Pastures New


I haven’t updated since my graduation. I do apologise. A lot has been going on over the summer months.

Graduation : I was so pleased to graduate my course with a distinction ! It was really heavy going at times, and sometimes, I considered giving up. I am so glad I stuck with it. I’d have been happy to just pass, but a distinction was beyond my wildest dreams. I am giving serious consideration to returning to top up my foundation degree to a fully fledged BA (Honours) Degree in January 2018,but I may yet defer for a year. My reasons will soon become clear.


After a bit of a break, I found myself getting together with a wonderful group of talented and like minded ladies. To cut a long story very short, we decided that we wanted to open a bricks and mortar shop here in Leek.

After looking at various options, a fantastic opportunity dropped in our lap and a small shop in a beautiful cobbled shopping spot became vacant. We decided to take a huge leap of faith and take it on.

The planning stages have been long and at times complicated, but the result is that as of last Saturday, we are joint owners of a wonderful new art gallery in the pretty market town of Leek !

Our new venture is called Gallery Twenty (we’re at number 20) and I am but one of a group of 9 fellow artists and makers. We have a huge variety of skills and specialisms and I really do believe it’s going to work !



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As you can see, it’s a beautiful little shop ! We will be selling a wide range of goods, from ceramics, to glass … textiles to fine art.

My contribution will be a range of glass beads, wire woven jewellery and my original paintings.


And my final piece of news …. I am moving house in a couple of days ! I have found a place in town, much closer to college, gallery and studio. I am in a state of chaos at the moment, but I am really looking forward to settling into my new home and a new working routine, just in time for the run up to Christmas.

I won’t be able to update again until my new home’s broadband has been activated, but I figured it’s about time I showed my face on my website.

I do hope to become much more active on my site, with shop news and news of local events and exhibitions, etc once I have settled into my new life.

For now, I hope you all enjoy the coming weekend … please spare a thought for me, as I’ll be living out of boxes and losing anything and everything for the forseable future, heh.

Please do call in at Gallery Twenty if you are in Leek … we are open Tuesday – Saturday and the 1st Sunday of every month.

Gallery Twenty

20 Getliffes Yard



Bye for now




My weekend in a nutshell …

Well .. I went to a lovely private view / Q&A session at The Green Man Gallery last night … Unfortunately, I missed the submission deadline, but some of my friends had some gorgeous artwork in the show.


After a mooch about and a glass of wine, we had a bit of a talk about the Buxton Spa Prize ( link below) … Now the thought of being given a subject to paint (not of your choosing) and being judged in an art competition puts the fear of god into me, but after hearing a little more about the event and it’s exhibition, I am considering taking the plunge and entering. I very much doubt I’ll be winning any prizes, but the open night is, so I am told, PACKED with prospective buyers … so …. watch this space !


Yesterday, I also took delivery of my first small batch of printed greeting cards … exciting !


And to finish off my weekend, my son came to visit and took me for a spin in his new car … with the roof down … weeee !!

It was lovely and sunny and lots of fun. We took a short drive up to Mermaid Pool … the views were glorious !!!



Hope you had a lovely weekend, what ever you got up to

Shuttlingsloe – My first finished painting for my graduation show

After what has been a bit of a roller coaster ride recently, I finally managed to get down to the serious business of painting for my graduation exhibition at Astound 2017 … without going into details, I have had to work extra hours at my day job and wasn’t able to start working on my pieces until 2 weeks ago.

I finally have enough materials to make a serious attempt at furthering my painting career and (hopefully) start improving.

Anyway … here are a few progress shots of Shuttlingsloe plus a source image of the location itself.


Shuttlingsloe .


40 x 50″

Composition roughly sketched in … hill, horizon and pathway.







Some rough textured underpainting is added.



After many layers of paint and texture medium, it’s finished.


Source image of Shuttlingsloe showing the path leading up to the hill itself.


Finding new inspirations, even at this late stage in my course

I love being a visual person. Learning to paint has been a pleasure from the very start. Yes, sometimes it’s heart-wrenchingly difficult, and often uncomfortable, especially when you are reticent to share your work in public and open yourself up to criticism ( yes … I know … it makes no sense to choose to be a painter !). Still, the positives FAR outweigh the negatives.

Research is a pleasure. In all my years of being a glass artist, I have always strived to plough my own furrow and pay no attention to other people’s work for fear of accidentally stepping on someone else’s toes.  College has changed all that. We are actively encouraged to research other artists, mediums  and techniques.

Letting the work of others fill my head is just wonderful ! I am (slowly) developing my voice as an artist. It doesn’t happen over night. It comes in little flashes of inspiration, or from mistakes and dark times, but it does eventually begin to develop.


Something I’ve been working on recently

In researching my latest paintings for our Astound exhibition, I have stumbled across this fabulous landscape / abstract painter from Cornwall.

His name is Steve Slimm and he’s been exhibiting since 1979 … why have I never heard of him until now ?!

