Monday, June 30, 2008

Fall's First Leaf

Updates have been a bit scant lately since I've been experimenting so much with new techniques, glasses and tools. You've been very patient and now I have something new that's coming to my Etsy Shop in the morning.

May I present: Fall's First Leaf.

This leaf pendant is a mixture of two different colors of Borosilicate glass which is partially what created the cool mix of colors that drape across this bead.

Working with the hard glass is very interesting and challenging, but I'm sure I'll get used to it soon. One thing is for sure, I will definitely need some new shaping tools since boro is so much stiffer, I had a terrible time getting the leaf pattern pressed into the glass. Now I know why they make such a wide range of leaf presses; one size does not fit all!

I'll be adding this pendant to my Etsy Shop in the morning, so please stop by to see the rest of the pictures and check it out.

Have a great night, all!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

One Lovely Bead

The new tools sparkled on the workbench, beckoning him to try them out and see what new creations he could create.

The first bead he made was fairly good, although not as symetrical as he would have liked.

Beads two and three went right into the water can with a couple of curses.

Four went into the kiln, only to later be thrown into the trash when it came back out as its shape was a complete disaster.

The new tools did not seem to be helping at all. "Practice makes perfect", he thought and pressed on further.

Five showed real promise, as did six. However, the final step in the beads design sent them both off kilter.

Hours passed and more and more beads went into the water can. More curses followed them and more glass was wasted with little to no improvement in the success rate of the beads.

Growing ever more impatient and ever more doubtful of having any skill with glass whatsoever, it was time to quit. Put the new tools away, turn off the torch and stomp out of the studio.

A small, still part of his mind, which was wiser and calmer than the remainder of his cognitive abilities, suggested making one last bead, but not with the new tools. The old way.

He grabbed a few different colors that he would use in the new bead and began creating one focal bead.

The glass melted as can be expected and the pattern blossomed with ease. The glass flowed and he balanced it with years of practice as he had done so many times before.

The water can sat silent and unnoticed. No curses were hurled.

And into the kiln went one lovely bead.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Two New Web Updates

This weekend I was able to put up two new updates to my website and bring a couple of the galleries up to date with recent photos.

I've added the pictures of my custom order of hollows and the latest organic focals to their respective galleries. Check out the What's New section of my site for all of the details and links.

I also got to try out my new Mandrel Spinner and see how that works. It worked quite well, but I need to prepare and dip my new set of mandrels that I bought for it several months ago in preparation of its arrival. My current mandrels are bit too bent after several years of use and the mandrel spinner does not allow me to compensate for the defects in the mandrels alignment as I can do when spinning the mandrels manually.

I assure you that I will have the new mandrels ready to go in short order and will some lovely new beads to show you soon!

Have a great night!

P.S. In case you're wondering out the podcast I was working on a while back, I've decided to hold off until I can add video to the cast. As I worked on pulling it together, I really had a problem with defining its purpose and scope without video. It just seemed like I was speaking blog entries rather than doing something new or informative.

I have plans for tutorial videos once I get a video camera. It will come, I promise!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Abracadabra! It's Magic!

Or at least it looks like it has magical powers.

Sparkling with supernatural shades of color, this borosilicate focal bead must really be seen in person to be appreciated.

I've entitled it "Sand & Magic".

A double encased core of tans and cremes is surrounded by layered dots of the same core color and clear boro for a great texture and maximized light refraction.

The raised dots feel great on your fingers as you rub them around the bead.

I'll be adding this my Etsy Shop tomorrow morning with more pictures and complete specs on the bead.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Meet The Boro Gang!

That's the name of my new set of beads that I made using Borosilicate (hard) glass. I love how these beads came out with their bright cores and clear encasing. The colors just jump off the beads.

These accent beads will look great in just about any design, so don't be shy. Play around with them a bit.

Each one is an experiment in color and design to see what the colors I've got can really do. Notice how the colors are not solid, like in my other glass designs, but actually look like threads of color that varies in each of the sections.

One of the blue colors I used has created an almost sapphire like brilliance that reflects the light out of the bead like a mirror. Very cool.

