Tuesday, 29 July 2008

29 July 2008 - new showroom

Yesterday, the 28th July 2008, I had my first customers through the new door into my new showroom. What a triumph. For 23 years I have envisaged what I see in front of my eyes today.

Endless uphill, against the grain and wading through thick treacle...that is how it has been, but I have always seen this little picture in my head. Not too big that I can't handle it myself and not too small to go un- noticed.
Difficult marriage, divorce, losing my home, losing my kids (for that story see HERE), having my life threatened, having to leave my home country and my belongings to come to this strange country with nothing, leaving friends I love behind, dealing with bizarre and hideous behaviour of certain much loved people who I thought I could count on for moral support, (never do that!) ....the one picture I had in my mind never faded, I never lost faith in myself and my goal.

I started engraving in a tiny corner of a spare room, then into a very very tiny room added onto our house(our bathroom was bigger), after my divorce I moved the business into a large garage on an industrial park...then I left Zimbabwe and waitressed for 18 months whilst engraving once again in a tiny corner of a room, this time Brian's dining room!! Then my first rented UK unit was without water or a loo....next was the 2 small rooms I still rent in an industrial park alongside my 3rd office - the new showroom.

I have not put in the lighting as yet and there are a few pictures to put up and a couple of dabs of paint here and there, especially outside, and a little doorbell needs to be added. In time I will upgrade the display cabinets too. All in good time and as and when I can afford it, which is my golden rule!!

My children and my Brian have been too precious for words and I could not have made this happen without their love.

My customers have been awesome, right from the very first one ever, back in 1983, I will forever be grateful to you for your confidence in me and how this in turn helped me build confidence in myself. So many lovely helpful people on the way too, from the friendly forums to those who just pass by like angels, leaving me with sometimes the tiniest of gems, sometimes just a valuable comment. And my dear friends, who have stuck by me and encouraged and made me laugh when I just wanted to cry, offered me a shoulder (even by email) when in the depths of despair, thank you.

Whatever you do in life, never give up and strive to do everything yourself so that you owe no one. Unfortunately you will ALWAYS get the miserable characters who do not want to see you succeed, but they are put in your way to help you to fight on. Nothing is supposed to be easy otherwise you wouldn't appreciate it. A wee butterfly has to fight its way out of it's cocoon so that its wings are strong enough to fly.

I have added a few photos of the showrooms last few days of progress . Next time I will add pics of the new little kitchen/storeroom (which was the old showroom) and the finished workshop...a very important area where it all happens! Also of course, a picture of the outside.

Just to prove my point about the struggling to make one strong...oh yes...we had another storm last night which overwhelmed the drains, which were full of moss which had broken off the roof...and which should not have been there if it had been maintained properly!!!...and my brand new showroom carpet is completely soaked across about a 5th of the room. C'est la vie! My old showroom was flooded only 2 months ago. Such minor problems in the grand scheme of things.

Always count your blessings!

leaving the little old showroom
..and heading for the new...one room away

Shane and Sian who grafted so hard decorating


Thursday, 24 July 2008

24 July 2008

Well the new showroom is painted and the door in, just a few finishing touches to go. I am half moved in, and of course half NOT, the NOT part is a real mess where the old showroom was, but I have to wait until the business end of the new room is finished, before I can get my desks and computer etc across, making room for the last 2 large cabinets to come through the adjoining door....I feel I am stressing a bit and can't wait till it is all done. Pics to come...

The most important thing is I am busy, trying to keep up with engraving and moving has been a bit tough. I gave a WI talk the other evening and was amazed that I didn't fall asleep. It is the second last WI talk I will give. I have given so many in Suffolk now over the last 5-6 years, 2 years in a row I gave 17 talks to both WI and other organisations like Hard of hearing, gardening clubs and Probis. It has been an experience and most enjoyable (when I don't get lost trying to find a little village hall far away in the depths of rural Suffolk ;-) , or trying to find my way out of there in the middle of the night, in the middle of winter during a blizzard.... loaded up with crystal.)

My visits to the gym have decreased (hmmm I don't believe I have mentioned my gym on my blog/website before...) anyhow, I generally go to the gym 2 - 3 times a week, more if I can. It helps with every aspect of life, mentally and physically. Got a few pounds to shift as well so will be back on top of that this weekend!...after my golf match on Saturday morning ;-)

So that is the latest, lots to engrave today, I seem to be having a run of churches on rock tablets.

Keep positive and always do the best you can.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

16 July 2008

This is the first time I am writing directly into my blog as opposed to adding to the NEWS page of my website.

SO much has been happening and there are not enough hours in the day.

I still have not caught up all the emails from fellow engravers and wellwishers out there, apologies! I really enjoy receiving them and I long to catch up with everyone, I still do intend updating my techniques page on my website, I have had a lot of requests for more.

I have had a fantastic amount of orders this month, all so different and some great challenges, I am absolutely loving it!!

My son and his girlfriend are such a part of our life now, it is wonderful! I just love being a Mom again. Yesterday Shane got me to down tools and play 9 holes with him! I have not been playing enough golf lately with so much work. It was gorgeous out there, and good weather has been very rare in UK this summer.

