Since 2010 I've been on a journey into the jewellery world. Its amazing, from assembling beads onto some wire, through to making your own stylish focal beads from silver art and polymer clay.
However much I love this world there was still a little voice inside me screaming out. In 2010 I had 'found' glass, I was mesmerised by a glass artist working the historic lamp-work style of glass. I saved up for 3 years to go to South Wales to have a one to one lesson with that artist, Ray Skene of Celtic Glass Craft. He's a master of glass and when I watched him in 2010 I was riveted to the spot for over an hour watching him melt and draw with glass. I've been dreaming about it for those years, coming up with designs, focal bead ranges, jewellery ranges. I thought I just needed to learn IF I could work the magic, but I'm hooked. After one whole day of working the glass over a torch I realised I had discovered something very special. An ancient craft I'd like to take up full time.
I've been inspired by our diverse landscapes in Britain, I've seen so much of it and feel privileged to live in such an amazing combination of countries. This great island, part of the UK, made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Cornwall, has a diversity of nature and panoramas. So I've designed a exclusive jewellery range 'Inspired by Britain, Made in Britain' to show off this diversity. I've channelled this inspiration into 4 main groups, Coast, Woodland, Countryside and Urban. I actually came up with many more, but I didn't want to overwhelm you with options! Although there are 4 main themes, and the designs are dancing around in my head I can also assure you that due to this magical medium no two will actually be the same. The glass heats and flows like toffee, colours mix differently, at different flame intensities. It's a truly organic experience to weave this into glass sculpture formed into a bead.
These are designed around the four themes of this project. Just pick the one which you'd like the most. All the beads will be designed and hand made by me, and then made up into jewellery, also by me, right here in the UK.
Coast - Inspired by the beaches and coastline of Cornwall, Norfolk, Dorset and Ceredigion. Mostly Cornwall though due to growing up here in Perranporth.
Woodland - I had my first experiences of woodland when I went orienteering in the Forest of Dean as a child. I find my inspiration hits in the most here, from old english oak and bluebell woodlands through to the thick forests of the New Forest and Thetford.
Urban - I was born in Norwich, went to primary school in Cheltenham, high school and college in Truro and University back in Norwich. I've explored the variety of architecture from the Roman inspirations in Cheltenham and the Cotswold stone work through to contemporary steel and glass designs in Norwich and London. From business parks lit up at night through to parks bringing a little peace to a busy urban landscape.
Countryside - I live in rural Norfolk, I literally see the seasons changing outside my living room window. The brown ploughed fields through winter, the stripy early growth of spring, the green and yellow flowering and seeding crops of summer and the bright red tractors harvesting in autumn.
These are rewards that I'll specially make IF I over achieve my goal. These are for all backers who pledge more than £40.
Over £4000: A mix of practice beads, so you'll get to see my journey through beads. These will be a mix of colours from the 4 themes.
Over £4500: An exclusive Kickstarter colour scheme etched orphan bead. That's black and green colours.
Over £5000: An exclusive Kickstarter unisex bracelet. Black leather with green hand crafted lampwork beads.
Over £5500: An exclusive necklace design incorporating the 4 themes, coast, woodland, countryside and urban in one necklace.
That means if you pledge over £40, and I reach over £5500, you'll get your reward of choice, and a lampwork etched kickstarter themed orphan bead, AND a Kickstarter exclusive bracelet AND a project themed necklace, AND a random collection of practice beads from the 4 themes.
Can you imagine it? I can....spread the word. Share the project. Make it happen.
The Nuts and Bolts
Basically I don't have the equipment! From the torch to heat the glass to the kiln to anneal the beads to give them longevity. That's where you come in. By supporting my project, not only will you be helping me set up as a lamp-work artist, but you'll be contributing to a growing industry in Britain, the craft industry. I'm ridiculously excited, as you saw in my video!
1. It's a long list, but essentially it's a torch. Lamp-work comes from the glass workers of old, working over an oil lamp. Thankfully the 21st century has introduced flame torches which mix propane and oxygen.
2. A kiln, the glass beads have to be annealed. This process stops any stress fractures from cracking, and means the glass has an amazing strength.
3. An extractor fan, burning fuel causes carbon monoxide, I don't want to die making glass beads, Thank you! I'll also need a fire extinguisher...just in case!
4. Due to the fact I'll be using a flame my home insurance isn't very happy, so I've got to build a mini workshop in the garden. Nothing too grand, just a timber shed with electricity. Don't worry, its perfectly safe, just less jumpy for my insurance provider. I've already put insurance in place and it'll cover a shed!
5. Glass rods, that's how the glass comes, in the main part. From this you melt the glass onto a mandrel....basically a steel shaft which can take the heat. Also need those!
6. There are a few more odds and ends, tools, different coloured glasses, some frit, this stuff is brilliant.
7. Finally, and by no means last, some bead release. This is so I can get the glass beads off the mandrels once the kiln has done it's magic.
I priced it all up and it came to a few pence short of £3773!
The final plea!
I'm passionate, inspired and eager to start. I'm a hard worker, please help me. The rewards, I feel, are exciting and inspired. Who wouldn't want a piece of British inspired Jewellery? Everything is made right here in the UK. If everything goes to plan....do I dare say it....you'll have it in time for Christmas!
Risks and challenges
I've been an entrepreneur since I was a teenager, and I'll face this opportunity with a business hat on. I've faced many challenges before, including lack of funding and medical disasters. The challenges I'm likely to face at the moment are slow shipping dates, I live in rural Norfolk, I know how bad it can get. I'll keep everyone up to date. I'm a huge believer in communication, so keep an eye on this Kickstarter Project's pages where I'll keep you up to date as part of the process. How exciting...you'll get to know when I place my orders, and I'll post photos as equipment arrives!
The most difficult risk to overcome for this project is my health. If I'm honest, its not been great over the last 5 years, from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Panic Disorders to CFS/ME. Let me reassure you....I'm stubborn and determined to do this. I'm mentally tough, I've been through the wringer a few times over the years, but genuinely feel like I've found something special enough to stand up and say "This is what I want to do, can do, and will do." I've learnt to pace myself, and feel this is good time to start something big!
Other than that, I'm good to go, eager to start, excited about the prospect, and have a great team who support me! I just need your help to start.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (33 days)