big blue

Big Blue

I was asked to make a bead in a similar shape to the one on the left of the picture above, using the darkest blue in the bead. As the original bead had simply grown on the mandrel, I wasn’t sure that I could recreate the shape, the bead in the centre was my first attempt. I used several Effetre blues together, the darkest of which reacted with the others and made pits and discolourations (that bead is definitely heading for the etching solution!) but the shape was ok, if a little larger than intended.

So, on the second attempt I made a bead using only the darkest (and trickiest when combined) glass, Effetre 246, and it worked very well. A lovely blue with naturally occurring streaks and a smooth surface.
I am happy to consider commissions, especially when they work out as this one has. Sometimes there is an awful lot of blood, sweat, tears, gas, glass, electricity and most precious, time, before the required results are achieved, and then there’s the dilemma of charging. Does one charge for all the above, making one bead Very Expensive, or embrace the experience (bless the Learning Curve!) as payment in itself and charge a regular rate? There may even be perfectly good beads arising from the process of perfecting a commissioned bead, as I found recently when trying to get a cat bead just right, what a happy by product of a commissioned piece!

One of the traditionally difficult areas for an artist is pricing one’s work correctly, and everyone has an opinion on the subject. A lady at a craft fair picked up one of my beads, dropped (yes, dropped) it back down and walked away, saying ‘£4.00 for a bead! That’s too much!’ while another lady told me my beads were too cheap, and she was paying £14 for her bead. What can one do?! I’m so over the pricing dilemma. I ask what I ask, and that’s it. If it’s wrong then so be it. I’m glad to be making the beads, and while it must be brilliant to make money from something one loves, almost every bead has been some form of therapy or joy already. Money is a lovely, lovely bonus. Oh, and seeing people buy something I’ve made, for themselves or someone else, is a proper heart warmer. Excellent stuff. Lucky me.

red girl


I had a lovely ‘commission’ recently, a very small one, but one that I appreciated very much. I was asked to make a bead for a friend’s five year old daughter, the only proviso being that it must be red, as her little girl loves the colour above any other. I was immediately struck by this, a red girl among so many pink girls? I couldn’t wait to get started.
I forgot to take pictures of the selection I came up with, but out of about five beads two were chosen, one was a flower shape with poked dots and the other was quite a large clear bead with two twists of red running through it. ‘She can wear the flower bead round her neck’ said her mum, Gina, ‘and she can keep this one in her pocket’. I loved that. A bead for her pocket!? I almost welled up.
Best thing is, the little girl loved the beads but would like a red heart too…oh dear, tut, that means I have to spend time in the shed again, how awful…