Brian has put my new front door into the new office, just needs to "render" / "make good" or whatever those builders terms are, such a precious soul he is. That will be this weekend, and then he will fit the carpet. Shane and Sian have been doing the painting, stirling job! They have never done that before and it looks fantastic! Don't be alarmed by the colours, wait till it is finished! ;-)
More news soon.

Stay fit and strong. Focus only on the positive. s t r e t c h.

Friday, 4 July 2008

From the 9th March - 1st July

1st July 2008

Me and my eldest son Shane

Hi all, long time no chat! So much has happened.....2 wonderful weeks on the French Riviera with my partner, my eldest son and his girlfriend....now trying to catch up loads of work on my return.....fighting the grass pollen and having to cancel golf games, staying indoors with goggles on......back on serious diet to shift some holiday pounds again (even though I regularly went to the gym at the holiday complex).....oh and I have negotiated a 3rd office as I have officially run out of space. So now this requires Brian (my partner) to cut a new door into the front wall so I have a dedicated front door and my customers won't have to come down a dingy passage any more (so often coming in looking lost and confused)....painting and recarpetting....and a complete re-hash of the whole layout. I can engrave on glass but I am not any good at interior decorating or flower arranging for that matter????? Anyway it will eventually look much better than it does now. whew.

I have about a dozen or so emails I still have not answered from engravers and others from all over the the world. Please bare with me, (is it bear or bare???) anyway, I am always flattered by all the mail, such fascinating people out there and I am delighted that my little website serves to entertain, help and inspire budding engravers and other interested people. I just wish I had more time!!! For those inquiring about sandblasting specifically, there is an excellent forum I belong to which is mainly American, they are a fantastic bunch and there is much more information on the subject to be found there than I could possibly give. Click on forum on this site.

Oh whilst in France we visited a place called Biot, we always go there to the glass centre, it is an absolute must for glass enthusiasts. The main glass gallery is just fabulous. I wonder...hmmm...you never know, hey....

One other note, if anyone is reading this in the Halesworth area and has a temporary job going for a strapping 22 year old New Zealand policeman on GAP leave, my son is now trying to find some work for the duration of his stay (till December) doing just about anything...please give me a shout if you have anything available. He has a valid drivers licence, a 5 year ancestral visa and his Nat Ins number.

...and today is my "baby's" 21st birthday!!! Far away in Zew Zealand. It is a tragedy that I am missing yet another milestone in my childrens life, but my turn will come. Happy Birthday my Gavs! X

25 May 2008

Well the radio interview went well once I finally found the studio!! Just made it in time after fighting with maps/ traffic and strange roads of Ipswich. A VERY big thanks to Lesley Dolphin for inviting me to be her Radio Suffolk "Guest on the couch" and making me feel so welcome, what a lovely lady, and Robert for looking after me, I am very grateful for the opportunity to share my work and story.

I managed to finally finish my mural on Saturday, at last , seemed to take an age, but of course I could only work on weekends. Click on the painting to go to its story.

In the mean time, I am having such a wonderful time having my eldest son with me and have already played 2 games of golf with him!! ;-) So special!

21 May 2008

What a happy busy time I have been having with my son, his girlfriend and my work...and golf! So much on the go and not enough time to cover it all. I was not going to tell you this...because I am feeling a bit shy.....but then I thought I really owe it to those who have supported me and my work....so I am going to tell you that I am being interviewed live on Radio Suffolk by Lesley Dolphin tomorrow , Thurs 22nd May, at around 12.30. I am very nervous so if you read this please wish me luck and I am going to try and not say "um" too many times. If you do miss it I believe it will be available on Listen Again on the website HERE.

10 May 2008

On Tuesday this week we left at 3.30am for Heathrow to collect my eldest son and his girlfriend who have come to stay for a number of months from New Zealand. I have no words to describe the emotion. I had seen my Shane once in 7 years. The most wonderful reunion. Our home has come to life it seems, they are both little shining lights. Tears came to my eyes when my son called out to me as he walked into the lounge ..."Mom"....I only wish that all moms who do not see their sons and daughters for one reason or another, tragic or otherwise, could just hear that sound once again. Like beautiful music to a mothers ears. To top it all the weather seems to also be celebrating the event with glorious sunshine. Shane and I played our first game of golf in years, together, at the golf course where I am a member, Halesworth. What a treat. (playing off 7 now, I was amazed at his skill!!!)

Plenty of work to get on with now whilst they are both off galavanting, exploring and finding jobs. My new Dartington range is proving extreemly popular, there is nothing like beautiful crystal to work on. There are 4 different styles of crystal beer tankard and 1 style crystal beer glass (no handle), something I had previously battled to find in plain top quality crystal. Also popular lately are the Dartington decanters, jugs and heavy based whisky glasses. I will include a selection of photos once the recipients have their gifts and presentations. Don't forget I will always have a full range of items available from a variety of suppliers.

28 April 2008

What a lovely succesful fair it was! Congrats to Denis and the team and thank you to my great customers and visitors to my stand! I have a MOUNTAIN of sorting out to do in my showroom now and much work to catch up on now.... so no more time to chat. have a great week everyone!

