items in FHFteam on Etsy More in FHFteam on Etsy pool

Saturday 17 December 2011

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Member Interrogations - Jean Munro

Today we have an interesting read from Jean Munro of Ceardannan Jewellery, including words about her inspiration, her start in jewellery-making, and a great double-quotation that sums up her approach to life!

1 - Your name: Jean Munro

2 - Your shop name and address: Ceardannan  www.ceardannan.co.uk  http://www.etsy.com/shop/ceardannanjewellery

3 - Describe your artistic style in three words: organic ….eclectic…colourful

4 - When did you first start jewellery making/lampworking, and how did you get started?I first started making jewellery about 5 years ago when  I was living in Greece.  I was shopping with my mum and saw a pair of earrings made with lapis stones that I liked but the wires were made with a metal I couldn’t wear. My mum said, “I’m sure if you have a look on the internet you will be able to find the materials to make something yourself.” 
She set me off on my first bead related google seach. This led to me buying my first set of lampwork beads on ebay, made by Mike Poole. Ever since holding them in my hands I wanted to learn to make lampwork beads.  As soon as we came back to Scotland to live I had a taster session followed by a workshop with Rachel Elliot. I grinned all the way through it and about 2 years ago I bought my lampwork start up kit second hand on FH forum.!

5 - What do you love most about your craft?
I especially like choosing semi precious gemstones and lampwork beads in my jewellery making and playing around with different combinations.   I  love that there are so many different colours and kinds of glass and the fact that I could never get bored with lampworking as there is always something else to try and something new to learn. And I really like melting glass!

6 - If you could take a class with any artist (in your field or otherwise) who would you choose and why?
So difficult a question but I would especially like to take a George and Julie Cab to Fab, or  by George. it’s Lush class.  I  have admired George’s work since I started making jewellery and  Lush Julies beads were some of the first I bought while Julies cabs are wonderful.   I would really like to dress  a few beads George style.

7 - Do you have a favourite piece of your work that you can share with us?

I am proud of this fibula as my husband did the wirework in this and made my bead look beautiful!

And I really enjoy making my beady boxes in different colourways..

8 - Where do you find your inspiration?
The colours all around me, I love the colours in nature, especially the coast the sea and wildflowers, Also there are so many beautiful colours of glass which are an inspiartion in themselves.

9 - What’s your favourite technique within your medium?At the moment I am enjoying working with cane, murrini and twisties, and making organic style beads particularly seascapes.

10 - Where do you create your work?
In my utility room that wanted to be a conservatory but never quite made it.  

11 - Do you have a favourite colour scheme or range when you’re creating pieces?
I guess I always go back to blues and greens  though I’m also particularly drawn to  reds and oranges. But I just really choose whatever colour I fancy at the time, 

12 - Can you give us a quotation/lyric/piece of advice that sums up your approach to life and your craft?Do what you can with what you have where you are….Theodore Roosevelt.
It’s hard to be positive when your bottles gone! …big sis

13 - The most serious question of all: if you could meet any fictional character, from TV film or literature, who would it be and why?
Mary DiNunzio the lawyer from Lisa Scottoline books, she’s a great character warm, funny and smart and I really like her.

14 - Finally, what are your plans or hopes for your work in the future?Keep on keeping on!


A big thanks to Jean for her answers!

Saturday 10 December 2011

Treasury round up 10/12

And a fabulous joint team treasury by Lynn

You can find beautiful beads, glass and more made by the talented members of FHFteam HERE

Friday 9 December 2011

FHFTeam prize giveaway - December

This giveaway is now closed - check the main blog for information about the new giveaway!
It's time for this month's FHFTeam giveaway, and for this giveaway it's my turn - Hazel from Continuum Designs - and here's what's on offer:

a choice between either;

a bracelet made with handmade polymer clay beads, gunmetal findings and Czech firepolished beads (the size can be adjusted to the winner's specifications if necessary)


A £10 gift certificate to my main shop, or Etsy storefront. It's up to the winner!

The winner will be drawn from the names of FHFTeam blog followers who comment on the blog during December, so don't forget to 'Follow' us, and start sharing what's on your mind! Drawing for the prize will take place on the 5th of January (2012!)

I'd also like to say a big thank you to all the lovely people who currently comment and follow us - we all appreciate reading what you have to say!

Happy Holidays!

Monday 5 December 2011

And the winner of a Lynn Davy Mojo Box is...

