Tuesday, 26 November 2013


Hello everyone! 
I do still exist, my writing skills are pretty non-existent at the moment, so this will be short and sweet. 

There is a SALE of 25% OFF in my RaggedRobyn Etsy shop. See shop announcement for coupon code.

This is a favourite time of year for me. The leaves are still falling from the trees, they are so dry and colourful they rustle and tumble around and the cats chase them.

The other week this was the view from my kitchen to my studio. I couldnt bring myself to sweep these up until they were piled up higher than my feet.

The low sunshine makes silhouettes out of everything and the frosty mornings make my head feel clear.

Been playing with wire and making lots of earrings....

AND a wacky necklace...

I am still busy making... I never stop! Every waking hour is taken up by creative planning and hands on playing with mud/clay and paint/paste, and wire. So more is on it's way into the shop.

A Grey Bird will arrive at my house in a few days and we will eat drink and be silly...

Have fun too!

Monday, 2 September 2013

Body Adornment

So some of you may have noticed I have been rather busy listing loads of new beads. Most of these are 'part glazed' As in I fired them once, glazed them with a matt glaze then fired them again. Unfortunately half of the colours burnt out at the super high temperature I fire to. But all was not lost and I was able to paint over with Gilders Paste no problems. I  have decided that I prefer the finish on the beads and in future I will be part-glazing most of my beads. Here are photos of just some of the new work in my shop...

Spiky Demon Wings

Dusted bell shape

I like the contrast of materials on these bells with the metal beads...

Cymbal beads, I was going to list these as just the two orange ones but the blue purple one snuck in there  - he goes so well and made the orange stand out beautifully. Again using some metal beads as clappers...I think they are pewter but I never know with metal. 

Some of the newer work is pinned together with the wire hook. When I was a thrower I loved to make teapots because you make it in segments. So you throw the body, the foot ring, the lid and the spout and then turn and scrape to fit it all together...then the handle is pulled from a lump of clay...left to dry a bit, chopped and attached to the finished pot. It is all about timing and measuring. I'm pretty certain these beads will evolve into something insanely huge and quirky, if they havn't already

 Aren't these elegant ?

The clapper on this one is made from five beads all stuck together before firing. I might have to take pics of it with the stacked beads on top as well because they look really grand like that. The gold doesn't cover the whole surface of these, I put a wash of white onto the black ceramic, then orange and just hints of gold. The photo's don't seem to show the contrast and depth in the painted surface. I find gold difficult to photograph especially on black clay.

This one is also connected with wire, it isn't rigid but bends and moves a little when pressed. I love the rusty quality. I am tempted to use fibre on my beads ...maybe just a bit here or there to contrast the textures...hhmmm...

I'm not sure what this one is...haha...but look at him go...I made three of these and I may have to keep one because they are insanely stunning. I don't know how sale able they are but there are two roaming around loose in the shop.

In other news I got my Ceramic Review in the post and look what I found...

This incredible work is by Marie Pendaries it is titled 'La dot' and made from Porcelain in 2008.

Artist: Peter Hoogeboom Title 'Spanish Collar'

The article is about an exhibition in Gardiner Museum, Toronto, 'A bit of clay on the skin: New Ceramic Jewellery'  Twenty artists from all over the world show over 140 pieces of body adornment.
With out giving too much away and breaking copyright it speaks of the influences on jewellery, historical, cultural, etc. 
So that was interesting and inspiring. And I thought some of my beads were 'mammoth' ha!

Oh and did you know if you are registered as self-employed artist in the UK that craft magazine subscriptions are fully deductible for tax!!! I have only just found this out...yikes...I wish I could backdate that!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013


I have been away visiting for a few days then painting my studio...white! That way I can see what colours to add later on. It feels so much better in there now the awful yellow has gone. It now needs plants, shelves and hooks for tools.
I might add cumin orange to one wall, I like to use diluted acrylic paints to wash over layer after layer with a big sponge. For the time being I will be replenishing my kiln and bead stocks. 

Before my week away I was intrigued by the many pricing blogs started by sparrow salvage. I find that my approach on pricing is quite different to others, and perhaps that is because I was taught a system of 'costing' and 'pricing' during my Uni years. We had lectures on these things in preparation for exhibitions and I have dug out the relevant papers that I had squirreled away and lugged around with me over the years...I am glad I kept them so I can share them with you guys and gals now! 

To my mind pricing is totally separate to my feelings or emotional attachment to the items I make. I don't get sentimental or mark up prices because actually I want to keep them. I find it helpful to separate these feelings when pricing otherwise it can get unrealistic and that's when pricing becomes a chore.

