Monday, 21 December 2009

Glass for Ceramic Artists & Potters

Aside from fusing glass I also make stained glass decorations for fun. As fusing glass is so very expensive I save every scrap and every disaster to make frit or re-fuse to make glass blobs. But cathedral glass, which is used as stained glass, isn't really suitale for fusing. This is because I don't know the co-efficiency of this glass and it costs too much to keep firing up the kiln just to experiment. This leaves me with a bag full of scraps that are too small to copper foil!

So what's the answer? Well this glass makes ideal frit for pottery when smashed with a hammer. By placing a layer of small pieces in the base of a pot the glass fuses to the base to create great effects. I use it with porcelain, stoneware and earthenware and finds it behaves in different ways in the kiln. It can crackle or, with finer frit, make a smoother, denser colour. I have used it on unglazed pots and also on slip and even coated it with a clear glaze. (See my example test pots below).
I have some of this scrap for sale here and am selling 200gms for £5, which is a lot of glass and will last for a few pots. I have mixed colours or colour themes and all glass will be safely posted wrapped in bubble wrap in a cardboard carton.
To see more scrap glass visit my Folksy Shop.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

All I want for Christmas...

The Creative Glass Guild now has its own exclusive gift guide, showing presents and ornaments for all glass lovers.
Sign up for the newsletter (it's free) and browse the wondergful glass items from "Jewelry for Her" to "Home Decor". There's something to suit every pocket including stocking stuffers to elaborate stained glass ware. Oh, and my glass is in it too!
But that's not all - you can see which guild members are offering fantastic savings, free glass and vouchers, available only to newsletter subscribers. AND all subscribers are entered into the monthly prize draw - your chance to win free glass. The Creative Glass Guild also has its own blog featuring the latest in fused, hot torched and cold worked glass.
So Ho Ho Ho from the CGGE.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Why did you do it???

WHY did you think it was a good idea to roll on a sheep corpse last week? You have been subjected to three baths in expensive shampoo (don't tell Rachel we used her Australian stuff) which you hate and yet the smell doesn't seem to be dissipating.
It is particularly fetid behind your ears (your best feature) and you seem to wear it like a perfume (eau de stink). Have you wondered why nobody has cuddled you all week? Possibly not - do you even think at all?

Sunday, 1 November 2009

You said something....

"on a roof top in Brooklyn one in the morning
watching the lights flash in Manhatten
I see five bridges
The Empire State Building
and you said something I've never forgotten" P J Harvey

Rachel and I went to New York for a week of shopping and site seeing. We stayed in the Deauville Hotel - the same hotel where Sid stayed when out on bail for stabbing Nancy. (Amazing)!

So this trip was a bit of a mecca for an old punk - I had to go to The Chelsea Hotel and Bowery. Shame CBGB's no longer exists.

We HAD to do the tourist visit to the top of the Empire State Building and we had been advised to get there early to avoid the crowds.

Rachel at The Empire State Building

We met friends whilst in the city who took us to The Rockefeller Center, the Garment District, Diamond District, Tribeca, Canal Street (yuk) and Little Italy.

Times Square at night.

Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, looking back toward Manhatten.

To commemorate the fire fighters who lost their lives on 9/11

The Dakota Building. Nearby in Central Park is a mosaic called "Imagine" but it was very hard to see as it was surrounded by a group of teenage girls singing John Lennon songs (double yuk)!

The Flat Iron Building, the first "skyscraper" in New York in 1902. We caught the ferry at Battery Park over to Liberty and Ellis Islands. But most of our trip was shopping - with Rachel emptying every American Eagle Store she could find!

Monday, 5 October 2009

Shorn the Sheep

We are having a lot of fun at work because we have finally launched our Shorn Keighley project for 2010. This project has taken a year of planning, several applications for funding and a lot of work. So what's it all about?

We have commissioned an artist to make a life sized sheep model which has been manufactured into 10 fibre glass sheep. Each sheep will be decorated by the community in the style of a famous artist and will be sponsored by a local business. We have big plans for the finished sheep! We want them to ride on a float at next year's Keighley Gala, be part of the Keighley Festival, graze on Church Green, penned up in the Airedale Centre, race the train on the Worth Valley Railway and make guest appearances at local events. Shorn's final appearance for 2010 will be the Keighley Show.

Shorn already has his own blog and we have a flock of soft sheep ready to travel the world and send postcards from abroad. We will have an outdoor sheep trail around the town and farm visits too.

Why do we need a flock of sheep in Keighley? Keighley was once a wealthy town built on the wool industry and sheep are a large part of the local heritage. Keighley has had mixed fortunes over the years and, although it can match everything Skipton has to offer, is not a tourist destination. We hope our sheep will give local people a boost and bring visitors to the town too.

How much work does Shorn entail for us? Blimey! We have lived, slept and breathed Shorn since September 2007 and, now that we have funding from the Area Coordinator's Office, the real work has only just begun. We still have to plan the logistics of Shorn's storage, transportation, booking events, sponsors, painting workshops and security. Then there's the Shorn spin-offs such as the blog, travelling Shorns, Sheep Market and anything else we can think of.

