Wednesday, 25 March 2009

worlds group

worlds group
Originally uploaded by steampunkglass
A very short post with a quick preview of the new crop of little words, I will try and make some more of these soon, and also turn a few into earrings.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Evil Ruler of The Kiln Galaxy

Small Blue Worlds
Originally uploaded by steampunkglass
It seems at the moment I am at my most productive on a Sunday. Saturday seems to start slowly, plus this weekend I was completely shattered which is not great for being creative. Sunday was a different matter! I cleaned down my work desk and decided to leave the boro flowers for a while to use up my soft glass stash. This was about the time I realised how much I’ve come to love off-mandrel working! Twiddling around sticks of bent metal that are covered in potential harmful dust is not ideal (although I still love the smell when first heated, reminds me of my first time bead making.)

Second bead and straight in with 101-stupid-mistakes! ‘Putting hot sticky bead into kiln and touching other hot bead.’ Not a good start, although I think I saved one of them, albeit after having to reshape it again.

So enough with normal beads, thought I’d make some more of my ‘little worlds,’ which I’ve had some nice comments back about this week. I’ve been meaning to make some more for a while, and to try out some new colour combos as well. Suddenly it all clicked again, and from having mandrels sitting around gathering dust, and bead release hardening in the pot, I actually had to raid my drawers for any more I could find – even some part bent ones! I’ve filled the kiln before, but never this much! The kiln turned into a little galaxy of Planets!

I’ve done a good few with the classic deep blue, (as per the picture here) plus more of a nice pale green peridot colour. I’ve not listed any of these yet as for some reason I can’t seem to get any of these to be a close size match yet. I have had a go with some more ‘Mars Red’ and some fab ‘Indigo’ – yet more new colours I have yet to unveil! However I left the best to last, and think I have come up with some of the best little worlds I have EVER made! Even ‘The Boss’ was blown away by them, and that takes some doing! I am really excited about the way these are going now, the three hours for the kiln to cool was torture last night! The only problem I have is I only have a tiny bit of this glass left, and when I checked this morning found out because of the high silver content it’s about 12 times the cost of the normal blue!!!! Ekk!!!!! I will have to ration this stuff!

I will get these cleaned up later this week so I can make some new earring with them, keep a look out for the pictures as these really are worth seeing, until then I’m going to be mean and leave you wondering about them - after all I seem to be Evil ruler of my very own universe of little planets now!

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

I really must feed my subconscious more often

big shell1
Originally uploaded by steampunkglass
It’s funny how glass making can be come a kind of trance somedays, and that’s when the subconscious can sneak in and give you a nice surprise. I had a brief afternoon trip to St Ives the other week. Normally that would be great, except this was a cold and windy day, and we went there to try and clear our heads after a funeral in Truro a day before.
I must say I do like seaside towns when they are off-peak; you get to see the real place hiding under the plastic spades and holidaymakers. After a few hours cheerless wandering, I popped into a tourist shell shop, feeling the need to get something ‘positive’ however small and silly. I bought a small bag of chipped shells and one larger long coil shell, not even sure why. When asked what was in my little £2.99 brown paper bag I said ‘a bag of inspiration,’ although I felt far from inspired. On my return home the bag got left in a corner of my workshop as other routine things like washing clothes and buying cat food took precedence.
Then on Sunday I was messing around with some new techniques I’ve been trying, mostly involving making spirals trapped inside beads (I love doing spirals!) Some of them were taking ages to do, 45mins on a bead is a very long time to stare at the same thing, when in a lapse of concentration – or I think maybe my subconscious had a better idea – I pulled too far on a spiral, and then pulled a bit more, and a bit more, until I had these amazing shell-shaped beads, with little sea anemones trapped inside! Of course what I didn’t realise until after I had tidied them and tweeked them a little, that they were like that one big shell I had bought a couple of weekends before. I then looked on my desk and found I’d ‘doodled’ the same twisty texture with some other glass that I then didn’t know what to do with.
So, the moral is, feed your subconscious, even when you don’t think it’s paying attention!

Monday, 16 March 2009

Spring Flowers

Sometimes I spend so long thinking and working with a technique that leads to a new bead or piece of jewellery that I forget the results will go off to have a life of their own. So it was a real pleasure to get some photos from Christie at who bought one of my flower drops pendant beads a while back, and made this lovely necklace with it. She has managed to match the colours inside the bead really well, (although I don’t know how she has the patience to deal with stringing all those little tiny beads – that would drive me nuts!) I was just thinking of giving them a rest and trying something different, so it was great to see and spurred me on to do some more, a few of which are now in my Folksy store; The way I like to work these is quite organic, so the flowers and overall shape are never the same, making each a true original design.

Whilst I was making more of these I also ‘risked’ a couple to try a new technique, which I will showcase in the next few days when I can get some pictures taken. It’s mostly gone well, although one of the best ones cracked in the kiln (isn’t that always the way!) I think I went a bit OTT with a couple of them suddenly becoming fun sea-shell shapes as I worked them - well I was by the seaside last week, so hardly surprising!

