Saturday, 31 March 2012

Friday Feeling: Treasury Time

Not a proper Friday Shout Out post this week - as always, I have run out of time today.  Buuuuuuttt... I did make a treasury this week which I quite liked because - it's an alphabet themed treasury! What do you think?  If you click on the picture, you'll be taken to the original treasury and you'll be able to browse all the different shops from there.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

First Craft Fair Fun

My first craft fair was on Sunday... and I survived it! There seemed to be a whole load of things conspiring against me before though. For a start I suddenly came down sick on Thursday - I kept blacking out and the whole world seemed to be spinning for the entirety of Thursday and Friday and all I could really do was sit around with my head very still not doing anything. Turns out I had a case of labyrinthitis, which I love the name of even if I disliked the actual symptoms! Anyway, luckily by Saturday I was feeling a little better, although not back to normal. I could at least get some last things done though so I spent a fair amount of Saturday finishing up last little bits. Obviously I ended up staying up to get everything finished, and worse I kept waking up suddenly remembering 'business cards!' or 'tablecloth!' and then having to get up to check I had remembered them etc. Aaaaannnnddd... the clocks went forward on Saturday which meant I lost an hour's sleep anyway!! Oh, and just to add a little more drama... the fair was in Balham which is quite a trek away from where I live although it is still in London.

What my stall looked like... for next time I want to have some letters on my bunting.

Anyway, I arrived, set up and more importantly I met all the other crafters and artists who were there - first of all, Emma Barrett who organised the whole event - she was absolutely fantastic and had put in so much work into the planning and organisation. It was a really relaxed atmosphere, we all sold very different things so weren't in competition with each other and the venue was great for the event. Next to me were the lovely Daisy of MakeThriftLondon and Emma of KnickerbockerGlories. I spent a fair amount of my day chatting to them and getting tips from them about craft fairs in general.

One of my favourite pendants which was sold.
The Balham Bowls Club is a fairly large pub and we were upstairs in a big room that is used for all sorts of events. There were lots of people coming through the fair as people who had come for lunch or a Sunday drink. There was plenty of browsing and chatting to people, I gave out lots of business cards, had lots of really lovely comments from people and questions about how I make my mosaics and found the whole experience really interesting and fun. And you know what? Yes, I made a couple of sales too! I didn't really know what to expect, but was hoping to at least make back the cost of the stall. That meant I needed to sell at least 2 pendants... which I did! I also sold a number of drinks coasters and lots of penguins so I actually came home feeling quite happy with how the day had gone - it wasn't much but it was definitely a start and I'm not as worried about doing a second or third one now Hoping to sign up to a few more over the next couple of months!

Penguin keyrings were displayed in a converted photo frame

It was a really enjoyable experience and I'm really glad I finally plucked up the courage to get stuck in and do a fair - I'm already looking into doing some other fairs over the next few months and signing up for them. Looks like this year I am definitely taking Creating Trouble forward!

There's only 1 Cath Kidston mug pendant left - I sold one last week and another at the fair.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Artist's Feature... Kate Osman Glass

It's time for a new Artist to be featured here at Creating Trouble. I discovered Kate from Kate Osman Glass via twitter and really loved some of her creations. I'm always a bit impressed with people who can make beautiful things out of glass - I can smash glass up happily but have no idea where to even start with putting it back together again - luckily there are artists like Kate out there to do it for us! Anyway, without further ado... Thank you for taking the time to tell us about yourself!

Can you introduce yourself briefly?
Hi there, my name is Kate Osman and I work with recycled glass to create something new and lovely. I love what I do and you have no idea how fantastic that feels. Sounds a bit like a confession doesn’t it!

