Thursday, 25 February 2010

Press [Bead] to Start

After all that journal inspiration on Sunday I have spent the rest of the week without any. I just haven't had anything to say. And worse than actually saying nothing is using lots of words to say nothing.

Today I did what I should have done at the beginning - get cooking! I use cook in the sense of concocting or inventing rather than preparing food, although it did involve the use of an oven. Yes, I've been making beads again, but it is amazing how one creative process seems to spark everything else off. Somehow in making that handful of beads I feel refreshed and awakened. I feel like I have something to contribute and, although that contribution might be slightly dodgy looking lentil beads, it's a start.

And we all have to start somewhere. Today some beads, tomorrow the world?

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Bound for Inspiration

We're back to Sunday once again and it's time to take a look at something a little bit different. GILD Bookbinders make stunning hand-made leather journals and bookmarks, just the thing to inspire you to write down your most precious thoughts.

Amongst their works are some lovely Medieval designs and fantasy creatures but my favourites have to be the leaf journals. Stamped using real leaves and then hand-coloured, each one is beautifully unique. This is what a real book should be. None of your mass produced paperback piffle here. Imagine how exquisite a bookcase full of these would be.

I'm sure even I could overcome my dreadful scrawl and be inspired to write glorious imaginings. And if a grand novel or heart wrenching poetry escape me, at least I can spend my time enjoying the lovely textures and colours.

You can see more of their creations in their Etsy store at or on their website at

Friday, 19 February 2010

I Have a Dream

I was recently reminded that I have been seriously neglecting the fabric side of my life. Now I do admit that my sewing machine has been hibernating in the cupboard over Winter and by "my sewing machine" I mean the one I have on semi-permanent loan from a very generous friend.

Sadly we only have one kitchen table and it is currently indentured to another craft. But, I have a dream ... a glorious dream of a dedicated workroom with purpose built benches, a cutting table, comfy visitors chairs, a dress mannequin, massive tailored storage systems and a stunning display area to show off my best work. The likelihood of this dream ever becoming a reality is microscopically small but you have to have hope.

For now, I will content myself with crafting in blocks. A week here, a month there and so on. March is not far off, maybe then sewing will get a look in.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Imperfect Obsession

I have become a little obsessed and, while this is not unusual, it is not normally so much fun. At least in making beads I have retained a measure of self-control to prolong the pleasure and limited myself to one batch a day.

I admit that these beads are rather organic in nature but that appeals to me. The process is evident in the result, from faint fingerprints to nail impressions, off-center holes to imperfect shapes. I could sand them to remove some of these imperfections but in making them more uniform I think they would lose something. A measure of their value, at least to me, is in their individuality. I formed them with my own hands and although someone else could use exactly the same products in the same combination they will not produce an identical item.

The pinnacle of this process for me is my son's reaction to the beads I make. He has said he would like to keep some just to look at and has been offering me names for them. Some suggestions, such as Ocean Beads and Chocolate Beads, I may use but I think the ill-fated Meat Beads (as he says they look like the steaks Alex the lion eats in Madagascar) will be quietly shelved.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

The Beauty of Bubbles

Today I want to showcase the fabulous glassware of Olde Hansa. It's almost hard to believe these amazing Medieval design pieces are meant to be used.

I think the bubbles are just glorious and I love the softness, the almost organic nature of the shapes. But Olde Hansa doesn't just offer glass to the Medievally minded, there is plenty to look at and lots of great information to be found. Not only will I continue to re-visit them electronically but I'm also going to dream of visiting them in their real world in Tallinn, Estonia, one of these days.

You can see more of Olde Hansa's creations at in their Etsy shop or on their website. I think it's well worth the visit.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Climbing the Learning Curve

I am now definitely asking myself why I didn't start making my own beads months ago. I'm having an absolute ball experimenting with the different types of polymer clay and making patterns.

As I only have a small supply of PC I've been limiting myself to one batch of beads a day or I'd run out of clay too soon. So far I've tried Pardo, Sculpey III and Fimo Soft which all handle differently and have a different finish when baked. Next I want to try mixing the brands to see what effects this will produce. And then it's on to doing some sculptural pieces and adding some Steampunk accessories. And then reproduction Roman beads. And then ... this could go on forever!

I'm getting so inspired I may also have to break out the air drying clay my husband bought me a while back. And I do need to remember to actually use the beads in some jewellery rather than just stock piling them.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

New Skill No. 1

I'm rather pleased. After several months of having an array of polymer clay types and colours sitting on a shelf below my laptop, I finally made my first beads today.

Unusually, instead of distracting me from work, my husband actually managed to inspire me to "just do it". So the kitchen table became a temporary training ground and I managed to draw some of the ideas that have been swirling around in my head into the physical realm. For a first attempt I think they look pretty good and I'm sure will soon find their way into a new piece of jewellery.

The moral of this story must certainly be to think less, act more. I have high hopes that this year will be one full of new discoveries.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Damsel in this Dress

Time to talk about the lovely Michelle Thorstrom and her fabulous corsets. I have to admit to being a little jealous of her skill and definitely lusting after several of her creations.

It is a very good thing to see someone designing beautiful clothing for real women's bodies. We should revel in our curves and a corset like one of these will show off all the best ones. Michelle's designs would be a great start for a Steampunk outfit or Renaissance festival but why not wear one whenever you want to feel gorgeous. I think that would make any day a good day. I could rave on for hours but the pictures say it all really.

You can see more of Michelle's work on her website at or check out her blog at

Saturday, 6 February 2010

DIY History

Well, yesterday was rather philosophical, today it's back to the more practical aspects of reality. A child's birthday party and grocery shopping, with hopefully a chance to do a little investigation on the Roman front.

Living back of beyond is not exactly condusive, even in this internet age, to having easy access to suitably authentic supplies for the DIY Roman. Fabrics can cost more in postage than they do to buy and there is little opportunity to confirm texture, weave and true colour before purchase. Many of the accessories available from invisible web-vendors are either copies labelled as authentic that have actually been re-designed for modern tastes or limited stereotypical examples representative of only a short date range.

In an ideal world, I would be able to manufacture all my requirements in my own back yard but, as this possibility is still far into the unforseen future, I will have to satisfy myself with attempting to find the next best thing. I could be some time...

Friday, 5 February 2010

So Much To Learn, So Little Time


So here's my new foray into the world of the unreal. Who knows where it could lead, but at least it will give my husband some peace.

A new friend has just asked what I create and this has opened up a whole can of worms. Is what I create defined by actuality or potentiality? If time were as elastic as I wish it was there would be no need to be selective about what skills I learn, what information I accumulate. As this is not the case, must I really confine myself to a limited palette of expression? Can I not count as part of my repertoire all the things I would like to create as well as the things I actually have?

My list of desires far outweighs my list of accomplishments and will likely continue so, since I am forever finding new additions for the first and only slowly adding to the second. At least this is the beginning of something new and something new is always exciting.