Monday, 25 August 2014

New Colours From CIM

Last week a little parcel dropped on my doormat from Tuffnell Glass it was full of exciting glass from CIM.   They are from top to bottom in the photo above : Gypsy, Cobblestone, Mahogany, Heartthrob, Tiger Lily, Poppy, Cinnamon, Mint Chip, Ginger (I think! The rod was broken and unlabelled so I will check but it looks like Ginger!) Whisper , Bubble Bath, Trapeze, Ice Floe, Corination Day and Primrose.

My first impression of the bundle was the beautiful opal colours of the Bubble Bath and Whisper.  The fantastic light purple of Trapeze, the subtle pastels of the Mint Chip and Ginger and the vibrant red of Heartthrob.

Next step to melt them down into beads to see how they behaved (From the right to left below the same glass as the list above)

The first glass in the flame was Bubble Bath which was abit shocky and spat all over my bench but after a gentle introduction to the flame it was fine.  This glass is opal in look and had a slightly mottled finish once it had been through the kiln process.

Whisper was another opal rod which produced a mottled finish once cool but with the same opal feel to it.  Primrose was another shocky rod but what a pretty pastel pink, not quite as intense as Gelly but lovely, another bead that might look lovely etched or tumbled and it  created an even colour once cool so I suspect it would be great in layered beads.
The Cinnamon Jelly also became streaky in the flame and has a streaky finish when cool.  Some people like this organic feel, personally I like my opaques to stay solid and clean so this one is not for me!  The other three red/orange colours were different, Heartthrob was slightly shocky but boy what a stunning red, a truly vibrant, rich colour my favourite red of the bunch and I will be needing more.

For those of you that like the oranges the Tiger Lily melted like a dream and has a very slight opal finish...I wonder what it would be like layerd, I suspect it would be slightly transparent.  The last red was the Poppy this glass also melted like a dream and like the Tiger Lily has a slightly opal finish when cool.  It is a shame I had no more time to test these glasses in layers but I will try and find time to do that and blog but Poppy I also suspect would be slightly transparent.

The brown glasses were all deep and rich, that is the Cobblestone, Gypsy, Mahogany and the glass I suspect is Ginger.  They all melted like a dream and each rod produced a solid colour bead.  I again want to experiment more particularly with the Gypsy which is an intense black which even under daylight lighting I can detect no blue or purple in there by eye.  The Ginger if that is what it is and I promise I will find out after the Bank Holiday was a beautiful colour perfect for a base colour and that and the beautiful Mint would look just fabulous etched I suspect.  The Mahogany made my mouth water it is almost the same colour as beautiful  rich milk chocolate and created a lovely block colour once cooled in a bead. (as seen above)

Let me mention at this point the Coronation Day (above),  I was excited to see such a deep purple, the rod has a slightly opal look to it and indeed when it was melted it became streaky and the bead created had a streaky look to it to.  A shame for me as I had my eye on it for some of my big layered beads but it was not to be!

Lastly the transparent Trapeze....what a fabulous colour and the Ice Floe.  Trapeze melts and stays as it is in the rod a beautiful very light mauve.  Ice Floe was a fascinating glass it created a finish that reminded my for the Foxs Glacier Mints of my childhood!  Lots of tiny bubbles within the bead almost like it has boiled....although usually I don't like rods that create an uneven finish when melted this one is an exception and I think it may have some use in my coastal beads as it does indeed remind me of ice/water.

Usually I would make a few beads layering the colours together to see how they behave when they are put together but I was very short on time and I thought I would do something different this time.  Opal colours in my experience can sometimes do lovely things with silver glass and that Trapeze was just asking to be mixed with some silver glass!

So the first mix I tried was with my favourite Kalypso which I applied over a base bead of Ice, lightly reduced and encased with 006 Clear.  The effect was not as dramatic as I was expecting....but that is the thing with glass isn't it when you expect something it doesn't happen and when you don't it does!!

Next I made a base bead of Whisper, this beautiful opal I was convinced would do something special, then I topped with Aion 2 and lightly reduced and encased in clear.  I still think there is something happening with this glass mix as you can see in the photo below and I will be testing it with other DH glass soon.

Last the star of the show I wanted to use my favourite colour in this batch which was the Trapeze but from experience felt it was to light to use as a base so I picked the other opal colour in the batch the Bubble Bath and made a small base bead.  I then encased it in Clio and very lightly reduced it.....rather than going for clear I used the Trapeze to encase the lightly reduced bead and then applied a layer of clear......006 which I now wish had been a DH clear but will do that next time!  The result was amazing......and completely by accident

The real difference was the application of a coloured transparent to the mix but this bead just glows I took it out of my photo set up which is daylight bulbs and popped it beside me on a bead mat and look at this......very little light at all and it is still glowing!!

