Work in Progress – The Big Bead Show

Another week has flown by and preparations are well under way for attending The Big Bead Show at Sandown Race Course next month.

If you missed my last post, I’m attending along with the lovely Lesley Watt under the banner of Mudlarks. We’re both really looking forward to showing together and thought we’d share some work in progress shots of what you’ll find on our stand.


First up is Lesley… she’s been busy!!! (all pics are in black and white as they’re not glazed yet and it’s arty!)

I really love Lesley’s style, her work is really original and beautifully finished… just wait until you see them glazed!! 


And now for a few of mine….


We’re going to have a great range of beads, cabochons and pendants made in earthenware, stoneware & porcelain clay. 

Hope to see you there! 🙂



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Meet the Mudlarks…


Mudlarks is the meeting of two minds that are equally obsessed with the infinite possibilities that working with clay (or mud) provides. One of those minds in mine and the other is my good friend Lesley Watt of Lesley Watt Artisan Elements.


Lesley and I recently attended a bead show together and during the run up to this we got to talking about bead shows in general and how difficult and expensive it can be to find good shows. We don’t really have the equivalent of Bead Fest in the UK but we do have a big one day event called ‘The Big Bead Show‘. This show is very much geared to commercial bead sellers and is not cheap to attend so very few artisans exhibit there. Somehow though, in the course of one conversation we managed to find out the cost of the show and convince ourselves that if we pooled our resources and exhibited together we could hopefully do well enough to make it cost effective.


Because we’re booked as one unit we can’t really use both of our business names (Lesley Watt Artisan Elements and Blueberri Beads doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue) so we thought it would be better to rebrand ourselves for these events. Historically Mudlarks were people who scavenged around the muddy banks of the River Thames looking for items of value that could be sold to scrape a subsistence living. Because we both love working with clay which is, to all intents and purposes  mud and because at times sustaining a living making art beads also feels pretty much like scavenging, Mudlarks seemed like the perfect choice.


We will still be selling our own original hand crafted beads at this event but by combining forces under one banner we can now offer customers a wider choice in one place. Hopefully some of our regular online customers will be able to come and support us at the show so if you’re going please do let us know.

Look out for more news in the next few days too…


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June Theme Challenge reveal – Insects

At the beginning of the month we announced a new challenge over on the Art Elements blog. This time it was the turn of Diana Ptaszynski to choose the theme and for June, she chose insects. Perfect for Spring! You can read the original post here. 

As well as getting creative with the theme, we’ve had some real live insects here at home with an amazing butterfly kit. After buying a habitat, we posted off a voucher and received 5 baby caterpillars back in the post. They were about 10mm long and contained in a little tub with food. Within a week, we were amazed to find they’d grown to five times the size and were attaching themselves to the roof of the pot and turning in to chrysalis. The threads are silk that they’ve spun to protect themselves and the black fuzzy bits are their skin… I didn’t know, but they shed it once they’re attached and the insides harden to make the shell. You can’t see from the pic, but they’re iridescent, and great inspiration for future designs!

They’ve now been moved in to the habitat (pop up tent) where the lid has been removed from the pot and secured to the base with all the chrysalis attached, where we’ll wait for them to hatch. In a couple of weeks, they’ll hopefully emerge as painted lady butterflies (as at the top of the page) and we can release them in to the garden… I can’t wait! I’ve only seen butterflies hatching on the TV, so I’m really looking forward to that!

So back to my own insects… for the challenge, I decided I’d like to make something in porcelain. I’ve been playing around with painting greenware porcelain with underglazes and single firing, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to make something using this technique as you can get really detailed designs. Great for butterflies!!

The first attempt was quite simple, a monarch butterfly.


And for my second I went for a swallowtail butterfly. I’ve loved these since I was little, I used to go to the Royal Exchange in Manchester and look at all the encased insects in the underground antique market, and this was always my favourite!

Next, I made an Atlas moth, these fascinating insects are huge! This one’s just a tiddler though!

And finally, a Deaths Head Hawk Moth, another favourite… I went for a monochrome tattoo style for this one. 

I’m pleased with how they all turned out, even if they did take an entire day to paint! I think it was worth it 🙂 

To see what wonderful insect themed creations the rest of the AE Team & guests made, join us in the blog hop using the links below!

Art Elements Team
Caroline Dewison << You are Here!
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AJE June Theme Challenge – Fireflies

This month we’re taking a break again from our regular Component of the month reveals and running another theme challenge.

It’s our blog team leader, the lovely Jen Cameron’s turn to set the theme, and for June she chose fireflies.

I have to admit, I struggled at first to come up with an idea as they’re not something I’ve seen up in the North of England, I was lucky enough to see them once, at the Glastonbury festival, and they were magical. So not having much to go on, I turned to Pinterest for inspiration.

During the day, they’re not the most inspiring subject.

Daytime Firefly


But once the light dims, they put on an amazing show.

Each time I searched the same picture kept popping up. I’ve been exploring ideas with trees in porcelain, so this was perfect for my inspiration.

Fireflies by Yume Cyan


The photograph was taken by Yume Cyan in a forested area near Nagoya City, Japan. You can see more of these amazing long exposure shots here.

And here is my interpretation, hand carved in porcelain and fired multiple times with china paints, powders, and lustres.

