I'm always keen to try my hand at new things. I am most confident when it comes to working with textiles, but somtimes I get an overwhelming urge to have a go at something different. The thing I find surprising is that I often find I don't enjoy something I thought I'd love, or I develop a new passion in an area that previously held little appeal. Has that ever happened to you?
Anyway, I thought I'd share a few projects I made in the last couple of years that I've not put on this blog before. I have a passion for recycling, and there's nothing I like more than to make something great out of things that is usually viewed as rubbish. I'm very lucky to live by the sea, and often enjoy beachcombing on a good day. As a result I have lots of boxes full of little pieces of sea-washed glass and pottery. Sea glass is beautiful - the combination of sand and rolling waves softens the edges of the broken glass and mottles the surface. Most of the pieces I find are white or various shades of green, but occasionally I find the odd little bit of blue and brown (and once a beautiful pale pink piece!). I have made a few coasters using the sea glass which I use in my studio when I'm in need of a cuppa:
my tutorial on how to make a rug - it's just a smaller version of that!). The coasters are easy to do - I bought some cheap coasters, painted them white with some acrylic paint, added the glass with a little wood glue, then grouted the whole thing once the glue was dry. A couple of coats of varnish over the top ensured it was waterproof. Just make sure the pieces of glass you use are as flat as possible - sea glass usually comes from broken bottles so are often curved in shape - the smaller the pieces you use, the flatter they tend to be.
However I wanted to make something to showcase the bigger (and less flat!) pieces of glass I had collected, so I made this mirror for our bathroom:
I just love this mirror - the big piece of glass in the bottom centre fish, the different colours, the swirls - it was worthwhile. But I surprised myself by not enjoying the process of making the mosaic as much as I thought I would - I got stressed about how and where to put all the individual pieces, and worried about whether I had made the right decisions! However it hasn't put me off making them as I just love the end result. I went on to cover a large planter in bits of pottery I found on the beach too (here it is in a local gallery):
When making this one I relaxed a lot more and just shoved things on fairly randomly. You can tell! But I like the end result and so far it has survived the winter in my garden quite nicely. I attached the pieces with cement this time and used a grout suitable for outdoors.
I hope you like my forays into things other than textiles and that it encourages you to have a go at something you may not normally consider trying.