NEDbeads! Congratulations - your prize will be sent out soon! And here's a picture of what you won to whet your appetite:

There'll be another giveaway posted soon, so watch out for details of the prize coming up, and don't forget, the winner is drawn from a list of all people who commented on the blog during each month, so don't forget to share you thoughts, comments and ideas.


Saturday 3 December 2011

Friday 2 December 2011

Member Round-up - November

 Member Round-up - 

Here a look at what our members have been up to in November :

Our members in the press:

Making Jewellery

Sabine Little from Little Castle Designs appears with a simple but stunning lampwork tutorial in the Christmas 2011 issue, which shows readers how to make big-hole beads in a star shape.

In the same issue, Scarlet Leonard also has a lesson on a bauble-inspired wirework design that's full of holiday cheer, but subtle enough to wear all year round.

Etsy Front Page

Sam Capeling of Venus Art Glass was recently featured on the front page of Etsy in a beautiful feature of poppy items.

Inspirational Beading Blog

AR Jewellery, Helen Jewellery, and Fluid Glass Art Beads were included in a blog post on Inspirational Beading about 'Lushious Lampwork' - and with their drool-worthy beads, it's obviously well-deserved

Other News:

Julia Hay of Pandanimal has had a selection of her work included in the galley exhibit Yule, at the North Rock Gallery in the Shetlands Isles:

Thursday 1 December 2011

Xmas Gift Ideas from FHFteam

Pick of the Presents – Xmas Gift Ideas from FHFteam
by Lynn Davy

I envy those people who are organized about their Christmas shopping. I really do. I never even start mine until December…

Oh, wait. It is December. Help!

Once again, FHFteam comes to the rescue.

If you ever thought this team was just about beads, think again! I’ve put together a quick guide to a whole range of wonderful creations that will make ideal gifts. (If, that is, you can bear to give them away.)

There are hundreds more items that I didn’t have room to feature – search the Etsy listings for ‘FHFteam’ to see more!

Jewellery is the obvious place to start. There are lots of different styles to choose from, and the joy of handmade is that each item is individual and unique.


You can never have too many necklaces, right?

I love the unusual combination of materials – copper and polymer clay – in this ‘Cornfields’ necklace by Hazel Ward (ContinuumDesigns):

For a very special gift, this elegant ‘Omari’ chainmaille neckpiece by Lesley Lake (Eleljewellery) would be just the thing:

And for the young-at-heart of any age, I’d pick this jaunty, colourful necklace by Dawn Price (dawnsbeadboutique):


Pretty and versatile, and they don’t have to cost the earth to be really special!

Here’s a seasonal gift that would be wearable all year – a heart pendant by Lyn Gutteridge (Twirlybeads). She has made a matching charm bead too:

For something really unusual with a touch of fantasy magic, here’s a vessel by Rita Bennett (ceram60):

Every holiday party needs a bit of sparkle, and they don’t come much more sparkly than this dichroic glass beauty by Helen Clemons (BlueFairyDesigns), who also makes lovely suncatchers, coasters and bowls:


I love bracelets – you can see them and enjoy them while you’re wearing them!

I think this one would be perfect for teenagers – a zingy, bright toggle bracelet by cathsbeadyshed, where you’ll find a wide selection of other funky jewellery:

And for a complete contrast in mood and texture, here’s a gorgeous Viking knit by Stephanie Gough (beadsbystephanie):


The finishing touch to every party outfit!

These unusual blue ‘Puddle’ earrings by Jo Walker (Studio Jewellery) are a real talking point – her shop is packed with lots of other lovely jewellery too:

Di Sandland’s earrings with messages on are irresistible (I love her etched copper cuffs as well):

And for a can’t-go-wrong present, I’d choose the classic simplicity of these ‘Ink’ earrings by nemeadesigns:


Here’s a clever idea. Interchangeable rings/ring tops by Jeanie Munro (ceardannanjewellery) – her beadie boxes make lovely presents for crafters too:


My pick of the FHFteam brooch crop is this unique floral design by Gay (GaysieMay), who has lots of other unusual jewellery including recycled paper earrings!

Charm beads/big hole beads/silver cored beads

The ones that fit on your silver chain charm bracelet. Little wearable works of art. What’s not to love?

