Monday, 29 April 2013


The exciting news is that I have some of my Alien Specimens in an exhibition, starting on Friday! The collection is entitled 'Glass' and features work from 30 different glass artists at the Cuploa Gallery in Sheffield from 3rd May to 16th June.

This is quite a major show, it's been quite a surprise to see myself (and a picture of one of the Aliens) featured in press releases and emails from other mailing lists I'm on of upcoming exhibitions. I really wanted to go up for the opening night, but I just don't think I can make it as I only found out I was including a short time ago (thanks to some lost emails) and it seems all the trains and hotels rooms in Sheffield seem booked that weekend. This was by selection only, so I was delighted to hear I'd been chosen!

 One lobster didn't make it, thanks to the post office, and arrived upside down in a box clearly marked 'this way up,' one of the gallery directors told me he saw the driver offloading it, and was surprised that only one was broken. Not as bad as one artist though, for whom every item he sent arrived smashed. However the lobster I know can be rebuilt, and will give me the excuse to make some tweaks to it that I wanted to make.

This does mean I won't have very many aliens to take to the MCM Expo in London, but space is limited there this year, and hopefully the ones in Sheffield will now find new homes, then I can use the proceeds of their 're-homing' to fund making some more new and exciting ones!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Alien Sea Huntress

Or it might end up just being called Sea Huntress, or The Huntress. In my mind it's just 'why have I got this crazy necklace idea in my head? I've got enough half finished projects already without starting another one!'

This nearly did stall, and I know that I could still be tweaking it, but I'm trying to get back to one of the earliest lessons' I learnt with glass - stop, move on; that's as good as you can do for now, learn by it and take those lessons to the next thing you make. Easier said than done, I even posted some earlier pictures on Frit Happens to get some feedback to see what needed tweaking. I almost ended up with too many ideas of changes, so after a dozen more times threading and unthreading it, moving elements around, adding and taking them away, it ended up going very nearly back to how it started. I did find adding a few small Tibetan spacer beads helped some of the claws sit more neatly, which ended up being the main tweak. I wasn't going to put the spike in the centre, and just have the two claws facing each other, but when I did it was just crying out for something major between them. I even had to make beads for it - yes beads! I hardly ever make beads, and I hated the first ones, but then remembered some 'bumpy' style ones I'd seen somewhere, so made some like that which I really liked, and as a bonus kept more of the metallic lusters.

It's been an interesting project, and bizarrely came from working on the Alien monsters, where I'd developed some interesting ways of adding colour and texture. With this one the colour has a really, really, high silver and metal content, so in real life has some wonderful metallic lusters. Oddly though parts of it show up as yellow when light shines through them, but green-blue when the light hits it straight on!

I am still deciding if I should list this on Etsy, or take it along to the May Expo. When I make things like this, I tend to think 'would this look like something someone of 'Farscape' would have worn?' If the answer is yes, or at least possiably, then I think it's right.

Talking of which, I have some news about the Aliens, but it's not confirmed yet, so you are going to have to wait until the next post, but I will post on my Facebook page as soon as I know it's going to happen.

In the meantime, here's lots of pictures of the necklace.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Etsy Reloaded

I am having a tidy up of my Etsy shop, ready for an onslaught of new listings later today! This is partly because of the new postal prices - I'm actually putting international prices DOWN - and also because I've run out of propane, so I can't melt anymore glass until a new tank is delivered!

For a while now I've been charging more than I wanted to on international deliveries, after having too many going missing in the post I've upgraded to 'signed for' service. From customers responses I noticed they seem to have got there a little quicker, however I was partly subsidizing this and it still made postage very expensive and off-putting. I also had the unexpected problem that many USA customers have PO boxes, and as PO boxes can't sign for parcels I couldn't use the Royal Mail's International signed-for services anyway! So, as soon as I can figure out how, I'm going to start offering it as an optional extra instead, or just pay for it myself if it's a larger order. Oh, and go back to crossing my fingers when I go to the post office.

It's just as confusing for UK deliveries too, lots of the old smaller weight options and sizes have been removed, so it looks like everything I am going to post will fit the 'small package' size - so long as I don't overdo it with the bubble wrap and make the envelopes more than 8cm thick! It does allow me to post up to 1kg though, so for most UK deliveries in my Etsy shop it will now cost a flat fee of £3 if you buy 1 thing or 20!

Still confused, or confusing? I'm just glad I don't work at the post office, the Ladies at my local branch are the ones I feel sorry for as they try to unravel all the new size regulations. It was so much clearer and easier when it was just a matter of weighing a box!

In 'other news' I've been playing around with my second 'little kiln' which goes up to much higher temperatures (shown here at a chilly 880degrees centigrade! I've had it up to 958 deg C for these casts.)
Cooling down from 950deg C, this was taken as it hit 880 deg C!

However it's still not going to plan, although I've had some unexpected success with some beads I slumped into flat cabochons, I litterally popped them in at the last minute before firing to take advantage of some spare space. I've just fired some more, a few will be cropping up in my Etsy shop too.