Thursday, December 18, 2008

Metallic Scroll Designs

I've made a few new scroll design bead sets, this first one with a base of Amber Rose and scrolls of M-232b or "Pinky Purple Luster," the Double Helix test batch:Amber Rose and Pinky Purple LusterThis set has a base of CiM Hades and scrolls of Triton:Hades and Triton

A big Thank You to my Etsy customers for shopping with me this month!

Another big Thank You to my blog readers for visiting and writing comments, you really make my day and keep me inspired!

It's snowing here in northern Arizona. Stay warm everyone!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Shards, Pt. 2

I broke up the big shards from my last post into small pieces for applying to beads:Broken ShardsThe shards are Triton Odd(r), and in this set I've applied them to a regular Triton base:Triton Odd Shards on TritonI love the colors of Triton Odd! I do a cycle of reducing and then oxidizing to bring out the magentas and blues.

An on another set, I applied the shards to a Nyx base:Triton Shards on NyxThese beads are part of my next set, which is on a base of Curdled Ivory:Ivory with Triton ShardsFiguring out how to apply the shards took a little practice, but now that I've got the hang of it it's really fun!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Shards, Pt. 1

I've finally made some shards! Here is my first attempt, a Dark Silver Plum bulb, slightly collapsed!Dark Silver Plum BulbThis is my most recent shard bulb, Triton Odd(r). This one turned out better:Triton Odd(r) BulbMy boyfriend Steve came up with a great way to break the bulb. First put it into the coffee can to cool. Then, hold the blowpipe straight up and down with the bulb resting on the bottom of the can and tap gently on the end of the blowpipe with a piece of wood. It breaks the bulb nicely and it's easier than trying to crack it with a hammer or some metal tool. Here are some of the shards Steve got from breaking it that way:Triton Odd(r) ShardsEmboldened by Joe of Avenue Beads' shard techniques, I broke the shards up the rest of the way with my bare hands. So much easier than trying to wield a tool to crack off small pieces! And no, it never cut my hands.

Stay tuned for "Shards, Part 2" where I'll post photos of beads made with these Triton Odd(r) shards.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Translucent CiM Glass

Just a little sharing tonight of some beads made with translucent glass from Creation is Messy. Their translucent glass has a beautiful opalescent glow and it's very nice to work with.

This first set was made with a base of Kryptonite and a partial encasing of Effetre Pale Emerald Green. The scroll designs are Triton. Depending on the light, the beads look either jade, mint or lime green. The translucent CiM colors are really magical!CiM Kryptonite and Pale EmeraldThis set has a base of Crocus and an encasing of Larkspur. They can look pink, blue or purple depending on the light.Crocus and Larkspur with Triton Scrolls

Monday, December 1, 2008

Leaves of Lothlorien

I've been working on sets of sculptural leaves, inspired by The Lord of the Rings story of the forest of Lothlorien. This first set of leaves is made with Nyx and Triton glass:Leaves of LothlorienThis set is all Triton:Triton LeavesHere is a quote from The Lord of the Rings about the forest of Lothlorien:

"There lie the woods of Lothlórien!" said Legolas. "That is the fairest of all the dwellings of my people. There are no trees like the trees of that land. For in the autumn their leaves fall not, but turn to gold. Not till the spring comes and the new green opens do they fall, and then the boughs are laden with yellow flowers; and the floor of the wood is golden, and golden is the roof, and its pillars are of silver, for the bark of the trees is smooth and grey. So still our songs in Mirkwood say. My heart would be glad if I were beneath the eaves of that wood, and it were springtime!"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, 'Lothlorien'

I've also made a set of Terra autumn leaves (I'm still hoarding a stash!):Terra Leaves
Happy December!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Avenue Beads on

Want to watch Joe of Avenue Beads work hot glass live in his studio? You can on! Here's the link:

Warning: This is too much fun. You will get sucked in and not get any work done. There is a chat going on at the same time as the live feed, and Joe answers people's questions as he's blowing a shard or heating a giant blob of glass in the torch. What a multi-tasker!

