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Sunday 30 October 2011

Lynn's Lampies - November

Lynn’s Lampies

A regular spot from team member Lynn Davy, a self-confessed bead addict whose unusual designs often feature lampwork beads. Over the coming months you can learn some of her secrets and discover how to use FHFteam’s handmade beads and components in your own creations!

Tantalising Tassels:

I make a lot of necklaces that combine tiny seed beads with big chunky lampwork – I am drawn to the contrast between very big beads and very small ones.

Four of my signature ‘Nemesis’ peyote spiral necklaces with focals by Tan Grey and Vicki Honeywill

And very often I finish them off with a tassel. I am a huge fan of tassels. They can be minimal, or lush; complementary, or contrasting.
Focal by Karina Thornhill with peyote spiral and beaded toggle clasp.

My winning entry in this year’s GBUK jewellery making competition: extraordinary lampies by Tan Grey with beaded beads and yes, a tassel!

A beach-themed tassel – I don’t think I could have squeezed much more into this one

The question I am most often asked is: ‘How do you add a tassel underneath a focal bead?’
There are lots of ways of doing this, and here is mine. I’m going to walk you through making this ‘Gaia’ necklace – a tried and tested, simple but endlessly adaptable basic construction that you can then go on to use in your own designing. All of the other necklaces illustrated in this post are based on this structure.

You will need:

· A focal bead. This lentil one is by Jolene Wolfe (Kitzbitz Art Glass). Flattened shapes are best because they sit nicely against the skin when worn.

· Seed beads. The necklace is strung with size 8 seed beads and you will need some smaller size 11 beads for the tassel. You can also incorporate some bugle beads into the tassel if you like – these are the long thin ones that look like little tubes.

· Crystals. Two 4mm crystal bicones to stop your focal wobbling.

· Accent beads. The fun little bits and bobs that go on the ends of your tassel. Stick to smallish ones between about 4mm and 10mm. I included plenty of tiny 4mm ‘fringe drops’ and added a single bigger abalone shell star because it had stripes that matched the focal bead.

· Clasp bead. Lampwork spacers are ideal for this – choose something 12-15mm in diameter and not too spherical or it will slip out of the clasp loop. I used an abalone shell disc.

· Beading wire (also called tigertail or cable). I use the .018” 7-strand sort. It’s made of twisted wire with a plastic coating and is robust enough to take the weight of heavy beads without stretching or breaking.

· Nylon beading thread. There are lots of makes, and since you’ll be using it for the tassel, which isn’t particularly weight-bearing, it doesn’t matter which you choose. Nymo, C-Lon or K.O. are readily available from bead shops.

· Crimps. Don’t skimp on crimps. Plated metal ones are cheap but often brittle. I always use sterling silver, mainly 2mm x 2mm. You will need two for this necklace.

· Tools: beading needle (long and thin), sharp scissors, wire cutters, pliers or crimping pliers. And you will need something to keep the beads in place on the wire before you’ve crimped them: I use the ‘bead stoppers’ that look like little springs, but a bulldog clip or even a piece of sticky tape will do!

Cut a piece of beading wire a good 30cm longer than your preferred necklace length. String ten size 8 seed beads and slide them to the middle. Then take another size 8 bead and string it over both ends; slide it down so you have a loop.

String a crystal, your focal, another crystal and a size 8 seed bead, all onto both ends of the wire. Slide them down to the loop. Don’t pull too tight at this stage. Put a bead stopper above the beads to keep them on the wire while you make the tassel.

Thread your needle (no more than two arms’ length of thread) and tie a ‘stop bead’ on one end. It helps if it’s a contrasting colour. Use just a single knot, or go through the bead twice. You will need to be able to untie and remove it later.

Stitch through a couple of beads of the loop and emerge in the gap between the first and second bead. (You have ten beads in the loop, hence nine gaps.)

Pull the thread through until the stop bead catches it.

String your first tassel fringe. Say, 12 assorted size 11 beads, a size 8, and then an accent bead. Then add one more seed bead to be the ‘keeper’ that keeps the accent bead in place.