26 April 2008

Tomorrow is the Art Glass fair in London. I have been flat out busy with orders as well as my creations to add to my stand at the Fair. I have not had enough time to tell you all about them, not even enough time to take photos!!! That is not like me at all. For my engraving demonstration I will be working on a stunning crystal Atlantis decanter with an African elephant scene " From the African bush" also a crystal wine glass ...very tall, with a busy little bird scene "branch meeting". Both will be completed during the fair (obviously I have been working on them both for a while already), and both will be for sale....ok I will try and take a photo or 2 just now, have to start packing everything and get ready for that very early start in the morning. I do hope the weather is not as bad as the weather man says it may be, this fair is definitely worth a visit!! You will find me in the foyer.

here goes:


20th April 2008

Oh my, where do I start, if I thought I was busy before.....I was having a walk in the park.......since the 6th April I turned 46! Still feel like a spring chicken though ;-)

My highlight of the week......on Thursday I had the great privilege of being invited to spend a day at Buckinghamshire New University in High Wycombe, (initiated by the determined enthusiasm of one of the students, Sarah, thirsting for engraving knowledge). I was up at 5.15am so I could catch the 7.15 train to London, then on to HW by 11am. I was carrying my laptop, and pulling a VERY heavy suitcase containing my micromotor drill and several pieces of crystal and glass both engraved and blank, magnifiers, lighting, drip feed water "system" etc. I was met by Sue who is the Ceramics and Glass leader who was very welcoming and I felt immediately at home. There were about 10-12 students who were very friendly and enthusiastic and I felt that every word I was saying was being deeply absorbed. Teaching engraving is very satisfying. They didn't seem to flinch during my almost 2 hour lecture and PowerPoint presentation in the morning, even when I offered them a break! After a 45 minute lunch break we headed back for an afternoon of demonstrating, I really had to hurry this as each student was to have a go engraving both diamond point and drill on their own blank that they had chosen and designed. I found that this part went far to quickly and really needed much more time...or in fact if they each had a drill it would have been fine. I WISH universities would recognise the value of this art. The day ended and off I went catching all my trains (with slightly lighter suitcase without the blanks) and eventually got back to Halesworth at 10:15 ...but then I still had to go to work where I had arranged to meet a courier who collected a very urgent job that I had just completed the day before which had to be taken to the client in London that night......He came at about 10.30pm and I finally headed off home and soaked in a bubblebath with a glass of red wine!!!!...all in a days work.

I attempted to complete my mural yesterday but due to the power going off (so not enough light and freezing cold) I had to abandon that idea and head back to more engraving, which continued today, Sunday.....I have the Art Glass Fair in a weeks time....lots to do!

...a few of the Glass and Ceramic students at Buckinghamshire New University....Thank you for a wonderful day!!!

6th April 2008

What a busy week, steady and positive. It is interesting that I write this on weekends now and so what I have been up to on the weekend is foremost in my mind so I have to try and remember all that has happened earlier. The week was very interesting indeed , it included being photographed intensly whilst demonstrating engraving and questioned at length for a book on all forms of lettering which will be published in 18 months time. The author has written 28 books and so I was very honoured to be asked to be a part of this one. Watch this space.

Apart from getting out some urgent jobs just in time, I have also had some beautiful fulfilling jobs to create (all jobs are fulfilling this one just a wee bit more fulfilling than normal). The order came directly from a young American soldier serving in Iraq, he had written this poem about what he is experiencing there right now. He turns 25 this year, and wanted me to create this special gift to send directly to his father in America for Fathers Day. He also emailed me a photo which he took looking across the hazy dusty desert when the sun was on the horizon. I had the photo printed to fit in the frame and I engraved the poem next to it on the curved glass extension of the frame. He asked for 2 of these, I presume one will be for himself. These special pieces are on their way to his dad right now. I am a mum of 2 sons in the military, my heart went out to him.

Yesterday and today I spent painting my mural, the scene of the sunny Spanish Med, whilst it was snowing outside!!! The laugh was when the grandsons came to have their photos taken, along with their little dog, so I can place them in the picture, dressed appropriately....in shorts, T shirts and sun hats....they were a little reluctant, naturally in 3 degC temperature and frequent snowshowers. We did this very quickly thanks to the wonderful settings of a modern day digital camera, as I had to take the from the side of a hill looking down at them walking towards me below, so I can get the perspective right in the mural.

Have a great week and stay positive, focus all your energy on what you need in life to make you happy and never on what makes you grumpy ;-)

31 March 2008

After a VERY busy week, I have been painting the mural all weekend. It still has a long way to go. (see Paintings page). So much happening this week and more emails which I have not managed to answer. Once this mural is finished I will have more weekend time again ;-) Keep well everyone.

21 March 2008

Very busy with orders at the moment, but spent today (Good Friday) painting the mural and tomorrow I have a golf match on what is promising to be a bitterly cold day, probably my coldest golf game ever, 0 degC and possible snow showers. Sunday will be my first day off for many weeks and then Monday I will be working again, starting off by unpacking my Dartington stock! Oh yes, that is my other news, I am now a stockist, with a smallish display of popular shapes including plain beer tankards and beer glasses, at LAST, beautiful lead crystal and PLAIN, after many requests. Of course you may now order any Dartington items from me.