Here are two of my favourites with a Christmas theme: the beautifully textured ‘Blue Angel’ by Priscilla McGirr (PrincessPeggy):
and the wintry ‘Dark Skies’ by Kirsty Bryan (huppabella):


Yes, there are people who don’t wear jewellery… and yes, FHFteam caters for them too!

I covet this hand coloured velvet scarf by Sue Harris (Blue Box Studio) – she sells dyeing kits too, use them in the microwave – and her seaglass jewellery is lovely:

These bag charms from Blue Kiln Beads make unique little gifts. She has some lovely plaited leather bracelets too:

How can you resist this? For the Minecraft geek in your life – keyring by Julia Hay (Pandanimal):

House Beautiful

Wasn’t it William Morris who said your everyday things should be beautiful as well as functional?

These would cheer up even the grumpiest Scrooge on Christmas morning! Groovy funky floral coasters by Dawn Turner (Dawn Turner Designs):

And this bowl by Sam Capeling (venusartglass) is on my wishlist – just beautiful:

A vase is always appreciated. This elegant, restrained, blown lead crystal vase by Karen Lilley (lilleyglassdesigns) would enhance any mantelpiece:

And this one by Emma Mackintosh (flyingbead)couldn’t be more different – it reminds me of an exotic pitcher plant in a tropical jungle:

What about us chaps, then?

Doesn’t the man in your life get a glassy present too?

Cufflinks are a traditional seasonal gift, and these stunning ‘Flame’ dichroic red and gold ones by GaysieMay would brighten up anybody’s Christmas dinner:

Or how about a smart wine stopper for his favourite tipple? Glenn Godden (steampunkglass) makes gorgeous bottle stoppers (and collectable marbles too):

And I know there are plenty of jewellery-wearing blokes out there (I just don’t happen to be married to one) who would look gorgeous in this unisex cord necklace by Jane Hamill – who also makes classic chainmaille bracelets suitable for men:

And finally – don’t forget the Christmas decorations!

Go on, get into the Christmas spirit with some handmade sparkle…

These are very traditional and very Christmassy – candy canes by ScarletImpressions:

And how about a window full of sparkling snowflakes by Samantha Capeling (Venus Art Glass) – who also makes lots of other Xmas decorations plus super-cute owls, fish, birds and elephants:

*sings* “Deck the hall with sparkling glasses, falalalala, fala la la…” sorry, got a bit carried away there…

Have a very merry glassy sparkly Christmas, from all of us in FHFteam!

 (Photo collages by Hazel)

Wednesday 30 November 2011

Member Interrogations - Yvette Goodridge

Yvette Goodridge from Blue Kiln Beads is our interview subject this time, and she shares a bit about her inspiration, future hopes, and a lovely story of how she got started. Here we go...

1 - Your name: Yvette Goodridge

2 - Your shop name and address: Blue Kiln Beads,  www.bluekilnbeads.blogspot.com www.bluekilnbeads.etsy.com

3 - Describe your artistic style in two words: Bright, eclectic.

4 - When did you first start glassworking and how did you get started?

My parents asked me what I wanted for my 30th birthday. I had discovered bead making classes but couldn’t afford to book one myself so it seemed like it would be a perfect gift. That was in 2006 with Beverley Hicklin, and the rest as they say is history. My mum is very creative and would admit to being a craft collector so ofcourse she wanted to come and now we both have our torches and share a kiln. Its great because I always have a friend to take to events like Flame Off.

5 - What do you love most about your craft?

I can have an idea and then create the beads to fit rather than having to search for the beads I need.
There is also the fact that there is always something new to learn whether its a technique, a design, the use of a different type of glass, its so exciting.

6 - If you could take a class with any artist (in your field or otherwise) who would you choose and why?

That's a tricky one because there are a few people I would like to have a class with. I think I would pick Dora Schubert, I love her designs and marvel at her stringer control.

7 - Do you have a favourite piece of your work that you can share with us?

I’m rather proud of the necklace I made to go with a top:

8 - Where do you find your inspiration?

I tend to start with a colour combination which might come from a piece of fabric or scrap book paper . I have two girls and some of their bits and bobs spark a colour combination. Some beads I made a while ago were inspired by one of their hairclips:

9 - What’s your favourite technique within your medium?

Tricky question for me because I like to dip in and out, if I see something in the Frithappens gallery or on a blog I decide to give it a go, so I don’t necessarily have a favourite technique. I am stuck on applying dots at the moment and trying to get them to go around the end of the bead evenly. I saw some Justin Tabor beads in a book recently and would love to be able to apply dots like he does.

