Sunday, December 18, 2016

Christmas icicles

To prepare for the holiday season, we made icicles in Margo's class at Spruill Center for the Arts last week.  We used triangular boro glass.  After untying to a rod of boro glass, we gradually heated the triangular boro glass at one end, and as soon as it was soft, we began to twist the glass, moving down the rod and twisting until we reached the desired length.  My first attempts were uneven, but I soon got the knack of it and produced some nice icicles that I'm going to hand in our kitchen window:

This was my first experience working with boro glass.  It is more viscous than soda lime glass and requires higher heat to melt, but it is nice not to have to anneal the glass.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Berries in the snow

I saw a cute idea for Christmas beads in the December issue of Artisan Jewelry Times.  Just make small, round beads with various shades of Effetre red glass and roll in clear frit:

And here are the earrings I made from them:

I'll enjoy wearing them for the holiday season.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Implosion/petal beads

I'm back at Spruill Arts Center taking bead making classes from Margo Knight.  Our first class was implosion/petal/lotus beads.  I'm not going to try to explain them, but I'll refer you instead to a detailed explanation on Lampwork Etc. by j2canoe entitled appropriately "How to Make the Implosion/Petal Beads".  Here are mine:

These are time consuming to make but worth it in the end.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Thallo silver glass

My next trial of Double Helix silver glass is Thallo, which is a beautiful green which reduces to iris green:

On the top row are two beads made by adding a  stripe of Thallo on the equator,  reducing.  The first is on transparent green, the next on transparent light green.  on the bottom row are two beads made by adding a small amount of Thallo to a mandrel, reducing, then encasing.  I love the turquoise in the first bead.  The last bead is made entirely of Thallo, which is reduced after shaping. 

I'll be taking a break from bead-making for the next week or two to prepare for the Georgia Goldsmiths Guild's Holiday Jewelry Marketplace, which will be held at Holy Innocents' Episcopal Church, 805 Mount Vernon Highway in Atlanta on Friday, November 18, 10 til 4 and Saturday, November 19, 10 til 3.  If you live in the Atlanta area, stop by!  Mentioning this blog will get you 10% anything you buy from my booth.


Monday, October 24, 2016

Psyche silver glass

This is the next installment in my series on silver glass, and its based on a tutorial I recently purchased from Anouk Jasperse called Making Silver Glass Sing.  She focuses on Psyche, Triton and Aurae.  Here are the beads I've made using the techniques she describes:

All of these are encased.  I just love the beautiful metallic blue.  For details on the technique, see the tutorial.  Thanks, Anouk!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Silver glass: Ossa

I'm back at my torch, experimenting (or maybe playing is more appropriate) with silver glass.  o started with two rods of Double Helix Ossa which I obtained from a friend.  This glass is a light magenta with inclusions, which reduces to a goldish metallic sheen.  Here are some of the beads I've made with it:

The bead in the upper right is Ossa alone with no reduction.  You can see the light purplish color and the inclusions, very nice but not worth the extra cost of silver glass.  The upper left bead is a swipe of Ossa over opal yellow, Ossa over Effetre purple and Ossa over transparent light purple.  All three have been reduced.  The last one is my favorite.  Although the picture shows more of an amber color, the reduced Ossa shows up very nicely over the light purple in real life.  However, I'm not enthused enough to go out and buy a batch.

Sunday, July 17, 2016


Over the next few weeks, my family and I will be taking a few short vacations to visit the waterfalls of northern Georgia and western North Carolina.  I won't have much time to fire up the torch, but I'll be back in September.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Hollow glass shells

Now that summer has arrived, I've been thinking about beaches and beach combing and a recent issue of Soda Lime Times gave me some ideas for making shell beads, using hollow beads.  The results, still experimental are shown below:

The one in the lower left was made on a puffy mandrel, using two layers of glass, a transparent pin, and ivory.  I purposefully left one spot thinner than the rest, and as I kept blowing that spot ballooned out until it popped.  Then I played with the edges to produce a shell-like shape.  The others were made by first laying down a thin tube of pink (CIM Desert Pink).  Then I built up discs of ivory or CIM Butter Pecan at either end, pushed them together and let nature take its course in making a hollow bead.  When I achieved the shape I wanted, I heated one spot until glowing, then pulled that part of the bead with my pliers and when sufficiently cool, I cut it with nippers and opened up the resulting hole, again playing with the edges to mimic a shell.  There's plenty of room for improvement and improvisation!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Caramel candy

I recently purchased some Double Helix silver glass from Franz Glass and I've been experimenting with the colors.  One idea I found as a free tutorial on Lampwork, Etc.   It's listed as fire opal but it reminds me more of creamy caramel.   You make a base bead out of black,  wrap silver foil around it, burning off the edges but leaving the band intact.  Then you heat a rod of Ekho and when the tip is transparent you, you lay down one or two swirls of the glass around the bead, then encase with clear. 

