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Workspace Sharing

Recently my best friend moved house, like me she’s a lamp worker, her new place doesn’t have a shed, or workshop, no where for her to light her torch and melt until her hearts content. Lampwork is a meditative process, it can be restful and restorative, when you are told that you can’t do it, or you’re restricted for a period of time it can feel like your world has shrunk, like a part of you is cut off, with this in mind I offered my friend the use of my second torch.

I dont think I was really prepared for the benefits of shared workspace, I don’t think I was prepared to observe how differently someone else worked,prepared and used their tools. I have spent time with other people in their workspaces, I have taught people in mine, but this is different, my friend has the space set up in a particular way to suit her needs, where I am scattered she is neat, where I know where my tools sit and can just reach for them hers are laid out ready for use.

The week my friend took me up on my offer was a bad one, I was in a creative slump, feeling lost and directionless, contemplating all the other things I could take up without really seriously considering any of them it would have been really easy to resent someone invading my space, I didn’t, I actually enjoyed the company, the chatter and feeling of camaraderie, having someone on hand who totally understood my slump and didn’t utter the words ‘you should’. The silence wasn’t awkward, it was companionable, it was easy.

Having chatted at great length about being in a bit of a slump we decided to create ourselves a private Pinterest board for things that inspired us. It has proven already to be a wonderful source of ideas, not only for colour combinations but for patterns and structures of beads, my favourites so far have been a series of totems, gorgeous brightly coloured poles with lots of pattern, you can see the pin here https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/398005685800173378/

Below you can see the dolls I have made inspired by those poles.

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I think the best part of all of this is the genuine excitement and thrill of making something new, having someone wonderful to bounce ideas around with,  we have even been talking about collaborating on some projects 🙂

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Experiments

One of the things I love most about what I do is the opportunities to diversify, as with so many other crafts, one often leads to another and another, in some respects its distracting, in others its a joy, I will never be at a loss for things to do, try, learn. It does on occasion leave me with a sense of panic that I will never have enough life time to experience or try out all the things I want to do.

Anyway I digress, this week I was having a long overdue tidy up in the workshop, and was distracted by some discarded copper sheet (my kids do this when I ask them to tidy their rooms, they always end up playing with forgotten toys and the room never gets cleaned) I started by cutting a circle of copper and using my sandbag and a ball pein hammer started hammer in a spiral from the centre ( its at this point I wish I had taken photos of the process) after repeatedly annealing the copper and gradually hammering until I reached the outer edges I ended up with a small copper dish, I know I haven’t done it properly because the edges of the dish shouldn’t be fluted so I must read up on properly sinking bowls.

Having left the project alone for a day I had another look at it and decided to enamel the centre, I have some lovely enamels that I use for glass beads, I layered them up and then heated the kiln, it has to get really hot for the enamel to melt. copperdish2

You have to be careful moving the unfired piece to the kiln so you don’t disturb the powdered enamel.

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You can see from the second photo that the enamel has fired but there are still small spots of it where its moved slightly when I’ve placed it in the kiln.

When it comes to this type of work I am a complete novice, I really do need to read up more on the proper processes, but it was a fun distraction project and I am left with a pretty bowl that looks like it has a pool inside 🙂

 

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Bunnies

When I first started on my lamp working journey I was determined not to create character beads, its odd really but at the time they somehow didn’t feel quite ‘proper’ ….I know, right!  Since then I have had a massive change of opinion (helped along by selling a good few of them) Character beads are a touch of escapism, a journey into the storybooks and favourite toys of childhood.  When I was little my favourite teddy was a rabbit (called raddit) so in honour of the easter holidays I’ve been making bunnies.

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Windswept Lost Girl

Its that time of year again, planning our easter break with the children we decided to revisit the Isle of Skye, we found the perfect isolated retreat with views across the water and few neighbouring houses.

With hope that we will get a chance to see the Aurora Borealis it got me thinking about capturing all that sky in the dress of one of my dolls, knowing that it would likely require some of the more costly glass I didn’t then want to cover that with hair and so I decided to revisit my Windswept Lost Girl. I can just see her standing on the cliff top letting the wind carry her cares away can’t you?

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