Sunday, December 29, 2013

More silvered ivory

I've been playing around with silvered ivory, this time with light ivory and turquoise.  In a well known reaction, light ivory forms a black line when it meets turquoise, which can be used in designs.  I thought it would be interesting to see what effect this reactions would have been silvered ivory was laid on top of the intersection point.  As you can see in the photograph, it darkens the junction, thus accentuating it:

I've raked across the junction in one or two places, then made a twist and added a cubic zirconium.  The middle bead is made with Nile green, which undergoes the same reaction with ivory.  Expect to see these soon in my Etsy shop:

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Purple and pea green earrings

I've been busy with Christmas preparations, cards, church bake sale and holiday bazaar among other things, so my bead making has suffered.  I've been experimenting, but nothing concrete.  One thing I have accomplished, however, it to make earring to go with a new top I made.  The material is colorful:  purple, pea green, orange, fuchsia, black and white.  I figured that dots would be the best way to incorporate all these colors in a single lentil bead.  So I made a base bead of white, a little smaller than my lentil press and placed dots of black, pea green, eggplant (CIM 655), EDP (Effetre 254) and Tangerine (Vetrofond 939) to cover most of the white bead.  The results are shown below, along with a scrap of leftover fabric:

The EDP had to be heated in intense flame to prevent the devitrification reaction, which was only partially successful, but I don't think it looks that bad on these beads.  The bead on the left has spots of Effetre Pink Stripe (253) instead of EDP.  I don't think it looks very good over white, it seems more apricot than pink, but by itself it produces quite a nice deep pink---more on that in a later post.

I've got a pair of earrings.  A necklace would be lost in the colors of the fabric, but a bracelet might be a nice accessory.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Pod beads in cage

Two weeks ago I attended a workshop given at Chastain Arts Center on investment casting by Liaung Chung Yen, who was a participant in the Atlanta Contemporary Jewelry Show.  In this technique, you use investment (a kind of plaster used in casting) to hold metal pieces together so that you can solder them all at once.  If you tried to solder the pieces individually, the heat from soldering the third piece would melt the solder connection from the first and second pieces and the whole thing would fall apart.  The piece I made was a metal cage, with seven pieces of square silver wire, soldered at top and bottom, then treated with liver of sulfur:

This looks like a pod to me, so I spent the last week making seeds for it out of various shades of olive green and yellow-orange glass, which I then added to the pod:

The beads are sage green (Effetre 211) with Vetrofond tapenade (963) dots, commando (CIM 475) with Effetre coral sunset (420) dots and and unknown orangy color with Vetrofond lichen (986) dots, all of them beautiful fall colors!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Winter landscape beads

In Margo's class last summer, we made summer landscape beads with green fields and trees in leaf.  For winter, I decided to try my hand at a snowy landscape, not that I'm going to be experiencing snow in Atlanta!  I made a snowy scene by taping two rods of white and one of light grey together with masking tape.  I used this as a single rod to lay down a large gather.  Next to it, I laid a gather from a "rod" of lapis medium pastel, blue cobalt transparent and CIM leaky pen.  This was my night sky.  After shaping, I made a tab with parallel mashers.  I added a moon with a dot of white, then shaped a winter tree using a stringer of pulled from brown, burnt sienna and intense black, loosely twisted together.  To make the trunk gnarly, I heated a small area of the trunk and twisted with a clear stringer.  As a final touch, I added a cubic zirconium to the reverse side of the bead to represent the evening star.

Here are a few of them:

 As usual, these will soon be for sale in my Etsy shop (

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Silvered ivory stringer

I downloaded Jacqueline Parke's ebook "Gems in Bloom" about a month ago, and I have been having fun playing with silvered ivory stringer.   First, heat the tip of an ivory rod and roll it in silver foil.  Burnish it in, then burn if off and heat until it forms a gather.  Pull into a stringer and use it to decorate beads.  Some of mine, suggested by Jacqueline's color combinations, are shown below:

From left to right, red roof tile with black, ivory with black, copper green with a little bit of EDP thrown in, and CIM Canyon de Chelly, all with stringers of silvered ivory around the middle of the beat.  Effetre glass unless otherwise noted.

Next, I played with swirling the glass and adding a 1mm clear cubic zirconium:

I've always had trouble holding the cubic zirconium in tweezers, so I decided to do a search for other methods and found that you can use a drop of white glue on the tip of a mandrel to pick up the flat side of the stone.  Place the mandrel upright in a rack until the glue is dry, then use it to place your stone on the bead.  The glue will burn off without a residue.

I've had so much fun playing that I haven't had time to make jewelry with any of these stones, but expect to see finished pieces in my Etsy shop ( soon.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Lacy lampwork beads with intense black on dark ivory

I've recently retired and moved to Atlanta where I am enjoying my new glass and metal studio.  I've been taking metal working classes at Chastain Arts Center and lampwork beadmaking at Spruill Center for the Arts.  I'll be sharing what I've learned as well as discoveries of my own on this blog.

First off, an easy but stunning reaction between dark ivory and intense black that Margo Knight demoed in class.  Make a base bead of dark ivory and shape it.  Then add thin stringers of intense black randomly on the dark ivory.  Put the bead in the hot part of the flame and watch for the lines of intense black to break up and spread out on the surface of the bead, creating a lacy effect.  Here are some of the beads I've made:

Look for jewelry made with similar beads in my Etsy shop ( soon.