I even have one bead that has a series of punged dots (on the left end of the strand) against a background that is peacock blue and purple. It's all one rod of glass, but came out in several shades of colors.

I will definitely be playing with Boro much much more!

Be sure to see these beads in my Etsy Shop tomorrow. There'll be lots more pictures and information about the beads.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, June 16, 2008

My First Boro Listing - Sky City

This afternoon at lunch, I listed my first boro bead in my Etsy Shop.

This bead is an encased creation that kind of got away from me a bit and didn't turn out like I was expecting. However, it did create a really interesting formation in shades of blues, greens and tans that I think is pretty cool.

Unfortunately, since I didn't get the pictures taken until I came home for lunch, I didn't get a chance to post advance notice for Sky City.

You can see the listing and all of the pictures of Sky City HERE.

Let me know what you think!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The New Adventure Begins!

My first boro beads are out of the kiln, cleaned and drying downstairs. I'll be able to photo them tomorrow and begin loading the first of the new beads into my shop.

After the first couple of attempts at focals, I ended up focusing on accent beads. Simple designs in many colors to let me get the hang of working the harder glass. The bead colors are really cool and unique looking.

One of my mistakes actually looks pretty cool and I think I'll be calling it "Sky City", since that's what it looks like.

Would you like to wear a city around your neck?

Since Borosilicate is a harder glass--much harder, I had turn up the flame a lot higher than I usually need to with the soft glass. It's an interesting sensation to be working with that much heat, but I love how the colors came out...more will be coming soon.

Have a great night, All.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

What's Up?

Some of you may have noticed that there have been fewer posts and new items lately than I usually have going here, so I thought I'd give you a glimpse into what's currently going on here.

First off, my partner has been cast in two summer shows up in Wisconsin. This means that he will be gone for the next few months and we have many preparations to make so that he can go and not worry about us here.

Second, I am considering going back to school and weighing my options. There's a class this summer that would give me a good intro into the coursework and let me see if I will like this type of work (it's still computers, but a bit more creative field).

With all that's going on, I haven't had as much time to work on the torch.

Not to worry, more new items will be coming soon.

I have re-listed several items that you might be interested in so please check out My Shop to see what's come up this week.

In addition, I will be playing with Boro (short for Borosilicate - aka pyrex) for the first time and seeing how I like the colors and how the glass works up. Keep an eye out for some beads that don't look like my other designs in the upcoming weeks.

That's the long and the short of it for now. Thanks for stopping by, and let me know if I can be of service to you.

Hope you're having a great night!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

That Hollow Feeling!

I've just completed a custom order for a new customer who found me on Etsy, the web site where I keep my store, and I wanted to share with you the results.

The order was for a set of 30 hollow beads in light teal, light amber and fuchsia pink. While the teal and amber ones were done first, the fuchsia ones were a bit of a challenge.

Soft glass does not have a fuchsia that is reliable; that is to say, it tends to not want to be worked in the flame for long nor does it like starts and stops in its glass flow when making the beads. I tried several different manufacturers of the glass, but could not get the fuchsia to come out.

Hollow beads do not exactly come off the rod in a one piece, and it does take a while for the glass to melt, flow and inflate in order for the bead to take shape...this takes time which the pink glass abhors!

Fortunately, I had some wonderful fuchsia frit and used that to color transparent hollows to the nice fuchsia shade.

I'd made the last set of the beads on Sunday and cleaned them up last night. Tonight I strung the beads onto the leather cords by set and took the pictures.

I've forwarded the pictures to my customer, but thought you might like a look too.

I hope she likes her new beads!

Have a great night!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Bead And Button Success!

My trip up to Milwaukee for the Bead & Button Show this weekend was a very big success. I was able to get the new tools and supplies that I wanted and then some while still remaining under budget!

How often does that ever happen?

Among my souvenirs are a pair of shades that will snap onto my normal didydium glasses for working with the hard glass, Borosilicate. In conjunction with this purchase, I also got my first rods of boro in several colors for some great new beads that will be coming soon.

