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.




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…