Kangaroo Island is a beautiful island which is still pristine with lots of spectacular coastal scenery and native vegetation which is home to a good variety of native animals.
I live along the South Coast road on Kangaroo Island, about 20km from Seal Bay Conservation Park where I work. Seal Bay is a natural sea lion colony and it is certainly an inspiring place to work, surrounded by the beautiful colours of nature and of course there are all those gorgeous sea lions too. We have a very high level of visitation as it is a popular tourist destination, so if you have been there, I could have been your guide (before I got ‘confined’ to the office)!
I have been making glass beads since July 2002 after a weekend workshop with a very patient and talented glass artist who also lives on Kangaroo Island. Bernie Stonor held a workshop over three days and showed me how magical melting glass could be. You should have seen me at the workshop – I was terrified of lighting the torch!!!! I had never worked so close to such a HOT flame before, but then again – I had never even handled a rotary drill until 2001 so there have been many new and exciting steps I have made since then.
Can you tell that the colours around me inspire my work?
Apart from the workshop, I am mainly self taught, joining discussion forums and reading books and magazines to learn mainly through trial and error. I love experimenting each time I open up the kiln it is exciting to see how my creations from the previous day have turned out.
I have always had this urge to make things with my own hands. So you can imagine how fascinated I was in the discovery that I could make my own glass beads and beading components !!!.
I love making up as many of the components from raw materials and have started incorporating my own handmade silver toggle clasps for my bracelets and necklaces.
Living in such isolation it is difficult to get away to attend courses and workshops because it is pretty expensive to travel to and from the island. It also means that there is no nearby shop to get supplies from so, I have expanded my skills to make up most of the elements which I use in my pieces. I work with PMC, silver wire to make my own jump rings and of course weave them into chain maille items.
I still enjoy melting glass over the torch making glass beads, and I have expanded to working also with glass in a kiln to fuse small pieces for use in jewellery.
It is very satisfying knowing that when I start creating a piece I can virtually make up all the components from scratch. Of course I end up making more pieces than I could wear myself and I always need more glass, more silver and more crystals to make into pretty things, and so I have to make some pocket money to be able to buy more materials…… !!!
This is my Sea Change after a hectic “previous life” in the retail industry. I have been living and working on Kangaroo Island since December 1996 when I came over here from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia after a stint in Milan (Italy). I have had more than 15 years in sales and marketing roles, managing sales teams and specialty stores in Europe and South East Asia.
Quite a different life from the one I live now to be sure – but I now have the time and head space to listen to my inner self and don’t have to wake up in a different bed too often. That is such a blissful feeling, you can’t imagine unless you have lived that sort of lifestyle. The money was good and I had great bosses who really appreciated me but in the end, I feel more “myself” now in this life.
I have a daughter who has finished her studies in Graphic Design and is currently working in Kuala Lumpur to gain some work experience. I hope to showcase some of her pieces here on my site as well. She is very creative and has designed some really good pieces for herself and her friends but she is busy at the moment working and getting some experience under her belt..
So, thank you for visiting and I hope you have enjoyed your visit here.
I am a member of the ISGB , Self Representing Artist – ANZ and the Self Representing Artist Jewelry Designer – SRAJD