So that is what I have discovered so far. The Swirl Technique you see in all these last beads is available as a tutorial in my Etsy Shop

I will pop up any further findings once I continue to play with these glasses but in the meantime race you to Tuffnell Glass to stock up on those opals and the lovely Trapeze and some Ginger and Mint and Hearthrob maybe!

Thank you for reading my blog and if you do make beads using this recipe I would love to see them and hear your thoughts you can post me a photo on my FB Page

Saturday, 2 August 2014

The International Society Glass Beads - The Gathering - Houston 2014

The Gathering is an annual event hosted by the ISGB, The International Society Glass Beads, and this year Houston was the destination. Glass artists and enthusiasts travelled from around the world to gather as part of our international glass tribe and focus on nothing else but glass for a few days.

I traveled out to Houston with my friends Amanda Muddimer and David Knight of and Linda Newman,Earthshine Lampwork Beads and Jewellery Design.

I met Manda and David at their house as we all live close to each other in North Devon in the UK and we with much laughter then  proceeded to squeeze three huge suitcases and ourselves into their diminutive car and set off on our adventure.  Amanda had been asked to be a  presenter at the conference and was teaching to so we had arranged to arrive a few days prior to the start of the fun to get ourselves aclimatised to the impossible heat and humidity of Houston in July and to give us a chance to get over the jetlag.  This early arrival gave me an opportunity to book on a class with Jari Anne Sheese an artist who's work I have admired from afar for a number of years, She makes the most incredible ornate Ornaments and Genie Bottles as well as fabulous buttons and I ended up bring home one of my very own that she had made.

As we live about 4 or so hours away from Heathrow we had decided to book a room in a cheap hotel before the flight and ended up in the Easy Hotel which is part of the Easy Jet group.....lets just say it was an experience and the decor hardly made for a peaceful nights sleep but it was dead cheap!!

 The breakfast at Heathrow more than made up for the lack of extravagance of the hotel and we tucked in before starting our journey onward to the USA.

The Gathering this year was being held at the Hyatt Hotel, a vast conference hotel downtown in Houston.  Not a hotel to stay in if you have vertigo as it was about 24 stories high and the lifts patroled up and down the vast atrium like something from a sci fi movie. 

Our rooms were on the 17th floor so high enough to give you the wobbles if you looked down and the whole hotel must have been built on rollers or at least built to sustain the weather that can blow through the state of Texas from time to time as it seemed to be ever moving.  Like one was aboard a huge cruise liner the ground beneath my feet never felt 'still', and this, combined with the incredible humidity that would steam all the windows on the ground floor so you could not see the street, made me feel like I was on some glassy island. To venture out into the City was not a comfortable experience given the heat averaging about 100 degrees!

But when you have travelled from little old Devon to Texas a journey of many thousands of miles and many hours we had to brave the elements and see abit of Houston so, on our day off on the first Sunday, taking a deep breath we caught the bus and had a retail experience the like of which you are hard pressed to find in our part of the world, every designer under the sun and Manda and I darted from shop to shop.  After a few hours boredom got the better of David untill he found a fish tank to play with!

Monday was a busy day for Manda and David as the filming started for her presentation so I left them to it and had an adventure of my own.

I took the opportunity to meet up with some Facebook Friends who I had never met before!  We 'met' through our mutual love of Dogs....Lakeland Terriers and Airedales and I was thrilled to meet my Milly Lamb's Canine FB friends Bailey and Lexie and of course John and Nancy who showed me around and gave me a huge Texas welcome. 

Then on Wednesday the fun began with my class with Jari.  We had two days to learn how to make and construct these beautiful Ornaments and Genie Bottles!

 And remarkably under Jari's wonderful instruction we all managed to achieve our very own!

And here they are:

During this time there were also a range of one day and mini workshops on everything from Beadrolling with Donna Felkner to Photography with Doug Baldwin to writing an Ebook with Diane Woodall and of course lots of glassy workshops too, infact the choice suited every taste and skill set.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evening were open torch night.....time to watch others at work, talk glass and play with fire!!

Thursday Arrived and the start of the Conference we decided to breakfast early and Amanda managed to sell some beads to another guest in the hotel as we were eating our bagels!!

Then the Conference started to swing and first a huge goodie bag...YAY!!

The opening of the Vendors Area with a huge array of glass, tools, torches, findings and the Bead Of Courage Stand.   I managed to spend far to much on glass and tools but was absolutely thrilled to bits when the Girls at Bethlehem Burners gave me an Alpha Torch, I had been runner up two years running in their Show Me Your Glass competition on FB and they thought I deserved one!  Well I was not gonna argue, so grateful and cannot wait to get it set up in my own workshop and give it a go.

