Thursday, 29 April 2010

The attack of the TRIFFIDS!!!!!!!

Triffids? I hear you ask, yes, Triffids. Mad?! I hear you ask or exclaim, yes, I probably am!

I am really not quite sure where these little critters came from, I’ve been thinking a lot about some rather serious minded sculptures, and I think my mind rebelled against too much serious thought. They are such fun to make though, and with each one I made I had several ideas for different versions!

Two have already escaped though! I didn’t even manage to get photos before one black-legged Triffid and a rather nasty one-eyed Amazonian running Triffid vanished! Lucky the black-legged Triffid was re-captured one the Isle-of-Wight and is being held in a secure location there. He moved a lot quicker than I expected, and is unusual in that he has one black leg, and the rest are green.

The One-eyed Amazonian Triffid is more of a worry though; this is one of the fastest Triffids, recording speeds up to 15 miles an hour. We suspect it can go faster, but the chap with the stop watch didn’t realise how fast it was and stood a little too close…. Triffid growing is not without risks! This one is still at large, last spotted trying to board a flight to Canada, we suspect it's trying to get back to the Amazonian jungle!

I hope you enjoy these little slices of glass botanical madness! Three of them are now in my Etsy shop where you can see more pictures of three different species and learn more about Triffid botany!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Volcano Blues

I’ve been putting a lot more into my Etsy shop over the past few weeks, and it’s been great as I’ve been sending little worlds and marbles to USA, Norway, and my furthest yet sale to Australia! My past ‘assaults’ on getting my Etsy shop to work have always fizzled out, so it’s been great getting on a roll again with it. I should have know something would throw a spanner in the works!

Yes, it’s all about ‘that’ volcano with an unpronounceable name in Iceland. With Etsy being such a US based site with international sales I’ve been reluctant to list anything more until I know the Royal Mail is back to normal(ish). I’ve been checking their updates, and it’s still all delayed. Sending to the USA is quite badly effected as they are now sending a lot of recent mail by boat now! Ekk! And a slow boat too!

I’ve been using the time to make another little batch of little worlds. I don’t do these often enough, they are soft glass and it takes me a little while (and failed attempts) to get back into the swing and not blast the glass with mad amounts of heat! These have come out completely different to the last lot, some have got only very light reactions to them, I guess I’ll have to call them ‘Mostly sunny day’ worlds! I’ll need to clean them and pair them up before I can list them, another for my ‘to-do’ list!

I am also concentrating a lot of torch time to glass sculpture. This is quite a departure from the ‘practical’ world of jewellery to make things with ‘no purpose,’ so I was glad to stumble across a quote (I think it was on the Folksy forum) that the purpose was ‘things to make me smile!’ In the course of this I seemed to meander off the very arty project to make some very silly and fun sculptures instead. I hope to have got some special props and more made before I photograph these, so I’m going to keep these under my hat for a bit longer. I suspect they might get me on the front page of Regretsy* though!

In the meantime here’s a snap, courtesy of NOAA public access program, of an older icy scene and what I hope isn’t the type of ship being used for mail to the USA!!!!

*(If you haven’t come across Regretsy yet, it’s one of those snarky blog/websites that point out the odd/funny/disastrous things people list on Etsy. Although most of the stuff is rather ‘suspect’ I personally feel one mans junk is another’s treasure, and at least these people are making something. Not that I want to buy any of it though!)

Photo Credit:US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Nature creeps in

Tiny glass plant
Originally uploaded by steampunkglass
One of the things that attracted us to where we currently live is the closeness to ‘nothing.’ Walk one way and it’s shops, train station, all the stuff you need. Walk the other way for a couple of minutes and it’s fields and hedgerows.

Not that I get to see much of nothing sandwiching my time between early morning train travel and all other spare hours working glass or taking pictures of it, but I think having so much nature around is really soaking into my work lately. I still make glass leaves and small flower marbles as colour tests without thinking of other shapes. The past week I’ve been trying some more outlandish plant ideas, which have been more freeform and quite liberating after the precision needed for marbles. It was my other ‘arf who pointed out how she could easily see which was the first and last, but not due to an increase in quality. Each had become larger, bolder, (and ever slightly crazier!) I’m not showing those yet, as it’s all still ‘work in progress’ – be warned, it’s nothing like more normal stuff

I try to limit my size normally as I have limited torch power, and I’m aware of the cost of the borosilicate colour glass when making larger items. However I think a size increase is inevitable, I look longingly at the USA lampwork magazines where $2000 torches are being use to make full sized bottles and the like. So I’ve been using my ‘Harry Pickup’ mode (as a previous post) and making smaller and smaller objects. One of which is a new sculpture of a plant with flowers in a pot, which is about 30-40mm high. I couldn’t even melt the punty off the bottom on this one, I was worried the heat would make the make the top melt and ball up! Not the sort of marble I want! In the end I ground off the glass rod when it was cold. I’m going to pop that in my esty shop later this week.

Back to nature, I was lucky to see an amazing sight back in the cold days of February on my morning walk to the train. I go over a small river which has a flood plane left populated by weeds, rabbits, dragonflies and more. There was a sudden commotion in the frosty distance and a baby and adult rabbit making sounds rabbits shouldn’t make! A stoat was trying to pick off the baby (he/she failed) and it was amazing to then see the strange, almost serpentine, way the stoat moved though the think undergrowth. I knew there were stoats locally but had never seen one before, and felt a bit spoiled to see one actually hunting too in real life rather than on a TV documentary. Not great for the rabbits, but an amazing site on a cold morning, and worth missing a train to stop to watch for a few minutes!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Random Notes of Tea Breaks

Despite deciding not to list so much on Etsy, that’s exactly what I’ve gone and done! Within the space of a few days I’ve pretty much doubled the amount of listings there, plus tweaked the prices on a few where exchange rates have changed, or old things I’m fed up of looking at!

I’ve also listed some of the new pendants I’ve been making, which I am really rather pleased how they are now coming out. I’ve cut down the failure rate, but I am taking a lot more time over them now. Originally I planned to add chains or nice leather cord with silver findings but they took ages to turn up, so I’ve listed them now as an ‘optional extra’ as I know some people just want the pendants to add to their own necklaces. Somewhere I’ve got a stiff silver choker, I am sure one would look great on that, but the grand tidy-up scheme seems to be taking a lot longer than planned! I was going to do blitz listings of old bits and bobs, but it seems to take ages to get everything photographed, and I so easily get distracted by ideas to try. I found a white marble when sorting through that I saved as it gave me a brilliant idea – I just need to remember what it was!
You can find my Etsy shop at

In aid of my memory I’ve got back into the habit of carrying a little notebook and a nice pen to scribble away in. I seem to be filling it up nicely. I normally jot notes on backs of envelopes, but my other half got me a selection of little books which are really nice to use as well as keep all these ideas together. I am not sure how useful any of it is, but it’s a nice way to turn ideas over in my mind with a cup of tea and a slice of cake! I seem to have developed a rather odd habit lately of really fancying cake when I’m having a session on the torch. I’ve given in and started buying a Victoria jam sponge especially for those long weekend sessions! Not doing my waistline much good, but with a cup of Lady Grey it makes very civilized tea breaks! Here’s a page out of my mad tea ramblings, I’ve picked one of the clearer and less messy pages!