Monthly Archives: December 2008

Happy Days

Today I played with silvered ivory stringer. For those who don’t know, I got a good hunk of dark ivory (the color of the glass) on a punty, covered it in silver foil, burnished it on there real well, and then added another punty, got it good and hot, and pulled it into a thin length of glass. I then made lots of lentils in different colors with this silvered ivory stringer.

It was a play day. I tried out a new technique, and had fun with it. I experimented. I had a good time – something I hadn’t done in a while with the glass.

Most of this last month, when I’ve sat down at the torch, I’ve had an order or request or something to do. I haven’t had much play time, or time to do whatever I wanted. And, it has been wearing on my. There’s this thought that I need to make things to sell. That I need to please people – make what they want. And, that’s good! I do want to be able to sell my stuff, but not at the expense of making my stuff.

Evelyn, over at ShebaMakeda, wrote a post recently that describes her very similar struggle. I reference it here because reading it reassured me that I am not alone, and reminded me of the important things. For me, the important thing is to have fun with the glass. And, if it means that I have to delay trying to sell my beads until I have more of a style and more experience, then so be it.

Saturday I sat at my torch just trying to come up with something to do. I had a very nice color combination out that just wasn’t speaking to me. I just didn’t have any good ideas about what to make. I thought, maybe I should make this… or maybe I should make that… but nothing seemed appealing. I just didn’t want to torch, and I hadn’t torched in over a week! So, finally I picked some stringer ends out of a jar and made three random bumpy beads shown here. It was fun! I know these aren’t great art, or technically difficult, but they made me so happy. And credit where credit is due, when I told my mother this, she said “Isn’t that the whole point?”

So, that’s what I want to remember as I head into the New Year. I want to remember how to have fun with my glass bead making. I want to remember how to play with molten glass. With my mother’s support, I’m sure that year two of my glass career will provide many opportunities for the glass bead making to make me happy. And, if I can make some money at it, so much the better. But that isn’t the main focus.

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Christmas Tree Forest

This is my little Christmas Tree Forest. They look better up close – in person – as do a lot of beads. The garlands are made with the red and green twisties from my last post. The base of the trees is a dark transparent green. The picture may be a little dark – I need more lights. These trees were sent out to family members for a little Christmas cheer.

Yesterday, I got the new edition of The Flow magazine in the mail. It’s the fourth annual women in glass edition, and one of my pieces was included in the gallery. I’m quite happy and excited to be published. It’s the perfect end to basically my first year in lampworking. Hopefully next year will be as productive and growth-filled as this year was.

In other news, I am going to take the Marcy Lamberson class offered by Southern Flames in Feb. This is a sculptural class and I’m really looking forward to adding a new dimension to my bead making. As you can see, I’ve got a little bit of a head start with the tree beads – but I want to be able to make more complex shapes.

That’s all for now, just a quick Christmas update. I wish everyone a wonderful Christmas! We are in the midst of a serious cooking/eating day that will probably go on into the night – good times!

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Twisties! Video!

I made a video (with my mother’s help) of me making a twisty for the church presentation a while ago. I’ve just now added it to YouTube. Check it out:

There are so many different ways to make a twisty – two color, three color, encased… and the holding and pulling tools/techniques are just about endless. I’m finding that 1/8 inch mandrels work very well for me. I’m not using them in the above video, but I think I will use them from this point out. What I do, and I learned this from Trey Cornette and Torchworked Marbles by Drew Fritts, is I pull with the right hand, while flashing the gather in the flame with the left hand to keep it warm. I’m twisting with both hands also. The theory is that you get better control this way – once you practice enough to get the technique down.

Today, I made some more twisties that came out pretty well. I’m kinda proud of them. They still need work, but they look a lot better than when I first started with this type of twisty. I’m continuing to improve with this technique. These twisties here are destined to be garlands on Christmas tree beads. And, perhaps other types of beads. I don’t know how many Christmas trees I need.

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Ribbon Beads

These beads were inspired by Sarah Hornik. She calls them “Ribbon Beads,” and wrote a short tutorial on how to make them. I’ve greatly enjoyed making these beads – they’re loads of fun if a little time consuming. I made a different colored one today, and plan to play with even more color combinations later this week.

The other exciting thing in my lampworking world is that I tested the Satake glass with my torch, and it melts w/o burning or boiling or otherwise destroying itself. This is good for me because now I can delve into the wonderful world of Japanese glass. This glass is soooooo pretty! I took the class with Jeff Barber, and it was absolutely great! I learned a lot about how to work with this glass, and the beads I made were very pretty ā€“ because of the glass, of course.

The downside of this is that my torch is horribly under powered. I have a GTT Lynx with one oxygen concentrator, and that is holding the torch back. Now, it is worlds better than a Hot Head so Iā€™m still loving it, (especially since it will work Satake) but I think if I do want to start working with boro or even larger soft glass beads, I will have to get another oxy con. But that is not going to be any time soon.

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