Friday, 3 September 2010

By Fluke or By Design?

So you have a rod of glass in your hand, some frit and stringers and other bits and bobs littering your work bench and you have absolutely no idea what you are going to produce.... it's not that you haven't got inspiration - it is everywhere - it is more that you just haven't quite got a plan as to what you actually expect from your finished bead. So what do you do?

Well I know what I do and if in doubt then make a bead (normally with a transparent coloured core) and then roll it in copious amounts of frit. I will then just use whatever I have lying around and just fiddle - a twistie swirl here, a poked dot there, and then when I have run out of space then I will usually then encase it in clear for good measure! Then it goes into the fibre blanket to cool and I start again with perhaps a different colour and the same frit and varying decorations and repeat. I will perhaps make 10-12 small decorated beads with what could loosely be described as a common theme - be it picking up on a particular colour, or just using the same frit or style of decoration throughout the beads. I then normally stop and have a brew whilst waiting for my beads to cool enough for me to "admire" my hotch-potch handiwork and see what I've got.

Once they have cooled sufficiently (I normally allow about 20 mins per bead before I take them out of the fibre blanket) then I can see how the colours have cooled and worked together. Usually after this I will be able to identify what is, or isn't, going to work as a set. I like to find that the sets that emerge from my testing are almost happy accidents. I find that if I sit down with a very firm idea of what I want to produce I will usually get frustrated and become disappointed with what I am producing but if I just trial and error the odds and sods then I will normally just develop a design that I am happy with. It is all too easy to look across the web and see what others have done and think - hmmmm yes I can do that - but the last thing I want to do is finding myself replicating someone elses work - what I want to do is be inspired by colour combinations and compositions. I love colour and have mountains of choice in my studio and I am having to consciously drag myself away from using my "old faithfuls". However much I love them I really do not just want to constantly churn out pink, grey and purple spotty beads!

So what have I discovered during my trials and errors? I love the watery qualities of transparent glass. I love the endless possibilities of using frit. I must work harder on testing the qualities of silver and reactive glasses - I know that my Hot Head will produce the goods and goddammit I will find out how!

And finally I really really must use up all the glassy goodies that I have before I invest in more..... and pigs might fly!