He says he's usually in his studio nights and weekends. Just click the link to check if he's there. As I'm posting this it's Saturday night Nov. 29th and he is broadcasting right now.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Elven Pendant

I've been making a few more silver glass gemstone pendants. They've been inspired by J. R. R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring and The Silmarillion audiobooks I've been listening to when I make beads, and also by my desire to use silvered glass in a way that looks like precious metal jewelry. Here's a photo of a recent pendant:Elven PendantHere's a photo of the back. In addition to the big "gemstone" on the front there are three smaller gemstones going across the top of the bead:Elven Pendant BackStay tuned for more of these pendants, I was just photographing another nice one today!

CiM Sangre - A Luscious Pomegranate Red

Mmmm... Pomegranate!Pomegranate with Red BeadsIt's the end of the fruiting season for the beloved pomegranate tree in our back yard. This is the pomegranate's last clinging fruit, named by my daughter "The Tiniest Pomegranate Ever." It's about the size of a ping-pong ball! While I was sitting outside cleaning beads, she picked it and brought it to me. The skin had burst open, revealing seeds the exact color of the beads I was working on.

The red glass is called "Sangre" from Creation is Messy. It's a beautiful blend of transparent and opaque red, making a visible spiral where it's wound around the core.

I've used Triton for the scroll designs, and I was happy to discover that the Sangre did not get sooty and dark when reduced.

Sangre is a great color, definitely my favorite red for the way it holds its yumma-licious color even when worked hot for a long time, and it doesn't have a bad reaction with silver glass. Its mix of transparent and opaque red gives it a lot of depth and lets light in through the bead.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Silver Glass Gemstone Beads

At long last I have tried something that's been brewing in my mind for a few months: silver glass beads that look like precious metals and gemstones.Elven Pendant The pendant is made with Psyche, Triton and a big dot of clear. I love how the clouds and blue sky are reflected in the "moonstone." I'm so happy with the way it turned out! Here's the back:Elven Pendant - Back I made a set of beads that go with it:Elven GemsI'm planning on putting these in my Etsy shop tonight. If I can part with that pendant, that is. I'm trusting I can make more like it.

A little side note: I'm a big Lord of the Rings fan, and I've recently discovered the unabridged version of the trilogy on audiobook. I've now also gone out and bought The Silmarillion on CD, which is a long book by Tolkien that tells the history of Middle Earth... I am obsessed! I was listening to The Fellowship of the Ring audiobook when I made these beads... I think it had an influence!

Audiobooks are a great way to pass the time while making beads!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Kids! *Sigh*

These are two of my favorite photos from the web. Whenever I have one of those days I just remember these photos and know I'm not alone!...and you just know that's permanent marker and oil-based paint!
(Does anyone else see Snuffle-upaguss in the corner of that TV?) :-D

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Stringer Pullers

There are lots of ways to pull stringers. I used to grab the blob of molten glass with my tweezers and pull, but that was only occasionally successful since the glass usually slipped out of the tweezers, drooped down to the bench and gave me a very curvy stringer. My preferred method now is to melt two rods of the same color together into a blob and pull. However, when I don't have a second rod of the same color handy, I reach for my trusty "stringer pullers":They start out as a short of one of the stiffer 104 c.o.e. colors, usually clear (visible in the upper left corner of the photo), which I use as a punty to grab the molten glass blob. Then I just continue to use that clear punty as a stringer puller time and time again. It's fun to see the history of what colors I've used. The stringer pullers stay on my bench for years, sometimes breaking, but I just pick up the biggest piece and keep using it as a stringer puller.

The stringer pullers are so colorful now, they're inspiring me towards some bead design but I can't quite figure out how exactly to translate their random colorful-ness into beads.

My First Beads

Stashed in an old "Whitman's Sampler" chocolate box, back in a forgotten corner of my bead closet, I recently came across the first beads I ever made:My First BeadsThese are from my first beadmaking class in 1997 at Snow Farm in Massachusetts. I'm glad I still have them. Now that I look at them all these years later, they're not half bad!

