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November 30, 2013 / prismcgirr

Art Nouveau (Organic)

???????????????????????????????     In October I made a little discovery:  if I striped my beads  lengthwise with silver glass and clear over the top and melted them in completely before pressing I got a rather nice effect.  It looked  a bit like some Art Nouveau shapes had been distorted.


The glass itself was taking over and determining the pattern for me, and   I rather liked it..





Having started with these lentil shapes I went on to experiment with long beads for pendants….these were nice too.








??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????They look particularly nice made up into jewellery….maybe because of the flowing lines where the silver glass had over-reduced.






???????????????????????????????So….quite pleased with the results!  I love it when a happy accident occurs.  Many of my experiments don’t work out so well.




September 7, 2013 / prismcgirr

Sorry, I blame Facebook

???????????????????????????????I seem to have ignored my blog for a very long time, and I blame Facebook!

It’s so easy to keep up with news and post pictures of my work on there that I tend to not keep up with my blog at the same time, especially as since January I’ve been very involved in organising Alford Craft Market’s big events, and that has taken a lot of my time and energy.

If you want to have a look, check out Alford Craft Market on FB, also my Dancing with glass page.  Social media take up so much of my time now it’s a wonder I have any time for making beads at all!

As you can see i’ve been playing with my last consignment of dichroic glass from the U S, mainly fishes and butterflies.  I was thrilled to have three of my beads on the front page of the last issue of Soda Lime Times which was all about sparkle!

???????????????????????????????This is the one that caught the eye of Diane Woodhall, the editor.  It’s called Magenta Dazzle.

I was so sorry to have to miss Flame Off at Silverstone this year.  My back which has always given me trouble decided to go on strike at the beginning of March, and although I was booked to sell my beads and my fudge I had to cancel at the last minute as it hadn’t improved enough to drive. Probably a good thing…apparently it was very cold in the building to start with which would not have helped, but I was sorry to lose my lesson with Michou Pascale Anderson.

We had a great Spring Bank Holiday Craft Market over the three days of the Bank holiday at the end of May.  I got to choose the theme of this year’s Working Weekend, which always features demonstrations and workshops by the craftspeople, and I chose glass (of course).

We were lucky enough to book Shirley Giles and Colette Ladley of Fyrebirds to do a workshop over all three days, which was very popular, also had workshops in stained glass and glass painting. I booked a well known glass blower called Anthony Wassell who brought his portable furnace and made beautiful goblets and vessels all weekend, finally letting me have a go!  My effort was rather puny, but inspired me to have a go at blowing glass on a small scale, so my profits over the weekend were spent on a new Midrange with Minor top torch and I had an early birthday present of a big two door Paragon kiln.


These are a few of my first attempts:  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A work in progress as it needs a lot of glass to fill the kiln, and I’ve been tending to use the old one for a few lentils at a time to stock my Etsy shop, while I’ve been busy organising the August Bank Holiday Craft Market.

We do have a seven woman committee, but the others all have a day job, so it falls to me to do a lot of the work, and I’m enjoying my new responsibilities.  Very worthwhile.

I’ve been asked to do a tutorial on a silver glass lentil for the November issue of S.L.T. and am just starting to work on that, …never a dull moment in Dancing with glass-land!

I must and will be keeping this blog up to date from now on….leaving you with one of my new beads, ‘Tattered Gold’, made with the new Double Helix glass: PK-565.???????????????????????????????

February 1, 2013 / prismcgirr

Dancing with Dichro

I can’t believe it’s February already, the new year is just flying past!   Definitely time I gave some attention to my blog as well as my beads.

Lately it been mostly about using dichroic as I have rather a lot of it in my stash and I love it, ??????????????????????????????? but as it costs so much I worry about wasting it, so I’m trying to find ways of using it to its best advantage. Here are some of the results:


This is the patterned dichro on a black background, could be a bit boring if I used too much of it  although I do prefer the pinky colours.


























I think I’m happiest with the plain stuff, although

sometimes it doesn’t show up so well on the brighter

colours, as in these red and pink beads.