I feel that he kind of ‘speaks my language’ … I love his use of colour, light and texture. Something I aspire to ! Here’s some of his work … I’m afraid there weren’t any titles on his website, so I’ll leave a link to his page and a bunch of his artworks for you to look at … gorgeous !!!

Steve Slimm

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Do you think these would make nice little gifts ??


What I’ve been up to today

 I’m thinking office desk colour … nice as themed sets … discount for multiple purchases ?? I do like that these are bright, cheerful and (when out Christmas shopping), very easily portable 


I’ll be taking a selection of mini paintings (both framed and unframed) to Leek’s Christmas Market on Friday evening … come say hi if you are local .. we’ll be by Oxfam in the Market Place
Wrap up warm though ! Brrrr

Exciting Times – Our end of year foundation degree show

Hi there … well I did a bit better this time, didn’t I ? Just a few weeks between posts instead of a few months (gold star for moi) !

Well, after a flurry of print making, reflective journal catch ups and sketch book annotations, I managed to get all my work in for assessment … phew ! I can’t quite believe that I’ve completed year two of my foundation degree. It all seems to fly by so quickly !

There’s not much let up in busy-ness though, oh no ! We now need to get the end of year show up and running. Planning and exhibiting is the main focus of the third year on our course.


Our graduating third years are doing a marvellous job of  planning, logistics, inviting, hanging and launching the exhibition. We have to do it all next year …eep ! Anyway …while lots of squirrelling is going on behind the scenes, here’s a sneaky peek …. a few pictures of our graduates’ exhibition pieces :

Ilsa Elford’s  wonderful banners


Jon Green’s lighting installation


Cathey Yardley’s fused and slumped glass dishes.

(I am yet to see the final ‘reveal’ of her finished piece!)



Its all go at the moment ….


Our Private View is on Thursday … not long now ! I must remember to polish my dreads, locate my dress and pick the paint from under my nails !

Wish us luck!

In the meantime, I’d better get a wriggle on and paint more artwork for our Take Ten Exhibition in Buxton, Derbyshire over the bank holiday weekend.

No rest for the wicked, eh

Well Hello Again

It’s been a while … again … I am SO going to start giving this blog site some much needed attention from now on.

Well …. I can’t believe that year two of my Foundation Degree is almost over already. This course seems to be racing away and just burning up the years. It’s a bit scary if I’m honest with you !

As far as my artwork goes,  I have decided, for this final module of the year, to depart from my safe (ish) space that is painting and give another technique a try before committing to my final year. So I chose print making. Collograph print making to be precise.

We had a day’s workshop with the wonderful Mary Wardle during our first year. A collograph print is basically a print taken from a texture collage. These can be made using all sorts of materials, from fine sand to scrunched up paper. Once the print plate is dried and sealed, the ink is rubbed on, into all of the nooks and crannies made by the collage. Excess ink is then removed before the print is taken. I am still a bit hit and miss with this process, but I am learning with each print I pull from the press.

I had one proper attempt at this technique over a year ago. I enjoyed it immensely and figured I’d delve a little deeper 🙂

My first ever collograph print .


It’s not very contrasty, but I was pretty pleased with it 🙂

I am currently, frantically working on a new series of print for imminent assessment. These are all based on a local set of standing stones, Nine Stones Close, in Derbyshire.


I am limited to black and one accent colour at the moment, as my budget is very tight. This explains the lack of technicolour in my newest prints !



And I thought I’d also have a go at an abstract composition.


Assessment is on the 12th … I am still having technical issues with wrinkles appearing in my paper (eek!), so I am starting to panic a little … fingers crossed I get it all sorted and ready to exhibit in our end of year show, Astound ( coming up in a separate post)


Christmas Shopping – Staffordshire Contemporary Artist and Designers Fair

Another reason for being so very busy is our annual Christmas fair in Leek, Staffordshire.

The Staffordshire Contemporary Artist and Designers Fair is a fantastic Artist and Designer fair, set in a beautiful venue, The Foxlowe. The building is set at the top of the town’s ancient market place and acts as a focus for all things related to the arts. They have a rather smashing fine art café, too !


The event is a fantastic chance to start your Christmas shopping with a huge range of beautiful objects of desire !

The Artist & Designers Fair is a showcase for original and contemporary art, craft and design from both local and National artisans.

Anyway, I digress … busy … yes !

As part of my Foundation Degree studies, I am part of the year 2 team who is coordinating  our college submissions … as well as finding the time to create our own artwork to show, we are holding planning meetings, talking with the press and liaising with college press officers … phew ! It’s a great opportunity to get hands on experience of exhibition planning though.  Fingers crossed it all comes together on the day, eh !!!

Here is a quick preview of what I’ll be exhibiting …



Photobombed by my cat !

As if this event isn’t keeping me busy enough, I am also exhibiting in ANOTHER exhibition … on the same weekend …. eeek !!