10 - Where do you create your work?

In my utility space, its small but warm. Previously I was in my old garage which was a great space but chilly in winter.

11 - Do you have a favourite colour scheme or range when you’re creating pieces?

At the moment I am stuck on shades of green and purple, brown and blue are a favourite but I always come back to pinks and purples eventually.

12 - Can you give us a quotation/lyric/piece of advice that sums up your approach to life and your craft?

‘There are people who have money and people who are rich’ Coco Chanel. I think this sums up my personal situation at the moment and my craft. The breadwinner in our family has been looking for work for 8 months now and like many people my business is noticing the tightening of peoples’ purse strings but we feel we have family and friends and so feel rich. Hope that’s not too cheesy......

13 - The most serious question of all: if you could meet any fictional character, from TV film or literature, who would it be and why?

The way I’m feeling at the moment it would Mary Poppins. I could do with her advice on being organised and keeping all balls in the air at once with ease and elegance.

14 - Finally, what are your plans or hopes for your work in the future?

I would like to enter a few articles to magazines, build a thriving online presence and eventually get a craft unit where I can share my craft with others. My ultimate dream would be to own a craft centre where crafts people can share workshop space and the where the public can visit and buy and take lessons.


Thanks Yvette for the lovely pictures and answers!

Sunday 27 November 2011

Lynn's Lampies - December

Lynn’s Lampies - Christmas Edition!

A regular spot from team member Lynn Davy, a self-confessed bead addict whose unusual designs often feature lampwork beads. In this series she shares some of her secrets and shows you how to use FHFteam’s handmade beads and components in your own creations!

All I Want For Christmas Is…

Yes, it’s that time of year again. And now that your family and friends all know that you make jewellery, they will be hoping – maybe even expecting – a unique and beautiful handmade gift from you this year.

You don’t want to disappoint them. But you’re so busy. How can you possibly make enough gifts in time?

I had a fabulous evening playing with my FHFteam goodies!

Never fear – FHFteam is here. With all sorts of wonderful items that are perfect for turning into ‘instant’ gifts. All of the above can be put together in one happy evening, with very basic tools and techniques. And of course the team has plenty of ready-made presents even if you completely run out of beading time!

So where do we start? How about something very simple – what if you just want a tiny token present, or a stocking filler, or something for someone who doesn’t wear jewellery? And you’ve only got five minutes to make it?

Round focal by Heather Webb; heart by SowZeRe; phone charm beads by Kathryn Greer and Rachel Bishop

Keyrings are my default answer to this. You learned a simple wire wrapping technique in my October blog post when we made earrings. A keyring is just the same as an earring, only a bit bigger and you only need to make one. One lovely chunky lampie, a headpin, couple of small beads, wrapped loop, keyring chain, pliers… sorted. It will take you longer to find the wrapping paper!

Mobile phone charms are also speedy to make, and can be attached to lots of things other than phones: pencil cases, for example, or zip pulls. If you have more time, you can add more dangles, perhaps spaced out on a short length of chain. This is an easy way to make bag charms, too.

Now, how about that rather delicious bead set you’ve been saving to give to someone special? But you haven’t done anything with it yet because designing just the right piece of jewellery is going to take you ages…

Lampwork bead set by Jolene Wolfe; copper clasp by Di Sandland

Actually, it’s going to take you half an hour. This bracelet is very simply strung onto beading wire and crimped together. The beads are a nice flattened shape and have so much detail in them, all they needed was a bit of copper in between. The design is slightly random and asymmetric, but since all the spacer beads are the same metal, it doesn’t matter.

Remember that big chunky beads like this will need smaller beads between them – not just to stop them wobbling about on the wire, but to give movement and flexibility. I’ve used 4mm copper filigrees, which sit nicely in the holes of the lampwork beads, and a mixture of ‘flower’ spacers and 2mm round beads to allow the bracelet to curve.

The finishing touch is a gorgeous etched copper toggle. Handmade findings are the perfect complement to handmade beads, and not only is copper a lovely warm colour, it’s considerably cheaper than sterling silver.

Always take care when fitting toggles – you need to be sure that there is enough room to pull the toggle through the loop, so put several small beads between the toggle and your first lampwork bead. Also make sure that there is a ‘break point’ somewhere in the piece – here, it’s the open jump ring that connects the clasp ring to the rest of the bracelet – so that if the jewellery gets caught in something, the breakpoint will give way before the wearer gets damaged!