Per ardua ad astra!

15 March 2008

Would you believe it was time for another Craft experience day at Darsham yesterday, what a busy day with 5 students in the morning including a 9 year old lad, then 7 students in the afternoon after the usual HUGE delicious lunch. Everyone was as keen as ever, though some a little nervous, but all produced LOVELY work in the 2 and a half hour session. Photos to follow. Thanks once again to the amazing organisers. With about 14 different crafts taking place with each person trying 2, you can imagine the organisation involved.

I have a very busy week ahead, albeit 4 normal engraving business days, however I will be painting the mural on Good Friday and then a golf match on Saturday. It is all systems go.

Have an excellent week everyone, and those waiting for answers to their emails, I will catch up soon! I want to thank you for the incredible mail I do get and I am always delighted to know my website is helping, inspiring anyone!

Keep your face to the sunshine so you cannot see the shadows.

Darsham craft day..remember most have never engraved before!:

Some of the finished pieces:

12th March 2008

Today is my father's funeral. I am sitting here in my workshop listening to his favourite classical music, because due to the gales and weather warnings I made the decision not to make the 10 hour round trip. For hours this morning the M6 was closed due to 7 lorries having overturned and we were being warned to stay indoors. It was not possible to travel up before today. So I sat quietly remembering my daddy during the time of his funeral . 'tis a very sad day. May he rest in peace. X

9th March 2008..Some exciting news is I have been asked to give a talk and hands on workshop at Buckinghamshire New University next month, I am very much looking forward to this. I also will be conducting a 2 day workshop up in the north of Scotland in May, and along with demonstrating at the Art Glass Fair next month and my one to one lesson I gave all day Friday....oh and not forgetting Darsham teaching day next weekend.....it seems to be a period of "teaching".

Business has been pretty hectic lately, with a huge variety of commissions to do. I have been tackling them during the week and painting my mural at the weekends. Watch the Paintings page for progress, I do have some more photos to add today. I have made a point of playing the odd game of golf inbetween which has been very good for my mind, body and soul. The main thing has been to keep my mind occupied otherwise I get very sad about my Daddy, one thing is for sure, he is safe and free as a bird and I am sure as happy as he looks in these pictures.

My father's funeral will take place in Heversham on Wednesday at 2pm.

Archive News

25 February 2008.........well another Cambridge Glass fair is over, the weather was lovely and there was a great turnout. It was not my day unfortunately, I definitely could have done better, but never mind, I loved meeting lots of new people and the regular visitors whom I have got to know over the years. Thanks to all who came specifically to say hello to me, I was very touched, and my customer who came to collect his order I am sure enjoyed making a day of it.

I was not sure how the day would end as my dear Daddy had been given only a few days to live and so I was relieved to hear on my return home that he had been taken off the heart monitor and not as bad as the day before. Everything I manage to do each day I think how lucky I am to be able to do it.

23 Feb 08.......Secondly I just wanted to let you read a snippet from an email from one of my friends still surviving in Zimbabwe, for all those who still ask me why I left:

".....That means the pound is $ 30 million to 1 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So 500 pounds is 15 billion dollars !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!? My mom saw a small house in the paper for sale for $ 900 trillion !?????? So what happens after trillions ???????? Quadrillions .... and to think that we already knocked off 3 zeros 1 and a half years ago....."

"....my mum has had no water for 4 days and no power for 2 days !!!!!!!!!! And let me tell you what, things will not get better... they will get worse.
We have had not a drop of water the whole day today at home ... thank goodness for our swimming pool (with sparkling clear water) and for the borehole water I bring back from my office every day...."

So there you are, and when I left 6 years ago with a few £10 notes I brought rolled up inside my belt....it was Z$400 to £1, this is not an exageration, this is the REAL situation in Zimbabwe today.

18 February 2008....for progress of my weekend mural commission (trompe d'oeil) see my Paintings page.

17 February 2008:.....update on my dear Daddy is that he now has MRSA in his wound (absesses by his bed sore which he got the first time he was in hospital), he is in a serious condition in hospital still, I just wish he wasn't so far away. He had a stroke 9 months ago and has been in bed ever since (does not seem right to me), has had physio about 3 times in total!! So many doctors see him and they all seem to have different ideas. It is appears that if my mother did not go and look after him in the hospital he would simply die. There are not enough staff to take time to feed him his drink and meals which are slowly sucked through a straw. he is blind, can barely speak now and is paralised. He struggles to swallow although he is getting better at sucking through a straw. The antibiotics give him thrush in his mouth so his discomfort must be unbareable and he cannot call anyone. At least when Mum is looking after him at home she sees to all his needs (with carers visiting briefly twice a day), and knows his needs so well by now, but it is very stressful for her to leave him in the hospital each night. I absolutely despair and am powerless to do anything other than pray. My Daddy is a fantastic artist, drives around taking beautiful photos of the Lake District and then creating his oil paintings.

I have to keep going with my work which is coming in steadily and I have a number of serious deadlines to meet this week. There are always times when I can fit in small jobs along the way though.

Next big event is Cambridge Glass Fair next weekend, February is always the busier of the biannual event. See my For Sale page for the main items I will have on my stand and see the top of this page for event details.

