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Sunday, 19 February 2017

The Best of British Beads ~ Josephine Wadman

Sometimes being a English jewellery maker can be a little frustrating.  A quick etsy search or a scroll through facebook groups for artisan beads often brings up reams of wonderful components that I'm enthralled by, only to find they are far, far away in America.  Unfortunately this means that, at least for me, these fabulous items are more or less locked away behind a paywall!

Ridiculous shipping costs and import taxes (and an £8 processing fee? really??) combined with the recent Brexit-driven slump in the pound make buying American beads very difficult for a part-time jewellery maker such as myself.  And with the UK likely to pull out of the EU single market and customs union, it's possible that European beads will soon carry a similar tax burden.

But not to fear!  Hidden amongst the out of reach treasures are fantastic artisan components made right here on British soil.  This is the first of what I hope will be a mini series of blog posts highlighting some of my favourite British bead makers.  Over the years I have discovered many extraordinarily talented ladies working in glass, metal and clay to create miniature works of art for us jewellery designers to play with and I am very, very grateful indeed!

First up is a lampwork bead maker who fulfils my need for crustiness in my bead collection.  Josephine Wadman of Josephine Wadman Designs mostly sells her wonderful beads through facebook groups.  It took me a while to get into this method of buying beads (I'm now hooked), and a strand of orphans from Josephine was the first set I ever brought via this method. Many of those beads were used in this bracelet (the creamy coloured ones) along with further lampwork by Calisto Beads and The Fyre Faerie.  Look at the scrumptious urchin bead in the front!

Available on Etsy!
I really loved the rustic feel of these beads and soon went back for more, including the wonderfully pitted rustic ring and bicone beads in this necklace, which also sports a ceramic spike by Petra of Scorched Earth (hopefully up next in this British bead series!).

Available on Etsy! 
And finally here is a pair of earrings, made  with beautiful blue beads that remind me of the sky, accented with colourful flowers, as is my wont :)

Available on Etsy!
I hope you agree that Josephine's beads are just scrumptious!  Please go check out more of her work at the following venues:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/JosephineWadmanDesigns
Etsy:  https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/josephinewadman

Thank you for reading and I hope to hear from you soon!

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Art Bead Scene Challenge January

One of my resolutions for growing my jewellery business this year is to start playing along with the Art Bead Scene monthly challenges every month as far as it is possible.  This year they have made everything a little easier by producing a very handy booklet/ work book which you can find here.  Looking through the selected artwork is a pleasure, and I look forward to creating my challenge pieces as the year progresses.

January's art work is Field of Flowers by Egon Schiele:


Although this fiery end of the spectrum often has me stumped, the inclusion of some earthy greens and the floral motif gave me the starting points for my design.

Find them here on Etsy
In my art bead stash I had a pair of beautiful crusty lampwork bicones in a perfect olive green.  These are from one of my favourite UK bead makers, Josephine Wadman.  I have so many of her beads!

I created flower and leaf beaded tassels to go with them, and added some of my favourite copper bead caps to finish the look.

Find them here on Etsy

I really like this style and plan to make a couple more earring pairs pairing lampwork beads and flower tassels, so if you like this design then watch this space!

If you would like to see some other designs inspired by this bright, joyous painting, please pop over to the ABS monthly challenge Pinterest board to have a gander.  It will be well worth the visit!

Friday, 20 January 2017

Back In The Swing of Things!

So, the second half of 2016 was pretty rubbish for me.  It started with the Brexit referendum result, which I was not all too pleased with - I dislike the corporate, bureaucratic structure of the EU but don't believe this is the right time or way to leave.

I then went on to break my foot, be unpleasantly forced to move house due to my ex-landlord's incompetence and lose my grandma and a close family friend all with in a few months.  Not great and not conducive to getting jewellery work done!  Especially as I was without an internet connection for quite a while (excuses, excuses excuses ;)

I am pretty glad to see the back of 2016 to say the least!  Roll on 2017 and hopefully much brighter days.  I am resolved to push forward and make improvements in both my personal life and my jewellery making ventures.  As such I have set myself some goals for this year including:
  • Boosting my Etsy inventory to at least 60 items
  • Building my social media profile
  • Finding alternative venues to sell my jewellery
  • Developing my metal-working skills
  • Improving my photography
  • Getting a piece of work published
I have been very productive so far this year and hope to reach my first goal by mid-February.  Earrings seem to be a good way to go for this challenge, they are quick to produce and are great for experimenting with new colours and techniques.

Here are a few of my latest creations to round out the post :)

Featuring lampwork beads and ceramic decal components from Scorched Earth.
Find them on Etsy here!
Lampwork discs by Helen Chalmers and ceramic drops from Scorched Earth.
Find them on Etsy here!
Lampwork beads by Rob Johnson, ceramic decal components from Scorched Earth.
Find them on Etsy here!
Thanks for visiting and I hope to see you again soon!