Or if you don’t want a metal toggle – or the recipient has allergies – how about a button?

Button by Helen Gorick; beads by various artists including Kathryn Greer and Julia Hay. (There’s no rule that says you can’t mix your beadmakers!)

This metal-free bracelet is strung on C-Lon nylon cord (handy stuff that comes in all sorts of delicious colours; this is ‘ginger’). I strung a loop of size 6 seed beads big enough to fit over the button, then pushed these to the middle of my thread and knotted it.

A rummage in my stash box produced a handful of beads in toning colours. I strung alternating lampwork and seed beads onto the doubled thread, finishing with the button and knotting the cord ends securely underneath it. You can add a dab of glue to the knots for extra security.

Copper rings, spirals and clasp by Diane Cook; pendant by Glenn Godden; earring beads by Julia Hay

Back to the copper now. I wanted a long necklace with a striking centrepiece, so I started with some hammered copper rings and spirals. I made a couple of little dangles with wrapped loops, found a glass heart that was just asking for a copper setting, and played around connecting them all together with jump rings until I was happy with the result.

I took a long length of brass chain and attached it to the top ring with a lark’s head knot (see the ribbon tutorial below). The spiral clasp was just too lovely to go at the back, so I attached it at one side of the necklace, near the front, where it can be both a functional clasp and an integral part of the design. (Again, it’s attached with open jump rings to provide a safety breakpoint.)

The copper spirals are also fabulous for earrings. Make wrapped loop dangles but use eyepinseyepin. Make sure they hang opposite ways round when the earrings are worn.

Focal beads, now. A search on Etsy for ‘fhfteam focal’ will bring up lots to choose from. And when you’ve done the shopping and your lovelies arrive, you sit and stroke them and wonder how you can make them look their best without spending hours and hours beading.

Well, sometimes less is more. How about a nice simple pendant… or three?

Pendants make great gifts and are quick to assemble

The flower pendant already has a built-in hanging loop, so all I needed to do here was to string it onto some beading wire and add alternating pearls and seed beads on either side.

Flower pendant by Glenn Godden.

I ran into a very common problem with this one. I love it so much I’ve decided to keep it… so now I need to find another present instead!

It’s finished off with crimps and a simple silver clasp. (Stringing and crimping were explained in last month’s blog post, by the way.)

Pendants also look good on chains, ribbons, or suede cord.

What if you have a focal bead without a loop, and want to turn it into a pendant? Well, you already know how to do that. Refer to my October earring tutorial again – a focal bead needs a longer wire or headpin, but the technique is exactly the same.

Leather necklace by Scarlet Leonard; focal bead by Jane Hamill

This pretty little necklace kit comes complete with handmade copper wire clasp and a hanging bail. It also comes with a neat coiled headpin: just add your focal bead and make a wrapped loop at the top. Don’t forget to attach the pendant to the bail BEFORE you do the final wrapping part! (Although if you do… just use a jump ring to connect them… nobody will notice.)

Focal bead by Jane Hamill; handpainted silk ribbon by SowZeRe

Ribbons are another lovely way to show off a very special focal bead. This month’s tutorial (below) will take you through making this pendant with its adjustable sliding clasp.

Tutorial: Ribbon pendant with sliding clasp

This is a handy technique for making an adjustable necklace with a length of ribbon or cord. It can be put together with no tools and is a really useful thing to know when you have to make a last-minute necklace for somebody and you’ve run out of clasps!

1. You will need:

· A pendant with a hanging loop or bail; or a lampwork focal bead made into a pendant with a wrapped loop (see October’s earring tutorial)
· One open jump ring
· One closed jump ring, at least 8mm diameter; or a hand-hammered silver or copper ring
· A length of silk ribbon (or organza, or alternatively cord or suede or leather…) long enough to go over your head with at least 30cm to spare
· One bead or ring to act as the clasp, with a hole big enough for the ribbon to go through twice
· A couple of small beads to finish off the ribbon ends (the handmade ribbon I used has two ‘tails’ of stitching at either end, so I needed four beads)
· Tools: flat-nosed pliers (two pairs if you have them), sharp scissors

2. Use the pliers and the open jump ring to attach the closed jump ring to the top of the pendant.

3. Fold the ribbon in half and feed the looped end through the closed ring.

4. Put the ends of the ribbon through the loop.

5. Pull the ends gently to make a neat ‘lark’s head’ knot around the ring.

6. To prevent the necklace tightening too far, tie an overhand knot in the ribbon at either side. This will determine the shortest length at which the necklace can be worn. Make sure it’s big enough not to choke the wearer! If the hole in your clasp bead is very large, you may need to add a smaller bead above the knot to make sure it can’t be pulled through.