But In the end I’ve decided that dichro is at its best when you con see the lovely sparkle revealed in clear glass, as in these ‘Blossom’ beads photographed against a clear blue February sky.

Now that’s something you don’t see very often!??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

November 21, 2012 / prismcgirr

Open Studio

Hurrah….my studio (no longer just a workshop) is now open to the public which sounds very grand but just means I have re0rganised the house so that all the glassy aspects of it are in one place, and can be kept separate when people come round to view or have a lesson.

I had an opening day on Sunday the 11th when all my friends, neighbours and customers were invited to join in  a festival of glass, wine, tea and cake, starting with the grand unveiling of the new sign on the fence outside.  A brilliantly sunny day really helped with the atmosphere and we had demonstrations and many sales.  Lovely to see the enthusiasm that some of my previously uninitiated friends showed for the lampworking process.

I have now become a member of the Lincolnshire wide group of artists in various media called Art on the Map, which have open studio events at various times of the year, and my studio will be open the rest of the time to visitors by appointment, people just need to ring 01507 463468 to make sure we are there.

Here are some pictures of the new setup:

My Big Bold Purple Sign!

Torching and annealing area

Photography and jewellery making


Display area

Visitors’ book

September 30, 2012 / prismcgirr

A Bunch of Flowers

It seems to me that although I often go off piste experimenting with different shapes,

techniques and ideas, there ‘s a common theme to most of my beads,

To start with they are usually lentil shaped, and often as not they have a silver glass component, and when I decorate them I’m using thin stringer and murrini.

I realised the other day that I’ve been making the same bead over and over in various incarnations, and it’s the ‘Bunch of flowers’ bead.  Looking back through my Flickr catalogue I see the same bead cropping up again and again, the early ones somewhat badly executed,

By this time then, with all that practice I should be an expert!

Here are some of my most recent ones, however I don’t pretend that there isn’t plenty of room for improvement.   This one is called ‘Daisies’












Meadow Flowers

































Vampire Flower Murrini












And even these two with their underwater theme…just bunches of flowers surely?

Blue Wave











Aqua Wave











…………..and what’s this, called Sunset, lying on it’s side, with my Black Lace murrini?


Obviously it’s a bunch of flowers!

September 15, 2012 / prismcgirr

September Song

The months seem to be going by very quickly and a lot seems to be happening!

My article in the August edition of Soda Lime Times was well received, and I managed to get my tutorial on silver glass for beginners into my Etsy shop in time to coincide with the magazine’s release.

That has led to quite a few sales which makes up for the lack of bead sales generally this summer.  But I can’t stop making beads whether they sell or not,  so the ones that don’t find a new home stay here with me.

I did make some dragonflies, but problems with the compatibility of the dichroic strips has meant I couldn’t put them in my shop.  Here are some of them:


This is a project I’ve had to put on hold for the time being as these thin pieces of dichroic are so good for this design.

Now it’s September and I’ve gone back to my old love Clio for inspiration:

A Clutch of Clio Lentils

Daisies on Red Velvet

This one has already gone to a very good home!

And this is the Chess King and Queen:

The photo was taken in my little photo booth, and really brings out the colours, although they are different in daylight.

I didn’t want to split them up as they look so handsome together but unless I was going to make the rest of the set there was no other way.

The weather has changed this week and cold nights are here ….although we are still having some sunny days the feel of Autumn is definitely in the air.  Somebody mentioned Halloween…..and these came out of my kiln:

Witches Hat

The Magic Apple

I’m off to harvest the tomatoes and put the Hydrangeas in a pot of glycerine and water to preserve them.

Happy Halloween everyone!   Oh all right, I know it’s not really till October, it’s  the mood I’m in,  …just humour me!

August 13, 2012 / prismcgirr


I don’t know what can have happened to all the butterflies this summer!  Our Buddlia bush is in full bloom, and so far we’ve counted about six butterflies on it.  Which is odd because usually it’s just covered in them at this time of year.

Maybe  that’s why I’ve  started making my own!