Adjustments to this process will have to be made to suit what you make and how you sell it. Some points will be relevant to you and others not so much. If you sell through Etsy then the Etsy and Paypal fee's are your gallery mark up's and commission costs. VAT may be separate and you will know if you pay this and how much to factor in for the final price. 

These papers were given as guidance notes for graduates in the UK back in 2008. It is up to you if you work out an hourly rate and what that rate should be. I know personally I have a vague awareness of how long things take me but really it works out over the week rather than each individual bead set (I don't time myself for every set I make).

Your hourly rate includes...
finding tools and inspiration, ...(if I spend an afternoon at car boots specifically looking for new textures then this time is included in my daily and weekly rate - don't go mad with this, be realistic)
the time to make and decorate the work
packing orders, 
time to tidy and clean your studio and tools after making, (if I have made something on the potters wheel it can take me a good 20 mins to clean everything after)
photographing and listing,
and also to reply to emails and Etsy convos, custom orders etc.
If you work to a set schedule you may or may not want to include lunch and break times?

At some point you might want to include the time is takes to keep your finances and manage the money in and out of your business. I don't include this in my prices as I take forever on things like that and it would just end up silly. If you are the sort of person who incorporates this into your normal working day then it may suit you to include it in your pricing. 

At the end of all this working out you must be able to look at the item for sale and think 'What would someone pay for this?...Is it reasonable to charge £X $X for it?...Is this my first one and will I get faster at making similar items?' 

Remember it is up to you what you feel comfortable charging for your work. I have chosen to include this information in my blog as it may be useful to someone out there somewhere, and whats the point in me hogging it all to myself. 
If you have a system of your own please share, it seems pricing can be a taboo topic and many are shy or uncomfortable about it. DO leave comments below, I am interested in reading what everyone thinks. And you can all tell me 'What a load of tosh!' if you think so. Ha!

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Birdie and Etsy Shop Update...

My man took the bird to the vets as we were tired of waiting for the RSPCA and the bird didn't seem to be eating as much as it had been. They took him/her and found a punctured lung so they had to put the bird down. Now I feel terrible that we kept it him/her alive for so long. I didn't realise the vets would take a wild bird - I suppose we have learnt a valuable lesson and it will be straight to the vets next time.
I have been shopping all weekend, bought lots of beautiful furniture and some white paint to get rid of that terrible yellow in the studio.
Making pendant beads from porcelain and with metal hoops, is that something people prefer?
I like opening the kiln and seeing how the previously silver wire has gone black and the striking contrast of it next to the white porcelain.
You may have noticed that I have listed those 'singles' earrings as a pair. They are just too fantabulosis together and I was kinda regretting putting them as singles after a few days. Feels good to see them together now :)

Also I have listed a couple of sets of GLAZED beads...yes that's right...I have put my experience and knowledge into action and I intend to make a new line of beads that are with matte and/or gloss glaze. Some of these glazes I will weigh out and mix myself following recipe's made by me. There is a high gloss white glaze that is on the inside of these...

It was extremely difficult to capture the incredible white glaze in the photos. It is so smooth and soft it feels like milky soap. 

The black is matte and creates a satin effect with some gloss glaze seeping through from the inside for a slight sheen in places.
I'm having so much fun making these shapes and putting them together. I am playing around with some variations and developing this form which was initially inspired by my bell beads, then later by the woodlands that surround me and this beautiful time of year.

Here is the other ones I listed which have and glossy green glaze on the inside. The glaze isn't actually made to go to stoneware temperatures but look what it does at 1260 degrees Celsius on porcelain...

The glaze pooled and made these rivers of glassy green (it looks blueish in the photo but it is really green). The white dots are where the porcelain wall has been pushed in by the textures I used on the outside of the cup; the oxide in the glaze has rolled off and around these.
I will be painting and making beads this week so there will  be things popping up in the shop.
I adore working with the gilders wax so will continue to use that on beads as well.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Beaks, Claws and Paws

Thank you all for your comments on my last blurb. It's been ages since that post. Things have been happening...hmmm where to start?
I can hear it tweeting now so I will start there.
On Monday evening we were in the living room and there was a load of squawking and ruckus out the back. A wide eyed Rocklyn squealed 'THE BIRDS' and we ran through the kitchen and flung open the back door. Butter (my tabby cat) caught her first bird. It is a blackbird chick. We grappled it off of her and shut her indoors, the two blackbird parents were squawking and telling us off. The distraught sound of the parent birds made me very sad. The fledgling just has it's wing feathers and is just a wee bit smaller than a tennis ball. 

...hold on I must pop out for meal worms...

