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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lampwork Lacework........ Cheezy but gotta try it!

After attending the Sydney Beadmakers group meeting at Goglass studio at Bilgola (an extraordinarily gorgeous part of Australia) after the usual shenanigans which involved lots of eating, drinking, oooohing and aaaaahing over each other's show and tell and lots of intense discussions about new glass colours and new things to do with old glass colours we had some demo's, one of which was by Emily from New Zealand (who's work can be found She did a couple of great demo's with boro work, an implosion and also some "lacework". I had seen the cheaparse lacework stuff in the $2 shop before and thought that it would be a shame if people thought that's what all us lampworkers spent our time making, like an Aussie version of a chinese glass making sweatshop - the only difference being the swearing is in English and not chinese!

After seeing Emily do it using some boro, I was bitten by the bug...... that nasty little bug that says in your ear "let try to do this"...... so Trinar one of the lovely lampy ladies and I decided to give each other a challenge to try it out and to post up the results no matter how ugly or unrecognisable it turned out. By some MIRACLE mine actually did come out looking like a little glass basket so I had to be happy with that.

Brace yerself............
You construct it sort of like knitting with glass, it was quite difficult to melt just the right volume of glass, maintain a hot seal (so it doesn't fall completely apart later) and loop around evenly time after time. I have to say that Emily made it look rather easy...... choke..... it bloody well wasn't!
I was quite happy with how it did turn out and the kids now want me to make something like this for Easter presents for friends...... but given that I really do think it looks cheap and cheezy, I think NOT!!!!!!
I was thinking that this technique might actually come in handy for a skirt for an angel sculpture of something like that...... otherwise it feels a bit like a dud! Very good practice using the glass manipulation skills though, so not a complete loss!

Monday, February 22, 2010

A blown bead that is now a "squidgy"

Well here is one of those less than epic tails of a good bead..... turned bad....... turned good again, mostly by accident. You gotta love those!

I was making some more blown beads (smaller with a thicker wall so they can be tougher) when I got a bit keen and after puntying up and removing the blowpipe I was distracted by a cricket (not the lampworking torch, but an actual bug type cricket). The bugger landed on my arm, so after some screaming and waving around of the puntied up hollow bead I realised that I had overheated the bead somewhat and it has collasped quite a bit....... BUGGER (ok there were way more swear words at the time). Knowing that there was really no recovery from this point on, I grabbed the end of the bead with my tweezers and pulled to remove it from the punti....... well it went into an interesting shape!!! Seeing as I has been using some reichenbach multicolour swirled lightly over some transparent glass, I thought that if I could save it a "bit" and seeing as the hole was still intact (if not a bit twisted) that I might as well pop it in the kiln. I then went and repeated the exercise deliberately and this is what came out of the kiln and got strung up very basically this morning.

I have decided to call them "squidgies", they once were round but are now all squidgie-afied!

Hmmmmmm, I am very happy with these and they are really lovely and comfortable to wear. I am definitely going to make some more. I MAY even get Grace (my eldest feral girl at 12 years) to take some photos like a mini tutorial that I can load up for people just for fun.

I am in the middle of an EPIC email to a lovely friend....... its still coming, but I keep thinking of something else to add! Don't you hate it when you have been a slack mongrel and then you've built up an email the size of war and peace just to catch up on the basic stuff! Sometimes I need a good flogging I tell you!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

No raging at the machine here - clockwork multicolour

Yep, it was another one of those ideas in the night that I just had to try. Some time ago I had bought myself a couple tiny containers of old watch parts, I have never really been into the steampunk stuff, but it did catch my eye. I thought that it could be really interesting to try encasing some cogs etc. into some clear glass and that is how this set of beads came about. I made the four square beads with one cog or watch bit in each window, some of them I have managed to overheat a little and they get a bit ...... well, bubbly. I was really happy with them going into the kiln and thought I would make a larger focal round bead with a few parts encased into it which I am really happy with. The surrounding glass was using a Reichenbach glass called multicolour......Its lovely stuff!

I strung it together this morning and thankfully it sits really nicely, so I might even keep it myself..... I always seem to say that, but end up selling or giving them away anyway!!!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A horse of course!

Yup, I've been making some horseheads again. I have worked very hard to improve these and even though each one is unique (sometimes in a dodgy way) I seem to have a really good one I am happy with come out about 25% of the time.

A very lovely lady from the Aussie beadingforum who is into horses asked me if I could make a few up, so here is one of them. There is lots of fluff on the pic, but you get the general idea. My early horse heads were much more trojan and stylised looking, but these latest version are more true to life. I had to really study some photos of local horses to see where the muscles of the neck actually lay!

The really funny thing about the horse beads is that whilst I enjoy making horse beads I actually rather dislike horses in real life. This dislike was courtesy of looking after my friends horses for her after she was out of hospital and I managed to get bitten, kicked and thrown about before I realised I was feeding them in the wrong order.