Pass back through all the beads except the ‘keeper’ and pull the thread snug but not tight – you want the fringe to hang nicely and not stick out rigidly.

Stitch through the next bead in the loop.

Add another fringe, maybe 2 beads longer than the first.

A cluster of fringe drops makes a nice ending: string three drops and go back through the bead above them, making a tiny loop that sits like a clover leaf.

Keep increasing the length until you get to the fifth (central) fringe, then decrease for the next four fringes.

To make a leaf at the end of a fringe, string a size 8 bead and six size 11 beads, miss the last one and go back through the last-but-one. Pull snug. String another 4 size 11 beads and go back through the size 8 and the fringe.

If you want a fringe to branch, don’t go back through all of it, but just partway: then add another short fringe before going back through the rest of it and on through the next loop bead.

When you get to the last fringe, stitch up through the tenth bead of the base loop and down through the first; then add a second round of fringing in exactly the same way. This will give you a nice full tassel. If you want it lusher, go round a third time.

Avoid tangling by holding the fringes you’ve already made in your non-working hand; and never pull the thread sharply in case it catches.

To finish off the thread, stitch through a few beads of the nearest fringe, go under the thread between two beads, and pull to make a small loop of thread.

Put your needle through the loop and pull the knot tight.

Make a second knot in the same place, weave through a few more beads and trim the end. Take the stop bead off the tail end of the thread and secure in the same way.

So now we have a tassel!

The rest of the necklace is easy peasy. Why didn’t we make the rest of the necklace first, you ask? Well… it’s surprising how much space the fringe threads can take up between the loop beads. And if you pull it all tight before you start, it can make it very difficult to fit your needle through, and it can all end up a bit too rigid. (This also applies if you are stitching fringe or spiral or anything else onto the foundation of the rest of the necklace. It’s always best to leave the crimping until last.)

Take the bead stopper off, and put it on just one end of the beading wire. String size 8 seed beads (or whatever beads you like) onto the other end until you’re just short of your desired necklace length, allowing room for the clasp.

Put the bead stopper onto the end with the beads and string the other side of the necklace. Check the length.

String a crimp, a size 8 bead, and the clasp bead. Add a single bead to be the ‘keeper’. Feed the end of the wire back through the clasp bead, the size 8 bead, the crimp and a couple more beads. Carefully (avoid kinking!) pull everything tight, making sure the focal bead is sitting snugly above the loop.

Now crush the crimp with whatever pliers you have to hand (these are 2-step crimping pliers). Take the loose end of the wire and pull hard to ensure there is no movement through the crimp. Trim the wire end.

Take off the bead stopper. String a crimp, enough size 11 beads to fit snugly around the clasp bead, and an extra size 8. Pass the end of the wire back through the first size 8 bead of the loop, then the crimp and a couple more beads. Pull until everything is snug (but still flexible) then crimp the crimp and trim the wire.

Cover your crimps with round crimp covers if you like.

See – that wasn’t so hard, was it?

Four very different focals in four very different settings but all strung together and tasselled in the way you’ve just learned! L-R focals by: Tuffnell Glass, Emma Ralph, Billie Jean Little, Tan Grey.


Stay tuned for another edition of Lynn's Lampies next month!

Friday 28 October 2011

Member Round-up - October

Here's a look at what our members have been up to in October:

Our members in the press:

Etsy Front Page:

June and Ken of BeaujolaisBeads were featured on the front page of Etsy - here's a screenshot of their beautiful beads right at top centre!

Soda Lime Times:

Helen Chalmers  has a tutorial in the Novemeber edition of the new e-magazine for lampworkers, Soda Lime Times, called 'Thinking Beyond the Bead' - an insight into lampworkers who make more than just beads. You can get your copy here, and read about Helen's gorgeous lampworked rings.