If you are interested in lampworking classes, glassblowing, or other kinds of craft classes, and you're anywhere near New England, I highly recommend Snow Farm. It's art camp for grown-ups! The setting is a beautiful old New England farm, complete with rolling hills, a pond, and barns that have been transformed into classrooms and studios. Don't pack a lunch, instead sign up for their healthy and delicious home-cooked meals and eat in the dining hall with your fellow art campers!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Silver vs. Gold

I use a lot of Triton glass in my bead designs, which tends to reduce to a gold luster. Lately, some of my customers have been requesting metallic beads in silver because they design their jewelry with silver findings. These requests have led me to work again with Psyche glass, which reduces to a very pretty silver-blue.
These beads are made with Nyx and Psyche. They're in my Etsy shop:Nyx and Psyche BeadsI've pressed down with a tool on the Psyche scroll designs to flatten the stringer. I thought it looked more like "hammered silver" that way, especially over the "patinated copper" green of the Nyx glass.

I continue to design in gold Triton, of course, because I love the color of gold. I think there's something special about being able to have a gold-looking bead or piece of jewelry during times when real gold is so expensive. There is something warm and healing about gold, too.

As for myself, I tend to wear silver jewelry, probably like the majority of people. Look for more silver Psyche designs coming soon!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Eye See You!

I made beads the night before Halloween, and this is what emerged! I've always wanted to try an eyeball. I used a base of CiM Marshmallow, the absolute perfect eyeball glass! The iris is made with a Kronos/Intense Black twistie, the pupil is an Intense Black dot, and I added a lens of clear over the top.Eye Bead - BeadAbundantThe hardest part was rounding out the bead without distorting the iris. I realize now that if the Marshmallow base bead were much bigger in comparison to the iris, more like a real eye, it would be easier to make round.Eye BeadIt was a lot of fun to finally try this. Maybe some of you have seen the amazing glass eyes that Pipyr makes? They're like dragon or creature eyes. She has a tutorial on how to make them for sale on her website.
Practice, practice, practice!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Odd Lot T-218s and Triton

Here's a set of beads made with Double Helix odd lot "T-218s" and Triton:Double Helix T-218 and Triton Beads"T-218s" was listed as a "light, pastel Terranova2 prototype" by Double Helix. Here's the photo from their website:T-218sThis odd lot is definitely one of my favorites! It is similar to Terranova2, yet the rods looked a whole lot like Pandora to me. In fact, when I made beads from T-218s, they were transparent and milky green, just like Pandora. The color even struck in the kiln. It seemed more like a Pandora odd lot to me, or like a Pandora/Terranova cross. Very interesting and beautiful earth tone colors.

The metallic gold "bead caps" on each end are made with Triton glass. The beads are in my Etsy shop at the moment.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pandora Spiral Disks

I've made a set of Pandora spiral disk beads. I made a few when I first got my Pandora, and finally I have finished a full set:Purple Pandora Spiral DisksThese are in my Etsy shop right now.

Pandora is the only striking silver glass I've used that I can make nice looking disks with. Because it strikes in the kiln, I don't have to heat the spiral disk a lot to get the colors to appear like I do with other striking glasses. I've made some nice Terra spiral disks in the past, but they were a little too dark brown and the wonderful Terra colors didn't come through very well.

I love the scrumptious purple color of the Pandora disks. These two beads (below) on the mandrels are now part of the set pictured above. The colors look great in full sunlight. Quite a difference between this outdoor picture and the studio lighting!Pandora Disk Beads

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Stone Ground and Pinky Purple Luster

Here's a set I made using CiM Stone Ground and Double Helix "Pinky Purple Luster": Stone Ground and Pinky Purple Luster"Pinky Purple Luster" is the name for Double Helix odd lots M-166 and M-232b. The glass on these beads is the M-232b, but I've also used the M-166 and they seem to be identical. A gorgeous, light, bright gold with pink highlights. Similar to Triton in some ways, but a lighter gold color. One of my favorite glasses!

I love the CiM Stone Ground. It's easy to work with and has nice color. It's similar to the color of ASK Caramel Apple or Effetre Opal Yellow. On these beads you might be able to see that the M-232b fumed the Stone Ground and gave it a subtle purple iridescent sheen. Here's another photo of the set:CiM Stone Ground and Double Helix Pinky Purple Luster These beads were inspired by Hayley Tsang.
Have a beautiful day everyone!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Curse of the Glowing Scimitar

Ok, this is totally un-bead-related, but it is the Halloween season so I thought I'd share a little spooky story.

