Friday, 29 January 2010

Fabulous Friday... The Interview ~ Lazy Daisy Glass

This week's Fabulous Friday crafter is... Kathryn from Lazy Daisy Glass. Kathryn wrote a fantastic guest blog for us a last week about glass fusing ~ now read about Kathryn and see a few of her gorgeous creations.

How did you get started in your particular craft and how long have you been doing it?
I first started working with glass about 6 years ago - first working with stained glass. My background has been administration/working in an office, so this was a great hobby to try.. When I first moved to Scotland i passed a stained glass workshop and popped in to see all about it. I always wanted to try it, so enquired and enrolled on a 6 week course. One year later i was still attending the course and loving it. I bought the essential equipment and set up at home - only as a hobby. I attended local craft fairs and sold through friends. Sales began to slow down dramatically - no one was buying stained glass hangers or decorative pieces. Two years ago, I had a huge desire to work with fused glass and invested my maternity money in a kiln, some glass and a book. I studied the book, did some research on the internet and began practising. I loved working with fused glass and the possibilities were endless. I now have my own studio and run my own business from home (as I am also a full-time mother of a 2.5 year old) and attend large shows and trade fairs. I enjoy my craft very much and always thinking of new ideas.

Are there any negative aspects to doing your craft and if there are how do you work around them?
The only negative aspect would be looking after a 2.5 year old and combining a full-time job. I work many hours and never stop - it's a seven day a week job. Obviously with a young child to look after, I cannot spend many hours during the day in my studio and find that frustrating at times. But my priority is looking after my daughter. In emergencies, I have asked a friend to look after her for a few hours, but this doesn't happen very often, as I believe that she is my responsibility. Other than that, it works very well. Working from home gives you the flexibility of choosing your own hours.

What tips would you give to anyone thinking of starting your craft?

Always try before you buy - as the equipment is very costly, it is worth spending some time on a course. Afterall, you may not enjoy it as much as you had hoped. It is quite a technical craft and there is a huge amount to learn about kilns and how they operate. I initially invested £1000 in my first kiln, studio equipment and some glass. I have recently invested in a large flatbed kiln and costed £4500 (including additional wiring/installation). As you can see, it is not a 'hobby' craft - you need to be pretty serious to work with fused glass. Start small, as I did, and you can invest further if you think you like it or can make a living out of it.

How did you find Misi?
When MISI first started, I was contacted by Emma, but was not in a position to try it at that point. I had too many other things going on. As MISI became more popular, I thought I would try it. I now have a few items in my shop, but not my complete product range. I subscribe to Craft & Design Magazine and was recently reading an article about internet shop-window sites - MISI was featured and Emma gave an interview about the site. I think Emma has done very well publicising the site.

What is your favourite item in your own Misi shop?
I have just added a new item - Swirly Heart hanger. This is my favourite because I love hearts and what they symbolise and the swirl just adds a bit of colour and hopefully people will think that they are a little different. An ideal item for Valentines Day or even a wedding present.

What is your favourite shop on Misi (besides your own)?
I think this shop is wonderful - Julie Waldron
Combining art with functionality is a great idea. The clock designs are beautiful.

Random Facts about you:

What is your favourite season?
It would be summer - everyone has a spring in their step and are much happier.

What is your ideal vacation? I love the carribean and have been on holiday to this part of the world a few times. I do not spend everyday on the beach though, I like to explore the islands and local culture.

What is your favourite food?
Cornish pasty and Cornish Clotted Cream - although not together!! (being Cornish I would have to say that!!)

What is your favourite animal?
My cat, Goldie. I rescued her from the streets of London, she was in a terrible state when I found her, but she's beautiful now. I love all types of cats - they are cute and cuddly.

What actor/actress would you NOT kick out of bed? Oooo, there are quite a few!!! Hugh Jackman is my favourite - I tend to go for the rugged looking ones. He was great in Swordfish.

Thanks for sharing Kathryn. Please take a look at Lazy Daisy Glass for beautiful fused glass designs.