Interweave Press:

If you've ever wanted to try peyote stich, Lynn Davy can help with a pretty earring tutorial in the now available e-magazine Fabulous Peyote Stitch Jewelry with Crystal Accents! The magazine can be purchased from the Interweave Store

Other News:

Sabine Little of Little Castle Designs is undertaking a very exciting and challenging project, during which she will create a sculptural glass 'accent' to a local folly. You can read more and show support here - it promises to be an incredibly intriguing venture!


Pris (aka Princess Peggy) has blitzed all her prices by 20% - so now's the time to grab one of her beautiful beads!

Thursday 27 October 2011

Etsy Tips - a Brief Introduction by Jane Hamill

An occasional feature from Jane Hamill, who shares her experiences with selling on Etsy, and how she uses it to its best advantage.

' Although I've had a presence on Etsy since January 2008 and have had a few items listed every now and then, it wasn't until the beginning of the year that I started to really concentrate on it. Until then I'd had my work in exhibitions here and craft shows there but my health made it all a bit tricky, so the obvious solution was to sell online.

I also had a webshop but didn't sell much through it, so I decided to give Etsy a shot. Partly because the listing process was much more straightforward (Zencart was a headache!) but mostly because I knew that people already go to Etsy to window shop... many more than would stumble upon my own webshop!

So I scoured the web for information, found lots of advice, followed some, ignored others. It looks like I chose wisely because it started to work.

The upshot is, in the last 6 months, I've sold more via Etsy than at shows, exhibitions and old webshop *combined* for the past 2 years!

Don't get me wrong, I'm not making enough to pay the bills but I'm confident that as my name becomes more well-known and word spread, I'll get there. For now I'm covering my costs and making enough to invest in more tools, equipment, supplies and sundries for the business.

So anyway, here's the point. A couple of friends started asking me for "magic tips". Then a couple more asked. Then lots more asked... so to stop a lot of searching old emails, copying and pasting I decided to do something useful and Post Them!

NB: These tips come with no guarantee - these are just what I did to get my Etsy pageviews from a monthly total of 82 (December 2010) up to 9332 (June 2011).'


Keep watching for Jane's first tip...

Tuesday 25 October 2011

Catch up with the new team, Part 2!

As well as the blog contributors, there are also a lot of great volunteers who manage the other FHFTeam media. If you have any questions about a particular area of the team activities, these are the people who know the score, and are dedicated to making the team the best it can be:

Ruth of ARBeads and Tina of BearHouseBeads run the team's Facebook page and keep everything up to date.

Jo (RedsBeads) posts items of interest to CraftJuice, (search for 'FHFTeam' to see our items) as well as being a team Twitter-er along with Heather (BumpyBeads).

Helen of AlchemyLampworkUK is our resident trouble-shooter and problem solver at the Frit-Happens Forum Etsy board

Kay from KarinaThornhill and Gemma from SilverGems89 are the people who organize FHFTeam chats over on IRC (as well as doing some chatting themselves!)

Plus we can't forget all the talented FHFTeam members who create Etsy Treasuries, provide support, and above all, create beautiful pieces of work!



Treasury round up 25/10

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

Wednesday 19 October 2011

Member Interrogations - Dawn Turner

Dawn Turner, an artist specializing in kiln-fused glass, gives us a look into what informs her work (as well as what informs her TV-viewing habits...) Read on...

1 - Your name: Dawn Turner

2 - Your shop name and address: Dawn Turner Designs:http://www.dawnturnerdesigns.co.uk/

3 - Describe your artistic style in three words: Patterns, textures, random!

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

When I was doing my A-Level art, 5 or 6 years ago. During the experimental phase of a particular project, where I had been exploring patterns that I had seen repeated in tree forms, a riverbed, the body, maps, I was doing some printing with lino cuts - this developed into casting into plaster forms, which I then slumped glass over - I'd done a stained glass course a few years before, and *liked* it but never felt the reaction that I did to this "WOW!" I'd finally found a way to express the imagery I wanted to, but without painting it, which I am not very good at.

5 - What do you love most about your craft?

Opening the kiln is STILL a surprise, I love not quite knowing what it is going to look like until it comes out - and I just love that you can do so many things with, and to, glass to produce endless different effects.

