches, that’s who, and me behind them if they snivel (I would be dressed by the way, don’t get your hopes up). The alternative would be quite simple, a full month of spending all daylight hours litter and poo picking (NO fag or burger breaks) and signing a promise that, ‘I, the Foul Rubbish Tipper and Dog Poo leaver, promise never to litter again in any way (including chucking stuff out of car windows) or Min will be allowed to punish me however she sees fit’. The consequences would depend on whether I was pre-menstrual, or not, and one would hope for the latter state.
In South Africa they have ‘PIKITUP’ written on bins, which I find humorous and direct, an almost subliminal instruction to be tidy, no threats. ‘Huh?’ you think, ‘and there I was thinking that Min condoned threats after what she said in the last paragraph’. Well I do, and I don’t, it depends. That’s a whole new blog.

I’ve been making beads and not taking pictures of them so my best ones are currently unrecorded. I hope to turn that around soon and give my visitors something new to see, a couple of days should do it. Unless I find myself back in the shed, in which case we’re back to square one.


Probably I should get dressed and make a plank into a sign now…and of course when I have, there will be a photo of it on the site, and an email of triumph to those who doubt my true dominance in shed signage, he he he…

better late than never?

I loved my weekend at Towcester, and in Enderby, where I stayed. In fact, although I said I’d write about the weekend, I haven’t found it easy to begin, because some aspects of it feel too precious and private to shout about here. I was welcomed and looked after so kindly, I am still very touched by that. I doubt I can ever return what I was given by my hosts, but maybe one day I will be able to do what was done for me, for someone else.
I was delighted to swap two of my beads for one each of Sally Carver’s and Sarah Downton’s, they seemed to like my animal beads…from now on to be known as ‘Minnie-Moo’s’ according to my husband, which means that I have the option of changing the name if I want to, especially as it sounds fairly cow orientated and I haven’t even made a cow yet…but who knows, maybe I should. Perhaps I’ll call them ‘Minnie-Who’s?’ or ‘Minnie-What’s?’ – but stop! this is reminiscent of choosing band names before there is a song to sing. I love the beads I received in return, and having started a collection am now planning a driftwood hunt so that I can display them beautifully.
I’m also the proud owner of one of Diana East’s beads, the more I look at it the more impressed I am. I left a couple of mine with her, and she gave it to me in return, which meant a lot, but by then I was already a bit overwhelmed so I don’t know if it showed. You know when you meet someone and feel proper, real, heartfelt respect for them? That.
It was fab to meet people at the Flame Off, especially the FHF members, I didn’t have a FHF badge (I will next time though) so I collared people who did have one on and said ‘hi’. It was so nice to feel part of a greater movement, everyone is at a different stage in their flamework journey, and I think I was struck by both ends of the spectrum – Virginia (Madbunny) with her box of first bead treasures and then people like Dora Schubert, Sally Carver and Emma Green who are inspirational, a lot of us aspire to talent like theirs.
It was good to see total newcomers to bead making having a go on the various torches downstairs at the Flame Off, and the patience with which they were being taught what to do. The look on their faces as they take their first steps must be reward in itself for their teachers, no matter how often they hear the same questions and concerns.
I remember being so desperate to make glass beads that when I finally got to my weekend class I was in a state of anxiety for every moment that I needed to watch a demonstration. I was the only one who didn’t have equipment at home, I didn’t want to stop making beads.
The demonstrations upstairs went on all day, and were brilliantly presented on a large screen and several tv screens. The room was packed, and it wasn’t small. I learned a few new things that I hope will improve my bead making, but some techniques, like stringer control, come naturally to some – just check out Dora’s work.
There were so many people sitting in silence, just watching the demo’s – apart from the man who wasn’t silent and I felt my blood begin to boil as he talked, obviously about an important issue to him at the time, but eventually I had to move because I could hear him better than the demonstrator. Later I found myself indulging in a similar scenario and felt quite awful about it, even though I was having a lot of fun at the time. I left the room feeling as if I had been disrespectful towards the demonstrator, not only that, I missed Mike Poole at work. So, it was a case of doing the things that one judges other people for…oh to be perfect!
The Tuffnell’s made UK bead making history this year, I can’t wait to see what other events they come up with in the future, and I hope I can be part of every single one. There’s a link to their site on my links page, for some reason I can’t add one to this blog. Technology is great, when it works!
The Flame Off/Enderby glow lasted a few days, but of course eventually reality stuck it’s horrid head around the door and I’m still looking for work, which is soul destroying. I’m so busy and running over with creative ideas, I resent having to fit my round self into a square hole, but it must be done. I just need someone to trust me when I say I’ll turn up and do the work, no matter how dull. I have my bead shed to look forward to and the prospect of selling my beads (six more sold yesterday, some hadn’t even made it onto the website), that’s enough to keep me happy while I earn a more reliable income.