I’ve been using the fine black stringer method to draw them on a free formed bead.  First one has dichroic in it, but I’ve run out so I’ve just used some bright transparents.

And here they are, in my garden.

Dichroic Pink Butterfly

Purple Butterfly

Orange Butterfly

Blue Butterfly

I hope all the real ones come back next year!

I did see a dragonfly though…now there’s a thought!

July 21, 2012 / prismcgirr


June was a funny month…not much happening, not much in the way of sales, or inspiration come to that!  Maybe the awful weather had something to do with it.  The one bright spot was Di East’s Birthday bash at Studio 19 and the course with Astrid Reidel that preceeded it.  I only managed the last day, but that was about making 3-D flower murrini, very taxing, but the results were quite beautiful.  Here it is on a modest little bead called Martha:


July is turning out to be a more productive month.  I’ve been asked by Diane Woodhall of the Soda Lime Times to write an article on silver glass for the August edition, which has been fun but quite challenging, and involved some more photography which has kept me busy.

Also I bit the bullet and went on a course with Claudia Trimbur-Pagel about precise stringer control, based on the assumption that as it was about one of my weak points it could do me nothing but good.  It was a great lesson and I feel I’ve benefited from it.  Here are some of my practice pieces, some of which were good enough to put up for sale:


And finally…the muse is back.  Here are three lentils,  with Ekho silver glass which I’ve just recently re-discovered.

…I was pleased with these and one sold immediately…….and the sun is coming back to Britain…, roll on Summer!

May 28, 2012 / prismcgirr

Treading Water

May has been a strange month…not much inspiration,  not much happening in my Etsy shop, and very unseasonal weather….until just now when the sun is suddenly behaving like it was June already!

I have been looking at new techniques….struggling with Kerri Fuhr’s excellent Dragonfly tutorial,

and going back to old styles that have been popular in the past.

Here are some of my dragonfly efforts, getting there, but I need to find a way of making them my own instead of just a copy

But with the sunshine came new inspiration.  I had some fine silver micro mesh that I was saving for a rainy day(!), and decided to have a go with it, using some of my favourite Clio, and what has become my must have clear glass, Double Helix Zephyr, I made this bead, which looks like a light bulb…..the aim was to give it a lot of depth and shine with all the detail in the middle, and the clear magnifying it all.  I left the chill marks, because they give a lovely shimmer to the clear glass. You could almost see the light bulb popping up in my head, like in a cartoon!

Luckily my workshop is quite cool and so while the rest of the country was sweltering in the heat, I went back to my torch and created some more of what I now call my ‘Illuminations’ series.

Next month I shall be going to Studio 19 for a day’s tuition with Astrid Reidel learning how to make 3-D flower murrini, and I think that will be just the right focal interest to add to these beads, so I’m looking forward to that.  In the meantime I’ve run out of silver mesh……seems a good excuse to buy more glass as well.   Shouldn’t really, I’ve got heaps, but then I may run a bit low on Zephyr soon……

April 26, 2012 / prismcgirr

Thrills and Frills

April seems to have been a frilly month for me.  And an exciting one too.  I survived the challenging experience of taking a stand at the Towcester Flame Off, admittedly with my fudge as well as my beads, …the fudge is always popular with beadmakers, but it was nerve wracking to display my wares at such a gathering of my peers!  I was placed next to Anouk Jasperse who turned out to be also quite apprehensive….she need not have woried, her beads are awesome!

Up till then I had been not listing much on my Etsy shop this month as I wanted to have a good stock of my best beads, and the theme throughout April has been frills or wings of various sorts.

Frilly Fritillary

This one is staying with me!

This one was bought by the landlady of the lovely B and B I stayed in at Towcester.

and this one is a bit silly!  Called ‘flatfish’, as it reminds me of a plaice.

Then the frills sort of developed into something more like wings!

Red Flower, Blue Angel

And then I had a break from silver glass,  and this is what developed:

There has definitely been some sort of evolutionary process going on here….no idea where it will end up, or if, like the dinosaurs, it will end here!