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.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Terra and CL-171 Beads

There has been a small buzz about Terra coming back. Jed at Double Helix is trying to work out some glitches in the recipe so he can reproduce the color. I am not holding my breath! It did get me inspired to bring out the Terra again though. This is a simple little set of Terra beads:Terra and Double Helix CL-171 BeadsThe base glass is not black, it's a Double Helix odd lot called CL-171. It's a reducing color, but it doesn't work very well in my experience. It takes a heavy reduction flame to get it to reduce, but then usually turns a gray color in the kiln if I can even get the color to stay. However, un-reduced it does make a nice black base for my other silver colors!

Well that's all the bead pix for today folks! I've been busy re-designing my logo and business cards this week. More on that to come!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I Won 10 lbs. of CiM Glass!

DOIN' THE HAPPY DANCE!!!!In July I entered a contest held by Creation is Messy (CiM) glass company. They needed photographs of messy creativity in action for their website. Well, I have a plethora of material for a contest like that! In this post you can see one of the photos I sent in.

I was stunned to get an email yesterday from Kathy at CiM, telling me I'm one of the contest winners! You can see the CiM August newsletter here that has all the photos that won.

Now I get to go through their color palette and pick out ten pounds of glass! What an incredible experience this is!

Check out the DragonJools blog for some great in-depth information about CiM's new colors: Evil Queen, Marshmallow and Crocus! Must have... Can have!!! Yay!!!
Happy Autumn everyone! Or Spring that is for some of you!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Custom Ordered Sets

I've been working on a few custom orders this past week.
This is a set of beads made with Cattwalk's button press and decorated with stringers of silver glass:Black and Silver Glass Button Beads - BeadAbundant
A set of spacers made with black and silver glasses, with dots of fine silver:Black, Kronos, Silver Spacer Beads
Some round beads made with Psyche over Dark Amber. There is a nice reaction between these two glasses that makes a fine light-colored line where they meet:Psyche and Dark Amber Beads
A set of Nyx beads with Triton scroll designs:Nyx and Triton BeadsHope you all had a great weekend. I'm exhausted, personally! Can any of you beadmaker/parents of small children relate to that?! :-D Looking forward to Monday!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Arrrrrr! Talk Like a Pirate Day!

September 19th of each year is Talk Like a Pirate Day!
Now where be me grog fer some celebratin'?
Official site for Talk Like a Pirate Day!
Watch this here video if ye dare:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Musings on the Mysteries of Pandora

Fellow lampworker and blogger Sue shared her experience with Pandora in a comment on my last post. Thanks, Sue! Here's her comment:

"They turned out really dark, probably because they were in there for a while. I guess I have to use it last before I start the soak and ramp down. I put it over steel gray trans. and amber trans. and it turned out yuck! So, I guess plain or over opaque, and do them last instead of first...we'll see. Looks like you are the MASTER of pandora!!!!"

(I don't know about the "master of pandora" part! :-D )

I think the transparent amber is reacting with the Pandora to make that yucky color. Is that what you mean by yuck - they turned out dark-yuck? Like you said, try making plain Pandora beads or Pandora over clear, black or white. Something neutral and un-reactive.

When I put each test bead in the kiln, I write down the time so I know how long each bead annealed. The order of striking color goes magenta, purple, blue, green, yellow, opaque red [Edited to add: Double Helix Glassworks says "As it strikes it will go Amber - Ruby - Purple - Green - Blue - Opaque Red"]. If my beads were to turn out dark brick red, they may have spent too long in the kiln. Generally, my beads lighten up the longer they spend in the kiln. A short anneal will give dark purple, and a longer anneal will add in light blue, green and yellow streaks.

Another trick to bringing the color out of Pandora is to really smoosh up the glass. If I'm making a big bead and I have room to twist the glass up a little, I'll do that. How I usually start is I heat a blob of Pandora on the end of the rod, mash it with my mashers, twist it around, then re-heat it into a blob; or, I will heat a blob and then squish it down into a cold brass bead press, then re-introduce it to the heat and make it into a round blob again. When I do either of these things, tiny light-colored spider-webbed lines form on the surface of the blob. I think these spider-webs are the silver grains in the glass activating and getting ready to develop into different colors. After I see a lot of "spider webs" on the glass blob, I will apply it to the mandrel and make the bead. Sometimes I twist the rod as I'm laying the glass down, too.

