Art Supplies and Suppliers

 Hello and welcome to my first blog post!

 I’m glad you found your way onto the Ornately Lanterns website.  I've only just set this occasional blog up – and I want to use it to let you know about the various things that occupy the life and thoughts of an artist who sells online…….

So I’m going to start with a problem that affects ALL sellers (not to mention ALL artists and crafts people) – and it has been very much uppermost in my daily life over the past couple of months:


When you start selling online you have to face the fact that all your work (pretty much) has to be reproducible.  A customer is going to be pretty unhappy if they pay for this.........

..... but receive THIS!


And “reproducible” also applies to paint colours – if a customer loves a particular shade of blue, a paler or duller shade of it simply won’t cut the mustard!

It’s no longer an option to simply rely on popping down to the local craft shop to pick up what you need when you need it……  Business practices have to take over:  you have to find reliable suppliers who can supply you with the same good quality products over and over again.  AND for a good price each time (sigh)……


I’ve been very lucky in the past in that I found a wonderful family firm in Ireland who supplied garden centres and who could thus supply me with copious quantities of lanterns.

But they changed direction about five years ago and thus, following one VAST final order, I now have no lantern supplier......

However, as my 2 sheds, my attic and my sister’s cellar are still groaning under the weight of lanterns - I won’t be needing a new one for some time to come!

 And as I think you know, I recycle all my glass blocks and so rescue them from friends, family and eBay.

A LARGE quantity came from a company who were knocking down a couple of offices that had been built with glass blocks; so I have plenty to go (when Badger allows me to get my hands on them!)


This year, however, has brought problems.

The US company who supply my 6” glass roundels now say they will no longer be stocking the roundels I need, so I’ve had to hunt for a new supplier.
  • I’ve always wanted to support local suppliers – but my local glass company charges 3 x the price of the previous US roundels (and I’m including the shipping fees, the import duty and the customs fees as well!!)
  • I hit the same problem with all other UK suppliers I’ve been able to find (and there are VERY few)
  • So I’ve ended up having to go direct to China. I know that all other suppliers get their glass from China, so this is a benefit in some ways as I’m cutting out the middle man.
  • But if you buy from China direct, you have to buy BIG quantities. And then you have to find somewhere to store them…..
And I will need to account for large shipping fees (glass is heavy and so it costs a lot to ship)
  • Plus large import duties
  • Plus large customs fees
  • Plus VAT, which is added to all imported items over £15.00

And even after all of that, the roundels are still cheaper than they would be if I bought them in the UK.  Which is a very sad situation…….

So I’ve placed an order and am expecting my next load of roundels to be arriving at the start of June.

Hopefully I’ll be able to find somewhere to store them (fortunately they’re small, unlike the lanterns) – and then I’ll have enough to last for a couple of years, and so the headaches will be over for a little bit of time.



  • Thank you very much, ladies x
    Nice comments VERY much help to keep the positive energy going, Karen :)
    Yes you must, Sally! Good luck

    Clare Smythson
  • Loved your first blog. Total honesty and interesting to find out how your day goes and the challenges you have. I love your positive energy throughout…a true inspiration.

    Karen Kemp
  • You are inspiring me, I must start a blog! Well done x


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