7. Thread one end of the ribbon through your clasp bead. Thread the other end through in the opposite direction, so that when you pull on the ends, the necklace shortens.

Add beads and/or knots to the ends of your ribbon so they can’t pull out of the clasp bead again. Trim the ends neatly.

Wishing you a happy and creative Christmas from all the FHFteam!

Members’ shops mentioned in this article:

Rachel Bishop http://www.etsy.com/shop/Puffafish
Diane Cook http://www.etsy.com/shop/dilunah for beads and http://www.dilunah.com/index.htm for findings
Glenn Godden http://www.etsy.com/shop/steampunkglass
Helen Gorick http://www.etsy.com/shop/helengbeads
Kathryn Greer http://www.etsy.com/shop/MyPrecious
Jane Hamill http://www.etsy.com/shop/janehamill
Julia Hay http://www.etsy.com/shop/Pandanimal
Scarlet Leonard http://www.etsy.com/shop/ScarletImpressions
Dianne Sandland http://www.etsy.com/shop/disandland
SowZeRe http://www.etsy.com/shop/SowZerE - unfortunately Diane is on vacation until the New Year, but sign up to be notified when she re-opens!
Heather Webb http://www.etsy.com/shop/BumpyBeads
Jolene Wolfe http://www.etsy.com/shop/KitzbitzArtBeads

Saturday 26 November 2011

Treasury round up 26/11

and lastly a fabulous twin team treasury fhfteam and tt team by Diane Cook

You can find beautiful beads, glass and more made by the talented members of FHFteam HERE

Saturday 19 November 2011

Wednesday 16 November 2011

FHFTeam giveaway prize - November

This giveaway is now closed - check the main blog for information about the new giveaway!

Good news - we have another giveaway for all our readers this month too! Lynn Davy has kindly offered an amazing Mojo Box as a prize for one lucky person, drawn from the names of all our blog followers who comment on the FHFTeam blog during the month of November.

Here's a peak at what you could win:

'One of Lynn Davy's unique 'Mojo Box' collections of beads - designed to
encourage and inspire you when your beading mojo goes missing! This one is
an FHFteam special in subtle earth tones with accents of copper and bronze
and contains a beautiful tab focal by
Kathryn Greer, spacers by Karina
Thornhill, and an earring pair by
Julia Hay, as well as two pairs of Diane Cook's handmade copper beadcaps and a selection of pressed glass, copper,
Swarovski crystal, freshwater pearl, shell and seed beads.

Lynn's Etsy shop for other colours... and
if you don't see what you want, she's always happy to put together a custom


The winner will be drawn on the 5th of December, so start sharing your thoughts on the blog (and make sure you're subscribed to our blog), and you could win!

Good luck,

Member Interrogations - Sue Harris

 Welcome to another member interrogation, this time with Sue Harris -and it's filled with an obvious love of glass, and a special tip for how to get inspiration (hint: it involves chocolate). Read on...

1 - Your name: Sue Harris

2 - Your shop name and address: Blue Box Studio –
www.blueboxstudio.co.uk and  http://www.etsy.com/shop/BlueBoxStudio

3 - Describe your artistic style in three words: Vibrant, colourful, quirky

4 - When did you first start glass work, and how did you get started?

I have worked with sea glass for a while but it’s getting harder to find. Some friends wanted to have a Taster Day with Georgina at Fireworks and needed someone to make up the numbers. Game for anything I joined in. I’m the only one of the 5 of us to have continued. Making my own glass beads seemed a natural progression for my jewellery.

5 - What do you love most about your craft?

The surprise element? I love the way my own beads mix beautifully with pieces of sea glass which I have drilled to use as beads, the way a murky brown rod of glass may just occasionally spring into life as a myriad of pinks and purples Of course it’s also lovely when something you have made is also ooh-ed and aah-ed over.

6 - If you could take a class with any artist (in your field or otherwise) who would you choose and why?