If a bead is coming out of the kiln so light that it's a pale *poop* color, chances are it never struck properly to begin with. Or maybe it over-struck? I don't know for sure. A bead has to at least get the magenta or purple color first before it will lighten through the blue/green sequence. Why a Pandora bead turns out pale poop-colored is still a mystery to me.

Good luck everyone and I look forward to hearing more of your experiences. Thank you so much for sharing, Sue!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Finished Pandora Sets!

Woo-hoo, my first two Pandora sets, finished and in my Etsy shop!Pandora and Triton Bead Set - BeadAbundantEncased Pandora Beads - BeadAbundantThe first set is Pandora and Triton, the second set is encased Pandora. The encased beads are the ones I've been working on over the past few days that I wrote about in my previous blog posts.

I'm doing the happy dance!

Purple-icious Pandora

I had to try some disk beads with Pandora, of course! These two came out of my kiln yesterday. I'm loving this stunning purple color!Purple Pandora Disk BeadsThis is the purple glass color I've been searching for... it's like a dark EDP without the E or the D!

I've seen this purple in my other Pandora beads, but somehow it looks more deliciously purple-icious in disk form.

I've tried disks with other 104 striking silver glasses, but usually only get a brown disk. Double Helix glasses like Luna, Terranova, Terra and Khaos stay dark brown unless the color is developed with a lot of heat and/or repeated heating. Thin spiral disk beads don't hold up to that kind of heat. Pandora, however, requires no excessive heat so it is the perfect striking glass for disks.

There are several more annealing in my kiln right now!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Re-Striking Pandora in the Kiln

I tried my experiment of re-striking the pale Pandora beads in the kiln (see my previous post). It kind of worked! 'Kind of' because only two out of the three beads got more color.

The beads told me that they would have preferred to be struck properly during the first go-round in the kiln to get the best color, yet they patiently endured a second hot night in the kiln and did their best to make the colors I wanted.

Here are the three pale beads from yesterday:Pale Pandora Test Beadsand here they are today:Re-struck Pandora Test BeadsI could have put them in the same order to make it easier to see, but the bead on the left in the first picture is the same bead as the one on the right in the second picture. That's the one that didn't get color. The other two got more blues and purples and very closely match the colorful five beads that struck properly the first night.

Also, when I re-struck the three beads in the second kiln run, I raised the temperature from a 940(F.) garage to a 950 garage and anneal. I let them sit in the kiln for 8 hours at 950. I thought all of them would re-strike, but two out of three ain't bad.

My verdict is that it's better to get the beads to strike right the first time, and if one attempts a re-strike, don't bank on the results. Maybe it's just because these beads are encased. Exposed Pandora probably re-strikes easier. I must say I'm happy with my two out of three though, because it's like taking what would have been an orphan bead and making it into a good bead!

Everyone has a different kiln and kiln environment, so my advice might not be worth a thing to you! Your best bet is to try Pandora and see what works best for you. And, if you end up hating Pandora and you can't get it to do a thing, don't throw it at the wall - sell it to me!!!

Good luck everyone!

Helpful Site for Etsians

If you're an Etsy seller, you might want to check out this on-line tool at Type in your Etsy username and it brings up a list of who has hearted your shop, hearted individual items, and the ratio of views to hearts.

The list at is easier to navigate than Etsy's (albeit slick and cool) "see who hearts this shop" feature. Try it when you want to heart back people who have hearted you. It's also informative - you can easily see what some of your most popular items are.

Try it out, it's fun. Click here to go to

I found this site when I was "blurfing" around to other bead blogs. Here is the post I found at The Beadful Life @ beadFX.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Encasing Pandora

I made a slew of encased Pandora beads yesterday. The photo shows all of the beads in the basic order they were made, starting from the beads on the right which were made first and the beads on the left which were made last. The first five beads (on the right) spent 7 hours in the kiln, and the three beads on the left spent 5 hours in the kiln before ramping down. You can see the color difference:Encased Pandora Test BeadsMaybe encased, especially heavily encased beads, need to stay in the kiln a little longer than unencased beads. I think if these beads were made unencased, all of the beads would have dark purple and blue color.

