Sunday, July 28, 2013

New Spacer Beads

Etched Dark Fossil Lampwork Spacer Beads
Dark Fossil Spacers (Matte)
I've added made-to-order spacer bead sets to my Etsy shop. Along with common glass colors, I have beads made with odd-lot and rare and unusual glasses.  Most of the bead colors come in both regular and matte/etched. New colors are added every week!

You can also find these matte organic cylinder beads made-to-order in my shop:
Matte organic cylinder glass beads
Organic Green and Red Matte Cylinder Beads

And lots of other pretty colors, like this Poseidon blue glass...
...and shiny gold 'Helios' glass spacers:
Double Helix Helios gold spacers
Have a good week!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Terra, New and Old

I recently bought some Fast Striking Hand Pulled (FSHP) Terra from Double Helix, a quarter-pound of the "4.20.12" batch. I love it, it's a lot like the old Terra. I guess I got some of the last of it, because Double Helix is not going to make any more of the Hand Pulled version. They're switching production to Fast Striking Machine Pulled because they say the results are no different and it saves them time. I'm glad I got a little bit of the Hand Pulled - another glass to covet and stash away now I guess!

When I first worked it, I don't think I was getting it hot enough and my beads were turning out pale brown. On the next try I super-heated the glass to white drippy hot and got a very dark brown strike. The ideal would be somewhere in the middle, but I was really pleased at how easy it was to strike and control with the heat.

Here's a photo of my first good set of beads with the FSHP Terra. My studio photography seems to dull and darken my Terra beads and I can't get any Photoshop tricks to correct the colors. In real life, these beads have more vibrant color, and the clear dots bring a lot of light and sparkle to the set. Here goes anyway:
FSHP Terra lampwork glass beads
Beads with Fast Striking Hand Pulled Terra

I also have a stash of old "OG Terra" from 2008. I love this stuff too. One of my favorite things to do with it is make Autumn leaves. I love the slight blue metallic sheen on these:
OG Terra Autumn lampwork glass leaves
OG Terra Autumn leaves

Both of these sets are available in my Etsy shop. Just click the photos or captions to see the listings.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Dragon Cloud

Early last Thursday morning my daughter snapped these photos of a cloud (or was it?) shaped like a white dragon with a rainbow tail. It flew just before sunrise, with the New Moon and Venus right above it. These pictures were taken looking east out our front door:
dragon greets the Sedona sunrise
dragon, new moon, venus
Dragon, New Moon, Venus (tiny dot at the top)
dragon rainbow tail
Rainbows in the tail
head of dragon
Just like a Chinese dragon!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

New SALE Section in my Etsy Shop

Come on down! Find discounted beads and orphan sets in my newly added SALE section! Here are a few things I have listed:
Metallic spacer bead set
Double Helix encased beads

Nyx and Aurae scrolls bead set
Nyx and Triton button beads

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Christmas in July Sale!

I'm having a "Christmas in July" sale in my Etsy shop from now until the end of the month! It started on July 12th, and I keep meaning to post photos of my CIJ offerings here on my blog, but things get listed and then fly off the shelf before I can get the pictures posted!

So come on down to my Etsy shop and have a look around at what's (still) for sale! I'm listing a lot of orphans and discounting sets that have been hanging around too long.

Here are some things that I've had in my CIJ sale. Some are available as of this posting, but they're going fast! I also have a lot more to photo and still get listed for the sale. Maybe I need a 'Christmas in August' sale too....

Enjoy the photos and see you there!

Rainbow dots destash, Christmas in July

Blue metallic encased dots destash

Etched Vetro. Steel Blue with SIS stringer

Java Love coffee cup and beans

Organic metallic destash

Helios destash

Notos destash

Organic dots destash

Monday, July 16, 2012

Bad Mandrels?

It's been a crazy depressing few weeks dealing with my kiln problems! The metallic luster has been vanishing from my beads and I can't figure out why. It seems to be getting worse and worse. I'm going to be sending the kiln back to The Glass Hive for rebuilding. Mike and Pam at Glass Hive have been really great in helping me solve this issue!

I've lowered my kiln temperatures all the way down to 820 and tested metallic beads, they still lost reduction. I bought a stand-alone pyrometer to test the temperature, and it was off by 50 degrees F, but even with adjustments the reduction was still disappearing. I've also tried activated charcoal, with no luck. Pam suggested my kiln might be contaminated.... but with what???

bad ole' rusty mandrels!
Bad mandrels???
She said iron pyrite, possibly introduced by low-grade steel mandrels, can contaminate the kiln and cause this problem. Also, if my kiln has been running 50 degrees hot, that could have caused more iron to vaporize.

I do have some very old mandrels... old ones that have rusted but I've scrubbed off the rust and kept using them... [insert peeking-from-behind-couch emoticon] and some really questionable hollow 3/16" mandrels that bent in the heat of the kiln.... omg... maybe this is why my problem keeps getting worse. We can't think of anything else it could be!

I haven't searched LE yet for threads about iron contamination, but Pam thinks she remembers someone talking about it there. Do any of you have experience with this?

My kiln should be back in a couple of weeks, all rebuilt... I'm sooooo excited. Hoping, praying, wishing that somehow this problem gets solved!

In the meantime I'm going through my THOUSANDS of orphan beads and having a "Christmas in July" sale on Etsy! My 11-year-old daughter sorted through all the orphans for me. She organized them according to design, like scroll beads, discs, spacers, encased, sculptural, etc. She was a huge help. I can't believe she did all that. I paid her! :)

More on the Christmas in July sale in my next post!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Fixin' the Kiln

I've been working on my kiln the past few weeks. It hasn't been working quite right for me since I bought it a year and a half ago. I think it's been running too hot. Metallic lusters keep evaporating off my beads after only an hour or two in the kiln. And since almost all of my beads have some metallic luster, I need to get this problem fixed!

It's a Glass Hive Regular Guy kiln, and Mike and Pam at Glass Hive have gone above and beyond in trying to help me solve this problem. One issue I had was my kiln element was hanging down out of the ceiling because a fire brick had broken. They sent me an element replacement kit, with an element and new fire bricks, and I actually changed it out myself!

happy kiln :)
Coffee + tools + girl power + instructions I didn't read right because I'm blonde + a cheer-up from my kiln = replacement element installed pretty much okay I think!
Though the element did need to be replaced, that didn't solve my reduction problems. The next thing Mike and Pam suggested was that I drill a new hole for my thermocouple, about an inch above where it was sitting now. That would put it closer to the elements and they said it would give a more accurate temperature reading. I did that last night (with my girl power tool wielding confidence) and ran another test of metallic glass beads.

With the thermocouple adjustment, the silver glass reduction stayed for an hour longer than it did before, but still - it vanished - and that's no good for me.

The next thing I'm going to do is lower my kiln temps down even further, plus shorten my annealing time which was set too long for my tiny beads anyway, and I'm going to test metallic glass again tonight. I also might buy a stand-alone pyrometer so I can get an independent temperature reading. I've tried the activated charcoal trick, which had no effect on my beads (probably because my kiln was simply too hot), but I might try that again too.

I have a couple of customers waiting to see if I can do metallic bead special orders for them. They've been really patient since I have no date yet when my kiln will start behaving! Who knows, maybe tonight will be the night, when I find that perfect temperature and annealing time that works for my silver glass beads!

Have a great weekend! :)