Melbourne Bead Expo Handmade Bead Competition 2016

Every year, I participate as an exhibitor in the BSV’s Melbourne Bead Expo. In previous years, the Bead Expo has been held in Moorabbin.  This year, it was held at Box Hill Tafe.  I really liked the new venue as it had wonderful natural light and felt light and airy.  Unfortunately the Tafe is restructuring early next year and the space we used is being turned into offices.  The hunt is on for a new venue.

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As a member of the Bead Society, I’m entitled to enter their beading competitions. For the first time, I decided to enter their handmade competition where you can make handmade beads in any medium (being a lampworker, of course my medium of choice was glass). This year the theme for a single bead was ‘Oceans’ and the theme for a set of five beads was ‘Astronomy’. Many of the entries in other categories featured exquisite work using seed beads. I really admire the dedication and creativity the seed beaders put into their work.

Winners for all the competition categories are announced on the Friday. As the names were called, I was pleasantly surprised to hear my own. I had won the ‘Ocean’ bead category! All of my entry pieces sold over the course of the expo. I also received some wonderful compliments from visitors to the expo.

Naturally I left making my lampwork beads to the last minute so was in a hurry to post my entries to the expo organisers.  I never expected to do so well so I only took quick snapshots that aren’t very good but you can still get the idea of what the beads looked like from the photos. I’ll means sure to take better photos next time.

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I can’t wait until next year. I wonder what the themes will be?

2016 Festival of Glass

il_570xN.880385685_knpyThe Festival of Glass in Drysdale is one of my favourite events of the year.

Although the Festival is held on a Sunday and is a long drive from home, I prefer to make two trips to the venue and set up my stall on the Saturday. Not only does it mean that I don’t have to wake up ridiculously early on the Sunday (being ever watchful for kangaroos on the road) but I can take my time and put care and thought into the best way to showcase my art. There is something almost magical about starting with empty tables and ending with a beautiful display filled with vibrant colours.

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The day is not only about selling my work but also about the people. I love to see the newest pieces made by my fellow artists and friends as well as looking at all the beautiful entries in the Glass Art Awards competition. They are truly creative and inspiring. I also love to meet and talk to lots of people, hoping to impart a little of my love of glass. There are also my regular customers who buy beads from me both here and at the Bead Expo, in particular Fiona and Angela.

I’d like to thank all the organisers for the great effort they put in to making the festival happen.  They’re all volunteers.  And I’d also like to thank everyone who visited my stall on the day. I had a wonderful time and am already looking forward to next year!

Festival of Glass Treasure Hunt

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One of my favourite events of the year is the Festival of Glass, held in Drysdale, Victoria on the third Sunday of February.  This year the Festival has started a new event that involves lots of local businesses – the Festival of Glass Treasure Hunt.

Businesses in Drysdale and surrounding areas commissioned glass artists to make works of art, ranging from $10 to several hundred dollars.  All of the commissioned pieces are currently on display in each of the participating businesses and can be won by anyone participating in the Treasure Hunt.  You can view the prizes here   –  there’s certainly a variety to be won. Along with these major works of art, there are also 21 small glass treasures hidden in each business.

To enter the competition, you can either pick up an entry form from a participating business or download one here.  You need to visit at least 10 of the businesses, find the hidden little treasure and then have your entry form stamped. In some businesses, you also need to make a small purchase or be a regular customer.  The entry form then needs to be submitted to the FoG table during the Festival of Glass Expo on February 21st before 2pm.  While you’re there you can also look out for my stall and come visit :)

I was lucky enough to be commissioned to make two pieces of art.  For my pieces, I could design anything I liked as long as it was within a certain price range.  After much consideration, I decided to use the Festival of Glass colours of black, ivory, yellow, orange and red to create my pieces.  My round bowl is at the Drysdale Physio and Sports Clinic and my square platter is at the Bellarine Veterinary Practice.

Not only am I looking forward to participating in the Festival of Glass this year, I can’t wait to find out who wins my pieces.

