The second round of glass beads

Here are the results of my second time playing with glass and fire. In this one above I used a reduction frit and silver foil. I have no idea if those are the correct terms, but thats what I remember! The dark dots in the center are where the little flecks of frit made contact with the hot bead and melted in. Pretty neat huh? I don't even understand exactly what chemical process is happening yet but I think it has something to do with bringing metals out of the colored glass. The wild thing is that you need to change the flame to make the process work. If I remember correctly the mixture of oxygen/propane is made more propane rich to become a reduction flame. I've got to do some reading on it to get my facts straight though.

I sure am enjoying whatever time I get to make these beads. Right now it's about 3 hours a week. I'm sure if I had my own studio it would be more like 3 hours a day!

Here are the rest of the beads:)

Custom Watch Band

This is a watch band I made for a woman that I met in my lampworking class. She saw a couple of pieces that I was wearing and really enjoyed the style of the spirals as they remind her of ferns which are her love and topic of lecture at local colleges. Forgive me Ruth, I can't remember what exactly you teach except that it is about ferns! lol..

The watch was an anniversary gift from her husband about 15 years ago and I feel honored that she asked me to create a band for it. Previously it had a reversable band of black and brown leather. This was particularly a fun piece to make because I've never done a watch band and it provided more than one challenge I had to work through.

After I got the silver on the band done, Ruth chose the array of tourmaline colors that you see here. Hopefully she's going to love it! I get to give it to her tomorrow. I think I'll appreciate it even more when the wire ages a bit and it gets a bit of a patina going to match the dark and light areas of the watch face.

Here are some more images:

The First Glass Beads (you asked for it!)

Now somebody who knows what they are doing would most likely cringe at the above close up of a bead, but I think it's awesome!

On Sunday I went to the glass studio for the second time. It was an open studio and I was the only one that showed up so I got to play at the torch for a few hours and chat with the instructor about making beads and cats (he has 5 very cute kitties).

Here are two of them:

It was a great day and I get to go do it again next Sunday (very excited). While there, I made seven more beads and I think I got a little closer to getting them round at least. I'm not playing with a real broad color selection so the colors aren't my favorites, but its all about learning the techniques right now. I did learn a new technique to kind of spin one color into another making a spiraly, wavy kinda thing. Can't wait to see them next week!

So... Here are some photos of the 2 beads that I made on the first day of class, thus my first glass beads:) They have their issues and they haven't had their holes cleaned out, but here they are in all their glory.

I'm still pounding away at the wire creating too. Right now I'm working on a custom watch band for a woman I met at the first lampworking class as well as some cute little angel/fairy/goddess kind of things. Photos and posts soon to come!

My First Lampworking Class

It was pretty darn cool watching glass melt into this colorless raging hot orange molten glob. Mesmerizing to say the least. Getting the hot glass onto the mandrel (metal rod that you make the bead on), was fun, but I'll tell ya, I am definitely round bead challenged!

I found this class through our county yahoo group. I was pretty thrilled to say the least and nervous because I hadn't done anything as a newbie in a long time. I've tended to stay away from things other than wire working because I have a history of going full force into each new medium that I try and then I have too much crap and not enough time to play with said crap.
I mean, I could do wirework alone for so many years and never hit a limit.

I've thought about getting into PMC and lampworking for years, but due to money and time constraint I haven't done it. This time I did it anyway. Yay! The class took place in Willits, CA with artist Matt Marchand. He has a sweet little studio that fits 6 people. It's in his garage with lots of open doors and windows for ventilation. Here's a photo of the studio and my classmates (I am hiding behind the camera as I so enjoy doing!)
I found the emotional process I went through before and after this class really interesting.

At the beginning I was utterly excited - and into the class as well. Of course I couldn't do much well being it was my first time, but I was okay with that. By the end of the day though, I think I was just plain tired and maybe a bit frustrated and went home thinking , 'I am so thrilled that I'm not in love with lampworking!' I was happy because I wouldn't have to worry about creating a suitable studio, spending money, taking time away from other things, etc. Then, as the evening wore on I could... not... stop... thinking about it! Obsessed is the only word that comes to mind. Day and night all I could think about was getting back to that flame. I wondered if it was just me romanticizing the process and my love of master glassworkers pieces, or if I really can't wait to do it again. I dare say I've driven my partner just a little bit crazy! lol.

In any case, there wasn't much I could do about it because I don't have facilities available to try it again until our teacher Matt has open studio hours which (yay!) are coming up next Sunday. I think I need to seriously play with the glass a few more times to see where my heart really is. Is it in love or in lust? Time will tell. In the mean time, here are 2 more photos from class. One is just a pile of glass scraps that I couldn't stop trying to figure out a way to use them! They are so pretty to look at. The second is my funny attempt at making stringers, which are essentially hot glass pulled apart so that it thins in the middle -kind of like pulling taffy apart I think? These ones were made with two colors so that we twisted them as we pulled them apart. Pretty neat huh? In the end they are used for decorating beads.

Unfortunately I have no finished beads to show because it was a one day class and we couldn't take our beads home until they were properly annealed, which takes some hours. We were also just working with a lot of practice glass and I don't even know if I'll be able to recognize any of what I made! I'll check it out when I go to the studio next week though - maybe I'll be able to recognize my own bit of off-round craziness!

A Finished Bracelet

First let me say... "WooHoo!! I finished something!" I've been having a teeny little problem in that area lately. LOL. And actually taking pictures of finished pieces? Well that's a whole 'nother story.

This is the maybe the 3rd or 4th bracelet I've made over the years. I usually make pendants, but I had so much fun with this that I'm sure I will have to make more.

It is made with Argentium sterling silver wire, sapphires and emeralds. I thought about adding in a third color, but for now, this is it, I kinda like just the blue and green. This is one of those pieces that challenges me in pricing for sale because it took me so long to weave. It's one of those moments where you realize that being someone who loves to make one of a kind pieces without pre-planning a design, doesn't much leave you able to cover the cost of labor because each step in creating is a little slower than if I were doing a similar thing each time.

I'm beginning to adjust to that fact in pricing jewelry. I'd rather get paid for my time at a reasonable rate, but I'd also rather see my pieces on someone else other than myself! lol.. But for now, this baby is mine:)

As an afterthought, now I'm wondering, would any of you like to through some prices around since you don't know any of the creating details?

Here are a couple of "in action" photos:

And here are a couple more of the finished piece. Thanks for looking:)

All-That-I-Am on Etsy:


Inspired by Iza Malczyk's tutorials

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Simply put, I'm a wire and gem jewelry freak! I like to string, twist, weave, wrap, form, and decorate with gems, wire and other earthy beauties. If you want to know more please click on the "About" tab at the top of the page. To contact me, check my blogger profile (click below) ... Thanks!