Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Have a happy new year

Thanks to all those customers, old and new who braved the weather to come and get their pressies from me!
I'll be taking my annual break now and coming back onto the sunday market first on the 23rd Jan. I'll be back on All Saints the week after too, on the 29th.
New designs will be my priority as usual at this time of year and I promise to get them on my website quicker than I normally do!
It's been a tough year and a very tough Christmas but let's hope 2011 will be better.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Best catherdral in the world

As the Cambridge Market was cancelled today I took the opportunity to get some of my own Christmas shopping done in Lincoln.
The phone doesn't really do it justice but you get a sense of the amazing view we had going back to the car this afternoon.
Like something from a Turner painting- the catherdral just floated there in the last rays of the sunshine and the mist. We stopped and just marvelled at it.
We see this wonderful cathedral practically ever week in all its moods and I never tire of it. Today was the most beautiful I've ever seen it and its a shame I didn't have a decent camera on me!
Thought I'd share that with you lot. Hopefully back on All Saints tomorrow and hope to do every day, up to and including Christmas Eve. Weather permitting, of course!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Lovely Labradorite

This little beauty has a moonstone to complement the labradorite.
It's available from the market stall in Cambridge for £65, or online, if you send me a request for it. I'll send a Paypal invoice and you can pay online.

Rather pleased with this one. This one's £75 and available in the same way.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Two weekends before Christmas

Just a gentle reminder that Christmas is this month.
I know, sounds a bit obvious, but some of the lovely folks in Cambridge need reminding.
Yes, I will be on the markets every week until Christmas, but do bear in mind that it's on a saturday this year so that's only two shopping weekends left.
So if you're in Cambridge, do spare a though for those out in the cold for the next couple of weekends and come and visit us! I know the warmth of the Grand Arcade is welcoming but there's lots of lovely unique things to buy at All Saints on the saturday (and some weekdays) and the Market Square on the sunday.
Support your British craftspeople! They need you! (Rather desperately, so they can do their own Christmas shopping...!)

Friday, 3 December 2010

Glad none of these are over the door! Might have skewered the postman! (when he turns up)

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

My commute to work

Don't much like the look of that!
Was going to do some enamelling today but I think I might need a shovel to make it to my "summerhouse"

Harvey's getting cabin fever too...

Sandy's Blog


Love this. And insanely jealous that I sat in the freezing cold for peanuts when we could have been shooting a fantastic little documentary

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Yay! Managed to get the photo up!

Doesn't it look pretty?!
As much as I love the snow I want it to go away before the weekend! Unless you all want to shop online this year and save me getting cold...
now that would be nice!
To that end, I do promise to put more goodies online in the next few days, including some lovely labradorite one-off necklaces for the festive season.
They will appear here instead of on my main website as I don't have a separate page for one-offs unless it's blue amber.
It's about time I paid more attention to my website!

Snow stops play

Should be a nice picture of my garden here...
All sorts of issues with my PC at the moment- non FastHosts related this time!
All I see is a white space- in fact- maybe the picture is already up!!
Might have to do indoors things today as I don't fancy the trip to my "summerhouse" workshop! I know it's only a couple of yards but if the schools are closed then I'm doing the same!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Blue Amber

About time I got some new blue amber up here! These will be available for sale either online or at Cambridge. Going to be a chilly one this week...

Thursday, 18 November 2010

All working again

My website is working again thank goodness.
I should really thank Fasthosts after my lovely webmaster/sister tried to resolve it with them, but as they got it working and then tried to tell us that nothing was wrong with it, they have blotted their copybook somewhat!
I think that the server is deliberatly trying to send us both round the bend!
Alls well that ends well as they say.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Website problems

You may have noticed that there seems to be a problem viewing items on my website.
Rest assured I'm working on getting it back to normal just as soon as possible.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Price Increases

Unfortunately due to the near doubling of the price of silver over the last year, I'm gradually putting my prices up to reflect this.
I was hoping to hold off until after Christmas but I'm finding a rather large gap emerging between my takings and my ability to buy more raw materials, which, in November when I'm building up stock, is rather a big issue.
So from today, you'll start to see my internet prices rise by a few pounds here and there, depending on the item, and after this weekend, the items on my stall.
So if you want to do your Christmas shopping, I'd advise you to do it this weekend in Cambridge before the price increase!


