In April 2008 I became the first "Artist Of The Month" for the Bead Buddies Forum. This simply means that one person gets to blog and let the other members into their lives for a month. It can be quite hard work if you have nothing much to talk about!
Anyway, as so much time has passed I was asked if I would do it again, so for those not on the Bead Buddies forum you can also follow my ATOM blog here.
- How and when did your interest in beading/jewellery making/lampworking first begin?
When I was expecting my first child, Iain, I left work with no chance of return. Having lost a part-time wage I needed to make some money, but how?
I decided to make jewellery (and other things like toilet roll holders) and sell them party plan with my friend Helen - we called the partnership "Allinberry Crafts" (I was Allinson, she was Berry)
It went very well and we earned a decent amount of money over the time we did it.
Time passed, jobs came and went, husbands came and went, fast forward a lot and I found myself in "Michaels" a HUGE craft store in Florida. When I say HUGE, this place is HOOOGE ! And in the first two aisles I found BEADS, lots of beads, lots and lots of beads. Enough beads for me to spent 2 hours looking at and getting kicked out as the store was closing. Needless to say, we went back the next day and spend all morning in there buying beads (and stuff). Luckily for us the scales were broken at the check-in desk so our bags sailed through, having previously weighed them we knew that not one of them was under the allowed limit!
After a year playing with beads again, we returned to Florida. At the point I had started to question how beads were made, the main one being glass ones. So while there this time I looked up a bead shop called Flame Tree Glass (they have now relocated) that sold Lampworking equipment and bought myself a kit and a load of glass. (Oh, and we revisited Michaels and bought loads more beads and stuff)
Back at home I was already selling loads of stuff on eBay (my house was never tidier than in this period) so it seemed only natural to sell off some beads I wasn't using. They sold like hot cakes, so I did a little research and bought some more.
The first week of July 2005 I did a business course and in September of that year launched THE BEAD SHED. A hobby had now turned into a business......
• How has your work developed?
I am self taught in most, in not all, crafts. I start, see if I like, then perhaps take lessons to advance my knowledge. I find I am very sponge like for crafts, wanting to have a go at everything. Papercraft seems to be the only one I have managed to avoid - so far!
The most classes I have taken are in Lampworking - I treat myself to one each year, usually at the Flame Off (a big glass-working event held in the UK)
• Have you taken any classes and if so, with whom?
Kate Drew Wilkinson (Lampwork Beads)
Dora Schubert (Lampwork Beads)
Laura Sparling (Lampwork Beads)
Patti Walton (Lampwork Beads)
Michi Suzuki (Lampwork Beads)
Sharon Peters (Goblin & Critter Beads)
Bob Martin (Off Mandrel Animals)
Diana East (Class Casting)
Jan Ridgen-Clay (Marble making)
And I have a class booked for this year with Michou Pascale Anderson (Lampwork Beads)
• Do you favour a particular colour, shape, styles?
Nope, anything goes.
• What is your favourite piece of work, and can you tell us your inspiration behind it?
My favourite pieces change as my abilities grow. At the moment, and for quite a while, it has been this set of beads. I can't quite believe I made them, and I certainly cannot bring myself to sell them....... yet.
• Whose work do you admire?
There are way too many to even mention, and all for different reasons. I admire the perfectionists and I admire the "have-a-go's". I feel I am somewhere in the middle :)
But I will share just a couple of artists I love so you too can have a drool.
Mark Dally - I bought one of his clocks.
A Little Catty - I am lusting ;)
• What advice would you pass on to other beaders/jewellery makers/lampworkers (recommended reading, DVD's, a tool you wouldn't be without for instance)?
The only thing I would recommend is talking to other crafts people, you cannot pay for the advice (often not what you want to hear) and pointers they can give you.
• Away from beads, do you have any other hobbies or how do you spend your time?
I work in Hobbycraft (could there be a more perfect job for a crafter) and I also try and work in my shed at home selling beads - but this is becoming a little neglected these days. As for 'other hobbies' I have loads - knitting, crocheting, felting, lampwork, stained glass, fusing, and up-cycling to mention but a few.
• Tell us your favourite book, movie/TV show and what music you listen to?
Anything with David Jason in it ;D ::) (Yeah, yeah, I know, what can I say? He rocks my boat!!)
• Where can the Bead Buddies view more of your work?
The best place would be my Facebook page or here in my blog.
Oh... and HERE is the original 2008 post should you wish to read it :)