Thursday, December 30, 2010

The healing scar

The name was given by someone on Lampwork etc for this piece of 'accidental' glass, maybe it's the nurse in me, (or the Wilco lyric lover), but it appealed to me as the perfect name and stuck ever since.
The story of how this piece occurred fits with the name well too, initially it started out as an oval shaped dot bead with some heavy silver 'stormy' dots, something like this...

BUT, I forgot to turn my kiln off and the temp kept ramping up until he beads completely melted and started dripping onto the kiln floor!
The result was this beautifully smooth cab and a few other more irregular shaped puddles. 
They had to be dug out of the porous kiln floor but I immediately loved this one and decided to keep it for myself,  Subsequent attempts to recreate this process with kiln paper beneath were less inspiring.

So, now the latest incarnation of the healing scar is as the centre piece of my newest obsession - silver bezel setting. Unfortunately trying to close the bezel I dented the tube bail, but at least it's a central dent:)
Eventualy I'll probably feel the need to remove the glass and fix the dent, probaly resolder a new bail, but for now I quite like the imperfection.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Glass Agate Gemstones

This is a simple mini tutorial I wrote a few months ago on a style of bead I enjoy making and have recently been incorporating into my silver rings. Reposting it here in order to share :)
Glass  ‘Agate Gemstones’ 
I’ve been experimenting with tabular focal beads and the variegated quality of agates.
(Bases of - CIM Banana crème,  CIM Ginger, Vetrofond Twilight, CIM Thai Orchid)
First I make a base bead of clear, not only is it cheaper and saves my special colours, but I get it in larger rods so it’s much quicker to wind a base.
The oval cg beadroller makes getting a good initial shape easier but if I want a larger bead than my roller makes I simply make a bicone then marver the middle and round it in the flame.
Next I completely encase the clear in my chosen colour, I’ve been experimenting with some of the CIM and Vetrofond  colours I have lying around , but any opaque/streaky colour  is worth a try.
Now to variegation,  I love using Intense Black and it only takes a teeny-tiny amount, I pull a hair thin stringer as long as my arms can stretch!  Don’t put the stringer  in the flame it will just ball up, heat a circumference of your bead until it’s red hot and press the stringer into the hot glass, if it doesn’t stick it’s not hot enough. Now heat the IB on the bead, a lot, until it does it’s thing and starts to spread out, my favourite bit -  it looks really cool!
On some colours you get a great kind of ghosting, but another option is to lay down a strip of dark ivory first and put the IB over that, it seems to spread better and looks more… intense!
(Trial bead on CIM ginger, L to R = straight Intense Black, IB over Dark Ivory, IB over Silvered Ivory)
I also experimented with pulling ivory stringer with a touch of IB on the gather which gave a much more subtle mix. For some sparkle use Silvered Ivory Stringer either by itself or with a hair of IB over the top and adding dots between stripes will spread out nicely too.
When you’re happy with your decoration heat and squish it.  Use a press or simply squash between  a graphite pad and marver,  just make sure it doesn’t get too thin along the mandrel line as it may crack.
Back into the flame to remove any chill marks and into the kiln J


Ok, I'm finally starting a proper blog!
I've been thinking about it for ages... as a way to keep track of the other glass/jewellery blogs I like to read and also to keep track of my own creative process and other random things I feel the need to record and collect in one place.
I expect it will be mostly glass and jewellery related , I do keep a  visual log on flickr but I want to elaborate on stuff a bit more than that and I just can't warm to facebook.
So this rainy day of holidays with the new year approaching seems the perfect time to begin.