1st UK Flame Off Weekend

Well, I’m looking forward to blogging about the Big Event this weekend, along with many others, I have been looking forward to it for some time. I’m hoping to hook up with like minded people and get some feedback on where I’m at with my bead making, and I’m especially interested to see some well known and excellent bead makers giving demonstrations.

After last week’s crazy, obsessive time in the Shed of Destiny I decided to step back from bead making a bit, it was all getting too much. I want to be good at what I do but in pursuit of that I became hyper-critical and perfectionistic, it was so tiring! I banned myself from the shed and took photos of beads and posted them in my website shop instead, something I had meant to do for ages but always opted for making more beads, whereupon I felt bad about making beads and letting other important things slide. Ugh, it’s tough being a wilful artist! Anyway, I felt much better for the break and managed to get a better perspective on life for a few days.
Today I fired up the torch and had the pleasure of introducing a creative friend, Tako, to the process of bead making, his beads are in the kiln right now, and we have the anticipation of seeing the beads in the morning.

And here they are – Tako didn’t really think they were that good, but most bead makers would acknowledge that they’re pretty amazing for first ever beads. If I remember correctly, the bead on the right was approx 3cm high, so he’s started out big. Excellent. Shame he doesn’t have access to bead making equipment where he lives, but who knows, maybe one day…

I got my replacement phone today. Apparently this Nokia model will ‘improve’ my image. Hah!

Now I must do a bit of ironing for my trip, which is why I’m writing this, anything to avoid ironing! Actually, being overweight is quite useful at times, providing one can actually get the item on, filling out a piece of clothing with plumpness means less ironing : ) Silver linings and all that.




R.I.P Nokia 9300

Two things happened to me today –

Firstly, I dropped my Nokia 9300 into the sea. Expletive, Expletive, Expletive! I’m going to borrow hubbie’s wellies in a minute and go for a wade as the tide has gone out again, my own wellies are still soaked from an earlier rescue effort. I’m pretty good about backing up info so that’s not a worry, but I’ve had that phone since mid 2005, and suddenly I don’t…there was nothing wrong with it, it wasn’t even on it’s way out and about to be replaced. In fact, I have an LG Chocolate still in the box, rejected in favour of my ‘old’ phone when I took out a new contract. I really ought to ebay it.
I lost my phone today because I was juggling three dogs, leads, poo bags, a dog toy, and a camera, and I lost track of coat zippers. Oh well, as they say, ‘worse things happen at sea’, and they do.

………………

Talk about a quick update to a story. David came to tell me that there were lots of people on the beach, didn’t I want to hurry up and get down there? I downed the last slug of my coffee, raced onto the beach, asked if anyone had seen a phone and they shook their heads blankly, far more focused on rock pools and shells. I looked about five yards to my left, and there it was, the familiar brick shape, silvery against the sand. Has there ever been anyone before who was glad to see their phone even though it was utterly kaput? I just wanted to say ‘goodbye’ to it and move on.

Secondly, I sold my first bead via my website, and not to someone I know. Now that was a great antidote to the phone issue, I am delighted. Note that I am resisting over use of exclamation marks…
Yay!


Ooh, and I got a delivery from Tuffnell Glass, yummy CiM glass, mmmm…..and some excellent silver bead caps from bumpybeads.co.uk.

So, all’s well, that ends well.

not again!

Hmm…I haven’t made beads for a couple of days and am having withdrawals. Today I decided to be ‘good’ before I rewarded myself with a bead session, as I really do need to get myself a regular income. I began by updating my cv, which doesn’t represent me very well at all. A dry old list of school qualifications and subsequent employment through some difficult years does not reflect who I am today, or what I can offer. I think I can offer a lot, but how to put that on paper?
In the process I managed to give myself another migraine…it was as if Clariss Cliff and Kandinsky had come to play, great colours and shapes where my vision was missing, and then the flashing patterns. Thank God the doctor prescribed tablets to kill the migraine before pain sets in, but of course I had to crash out as a result of taking them. Still, I’m up and about on the same day, which is miraculous, but I do feel as if I’ve lost hours to migraine again, and it’s quite simply due to stress. I’m sure that once I’m earning I won’t be so prone.
When I got up from my restful slumber (accompanied by Cat, as usual) I saw the
Bodyshock programme featuring 31-year-old neurofibromatosis sufferer Huang Chuncai.  It was very touching.
Have I got problems? No!
It baffles me that I need reminding of my good fortune quite so often, gratitude is so important.
Happy Day!
Min X

Can’t wait for the Towcester Flame Off!