In my last post, you can see two encased beads that were annealed for only 4 hours and got great color. Yet the beads on the left (above) annealed for 5 hours and got not much color. What's up with that? I think it's because the beads above have a much heavier encasing than my previous encased Pandora test beads.

I read a post this morning on the Lampwork, Etc. message board written by a beadmaker who got great color on her encased Pandora beads, though she only annealed them for a short time in the kiln. Ugh, I'm so jealous!!! Her kiln temp might be higher than mine, which I've heard is part of the "secret."

I'm taking my three pale Pandora beads and putting them back in the cold kiln right now. I will ramp my kiln up and leave them in there to anneal for another full cycle tonight. Hopefully they will change color, wouldn't that be cool?!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Double Helix Pandora

A new crop of Double Helix odd lot glasses has arrived!Double Helix Odd Rods and Pandora
I've had the chance to play with a few of them. One of my favorites so far is not an odd lot glass, it's their new color, Pandora:Pandora RodsHere are my first test beads:Pandora Test BeadsFrom left to right, the first two beads are plain spacers. They turned out a nice, vivid but dark purple and blue. The third bead is Pandora swirled over Triton, the fourth bead is Pandora swirled over CiM's Canyon de Chelly, and the fifth and sixth beads are Pandora spacers encased in clear.

With small beads like spacers, I think the color is darker and more limited in spectrum, possibly because there is not much of a cool/hot temperature variance in the small amount of glass to encourage the development of a broad range of color. I think large or sculptural beads will have more variety of color than the dark purple and blue I got in my small beads.

Encasing, however, works great with the small beads. In addition to blue and purple, I also got red, green and yellow. The encasing lightened up the color a little and extended the spectrum.

If you're a lampworker and are wondering about how to use Pandora, I garaged these beads at 940 for 4-6 hours and annealed at 950 for one hour. That is my regular annealing schedule. I formed the beads without any special heating, striking, cooling or reducing. I just shaped them and put them in the kiln as though I were making an Effetre bead.

When the glass goes into the kiln it looks transparent green, maybe with some opaque light green streaks. There is no color on the beads at all other than green. All the color striking happens during the hours it spends in the kiln. When I took my Pandora beads out of the kiln in the morning, I was totally amazed at the color that had bloomed. It was so easy!

Now, back to the torch to make some more Pandora beads!

Friday, September 12, 2008

More TN-200 and Triton

Here is a set of spacer-sized beads, made with Double Helix odd lot TN-200 and Triton glass. These are similar to the beads in my last post, yet smaller and without the swirls:TN-200 and Triton Set - BeadAbundant

Thursday, September 11, 2008

TN-200 and Triton

Here is another set with a Terranova odd-lot glass, TN-200. I'm getting a better range of color from the TN-200 than I got from the TN-202. These beads have a base of Triton with TN-200 swirled over the top:TN-200 and Triton Bead SetI'm crazy about the color on these, and the way the metallic Triton peeks through the swirls and at the ends. Last night I did an experimental encased TN-200 bead, and WoW, even more incredible color! The next time I torch I'm going to make a set of them.

I got another big batch of Double Helix odd lots in the mail today that I ordered from their new September sale! Right now the bundles are laid out on the kitchen table where they are being lovingly caressed... but tonight, it's into the flames with them! heh heh heh!!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Textured Triton Sets

I've made a few of these sets lately. They're really fun to make because I don't have to try and repeat a design, I can just get creative with bead shapes. Triton lends itself to textured beads because the raised and lower parts of the texture turn different colors depending on how much of the reduction flame they get. The photos don't really convey the range of metallic color in these sets; they have to be looked at in different lighting (sun, shade, etc.) to really appreciate how much the color shifts on the Triton.

In this first set I've used Triton and Nyx, with a little Ivory and clear. The Nyx has an antique or patinated copper green color that I really like:
Triton and Nyx Mixed Bead Set - BeadAbundant

This set is pretty much all Triton, with a little clear for the encased cube-shaped beads:Triton Mixed Bead Set

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

TN-202 and Triton Necklace Set

These beads are made with Double Helix Triton and odd lot glasses TN-200 and TN-202. I love the colors in this set. I think I'll keep it and make it into a necklace for myself... not sure yet. I rarely keep beads for myself! It's one of those sets I carry around with me for a few days and just gaze at it!Starry Night Bead SetThe colors remind me of the ocean, and also the painting "Starry Night."