How did you get started working in glass?
In a previous life (before children) I trained as a photographer and have always been better at being creative than doing the everyday things. The commercial side of photography never did it for me, my passion being in the making of mural prints, taking something small, industrial, rusted and insignificant and creating a new and much changed viewpoint. Sadly after university there was little call for this so I fell into wedding photography and hated it! I was always slightly envious of people who made a living from doing something they were passionate about and with that in mind I returned to my art college routes at their most basic and started screen-printing one off pieces, adding beads, wire and sparkle to my work. The natural evolution was for me to make my own jewellery but I was constantly frustrated by the lack of beads in colours or styles that I wanted. Being the control freak that I am I decided to learn to make my own and so my love affair with glass began!
I was lucky enough to stumble across The Liquid Glass Centre just outside Trowbridge where I did my first glass course in lampwork bead making. Although I loved it and have made some beautiful glass beads I found all my spare time was spent watching the fused glass course, wishing I was doing that instead! I convinced my long-suffering husband that I needed to do their fused glass training and have never looked back.

I'm impressed - and feeling very inspired to go and do a glass fusion course myself... Where do you get your inspiration from?
We are a family who spend all available spare time outside and, preferably, by the sea. Nature and the sea have been a constant inspiration throughout my life – even my mural prints were more about what nature had done to technology over time than the technology itself and as inspiration, the natural world is even more important to me now.

Where do you work?
I am very happy to say that my studio has an inside and an outside – the outside being any beach that we are on and the inside being a small cabin at the bottom of our garden that I share with my very creative and tolerant husband who is mainly a 3D Draughtsman but also a maker of fabulous driftwood boats. He is incredibly patient with me and my expanding needs! He has crafted a raised work bench for me out of an old bedframe and has strung random tree branches around my space for extra hanging space… genius!!! Loving the re-use ethos!
Crammed in here I have my kiln, jars of sea glass almost sorted into colours, boxes of copper wire from my local garage, bags of driftwood, shelves of books ranging from my Dad’s editions of Kipling from his childhood to some of the most beautiful books on glass art, Pop Art, photography, fairytales and human anatomy (don’t ask!). My beautiful timber walls are lined with jewellery I have made, drawings by my children, random or favourite pieces of glass and a million post-its trying to remind me what I’m meant to be doing! I have a ‘little box of inspiration’ brought back by a friend and her daughter from India full of colour, sunshine and a little bit of seaside sand, crystals hanging in the windows to make rainbows and bags of vintage clothes that I sell as my alter ego Daisy and Jess. I am usually ably assisted by Phoenix our ever lovely and very cuddly black and white cat while her brother Brooklyn sits on the roof in the sun – you can blame Ian for their names, he got them before we were together!

That sounds idyllic! Can you tell us anything about the process of your work?
I’ll try not to bore you but I love this bit! Making a bowl is really a two part process...
Firstly I cut two sheets of glass to the right size and shape for the mould that I will eventually be using – ideally I like to use the same sheet of glass for a single piece to make sure it is compatible but as I work with broken glass it is often more about what I can cobble together, crossing my fingers and hoping! (Sound’s really professional doesn’t it!)
I then place sea glass, copper wire, foil, seed heads, flowers, whatever I’m working with for the piece onto the bottom sheet of glass and cover it all with the top sheet. This then goes in the kiln and is fired over a period of about 21 hours up to round about 800°C. This part of the process melts the glass and sticks it all together and is hugely exciting every time I open the kiln. Once the glass is cool again it is placed over a ceramic mould and fired gently so that it drops like pizza dough to take on the form of the mould – 17 hours later you have a bowl.
The glass in my work is most often broken greenhouse or picture frame glass with elements of the gleaming sea glass gems we find on the beach or coloured glass offcuts from alternative processes. The copper wire is from old car wiring looms and the wooden blocks and bases are either driftwood, fallen branches or reclaimed timber from builder’s offcuts.
I feel that we as a nation are hugely wasteful and it gives me enormous pleasure knowing that I am able to create something beautiful from discarded items.

