Thursday, 31 March 2011

Something Borrowed

My beautiful sister got married recently, and asked for my help with her wedding jewellery.

I knew straight away what would suit her perfectly ... in 2009 my friend George Harper East and I collaborated on a bridal necklace and bracelet for Making Jewellery magazine (published in the August issue).  I think this was probably the first time we combined George's silver and my glass to make something fabulous, but certainly not the last!

Just got to throw in my favourite wedding photo here, cos its my blog so I can ;0)

She's gonna kill me for this one!

PS if you'd like to come and play with George and me and learn how to make beautiful jewellery and fab beads, we are teaching our joint "by george, its Lush!" class again at Studio 19 in June.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

The Lusherie is Officially Open!

I've got a new studio!  A proper grown-up, three torch Artist's Studio! I can't stop smiling, I wake up every day and run out to visit it, I really can't believe my luck, its such a wonderful place to work.  

Before I show a pic of all its glory though, you must see how the space looked just a few short weeks ago.

I took these photos on 5th January - the task to empty the garage seemed quite overwhelming at the time, but a couple of hard days of ruthlessness and a totally overflowing skip and trailer load later, the space was clear and ready for the real work to begin.

Let's not forget to say goodbye to the Torch Porch - where I made beads and taught students for about three and a half years. 

And here it is ... The Lusherie (as named by my lovely friend Alison).  Conveniently right on the kitchen doorstep! 

This is my work area - my torch is a Bethlehem Minnow with 2 oxygen concentrators; my kiln is a Kilncare Maxi with Maxine doors (I always like to be different!).  

And this is the student bench - there's a GTT Cricket and a Bobcat, and I also have a Nortel Minor stashed away in the cupboard, because there's definitely room to squeeze in another torch or two ;0)  The little kiln is a Kilncare Beadcube. The extraction system is a triumph! Thanks to my dad who designed the ingeniously discreet system, which is powered by a Progrow fan mounted under each work bench - turn em both on at the same time and I dare you to try and open the door - sucky, suck, suck!

Its been a busy week for the Lusherie - with students to teach, a lovely opening party with lots of Frit Happens friends, and my first "Torch Time" client is happily filling up the Beadcube, whilst I'm writing this blog.

In oscar speech stylee, I need to thank a few people: 

My wonderful friends George and Steve, for listening, advising and even donating furniture; more wonderful friends Manda and David for inspiring, advising and sharing (Manda, did you notice I even bought the same bin as you, it really is the mini-MangoBeads studio!); Dad xx; my builder Stuart (come back, you need to finish the roof) and Ed & Justin the sparkies; 

and all my lovely Frit Happens friends who came to the Opening and made commemorative champagne bottle beads: Kaz, Manda, George, Steve, Alison, Malc, Georgie, Sarah, Sam, Helen, Sue, Madeline, Janine, Sarah, Kathy, Vicky, Violet, Karen (and hubby) xxxxxxxxxxx

PS - if you fancy a lesson, just drop me a line! julie(at)

Sunday, 13 March 2011

A couple of Bright Ideas!

There's nothing like a show and a shower to get my mind whirring and the Bright Ideas flowing!

Bright Idea No. 1
I'm always on the lookout for display props - individual focal beads tend to be the trickiest beads to show off.  After scouring POS websites and the Ikea market place, time was running out to prepare for my recent Show and I was still uninspired.   However, as so often seems to happen, I had a lightbulb moment in the shower!  

These little stands are just so easy to make - simply melt a large gather of glass onto the very tip of an uncoated mandrel, flatten on a heatproof surface, anneal and trim the mandrel short.  Then make another on the same mandrel, then another, and another ...

They make great photo props too!

Bright Idea No. 2

You can imagine it took a long time to prepare these stands - every card had to be punched, every button had to attached, using matching coloured thread, punched fixings stuck on, prices written ... so I had lots of time to think.

There must be a simple way to wear a button without actually sewing it on ...?

Got it!  Tie on a brooch back and pin it on!  An instant Art Glass Button Brooch, ta da!

The Stitch & Creative Craft Show 2011

I just spent the last 3 days at The Stitch & Creative Craft Show at the 3 Counties Showground here in Malvern.  
It was a really nice show, lots of different crafts were represented from card making to textiles with a few beads thrown in too - I was the only lampworker there and I think my beads and buttons were a bit of a mystery to many, but once I whipped out a couple of glass rods and a mandrel and explained the process, people were enthralled and many were even inclined to buy!

This was really the official launch of Lush Buttons, their first outing in front of a predominantly knitty/stitchy crowd instead of jewellery makers.  

The buttons were very much admired and I sold lots of them - partly due to my latest Bright Idea ... simply adding a brooch back to a 2 hole feature button to make an instant easy-to-wear Art Glass Button Brooch, cool! 

This was the first time I have done a 'shell scheme' show and I have to say a big Thank You to Rachel Elliott for her advice with how to furnish my stand.  It was a far cry from the kind of show that I'm used to attending - where all I have to do is chuck a cloth over a table and lay out my beads!  
The velcro walls were a revelation, it was so easy to display all my fantastic new artwork - thanks to Bob, my new photographer friend, and Paul of Malvern Imaging, both of whom worked with lightning speed and produced brilliant results!  Oh and I mustn't forget my BFF who designed me some brilliant new tuition leaftlets - she knows who she is, and how much I love her ;0)

I really enjoyed meeting so many local craft lovers and making connections with local businesses.  Hopefully my diary will soon be bursting with tuition and torch hire bookings for my shiny new studio ... about which I will blog properly very soon! 
Wholesale button orders are starting to come in too, with 3 display stands expected to be appearing in bricks and mortar shops shortly - I shall add links to new stockists as soon as they are finalised.