But it will be worth it by the finish of the project. So many people have been excited by the project so far that we believe that Shorn Keighley is a worthwhile project.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Last of My Summer Garden

It's feeling quite autumnal in the mornings now. The air is definitely crisper and cooler. I have planted a lot of dwarf daffodils, including Jetfire and Quail, and plenty of blue and purple alliums for next spring. I have even ordered some pink narcissi which should get people looking when they pop up.
So I got the camera out to take a few pictures of the remaining flowers before the frosts get to them.

The garden furniture has been put away in the shed to protect it from frost damage. I will be wrapping the Buddha Head in bubble wrap soon.

There has been a late display of field poppies and I have plenty of seed for next year - including some lavender coloured poppies.

Because of the amount of rain we have had this year my nasturtiums have been free of greenfly. I guess there's something to be said for a rubbish summer...

This Liatris looks very pretty mixed with a coral coloured carnation.

I need to buy lots of winter flowering pansies and polyanthus now to fill those empty pots.
If you like gardening you'll love this website -Blotanical.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Recycle - Reuse

Recently, at work, we had the bright idea of recycling old Ladybird books to make note books. We had a lot of fun making them but we were left with a lot of lovely illustrated pages.

Then I remembered that Lynsey of Swirlyarts makes recycled envelopes and gift tags so it made sense to send them to her to make use of. I got a lovely surprise when I received one of her large hand made envelopes packed full of small recycled envelopes and gift tags. The illustrations are from The Lives of The Composers.

So thank you Lynsey for the wonderful gift. If you would like to find our more about Swirlyarts visit her on Folksy and Etsy.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Making Gift Boxes

I got fed up with how expensive gift boxes for jewellery had become so now I always make my own for craft fairs. I use origami paper or stiff gift wrap for the lids, the bases I make from magazine pages.
These boxes were made from Beatles album covers gift wrap. The paper makes the ideal boxes for cufflinks and are fun to make too. The great thing about using patterned paper is that each box comes out with a different design. Plain paper boxes are rather tedious to make.
Each box has a small square of wadding in it to stop the cufflinks from rolling around. These boxes were made from a 15.5cm square piece of paper. To make the base fit use 15cm square of paper for the base.

I learned to make these boxes by following a short film on You Tube (see below). These boxes won't survive in the post unless they are placed inside a cardboard box but they are great to use at craft fairs.

The film.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Friday Afternoons!

2pm on a Friday comes around and I'm free from work! Yippee! I zip straight home, grab the dog lead, jump in the car and we both head for the hills....

One of our favourite walks is on Addingham Moorside, although we only do this once a week as it is rather strenuous.

The first part of the walk, up to Silsden Nab, is the steepest. It's good to get the worst part out of the way.

View of Silsden from the Nab with Cowling Pinnacle in the background.
Hurry up!
Walking along the path toward Addingham.
View of the wind turbines at Chelker Reservoir in the distance.

Beamsley Beacon with Addingham village in the middle distance

Turn right over the wall and start the final ascent to the bench on the top.

The footpath.

The bench is on the far right of the picture.

Here it is, at last!
Riddlesden Moor stretches out behind. To the left is Ilkley Moor, roughly 3 - 4 miles of walking (but not today)!
Interesting! What have we here?
Well fancy that! It's a stick.....

Looking down on the valley below. It's a shame that blogger doesn't have smell-o-vision because the heather is in full flower and everything smells dry. It's also a shame there isn't any sound - you can hear the curlews from here.
Well worth the walk!

Friday, 11 September 2009

How great is this bag?

Thom bought this super-cool bag for college from Top Man and I really love it. It's a reproduction of an original design. You can almost see the tennis rackets sticking out of it! (Squint your eyes and use your imagination).

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Pen-y-ghent (or Are We There Yet)?

So, last bank holiday Monday we decided to take a walk up Pen-y-ghent, one of the three peaks. It overlooks the small village of Horton in Ribblesdale in the Yorkshire Dales.

The weather wasn't too bad for the last day of August in the UK (it was dull but warm) and, once we had started the walk the cloud over the crag lifted. It's a shallow uphill climb for the first couple of miles.
We stopped at a bank of scree for a chocolate break - I insisted - and looked down on Hull Pot (the one filled with water).
View across the valley with Horton in Ribblesdale in the distance.
The climb got steeper toward the top and the guide books said it was a "short sprint to the top". Ha ha! I wasn't sprinting, I can tell you.
Jackson sit! Sit I say! Stay still for the camera! Oh never mind....
The views from the top are spectacular although it is very windy up there. Fortunately, there is a sheltered bench to sit on. Other people were there eating their sandwiches - much to Jackson's delight. A dribbling dog is not attractive!
The descent is much quicker and steeper. Jackson hopped from rock to rock but my Sister-in-law's little dog panicked and had to be helped down by a kindly stranger. Everyone else leapt around like mountain goats leaving me to plod my way down. Not impressed!

At the bottom it began to rain that diagonal sleety Yorkshire rain. I had brought a hat and waterproof clothing (unlike some people) and had a change of clothes waiting in the car. Typical me, though, I fell over in the mud in front of a group of people.
Well, that was five and a half miles and is the least strenuous of the three peaks. I'm looking forward to climbing up Great Whernside and Ingleborough next, although I could never do all three in one day. We adjourned to the pub for some cheer and I fell asleep over my drink.
For more pictures of Pen-y-Ghent visit my Flickr.