Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, art, travel, make-up, cooking and the occasional rant!


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Heading into Jubilee Celebrations

This weekend will the be designated period to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee here in the UK. Thursday and Friday have been designated as bank holidays (aka statutory holidays as they are called in other places) and Saturday is the big party day – community block parties, etc. Here on the estate I live on there is a community BBQ and party on Saturday afternoon. I’ll be staying home with the dog – still not interested in mingling with unmasked people in a crowd.

We put up Jubilee bunting out at the shop/studio for the occasion.

Have been working on more art over the last month – finished assembling my glass mobile yesterday and hung it up in the shop. Came out a bit longer than I was expecting in the end, but I didn’t want the glass pieces to strike each other constantly. I’m really pleased with it. I plan to make more but with fewer parts and more compact. I’ve figured out more efficient ways to make them now too.

I was planning to hang it in the shop window but it is too long to fit, so it is on the wall. We’re thinking of taking commissions using a “pick your option menu” for components and quantity, a header piece shape, colour scheme/theme, length, etc. with each option having a set price.

We accidentally ended up ordering three different types of chain for the mobile. I wanted stainless steel for it, but first order was miscalculated regarding link size (too small) so ordered a larger chain. Was supposed to be stainless… however it was aluminum and the links came apart easily simply by pulling. So, third try, got a good size and strength, even if not 100% what I was wanting. But it worked for this quite well.

I also finished up another batch of fridge magnets that are miniature acrylic and ink paintings of scenes of Dartmoor. The squares are approx. 2×2″, the larger are 2×3″ – I like painting little landscapes! I’ve got another batch with the bases done which will be sunrise/sunsets and seascapes/shorelines based on South Devon.

I’m also starting a series of slightly larger (4×6″) mixed media paintings (on canvas board and framed) of specific plants and animals that are resident on Dartmoor. First one in progress is of bracken, then I’m planning flowers (i.e. bluebells, foxglove, etc.) and bushes (gorse, etc.) and ponies and other native animals and birds. I’m taking photos to use for reference for these.

Tourist season has started, albeit slowly. Coaches are starting to come to the Abbey now so we are getting little waves of people looking for souvenirs and gifts. I convinced Anne that we should put out a small display of our Christmas ornaments and cards… last year she wouldn’t let me put out Christmas items until November (even though we had people who wanted them.) And we’ve been selling them fairly steady! I explained to her, when I travel I look for items that can be Christmas ornaments, and the people who are buying them are doing the same! Now Anne is suggesting maybe I should start making more wreaths (which is my best seller!)

I remerchandised the shop – my sense of order was somewhat frustrated. So I moved some displays around – moved light coloured items from a white painted shelf to glass so they were more visible, spaced items out more, rearranged signage, etc. I was pleased with the results and it is really obvious that people are now looking at all the displays whereas before they walked by some without stopping to look.

We’re hoping the weather is going to cooperate for the Jubilee weekend as so many events are outdoors. Fingers crossed. Hope you enjoy your celebrations if you are participating in any.


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Sunflowers and more

Our two auctions of fused glass mosaic sunflower pictures are complete – one went for £60 and the other for £55, we’ve also donated another £18 from our sunflower sales. So far our total is £133 to the DEC Ukraine Appeal via the Red Cross in the UK. We have more sold which is still to be processed, and more items were put out yesterday. And I’ve more in the kiln!

50% of the sale price of all sunflower themed items is being donated to the Ukraine Appeal on an ongoing basis.

I’ve been making small sunflower pieces as fridge magnets which we are selling for £5. My first batch of seven sold to a customer before they were even finished! He saw them on the work surface where they were waiting for the magnets to be affixed and bought the lot of them! I’ve another 30 in the kiln so they will be out in the shop on the weekend.

Fridge Magnets – fused glass sunflowers, size varies but approximately 2″ (6 cm) and “squarish”

I’ve created five more pictures that are now for sale, these are smaller than the ones we auctioned off. There are three in the plain wood frames, and two in the white frames.