(see my next blog post … phew !)

Busy Busy Busy – Getting ready for the Christmas gift Buying season

Wow .. we really do seem to be hurtling towards the busiest time of the year for us makers and designers ! It’s the one time of year that we can pretty much guarantee a few sales, at least !

Well … what have I been up to ?

Making lots of new beads … not as many as I’d like to, but time is at a premium at the moment. If I don’t pencil in some bead time soon, I’ll miss my Christmas buying window .. eek !

Here are a couple of my recent makes though 🙂

Sugar Skull Focal Bead by Mad Cat Glass on Etsy
Sugar Skull Focal Bead by Mad Cat Glass on Etsy
A recently commissioned clowder of kitties
A recently commissioned clowder of kitties

I have also reopened my etsy store … there’s not a lot of stock in there just yet, but if I do get a couple of beading days to catch up, there soon will be. You can browse for Christmas gift ideas by clicking on my Etsy tab at the top of the page.

Anyway … beads is only part of my reason for being so busy ! I have a couple of art exhibition events coming up at the beginning of December, which I am frantically making art for, but more on those events to follow in new blog posts 🙂

I do hope you are all keeping well and enjoying the unseasonably mild November weather ? I hear it’s about to change and get a bit cooler. I’ll be glad #sorrynotsorry. I love frosty mornings and wrapping up warm !

Anyway … catch you soon … very soon … about 5 minutes actually, as I’m about to write my next blog post 😀

Stay warm !

SEO Stress

SEO Stress 

I know that blogging is just one of a myriad of ways to get ‘out there’ on planet social media, but, boy ! I am feeling like a tourist in an exotic country and being utterly lost for words !

Oh my word !!! What on earth have I lined myself up for ?


seo stress
SEO stress

Is not optimising my SEO content the reason I never show up on google searches ? Probably.

Do I understand how to use SEO ? Probably not.

Will I ever figure this out ? Doubtful.

Jetpack ? Squirrly? Help !

Inspiration and thinking about monochrome ….

I had a really interesting tutorial session at college last week. Previously, I had taken a colour study and desaturated it, just to see what it would look like. I liked it …. I liked it a LOT !

See for yourself … here’s the original …

Original sketch

And here’s the desaturated sketch

Back and White

Now … I have always loved colour. I love it’s volume, depth and vibrancy, but I wasn’t quite prepared for the starkness of monochrome. After the initial shock, I do now feel that it has its own bleak beauty. And maybe a place in the market, too.

My tutor pointed me in the direction of Franz Kline. I had heard of him, but had never really looked at his work before.

Now, I don’t really ‘do’ straight lines and abrupt angles, but there is a way of working that I really like in his work.  I love the harsh black that shouts from his canvasses … it is confrontational, yet it also invites thought and contemplation ( to me, anyway).

The work of Franz Kline

He did also use colour …


So … where does this leave me ??
Buying a huge bottle of black indian ink and searching for a large canvas at which to throw it … it will be interesting if nothing else.

I do think it will also be a lot of messy fun …


Seasonal Landscape Inspirations

I love being up on the moors in early autumn. I love taking photoghraphs, too. Perfect for capturing those bits of inspiration when I don’t have a sketchbook to hand.

Abstract Landscape Art : It’s what I live for (on a god day, anyway !)

I do think that these would work well as landscape paintings …

Axe Edge Moor
Axe Edge Moor
On the Way to Buxton
On the Way to Buxton
The Blood Moon
The Blood Moon
The Roaches
The Roaches
Mermaid Pool
Mermaid Pool

My Instagram snaps



I love using my camera phone, don’t you ? It’s so much easier than it used to be 25 years ago. I remember all of the hassle it was, getting my old Ilford HP4’s developed at college in the dark room … yes … I was an art student 20 odd years ago too … Some things never change, eh … Anyway …

You can keep up with what’s going on by checking out my Instagram feed .. I am a habitual camera snapper who loves Instagramming and vintage-ifying absolutely everything !


Hello !

Welcome to my first blog post.

Hi … I figured I should start my shiny new blog with a short introduction … My name is Lesley .I am a lampworker (I make hand crafted glass art beads for jewellery designers), and I am currently studying for a foundation degree in Art at Leek School of Art (part of Leek and Buxton College).

I have always loved being creative for as long as I can remember.

After many years spent living in the city, I finally relocated to the highest village in Britain, in the Peak District a few years ago. It was to be the best move that I ever made. It was also the most interesting move I ever made … especially in the winter !

My career has taken on a whole new direction since the move, so alongside my glass work, I am now studiously training to become a fully fledged fine artist.

Here’s my artist statement … It all sounds very grown up !

I am a mixed media artist, based in the Peak District.
I am influenced and drawn to  mood and colour within my surroundings.
I mostly work with acrylics, but also love to explore using charcoal, collage, textiles and printmaking.

Wild Peak District Moorland

Some of my glass work

recent painting

Recent artwork