It takes nearly two days to make one bowl? That must take a lot of dedication!  How do you manage to juggle all the different aspects of a busy life  in order to spend more time on your art? 
It’s a crazy, bonkers world but I love it! Between the school run, the vintage business, our holiday cottage, the dog walk and an untidy house it’s all about balance. Helping with the homework while cutting or packing glass is not unusual and coming home from a dog walk with a huge tree branch that has just come down as it is nicely spalted and will make spectacular bases is just normal.

Have there been any artists or special people who have inspired or helped you along the way? 
I can’t recommend highly enough Kim and Tom at the Liquid Glass Centre – they are fantastically generous with their time and knowledge.
I would also like to mention Jenny and Carol at the very lovely Fuggles Gallery, Mangerton Mill in Bridport, Dorset who stock my glass. They have called me 'the Merlin of fused glass' so how could I not give them a mention! They are open again after a winter break on the 1st March and I am very much looking forward to working with them again this year.
I adore the work of Salvador Dali, would struggle in the most part to have it on my wall but his view of the world is breath-taking, unique and truly spectacular, I have a signed copy of ‘Le Cheval Caligula’ and it makes my heart sing.

Is there anyone you'd like to shout out to? 
Trite but true, I couldn’t have followed this route in my life without the support and belief of my parents Jill and Nick at many crucial stages of my life and the generous nature of Ian, my husband, who will make me random things at a moment’s notice before an exhibition or just because I ask him to. My three children are a constant delight if a little loud and squabbily and are now so well trained at beach combing that we always come home laden with goodies – I must remember to frisk the trousers before they go in the washing machine though!

Do you have and advice or tips you'd like to share?

As a family we re-use, recycle and upcycle wherever we can. Ian makes beautiful driftwood and flotsam boats, the children always have a craft project on the go and I love that I am creating something beautiful from something broken. We do not all need the latest gadgets to be happy but should look to see the wonder of what is round us with new eyes. (That being said, I’d fall apart without my iPhone, camera and laptop!)

Finally... do you have an online shop / blog etc where people can find you? If so, please let us know!
I have a website and have just opened my Etsy shop My blog is used for ramblings, latest projects and many fairly random things and you can find me on Twitter as @kateosmanglass for everything else!


Thank you so much for spending time telling us about yourself and your work Kate - I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say how interesting your work sounds and it's clear you have a lot of passion for your work. I am really inspired now to go and book myself on to a glass fusion course... I have to say whenever I go to the glass workshop where I get my glass supplies for mosaic, I am always slightly tempted to sign up for one of their courses. Maybe I will actually go and do a course now! I love your work and wish you every luck with your continuing business. And to everyone else... go and look at Kate's work on her website, facebook and twitter!! 

Thank you Kate! 

Friday, 23 March 2012

That Friday Feeling...London (23/03/2012)

This week's theme is London. Why? Because on Sunday I'm going to be going south of the river, not to visit friends in an area I know well, or to get on a train from Waterloo... no, I'm going all the way to Balham for my first ever craft fair. I'm quite excited but at the same time have not been there for at least 10 years so don't know what to expect of the whole area. LOL - that sounds as if I think of Balham as a whole different country, not a different part of this amazing city! But one of the things I love about London is that each area has its own different vibe and feel. So I'm looking forward to seeing more of the south. Anyway, as I always learn something new when I do a Friday Feeling post, I thought I'd have London as a theme this week to see what I can find out. But enough of that... here are some lovely things I found on Etsy this week.

Prints of London icons with cute little lines from nursery rhymes by helenatycedesigns
I love all of iconicpillows designs but this cushion is particularly fun.