I have been working hard on my mural including in the freezing temperatures this morning (Sunday) ...there is no heating in my customer's garden room, just a plug in heater, so I was painting with thick gloves on ...actually quite comfortably I must add. I will add pictures as soon as I find a moment to download them. My medium is scrumptious Windsor and Newton Acrylics and I am thoroughly enjoying this weekend deviation from my normal creative medium.

9th february.....today I begin the mural....car loaded with paints, brushes, radio etc etc...so I will be back in my workshop on Monday. Please don't hesitate to call me on my mobile 07796906073 or leave a message on my answer phone 01986874634.

with another hat on:....for the Halesworth ladies offered Virgin Vie cosmetics draw prize, there were no winners as there were no orders! Do have a look at this fabulous range. I use nothing else! visit www.myvirginvieathome.co.uk/web/lesleypyke

7th February....well I am back from a very emotional and traumatic visit to see my Mom and Dad up in the Lake District. I have no words to describe how cruel I believe life can be. God Bless his heart and my Mom who is working so hard to look after him.

I begin my Trompe D'oeil (mural) on Friday evening, I will be taking pictures so watch this space. My normal working week will not be interrupted (apart from Saturdays)

The East Anglian newspaper feature I mentioned earlier has now been published online I see and so if you would like to see it click HERE

Great news is that my upgrade to GOLD AFFILIATE is done and you can now see all the prices for stock from my main supplier (before engraving of course) on my catalogue page.

31 January 2008.......I am going to visit my father who is very ill, so I will not be in my workshop from Friday - Monday incl. I will be taking my laptop and hope that the broadband plug available at the hotel will work so I can keep up with emails in the evenings. If that doesn't work please understand any delay in answering your emails.

26th January.....today I feel very honoured as I have a 3 page feature in the East Anglian Daily Times! My very grateful thanks to the feature writer Steven Russell who did an incredible job and also big thanks to the photographer.

14th January:.....last December I was announced as the joint winner of glass photography/engraving in White Fire Optical Crystal and Best of Best category and sole winner of the Balmoral Glass category.... in my main suppliers annual competition. Total of £500 worth of stock of my choice from those ranges arrived this morning as my prizes..... will keep me out of mischief for a while hey??!!!

Also this morning I was interviewed by a very nice gentleman from a newspaper for a feature about my work, how about that!!! ...and this afternoon I will have my precious little sister and her family for 2 nights as they are visiting from South Africa, what a great day it is!! The day started, though, with having to take one of out 14 year old labradors to the vet for blood tests, I so hope she will be ok....staying positive as always!

4th Jan.......NEW LOOK catalogue , please have a look HERE and keep watching as later this year it will include all prices too!

2nd January 2008

Happy New Year to one and all !!!

I have a fantastic feeling about this year. Well we cannot think about it any other way.

Cambridge Glass fair is next month already. Lots to do, oh and I have a tromp d'oeil to design and paint on a long wall in a private garden party room, theme: Spanish, Mediterranean.......watch this space

stay positive - drink lots of water - exercise - floss

I have just added a little VIDEO about the Darsham craft day.

10 th December 2007

My dear Daddy is back in hospital again, a good 6 months since his stroke and still completely paralysed down one side and battling hard. Such an elegant, gentle, lovely man. Please God make him better.

I had the very great pleasure once again, of teaching at the Darsham craft experience day. It was such a fun day as usual although one person was missing and sadly missed, Mr. Kirby, who had passed away recently. My condolences to Mrs. Kirby and all the family.

On this day roughly 14 different crafts are taught to approximately 6 students at a time, they each have a go at 2 disciplines, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. It is preceded by tea, with a lunch break in the middle and a raffle afterwards. The day is the best family day I have ever come across and the organising is always spot on. My students are young and old, male and female, most having never tried to engrave glass before and often VERY nervous, but all learn very quickly and get stuck in after my instructions. Each will complete 1, 2 and some 3 different glasses using a simple diamond tool, in just half a day. I have done this day a number of times now and one of my students, Gill, has engraved 4 times now with me!!! There is no stopping her! Here are my lovely students (permission is given by all to publish their photos) and some of their masterpieces. Congratulations everyone and thank you for the very happy experience.

The Glass Collectors Fair was a great success even though the weather was foul! I engraved all day and many found that quite interesting. I had 2 large stands, one for demonstrating and one for my display. I sold several pieces, my Chinese dragon decanter and several small items. A big Thank You to all the organisers who put a huge amount of work into this new fair.

Very old Archive News

Well Cambridge Glass Fair came and went in a flash! It was a fantastic day, excellent weather and a huge number of visitors. I met many very interesting people, many of them collectors, and had great feedback on my work. Sales were not a good as I had hoped , however I did sell my Carp and Lilies bowl, virtually as the fair openned.

There are over 80 stands at this fair, all crystal and glass, from 300 years old to the present day, so if you fancy a Lalique, a Galle or any of the other famous names, or maybe a piece that has recently been "slumped" by one of the contemporary artists.....this is the place to visit. It was exceptionally well run as per usual and I would like to say a big Thank You to Paul, Denis and all those involved. I am looking forward to February and already have many ideas buzzing around my head.