In addition to using black as my base bead, I tried butter pecan (CIM 703), shown in the middle, and honey crunch (Vetrofond 990), shown at the end.  I think I prefer the lighter background,  They look good enough to eat!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Striped beads

I've been trying to make striped beads forever and haven't had any success.  at a recent class at Spruill Center for the Arts with Margo, she demoed the technique she uses and the results is shown below:

The base for these beads was black or ink blue;  the dots were made by placing 6 largish white dots around the bead, leaving space between them.  The amount of space determines whether there will be a dark line between the stripes or not line.  Then I places transparent colors on top of the white, in this case alternating transparent pea green and aqua.  I allowed the dots to melt in completely before placing clear around the bead in the center of the dots, being careful not to touch the edge.  I put several (3-4) layers of clear, then melted that in.  Voila! Stripes!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Galaxy beads

Galaxy beads are a favorite with lampwork bead artists because there is so much room for individuality, yet just about anything you do looks fabulous.  For these beads, demoed by Margo in her class at Spruill Center for the Arts, we started with a thin layer of clear glass, then wound a layer of transparent cobalt blue glass followed by threads of clear.  From here we  improvised.  I added silver foil.  I trapped some of it under clear, but left some to burn away.  I also added silver mesh and allowed it to burn into beads.  I added small pieces of dichroic to one of the beads.  I spread the burned off silver foil by gravity on another bead to create swirls.  Finally, I encased them with clear.  Below are the beads, three of which have been prepared for use as pendant with silver caps and silver wire bails:

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Raked star beads

I'm back in Margo Knights class at Spruill Center for the Arts for the spring term.  For our first class, Margo demoed raked star beads.  The concept is simple:  start making a disc bead with two or three layers of class.  instead of continuing to add layers, add dots around the edge of the disc.  Build up as many layers of complimentary colors as desired.  When you are satisfied with the layers, heat just the area to be moved, then rake towards the center of the bead with a metal rake or the end of a stringer.  It sounds simple, but the placement of the dots is critical.  Also, the dots must be uniform in amount of class used.  My attempts are shown below.  I didn't try anything more adventurous than 6 pointed stars.

For a more complete tutorial on raked star beads, see the thread on WetCanvas.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Southwest frit

After having spent a month touring the national parks of Arizona and Utah, I feel inspired to make beads and jewelry with a southwestern motif.  I've attempted to recreate the scenery of the winter landscape:  sagebrush and juniper against a background of red sandstone mesas.  I made my own frit mixture from commando (CIM 475), shrubbery (CIM 410), muskmelon (CIM426), pine tree (Effetre 344), light brown (Effetre 0444, spanish leather (Effetre 423), and brown rock (Effetre 654).  Here's what the frit mixture looks like:

Here are some of the beads I've made from it:

The three beads on the left were made by adding the frit to a base beads of commando, canyon de chelly (CIM 722) and stone ground (CIM 351), respectively plus periwinkle (Effetre 220) for the sky.  I melted in silver wire on the second bead from the left.  The bead on the right was made by adding frit to a base bead of red roof tile.

As usual, it's highly likely that these beads or ones like them will end up on my Etsy site:

Sunday, April 3, 2016

New addition to my workshop

I'm back after an incredible vacation in Arizona, Utah and Colorado.

Before I got started making beads again, I decided to invest in a reconditioned oxygen concentrator, to avoid hubby having to cart heavy oxygen cylinders back and forth from the gas supplier (although the oxygen concentrator is heavy on its own).  The one below was purchased at Flametree Glass in Roswell, GA.

Here it is:

It doesn't deliver as high a flow of oxygen as an oxygen tank, but it is adequate for my torch (a minor burner).  So far, I haven't experienced any problems working with it.  Its flow rate is adequate for the size beads I usually make.  And its nice not to have to worry about running out of oxygen---it's there when you need it.