I love this print of Big Ben by PRRINT 
So here are the promised facts I found out about...
  • London is not only the biggest city in the UK, it's also the biggest in Europe with 12% of the British population living there.
  • The first bridge across the River Thames was London Bridge - it was built by the Romans and was probably made of wood but there has been a bridge at the same place ever since. 
  • About 80,000 umbrellas are lost on the London Underground every year. I know that at least 5 of them are mine!
  • The first asparagus grown in Britain was grown in Battersea Park in 1850
  • Blackheath (near Greenwich / Dulwich) has both the oldest hockey and rugby clubs in the world. 
  • Greenwich's Millenium Dome is the largest dome in the world - and it's measurements reflect Greenwich's long-standing relationship to time (through the Royal Observatory) It's diameter is 365m (days in a year), it's height 52 m (weeks in a year) and there are 12 supporting poles symbolising months. I didn't know that before today!
  • The Queen is not allowed to enter the City of London without prior permission from the Lord Mayor. But the City of London is actually only a square mile - it's the area between Bank and Aldgate and is the financial heart of London. The touristy bits of London are actually part of the City of Westminster. Yes, London is made up of 2 cities.
  • Soho - the area just south of Oxford Street around Tottenham Court Road used to be heavily wooded area - or rather it was in the time of Henry VIII. It used to be a favourite hunting ground and when someone spotted a deer they'd cry 'Tally-Ho' for lesser creatures they started saying 'So-Ho' which is where it got it's name from. I'm not sure I'm convinced by that one...
  • The Mayflower Pub in Rotherhithe is the only place in the UK licensed to sell both English and American postage stamps. The pub used to be called The Shippe, and the Mayflower (yes, the famous pilgrim fathers ship) sailed from just outside in 1620. It stopped in Plymouth to pick up more passengers and supplies before going on to America. 
  • The skull and crossbones flag, famous for its pirate connotations, may have been inspired by St Nicholas Church in Deptford. It has a skull and crossbones on its gates and was a well-known place of worship for many sailors. The flag could have originated in being a means of letting other pirates / sailors know that they were from the same place. 
  • Christ Church in Lambeth has a spire decorated with stars and stripes... because it was half funded by American and it commemorates Lincoln's abolition of slavery.
  • New Scotland Yard, built in 1888 is actually built on the scene of an unsolved murder. While they were excavating the foundations they discovered the head and torso of a woman but despite huge investigations neither the woman's identity nor her murderer were ever discovered.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Twitter Winner!

Ooops. I was meant to announce the Twitter Giveaway winner last night, but... well I've been a little distracted by The Killing and the Craft Fair and somehow forgot about it. Sorry! But anyway, I won't keep you in suspense any longer - it's time to tell you who won the giveaway.

I have an incredibly technical system going on here at Creating Trouble, using all the latest technology available... it's called Pen & Paper and involved me writing a slip for every entrant...

...and then using the other incredibly technical method of choosing a slip of paper. Actually I got my lovely flatmate to do that particular part so that there was an independent adjudicator. And here is the winner:

Congratulations Linn of @LinniRsbooks whose name was drawn out of the box - send me a DM with your address and I will get your lovely new pink Bunny Bag in the post for you. 

Thank you everyone who entered, re-tweeted, followed and went to my Facebook page - I really appreciate all of your support! And now I'm looking forward to the next milestone... 200 blog followers and I'll be holding the next giveaway... !

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Getting ready for a Craft Fair

I'm sorry, there wasn't a Silent Sunday post today... instead I have been designing my table for the Balham Craft Fair. I started with a walk in Victoria Park this morning where I got a few odd looks as I kicked around under the trees looking for twigs. Coming home with an armful of dead wood that was clearly not good enough for firewood warranted a few more bemused glances. However, it paid off as, after painting them white, I have put them into my two red vases and hung some pendants on them... quite effective I think!

After that I decided to convert the photo frames I bought from IKEA recently into display frames.  Using some foam and a handy picture I saw recently (I pinned it on pinterest here) I got to work covering some foam with material and then attaching on to a piece of backing foam.

And this is what I ended up with... 

