Sunday, 25 December 2011

Monday, 5 December 2011

A change of heart

I made this bead a while ago and when I took it out of the kiln, I decided I didn't like it and banished it to my not-nice-enough-to-sell-but-not-bad-enough-for-the-fugly-jar pot. But I found it again the other day and I can't for the life of me see why I didn't like it! For me, it brings to mind weekends spent at Leysdown beach on the Isle of Sheppey, a lovely beach that always seemed to be bleak and deserted, even at the height of the season. My family had a little chalet right on the beach and we spent many a wild, wet and windy winter weekend there (alliteration unintentional!).

So I guess it's worthwhile going through all my beads once in a while, just to see what treasures are still lurking amongst my rejects! Anyway, I have listed it on Ebay, along with some others, so if you like it too, pop over there and take a look :)

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Oak leaf challenge...the big reveal!

So, here it is...the necklace I made with Jo Tinley's copper oak leaf clasp :o)

I had a vague idea of what I wanted to do with it when it first arrived - autumnal colours were a must and I already had this lovely hand dyed silk ribbon from Diane Turton of Sowzere Designs and a rich orange Carnelian bead in front of me. I then raided my stash of my own lampwork beads for orphans and found these ones in different shades of amber, brown and pink. Finally, I needed copper findings, having never worked with copper before. The two hammered copper rings were from another Diane - of Dilunah Glass Designs.

And finally, the oak leaf! It is far too pretty to hide away at the back of the necklace like a traditional clasp, so I made the necklace into a slightly asymmetrical design, with the clasp hooking on to one of the hammered rings.

So there it is. This was a challenge in the true sense of the word, as I've never used copper before and I've not done a great deal of wire wrapping, but... I love it! And yes, I will be keeping it for myself :o)

Want to see what the other challengees have done?

Jo Tinley                 Daisychain Designs
Melissa Meman       Art, Life, Love
Niky Sayers            SilverNikNats
Kimberley Roberts  Bahama Dawn
Rebecca Anderson  Songbeads

Thursday, 24 November 2011


I made one of these and loved it, so made I'd normally sell something like this as a focal, but they were crying out to be a set of I had to make a third one! Part of the joy of making beads is that sometimes they tell you what they want to be and you just have to go with the flow.

What do you mean, beads can't talk?! :o)

You will find them on Etsy now...

Monday, 21 November 2011

Feeling blue

The nights are drawing in and winter's nearly I'm making blue beads to cheer myself up! In particular, using a lovely glass called Great Bluedini. I had some ages ago and for some reason decided I didn't like it, so I gave it away. A colour of the month challenge on Frit Happens forum inspired me to try again, thanks to the generosity of a lovely lady who sent me a couple of rods to play with!

As you can see, it is a lovely, rich, almost greeny blue and it loves to be layered with other colours.

The first one is now on Etsy and the other will be up shortly.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

It's cold, isn't it?

I guess winter must be just around the corner now!

I've been busy adding lots more beads to my Etsy shop...

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Oak leaf challenge

Right. You may have noticed a picture of some lovely copper oak leaves has appeared on the left hand side of this blog...this is because I am taking part in the oak leaf challenge. Jo from Daisychain Jewellery has made these gorgeous little copper oak leaf clasps and I am one of the lucky ones who gets to make something with one of them :) Mine arrived yesterday and I'm already coming up with ideas! On 30th November, I and the other 'challengees' will be posting the finished result on our blogs.

Copper is the new silver - we are seeing much more of it around, due to the huge rise in the price of silver. However, it is by no means's a beautiful metal and its warm tones make it perfect for this time of year. I just hope I can do it justice!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Man beads

Because men like to wear beads too!

I've just listed some beads on Etsy and Ebay that would be perfect for the guys. Black, fine silver foil and silvered ivory combine to give a fantastic look that is both masculine and organic. And lets face it, black goes with everything, so you could even keep them for yourself!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011


My Etsy shop is finally OPEN! Only a couple of beads in there so far, but new ones will be added all the time, so keep checking back.

