Interview with… Crafted Gems
I owe my first magazine article to Caroline, she gave me the contacts, knowledge and confidence to give it a go and now I have had 2 articles, and I would say it really helped me kick start my book writing too! Not only is she a talented writer, but she makes amazing lampwork!
Who are you and where do you come from?
I’m Caroline Cash and I live in Cheshire with my husband and son.
What do you do in your spare time other than craft?
I’m a full time mum so I don’t get a lot of spare time. I do like watching american crime shows like NCIS and CIS:NY when the little one is in bed and having a girly natter over a coffee while the little one is at Nursery School.
Please tell us a little bit about what you make.
I mainly make lampwork beads. Each one is made by hand at a bench torch. You melt a glass rod in the flame and wind the melted glass round a mandrel dipped in bead release and once made it need to be put in a kiln to be annealled to remove stresses from the glass. I also make a bit of Jewellery out of wire and beads.
What do you enjoy making most?
I like making both. Beads need to be made around my little one so when he is at Nursery or when he’s in bed as I need to pay attention to what I’m doing. Jewellery on the other hand I can make while he’s painting or playing with his toys. I quite like making jewellery while watching TV in the evening with my Hubby.
What part do you dislike the most?
Cleaning beads. Once the beads have been annealled in a kiln, the mandrels need to be soaked in water and the beads removed. Then you clean them with a diamond coated bead reamer to remove all traces of bead release. I use a dremel but cause it needs to be done in water- it ends up everywhere and I’ve knocked the bowl over myself countless times, lol.
What are your main inspirations for making a piece?
I use seasonal colours a lot. My mood can also effect the colours I use and I can get inspiration from anywhere, clothes in the shops to pictures to places I have been.
Do you plan out your designs or do you get stuck in straight away when inspiration strikes?
I have an ‘ideas’ book that has pages and pages of bead ideas, but everytime I sit at my torch, I end up just making what comes to me, I get a lot of my bead ideas while I’m sat there. It’s a case of ‘I wonder what this, this and this will look like’. Jewellery-wise it’s a mixture really. I try to sketch out ideas but most of the time I just end up going with the flow. I’ve had a few of my jewellery designs published as tutorials, so I make lots of notes while I’m making in case I write it up as a tutorial.
What are you currently making?
I can make up to 4 sets of beads in a 2 hour session so they are not really long term projects. I do have 2 unfinished chainmaille projects next to my laptop. One needs a clasp (i’ve not found the right one) and one because I didn’t make enough jumprings to finish it. There is also 3 wire coils ready for cutting to finish the chainmaille so i need to get my Koil Kutter out and cut them.
Do you make custom orders?
Yes, as long as it’s one I feel comfortable doing and it’s a style I know I can do. For example, I wouldn’t take on a commission to do floral beads as they are not my thing so as long as it’s my style I will. The same for jewellery.