Friday, 26 February 2010

I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles

Oh Wow!

I made these little beauties today. It is the first time for incorporating metal into my beads and for this I used brass mesh (60 count). When the brass gets hot it releases a gas (from the zinc content of the brass) and these bubbles can be caught in the covering layer of glass. If they break the surface of the outer glass then they burst and the glass goes scummy and pitted and scorched. I addition the highly toxic fumes escape and these can actually kill you!

But don’t they look fab? There are plenty ways of creating bubbles in your glass beads and I am going to try the baking soda technique next time. I have also seen people put brass wire into their beads which looks nice when its not superheated - but if it were to be superheated then you might get a very fine string of bubbles.... or one large blobby bubble. Might be worth a try!

You can get mesh in varying different sizes and the bigger the mesh the bigger and more spaced-out the bubbles. These beads had relatively tight knit mesh and thus the bubbles are tiny and compact. You can also use copper mesh to give a good effect but it doesn’t produce bubbles but you can get glass to bulge through the holes, as they use in chaos beads.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Bead on a Wire

Its always a challenge trying to find some original way of presenting your beads (or bead). I saw this in a magazine and thought I would give it a go. The only wire work I have ever done in the past is some viking knitting (courtesy of Dizzy Di) and doing basic links for my jewellery but I thought this looked kind of cool. Sadly mine doesn’t quite match the standard of that shown in the magazine. But I am rightly impressed with my newbie efforts! When I can perfect it it will be a great way of showcasing a focal bead in a pendant.

Apart from it hurting your fingers a bit (I’m probably doing it wrong) and chipping my french manicure badly, it is really good fun and my mind is spinning with what I can achieve in the future with these techniques. I’m going to have to look for a workshop that I can go to to develop some basic skills. I saw a lovely wirework bail the other week when I was at Kate Sullivan’s (Sublime Beads) and then saw this article and once again there is another skill I want in my toolbag.

Does it ever end?

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Flash Bang Wallop ooooh What a Picture....

You know when you make a really lovely bead and you want to put a picture up on your favourite forum, or on your website even, but you just cant capture the depth or the colour or the sparkle? Well I suffer from this routinely so last night I built a light box and have been playing with the light and various camera settings to get good pics of my beads and jewellery. It has made such a difference to the standard of pictures - I am so over the moon and for the sake of a fiver and and hour it is very much worth the effort.

I followed the instructions at this link:

Monday, 22 February 2010

Creative Space

So for the past few months I have been out in France and been working in the basement of my parent’s house. It is in the Alps and were it not for the fact I was in the basement the views from my torch would have been lovely - but mostly it was snow drifts! I have now come back to the UK (and reality) and set up in my house and ..... Ta Daaaahh! This is my new “studio”. Its a bit chilly in there - but nothing that a 1000 degree torch and a kiln can’t warm up over a beadie session! It does have a window that opens too so I shouldn’t be overcome by fumes from Silver glass.

I work on a Hothead (HH) torch using bulk propane supply and most of my glass is Effetra and CIM. I do have a little bit of Double Helix and the fancy stuff ,but I find it quite difficult to get the spectacular colours from the HH due to the nature of the flame, but not much. Over the coming weeks I am going to have a go with fine silver wire and also some various wire meshes - well if you decide to follow me then I guess you will see first hand!

In fact, just by writing this little entry I am now inspired to go and have a little play with some molten glass. Ax