In the mean time I have a lot of tidying up to do and orders to get back on track of....including another 2 Tudor Crystal bowls, one for a Diamond Wedding involving a continuous collage of the couple's life and loves......and the other a musical presentation which will feature many musical instruments, so I had better get on with it... click here to see another example of a Tudor Crystal Bowl in a previous commission.

* Per Ardua Ad Astra*

1st September!!!!!! gosh... time flies.......

Just had a fantastic wee holiday in Belgium with some friends of mine in a place called La Panne,

We went water colour painting in the Dunes and took long walks on the expansive beaches, as you can see the beaches were exhibiting some interesting creatures. So now back to work with less than a month before Cambridge Glass Fair. I am presently working on some very interesting commissions, 2 involving large buildings, so keep watching for the finished pieces. As for new pieces for Cambrdge...watch this space.....or come to and see for yourself on 24th September!! Keep happy and healthy everyone!

31 July 2006

How is this for an order?....somewhat far from my pretty flowers, I had to completely redraw this massive vehicle scanner line drawing, so that I could adjust each line thickness to make the masks for good clear sandblasting. Quite a mission, but the end result was worth all the effort. Sometimes a supplied drawing can be used for the artwork but 90% of the time I do have to redraw. This was sandblasted onto White Fire Optical Crystal 7" wedge circle. The design is sandblasted into the back surface and all lettering is on the front giving that great feeling of 3D.

31 July 2006

Well, I wonder if there is anyone out there wondering how the exhibition at Snape Maltings went.........sigh......7 days of road diggers and endless noise right outside the gallery.

From DAY 1 right through to when we packed up, See if you can spot the gallery. It was so noisy at times my chair and floor were vibrating and I could not hold a conversation with the customer...when I saw one. It did not help that it was an average of 30 degrees C. All 4 of us felt the damage this work did and I must say at this point that our organiser had no idea this was going to happen and had put a HUGE effort into promoting this Charity event.

I emptied my eBay shop and closed my business during this event so I learnt quite a costly lesson.....Needless to say I did not sell much. On a plus note though, I did engrave a few small pieces whilst there, 2 of which I have in my eBay shop now, both featuring mermaids.

SO the next big event is Cambridge Glass Fair, this, I know, is ALWAYS good!!!

17th July 2006

Just added new web page : Wild Africa, check it out!!

Don't forget Select Crafts in Snape this week (see above)


If you would like a personalised gift, engraved and posted direct to the recipient with a greetings card, simply e mail me with your request.

Once complete and posted, you will receive a letter with a photograph of the finished item.

3rd July 2006

Last week I completed a rather complicated piece for a customer. It is the Tallow Chandlers Company Coat of Arms. I hand engraved this on the back of a 7" White Fire Optical Crystal wedge circle. The effect was stunning, I sandblasted the additional lettering on the front surface. This quality crystal is by far the best for this subject.

24 June 2006

Well I have had family and friends coming to stay (from Africa) and life has been pretty hectic of late. I have also been juggling between commissions and stock both for my showroom and my eBay shop.

This little eBay shop has been going great guns in fact. Not only selling items in the shop but receiving orders from eBay viewers whether they are eBay customers or not. Recently I had to design and hand engrave 2 crystal flute champagne glasses for a young couple getting married in USA. I was sent pictures of the dress fabric detail, the ring and various other samples of the theme. How lovely to know they will be used at their reception and will match the surroundings.

Have a look at my "For sale" page you will see that I have now included my eBay shop details at the end of the page. Yesterday I successfully sold my "Big 5" decanter to Florida USA, I am delighted it is going to someone who shares the same passion for African Wild Animals. I plan to engrave a set of crystal wine glasses with the same theme. Watch this space.

On Sundays I have been having the strong urge to paint....so out came the oils, the watercolours and even the pencils. Working small and completely out of my head, so just imaginery places, I have completed several pieces which I will bring along to the Pond Gallery next month.

I had never engraved a red Indian (that I can remember anyway) and so I was thrilled when a customer asked for one. They chose a Rock Tablet as the "Canvas" and this worked really well.

13th May 2006

I have been selling on eBay for some time now, but this week I took the plunge and officially opened my own little eBay shop!! "Engraved Crystal And Glass by LP"...so many possibilities.....lots to do...must dash...

5th may 2006

I have been waiting patiently for a certain date to pass, so that I can go ahead and show you this commission I recently completed. Of course it was a very special gift from a Bridegroom to his Bride, he put so much thought and time into providing ideas and pictures and references to enable me to create a unique and meaningful masterpiece. An heirloom that will pass on for generations to come. The vessel I used is a hand made Tudor Crystal Bowl weighing around 6kgs, measuring 18cm high and 25cm diameter. VERY THICK lead crystal and an absolute delight to work on.

The details included:of course their names and the date of the wedding, flushwork from the church (where they got married) , statues from Venice, Cambridge, music which is played by the bride, a quotation from Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, matching illustration, their new home, favourite bird, Edinburgh castle, the pet dog. I thoroughly enjoyed blending all these subjects together, quite a challenge but I believe a success in the end. I would like to again thank William very much for this opportunity and to wish them both many happy years together.


