Sunday, September 28, 2014


I've been experimenting over the past few weeks on making shards:  thin pieces of blown glass.  The technique utilizes a hollow mandrel.  a globe of glass is created on the end of the mandrel and when it is closed off and heated, it can be blown into a hollow ball of glass.  The glass can be shattered into small pieces which are placed on a gather of glass.  The result is a thin layser of color on a larger glass bead.  For example:

The above beads are made starting with a gather of periwinkle blue glass.  Shards of dark amethyst are added onto the gather after it is pressed into a lentil mold.  Then a stringer of amethyst glass is added to the top of the bead, twisted into a swirl and accented with a cubic zirconium.  This is just one of many possibilities of color combinations.  See these beads as earrings on my etsy site:

Sunday, September 14, 2014

More shells

I'm continuing to work on lampwork glass adaptations of basic shell designs---I guess I'm becoming obsessed with this project, but I love lampwork glass bead-making and I love shells!  For this post, I've made a nautilus shell and a moon snail (which is my favorite Florida shell).  For both types, I start with a round gather made of ivory, then I pres it.  I add an extension on one side to represent the mouth.  For the nautilus, I add a twistie of ivory and dark amber on both sides in a spiral design.  I then make a twist in the center of the bead to emphasize the spiral of the nautilus.  Two examples are shown below:

The bottom bead in the picture is my version of a moon snail.  I start the same way as the nautilus, but press the extension of the shell to create the "mouth".  Then I add a twistie of ivory and sandstone (which has grey overtones) on one side of the bead only, which mimics the subtle spiral of the moon snail.  I also twist this a little off center, and add a cubic zirconium in the middle of the twist.