Ooh, I feel like I should be opening a bottle of Champagne!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

The clocks have gone back

And the question is...

Did you have an extra hour partying?

Or an extra hour in bed?

My bed was very warm and cosy this morning :)

Monday, 24 October 2011

Bead envy

Now when I'm not making beads, I like to look at other people's beads. And, because I'm only human, I sometimes find myself succumbing to one of the deadly sins - envy. I look at beautiful beads with precise, evenly spaced dots and lovely thin stinger designs and I think, "why can't I do that"? I do try every now and then, but it just doesn't happen. And you know why? It's not 'me'. I don't do neat and precise. I'm not a straight lines sort of person. Just ask my collegues at work, who must despair of my hanging-posters-in-the-window-in-a-straight-line skills!

The truth is, I love organic wonkiness. I love the unpredictability of glass, the way I can add some (wonky) stringer to a bead and then let gravity take over...and just see what happens! I love to be surprised. Sometimes, if a bead is looking a little bit too symmetrical and evenly shaped, I have to squish it about or add raised dots, frit or murrini just to random it up a bit. I guess if I have a style, that's it. Organic shapes, nuggets and swirly gravity designs.

Just like these ones...a  moon bead with a swirly, silvery sky and random murrini;

And this organically shaped simple white bead, with veins of silvered ivory.

On Ebay right now :o)

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Am I boring you?

I do hope not. I don't have anyone to talk to about beads, you least, not in real life. And you may have gathered that I quite like beads :) Darling Husband can feign interest for a while, before his eyes start to slide back to his computer game. My family and friends are politely interested and my work collegues couldn't really give a monkeys. So the internet is my outlet, where I can 'talk' about beadsbeadsbeadsbeadsbeads to my heart's content!

I'm assuming that as you're reading this blog, you're interested in what I have to say - but then maybe you're just saying, "enough wittering on about beads, just show us the pics!".

So here's the eye candy :)

Listed in the usual place now!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

The naming of beads is a difficult matter... isn't just one of your holiday games! I'm misquoting T.S Eliot there, but you get the idea.

Do beads actually need names in order to sell? Probably not, but I've always named them, because somehow it seems more personal. I don't know, maybe you think that's nonsense and I'm wasting my time thinking up names, but hey, it makes me happy :) Not that it's always easy...sometimes a bead knows what it wants to be called straightaway; other times I have to trawl the internet to try and find a name that 'fits'.

I called this bead 'Singing Moon'. In case you were wondering, that is the Celtic name for September's full moon. I picked the name because it is September and well, I just loved the name!

This little beauty just had to be 'Spearmint'...

And as for this one...I had the name 'Autumn Rain' in my head as I was making it and I think it has grown into its name rather well!

What do you think? Do you like beads to have names or are you quite happy to see them listed as just 'Pink Set' or 'Blue focal no. 3'?

These beads are now listed on Ebay if you want to pop over and take a look!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Back in Business

At last...what with work, setting up the new website and Etsy shop and having a missing mojo, there hasn't been a great deal in the way of beads around here for a while!

However, I've finally got around to listing some beads on Ebay.  Nothing brand new...a few relistings (come on guys, there are some lovely beads desparate for new homes there!) and a couple that I've been hanging on to for months and have finally decided to part with. Because "it's such a lovely shade of pink!" and "I love looking at the pretty swirls" aren't really reason to keep them!

Anyway, I have finally made some new beads, which I'll be listing in my shiny, new Etsy shop at some point. You'll be the first to know when they're there!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Changes are afoot...

A little background...

I started out as a jewellery maker a few years ago, using gemstone and silver beads in my designs. Later on, I discovered lampwork beads and it was love at first sight! For a while, I was content to buy beads from other lampwork artists, but as the obsession took hold, I realised I couldn't stop there - I had to have a go at making them. And that was that.

My jewellery making has gradually fallen by the wayside as the beads have taken over, so I have made the decision now to concentrate on beads. And of course a new start deserves a new name.

