Sunday, February 28, 2010

A New Painting?

A photograph I took yesterday of some really cold pigeons.
What do you think, could they be the subject for a new painting?
The contrast and bird shapes are intriguing. Is there anything more fun to paint than bird shapes? I think not. I wonder how many colors other than gray, black and white I could sneak into the image?

Moon Rocks

They don't literally look like the moon but these new earrings certainly have some sort of lunar landscape, or alien planet thing happening.
The base glass for these lentil beads is light ivory. Two thick ribbons of Double Helix Triton were around painted around the middle and then swirled with a thick ivory stringer. The last step was to hand press them into their lentil shapes using my stainless steel ice tongs - they were not reduced.

They're up in my 'Belvedere' Etsy shop.
All the veining and smokey whorls are the silver in the Triton reacting with the sulfur in the light ivory glass. Sometimes it's fun to let the glass do a lot of the decorative work.

Winter trees in Durand Eastman park, Rochester, New York.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Cuckoo for Raku

I am deep in the throes of a bead crush.
These double sided raku wings came from Dorcas at Wondrous Strange.
Yes, again with the ceramic beads from her, like I said, I am mad for them.

I want to make a charm bracelet with the wings and have started to make some beads to mimic the rich lustrous. metallic glaze her beads have.
These little glass pods have a base of topaz (at the bottom) and pale aqua (top end). Over the base I added thick bands of Double Helix Aurae and Gaia. Then I raked the beads into pod shapes and heavily reduced the silver glass. Viola! It's a pretty good glass take on raku pottery.
After the pods I also made a few rounds, always useful when making a bracelet.
I think some dark oil-slick peacock baroque pearls and maybe some labradorite and I have the makings of a real piece of treasure.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Seed Pod Earrings

These are another variation on one of my favorite designs - the seed pod earring.
Tiny hand shaped glass pods with peacock cornflake pearls on the top and little matching baroque peacock pearls on their bottoms.
The beautiful Jadite color glass is Cim's Kryptonite that has been swirled with Double Helix Aurae and Triton. I think there is some plain old light topaz at the top as a base glass for the Double Helix. At $25.00 per pound I only use it as surface decoration - like icing on a cake.
They are up in my Etsy Belvedere shop.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Berets Are French - Non?

I've been knitting again.
A beret for Margaret made with gray angora wool and vintage giant silver sequins.
The Winter Olympics and knitting go together like peanut butter and bacon.
It went back to college with her before I got a good snapshot of her wearing it - so here's one of Napoleon P. Oodle modeling it. What? Poodles are French and so are berets.
Wee Wee, Oui Oui.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Monkey Shines

While I was out poking for treasure at an estate sales I found dozens of old skeleton keys.
I don't use them in my jewelry - but I have certainly seen some beautiful pieces made with them.
They're up in my etsy shop 'Curious Old Things.'

Monday, February 22, 2010

Wings On Her Ears

Awhile back I bought some beautiful raku wings from Dorcas at Wondrous Strange designs.
I finally made the perfect little beads to match them and wired up three pairs of earrings.

So, Dorcas, which ones are your favorites?
I simply cannot decide which ones are mine.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Moonstones & Madness

I'm halfway back to my special, happy place in the blogosphere.
There's a new computer love of my life. Behold! my first laptop.
Too small a screen to properly work on graphics and where the f is my mouse? But, I am assembling a docking system (sounds so Star Trek) with a big monitor and a proper keyboard and mouse set up... blather, blather, blather.

Without further computer ado - back to beads.
New earrings - little confections made with my lampwork glass beads, freshwater cornflake pearls and wee faceted moonstones. They're all put together with sterling silver.
The glass is a swirled blend of Cim's Kryptonite and Peacock with iridescent wisps of Double Helix Gaia.
They are available in my 'Belvedere' etsy shop. (sold)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Computer Warfare

I shall return - and I shall be victorious!

For the moment I am battling miles of cables and unruly software.

No one likes unexpectedly replacing their computer.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Orange Blossoms

At this point winter seems so endless and grimly gray that I am making my own colorful flowers. I suppose it's a kind of magical thinking. I pretend that I am mothernature - with a blowtorch.
I made a whole pile of these earrings - each pair with rich transparent glass colors for the petals and lots of garishly colored freshwater pearls and vibrant hued gemstones, like peridot, garnets and peach moonstones, for the blossom centers and stems.

The page from my glass sketchbook where I planned out these beads and earrings.
p.s. the official sport of February is applying hand lotion.

Friday, February 12, 2010

My Darling Clementine

It's my biggest hollow bead yet. It's almost 2 1/2" across.
Made with transparent tangerine glass and a puffy mandrel.
It's my first try with the puffy mandrel - a very neat tool. It's a hollow mandrel with one end open and one end closed, about 2" from the tip is a small hole like in a flute. You make the hollow bead straddling the hole and then gently puff to inflate your bead. Big fun.

Ooh my darlin' oh my darling what's her name...

Moth Wings & Tornados

A moody snapshot of a moth on my bedroom wall.
Moth on the wall - ain't doin' nothing' at all.
(yesterday's spontaneous blues lyric)

A great big long heart focal bead. Made with Cim's Khaki, light ivory and a black and raku twistie.
After decorating the end of the heart with the twistie I used the stump to make some spiral whorls in the top half of the heart. This so much fun, and simple, to do.
How To Make a Tornado in your Glass:

Once you have your bead all shaped just take it out of the heat and let it stiffen up a bit to a thick peanut butter consistency.

Next, quickly spot heat where you would like to make a little tornado of glass. Plunge in your stringer straight in and twist.