Also, if anyone would like to be featured on Fab Fridays or create a guest blog for us ~ please pm me through Misi.


Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Guest Blogger ~ Maisielu

Our guest blogger today is Amanda from Maisielu.

Why I Blog?

When thinking of a subject for the Misi blog I thought it it would be interesting to discuss why we blog at all. What use are these internet diaries that people talk about?

When I first considered doing my hobby as a job, it was happening upon craft blogs that give me the courage to go for it. I started blogging at the same time as putting my items on Misi, but found it difficult at first thinking , why would anyone care about my life, goals or hopes for the future?

Not having written full sentences since college I found the actual writing really hard, and I was always the girl who ends up fogetting/losing her diary so keeping it up to date became an issue.

But then you get some followers, and comments and then sales, and Pow you’re hooked. I am.

What can blogging do for me?

*Creating a blog can give you a space of your own to interact, learn and create on. And even better people can find you there, my blog was picked up on Google long before any of my shops were.

*It’s really easy to set up through sites like Live Journal, Typepad, Blogger, Myspace, or Wordpress you easily go through the process.

Then when you’ve got used to it. its easy to adjust to your style, and best of all most are free.

*It can create a valuable record of your creative process, in todays mass produced socity its inportant to have a record of where your ideas came from.

If someone copies your designs you can refer them back to your dated blog and ask them to remove the item from sale.

* Add pictures, if you make something show the potential new owner how much work has gone into the piece, its nice to see how your piece was made rather than thinking of it being mass produced in a factory somewhere abroad.

If you don’t like writing as the saying goes “a picture says a thousand words”.

*Its a great way of archiving your work, pictures and ideas to refer to at any time or place, if you lose your computer data you’ll still have the information on your blog.

*It’s a great way of connecting with others and gaining feedback.

I hope this inspires you to set up your own blog, and remember if you do shout about it, let everyone on Misi know so we can find you.

And most of all, enjoy it.

Amanda .x.

Thank you Amanda ~ come on crafters ~ get blogging!

If anyone would like to do a guest blog or be featured on the Misi Blog Fab Fridays ~ please message Helen through Misi.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Fabulous Friday... The Interview ~ Jewels of Isis

This week's Misi crafter is Marianne... Jewels of Isis...

How did you get started in your particular craft and how long have you been doing it?

When I was giving up the 9 to 5 eighteen months ago, I was persuaded by friends who are antiquities dealers to buy ancient Egyptian and Roman beads from them to make into jewellery. This meant learning HOW to make jewellery and how to run a web shop, neither of which I had considered before. I loved it so much that I branched into semi precious work, hoping for a bigger market!

Are there any negative aspects to doing your craft and if there are how do you work around them?

If I had done a bit of research first, I would have realised that Jewellery making is very popular at the moment - everyone and their cat does it - and maybe it would have been better to try something just as creative but with less competition! Its too late now though, I love it too much to give it up, so all I can do is try to be as creative and as individual as I can be.

What tips would you give to anyone thinking of starting your craft?
Take up pottery instead! Only joking - try to find a niche that you enjoy, and concentrate your efforts and money on producing something truly unique.

How did you find Misi?
Emma contacted me on Facebook, so I signed up after a brief and unsuccesful trial on another selling site.

What is your favourite item in your own Misi shop?
This one - Rhiannon

What is your favourite shop on Misi (besides your own)?
There are too many to list - there are several other jewellers I admire, some very clever ladies who make beautiful things by knitting, sewing and crocheting, and some very talented artists.

Random Facts about you:

What is your favourite month and why?
May, because it is generally warm and dry, and my garden looks its best then.

What is your ideal vacation?
Anywhere where there is no noise, no street lights, very few people and I can take my dogs! self Catering in a remote cottage in Argyll last May was perfect.

What is your favourite chocolate?
I'm not a big fan of chocolate, crisps are my downfall, but I do get a huge box of Thorntons Continental every Christmas (and usually make them last till Easter!)