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

 I really, really, really cannot pin this down - there's lots of glass techniques I'd like to learn more about and master, so that's a huge choice of artists - however, he's not glass related, and actually I don't think one of my favourite artists teaches - land artist, Chris Drury, but I love his work, and that he sees the same links between the microcosm and macrocosm as I do and that science is a constant them in much of his work.

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

It has to be "Epiphany" -

These pieces truly marked a turning point in my life - within 18 months of making these, I'd gone from endlessly changing jobs every few years trying to find "something" to going to full time mature student doing my degree in Crafts.

8 - Where do you find your inspiration?

I probably would have to say mostly scientific imagery; whether it be at molecular level or space satellites fascinate me endlessly - I love how images, patterns, textures from inside the body can be indiscernible from something in outer space. I also love how science, such as repeating patterns, manifest themselves in nature time and time again - I am equally fascinated by the endless variation in colour and pattern of a twilight sky, or the texture left on sand by the tide.

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

I think it has to be bas-relief, or kiln carving - particularly using lino cutting tools to carve plaster blocks - I feel this probably expresses my own creativity the most and I find carving the patterns incredibly absorbing.

10 - Where do you create your work?

At my studio, part of an open workspace with five other artists, Shed 2 Studios

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

I would happily make everything in red if I could! And I am currently in love with iridescent glass.

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

"Try it and see/give it a go" and "what's the worse that can happen?" - both regularly said to me by two of my art tutors during my foundation year, and the two really do go hand in hand I think.

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?

Am I allowed to say? Currently, it would have to be Steve McGarret from the new Hawaii Five-O, cos he's hot!! Or does that make me shallow? Hmm, otherwise, Thomas O Malley, the alleycat, I think he'd be cool to be around!

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

My ultimate goal would be to see some of my work displayed in public art in somewhere like a hospital, inspired by and designed for that specific location.


Don't forget to check back for the next insight into our members - and thanks to Dawn for this week's interesting read!


Sunday 16 October 2011

Catch up with the new team!

Over the past year, the FHFteam blog has welcomed some new contributors to the fold, and reluctantly said goodbye to some treasured old members. So we thought it was about time for a little introduction to the people currently giving you all the FHFTeam bloggy goodness:


Jolene of Kitzbitz Art Glass was responsible for founding the team back in 2009, and now, as well as running the team, she is in charge of showing off the most delicious of the eye-candy from the team's Flickr pool and Etsy shop in her regular features 'Pick of the Month', and 'FHFTeam on Flickr'. She also collects all the Etsy Treasuries lovingly created by our members and posts them weekly in her 'Treasury Round-up' posts.


Hazel from ContinuumDesigns is naturally nosy, and so rooting out all the news from members, and delving into their thoughts are the perfect jobs for her: hence the 'Member Interrogations' which let you take a look at who and what are behind our members' Etsy shopfronts, and the 'Member Round-up/News' posts designed to let you see what's happening in the Etsy world, and where you can find the best promotions and offers. Hazel was also responsible for the now-retired (but always open for a return one day) 'Designs Ideas'. She is the current blog administrator/coordinator.


If you've ever wondered how to work with the beautiful pieces the FHFTeam creates, Lynn Davy, or nemeton, can help you out. Her feature, 'Lynn's Lampies' explores in detail the joys (and occasionally the frustrations) of working with lampwork beads, and offers tutorials designed to show you easy and effective ways to incorporate glass art into your jewellery designs.


Jane Hamill very kindly gives us access to her super helpful tips on how you can make Etsy work for you.

Saturday 15 October 2011

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Monday 10 October 2011

Purple Patchwork Dish

This stunning iridescent dish has been created by Dawn Turner

Visit Dawns shop to see a lovely range of fused work including cabochons, coaster and innovative scarf buckles.

Sunday 9 October 2011

A mini-giveaway for our readers!