I also got my hands on some dichroic glass, new shaping tools, silver foil and some new books to learn even more cool techniques.

Saturday was a very good day, and I can't wait to share with you the new items that I'm planning on creating in the coming weeks.

Unfortunately, I didn't think to get any pictures of the market while I was there, so I can't show you anything in pictures. Sorry, I guess I wasn't thinking!

I almost didn't get to leave since the show was held open longer due to some severe weather that hit Milwaukee while I was shopping. There were a number of tornadoes around the area and I did see a building that had been blown over or hit with a tornado a few blocks south of the show while I was trying to get back onto the freeway.

Since the building appeared that it might have been abandoned, I can only hope that no one was hurt when the bricks came down.

I hope you all had a very safe and happy weekend!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

New Tools Arrived--Bead & Button Weekend!

My new tools arrived today from Scott over at BearFootArt after several weeks of waiting for them to be made. I can't wait to try them out, but it just so happens that this is Bead & Button weekend!

I saw them demoed last year at the Bead & Button Show and I've watched the movies of them in action. There's a number of new techniques that I want to try once I get used the new tools. Keep an eye on my Etsy Shop for some new designs!

Bead & Button Show

I'll be heading up to Milwaukee on Saturday to spend the day looking at all the new toys and glass at the market. If you're in the area, I would really recommend it.

The market is huge and you can see glass beads from artists around the world, new glass vendors for both Boro and soft glass, new tools, suppliers and just about anything else you can imagine in the bead and jewelry market.

Last year I was fortunate to take a class there and spend several days, but that just didn't work out this year. Maybe next year, but I'm not missing the market!

Watch Out For The Breaking Wave

My latest focal bead that I will be adding to Etsy tomorrow is entitled "The Breaking Wave" since the design on the bead at the top looks a lot like a wave on a very deep ocean. Ivory foam of the the wave pours over the side along the surface in a very cool design.

The deep ocean currents are a variety of the deep rich colors in greens and grays, while the upper portion of the bead is dominated with light purples and ivory colors.

This bicone is accented with rich black ends that make the colors really stand out.

Don't forget to stop by My Shop tomorrow and see the new bead. This one will be posted in the mid-morning time.

Sleep Tight!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Time For A Little Creme Soda

While I like rootbeer, there's always been a special place in my heart for Creme Soda--usually A&W Creme soda. No diet stuff. The actual stuff.

So imagine my pleasure when this bead came out of the kiln and my first thought was "It looks just like a frothy creme soda." So that is the name I've given this long barrel bead.

There's a lot depth to this bead and the swirls have been reworked by gravity to give it a wonderful wave effect. The golden shades of light and dark amber, light brown and two shades of ivory really worked out for a classic color combination with lots of possibilities for your designs.

I'll be posting this focal into my Etsy Shop sometime tomorrow, so please check by often. It will probably be a late afternoon, early evening listing.

Hope you have a great night!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A Painted Tear - Coming To Etsy Soon!

No, this tear is not for Hillary Clinton...unless of course she buys it!

This tear is a new organic focal bead that I made on Sunday with a tear-shape that is awash in colors and patterns.

Rich pinks and bright reds collide and the various other glass colors react to create a subdued palette with brilliant punches of color in this cone focal. A cap of black glass sits atop the bead as the colors spiral around the ever-widening base.

There is a lot to see of this bead, and I hop you can stop in and take a look at it in my Etsy Shop tomorrow morning. There'll be plenty of pictures so you can see this bead from all angles.

Have a great night, and thanks for stopping by!

Monday, June 2, 2008

More New Ones Coming!

I hope you all had a terrific day.

Today was a very good day on Etsy as two of my focal beads sold. I am so pleased, words can hardly express my feelings.

I re-listed this flaming tree focal in my Etsy Shop today. It has an organic background and bright leaves in several Autumn shades.

It's one of my favorites, and I hope you can stop by and see it if you missed it on the first time around!

More new beads are coming to my shop on Wednesday, so stop in here tomorrow night for a preview.

Have a great night!