So we made it a bed with some wool and an old towel and put it out the way from the cats. It had a small flesh wound that seems to of  healed now. After some internet searching I discovered that even if it was to learn to fly it will still need fed until it learns to find it's own food. There are sooooooo many cats around here and foxes and badgers too! I could never let it go it would just get eaten.We called the RSPB and they said they couldn't tell us anything or offer any help! They said to contact the RSPCA who's office never seems to be open and so we still have the birdie here in the house. 
Iv made it up some food with hard boiled egg, meal worms and moistened cat biscuits (I found this recipe online) and we are feeding it every hour with tweezers. If anyone thinks we are doing anything wrong please leave me a message because we don't know what we are doing and its a little scary. Of course we have had her here for nearly 4 days and we are getting quite attached. 
Rocklyn seems to have more of a parental instinct that I do because he gets up at sunrise when the bird wakes tweeting and goes to feed it. I don't wake up to anything. Once we had his 1 year old nephew over in the bedroom with us and I didn't even wake to him screaming! If the cats make a noise I'm up in a flash! Ha! 

Oh the reason it's poop is purple is because I gave it some brambles I had in the kitchen.

In other news I had the electricity connected in my studio! Hooray! I had to go down to the estate agents and give them my best evil eyes and angry Scottish attitude and made them all super uncomfortable and call the electrician then and there to arrange a day and time hhmmf!  
I moved everything in straight away - its all very messy and there is still 'shed stuff' lying around but I have my lamps, desks, drawers, kiln and wheel all set in place :)


Yesterday was my first day working in there and it feels good. Note the horrid yellow walls...those will need painted asap! It is still hectic and I am using random tables that are around the place but I'm sure over time it will become custom designed for it's purpose. To be honest I'm so used to working from a 'studio' that is mismatched and displaced that this seems fabulous to me. I like to be organised and I have my trusty filing system, bead making and listing processes that keep things from getting lost or pawed under furniture.
I am working on some new bead decorating ideas and its great to have everything where I need it.
Peanut keeps me company and occasionally reaches out to hold my hand with her paw.

There is lots of new work in my shop and there is more on it's way. The kiln is on just now and fingers, toes and eyes crossed; my experiments go well and you will get to see some of it in my shop this week.
Stay tuned.


Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Stumbles, Tumbles and get's back up...

Summer has arrived here in Wales (about time)...It's great...I'm sweating through my eyeballs! 
I'v had a creative block the last couple of weeks - then a few days of making and what do ya know it all fell into place.

Here's the kiln in my kitchen, what could be inside?

...what else? Beads galore...

Fired the kiln and been painting beads while basking in the glorious sunshine. Alas the gilders wax keeps going too smooshy and slippery for my liking so have retreated indoors. 

A plate full..

This pate full is a mix of custom orders and things yet to be listed in my etsy shop so pay attention - there is this and more to come.

There's loads of woodland here and behind the fairy tale castle (Castell Coch) there is a hill that I cant work out -my sense of direction is terrible.
So we are lost among millions of muddy paths heading in every which direction, we pick one at random and end up staring at this...

No signs or anything about what or why, we creeped tentatively down the hill towards the dwellings below...

These caves just go on forever, my guess is water corrosion. With tree roots and the pretty stone arch I wonder if any outcast's from the nearby villages sheltered here in bygone years? I can imagine talisman's and trinkets hanging from the stone walls.
Made me think of the book 'Witch Light' by Susan Fletcher - one of my faves!! Based in Glencoe (Scotland) a must read.

A Cornish friend later informed me "Oh yeh, South Wales is full of holes, it's like a honeycomb".

Inspired by woodland walks in the Welsh countryside, peppered with natural caves full of fern plants, tree roots and trickling water - Jurassic? 
The posty brought me wire so I made some beads with wire loops as well as my usual style with the holes...these are in my Etsy shop...

All the above in my Etsy shop

I'm featured in this fab new glossi - have a read of my Q&A's 

The legend that is Odetta...

....everytime I watch this I get goosebumps.

Oh and have you all seen beatnheart's polymer beads!?! Wow get over there and have a look at those precious gems!

Sunday, 30 June 2013


"When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy'. They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life."

- John Lennon

Here is a bookshelf I made today...

I found a guy in the area that sells old scaffold planks in all different sizes so I got loads of 1 meter lengths that were only £1 each...bargain!!

The planks are sanded and waxed to bring out the colours. My cheap sander decided it couldn't handle the job so I sanded them by hand then rubbed three layers of beeswax into them.
These super duper paving bricks were saved from the skip...there was tons of them most ended up in landfill. I only manged to save about a hundred.

I think there could end up being one of these in every room of my house if I don't hold myself back from getting carried away....I'd have to buy more books!
I want a wall of scaffold shelving right up to the ceiling in my studio.

Here are some textured beads and a golden bell recently listed in my etsy shop...