I am a new member of the admin team here at Art Jewelry Elements and thrilled to be part of a great group of extremely talented artists – the head pin challenge of last week left me with a serious addiction to head pins and making them! I am a lampworker, writer, mother to 2 grown up kids who refuse to leave home, wife, cleaner of house, walker of dogs, chief dribble wiper (we have a special needs cat, he was brain damaged at birth and dribbles, more about him further down…. ) and de-hairer of the furniture. What I am not, is a cook or shopper, I do neither well so my husband does those jobs and has been known to leave me easy meals in the fridge should he be at work!
I thought I would introduce myself via various photos I found whilst looking for one – which I didn’t find – and wasting the last 30 minutes or so!!
So this is me… the cute one in the frilly knickers petting the dog, Barney, whom I was told was the most aggressive hound and the person who is headless (!) is my 19 year old mother (she was too young!) wringing her hands in terror. That was the beginning of my love affair with animals and is in the early 70’s – don’t you just love the frocks of the day!!
This is where I live, the beautiful, rural countryside of Hereford, in Herefordshire UK. We are just 13 miles from the Welsh border. My bedroom window looks out over the Black Mountains in the Brecon Beacons in Wales and we have the greenest grassland in the UK, because it is nearly always raining!!
One of my walks through the ancient woodlands with my dogs, this Old Man Oak tree is over 300 years old, I tell him all my secrets.
I have drawn since I could hold a pencil and had big dreams of being a famous artist but due to being fostered in my teenage years I hit the job market as soon as I left school at 16 in a bid to leave home for good. All my artist endeavours have been through just sitting and doing, I am self taught in everything I do from the pencil drawings below to the glass I do now.
Some of my drawings were made into dog tags, prints, key rings and cross stitch designs, to name a few. I love to draw and although I don’t do it to this level any more I still doodle in the evenings, but I do it for pleasure. Making money from pet portraiture in pencil is hard work as each drawing can take over 50 hours and that is for a small one.
I did a few whimsy ones too! This one is called ‘Bottom’s Up’. I used to keep chickens but being this rural, the fox and the badger came one night and my girls are no more. I miss their fluffy bums running around the garden and chasing Defi, my youngest Golden Retriever who used to annoy them!
Some of my doodles, I love eyes, they are windows to the soul. These are just for pleasure, although I have been known to sell the odd one every now and again, I do them for me not for profit.
I ‘found’ glass completely by accident. A chance ‘go’ with my (ex) sister in law who used to use fused glass and I was hooked. I was shown how to light the torch and what a mandrel was and left to my own devices. Hours of practice in the converted studio: my easel was packed away and my bench was set up. I started with flowers, but I always wanted to create my pencil portraits in glass.
No matter how hard I tried the portraits ‘went’ whimsy so I ran with it for a few years. All my animals had bums, stories, googly eyes. They are all beads and if they didn’t make me smile going in the kiln they didn’t make the grade!
This one is ‘The Mummy Cat’.
‘Baa-Humbug’ was made for a friend who is an author and had just finished writing a book on English sweets and the heritage of them around the UK. Great book! For those not in the UK the Humbug is a black and white mint sweet (candy): Bah-humbug is a miserable old ‘git’ and the saying was made famous by Shakespeare’s Scrooge in A Christmas Carol.
I write tutorials too, this one is for badger beads, but I have done leaves, roses, bees, butterflies… all whimsy ones. You can find them in my Etsy shop – links at the bottom.
I have written for several magazines too, this is the most recent tutorial I have written and it was published in the 2016 September issue of Glass Line.
..and was for this elephant bead. My glass work has finally come full circle and now my beads are more realistic, just like the pencil portraits I used to do.
A Lynx, the customer wanted the holes in the ears so they could affix the fluffy bits of the Lynx’s ears themselves.
I have also been experimenting with boro glass and marbles, they are getting more and more round!
The Wolf, my favourite animal in the kingdom, this one is made with enamel glass powders.
And finally… I write about my special needs cat Gordy, who is a British Short Hair and more recently Teeko, a Birman, who is 15 and came to live with us last year, for Cat World magazine. Gordy is almost 4 and he is a forever kitten, he has limited balance, dribbles and can never go outside on his own due to not learning from his mistakes. He wears bibs (this is an old article) to protect his fur and those are specially designed for him by Claire of Clasicats.
This is one of my favourite photos of Gordy my son took him outside in the sunshine to play cars and he loved it… Gordy was quite happy too! Gordy can go outside but can not be unsupervised.
This is all my gang, my dogs Izabel and the reason I am also known as Izzybeads, she is 10, Defi is 6 and came to live with us at 13 months old and Teeko who used to live next door but they moved to Spain so he came here.
And that is me! You can find me at Art Jewelry Elements but also on my blog
and also on FB, I do have a business page but I prefer to use my personal one so come and be my friend!