The day continued with a choice of events, A couple of really informative Instructor seminars run by Marcy Lamberson,  a very useful First Time Attendee meeting, the AGM, and various others followed by an opening night Drinks Reception where we got to mingle and chat with friends old and new.

The Conference began early on the Friday morning and were treated to a  succesion of inspiring and motivational speakers and presenters.  Gwen Rukenbrod who is the Executive Director at Society of North American Goldsmiths  was our Keynote Speaker...both inspiring and thought provoking she asked us all to explore our superpowers and shared a great video from Eppy Bird  to make us all think outside the box and be ourselves.

As an aside she and I ended up talking hairstyles at the Banquet on the Saturday night and decided we were 'hair' sisters, her wanting my copper and me wishing I could go blond again! 

 Then followed a procession of great presentations from  Bill Struve, Lisa St Martin, Stephanie Sersich, Monique Swinkels and Sage Holland

Friday also saw the Gallery Tour with the RAD: Radically artistic in design, Fired UP! A personal interpretation of inner light and the pOtrait exhibition

Saturday was the much anticipated Bead Bazaar with a host of flameworkers presenting and selling their glass, each one at the top of the game and it was an inspiring, if expensive day!!

Left to Right : Jeri Warhaftig, Libby Leutchman, Holly Cooper and Lori Peterson

Holly Cooper

Ali Vandergrift and her lovely mum!


Lori Greenberg
Joy Munshower and David Knight
Libby Leutchman and David Knight...he gets around!!

Marcy Lamberson

The talent in the room was amazing and there were so many artists I would have loved to buy from but Ali Vandergrift, Alive Glass was top of my list so her table was the first I raided.  It was so lovely to meet her as we have been FB friends for a while, and her mum what a cute couple!  And what a whopper! YAY!!

I was completely blown away by Lori Greenberg's incredible artwork they are SO on my wishlist for the future...

I bought a few, and traded a few, and came home with a sackful of beads.  There was also a Vendors area and I couldn't resist a ring by Lisa Liddy at Metal Me this having seen the one Marcy Lamberson was wearing in my class.  I then bought this Anenome Glass top from Marcy and couldnt resist this little Bluebird of hers which I left in LA with my sister when I visited her after The Gathering

 Having chatted with her on Facebook, I at last got to meet, and share some time with, the very talented Joy Munshower, we had the pleasure of enduring a shuttle bus cock up and a sleepy taxi driver to!!  Her work is incredible and we were treated to a presentation of one of her beautiful horse beads as part of the conference.....this little piggy had to come home with me!

I also now am a proud owner of a lot of new beads including  this stunning bead by my new friend Holly Cooper  Her work is indescribable the stringer work on these beads is sublime!

 I have always been an admirer of cold work and there was some simply lovely examples of coldworking on display at the Bead Bazaar but as my wallet was getting lighter I had a real wrestle with what to buy but in the end this great piece of work by Libby Leuchtman another glass artist who's work I have been admiring from afar for a while came home to the UK with me.

So the frenzy of the Bead Bazaar over it was time for more excitement with The Gathering Banquet and the live auction.  There had been a silent auction happening during the period of the Gathering with some great prizes up for grabs but the live auction had some amazing prizes, a Wesley Fleming Bee, a box full of Double Helix Glass, Bethlehem Burner Torches and the icing on the cake a room and some expenses towards the Hotel in New Mexico where the Gathering is to be held in 2015 to name a few!  A great atmosphere and a real buzz!

Linda won the fashion awards for the evening with her fab necklace and outfit!

The Hall of Flame Award was also awarded during the banquet and was given to Heather Trimlett a hugely popular choice with the crowd!

After a night filled with laughter it was Sunday and Amanda's Day with her presentation first up.  She rocked it and I was immensly proud to be her friend and representing the UK for the Gathering.  David, I, Linda and their good friend Jim Berry sat in the front row and cheered her on!!


A day of inspiring presentations followed from : Rashan Jones Joy Munshower Patty Lakensmith Aja Vaz and Nancy Tobey

The week had sped by and the last thing on the agenda was the Bead Swop which was a great event with Lampworkers of every level sharing and trading beads.  My favourite swops were this fabulous bead by another new friend  Kim Fields

and this amazing ring by Sharon Peters

I came away with a bag full of treasures and memories of all the artists I had met and traded with

I have met so many of my US Facebook friends for real, made new friends and caught up with old friends.  I have shared so much with others who, like me have the passion of glass in their lives and had a blast.  I know there are people who I have shared time with who should be in this blog but I have run out of steam!!   Organising the photos and writing this has taken a couple of days!!

Aja Vaz, Joy Munshower, Stephanie Serscich

My Class with Jari

 So many dinners out with friends new and old.....

And what was happening whilst I was away in Devonland......well that is a whole other story!

 So until next year Thank you ISGB for a truly inspiring and memorable week in Texas!