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

By now you've probably seen our fab new feature, Lynn's Lampies (and if you haven't, go and have a read now, then come back!), and perhaps admired the lovely lampwork earrings she showed our readers how to make:

Well, we have a treat for you - you could win these earrings! Featuring lampwork beads by Rachel Bishop and earwires by Diane Cook, some of our team members, these earrings really showcase the beauty of artisan jewellery.

And getting the chance to win them is very easy - we'll be picking a random winner from everyone who has commented on the blog during the month of October, so just keep on adding your comments to the team posts, and you'll be in with a chance! The winner will be drawn on the 1st November, so check back then to see if you won.



Saturday 8 October 2011

Friday 7 October 2011

Pick of the month for October

A Rose By Any Other Name from Midgetgembeads

Pink Grapefruit Handmade Lampwork Charm Bead from princesspeggy01

Rainbow Blue Bosom Buddy Lampwork Focal Bead from allthatsparklesbeads

Lampwork Focal Bead Heart with Matching Earring Pair from Twirleybeads

Pink Goddess lampworked glass bead from hupabella

As you may be aware October is Breast Cancer awarenewss month. This months picks are beautiful pink beads as a tribute to Breast Cancer Awareness month. You can find more from FHFteam here

Wednesday 5 October 2011

Treasury round up 5/10

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

Member Interrogations - Mary Kent

Mary Kent, a jewellery designer also known as Nemea Designs, shares her thoughts on a heap of questions this week...

1 -Your name: Mary Kent

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

3 -Describe your artistic style in three words: Bold, colourful, sparkly.

4 -When did you first start jewellery making, and how did you get started?

I first started making jewellery about six years ago. I have always been interested in jewellery and I have a good collection of costume jewellery, earrings being a weakness of mine. A long time ago I was inspired by Janet Coles and her wonderful bead catalogues to look into jewellery making as a possible hobby. I went as far as sketching a few pieces using her beads but I never followed it up. Fast forward a few years and I started thinking about it again. This time the Internet opened up a whole new world of suppliers and forums full of like minded people. I took the plunge!

5 -What do you love most about your craft?

The fact that I make people happy. Customers have often said to me that people stop them to ask them about their jewellery. What I like is not so much that others admire my work but that the people who wear them feel special because of the attention.

I also get to play with wonderful Artisan glass beads!

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

One day I would like to take lessons in lampworking. As much as I love glass, I suspect I may not be a natural talent. I just hope to get a deeper understanding of the process.

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

There are two pieces that I love. The first is called Lilacs and it was a commission piece. The glass beads by Isabelle Anderson are dreamy but I also love the clear colour of the amethyst. This piece is owned by a friend of mine so I get a chance to see it worn .

The second piece is a recent creation. I made it the day before my son’s A level results came out. I was getting rather stressed so I opened my bead box and these beads which had been lurking there for years decided that they wanted to play. I don’t often mix sets by different artists but these rondelles by Isabelle Anderson were a match made in heaven with Laura Sparling’s beads (at least I think they are Laura’s!) So there you have it: Imperial

8 -Where do you find your inspiration?

This is such a hard question. I am inspired by many things from Music to Literature to Fashion. I also let the beads do the talking. They know exactly how they want to be made up!

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

I don’t use elaborate techniques in my work as the beads are strung (the challenge comes in the design of the piece). I must admit I love wired loops as I’m incapable of making plain loops; they never turn out right. I also enjoy working with Chinese knots when I am using leather or suede.

10- Where do you create your work?

Anywhere there is space! At the moment it is on a desk in the study but I have also worked with a tray on my lap.

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

At the moment I’m interested in the use of colour as a solid block. I like to see glass beads “disappear” into similar coloured gemstones with only a few crystals scattered around to catch the eye and make the viewer aware that there are different materials at work.

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

“Nothing better than Love and Service” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers

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 be terrified but it would have to be Oscar Wilde. I would just hide in a corner and just listen to the man!

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

All I can wish for at the moment is to have some free time to bead. I hope that I can continue to improve my skills and to keep making my customers happy.

Thanks Mary - another great read for all us nosy people!

Don't forget to check back Wednesday the 19th for the next interrogation...

Hazel Ward