Thursday, March 28, 2013

How To Remake A Classic

I have made these beads before.
Enter the way back machine and set the destination for 2006.

I called them "Sky Stones" and you can see a prehistoric blog post here.
Why on earth was I not capitalizing any letters? I was 40-something then, no excuses.

One afternoon last week I was looking at my first bead sketchbook, while waiting for my kiln to heat up, and saw the notes for these. Without a plan for the day I decided to recreate them.

My notes are a bit scrawly - but you can probably make out the original instructions.

I changed it up a bit and here is the recipe for remake.

1. Make a base bead of sky blue.
2. Roll in a mix of dark ivory, aventurine blue, sage green and copper green frits.
    (if you don't have aventurine blue frit, black frit will do)
3. Encase in pale aqua with some small blobs of pale apple green, grass green and pale blue.
4. Melt the encasing down, but don't completely round out the bead.
5. Spot heat and make the facets, I use a cheese knife.

I used to make these with all sorts color combinations - here's a set called "stinkberries."

Their core is Cim's 'Very Berry' the dots are raku and the encasing is pale transparent olive.

Friday, March 22, 2013

So Many Headpins...

So many headpins...

 little time.

Just a few of my favorite pairs from the piles of headpins I made this week.
It's getting on spring earring season, eh?

All of these were made on 19 gauge black steel wire - the kind you can get a big spool of at the hardware store for a couple of bucks. I like to pair it with sterling silver ear wires. It needs to be sealed to prevent rust, I use renaissance wax. But, I am going to experiment on some of these and seal them with green alcohol inks for metal.

Monday, March 18, 2013

How Babies Are Made

I constructed a big, elaborate bracelet this weekend.
I'm gonna give you a peek at my creative underwear - a look at how something like this comes together.

This bracelet started with a magazine clipping. I glued it into my sketchbook a month or so ago.
Last week I decided it was the one, so I studied the colors and picked out the glass rods to use and sketched out my plans for all the various components.

I always try to remember to make color notes. Knowing what colors I used if a piece needs to be made larger or repaired is so much easier if you actually know what you did.

Here's a glamor shot of all the headpins, links, leaves and beads freshly cleaned.
I spent one whole studio day at the torch making all the glassy bits.
Some of the headpins are 16 gauge brass (the roses) and the rest are 20 gauge.

The big dark red roses came out particularly nice.

It was a wildly complicated piece of construction.
I laid it out carefully and then tried not to get distracted while building it.

Amazingly I had torched the right number of components and didn't ruin any during the hammering marathon.

I even like the clasp, something I almost never happy with.

This is the kind of piece I usually take to the museum gift shop or to a big fancy show - but I am going to try something new. This one is headed for Etsy.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Dreamy Old Turquoise

I found a few vintage Murano glass beads at a household sale this week.

As usual, I kept a pair for my collection and listed the rest on Etsy.

These classic lentils have a clear core with threads of turquoise and adventurine wrapped around it. Then they were encased in more clear.  They're really lovely.

I might just have to make some.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Drill Baby Drill

How did I spend my evening?
Drilling out pearls.

Their holes are always too tiny to use with 20 gauge wire.
So I get after them with my Dremmel, a diamond coated bit and a bowl of water.

Tonight I drilled out dozens for a necklace and even more for earrings made with my glass headpins.
I am one with my Dremmel.

Imagine the scene.
An old bat watching a nasty old James Bond movie and drilling pearls - another wild evening.

p.s.  why is it snowing?!?

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Bird Party

I have four new, big oil paintings hanging in a coffee shop at the Rochester Public Market.

They are all from photographs I took of the shore birds at Irondequoit Bay in Rochester, New York..
Each canvas is 40" x 60"

Friday, March 08, 2013

Simply Waiting

Simple, simple earrings.

Waiting for winter to loosen up and for a spring rain.

For the snow to become beautiful water.

'Spring Rain' earrings : hammered sterling silver earrings with lampwork glass beads.
The beads have opalino sky blue cores, rolled in Double Helix 'Psyche' frit and encased in pale aqua.

Monday, March 04, 2013


Messing around making charms.

An acorn charm with glass, stoneware, pearls and brass.

I started by making the glass part of the nut on a 16 gauge brass wire
The little acorn cap I made a friend's ceramic studio.
Lastly an untidy wrap of tiny, tiny rice pearls.

Yes, it looks like something that you would find in the grass on a lucky walk in October.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

In The Pink

I went on a button making binge one day last week.

Getting ready for spring.

I got a wee bit too much 2-part epoxy on this one, but this is the way I make shank buttons.
You can make buttons by embedding the metal shank in the molten glass.
The reason I do it this way is that I can use all sort of pretty colors of 18 gauge wire for my shanks.

My favorite was just plain transparent cobalt blue with silver foil.

Working on building up a nice inventory of these for an event in April.
I'm going on vacation with a bunch of quilters - and those ladies love their buttons.