Category Archives: interests

My Glass Fusing Journey 3

Glass is entrancing and enticing… The lure of the beauty of glass, with its amazing colours, depth and sparkle.

Since I began my glass fusing journey back in Spring 2010, I’ve been developing my own unique designs by experimenting and seeing what turns out and then if I’m happy with what I’ve created I turn it into glass jewellery.

Part of my design process is to make pieces of glass that I would like to wear, so in essence I’m being my own muse and creating jewellery that is to my own taste. As I’m experimenting and developing my own unique glass designs, I’m also creating something that’s a bit different.

jewelartvenusglass13a
my test piece and first venus glass design, that’s part of my own jewellery collection

“I love the vibrant colour, luminescence and sparkle that can be achieved working with glass and my aim is to create unique jewellery pieces that are beautiful, individual and comfortable to wear.”

some of my own glass jewellery pieces
my newest piece of jewelart abstract glass in my own jewellery collection, its been getting lots of compliments when I wear it!

The beauty of it is that as I continue on my glass fusing journey, my skills, knowledge and design range grows and evolves…

come with me on my journey,
Samantha, jewellery artist

My Glass Fusing Journey 2

Glass is entrancing and enticing… The lure of the beauty of glass, with its amazing colours, depth and sparkle.

In the Spring of 2012 I was in a bit of a rut with my glass making, after getting disheartened that many of my experiments over the past 2 years – trying to combine wire with glass – were not working out.

Sometimes the wire had reacted with the glass and it turned bright red with a fuzzy halo around it (not great!) or the wire hangers which were supposed to be outside the glass got submerged inside it. The wire was sandwiched in the middle of the assembled glass pieces, so it mean’t it wasn’t very secure and often moved during its journey to Christine’s kiln (the organiser of the ceramic artist’s group), plus it had uneven kiln firing problems. Anyhow, this ALL resulted in a very low success rate.

If I was to continue with my glass fusing I decided I would have to get my own kiln.

Initially I looked into getting a general multi-purpose digital kiln, one that could be used for everything, including ceramic painting and glass fusing, although the cost of the kilns new were around £800 (or more), nearly-new second-hand ones seemed to come up quite often on ebay for around £350-500.

hobby artist general kiln
example of a top loading multi-use kiln

This hobby kiln is for sale (June 2016) at : www.hobbyceramicraft.co.uk

“I’m glad I waited and did some further research on the different types of digital kilns”

My kiln research included, chatting to other glass artists I knew about their kilns and visiting a local lamp-work glass artist to see the 3 kilns she had. This was a great help, as one of her kilns was specifically for glass fusing and was flatter, than the deeper style multi-function kilns and I could see it would be a lot easier to load up and use. She also recommended the English kiln manufacturer Kilncare for their kilns and after-care service.  Following this, I spoke to glass artist Julie Langan at Cedar Farm – whilst I was there teaching a bebeady jewellery making class – and she also spoke highly of the kilns by Kilncare that she used.

The problem was that the cheapest Kilncare kiln was well over £1,000 and my budget was to spend a maximum of £750 on a new kiln, or less if I could find a  good second hand one on ebay…

I’d begun researching and watching the ‘digital glass kilns’ that came up on ebay and had decided that if I hadn’t found one by Christmas, I’d get myself a new kiln, the Skutt Firebox glass kiln which was priced around my budget.

Over the months that followed only a few glass kilns came up on ebay and most weren’t that much cheaper than buying a brand new one or were located at the other end of the Country.

I lost out on a Stutt kiln that I was bidding on, as it went at the last minute to the ‘buy it now’ price.

Better was to come though later that year. I couldn’t believe it when my dream kilncare kiln came up on ebay – it was the first time I’d seen one in my year of looking – during my lunch break in the cafe at Barton Grange Garden Centre whilst I was there stewarding an Art and Craft Guild of Lancashire exhibition. With my heart in my mouth, I pressed the ‘buy it now’ for way more than my kiln budget and spent the rest of the afternoon at the exhibition, wondering if I had done the right thing!