Then of course I made a realisation. My vases are red and I had used navy blue as my shelf foam pieces. Duh! So I had another dig around my material stash and found some red. Obviously I then had to do my two display frames again. But the second time around was much quicker and I am much happier with the result now:

Nearly done! Having a bit of a root around my room I found some of the bits that I will be selling on Sunday and played around a bit with setting them up and this is what I came up with. What do you think? Obviously my kitchen table isn't quite as large as my stall table is going to be so this isn't quite what it's going to look like, and I still need labels, a tablecloth and various other bits. But generally I'm quite happy with how it's looking so far. Any advice for me? 

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Craft Fair

I'm sure most of you have now realised that I've been a hive of activity recently... so much so that I haven't really had time to blog properly in recent weeks. And why? It's because I'm going to be doing my first craft fair next weekend! ARGH! But how exciting! I've wanted to do a craft fair for ages now but had never quite got the guts up to do it - but this year is my year for being decisive so I signed up in January for the Balham Craft Fair on Sunday 25th March. It's from 12 - 6pm in the Balham Bowls Club  and it would be fantastic if any of you are around and could come and support us. There are 12 stalls in all and we are all looking forward to it. I've been making pendants and penguins for weeks now... can't wait to see how it all pans out. 

Monday, 12 March 2012

The Killing... latest TV addiction!

Sorry I haven't been blogging... I've been really distracted by The Killing - a Danish crime series that I am sure many of you have heard about. It's in Danish but has English subtitles... sorry I couldn't find you a copy that had them for you to see. But here's a taster for you, in case you haven't already seen any of it:

Friday, 2 March 2012

That Friday Feeling...02/03/12

Wow it's March already. Did any of you ladies propose to your other halves on Wednesday? I suggested it at school but the girls all went 'yeurrrrrghhhh!' and the boys all quite obviously moved across the classroom just in case any girls got the wrong idea. It was quite amusing really!

One of my goals this year is to read more books. Except I've been stuck on Cloud Atlas since January now. Seriously I NEVER read this slowly! I don't think it's a particularly bad book. I don't mind reading it and there are parts I've quite enjoyed, but I'm just not gripped enough to bother about it much.

Anyway, because I'm reading Cloud Atlas, I thought I'd dedicate today's post to clouds. I've been thinking about a cloud post for a while and today, being so foggy in the morning and evening, and overcast throughout the day, seems a good day to talk about clouds. So here are my picks for this week:

Love this paper garland by GenTerro

Sweet cloud mobile by leptitpapillon

Cute little cloud necklace by ICharming

Gorgeous baby quilt by AlphabetMonkey

What little facts can I conjure up for you?

  • Cloud Atlas is not just the name of a novel by David Mitchell... an actual 'International Cloud Atlas' was published in 1896 which featured the classification of the 10 basic types of cloud.
  • Pilots do everything they can to avoid cumulonimbus clouds (thunderstorm clouds) as they can be incredibly dangerous. The only person known to have fallen through a cumulonimbus and survived was William Rankin, in 1959. His plane caught fire just above a cumulonimbus and he had to eject. His survival was quite miraculous as he spent about half an hour inside the cloud being pelted with hail and thrown about. He had frostbite, blood pouring from his eyes, nose, mouth and ears (because of decompression) and several welts caused by hail. Lucky to have survived although it sounds like the after-treatment would have been pretty horrible.
  • Hindus and Buddhists believe that cumulus clouds (the white fluffy ones) are the spiritual cousins of elephants.
  • Any planet with an atmosphere can have clouds. Saturn definitely does.
  • Cumulonimbus are not only the largest clouds (they can be incredibly tall - and we're talking about kilometres high not metres here), they can also hold up to million tons of water.
  • Have you seen the Disney-Pixar short film 'Partly Cloudy'? It's kind of cute...

In case you haven't seen it yet, I'm holding a twitter giveaway for those who follow me on Twitter (create_trouble) All you need to do it leave a comment under the giveaway post to tell me your twitter name and how many entries you have.


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