Had a great time in Whitby for Halloween weekend- nice to see a few familiar faces there.
Really should have taken some photos but was having far too much fun!
Good to have both the usual Arcturus stall and Captain Hieronymous Bartholomew's Impossible Fossils sharing the same table! Space is always at a premium at Cambridge so The Captain doesn't always get any selling space.
Follow that blog on
www.impossiblefossils.blogspot.com where you'll find a growing range of Steampunk styles for the discening adventurer or time traveller!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Butterflies again...

I love my camera- it makes my photos looks so good!
Rushed upstairs to get my camera and this little fella stayed put rather helpfully! Beautiful colour- pretty sure it's a Common Blue but I'm open to other suggestions. Seen lots of Brimstone this year (the pretty yellow one) that seems to be the butterfly of the year instead of the Painted Lady.
Really should be making stock after a sucessful weekend both at the market and at the Cambridge Rock Festival. Will do that again next year!
Maybe not drop a heavy board on my foot next year as it made my enjoyment of the music on sunday a little harder!
I have two very bruised toes on my right foot- I'll refrain from photographing them, even though they are also a very pretty blue colour!

Monday, 19 July 2010

A bit of fun...

Here you will find Captain Hieronymous Bartholomew's Impossible Fossils-
Proof of a civilisation millions of years before man stood on two feet!
Of course, the claims made in the above are, at best, completely made up

Friday, 11 June 2010

wildwood blue amber choker

Thought I'd share this with you.
Those of you who come to my stall regularly will have seen this piece on my stand. The most expensive item I have at £350! Recently though I've been getting some really blue stones out of my amber so I've decided to "upgrade" this piece with a really stunningly blue stone. It was nice, the stone that preceded it, but it didn't really do the piece justice.
I think you'll agree that this stone looks at home here!
One of my first hallmarked pieces, this.
Birmingham Assay office have been great at helping me out with the intricacies of the assay process!
I'll have some new (slightly cheaper!) blue amber pieces online by the weekend, I hope.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

World's most useless cat?

Had to take a photo when I saw this from the kitchen window.
Both parties completely oblivious of eachother! Harvey's job is to keep the pigeons off the newly seeded areas of lawn and stop them pooing everywhere. Have to cut down on his food, I think to get him interested...

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Got my maker's mark

I've officially registered with the Birmingham Assay Office now, so all my sterling silver jewellery (over 7 gramms) will be hallmarked in accordance with the law.
Any item of silver must be hallmarked now if it's above a certain weight. Otherwise I would have to say "white metal", not sterling silver. So bear with me for a few weeks as I get used to all this- it may mean that some heavier items take a few days longer to get made.
I've got my very own maker's mark which you'll see on my jewellery from now on.
For a little while, some of my pieces on the craft market will be unhallmarked as I can't send it off to Birmingham all at once- I'd have no stock!
From now on, anything over the legal weight that's ordered on my website will be hallmarked.
More peace of mind for my customers and added kudos for Arcturus! (Feel all grown up now!)
Pictures of the new enamels and blue amber as they emerge too...

Whitby Gothic Weeed

Had a lovely time up in Whitby last month- (must get some pictures up!)
If you've never been before, it's a great place to visit at any time. When the assorted characters descend on the town for the twice yearly Gothic Weekends there's never a dull moment!
Be sure to dress up to the nines or you'll feel terribly undersdressed! Looking forward to the next one in October. Halloween, of course...

Thursday, 4 March 2010

new blue amber at last

I know, it's been a little while since I had some really exciting new pieces, but here's the first two:

Blue Planet I'm calling this one as it looks like the Earth from space. Amazing inclusions. This one will be £100.
Now this one... gorgeous purple and reds like an evening sky, so this one's Lavender Cloud:

A nice big chunk- around 30x 40mm and will be on sale for £220

Monday, 1 March 2010

I'm going to be busy this week!

I can't wait to get started on these!
New blue amber pieces by the end of the week, I think!