I will be listing more soon at Folksy, I am not going to list in ETSY for a while now, as I have been rather disappointed in it of late, and I can’t devote enough time to two shops as well as the website and everything else that keeps me away from the torch.

Friday, 13 March 2009

New Drops at last!

Originally uploaded by steampunkglass
Wow, it’s been such a push to get everything done, past few weeks being ‘out of action’ and now I have a hundred jobs to do. One of the main tasks is listing more stuff in Folksy at but it seems to take ages to get the photos done.

Getting much happier with the boro flower drops now, having such fun doing these, although they do take a bit of time. I timed doing a simple one and it was about 25mins from start to finish, if I invest in a new torch and Oxycon if might be quicker but more risk of bubbles and inclusions. I don’t mind the wait, it’s like a little trance sometimes as I twirl away, although I am finding the back of my hands start to really feel the heat. Normal gloves won’t help as it’s only the back of the hand holding the rod, but Archery gloves have been suggested, might have to investigate further!

I’ve put three drops on Folksy already, plus lots more pictures of them on my Flickr page, I am hoping to do lots more this weekend, including more with some very special glass leaves that are starting to look amazing!

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

I've been steam blogged!

Spiral Valve
Originally uploaded by steampunkglass
I've been blogged again! This time for my odd steampunk glass valves, which I am still selling over on Etsy. is a great blog of weird and wacky, and even disturbed quirky handmade articles. From 'Mr Intestines' doll, to a dolls head with top removed to use as a pin cushion it's a great shopping link for that difficult to shop for weirdo in your life.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009


Looking at old glass is always inspiring, and when I recently saw some Absinthe coloured raw glass I immediately thought of an old friend Ron at
I knew Ron, and his lovely French wife Fran when they lived in London. He would spend his weekends prowling antique markets, bottle fairs, and Parisian flea markets hunting down poison bottles that he collects. Now back in California he trades in antique and reproduction Absinthe memorabilia, along with other quirky bits that take his fancy, from Zombie finger puppets, Hogarth prints, and alternative baby clothes – very handy at the moment for his newly arrived son Vincent!

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at the elegance and variety of the glassware, although delicate looking most of them would have had to survive a pretty harsh cafĂ© life; not to mention being repeatedly heated as drunk Parisians set light to Absinthe soaked sugar cubes suspended over the glasses on slotted spoons. The hot flaming syrup would then drip into the rest of the Absinthe, which might also catch alight, then be diluted down to a cloudy pale green with water until the fire went out! Hummm, along with the fire risk, and the brain damager from drinking 55-70% proof alcohol laced with poisonous wormwood I guess it’s not surprising it got banned in France! Apparently the prohibition was delayed while the major producer rushed to make a copy that tasted the same without the dangers. The name of the maker? Why, a Mr Pernod.

Well worth a look at the website, personally I love the ‘Absinthe fountains’ which were used to hold water for dousing the flames, and an intriguing look at a bygone fad that sent half of Paris drunk and mad! Yes, I have tried it (my other half in a holiday cottage dripping flaming blue sugar everywhere was a bit worrying! Not doing that again!) It was ‘orriable, I’ll stick to ale or tea! It’s safer!

Monday, 2 March 2009

Drop Therapy and Goldfish Cat

flower pendant2
Originally uploaded by steampunkglass
Many thanks for all the kind words and thoughts from everyone recently, I’ve been very touched, and hope to resume ‘normal’ service in the next few weeks.

I’ve taken some time out in the studio this weekend to escape my recent tempestuous times and recharge my batteries with a little play with borosilicate glass. It’s been more relaxing to use as I don’t need to put the kiln on as I can batch anneal later, it doesn’t shock as badly, plus it’s slower to melt so forces me to take more time. I have obsessively been making flower drop implosion beads, they can take about 25mins or so each to do and becomes quite hypnotic as I slowly turn the glass waiting for the glass to drop and ‘grow’ the flower. Some turn out great, a few not so good, I encapsulated some amber glass hoping to copy my soft glass ‘ghost’ flower technique only to misjudge it and end up with a misty Technicolor swirl of milky whites and purples! It looks like something from a 50’s B movie instead. They will have to wait another couple of weeks for photos so I can anneal them properly first (sometimes the colours change when that’s done) and then I will post loads of photos onto my site and Flickr. The picture he is an old one, I’ve got SOOOOO many nice new ones to show you soon, the practise, practise, practise mantra is really starting to come good as they are getting better each time now.

It’s also been surprisingly busy on Folksy, it’s nice to see that a UK site is starting to rival some of the competition, I will definitely be putting much more on there in the next few weeks, I suspect there might well be a lot of flower drops!

One thing has made me feel guilty this weekend. Our neighbours have been real stars for looking in and feeding the cats at short notice, but yesterday we found the remains of one of their goldfish on our path. When we spoke to them yesterday found it is one of our little monsters as he’s been regularly caught going fishing! I owe them some fish now!