Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Lunar Eclipse

I stayed up very late last night and watched the eclipse. It was worth it. At some points it looked like the moon was on fire, it was glowing the brightest reds and oranges. Here are some of the photos I took.

The eclipse begins...

Almost dark...

Fully eclipsed, 3:37am PST (yawn)...

Coming back...

I hope you got to see the eclipse from where you are! If you did then you are probably as sleepy as I am :)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Evolution of a Design

I've been looking for a beadmaking technique that will make the design appear to move when the bead is turned. My idea was to design a bead that looked like flowing water.

This was my first attempt:
Water beads
Then I made the ripples on the water more intense to get more of a shifting look:
Water bead set
I was also looking for something I could make with really bright color, something that looked like a psychedelic 60's acid trip with multi-colored shifting going on. Here is a photo of that bead:
Psychedelic Fire bead
As I was putting colors together and making the bead, I realized that it looks a lot like fire. "Fire" would fit in perfectly with "Water" in a series designed around the four elments.
Fire bead set

So now I have water and fire! The next logical step would be to make air and earth. I'll post whatever transpires next.

Silver Plum Vessel

It's been a long time since I've attempted a vessel. There is a little small-scale glassblowing at work here, as I used a hollow stainless tube and blew air down it to puff out the body of the vessel. The handles, top and scrollwork are Silver Plum, and the body is CIM Simply Berry and Effetre transparent Sage Green. I like the results... maybe I'll try a few more!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Spirit in the Bead

A friend of mine just pointed out to me that there is an image of a woman in a bead photo I posted to this blog last month.
Here's the photo:

and here is a close-up of the section with the image:


Monday, August 20, 2007

Watch Me Create Blog

This is a reminder to check out a great team blog I'm a part of called "Watch Me Create" on WordPress. There are a number of incredible beadmakers who publish articles about their creative process and beautiful pictures of their beads.
Go there now: Watch Me Create


I know there has been plenty of discussion in the forums about working with Terra, but here's my little tutorial on how I've been encasing it:

Step 1: Ask the Forces of the Universe to set the wind blowing in the right direction...
Tip: The most important thing I've discovered about this glass is it likes to be worked quickly, because extended heating fades out the colors.

Step 2: I put one layer of Terra straight down on the mandrel as the base bead. I get it really hot, until I see the surface start to turn transparent and get a "shimmer" like what some people see when heating raku. The Terra glass at this point is so hot that it balls up and makes those irksome pointy ends along the mandrel.

Step 3: I take it out of the flame and gently marver it into a cylinder shape to get rid of the pointy ends. I don't put it back in the flame after marvering. I let it continue to cool until a brown color starts to appear, then I gently waft the bead in the end of the flame or just under the flame so the heat is light, and watch for the dark brown color to propagate across the bead.

Wherever dark brown develops on the bead, the color will end up more intense with dark reds, blues and purples. Where light brown forms, the colors will end up in the lighter pink/yellow range. If the desired dark brown does not show up and I'm only getting wisps of light brown across the bead, I reheat the whole thing and start from the beginning. I super-heat it, marver it, and watch for the brown again. I've noticed that Terra can get "tired" after too many re-tries (so can I !!! ). If this happens I take a deep breath, then run a Terra stringer around the bead giving it a fresh layer on top.

Step 4: When I'm satisfied with the brown colors, I take my Terra base bead out of the direct flame and encase it. I do my best not to reheat the Terra base too much which would fade out the dark brown color. After I apply the encasing glass, I marver and shape it just like I would with any normal bead. However, by the time I'm done with my shaping, I cool the bead down a little and look at it and these magnificent colors have magically appeared!

Practice is really the secret to this glass. And the wind blowing in an auspicious direction of course.

Getting Terra-ific Color

I've been continuing to practice with Terra glass during the past week. Up to this point my Terra beads have been less-than-satisfactory. Here is my first attempt at encased Terra from a couple of months ago:


Lately however, I've been pleased with the results I'm getting. Practice has improved my techniques. Here is the accomplishment I'm most proud of, a nice little set of brightly-colored encased Terra beads:

I've also been continuing to etch Terra beads. (See this older post: Etching Terra Beads). I like the contrast of textures. Here is a set of etched beads with a Terra base and black stringer decorations. The black parts etched and the Terra remained shiny:

Next post: A tutorial on encasing Terra!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Wikipedia: "Lampworking"

There is a Wikipedia article on "Lampworking" which you can read by clicking here. It has a lot of good info, but it's kind of sparse and it could use more content. If any of you out there are so inspired, check it out and add your seasoned wisdom and knowledge. The subcategory called "Soda-Lime" under "Types of Glass" needs more info. The information already on the page may need updating, too.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Silver Plum

I've been on a kick lately with a glass called Silver Plum. That's what the industrial-looking bead in yesterday's post is made with. Silver Plum looks just like metal to me. Eons ago when I used to fabricate silver jewelry, I was always trying to get a look like this from the silver through reticulation and oxidizing. One of my favorite things to do was pile scrap silver pieces in a kind of interesting pattern and melt them together in an organic, industrial kind of way, like a random pile of scrap metal that happens to be junked together in an interesting design.

Here is an example of a bead style I've been working on lately, made with blue-green Kronos and "riveted metal end caps" of Silver Plum:
Kronos and Silver Plum
This is an off-mandrel Silver Plum donut:Silver Plum Donut Bead
This is the first Kronos-Silver Plum bead I made, and it's still one of my favorites:
Kronos and Silver Plum bead
Off to the torch!