Sunday market and the great British weather

My apologies to anyone who has tried to visit me at the main market on a sunday these last two weeks.
Both sundays have been subject to the Severe Weather Warning Syndrome- I shall explain...
Unlike the saturday market at All Saints, traders have to pay a week in advance unless they notify the manager in advance that they are going to take a week off. A good system, I think as it makes traders think twice about not turning up and forfeiting the stall fee.
However, when a severe weather warning is in place, the rules change. In an act of kindness, the council will let traders go back home without paying the stall fee if the weather is really bad and trade affected. The thing is, if you decide to brave the horizontal snow or storm force rain, you will have to pay your stall fee and hope to make a little money.
This is what has happened on the last two sundays. The thing is, it really does affect the reputation of the market if the stalls are empty. What I think should happen (and I have suggested it several times) is that the traders have another choice.
How about- if you stay, you don't have to pay your stall fee. Let's face it, if a trader goes home, the council don't get any money, so what have they got to lose? What they gain is a market that might look a little fuller, as many traders might decide to risk staying if they know it's not going to cost them £20-odd before they start.
In terrible weather, there's a very good chance that they will make minus £20-odd on top of petrol and lunch expenses. Can you blame them for going home?
The thing is, the poor food traders don't have a choice. Their stock won't keep. They have an even worse chance of making any money when most of the stalls are empty. When I turned up yesterday, there wouldn't have been anyone on either my row or the one opposite!
That is the main reason why I decided not to stay. Rain is rain. People have brollies! The weather wasn't really that bad, anyway. However, passing trade would have been zero and nobody to look after my stall if I wanted to get a cup of tea.
So my advice is- if you want to visit me on a sunday in bad weather, don't make a special journey! And, of course, always check my homepage for dates that I will be away from the market too.
I shall continue to try and get the council to change their policy in the meantime...

Thursday, 4 February 2010

My new kiln!!!

Well, here it is, an eBay special:

Ahhh. Dinky, isn't it? It came this morning and I didn't hang about...
Here's the first two things to come out of it:

Really pleased with the colours on the leaves. I'll be playing around with that colour combination a great deal, I think!

Monday, 18 January 2010

My first sucessful attempt at enamelling!

OK, not perfect by any means but I'm rather pleased with it all the same.
I've torch-fired the lead-free enamels on .5 fine silver sheet with fine silver rectangular wire. I've used a combination of sifting and wet packing techniques. (And a bit of swearing when it's fallen face-down on the floor...)
The torch firing method is a little haphazard and tends the burn the outer edges, well, at least I do, until I get a bit better at it!
I intend to contruct a little hotplate kiln next in my next attempt at not spending money on a proper kiln and see what happens. The drawback of torch firing is it makes counter-enamelling difficult on thin pieces like this. The torch re-melts the back each time I fire, as the heat is directed at the underside of the piece. The result- a rather odd looking replica of the wire mesh that it's sitting on! The good thing that torch firing has taught me is how to judge when the enamel is "cooked" and will help me enormously when I start using a hotplate kiln that won't have fancy things like temperature control.
More attempts posted as I go!
And maybe next time I'll remember to drill a hole in the top too...

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Christmassy photos

I just had to share these with you. I've just downloaded them off Martin's phone and they are rather good!
This one was taken on one of the chillier days on All Saints this year. (Note the lack of other hardy stallholders...part timers!)

OK...the next isn't really Christmassy at all but it was taken a couple of days after Christmas at Crosby, near where Martin's brother lives. One of Anthony Gormley's amazing pieces of art. Nearly 100 of these figures dotted about the beach for miles in each direction. Amazing- so atmospheric, especially just after sunset when we took a walk down there. If ever you're in the area do take a look. I could have spent hours there in the stillness of it all. Ever so slightly sinister but something very British about it too. Something of the Island Race, maybe?

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Snow is STILL managing to mess me about!

It does look pretty, I must admit!
Trouble is, I was booked on an enamelling course in Ipswich this weeked. Snow has meant that it's cancelled. Had a good afternoon playing with the colours at Sue's yesterday instead. She's coming from enamelling from a different direction, but it's great to learn together. (Like picking up items that haven't been on the wire mesh a little later than the ones that been on the kiln floor...) And no, that wasn't me! I just have trouble with simpler things like opening doors. But hey, I'm an artist!!
I might re-book the course in the summer but it will mean taking a day off the market. That's why january was such a good idea. In principle, anyway! Maybe I'll just do what I normally do and learn from experience. I might try some torch firing (not got a kiln yet)when my lead-free colours arrive.
Oh look, it's starting to snow again.
AND I was going to do a car boot sale this sunday instead of the enamelling course. That's been cancelled because of the weather too!