Monday, 30 April 2012

April Showers!

My May Blog post has arrived early. The grizzley weather in the UK and a day off mean that I have time to sit down and tell you my news.  

First things first... I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has bought from me during April, I had a crazy month and it was so exciting to feel that people where liking what I am creating and are not being detered in buying by all the doom and gloom that our various ecomonies are heaping on us.  A few colourful beads is what everyone needs to cheer themselves up and I have been buying some too!!

So what news..........

Prior to my trip to the US earlier in the year I made myself a lovely big necklace with big chunky beads in lots of lovely colour that all measured in the region of 35mm in diameter (3.5cm) so it made a real statement. 

 I was asked so many times if it was for sale that I sat down when I got home and started making similar beads to sell and the option of buying a bespoke one in colours of your choice.  My first commission one was black and white which was a hard one for me....I love colour and most of my work is full of colour so this pushed me to the limit, but I really enjoyed it as I had to think much more about pattern than I sometimes do with colour and I was really pleased with the result.

I then had a customer who wished to make her own up so she bought beads over the course of a week as I uploaded them.  I found this really interesting as some I would have chosen for a bespoke random colour necklace but some I would not have so it showed me an entirely different combination of beads to my own.  These beads and the ball chain necklace are going to be a permanant fixture in my Etsy shop as they are proving really popular.  I am going to endeavour to upload a few a day which means that there will be ongoing choice for everyone.

 I have always loved creating big mandala style glass wheels and have up untill recently always tried to stick with colours that don't react against each other or bleed or web as I felt that comprimised the design.

I have tried experimenting with colours that actually react together and can cause some interesting effects and these new wheels have also proved very popular......

I love the way some glasses react creating lines that almost look like they have been painted or drawn onto the bead and the slight smudgy effect which also looks like it has been painted on rather than being created in the flame.

I also had a delivery of cupcake murrine.  A Facebook friend of mine had a beautiful Airedale Terrier who sadly passed away after a battle with illness.  At the end of her life the only thing that she could be tempted to eat was cupcakes so when I saw that Lori Peterson had created some cupcake murrine I bought some straight away and made my friend a 5mm pandora style bead to have on her bracelet as a reminder of Ruby.  

I had a few murrines left over so decided to do something abit mad with it and this big P!nk Sputn!ck was born!!

So there we are I have written far more than I usually would...I hope you are still with me?  So onto Milly my Lakeland.....she has to feature in my blog each month it has become abit of a tradition.

So we have had the UK Flame Off in April organised by Tuffnell Glass It is a great place to meet other flameworkers, buy lots of glass and watch some international and uk artists demonstrate their skills.  One of those artist was Claudia Trimbur Pagel who makes the most lovely beads with meticulous stringer work (fine lines of glass) and she makes great DOGS!!  I had to have one and this one just reminded my so much of my Milly!

 I think it is the ears!!

Thank you for reading my blog and Happy Melting to all  you Flameworkers out there :0)

Thursday, 19 April 2012

My Adventures with Anise far!

I am a member of an online glass forum and I was posing a question the other day about a batch of soft white glass that I had that was shocking like popcorn all over my studio when it was introduced into the flame.   I had all but lost my patience with it and it was about to be thrown under my bench when a more experienced and talented fellow forum member Sally Carver, suggested this.....

 I think "Soft White" may possibly actually be Anice white. A few years ago I swear this glass was as rare as hen's teeth. I even remember there being fights about getting it in the US. Seems a bit odd that they're now flogging it off as white.
If it is Anice (and not some kind of Alabaster) then it's really nothing like White but it does do some REALLY funky things. Try laying stringers of it over black and you'll get a purple keyline running through the stringer. (Actually - try that anyway - to check whether you have Anice). If it is Anice you have then you can do cool things like this with it:

So yesterday armed with this information and having read the information available I headed back out to the studio to experiment and here is what I found.  To start with I followed the tutorial by Jim Smircich and layered up Anise White (soft white 208) with some this case Reinenbach Dense Black and worked in a slightly reducing flame.  I then got out my fuming kit and silver fumed it and this is what happened the blacks turning blue and purples and the white ranging from white to mustard/ochre yellow.

So not being satisfied with that I was wondering how this would react with other glass, I have had some success with shards and stringers that incorporate Petrol Green and Iris Blue so decided to experiment with those first.  I started by layering the Iris blue with the white and did not see much reaction so being the impatient type and this being experiment time I covered this with petrol Green and white and followed the same instructions and this is the reaction I got.....this one I encased but It has some lovely sandy webbing going on there....

So then I too some black and made a black lentil and covered it in white stringers and some of my own handmade reactive stringers and produced this.....again some lovely webbing going on...this one has not been fumed just worked in the flame and then I etched it....

So now I was on a roll I was wondering what would happend if I gold fumed some of the mixes I had tried so I made a round bead in Intense Black and decorated it with Anise White stringers and some of my own reactive stringers and gold fumed it....I was stunned when this beauty popped out of the kiln this morning!

You can see on this bead clearly where the white stringers have been placed they produce that lovely dark line running through that goldy mustardy line in the bead and what is difficult to photograph is the shiny quality to this due to the fuming.  It also looks like it has been etched but it hasn't this is just what happened during the process.

So Now I thought I would experiment abit so I took a couple of my favourite glasses which for the moment I am gonna keep to myself (sorry!)  and I made a bead half in one glass and half in the other and then I laid on white stringers to create square shapes working in a slightly reducing flame as before then I gold fumed it and .......

You can see that this lovely pink appeared with definate lines where the Anise White had been, a cool effect that I am gonna experiment further.  You can also see the two shades of pink the top of the bead is a darker richer bubblegum pink.

So taking this information I then made a big lentil in the glass I used for the top half of this bead and  Anise White...layering it up randomly.  Once I had the shape I added my own stringers and Gold fumed the bead and I was stunned this morning to pull this out of the kiln.  Sadly the bead cracked as did alot of my other experimental much peering at them and not enough time in the flame!!

The stringers I used are the same as the ones I used on my etched black bead....I just love what has happened to them during this process.

So there we are....I will be experimenting more over the next week or so and really want to try and incorporate some of this knowledge into my Swirl Beads

For those of you who may not have seen Swirl Beads....this is one below and I have a tutorial on the process to achieve it available in my Etsy Shop :

And to finish I am excited to say that Milly and her Freind Patrick have been featured in this months issue of Devon Life Magazine here in the UK! and here they are flying on the long the beach at Westward Ho!

Thank you for reading my blog and Happy Melting to all you Glassy People out there!!