So, as from today, Aroha Jewels is now Larksong Studio!

I will be changing the name of this blog, which I am hoping doesn't mean I lose you lot as my followers...I'm not an expert at these things though, so we'll see :o) If I suddenly disappear, you'll know why!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Magical Dartmoor

Well, the weather wasn't the best...grey, cold and very damp, but that's not unusual for Dartmoor. It just added to the wild and moody atmosphere!
We decided to go to Wistman's Wood, as my cousin Helen had never been. It was a very wet trek across bogs, stone walls and rocks, passing huge black cows and blue sheep (yes, really!), but well worth the effort. There's nowhere else quite like it, it's an amazing place. I have borrowed the following description from, as they have described it better than I ever could!

"Nestled on the eastern slopes of the West Dart river stands a wood of dwarf oak trees. Once you walk into the tangled web of trees you are transported into a mystical world of moss carpeted boulders, lichens of all descript, finger like oak branches, all engulfed in a wonderful smell of earth and age. For millennia this small, mystical, stunted woodland has been held in awe and for many fear. Tales of Druids, ghosts, the Devil and a host of other supernatural creatures abound, some dating back to the long lost ages before man could write. Many writers have described the wood as being "the most haunted place on Dartmoor", others warn that every rocky crevice is filled with writhing adders who spawn their young amidst the moss and leaf strewn tree roots. Locals will never venture near once the sun begins it slow descent over the nearby granite outcrops for it is when the dark mantle of night draws tight that the heinous denizens of the wood stalk the moor in search of their human victims. So be afraid, very afraid, as the wagging finger of fate warns you to stay clear and risk not your mortal soul in the 'Wood of the Wisemen'."

I have already made a couple of Dartmoor inspired beads and have ideas for lots more...I am so lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the country!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Rocks and pebbles

Well, I've gone all organic with this week's beads! I think I've mentioned before that I'm fascinated by rocks and I'm always inspired by nature, so I love to play around trying to recreate it in glass...often with some elements of fantasy thrown in, like these 'Lightning Pebbles'  - so called because they look like little flashes of lightning trapped in rocks.

This one is actually quite simple, just a gorgeous multi toned glass called Fossil, with lots and lots of silvered ivory. SIS, as it's known to lampworkers, is made by rolling a rod of ivory in fine silver foil, then pulling it into a stringer (a thin piece of glass). I love it because it is so effective when used on certain glasses, it spreads out and little particles of silver pop to the surface, giving a lovely organic effect.

Finally, another nature inspired set. I saw these berries...
I've no idea what they are, not being particularly green-fingered, but I was inspired by those interesting colours to make this set of beads.

I'm off to Dartmoor tomorrow and will probably come back with even more ideas and inspiration, so expect to see a lot more organic beads soon!

You can find these beads on Ebay now :o)

Saturday, 9 July 2011


Fugly beads...otherwise known as 'ooops' or 'what on earth was I thinking'! Every beadmaker has them, because we all have our off days. A fugly often starts as a grand idea which somehow just doesn't work in reality; other times it is born from a bead that is going wrong and you decide to try to rescue it...'maybe if I add some dots here, a bit of silver foil...mmm I know, I think I'll encase it so it's even bigger and uglier' :( Before you know it, you've wasted precious time and a whole load of glass and you're staring in horror at the 'thing' on the end of the mandrel!

I now have a big fugly pot for the casualties and every now and then a friend or relative has a good root through and produces one or more of the beasts, exclaiming "oh, isn't it beautiful!"...which just goes to show that beauty is most definitely in the eye of the beholder!

Now I'm pretty sure that the beads I have listed on Ebay at the moment are NOT fuglies, so I'd recommend you pop over and have a look!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Me time!