I’d love to incorporate my own buttons in my velvet scarves so would love to spend a day with Julie at Lush! I would love to be able to improve on my basic skills with George. I want to move onto the next ‘level’ and have Manda on my shortlist for this.

7 - Do you have a favourite piece of your work that you can share with us?

I discovered several large tab beads in ‘Dog Teeth Amethyst’. I’ve always loved amethyst – and purple so had to have these. I then gave myself the task of making a selection of purple beads to work with the stunning amethyst to make a necklace. I’m really pleased with the result and look forward to someone else loving it enough to give it a new home.

8 - Where do you find your inspiration?

Sometimes a combination of colours in my garden catches my eye, sometimes a picture or photograph inspires and from these images I’ll select the colours to work with. On days when inspiration deserts I’ll just take a selection of rods and work with those to see what effects I get – sometimes that is enough to kick start inspiration. If that doesn’t work, I sort through my bead box and eat chocolate!!

9 - What’s your favourite technique within your medium?

I’m ‘into’ frit at the moment. I have rather a lot of it.

10 - Where do you create your work?

I’m lucky to have 2 garden studios. One, the original Blue Box Studio (not too hard to work out why) was always my jewellery studio. It’s now my lampwork and drilling sea glass studio. I also have a larger studio for textile work, making jewellery, photography and anything else I can’t sneak into the house on a take-over bid.

11 - Do you have a favourite colour scheme or range when you’re creating pieces?

With lampwork glass it would have to be purple, or Nyx or Triton if using Double Helix (although Pandora is coming up the outside as a favourite). With sea glass, I love working with End of Day sea glass (the multi-coloured pieces that result from work made at the end of the day in the glass workers own time).

12 - Can you give us a quotation/lyric/piece of advice that sums up your approach to life and your craft?

Always do the thing you don’t want to do first. I also like ‘A woman is like a tea bag- you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water’. [Eleanor Roosevelt] – I tested this one in 2002, and it’s true for me.

13 - The most serious question of all: if you could meet any fictional character, from TV film or literature, who would it be and why?

I’d like to meet an estate agent (there must be one) from Midsomer [Murders] county, to find out how he dismisses the incredibly high murder rate to potential incomers. You could hardly advertise the area as having a low crime rate, although 100% of the crimes do seem to be solved.

14 - Finally, what are your plans or hopes for your work in the future?

Working with glass is only one of my crafts, I also work with silks and velvets to make scarves and accessories. I’m a realist and know I will never make my fortune at this, but hopeful enough that I will be able to return to full time self-employment in the next few years and be able to leave The Daily Grind. In the short term, I am hoping to spend the first couple of months in the New Year to concentrate on my lampwork and put the hours in to PPP (practice, practice, practice). Then I feel I can justify taking more courses and furthering my skills.

FHFTeam Design Process

Another great new feature, giving an insight into the design processes of our team members, written by Helen Chalmers of Helen Jewellery. Take it away, Helen...


You may have wondered before how some of the FHFTeam members come up with ideas for the lovely pieces they produce. This little feature will highlight the work of some of the team over the next few months, explaining the inspiration and thoughts behind the work they produce.

My work is mainly inspired by the urban environment around me, especially quiet places within the city that not many people know about. I find glass an ideal medium to express this in, due to its fragility, and possibilities for organic appearance.

I usually start with taking photographs, spending an hour with my camera in a special place can lead to a whole line of inspiration.

Sometimes I can just pick out colours and patterns and hop straight on the torch and see what happens, but usually I like to take some time to draw so I can consider shape, colours, texture, and have a reference in front of me at the torch. These drawings were done from photographs and sketches I took on a trip to Greyfriars in Edinburgh.

The final part process is heading to the torch, and using glass as a tool to express the visuals and atmosphere. Sometimes I go on and make jewellery with it, sometimes I am thrilled to see other people create wearable products with my work.

Here are some pieces that have resulted from this design process.

Thanks for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it! Another (probably very different!) way of designing for a FHFteam member will be published next month! :)

Monday 14 November 2011

Pick of the Month in November

Winter Fairytale Handmade Lampwork Pendant from Princess Peggy

Tide Pools Lampwork Glass Bracelet from puffafish

River Cuff - Original Blue from nemeton

Teal Time - Handmade Lampwork Bead Set from GaysieMay

Seafoam from Gallowaybeads

Beautiful teal and aqua from FHFteam