I’m pretty excited about going to the Flame Off, I’m particularly looking forward to the demonstrations by glass bead makers whose work I admire, I’m hoping to learn.
Every now
and then I pull something out of the kiln and think ‘Hey! I’m actually doing quite well at this bead making lark’ then I see a piece on another website (Judith Johnston and Dora Schubert, JCHerrel, Melanie Moertel, to name but a tiny few – I see a links page coming on) and feel slightly deflated, the benchmarks are set high. I expect everyone has those moments of inadequacy, and that’s where meeting other beaders is essential, they seem to be a friendly bunch, and I hope to get a better perspective on where I’m at by the time the event is over.
I did a bad thing the other night. I melted some silver wire and forgot about fumes…sore throat, and feeling horrible for a couple of days ensued. Fool Woman!!! Will not melt metals without some kind of mask on again, it’s just plain idiotic.
Had a lovely moment while making a bead the other day, as I turned it over I spotted a perfectly placed naturally occurring hole, so I put a muted pink dot in it. I like making heart beads, it’s very satisfying when the shape works out well.
Yesterday my husband’s replacement shed was delivered (the original one was blown down in the January gales) so we spent some time clearing the old debris and I got to be his skivvie. Great. All I wanted to do was play at the torch (that’s not unusual, that’s all I ever want to do)  so when I got fed up playing slave I’d pop into my shed and make a few sample beads. I need a reference board of CiM colours, I LOVE the lazy way CiM glass moves when it’s hot, lots of time to get it where I want it to go. I’m off to put in an order, yum yum yum…

Migraine

I had migraine today. It sucked.
I cancelled my trip to Glasgow to go to the Art  Fair, which meant having to  tell the person I was going to meet that I couldn’t make it, I hate having to cancel plans. I know the migraine arrived uninvited and there’s nothing I can do about it, but I still felt like a flake. Having sent the message that I wouldn’t be there, I felt able to take a migraine pill and went to bed. There was no way I could take it and then go out because they make me drowsy. Probably that’s the best thing about them. I know pill popping isn’t the answer, but as I lay there contemplating the alternative, which involved sharpened six inch nails and a hammer, I thought it best to take the least messy option. One day I might take inspiration from Frida Kahlo and paint my pains.

Feeling nauseous, I fell asleep. Hurrah. A little while later I woke up because the dogs were barking at the sound of the doorbell, and I heard my husband take in a delivery for me, from Tuffnell Glass.
So, I was lying in bed, feeling horrible, knowing that there was a glass order waiting for me downstairs. Now that is torment! Also, when Tuffnell’s send out an order, there’s usually a sweetie in it somewhere. So I lay in bed wondering what kind of sweet it was, and looking forward to it only fractionally less than the glass.
I’ve got a sample pack of Northstar Precision 104 glass, I’m looking forward to seeing how that works out, I’m likely to be unable to resist giving it a little go this evening. Mind you, I’m having trouble using the computer because of mild tunnel vision, so why I think I’m going to fire up the torch, I don’t know.

I’ve been making lots of new beads, and have even been disciplined enough to make sets. I seem to have found a way to do this successfully, the main aim being to make repeats of beads in size, shape and design. Sounds so simple doesn’t it? I’ve booked a table for the Ayrshire Art & Craft Fair in Troon on 12th July, 9th August, 13th September, and 4th October, so I have to dive into The Shed of Destiny and spend hours playing, hurrah, hurrah, hurrah! People ask me if bead making is a ‘hobby’. No, it isn’t. My mum came up with a good word, she’s German, so when I translated it as ‘obsessed’ she said, ‘no, worse than that’, ‘what?’ I asked, astonished, ‘there’s something worse than being obsessed?’ we figured out that the word she was looking for is ‘possessed’, which I think is a fair description. I came to the conclusion many years ago, that when I honour my creative urges, they are my friend and I feel content, and when I ignore them and don’t go with the flow, I am their enemy and feel unhappy. Soon I hope to find work that brings in a regular income, and am quite concerned about how that might impact on my beading time. I’d hate to be rich but unable to follow my heart, I’d rather be poor and able to go into my shed and make glass beads.