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Melbourne Bead Expo 2015

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The Melbourne Bead Expo is over for another year.  I spent three days of showcasing my lampwork beads, dichroic pendants and cabochons.  The expo was held in Moorabbin at the Kingston Town Hall.  I’ve been part of the Bead Expo for a number of years now and always look forward to catching up with other exhibitors (many of whom are now friends), beaders that have previously bought my beads and new faces.  Normally I’m located in front of the stage but this year I was in the middle of the room.  Quite a few people did comment that I was in a different spot – it’s nice that people remember me and my work.

Whilst numbers through the door seemed to be down this year, it was still a great show.  I think numbers may have been down as the workshops (which are usually held at another location in the building) were held off-site.  Normally workshop participants pop into the expo either before or after their workshops.  That just wasn’t possible this year.
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Many people commented on my rice and why I used the rice as part of my display.  It’s really quite simple.  The rice is white and it makes the colours of my lampwork beads stand out more.  The other reason is that I have two beautiful labradors at home.  Whilst they aren’t allowed near my beads, their fur gets into everything.  Fur on a black background is very hard to remove.  So I just pop some rice into the display tray and that problem is solved.  One young girl thought it was cooked rice and wondered if it would go mouldy!  When I get home from an expo, the rice just gets poured into a container and stored away for the next event.

The Bead Expo is run by volunteers and they do a great job.  Each year they also run beading competitions and the entries are all on display.  You can find more information about bead society happenings here.

The big news for the Bead Expo is that in 2016 it will be held at Box Hill Tafe – Elgar Rd campus.  Dates for next year are November 4 to 6.  In the words of Arnie – I’ll be back…..

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Borneo International Bead Conference 2015

Between October 9th to 11th, I was lucky enough to attend the Borneo International Bead Conference.  Held at the Old Courthouse in Kuching, this is the fourth time the conference has been held. front of old courthouse

My friend Lara Le Reveur is an extremely talented contemporary clay artist and was invited to the conference as a keynote speaker to talk about polymer clay and various techniques to use when working with it.  Lara also ran two workshops.  Lara kindly invited me along to assist in looking after her trade table and generously let me bring some of my lampwork glass beads along.  We had a very simple table set up as it’s hard to bring many display props over in a suitcase.

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Each morning began with presentations by various speakers from all over the world.  Workshops were held in the afternoon.  Trade tables were set up in the quadrangle of the courthouse.  It was extremely humid and my ankles swelled up horribly.  Our tables were sheltered by large veranda’s which kept the sun at bay and sheltered us from the downpours of rain that happened during the afternoons.

quadrangle of courthouse

As the trade tables were so large, we also shared with Margaret Mueller who is the president of the Melbourne branch of the Bead Society of Victoria.  Margaret also facilitated a workshop on using recycled objects in jewellery.

Part of being there for me was educating the local people about lampwork beads.  Many had not heard of the term before and were quite fascinated with my beads.  I explained numerous times how the beads were made.  I just wish I’d taken some books or photos to show how the lampwork beads are made.  I was even asked by several people if I was running a workshop.  Unfortunately the equipment for making lampwork beads would have been very difficult to take with me and I doubt they could have been sourced locally.

Polymer clay beads were also a new concept to many participants.  Lara’s workshops were very popular.  I’m sure some of the workshop participants will continue on with making polymer clay beads. The tools and equipment for polymer clay are a little easier to source.

One of the other workshops that ran was a stringing workshop.  I sold one lampwork bead to the lovely girl below (sorry but I can’t remember your name). She discovered that another focal bead was required so she came back and bought another bead in similar colour scheme.  The necklace was proudly worn to our gala dinner and looked gorgeous.

simple stringing using my lampwork beads

Below is a photo shoot that took place before our gala dinner on Saturday evening.  I’m the shorter one.  We had to wear a necklace made out of plastic beads for the photo.

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During the conference, we were very well looked after.  There was morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea.  Each meal had several different dishes on offer and you helped yourself.  As Lara was a speaker, we also went to a welcome dinner which was held at the Sarawak Club and a farewell dinner which was held at a seafood restaurant.  The food was delicious and extremely fresh.

After the conference and before flying home, I managed a visit to an orangutan sanctuary and a long house so I did get a glimpse of the countryside.  Never having been to Asia before, I really wasn’t sure what to expect.  I was pleasantly surprised by the lovely people and the great food.  I could do without the swollen ankles though.  If given the chance, I would definitely do a return visit and see a bit more of what nature has to offer.