A week later, after arranging to pick up and pay for the kiln, I headed on a 2 hour drive down to Stoke for it.  The lady selling her kiln was giving up glass fusing and it came with glass, cutters, some molds and many other bits and pieces. It wouldn’t all fit in my small car, so I had another journey back down to Stoke the following week for the stand and the rest of the things.

Wow, I was over the moon, I’d finally got my dream kiln!

glass fusing kiln
glass fusing

I was quite scared to use it at first… but it came with programmed settings and a log book, so I put a few pieces in, started writing notes and my experimenting began.

Samantha, jewellery artist

 

My Glass Fusing Journey 1

Glass is entrancing and enticing… The lure of the beauty of glass, with its amazing colours, depth and sparkle.

I’ve long been attracted to the lustre and beauty of glass and crystal beads, learning about and collecting them to use in my jewellery making. From vintage hand-cut crystal beads, machine cut swarovski crystal beads, pressed glass bohemian glass beads and Japanese seed beads, to gorgeous handmade lampwork and Murano glass beads.

“When I first came across Dichroic fused glass jewellery at a craft fair in the late 1990’s I was amazed by its beautiful sparkle and vibrant colours.”

At the time, there didn’t seem to be any opportunities to learn how to do it (glass fusing) in Lancashire, plus I was engrossed with learning about beads and developing my jewellery making skills. I think it was around 10 years ago when people started teaching the glass fusing classes here. They were so expensive and the cost of it put me off, but I still hankered to have ‘a go’ and luckily in 2010 a friend told me about a kiln/ceramic art group in Southport and I went along with her.

and that’s when my foray into the world of glass fusing began…

The group initially had weekly morning ceramic painting meetings in a church community room with additional day-long seminars every month or so.  The group organiser, Christine fired the ceramic paintings in her kiln each meeting. As glass is fused in a kiln, it was also something they covered in the group and I was able to gain the basics of glass fusing and have the opportunity to learn by experimenting and seeing how being fused in the kiln transformed my pieces of assembled glass. (I also enjoyed the ceramic painting I did at the meetings and seminars, I’ll write more about that in a later blog post).

jewelart early glass experiments
2 glass pieces before and after being in the kiln

This is an early ‘before’ and ‘after’ glass experiment with wire, these were 2 of the ones that turned out OK!

My glass fusing pieces were very ‘hit and miss’, firstly they were mostly new experiments, they also had to survive being moved by car and then loaded into a kiln, and finally the ceramic kilns are big top-loader kilns with varying ‘hot and cold’ spots and unfortunately it resulted in mixed success.

I knew that if I wanted to take my glass fusing further I really needed to get my own kiln.

more to follow…
Samantha, jewellery artist

Glastonbury Tor gonging 2

an inspiring and special place – 2- gonging at the Tor

I was lucky to meet Norah and Odette at St Michaels Tower at Glastonbury Tor and thank them for giving me the opportunity to participate in their gonging at such a special place and also for sharing info about sound / gong healing and their own journeys with me in this blog…

Glastonbury Tor
Norah and Odette gonging at Glastonbury Tor

Norah 
Sound Healing
: “In the beginning they say there was sound, the word “OM” Sound Healing is the sound of creativity itself, using sacred sound frequencies and Schumann resonance’s to help heal, clear, shift and balance whatever is going on in someone’s life!

The Gong: The Gong used on the Tor is very unique, this gong was a one-off ( it’s tuned to a specific note G2 but has many different tones when you play it ) . The wonderful musician Tim Wheater got it from Don Conreaux who had had a hand in making it. My friend Kay Kraty bought it from Tim in early 2014  and that year it was played by  the wonderful Gong Master Don Conreaux at Gaunts House, it is called a Maitreya Tai Loi, it was then passed to the wonderfully talented musician Tim Wheater, who passed it on to my wonderful friend Kay Kraty. It was then passed to me as the new custodian to share its magic with whoever wants to let the vibrational  feed their soul.

