Stuff for people who are still a bit untamed, young at heart and full of dreams.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Finally - Sunshine!

After weeks of rain, the sun has been shining for two days in a row! Crisp blue skies, no clouds and finally, a touch of golden autumn! Arran is just so breathtaking when the weather is clear and bright. Yesterday was bonfire night which we somehow missed completely. Obviously we overheard anybody who told us to 'Remember the 5th of November'. We had a leisurely mother-son evening painting our future in bright colours and watching old films. It's enjoyable when the black-cloud-periods in a teenager's life become less frequent and the wonderful person he is gets more space. Yeah, and today the sun is shining again and I'm decided to enjoy it with a long walk up the hill behind our house.

Even our big cat seems to enjoy the warmth, letting the sun warming her tummy:

And I finally get a chance to have a look at the result of my last rainy day project in natural light. I made those two heads from clay which I finally glazed and fired. They were meant to be heads for my next art doll project. They are a bit big and heavy. I'm pondering at the moment whether I still should try to use them for a doll project or just list them on etsy as ornaments. Or - very tempting thought - just keeping them for myself...

I'm going to think about this while I'm up the hill. And that is.... now.

P.S.: For the next cold spell, have a look at my latest treasury on etsy:

Friday, 4 November 2011

My Passion For Glass...

...begins usually at one of our many beaches. I've been collecting beach glass since we moved to Arran. Actually, I collected glass and ceramic shards before that, but living just a few meters off the sea makes beach combing so much easier.

When we had a guesthouse, we had a big fireplace in the lounge. A very useless fireplace which didn't work. For a hundred years, every new owner (including us) would try to get it working without smoking, roasting or suffocating everyone in the building. Of course, we had to try it too, because, what's a Scottish house without a fireplace. We relined the chimney, we placed a granny on top, anything you can do apart from ripping the outer wall open and rebuilding the whole three floor high thing. Nothing worked. In the end I whitewashed the fireplace, stuffed newspaper up the hole to keep the wind out and with masses of sea glass, shells, sea ceramics, driftwood and two lovely sailing boats I created a beach themed display. Already back then, I made wire wrapped beach glass pendants which I sold for years at the local craft markets. People do like them. It's like taking a piece of Scotland, a piece of Arran home.

When we moved I ended up with buckets full of beach glass, and since we had a workshop, friends would even bring the most lovely pieces they found on the beaches. And of course, I never stopped looking for beach glass.

Only this summer, the weather was so abysmal that I didn't really get around to comb the beaches very often. Instead, I was given a Dremel shaft drill. And that was, wenn I discovered, that the world is now open to work with any piece of beach glass, stone or ceramic.

My first drilled bits were what I call Zen Beads. Little stacks of sea glass or pebbles:

Zen Beads

Another of my early drilling results were simple pendants, to which I attach shells, pearls, charms - anything that is related to water..

Sea glass Pendant

I discovered pretty quickly that my Dremel allowed me to connect any beach glass shards I wanted to. So the next one was this bracelet:

Beach glass bracelet with freshwater pearls

And finally, I gathered that there are no limits and I could actually tackle some of my bigger finds. I have always loved this almost Caribbean turquoise blue big piece of sea glass. It had its place on nearly all window sills of the house but it always was to big to wire wrap it as a pendant. A few times I even thought of breaking it into smaller pieces with a hammer and finding someone who could tumble them for me. But somehow that was completely against my understanding of beach glass jewellery. I really want to use the piece as I find it with only adding things to it and at the most, drill a hole. I love proper beach glass, that has a history and had its battles with sand, waves, wind and water. For me, tumbled new glass is pretty much a fake.

Once I put my Dremel to the big glass shield, I came up with this necklace which incorporates an aged key, an upcycled scrabble tile, pearls, mother of pearl buttons and some clay beads. To keep the natural, almost crude and shabby chic appearance, I hammered big metal links and jump rings from silver plated copper wire and brushed and oxydised it naturally. So far I have not yet put it on etsy. I can't yet separate from it. But I think by end of this week it will find its way into my etsy shop.

Aphrodite's Key Necklace

5 years ago: my very first still a bit clumsy pendants

But I'm sure, I will always come back to the beginnings and wrap some of my beach glass with wire:

Thursday, 3 November 2011


Half a year of silence! Now I feel really bad. It didn't seem so long. With all that was going on. The main experience over the summer was our pop-up shop "Pooch - by Nici Boni" with Arran Gems as partner. A total new experience, having a "real" shop with ever changing displays, face-to-face customers and a spacy workshop on top! With the visitor centre being a former farm, our shop was located in the horse stables, which made for a lot of atmosphere. The rustic touch, a lick of paint (mainly black and white with a few touches of gold), a good mix of old and modern furniture, Nici's handmade stylish bags and my (of course also handmade and stylish) jewellery made for a real boutique-like feeling. Even with the credit crunch and people not as lightheartedly spending money as before, we had a few good weeks over the summer holidays. And we most certainly had a lot of inspiring interaction with our fellow crafters in the centre. It's really amazing how much inspiration thrives when a few creative people come together. And together with a potter, a silk painter, two glass artists, a thrift sculptor and and a very crafty producer of home decor we had a really creative summer full of fun and loads of coffee... - Therefore, it's pretty sad that we have to pack up now. Nici, Carol (one of the glass artists) and I are looking into a more permanent solution. We'd love to continue to work together. So keep fingers crossed...

Open for summer business...
It has a lovely boutique feeling to it, hasn't it?

My still pristine work table

Nici's gorgeous "mothership" bags
A few children's necklaces have already gone

Nici's door stops and a set of shell jewellery

Earrings and  children's bangles
Gemstone jewellery
Another show case