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Sunday 11 April 2010

Pick of the Week - Over the Rainbow

I was feeling inspired by the fantastic colour around this week, so a few more picks than usual!

Jo Bailey

Cherry Pie by FinishingTouchJewels

Wolf Orange by SpaTownBeads0407

Mellow Dragon by flyingbead

Hip to be Square Brooch by SorbetGlass

Royal Blue Glass beads with Glow in the Dark Necklace by JivesJools

Five Islands by flyingbead

Racquel by littlecastledesigns

Monday 5 April 2010

Featured Artist - Vicki Bowring

I have always been a creative person, art was my favourite subject at school and I studied it to A level. It was around the time of my A levels that I first became interested in jewellery making and beads, I even had a stall at a local craft fair once! Then, of course, I went out into the big bad world of full-time work, and the craft fell by the wasyside. I still did bits here and there, I once made some great crepe paper flowers for a window display, started making the family Christmas crackers every year, writing poems, that sort of thing. But it was something I used to do from time to time, when the mood took me.

Some of my very first beads
Anyway, as I became more settled in myself I started craving craft again, and about 5 years ago I started paper-crafting. This led to me amassing huge amounts of stuff as I got more into it and got the rubber stamp bug! I never buy Christmas or birthday cards, I make all of them myself now.

Early in 2009, I was shopping in the craft section of The Range, and I came across some colour themed boxes of beads. The jewellery spark was re-ignited! I gradually bought all of the boxes, and I started looking on-line at all the gorgeous beads that were now available. Lampworked beads always caught my eyes and oh how I wished I could have a go at making them myself! The more I looked at them, the more I wanted to have a go. Then I came across the Hot Head kit and I got very excited. Suddenly lampwork was accessible to me! I bought the kit from Tuffnell Glass, found a supplier of Mapp gas, and I made my first bead on 15th April 2009. I was instantly hooked. But, as I got more ambitious, and wanted to spend time making more complicated beads, I hit a brick wall. The Mapp just kept running out too quickly, and I became frustrated. I couldn't afford to go on bulk, and as I work in the front room of my flat it soon became too cold to work with the window open, and the cold was affecting the pressure in the Mapp cans giving me less and less time to work on a bead. Grrrr.

Pendant experiments
After a frustrated rant on the Frit Happens Forum, I made a descision. Until I could afford the bulk conversion kit I would give up lampwork and concentrate on learning more about bead-weaving and wire-work, both of which I had just started to play with, so that I could actually make jewellery with my beads. And so I took a self imposed lampworking break of 5 months.

Before the 5 month break!
It was the best thing I could have done. My beadwork and wire work are improving all the time, and I have made several pieces of jewellery that I am immensely proud of. And now that I am back at the torch I find I have a new sense of purpose. I make beads that I intend to use, I make sets and turn them into jewellery, and I love it!

Learning new skills
The thing that inspires me the most for bead making is nature. I have an organic style (at the moment) and love trying to recreate natural forms or phenomena in miniature. Having said that, ideas can be sparked off by something someone says, a piece of wallpaper, a dress.... The list is pretty endless. I'm also fascinated by the reactive glasses and with reactions in general. Silver foil over ivory is a current favourite, actually, silver with everything could be my middle name at the moment! With jewellery making I find that history influences me a lot, as does the culture and traditions of far away lands. I like to create pieces that combine the disciplines I have taught myself, bead-weaving, wirework and lampwork, and I love being able to say "I made the whole thing, from start to finish." With each new piece I find I am learning more, usually a new bead-weaving stitch or a new way to manipulate wire. I love learning new stuff and expanding my knowledge of the universe, and the world of jewellery making is no exception.

I'm Back!
Weekends are my lampworking times. Friday night is "play" night where I generally just mess around with molten glass, or try out new ideas that have popped into my head during the week ( I keep a note book which is full of random scribbling!). Saturday and Sunday most often I'll make sets, though I usually have at least three sets in mind so that I can hop between them to stop me getting bored ( I have the attention span of a gnat). Weekday evenings I try to spend time making new pieces of jewellery, or component parts for something new. And as I travel by train quite a lot, I always take my beading kit on long journeys and when I have to spend the night in a hotel. It's amazing just what can be achieved at these times!

You can find more of my work at:
Etsy shop: http://www.veebeads.etsy.com
Gallery: http://s630.photobucket.com/albums/uu26/veebeads/
Blog: http://veebeads.blogspot.com