On the ceiling of my daughter's room the other day, this glowing scimitar appeared. Maybe it belongs to a ghost pirate, since there's a little albatross next to it, too:Glowing Scimitar of Doom[Ok, for those of you with skeptical and scientific rational minds, the scimitar was the result of sunlight coming in her window and reflecting off of a metal music stand.] BUT, the story doesn't end here.

I downloaded this picture off my camera, cropped it, named it, and saved it to my hard-drive. Right after that, my computer started going haywire. File names were coming up as a lot of gobbledy-gook letters and numbers that I didn't write. Then, all of my photos from this month of October, except for the photos I took on October 1st, completely vanished off my computer. I quickly backed up my important files and restarted.

My computer restarted fine, but the hard-drive needs repair, and I need the start-up disk to fix it, which I don't have. At least my computer is working fine and normal now, whatever the problem is. But my October photos never came back. Was it the fault of the evil scimitar? You decide! Mu-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

CiM Crocus and Larkspur Beads

Last week the 10 lbs. of CiM glass I won arrived in the mail. The colors are gorgeous! I haven't found time to play with them all yet, but I did manage to dive in to some of the new opaline purple color "Crocus" and the gorgeous lavender transparent "Larkspur." TDF! These beads have a core of Crocus encased in Larkspur, with Triton scroll designs:Crocus, Larkspur, Triton BeadsThey're in my Etsy shop right now!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Packaging Make-Over

In addition to my new logo, the way cool Moo cards I just got and the matching stickers that are on the way, some other aspects of my image are getting an update. No, not a new wrinkle cream - it's these hand-decorated slide boxes that are now going out to some of my customers:Decorated Slide BoxesThey are decorated using a technique an artist friend of mine shared with me almost 20 years ago. I've always wanted to try it and finally got around to it. I'm a major procrastinator!

To start with, I got some plain white slide boxes from Then I tore up different colored and patterned tissue paper into little pieces. I used an Elmer's spray mount to put glue on one side of each piece of tissue, then quickly laid them on the box. The wet spray mount makes the tissue papers meld together in a nice way. Then I let the boxes dry for at least 24 hours... however, I'm finding that some of the spray mount that leaks through is still tacky after more than a week in the dry Arizona heat. No good. I've tried attaching the tissue with a glue stick, and it works, but I don't get the bleed-through effect like I do with the wet spray mount. Some of the good, dry boxes have gone out to customers but I need to find a better way to make them now.

A small set of beads fits nicely inside the box, looking very chic wrapped in matching tissue paper. The Mini Moo cards also fit perfectly inside.

I got inspiration for this packaging make-over from a post I read on Patty Lakinsmith's blog. Neither Patty nor I are big fans of plastic and non-biodegradable packaging, and don't like sending it to our customers who then have to throw this brand new plastic away - or hopefully find a way to re-use it.

I want to send my customers something that they do not have to throw away, like an attractive and possibly reusable gift box. If they can't reuse it, they can recycle it or throw it onto their compost pile and it will biodegrade. So far I've done away with little zip-loc bags for my merchandise, but I haven't found a good alternative to the bubble wrap and padded envelopes I ship in. The overall idea is to redesign my packaging to be more earth-friendly, reusable and attractive.

Payton Jett of GreenGlassCafe packages her beads in muslin bags which she stamps with her logo. I really like the muslin bag idea, it's my second choice after the slide boxes.

The boxes can be time-consuming, but I love making them. They're a great creative outlet for me, something artistic to do besides lampworking.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


My Moo cards arrived. Yay. I love them! The quality is great, the paper is very thick, the printing is excellent. I can't wait to give them out to my friends and customers.

I designed 50 cards, so the pack of 100 has two of each card design. All of the cards have the same info on the back - my business name, web site, etc.

I'm waiting for matching stickers to arrive any day now.
Here's a photo of the cards and their nifty white PVC box:Moo CardsI will definitely be ordering more of these. I think 100 cards is gonna run out fast.

