Monthly Archives: January 2009

Hearts and Love of Glass

These are some hearts I made over the last couple of days. I figured since I know how to make hearts, I should make some for Valentine’s Day. I’m thinking I will try listing them on Etsy and see if I get any nibbles – I guess I should do that soon!

I’m pretty happy with the hearts although they aren’t perfect – the lines at the bottom of some of the hearts are not perfectly straight all the way around. Oh well, somebody’s bound to like them anyway. There are a lot of people out there that like the handmade look – little flaws that make a piece not perfect, although I’m not one of them.

My approach to bead making is to strive for perfection – or at least a high degree of precision. I am fairly critical of my work and am constantly striving to improve it – I know I have a long way to go. I don’t look for too much assurance or compliments – I like compliments, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t need them. I show all my beads to my mother and she also has the same point of view – must be where I got it – she is critical of my work too.

Now, when I say critical, I don’t mean that in a bad way. I just mean that the beads I make are assessed for design, shape, color, execution, etc. and held to a high standard. I think this is good because it pushes me to practice techniques and work towards a higher technical proficiency. I am fairly ambitious and want to be able to support myself with this one day – in order to do that I have to be really good.

My friend Beth has a completely different approach. I’m not sure I can describe it and do it justice. I don’t think it’s a bad approach – it’s just very different. For example, she made a nice bead that cracked, and instead of putting it in her dud pile, she’s wearing it around. Her family is also very supportive of her efforts – in an amazingly uncritical way.

I should mention that Beth has been making beads for a week. She bought a kit at Hobby Lobby last Saturday and has been working with that. I have supplemented the kit with some bead release and some Satake glass (soda lime) that I didn’t want any more. (I’m going to focus on the lead line when I get a chance.) Beth has been having all sorts of problems with the beads and has been relying on me for advice and instruction.

Perhaps that’s part of her problem – lack of good instruction. I let her make a couple of beads a week ago or so – that is what spurred her on to get the kit. She really loved making the beads, and couldn’t wait to make more. I’m not really prepared to teach an introductory class just yet – I need practice with that too – but I have helped as much as I can. I just enjoy sharing my love of glass, and I think it’s really cool that I now have a friend in the area who loves making beads too. I think it’s going to be fun to have someone so close to share my love of glass with.

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Bumpy Beads

These beads I made a week or two ago. I just discovered that some stones I had tucked away – from when I was just randomly buying stones – matched perfectly with the green color here. Now, the trick is to make the glass beads stand out and not get swallowed up by all the green of the stones. I think the way I’ll solve this problem is just to put all the lampwork together separating each bead with silver spacers and then have the stones on either side also with spacers in between. Not a very complex design, but I think it will look very nice. I’m actually quite excited about the prospects of this piece.

I had a lot of fun making these beads – playing with the different colors. Dots can be fun – I’ve been making quite a few beads with dots recently. But, I haven’t been able to come up with a set of colors I enjoyed working with as well as these colors here.

I’ve also been playing with frits that I got a few weeks ago. I made a bunch of test beads over the last week or so, and started making lentils with the frit. Now I just have to figure out what to do with the beads. I don’t know if I want to try and make bracelets or if I want to make them into pendants or what. I don’t think the size I’ve made would work for earrings – perhaps if I made some smaller lentils.

One thing that I am trying to work on is my stringer skills. It finally occurred to me today that I could use some of the leftover stringer I have for practice. So, I used up some stringer and got some practice all at the same time. What a great way to use all the extra stringer I have. I wish I had thought of that before, but no matter – I’m sure I’ll use plenty of it practicing. I’m getting better, but I still end up melting half the stringer flat when I make spirals. I can make four or five practice beads and then I have to go on to something else.

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Slow Start To The New Year

Well, after all my thoughts of New Year resolutions, I haven’t been updating my blog. I’ve gotten off to a slow start for sure this year. But, I have written this incredibly stylish new style sheet for the blog. It is now all crisp and sharp in colors that match muon.org – my website.

The beads in the picture here are beads that I made with a press I bought with the money my father gave me for Christmas. So far these are the only beads I’ve made with the press. The first beads came out so well, I’ve been reluctant to try more. These beads are dark sky with raku frit. Perhaps I’ll make more next week.

I also got some frit from Val Cox. It is very pretty stuff and I will have to do a few more samples to see what it looks like. So far I’ve done samples of three of the six blends I got. I knew I was going to love Gypsy Skirt, and I was not disappointed. I just need to figure out how to save and label my sample beads so I know what they are. I’m trying to be more organized.

I’ve also been making samples of different layered color combinations. I have several beads with opaque cores and CIM Pink Champagne over them – again I need a system to save and label and organize my sample beads. I’m thinking of a combination of a notebook to keep notes and … what? I want something that I can carry in my hands and be tactile – not stuck to a board or something. I’ll have to figure out something soon though.

In other news, I’m getting very excited about the inauguration. I don’t recall the inauguration being such a big deal in the past, but it seems this time around it’s a gigantic four day party – with lots of TV coverage. My interest in politics is much higher than it was before election day – now I’m following the news (well, sort of news) and loving it. I hope Obama does well – I know a lot of people are hoping that too. So much depends on it.

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