Sunday, November 29, 2009

Black... White... Delight!

I am still enough of an Etsy newbie to get excited when someone puts me in a treasury.


Right hand column, third row down. A really cool pair of vintage lucite and rhinestone earrings in the shape of Azalea blossoms.

Big Pearls

Who doesn't love pearls?
Little bits of glass, a pair of huge pearls, some silver wire and viola!
Luxurious earrings.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

What's Mine ought to be Mine, the Grim Truth

I quick snapped this on the way out of the house this morning - it's grim here.
No sunshine whatsoever, yet somehow today was very beautiful, all grimly gray and gloomy.
I guess there's a little emo girl lurking in me today.

Someone I quite admire asked me today if they could copy some of my beads - and for the first time ever - I said "no." I don't know what possessed me - generally I am pretty "whatever" about it all. Selfish? Perhaps. Unrealistic? Definitely.

Copying is such a tender topic in the bead world that I really hesitate to say word one here on the subject. This past show was a real eye opener for me, more than a few of the beads and jewelry pieces looked like they could have been mine. I was stuck feeling something between flattered and pissed.

Who doesn't like being emulated? It's flattering.
Who likes being copied and undersold? No one.

It's times like these that I remember, very vividly, that as a child I wanted to grow up and be a hermit. I had huge, detailed plans for my semi-underground compound in the woods, living the life of the 'Boxcar Children' - but just me - no troublesome siblings in my fantasy. When puberty hit and suddenly sex needed to be included in my life plan I abandoned the whole hermit ideal - but sometimes I really do still yearn for it.

Pod Earrings.
The glass pods are Double Helix psyche on medium red.

In a perfect world I would love for my beads to be inspirational - stepping stones to your own new and different designs. That friends, students and strangers would take my techniques and be inspired to use them in great new ways - to add their own soul. To learn from and then expand upon my experiments, and shared discoveries - not to try to replicate them.

Trust me, there is nothing more satisfying than finding your own way and writing your own song.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Unicorn Thanksgiving

Just look at those two turkeys.
A man + his Weber kettle grill = turkey magic.

It was a Thanksgiving full of friends, turkey, fixins and unicorns.
I used a giant solid brass unicorn head as my centerpiece this year.
Didn't you?
You know you want one too.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Psyche & White

Double Helix Psyche on plain old white glass is a magical combination.
If you could only see how iridescent and shimmery the metallic bits are. The Psyche turns the white all buttery with caramel edges. And the Psyche goes all liquid swampy greens with bits of gray blue and violet when heavily reduced.

If you're a glass bead lady you need to try out this pairing next time you're at the torch - it's so much fun to let the glass do 'all the work.'
Fern earrings - glass, sterling silver and labradorite.

Yes, that's Walt Whitman wearing them on their display card.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Put a Lid on It

It's full on knitting season and my little fingers have been busy.
I knit while hostessing open torch on Tuesday afternoons.
I knit in the truck while waiting for estate sales to open -
and while riding shotgun to innumerable garage sales.
I knit while guiltily watching NCIS on Fancast.
I knit when I ought to be painting.
Some are kid sized and some are adult sized - all are wool mixed with bits of mohair, cotton and novelty yarns - all these, and many more, will be for sale at the More Fire Glass Holiday Sale this weekend.



I delivered 40 pairs of earrings, 6 bracelets, 6 necklaces, countless buttons, a big box of loose beads and a pile of heart pendants to More Fire Glass today. All of it fresh off my work table and lovingly tagged. It takes a stupidly long time to tag all those suckers.

I cannot believe how much jewelry I have made in the past week and a half.

Oh, and the hats - I also will be having a pile of my handknit hat in the sale.

The sale is this Friday and Saturday and then next Saturday and Sunday. There will be glass blowing demos in the hot shop and flameworking in the bead room. It's always a great party - way more fun than getting trampled in the mall on black Friday.
Holiday Sale
Friday, November 27th & Saturday, November 28th
10 am - 4 pm
Saturday, December 5th & Sunday, December 6yh
10 am – 4 pm

Friday, November 20, 2009

Seed Pod Earrings

This old, gray Christmas elf has designed and fabricated a lot of earrings in the past couple days.
So far, these are my favorites.

The glass beads are Double Helix Aurae raked over a base of Cim's Mink.
I am quickly becomming obsessed with Mink.
The beads are each capped with a little pile of black freshwater cornflake pearls which look like ruffled bits of dried leaves clinging to the tops of the seed pods.

These are the same design with different glass.
This pair of beads have a base of Effetre Dark Silver Plum glass that was decorated with Double Helix Psyche before raking.
The findings are gunmetal - with the price of sterling way up it's time for some less expensive, but still lovely, alternatives.

That was a nice break, but it's time to get back to wiring up more earrings.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Missing Blogger

I wish I could say that I was doing something wonderful and exotic while I wasn't blogging - but I was readying my beads and jewelry for the upcoming onslaught of holiday sales.

Give me a day or two more and I will be back with loads of pictures - especially new earring designs.