One extra nice thing to add is that I was part of a glass swap on Aussie beadinforum with lampwork and glass slumping to make something to the theme of Seaside. There are some lovely work as you can see below. It is great to see how everyone can take a different theme and make something unique with it

Monday, February 15, 2010

Practicing splash beads - Anne Londez style

After participating in the Anne Londez workshop held at Goglass in Sydney a bit over a week ago, I thought I should make an attempt at one of the techniques she taught us, her signature splash bead. Unfortunately for me, mine looked more like a splash you would get in a toilet bowl rather than a lovely splash of clear water Anne made, but I suppose its a start. I did at least remember to do the hot seals properly and I had no trouble with reheating the blown bubble to apply to the bead, so that is some headway on this technique. Needless to asy if you look at the pic, I really was bodgy at pulling out the actual splash, I am a quick and dirty girl most of the time, but this is one of those things I really should have spent some time to sort it out. I suppose this was a case of just seeing if I could remember how the process worked rather than perfecting the technique..... Anne was VERY fussy with her and so exacting I am sure if she saw my effort she would want to slap me in the back of the head a few times!!!!!

I made a second effort which was slightly better, but applied the splash component onto a spotty doughnut bead. I had to sort of squish the top part of the splash so that I can put it nicely onto a sliver bail, but generally I was quite happy with the result!

Excuse the bead release still on the pic!

I am still thinking that this technique might be very good for quite a few applications, one of which could be a way to put a halo onto an angel or for use as a marble stand!

Anyone thinking of doing some training should take the opportunity to learn with Anne, she was really excellent and spent a lot of time with each of us to perfect our techniques. Goglass as a studio was a gorgeous setting with Gail who owns it being one of the loveliest most generous ladies I have met in a long while!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Hollow Hollow......blown beads

After doing a course with Anne Londez (who was a wonderful teacher) I have been trying to practice my blown hollow beads - something I have always been very dodgy at!

One of the ladies on the course (Jo) was saying how lovely it is to have large glass beads strung together that when hollow aren't too heavy. I really hate how some of the necklaces I have made with my lampwork have felt quite heavy and give me a bit of a sore neck (probably predominantly psychological - not the usual PPP) Therefore I have been Practicing some hollow blown beads on my new Carlo Dona blowpipe (thanks to Anne for bringing them over from Europe) in between other "stuff". I have used all different types of soft 104coe glass in these and thought I might string the blue-toned ones together into a necklace for Mum........ I think she would really like having a light necklace even if it is a bit chunky!
I owe a lovely lady on beadingforum a few horse head beads too, so I will be getting my finger out to get them done. I really HATE it when I proscrastinate and owe someone something, it plays on my mind constantly, but yet I seem to have a talent for managing to put it off........

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A green dragon for luck .....hhmmmm

The dragon has emerged from the kiln! And he's come out severely on the ugly side. The pic's not great and was taken inside in my hand with the flash, so the colour is quite washed out, but I am certain I can do a much better job of this....... sort of hopefully certain anyway!
I am thinking of some raku for my next dragon scales with some goldstone for bling. I really have to work on the head too, I know the ones in the festivals are ugly too, but I really want to improve the face (the black nostrils were a particularly bad idea).

Idea in the middle of the night

Hmmm, well I had one of those "idea's in the night" that, even though you are dead tired and half asleep, you are too scared to forget and therefore stay on the cusp of wakefullness mulling it over. Normally I keep a notebook by the bed to write it down so I can then relax and sleep knowing I won't forget, but not last night. It was hot and muggy as well, so there's my excuse (a weak one though).

With all the stuff in the media about the chinese new year, I thought I might download some really bright pics of chinese dragons (those ones that the people all fit under and the legs hang out), then make a set of beads that when strung on a necklace will have the bright dragons head and then lots of "bits" of the dragons body that will sort of articulate a bit behind it. Its a great plan, and I am going out to the torch later today to see how I go with it, it should be interesting. The difficult thing might be getting the head of the dragon to sit nicely, I don't mind if the other bits spin around and sit upside down, but I really would like the head to sit flat. Not sure about how to tackle this one, I will probably make a prototype first just to get the patternation and colouration onto the features........... fun!!!!!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Welcome to the rantings and ravings by a lampwork girl

Well, I have never done this sort of thing before, so it should be a real steep learning curve!

I suppose this is where I can put down some random thoughts and some of the background behind my crazy glass ideas (for those that don't know me, I tend to have some bizarre idea and then HAVE to try it out).

A brief introduction to me:

I am in my early 40's and have been lampworking since 2007 when I managed to scam a lot of equipment out of my lovely husband Leo - torch, kiln, oxycon and loads of glass. I am sure he was just extremely worried that I wouldn't cope with turning 40 and was mostly just buying himself a slightly less psycho wife (I didn't cope with turning 30... not very well anyway).

My birthday party was fancy dress and here's a pic of us all dressed up as bogans and molles (very 80's) its me on the top left. This pic was set up the same as a family photo done at a studio 20 years or so earlier. My brother Glenn, sister Amanda and parents Faye and Pat all have a fairly dry sense of humour (esp dad). We are still trying to convince Mum that the photo should be put up right next to the dressed up studio one so she can show visitors how far we've all come.... cough cough.....LOL!

Well I had better not crap on too much or there will be nothing to say on here next time.

Nat :-)