Well, I have made a lot of beads recently...but most of them were for me! I decided that I 'needed' an aqua necklace, so set about making myself loads of aqua beads in different styles and colour combinations. And I'm very happy with the result! The joys of being a bead and jewellery maker :o)

 It is actually quite rare that I make beads just for me...not that I don't have any, it's just that the ones I do keep tend to either be seconds (bubbles, slightly wonky or scummy glass) or ones that I've been about to list on Ebay, but I then decide I can't let them go! They are known as 'keepers' to us lampworkers and we all get them every now and then!

Anyway, I do have some for sale at last, including this inky blue and gold focal bead - looks lovely and really strokable too. It's listed on Ebay now, so buy it quick before I decide to keep it!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Frit mania

OK, so I've been making beads now for around 5 years, give or take breaks for house moves and although I've spent time playing with frit, I've never really 'got' it. I just couldn't see what was so exciting about little pieces of smashed glass. I'd put it on my beads and it looked like, well, little pieces of smashed glass!

So I took my frit to the Flame Off last month and exchanged it for some glass...then promptly bought some more! Go figure. But I'm glad I did, because I've been playing some more and trying different things and I think I've been converted :) At least half the beads I've made in the last few weeks contain frit in some shape or form.

This moon bead has some metallic silver glass frit sprinkled across the sky;
This set is made with a blend of blue frit which has been gravity swirled and encased;
And finally a lentil bead with raku frit and a couple of Multicolour murrini.

All on Ebay now :)

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

In the Pink!

Well, despite working all through Easter, royal weddings and various bank holidays (the joys of working in retail!) I've managed to find some time to make beads. Although to be honest, I'll always manage to cram a bit of beadmaking time in somewhere :) The other day, I finished work at 4pm and drove home really quickly, spent an hour making beads and then jumped back in the car and went back to pick up Chris...obsessed, me?!

Anyway, I'm still playing with pretty colours, so I have this lovely hot pink focal bead;
 And the inevitable moon bead. This one is made with some of my murrini and frit purchases from the Flame Off. Aahh, a new obsession is born...expect to see a lot more frit and murrini in the future!
On Ebay now :o)

Monday, 18 April 2011

A flaming good time...

So, back to real life after attending the Flame Off last weekend. For those of you who don't know, the Flame Off is a gathering for all of us loopy lampworkers...demonstrations, torches to play on, likeminded people to talk to and of course lots and lots of glassy goodies to buy! I arrived home with my bag several kilos heavier and my purse somewhat lighter and itching to play with all my new glass murrini and frit and try out the new techniques I'd learned. Unfortunately it was straight back to work for me, so today will be my first proper play day :o)

However, my week and a half off work before the Flame Off was very fruitful, so there are now some beads up on Ebay...this lovely set of blue and green pebbles;

 And this comet bead, made with dark silver plum and with three dragged turquoise dots...

Monday, 4 April 2011

Shiny new beads

Yep - the first brand new beads in a looong time! Happily, getting my new studio set up has coincided with a week and a half off work, so I'm really making up for lost time. I've been making beads every day, which is quite a luxury.

I seem to have got over my 'dark phase' from before Christmas and I've rediscovered colour. Mostly blue, but hey, at least it's colour! Looking out the windows onto a sunny garden probably helps, it's great for inspiration.

So here you go...summer pinks and fresh blues, on Ebay right now!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Happy happy happy!

Lovely landlady has finally come back from her extended holiday and given me the go ahead to use the conservatory for my I'm good to go!
 And if it looks really tidy...that's because it is :) For the first time ever, I might add. Normally, my studio looks like an explosion in a glass factory. However, the conservatory is also the entrance to our house, so I have to make an effort to keep it tidy. Also, Bob likes to stick his beak in everything (as cats do) and I didn't want him getting bits of glass stuck in his paws.

I haven't mentioned Bob, have I? He's our newly adopted cat. An ex-stray, when he was found he had rope wrapped around his tail, so he had to have the tail amputated. Mostly he seems fine with that, although he does sometimes have episodes of invisible tail chasing! I guess if humans can get phantom limb syndrome, cats can too. Apart from that though, he's a very happy chap!