Blueberribeads Fireflies


Blueberribeads Fireflies


Blueberribeads Fireflies


A few days after making these, I was playing on my lampwork torch and by accident, a second idea emerged…

They are a total pain to photograph, it’s difficult to catch the depth and reflections in the same picture, but hopefully you can see the threads of silver glass and fine silver wire running through them.

Blueberribeads Fireflies


Blueberribeads Fireflies


The little dots of silver wire glow behind the trees (not that you can tell from my photographs!)


I’d like to say a big thank you to Jen, I’ve really enjoyed rising to the firefly challenge and it’s been great fun exploring a subject that I didn’t have any immediate inspiration for.

If you’d like to see what the rest of the AJE team, plus special guests have made, follow the links below…


Guest Designers:


AJE Team:

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AJE Component of the Month – Tree Wings Studio

I’m back on track this month with my blog as it’s component of the month reveal day. This month we were treated to beautiful polymer clay hearts by Rebekah of Tree Wings Studio.

I asked for a surprise for mine and received this beautiful grey heart.


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I had hoped before I received it that it would match with one of my new favourite glazes as I had an idea for what to do with it almost immediately!

And it did!


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I made up some tiny puffy hearts in earthenware clay and glazed them all in the rusty glaze.


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They were knotted on some thick silk cord I dyed in teal blue with fuchsia Miyuki seed beads and the gorgeous little heart as the focal.


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And you can see from this angle there is a secret message on the side!


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The necklace was finished off with a grey ceramic button and a simple loop to close it.

Big thanks to Rebekah for her wonderfully inspiring component, I had great fun creating something around it! And if you’d like to see what the rest of the team and guests made with theirs, follow the links…




AJE Team


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I’m back!

Well I gave blogger a good go, but it’s not for me. So now I’m back here on wordpress. The main reason for swapping was I wanted to host my own shop, not an option on the blogger platform, so I’m going to be working hard over the next week or so to get everything in place and sell from here. While you’re waiting for that to happen, I thought I’d share some pics of what I’ve been up to recently!

Playing with Raku…





Getting up early!!


Sculpting more…



Playing mine craft with the kids…


Winning the battle with metal clay!





Experimenting with finishes on raku beads..



And playing on my torch!


So this is a taster of what’s to come in my shop, and of course there will be all the usual favourites such as birds and urchins. I hope you’ll stop by again and see what’s new!

Caroline x

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Black Friday Sales

I’ll be holding my only sale of the year tomorrow Friday 29/11/13 for Black Friday.

There are lots of new designs as well as some old favourites.

Here’s a peek at what will be coming up!



Listings will be live at 10am and there is a 20% discount on your order if you checkout using code BLUE20   The sale will run until Monday 2/12/13

I hope to see you there!


Caroline x



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And the winner is..

Thank you to everyone who took part in my competition and for all the lovely comments!

I’m not going to waffle today, I’m just going to get straight to it and announce the winners 😀

The beads have been counted, and overseen by our independent adjudicator…

There were 226 beads in total.

So in 1st place winning this bead set…

Leah from Beady Eyed Bunny


In 2nd place winning the birdhouse set


And in 3rd place winning the 2 Birdies…

Rejetta Sellers from Jettabug Jewelry.


Congratulations too everyone, I’ll be in touch today to get your addresses and post your beads to you.

Commiserations to everyone else, but a great big thank you for taking part 🙂 x


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Competition time..

To everyone that has supported me and liked my page… I’d like to say thank you! This week I reached 200 likes on my page, it’s sneaked up a few more since then, and each one is really appreciated!

To show my appreciation, I’m offering some prizes to my followers…

First up is this bead set.

It’s a mixed media bead set, put together from beads I have made over the last year. It includes

  • A stoneware dragonfly barrel
  • an earthenware celtic knot flat lentil
  • a spotty silver glass lampwork barrel
  • a birdy
  • a golden raku lentil
  • a copper urchin lentil
  • a stoneware bronze barrel
  • a speckled melon
  • a lustred brown fancy barrel with inset glass cabochons
Second prize is one of my birdhouse bead sets with a Mummy, Baby and birdhouse made in black clay…
And finally, third prize is a pair of birds in my favourite glaze…


So what do you need to do to win? Easy, read on…

Over the last few years of making, I’ve gathered a ridiculous amount of beads. A lot of them are what I’d think of as a bit rubbish, there are all sorts of odds and ends, experiments, damaged beads and some proper fuglies. Although I can’t do anything with them, I can’t bear to throw them away… there are hours of hard work in there, so I’ve thought of something to do with them.

This jar is filled with a few handfuls. I’ve no idea what’s in there, but to win one of the prizes I’m offering, simply share something from my facebook page here, and then come back for a guess at how many are in the jar.

A week tomorrow (Sunday 2nd December) I’m going to count them all out and the nearest the number will win the big bead set, the second, the birdhouse set and the third the two birdies.

Each share will give you one guess. If you’d like more guesses, feel free to pin me, share other things on my page or tweet about it, just pop back here after each go, let me know what you’ve done and have another guess.


Please read through any comments and make sure your answers are different to what others have guessed. If you guess the same as someone else did previously, the comment will be removed for fairness.


I’ll announce the winners on Sunday afternoon 🙂


Good luck, and thank you again! x


Caroline x


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