Click HERE for more details of the progress of this bowl


27th April 2006

Well Top Crafts came and went and was great fun and I met many fascinating people, sold fairly well and took orders of course.

Note the lovely view I had overlooking the sea for 4 days!! Thank You Albert and Sheila for another wonderfully run event. Over £4000 was raised for East Anglian Air Ambulance which (unbelievably) relies entirely on donations!!

Showing my stand to The Mayor of Southwold, Miss Ann Betts and the Town Crier Mr. John Barber.

Photo taken by Mrs. Annette Roberts of Top Floor Studio. Woodbridge.


Recently I was asked to hand engrave the most AWKWARD shaped bowl I have ever worked on, or at least had to engrave lettering on. It was very large and changed curve and angle every cm. It was not even nearly straight and I had to engrave upside down (...that's the bowl, not me...) and mirror image on the outside of the bowl to be viewed through the glass. I do say that I like a challenge..............

Generally I supply the glass, but if the customer has something very specific they want me to work on that I cannot provide, then I will use their glass. Note that all glass is left at your own risk.

4th April 2006

Now it is Full Steam Ahead for Top Crafts in Southwold! I have a few things on ebay at the moment, but they will end before this event at Easter (see above) and anything I have not sold will be on my stall along with Much Much More! I am trying to think of as much variety as possible ...how do you think of everything Joe Public likes to see on crystal??? So anything goes now.

I have donated a glass for 3rd prize in the Top Crafts Draw, it comes in a Satin lined box. The picture of Southwold is on the back of the glass with waves , lettering and the seagull on the front, the East Anglian Air Ambulance Logo is on the base, proceeds go to this organisation this year. There are 20 great prizes, do make sure you have a ticket !


Another Darsham Day of craft experiences was held in the village hall on Saturday 1st April. This was my 3rd teaching day, where I join another 13 or so teachers of a huge variety of crafts. With 6 students in the morning and another 5 in the afternoon, great fun was had and bearing in mind most had never engraved glass before and were very nervous, I am sure you will agree they were STAR pupils, using as many surfaces as they could on their glass and "boldly going where none of my students had gone before!!!" Well Done Everyone and a big thanks to the organisers who do a fabulous job of organising this event.

9th March 2006

......I managed to put together my first Powerpoint slide show to use in conjunction with the Lecture and Windows Moviemaker documentary of my work......and they all worked!!!

Previous News:

20th February 2006

Well yesterday was the big day, Cambridge Glass fair was a great success and I said goodbye to a couple of my favourite (smaller) pieces and jewellery. I did not sell my larger pieces although there was great interest. Some of them will be appearing on eBay soon.

The halls were as usual glittering with the most beautiful display of glass and crystal, old and new. The dining hall offered the yummiest of food and at lunchtime we heard the delightful sounds of a harp being played by a talented young lady. If you missed this one, put 24th September in your diary for the next one!!!


The next big event in my diary is a days workshop I have been invited to hold for the London Branch of the Guild of Glass Engravers. I will be lecturing, with a slide show and offering practical engraving advice....my techniques!

9th February 2006

Get yourselves a copy of the weekly Antiques Magazine, it will have a feature on the Cambridge Glass Fair and they may even give my work a mention. There should also be a half page advert of mine, I would like at least someone to have a look...I worked hard on it and it cost a lot!

17 January 2006

The BREAKING NEWS is that I will be an official Stockist of Rock Tablets as from the end of this week (20th Jan). It is a Great range of flat glass for use as trophies or presentations and can be used for general glass art ie: suitable for both sandblasting and hand engraving. It is totally hand made (I watched them being made whilst I was in Scotland in December) very thick and with a lovely green tint, each comes with a certificate of authenticity as does my work. This range is being used by commercial glass engravers around the country and even for presentations to Celebrities and Royalty!!

Well the end of last year was quite hectic, as it usually is for everyone. I did not have my sons with me once again and so I was not feeling very festive as one should at this time, but as ever my dear Brian was an angel and looked after me as only he can!!! 2006 arrived and this is going to be a GREAT YEAR!

At the end of last year I spent 4 days up in the very north of Scotland on business, touring, learning, eating, drinking, singing and dancing with a group of fabulous people also in the business of glass, we were guests of our glass supplier, celebrating their 21 years in business!!! Thank You Simon and Gina for a special time!!!! I feel very priviledged to be involved with a business which includes such wonderful people.


I spent yet another day at Darsham for their Craft Experience Day. What a day!!! These village people are such fun to teach and they catch on very quickly as they are so keen to learn and would you believe almost all of them produced 2 pieces of engraved glass in their half day lesson slot, most having never tried engraving glass before. I am always amazed at their enthusiasm. All ages , teens to eighties!


12 November 2005

Well for the last few months I have been trying my hand at being an eBay seller! I do not have much passing trade in this Business Centre that I am situated, so I did this in order to generate more business. It is like building a business from scratch, getting a reputation for being a good trader by building your "positive feedbacks" from your customers, and if you buy...feedback from your sellers. This is an excellent system. I have had some success to date, although some items have gone for a very low price, but there is much to learn about controlling your price and getting it sold.