What is your favourite animal?
Well its got to be horses or dogs, depending on which of mine is being most naughty at the time.

What actor/actress would you NOT kick out of bed?
Not so much the actor, but the character he played - Legolas from Lord of the Rings. I did like Aragorn, but he needed to wash his hair!

Thank you Marianne. Visit Jewels of Isis to see the creations of a talented jewellery maker.


Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Guest Blogger ~ Lazy Daisy Glass

As a guest speaker, I thought I would talk about my craft of Glass Fusing.

What is Glass Fusing? (Part 1)

Glass fusing is a glass fabrication technique used to heat glass in a kiln until it reaches a soft point, which allows the user to manipulate the glass in a variety of ways. This method for working with glass is sometimes known as kiln-forming or warm glass. Warm glass operates at lower temperatures than glassblowing (which can be referred to as hot glass). A wide variety of objects can be produced through glass fusing, ranging from necklaces to bowls.

Warm glass is heated between 600 and 925 degrees Celsius. At these temperatures, glass softens enough that when pieces of glass are heated and pressed together, they will fuse into a single seamless piece.

There are many processes within fusing - slumping, draping, fire polishing, tack fusing, frit casting, pate de verre, combing, glass casting (more on these in Part 2). Besides fusing flat objects (see Fig 1 - Lazy Bones Fish), I also use the slumping method, which is one of the most popular techniques. Slumping is when glass is heated to a certain temperature and left to stretch and drop (slump) into a mould (see Fig 2 - a slumping mould). I created this three piece sculpture using a wave mould (see Fig 3 - Coast). It is a very controlled process - the glass is heated enough for it to allow to slump very gradually. If the process is not controlled you could end up with lots of melted glass in a messy heap!

A number of supplies are needed to practice glass fusing; including a kiln and tools to work with the glass. A kiln is vital to working in this technique and also the most important investment you will ever make. Therefore, it is important to make an informed decision. KIlns come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. My first kiln was a Hot Start Pro - a seven-sided shape (Heptagon, I had to look that one up!!). I decided to buy this particular one because it was slightly bigger than the small box ones (like the Paragons) and suited my needs better as I wanted to experiment with bowls and plates and not just make jewellery items. I have progressed since then, and now own a flat-bed kiln which measures 1 metre x 800cm - this is a huge leap, but my business has grown and I now supply trade. In order to keep up with orders, I had to invest in a larger kiln.

It is also important to have safety equipment like goggles and fire resistent gloves. Glass fusing also relies on the use of compatible glass; if the wrong types of glass are mixed, the piece can crack or explode as a result of different cooling patterns and densities. Surprising not all glass is compatible ie., it expands and contracts at different temperatures.

Written by Kathryn from Lazy Daisy Glass

(If you would like to become a guest blogger please pm Helen through Misi)

Friday, 15 January 2010

Fabulous Friday... The Interview ~ Samigail

This week's crafter is Fiona from Samigail's Handmade Gifts.

How did you get started in your particular craft and how long have you been doing it?

I started learning pyrography just before Christmas 2007. My husband wanted some ideas for what to buy me for Christmas and I decided I’d like to learn a new craft. So I stumbled onto pyrography and thought it sounded interesting. I got quite excited and impatient to start learning my new chosen craft so instead of waiting until Christmas though I bought myself a little kit and started straight away! I made some Christmas decorations for my 2 children and a friend saw them and said she’d like them as teacher presents for her children to give at school and so I started making things to sell.

Are there any negative aspects to doing your craft and if there are how do you work around them?

The only problem I’ve encountered is if I burn a piece of wood incorrectly and ruin the wood as there is no correcting the mistake once the wood is burnt! Anything tricky I draw on the picture first, or if it’s a lot of wording I write it all in pencil so I can be sure the spacing and layout looks nice.

What tips would you give to anyone thinking of starting your craft?

Keep practicing on scraps of wood. It took me a while to get the hang of the wood being burnt effectively so it wasn’t all horrid and blotchy/messy.