Over the weekend I took a class with Sally Prasch.
This is one of her borosilicate glass beads. You unlatch the clasp and open the little glass door and hinge on the side of the bead to reveal the baby peacenik inside. Mind boggling.
It was an excellent, excellent class.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pollination 2

Here's an update on the set of glass 'pollen' beads I started just about a month ago.
I am almost there - every time I torch I make a few more. Thirty-three and counting.
You can see their original post here.

How to form a pollen bead.
If you want to play with this shape it should help you get started. Any questions? Just ask.

Lately I have been trying to figure out new ways to shape my beads. This old bat is newly in love with her tungsten poker. It's not an expensive toy. If you don't have one by all means add one to your flameworking tool kit.
The plan is to string these with some small tiny, crusty opals as spacers when there are finally enough beads for the necklace.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Red Starts

A new painting.
Oil on canvas 20" x 24"
Audubon Series - Red Starts


This painting has gone to RoCo (the Rochester Contemporary) and will be for sale in the Member's Show which opens on December 5th.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


The leaves fall off the ginko trees all at once, in just a few hours they go from golden to bare. It literally rains yellow leaves and sticky berries. It's mesmerizing. I am so bummed that I missed it this year.
We had a very hard frost last night and every stinkin' leaf fell off at dawn, while I was still in happy slumberland.
The frost was so heavy that it almost looked like snow this morning as we headed out to a household sale. I quick snapped these pictures as my better half scraped the ice of the van windows.
It was glittery and crisp and I should have worn my mittens.
Alas, I really will be winter very, very soon.

Messy Poison Apple

I am weak, I caved in and ordered some new glass.

One of the new colors I got was Cim's Poison Apple, a lovely opal green that reminds me of old Jadite glassware.
I thought I would share some of my sample beads.
Poison Apple does some sublimely weird stuff when paired with Double Helix Psyche and Aurae.

This is a raked and press lentil. The base glass is Poison Apple and the decoration is Psyche. That's it, all these colors from just two different glasses.

These two little beads are also Psyche on Poison Apple and they're pretty much what I expected - a nice mirror blue band around the middle of the green. Apparently mashing the glass around with a rake causes all the unexpected webbing and milky edges because where I twisted the ends of these spacers you cans see some mother of pearl colored reaction between the two glasses.

These are Aurae on Poison Apple - the edges turn gray and the Aurae goes silver instead of gold.

Tonight - I experiment with Cim's Mink.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Indian Summer

It's really late this year - so late that many said we weren't going to get one.
But, Indian Summer is here and it has been glorious.
The ginkos in my front yard are always, always the last trees to drop their leaves.
Some years they don't fall until it snows which makes it 'delightful' to rake them up.
They also produce thousands of beautiful looking berries - which are sticky like Karo syrup and smell exactly like dog poop. You have to wait til they freeze solid to clean them up, otherwise they stick to your rake and make you gag.
Still, despite all their faults they are my favorite trees.

I haven't had any success making glass ginko leaves - but I adore drawing them.
A pair of small paintings - acrylics on black rag paper.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Oil Stones

The pictures do not even come close to showing off how lustrous and metallic these are.
They're made on a core bead of black that has been wrapped in light Silver Plum.
On top of the Silver Plum I wound on strands of Double Helix Psyche and Aurae, melted them in just a little bit to make a raised and webbed surface. Finally I reduced the silvered glass to make lots of oily blue and gold metallic highlights.

If you look carefully at the reflection in this bead you can see the ginko tree outside my desk window.

Mystery Bead

Does anyone have any idea what happened here?
I think this bead has a base of Cim's Canyon de Chelly with decorations of Double Helix Psyche.
Is that possible?

The very last thing blooming in my garden.

Ginko leaf.

Lady Deb

Be careful if you admire on of my husbands "cartoon modernism"paintings -
because he will give it to you.

Our friend Deb learned this yesterday, on her 50th birthday, when she received this painting as a gift.
Luckily, she really did like it and was thrilled to get it.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Raked Pods

A small set of seven glass beads sculpted to look like seed pods.
The shortest ones are about three quarters of an inch long, the longest about an inch and a quarter.

They are made by shaping the molten glass with a tungsten pick, or rake, whichever you like to call it. This is a bent tip rake - they also come straight tipped. Either one is great. Mine came from the online glass supplier Moretti & More, an excellent place to get your glass and tools.

Below is a page from one of my bead sketchbooks where I made some notes to myself on how I formed these pod shaped beads. For me, writing things down is essential. It's amazing what I can forget as time goes by.
After making a simple round, or oval bead, let it cool enough to set so when you spot heat and rake the basic core shape will not deform.

To make the indented points you need to spot heat the bead, then touch it with your tungsten poker and drag the glass upwards until you have the shape you want. Rotate the bead to the next spot you want to shape and spot heat and rake again.

Remember to keep flashing the whole bead in and out of the flame occasionally to keep it from cracking. One of the secrets to this is being sure to really, really spot heat the area you're going to rake so that the glass is nice and soft - if you don't there will be too much drag on the glass and your bead release will crack.

Is there anything more annoying that breaking your bead release?
Most of these are made on a base of either Cim's Commando or Cim's Plum.
They're decorated before raking, with stripes of brown, light silver plum and swamp moss, there is also some copper green and raku frits added for splotchs of color.
Just a few more before I have enough for a necklace.