So once a business has been established, you can move to the other side of the world and still take your reputation with you, and not have to start again. I have sold to America, NewZealand, Europe and UK so far. Take a look at my page of past ebay sales . I have this link on all my listings on eBay so the customers can have a look at what I have sold and to which country. Also what personalised lettering I have added to some of the items.

For items I have presently for sale on eBay go to www.ebay.co.uk and type Lesley Pyke into Search.

Anyway, as one generally starts at a lower price, you may find you can grab an absolute bargain (as some do) when you see the real value on my website's For Sale page. Naturally items for sale on eBay are automatically reserved on my website until the auction is complete.

I have so far managed to gain myself a Blue star, which means I have more than 50 positive feedbacks. One even gets a certificate!!!

I have some pretty serious commissions on at the moment including 2 large Tudor Crystal Bowls weighing almost 6kg each , both of them for different wedding presents (OF NOTE!!!) especially as the bowls are £100 before I start engraving, both will be fully hand engraved! Other recent commissions include dog portraits on Whitefire Optical Crystal and a trophy of the same named crystal for a Scottish University.

I am looking forward to the Christmas rush, I can still take plenty of orders and will be engraving right up to Christmas eve....BRING IT ON, remember I post anywhere!

Cambridge Glass Fair at Chilford Hall, Linton, on18th September 2005.

This was great success and I have to say I am always delighted and feel very privileged to be a part of such an amazing day!! Thank You to everyone who came to see me and the organisers who did such a brillient job. Here are a couple of pictures of the day

East of England Market Towns Award was recently presented, I was asked to produce the trophy. A large crystal bowl which I Hand Engraved.


The Halesworth Thoroughfair was quieter than last year, but a very good one for me.For further reports on this fair see: http://www.blythweb.co.uk/thoroughfair/


The following weekend was the Wisset Wines fair, that was a lovely break, I had been so busy that to be in this lovely place with such lovely people and beautiful atmosphere was a treat!


I received the largest order so far (since I have been in this country) recently, that kept me out of trouble night and day for 2 weeks : Long Service awards for Sanyo.

I completed 65 crystal perfume bottles, (hand engraved with flowers, each one slightly different, each numbered as a limited edition) also 55 beer tankards and 15 crystal decanters, these I sandblasted. Whew, that was a challenge, but all worked well! A Big thank you to Sanyo for their support and belief in me, and to my star suppliers Simon and Gina at The Glass Scribe, who bent over backwards to keep me supplied in time.


Air Ambulance recently held a Golf Day at Halesworth Golf Club and had asked me to produce some of their main prizes:

Top Crafts Easter Fair at Southwold Pier Functions Room on 25th, 26th, 27th march 2005 was a great success. This was a Charity event and this year we supported the Woolverstone Project. The event included an invited selection of the finest crafts people in the UK, and I am very proud to have been invited for the second time.

If you bought a raffle ticket you could have won this "bottle glass" (takes a whole bottle of vino!!!) which I had hand engraved with a Southwold scene. There were MANY prizes donated by the stall holders

21 March 2005

One of my recent comissions was a crystal bowl which I designed and engraved to be presented to Mr. and Mrs. Iredale, previous owners of the Southwold Pier. Having just sold the Pier, this was a gift from the staff .

On Sunday 20th March

I had the great privilege of being invited to teach glass engraving all day at a village craft experience day in Darsham on the East Coast. There were 15 different crafts being taught to around 100 willing students who were of every age, men, women, boys and girls! Young, old and very old! Great fun was had by all! They chose one craft in the morning and one in the afternoon (after a huge lunch) None of my students had ever engraved glass before and I think they did brilliently!!!

Note that as I was teaching "point" engraving and not "drill" engraving (my usual method) Point engraving involves marking the surface of the glass with lines (linear) and dots (stipple) using a diamond point or tungstone carbide point. It is the way I learnt. I had 5 students in the morning and 6 in the afternoon.

This was a piece I did a couple of years ago using the stipple method with a tungstone carbide point.

My sons, Shane and Gavin.XX

21 February 2005

After 2 hours of driving (half of that in snow!) I finally got to the Cambridge Glass Fair. It was by far the most exciting fair I have ever taken part in. I have never been surrounded by so much breathtaking glass!!! From ancient antiques to modern contemporary. Anyone to do with Glass Collecting (or just the love of the medium) was there!! I felt indeed priviledged to be there exhibiting!

My little table of engraved glass was well received . I made some sales and had many discussions and enquiries from the most interesting people from all over the country. I was one of only 3 professional (present day) engravers there, as we are all members of the Guild of Glass Engravers, we knew each other and were able to share in the excitement of the day. Truely magical. The next event of the same name (same place) will be 18th September 2005. Don't miss it!


11 Feb 2005

It is "all go" now as January disappears into history. I have already given my first WI talk of the year (have given 34 in the last 2 years)

On Saturday I will be playing my first game of golf for the year too......at least I can throw some more weight into the ball now in the way of Christmas Pudding!!

This week I completed another Bowl of Sea, this was my third! A specific order for a customer, the bowl was hand made to my specifications, by a glass blower in London, it is clear crystal with blue overlay. I carved through the layer of colour to varying degrees to get the effects I want.Being a hand made bowl and hand engraved, it is completely unique even though I have done 2 other similar pieces.