How did you find Misi?

Through a craft forum.

What is your favourite item in your own Misi shop?

My tooth fairy hanger. Some of my plaques (like the Babies don’t keep one) have a poem on which has come from a website which allows crafters to use the poems on crafts to sell, albeit with certain restrictions, such as amounts sold per week.

However, the tooth fairy hanger has a poem on that I wrote myself so I do feel quite proud of it.

What is your favourite shop on Misi (besides your own)?

Gosh, there are so many gorgeous products and shops – I can’t name just 1!!. I love so many, I’ll name just 3 - the Chocolate Truffle Co, Photo fairy Tales and Belovedly.

Random Facts about you:

What was your favourite Christmas present last year?

My son started reception at school last year and at Christmas he came home with a calendar he’d made on the computer with a space theme. It is so amazing!

What is your ideal vacation?

My friend and I were talking about holidays earlier today and reminisced about exotic holidays pre-children. Now my ideal vacation would be a camping holiday for all 4 of us with DRY weather – it would certainly be a novelty!!

Have you ever done an extreme sport, if not, would you?

No – although I have started trampolining again after a 20 year break – I think I’d consider it an extreme sport after 2 children and dodgy bladder control!!

What is your favourite fruit and why?

Banana’s, because I can enjoy them so many different ways – plain, or with greek yoghurt and honey, or in a smoothie

What actor/actress would you NOT kick out of bed?

Patrick Dempsey – Mcdreamy in Gray’s Anatomy J

Thank you for chatting with us Fiona. Take a look at Samigail to find some lovely handcrafted items.


Friday, 8 January 2010

Fabulous Friday... The Interview ~ Just K jewellery

This week's Misi crafter... talented Karen from Just K jewellery... Karen works with resin and creates the most lovely, unique pendants.

How did you get started in your particular craft and how long have you been doing it?
I’ve been making jewellery for about 3 years. I gave up full time work in order to have more ME-time and had always wanted to make jewellery. I got some books out of the library, started teaching myself and became totally addicted to beads and making jewellery. I wanted to develop my skills so I went on a silver clay workshop locally. I bought a book on silver clay from Amazon who then emailed me some suggestions of jewellery making books. One of these was Sherri Haab’s resin jewellery book which I bought and couldn’t wait to have a go.

Are there any negative aspects to doing your craft and if there are how do you work around them?

The housework and domestic chores never get done as I’m always crafting, taking photographs or working on the pc. I wish I could work in a tidy way and put things away before I start the next project. There isn’t a negative aspect to making jewellery – I love it!

What tips would you give to anyone thinking of starting your craft?

Find your own style and stick to it. You’ll find you like some techniques but not others so why bother making jewellery that you don’t enjoy. Also be inspired by other peoples work but never copy someone else’s design.

How did you find Misi?

On a crafters forum

What is your favourite item in your own Misi shop?

That’s difficult as it’s usually the last thing I made. I love this resin pendant as I was experimenting and the patterns just formed in front of my eyes. I made a batch of six and they are all slightly different.

What is your favourite shop on Misi (besides your own)?
Glamour Junkie – I love scarves and hers are lovely

Random Facts about you:

What is your favourite evening snack/nibbles?

Cheesy Wotsits
What is your ideal vacation?
A cottage in France, especially in the Dordogne
What is your favourite website (other than Misi)?
Groovy Cart
What is your favourite colour and why?
Red – I love strong, bold colours
What actor/actress would you NOT kick out of bed?
Paul Newman as a young man

Thank you for chatting to us Karen. For unique, beautiful jewellery ~ go and visit Just K Jewellery on Misi.



Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Happy New Year!

Best wishes for 2010.

I'm looking for volunteers to be interviewed for the Misi Fabulous Fridays, please pm me through Misi if you are interested and I will send you a list of questions.

I'm also looking for guest bloggers ~ you must be a Misi member and willing to do at least one blog per month.