Once you have a nice little tornado stop twisting and gently wiggle the twistie from side to side, when it gets cool enough it will just snap off leaving a dot of glass inside the center of the spiral you just made.

The bigger and deeper you push in the stringer the bigger the spiral.

Just be sure to flash and reheat the whole bead back to an all over even heat before annealing, because all that spot heating causes a lot of internal stress in your bead. I left these twisted spots raised on my bead, for a sort of knot-hole effect. Of course, you can melt them down flat.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Teaching the Beads

Last night was night two of beginning lampwork beads - which is all about decoration.
You know - spots, dots and bumps.
I love teaching the fun stuff.
We did some raking, trails and lots and lots of polka dots.
We made stringers then drew with them and then used them to twist whorls and wave patterns into the surface of the beads. A favorite technique of mine. Frit was a hit.
From simple, simple random dots to elaborate drawing with stringers - I showed them how to do it all. Their heads exploded with information.
Next week? Encasing and twisties.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Or Three

Goodness gracious - another treasury.
I wish I actually understood this whole Etsy treasury thing, but nevermind, I am thrilled to be in another one, two or three.
This one is from Dorcas at Wondrous Strange Designs.

I adore her ceramic beads. In this treasury she has featured perfume from "For Strange Women." This is where it gets weird - just yesterday I discovered that shop and ordered some clove lip balm. Wondrous Strange and I certainly seem to be thinking, and shopping, in the same ellipses these days...

I have lots of new beads to share - the plan is to get a nice post up here tomorrow with plenty of beady recipes and chatter.

Monday, February 08, 2010

A Lovely Treasury, or Two

That's my murrini, right in the middle.
Thanks to Mod Mom at Mod Mom Me!

Update: this just in - my little heart murrini in another treasury.
Two in one day - woot.
Thank you Dana at B-Doll studio.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Heavenly Orbs

Sometimes I don't know how I do it - but I am very lucky at finding art supplies at estate sales and the like. Recently, I found two old booklets of 24K gold leaf for next to nothing. Who knows?
Here is a scrap of my new found treasure rolled onto a bead.

You heat the gold leaf just enough to adhere it to the surface but not so much that it evaporates. It's a little tricky, just work way out in the flame.
The bead underneath the gold leaf is transparent teal and transparent medium blue that was covered with swirls of Kronos II and lightly reduced to a metallic lustre.
I love how the gold fractures and looks like continents on a planet, with little inland waterways and rivers.

This pair is up in my Belvedere etsy shop.

Friday, February 05, 2010

The Ancients

I am fascinated with ancient Roman glass.

With a little fussing, and few unsuccessful tries, I worked up with a small set of beads that remind me of ancient glass.
They were etched, which gave them a velvety, time-worn look.

Here's how they looked before I etched them. I purposefully did not clean my glass rods before starting so that the beads would have lots of little scummy bubbles.
They have an inner barrel shaped core of Cim's Kryptonite. On top of that I added a rough cut shard of gold dichroic glass. Finally I encased them in freeform blobs and wraps of pale transparent colors - Aqua, Pink and Apple along with a lot of some particularly nasty scummy Vetrofond clear that I got stuck with.

The idea for these beads started with a desire to somehow use up this extra crappy clear. Waste not, want not. I knew the only way to use it would be etch any beads made out of it - to hide all its inclusions, scummy little bubbles and imperfections.
The encased bits of dichroic glass makes them seem to glow, and shimmer, from within.

The holes are oversized. I wound the beads on 1/8" mandrels so they could be strung on a leather.
They are available in my Belvedere etsy shop.

Valentines Large & Small

I just finished a large set of red beads.
The set has lots of decorated hollows, one of them is simply huge, and lots of wee bumpy spacers.
The colors of red glass are Cim's Sangre, transparent striking red, transparent striking orange and Cim's Clockwork.
How big is the big one? Really, really big.
Sigh, what a long week. I taught beginning lampwork beads this week - they're a very talented group of new flameworkers. Younger than usual, quieter than usual - I felt like an old dame working with these 20 somethings. It's funny how different each class can be.

Monday, February 01, 2010

I Worship Leon Russell

'Carney' is my all time, hands down, favorite record.

Did you see Mr. Russell last night on the Grammys?
They made him play with some nasty corporate hippie style, Dave Mathews band retard retread, jam band who looked like they’d rather be golfing. Screw the televised Grammys - except for the Kings of Leon winning something.

Zebra Wheelies

More handpulled murrini and a big heart focal with them on it.
This big focal is about 2 1/2" inches long. The base is dark ivory that I wrapped in a black and raku twistie. The murrini are black, white and clear - and are available in my etsy shoppe.

To recreate this look place each murrini on top of a large melted in dot of Richenbach raku (iris orange) glass, plunge the center of each murrini before flattening to pull the edge striping into the center to make the pinwheel.

Hints for working with Murrini:

1. Always preheat your murrini very, very gently way out in your flame before trying to attach it to your bead. These little boogers like to explode if you don't romance them.

2. Remember to spot heat where you want to place the murrini just before tweezing it into place.

3. Gently pat them flat in small increments, re-heating and flattening until they are flush with your bead surface. I use a flat side of a cheese knife.

The Murrini & Me

I love to make murrini.
My murrini production way outstrips my personal use, it's kinda dumb.
I don't really use these little chips of glass in my beads very often but I pull the canes all the time. I just adore making them.

This means there is always lots of left over murrini casserole in my refrigerator.

So, this morning I photographed and bagged a bunch of them up. They are for sale, in small lots, in my Belvedere shop on Etsy. Come on, some sellers have lots of 50 of the same chips up? What would anyone do with 50 of the same murrini? Yawn.