I also think these would make great Christmas gifts, especially the Moo sticker books. Hmmmm... wow, it's really not too early to start shopping for Christmas. Yikes!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pandora and Triton

Re-visiting Pandora again, these beads are a base of pure Pandora with Triton scroll designs. I love the purples and magentas in these. I annealed some for 5 hours and some for 3... the 5-hour Pandora definitely got more color, but the 3-hour was nice, too. I'm still figuring out what works best in my kiln. The best way to see the color in these beads would be full sunlight, but here are a couple of studio-lit photos:Pandora and TritonPandora and Triton - Beadabundant

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Etched Cubes

Here's a set I've just finished and posted in my Etsy shop:Black and Terra, EtchedThese beads were made with a base of black, then rolled in Terra coarse frit. After striking the Terra just until dark brown, I formed each bead into a cube. This process took a little while and the heating and cooling struck the Terra the rest of the way.

The next day I etched the beads in an acid etch solution. Terra doesn't etch very easily, so only the black glass etched and the Terra stayed shiny!

I've been teaching myself how to make a cube shape for a few months now. It's kind of tricky! I've found that parallel mashers don't help me very much, I just flatten the sides with my hand-held marver. PPP!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Psyche Scroll Beads

Here's a set of beads I made for a customer this week. They have a base of Effetre transparent brown and scroll designs in Double Helix Psyche:I made a set similar to this for a customer a few weeks ago. She sent the beads to someone to string into a bracelet. When the bracelet-stringer saw them, she liked them so much that she ordered a set for herself! It's fun when things like that happen - you never know how a customer will find you!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Beaders Showcase

I've discovered a great new site called Beaders Showcase. It's a social networking site for lampworkers, seed beaders, and beadists of all kinds. I've set up a gallery there, commented on other people's galleries, joined the Lampworkers group, and made a few "friends"! Here's a widget with photos from my new gallery:

I hope you stop by and set up a gallery of your own! I'm accepting friend requests!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Triton Focal Bead

Here's my favorite focal bead of late, made with Triton, some Kronos frit, and clear. It's in my Etsy shop:Triton Focal BeadI don't often make focal beads these days, but when I feel inspired to make one and it turns out nice I'm really happy.

I think the reason I don't make focal beads much is because of a decision I made about a year ago. I decided that for the amount of time I spend on a focal - 15 minutes to an hour - the same number of minutes could be spent making 2-5 smaller beads. (I obsess over business details sometimes!) With a focal, if something messes up in the design that I can't fix, there goes 20 minutes or more plus all the glass right into the bead orphanage. Instead I could make small beads, and if one messes up, then I've only lost 5 minutes and a tiny bit of glass. Or, I can cover over the top of the messed up small bead and make a bigger bead or focal out of it. It works out that the percentage of good beads coming out of the kiln the next day is much higher when I make small beads.

What I like a lot about making focal beads is the large surface area I have to work with and the possibility of a more complex design. Also an issue is kiln space. If I'm making large focals all day, I always have enough kiln space for the whole torch session. With small beads, I can work for about 4 hours tops before the kiln is full.

This reminds me to check back on Lampwork, Etc., where someone mentioned they have a technique for packing more beads in the kiln. I'd love to know if anyone has any brilliant ideas they could share on this!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Pandora and Terra Sets

I've got two new sets up on Etsy:
Pandora and TritonPandora and Triton Beads - Beadabundant
Terra and Triton Odd(r) (an odd lot from the last Double Helix sale)Terra and Triton Odd(r)I really like the Triton Odd, it seems to have even more rainbow-oil-slick color than the regular Triton!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pandora and Luna Sets

These two sets went into my Etsy shop today. The first one has a Triton base with Pandora swirled over the top, the second set is a base of ASK Silver Cinnamon with swirls of Luna:Pandora and TritonLuna and Silver CinnamonIn the Pandora set, four of the beads annealed for 3 hours and the other four annealed for 10 hours. There isn't any color difference between the two batches. It's like they struck to a certain point and then stayed there. A mystery!

Silver Glass Mixed Set

Just posted in my Etsy shop, a new silver glass eclectic set, this one made with Triton and Nyx. There is a lot of antique coppery-green in this set, plus shades of blue and hints of purple/magenta. I love making these sets!

New Banners and Moo Cards

I've been having fun with Photoshop this past week making new banners and business cards. You can see my new blog banner at the top of this page. I designed it so that it will be easy to change the colors around as the mood strikes me. The curly designs are done with a Photoshop brush that I made myself.Besides new banners I'm designing new business cards, and I'm going to try Moo cards this time. Each card can have a different image on the back. You can find out more about Moo cards in the Etsy Storque and Forums.