Next work session I am planning to make windchimes using the same colours – it is a bit of an experiment. I know the glass has a nice ping, but playing around with the length of the rods to make it melodious will be interesting. After that I am moving on to create some bowls and tealights.

It is always exciting to open the kiln in the morning as glass can have a mind of its own, so it is a relief when everything looks like I intended it to!

Most of my time is spent preparing the glass I need to make all of these items. I spent days snipping yellow glass for petals, breaking up the blue for backgrounds, and cutting stems and leaves. But the hardest is making dots. For the larger items I am planning to make I need small round dots of glass to create the centres of the flowers so I have to make them. It means I need very small pieces of glass, which I put in the kiln neatly so they won’t touch and fuse together, then I have to pick them out one by one…

This lot is around 1200 dots, near as I can figure… so that means I performed a repetitive motion 4800 times in around a 24 hour period. My right wrist and shoulder are still sore.

Yesterday we created a new window display out at Serendipity Glass Design which is in the Ox Yard at Buckland Abbey (National Trust property – Sir Francis Drake used to live there!) with the sunflowers and tied in the colours of the other items in the shop.

If you are interested in any of the items I’ve posted you can message Serendipity Glass Design via Facebook or email at sales@serendipityglassdesign.co.uk


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Our second fundraiser for Ukraine

This week we are auctioning off a second fused glass mosaic picture I created to raise funds for the Red Cross Ukraine Appeal. 100% of the winning bid amount will be donated.

The frame is 33 x 28 cms and can be wall-mounted or free standing.

Auction runs until Friday, March 18th at 4 p.m. GMT. Further details and bidding is on Serendipity Glass Design’s Facebook page – Click HERE to reach the auction.

Our piece from last week went for the winning bid of £60 and it was quite a bit smaller that this work. This one took a full day to assemble, not counting all the pre-cutting of the petals and the rest! But I really enjoy the process even with the cuts, pokes and blisters.

Further sunflower themed items are ready to post once we get them mounted. These will be for sale with 50% of the purchase price being donated.

I’ve spent days pre-cutting petals, leaves and squares to use in the making of the sunflower designs and I have enough on hand to go straight into mass production starting tomorrow. There will be smaller framed pictures, standing panels, suncatchers, keyrings/magnets, tealights and possibly lanterns, coming soon.

12″ standing Sunflowers will be on sale next week.

Check in with Serendipity Glass Design on Facebook to see the latest items for sale as they are posted.


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Support for Ukraine

It is really hard to sit here in comfort and safety while watching and hearing what is happening to Ukraine and the Ukrainians fleeing for safety.

I did make a cash donation but it felt like there was no effort involved, if you know what I mean?

So this week in the studio I’ve been making glass mosaic sunflower pictures and items and we are auctioning them off to raise money for the Red Cross Ukraine Appeal.

We’ve got the first framed fused glass picture up on auction right now until Friday, March 11 at 4 p.m. GMT. Bidding and details are on Serendipity Glass Design’s FB Page at Serendipity Glass Design.

I’ve got another, larger, one finished and we’ll be posting the auction for that one on Wednesday.

And I’ve started making smaller items – small pictures, standing glass panels/tealights, suncatchers, coasters, and keychains – which will be for sale in the shop and online once they’re finished and fired.

The effort to physically produce these pieces makes me feel like I am doing something. The work of cutting and laying the glass gives me a feeling of satisfaction and a fair amount of back pain to work through. I ripped all the skin off the inside of my right thumb snipping glass and required four bandages for pokes and cuts – my one day record – yesterday.

My discomfort in no way resembles what the people of Ukraine are suffering – I cry a lot watching the news or doom-scrolling on Twitter. I have stopped turning on the news as soon as I wake up in the morning as I am scared to hear what the latest developments are. I catch up later in the day.

I hope you can check out the auction for my sunflower art on the link Serendipity Glass Design and share it with your friends and followers. Any support is appreciated.