Monday, December 8, 2014

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Kiln Guy

This guy lives inside my bead kiln. He's my bead rack. He kindly keeps hot lampwork beads resting on his stomach so they don't touch the kiln floor:
Did you know he wears really cool red Converse sneakers too?
He begged me for them!
Inside the kiln:
His feet are on the left
The glass is shiny in the picture above. ^^ That's because this photo was taken before I realized that the smooth glass let the beads roll around too much, so I etched it for a rougher surface.

Here he is posing on top of the kiln for a full body pic:
You can see that he's got a really bad case of Scoliosis. The right side of the kiln is hotter than the left and it warped the glass.

How The Kiln Man Came To Be

A couple of years ago there was trouble with my new kiln. The metallic luster was disappearing from my beads if they were positioned within 1-1/2" of the kiln walls or floor. 

This was a big deal for me since 90% of the beads I made used metallic glass. I worked with the kiln company for several months trying to figure out a solution.

For starters, I needed a non-metallic bead rack for the inside of the kiln, to keep the beads propped up and away from the walls. Rather than buy ceramic kiln furniture or a metal bead rack, I made my own from glass. I figured why not add details like a face and shoes!

My kiln still runs too hot, as evidenced by the bending 12 mm rod of Effetre Clear glass. My kiln controller is set at 850 deg. F, but if I use an independent thermometer to test that it's actually about 920. It's even hotter on the right side - it would have to be hotter than 970 to warp the glass like that.

I've pretty much solved the vanishing metallic problem now. I've turned down the kiln temp, I'm using The Kiln Guy, garaging my metallic beads on the left side, and developing the metallic luster onto the beads while they are hot. Putting the beads into the reduction flame while they're still fairly hot helps to fuse the luster to the glass.

Thank you Kiln Guy! Couldn't have done it without you!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Fixing the Kiln

My bead kiln has been shutting off randomly during a work session, so I'm replacing the relay.

Here's the opened side of the bead kiln. The relay is the black box at the bottom:
playing with electronics
I tried to read the part number on the back of the relay with a little piece of mirror, but that idea was a fail, ha ha! After some wrangling with the connectors, the relay came out easily enough. I hope the new one solves the problem.

Have you ever had a Glass Hive kiln relay fail? If so, what happened?

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