Monday, September 8, 2008

Gold M-166 Spiral Disks

These disks are made with Double Helix odd lot "M-166" or "pinky purple luster." I love the beautiful light gold color of this glass! It's been a while since I've made some of these:M-166 Disk Beads
Last night Double Helix had another "lurk and grab" session. That's when they upload new test batches and odd lots to their site in the middle of the night. I lurked and grabbed. I only meant to spend about $100 but when I saw all the odd lots available I went a WEE BIT over budget :)
Here is one of the odds I got that looks a lot like M-166:M-232Br Double Helix Odd LotI can't wait till my odd lots arrive. Now I'll be stalking the mail lady!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Luna and Triton Beads

I finally figured out how to get some color from Luna2! By super-heating the glass at first, then cooling (a lot), then gently heating in the back of the flame a few times, I got some beautiful purple and blue colors. Much better than the washed-out brown I usually get.

I made these beads by putting some Triton down on the mandrel, then wrapping a large blob of Luna over that. I love how the Triton makes the beads look like they have metallic end caps. They're in my Etsy shop at the moment:Luna2 and Triton Beads

Friday, September 5, 2008

YouTube Lampworking Demos

YouTube has a lot of good beadmaking and lampworking demos. This is one of my favorites, by Kerry Bogert:

Edit: Thanks to frostfire for their comment on this post. Here is the direct link to the list of YouTube lampworking videos that they are talking about: Click Here


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Terra Beads

I've been working with so many Double Helix metallic glasses these past few months. Now that fall is approaching, I'm enjoying getting back into some of the non-metallic, more earth tone colors. The Stone Beads in my last post are one example. Not to stray too far from my beloved Double Helix glass though, I've opted for some good old Terra beads. Here are two recent sets (sold on Etsy):Terra encased crystal beadsTerra on Stone GroundThe first set is encased Terra fashioned into chunky, faceted crystal shapes. The second set is Terra swirled over Stone Ground, a beautiful caramel brown color from CiM. I love the color of Stone Ground. It's a very soft glass to work with, kind of like Ivory but not quite that soft. It goes into the kiln a pale brown, and comes out that wonderful warm brown... as though it were bread dough or something! I think it looks good enough to eat anyway.

Gotta run... taking my daughter to her piano lesson!


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Stone Beads

The nights are already getting cooler and it's time for fall colors again! Time to bring out my organic and earth tone beads. This is my favorite beadmaking time of year.

In the early 90's when I first started making fabricated silver jewelry, I used a lot of gemstones. I rarely used glass in my designs. In my opinion at the time, the role that large glass beads played in jewelry making was mostly to replicate the look of real gemstones, sometimes going so far as to deceive the buyer into thinking they were real stones. I had very low esteem for glass. LOL!

Soon after that, lampworked artisan glass beads started to hit the scene. This was a completely new way to use glass, and I was transfixed by the highly skilled work of these glass artisans. Then comes the story of how I started making glass beads, but that's another post....

This year it seems I've been returning to my roots in silver and gemstone jewelry. Not making it again, but looking once more at silver and stone as ways of expressing myself artistically. Most of my beads this summer have been metallic, and the rest of my beads usually look like stone or organic in some way.

Here are two sets of my latest Stone beads. This first set (2 photos) was made by combining six different glasses into a large, layered molten blob, then stretching the blob out into a multi-colored rod. I used this rod to make these beads, which look like banded agate or jasper to me:Banded Agate Beads - BeadAbundantBanded Agate BeadsThe glass colors I used for the blob are: CiM Stone Ground and Canyon de Chelly, Double Helix odds T-106 and VK-192, Vetrofond Olive odd and River Rock odd.

This second set is River Rock mixed with silver foil. I'm a newcomer to the River Rock craze... I just bought a small amount a few weeks ago. Figures I'd wait until it's $40/quarter pound to try it. Oh well, I'm glad I did, but it's a sad time to get hooked on this glass, too. It was a small odd batch that probably won't be made again. It's amazing how it reacts with silver:River Rock and Silver Beads - BeadAbundant
So, I've come full circle with my art: now *I'm* the one who is making glass beads that look like stone! Ha ha! I promise though I won't deceive my customers as to the materials or whose blood sweat and tears went into making them :-D Happy September!