Tuesday, May 29, 2012

New! Mica Lustre Beads!

For the past few months, I've been hiding out in my studio developing a new bead style. Finally, the experiment is complete and the beads are ready to reveal!

Introducing my new Mica Lustre beads! 
Mica Lustre Beads
Bright colors!
Red and White Dot Mica Lustre Bead
Pearly lustres!

Violet Pair - Mica Lustre Beads
These sparkly and festive lampwork beads are hand-painted with mica powders (a.k.a. pixie dust) and cored with sterling silver. They will fit Pandora® chains. Check my Etsy shop, they should be listed soon.

This idea went through many evolutions and trials and errors before I arrived at the style here. It's a really fun process and I'm totally obsessed with it!

How they're made:
First I use Double Helix Zephyr glass to make the clear beads. After they are annealed in the kiln and cleaned, I paint the insides of the holes with mica powders and acrylics. I use teeny tiny paint brushes and a magnifying glass. I leave the paints to cure for a couple of days, then cut sterling silver tubing to core the inside of each bead. Finally I give the silver a shiny polish and they're done! Below are some photos of the process.

Lampworking the bead. I think Zephyr is the best clear for this:
making a glass bead
The sparkly mica powders:
mica powders

Painting the holes. Bottle caps make great little paint pots:
painting the beads with mica powders

Measuring and cutting the sterling silver tubing. After this step, I use the Jim Moore Bead Press and silver-working tools to put the cores in the beads:
cutting the silver tubing

What is mica powder?
If you've ever been curious where pixie dust comes from and how it's colored and made, you can find some of that out on the Wikipedia page about mica here (just in case any of you are science and information geeks like me)!

Mica is found and mined in many places around the world. It comes in different forms like crystalline and sheet mica, but pixie dust is made from a powdered version called wet-ground mica. It gets its vivid range of colors by being coated with different thicknesses of TiO2 (titanium dioxide). Mica is chemically and electrically inert and can withstand very high temperatures. By the way, do you wear eyeshadow? Lipstick? Blush? Do you do drywall work, or house or automotive painting? Do you brush your teeth with sparkly white toothpaste? Then you use mica powder all the time!

I'm so excited to share these new beads with you!

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I Heart Macro

I'm going to give "I Heart Macro" a try this week with a few photos from the back yard:

'a spider's lair' by karolen deupree
a spider's lair

'blue sage' by karolen deupree
blue sage

'angelwing begonia' by karolen deupree
angelwing begonia

'grandmother's cactus' by karolen deupree
grandmother's cactus

'nopalitos' by karolen deupree
'rescued' by karolen deupree

studio waterstone

Thursday, May 17, 2012

To Everything...

Everything changes. The only thing certain is change. Go with the flow. Evolve. Here today, different tomorrow. I've made this Etsy treasury in celebration of all things moving, growing and changing in better and more jaw-droppingly wonderful ways.

I'm riding the crest of some interesting creative waves lately, and I'll have some new and amazing work coming to this space soon, so stay tuned! Hint: it involves sparkly things.

In the meantime, enjoy the treasury and leave a comment if you like it!

'Evolve' by beadabundant

change is good :-)

thyme seedling after the rain - 5" x 7" photographic print - tinytearoom 48x24 Original Modern Abstract Heavy Texture Impasto Acrylic Painting Landscape Tree Wall Decor "365 Days of Happiness" - QiQiGallery Evolving...  - Fine art photography - KGJB Evolution (Limited Edition Fine Art Print) - JessicaDoyle
Color Evolves Vapor, Fine Art, 8x12 Print - TheVaporTrail Malachite Azurite Evolution Revolution Ring - andescruz Evolve - Silver Spiral Necklace - barbebeaty Zen affirmation 11x14 print  - seedlings - haiku and sumi ink painting - MakinoStudios
MZ Glass Hungry Caterpillar on a Leaf - mzglass Evolve  (5x7) - Michiale Evolution - unique gold tone brass spinning propeller floral carved picture copper locket  necklace - zipluxe Evolution Bracelet--Banded Onyx, Rough Black Rock Quartz, Matte Finish Black Onyx, Sterling Silver Toggle Clasp, OOAK - WhimsybyKT
Set of 32  Modern Tree Circles   You choose the Color Pallet  Bring the Beauty of Nature indoors - HeatherMontgomeryArt 30 Edible Butterflies -  Blue Large Assortment - Wedding Cake Decorations Topper - incrEDIBLEtoppers 3 globes and plants in 1 - SASSYspaces stegosaurus necklace - dinosaur jewelry - rawr hand stamped - friendlygesture

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Etching Gold Leaf

I just finished a special order that was fun, a challenge, and a learning experience (doesn't it always go that way?)!  I attempted to acid etch sets of beads that had been decorated on the surface with gold leaf.  I had success with some glass types, and here are my results:
Purple etched and gold leaf beads
Effetre Dark Purple Handmade
Anice white and gold leaf etched glass beads
Effetre Anice White
CiM Canyon de Chelly glass beads
CiM Canyon de Chelly
Ivory and gold leaf etched lampwork beads
Effetre Dark Ivory
Mosaic green etched lampwork glass beads
Effetre Mosaic Green

The challenge is that the gold leaf etches right off with the glass in the etch bath!  By cutting my etch time down from a usual 3 minutes to 1 minute and 15 seconds, I was able to get a good etch on the glass and preserve most of the gold.

I learned that some glasses etch faster than others, like Canyon de Chelly and Ivory, making it harder to get gold leaf to stay on these glasses.  And gold leaf stains Ivory glass a beautiful golden brown color which is a nice contrast with the shiny gold leaf.

I tried decorating some transparent colors with gold leaf and etching them, but transparents usually give me a spotty, incomplete etch, so these sets didn't work out.  Sandblasting or tumbling would etch transparent glass, but my gold leaf would definitely not have survived that onslaught!

Have a great beady week peeps!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Cube Beads

It's taking practice, but I love making cube-shaped beads.  Here are a few sets I've made recently.  This first set is made with Double Helix CE-352:
Double Helix CE-352 cube beads by beadabundant

This set is made with Triton:
Triton lampwork glass cube beads 

and these are Double Helix Elektra:
Elektra lampwork glass cube beads by beadabundant

The Triton and CE-352 beads are available in my Etsy shop.

The weekend's almost here!  Woo hoo!!!  Happy dance!!!