Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Time for beads!

We are now into the Summer Vacation at work and everything has slowed down. However I suddenly seem busier than ever. I have been trying to go to the gym at least twice a week and that really seems to be helping my general sense of well-being. If anyone had told me six months ago that I would be going to a gym and not hating it too much I would have thought that they were mad. M is away on holiday at the moment but K has agreed to go with me this week. It is a bit boring but I find that I am able to do more each time that I go and it does make me feel better about life in general.

I was recently asked by one of my colleagues if I had any pictures of my beadwork. I brought in what I had and this has resulted in me selling a couple of pieces. I am very bad at selling. I find it hard to price the things that I make. They take a long time to make and I put so much of myself into them that it is sometimes hard to part with them. But I don't wear them often enough and it is only right that they should go to someone who will appreciate them. I have decided to document my beadwork in more detail in future. It is really good to look back at some of my pieces of jewellery and remember the process of designing and making them.

Last weekend I went on a 'bead' trip to Shaftesbury. I normally buy most of my beads by mail order (thank heavens for the internet!) but nothing beats handling and choosing them in person. Unfortunately there are very few places in Bournemouth to buy craft materials. There is a good bead shop in Poole but it does not have a range of seed beads and cylinder beads - the type of bead that I use most frequently. The nearest bead shop is Shaftesbury in Dorset. It is quite a trek for me but I try to go two or three times a year. There are now three bead shops in Shaftesbury, one having recently opened at the top of Gold Hill.

Stitch and Craft in Swan's Yard is my favourite. They stock a dizzying array of beads in all shapes and sizes, Swarovski crystals, beading thread and wire, sterling silver clasps and even a range of knitting yarn. The staff are very knowledgeable and helpful, nothing is ever too much trouble. If you can't visit Shaftesbury they have a great online shop.

Bijoux Beads is literally a few feet away from Stitch and Craft, also in Swan's Yard. They stock a range of larger focal beads, pearls and a small range of semi-precious beads. they also have shops in Salisbury and Bath.

The latest addition is The Beadster which is situated behind the Town Hall and at the top of the picturesque Gold Hill. This is not a great photo of the shop -you can just see it on the left hand side of the picture. However it does show how pretty Shaftesbury is. Gold Hill was immortalised in the famous Hovis advert which featured a young boy pushing a bicycle up this very steep cobbled street.

I spent a great morning wandering around Shaftesbury and then headed home to continue working on my Passion Flower vase. I am a bit stressed about it at the moment as I want to finish in time for the City & Guilds exhibition at the end of next week.

Finally here is a selection of photos taken by my Other Half at the weekend. He is talking about doing another photography course. I hope that he does as he is very talented (although I might be a bit biased!)