Norah’s story: I have been working in the healing profession for 20 years but it was only when I received a sound healing treatment with Tibetan bowls, drums and chimes that I felt true release and acceptance relating to some stuff that was long suppressed in my bodies cells, I realized then how powerful sound was and went on to do a sound diploma and gong master training and further research into sound.  I now run my own sound healing practice and also teach sound workshops. My favourite work is in the special needs environment where you seem to be able to get through to children and adults without a word. Its amazing.
Facebook:

 

Odette
Odette
is a Gong Master, Reiki Master and Spiritual Healer. She’s been working with Energy Healing for many years.  Sound has become an important addition to her healing work, In the summer of 2015 she furthered her gong training and trained as a Gong Master. Her teachers include Grand Gong Master Don Conreaux, the creator of the Gong Bath.

Website www.londongong.co.uk
Meetup www.meetup.com/london-gong/
Facebook www.facebook.com/gongbaths/
Twitter twitter.com/Londongong

Glastonbury Tor

Samantha:
I’ve always found that listening to music with my eyes closed takes it to another level and that certain sounds / music help you into a different state of being. I came across Leonard Cohen’s music about 20 years ago and regularly listen to his music, as I love his voice, its timbre and the beat and find that some of his songs help me to relax and meditate.

On this holiday, visiting Stonehenge, Salisbury, Stanton Drew, Cheddar, Glastonbury and Wells, I met many interesting people and a theme that seemed to crop up were; places with amazing sounds, sound healing and the name Michael. Maybe, as part of my journey, I am meant to discover more about sound healing. I certainly never expected to be doing my blog posts on sound healing and gonging at Glastonbury Tor, but it was such an amazing experience that I was blessed to be a part of there, that I decided to share it further.

More blog posts to come on the history of Glastonbury Tor, its energies and the white well…

Please feel free to comment and share your own experiences of sound healing and Glastonbury Tor. Samantha x

Glastonbury Tor gonging 1

an inspiring and special place – 1- sound healing at the Tor

Glastonbury Tor has a special energy, go and visit it and sit there for a while taking in its vibration. Like me, you might experience a feeling of lightness, calmness and joy or its energy vibrations might awaken other feelings in you.

Glastonbury Tor
The path up Glastonbury Tor

My first visit
I got to visit Glastonbury Tor for the first time a few years ago on my way back North after meeting up with a German friend and her family on holiday in Devon. It was a beautiful August day and I was lucky to find some musicians in St Michaels Tower playing a didgeridoo (an Australian aboriginal instrument) and I sat in the Tower for a short while experiencing the amazing sound as it reverberated, before sitting on the grass outside and enjoying just being there with the energy of the Tor.   Since then its been drawing me back and I try to travel down South and visit Glastonbury Tor at least once a year.

Glastonbury Tor
Inside St Michaels Tower

My recent visit October 2015
This time, again I was lucky and had an amazing chance encounter with sound healers gonging inside St Michaels Tower. The sound of the gong echoes and vibrates inside the tower and its really beautiful to experience. After sitting there, listening and watching for a few minutes, I was invited to take part.

Glastonbury Tor
gonging inside St Michaels Tower

I stood in the middle of the Tower and the gong was played whilst being moved around me. I enjoyed its sound vibrations, but apart from a feeling of peace and lightness, I wasn’t aware of any other changes, so was quite surprised to watch it in their video afterwards… wow!

Afterwards, I chatted to Norah and Odette and then enjoyed some Indian Summer sunshine whilst sitting in a sheltered nook outside the Tower, before walking down to the White Well and having another unique experience… to follow in one of my next blog posts. 

Glastonbury Tor
Indian Summer at Glastonbury Tor

Since these special and healing experiences, a pain in my chest / ribcage that I’d suffered from for a few months has disappeared.

I thank Norah and Odette for giving me the opportunity to participate and also sharing info about sound / gong healing and their own journeys with me in my next blog… Glastonbury Tor gonging 2

Please feel free to comment and share your own experiences of sound healing and Glastonbury Tor. Samantha x