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Monday, March 29, 2010

Bellflower press fest!

Ok, I got my Carlo Dona bellflower press months ago and did not last a day before using it...... every short rod of glass on my lampworking desk was at serious risk.... I made HUNDREDS of the little buggers and got a real nice feel for how much glass to put onto the headpin. I have used loads of the bellflowers on my Sydney Royal Easter Show entry - along with 5 horseheads on a necklace.... busy is not an adequate word, but the lampies do look good. Even after using lots of these flowers I was still left with heaps of them. Given that, particularly in the beginning, I was mostly just practicing - they are in lots of different colours so I thought, bugger it..... lets make something gardenish and greenish and this is what came out (sorry about the bodgy inside with the flash on pic). I used chain, attached the bellflowers with wire wrapping then sewed the seed beads through the chain using fireline. The good thing about using chain this way is that the whole necklace stays sort of nice and floppy but still full of beads!

When I was making these flowers my Mum had come for a visit from Canberra and she asked to watch...... thankfully I said yes of course, because she made a whole stack of really great suggestions like - pull each ridge into a petal and add stamens etc. It was excellent and I was no longer producing the plain and simple variety which made it much more interesting, lucky the old chook is really into gardening.

The next question was, how does boro work doing this? Boro works GREAT!
This second necklace was made using boro bellflowers with stamens in pink with orange frit and green multicolour striped momka glass rod which I cut up like murrini and applied carefully to the headpin so I maintained the stripes. I kept this necklace a bit more muted in colour and is very sort of gentle and soft both in colour and feel. I used some silver balls for a bit of bling rather than swarovski crystals and was very pleased with the result.
Right at this moment I have about 30 more flowers annealing overnight in my kiln. Half are just clear boro which should come out lovely and sparkly and the other half also in clear but with a soft pink flower base. I am thinking that I will make a necklace and bracelet set out of these using all clear ab seeds, clear swarovski crystals and perhaps just a few pink lined seeds or I might go for the silver balls again....... I will have to see how it all looks together.
It'll be one of those morning when I get up about 6am and run out the kiln..........

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Plug yer ears - its boro time!

Hmmmmm, well I have seen some really cool earplugs lately - NO, not the type that stops you from hearing, but the type that people put into those huge earlobe holes that are all the trend. I have been busting to make some nice ones with murrini in the end so here are a couple for your viewing pleasure. One has a bee murrini that I made with wings so thin you can't see them (thank god I did only one small pull of this cane) and the other one I put a little clownfish murrini inside and it looks quite good. Please excuse the fluff on the glass in the pic, I am far to lazy today (Sunday morning) to bother to take another.
I am thinking that I might send out the call to my facebook mates for a tester for these. I do need to get hold of some decent calipers so I can accurately measure the middle part before I try selling them, but I am hopefull that they should work ok. I am going to go and see a couple of the local body peircing shops to see if they would stock on commission for me too - they are a bit fiddly, but use only a small volume of glass and you get quicker the more you make too. I like that they are in boro, but I might make some soft glass ones too - mostly because I have a gozillion different murrini I have made for soft glass and would like to make more use of them.

I am thinking that I could easily make some of those earhole stretching thingo (like a long tapered cone or a long cone that is curled up). Lots of possibilities and loads of fun to be had I'd say!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Happy Easter - the beads are breeding like rabbits!

Well, I have been thinking about Easter and the chocolate madness that always seems to ensure in my household. It is really the one day of the year where the girls all seem to manage to eat nothing but chocolate, there is sore tummies and whinging every time - but the memory is lost by the following year. I have tried NOT buying chocolate eggs ...... but then the rest of the family feels sorry for the poor things and over-compensate anyway.

I decided the the gift from Mum would be glass easter bunny pendants that I made. Leo will be in charge of the eggs, but it is a longer lasting, less sick-inducing gift that I will be giving them. Rose loves purple, Emma is definitely a "pink" girl and Grace usually likes black, but I made her one in white. I made myself one in caramel. These are all done using boro glass for a bit of extra strength and when I showed Leo what came out of the kiln this morning he reckons I should make some to sell and make some real tiny ones for on earrings. Once again I have missed the boat with timings though, Easter is only about a week away....... POOP.

Oh, you will see that I boiled the buggery out of the purple, so I am going to have to make another one for Rose.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Woah, lets bring out some bling!

I went shopping for glass recently and did a wee little bit of impulse buying (I told my hubby Leo I didn't buy much ;-) and bought some interesting garnishes of dichroic frit and some dichroic chatons to try out. I bought them from a newish glass company in the US who specialise in affordable inexpensive glass called Devardi. There has been a veritable shitfight on the Lampwork Etc forum about the evils of shocky rods and other more emotive reasons for not buying this glass, but I have to say - yep, some colours are shocky, but the glass is actually quite lovely to use once you get used to how to handle it. Its one of those glasses that you need to work cool and slow - perfect for the hothead if I still used one. One of the new products they have stocked is dichro (this has also been fairly well slammed by the purists) but whilst I am no experienced expert or anything, I have got it to work at least a bit. The fish above is encased chatons which were very easy to use, but admittedly were a little sensitive to direct heat. I liked how they came out looking somewhat like fish scales and will use this again sometime to make some nicer shaped fish in future.

The other garnish that I REALLY like is the dichro frit. I bought the dichro on black and found that if I used the tweezers and turned the bigger bits shiny side down before rolling my bead I would get a lot more bling out of it. I didn't take too much care with the heat or the shaping, but really do like the effect and ended up showing them to a customer who promptly ordered a necklace out of them.... so already sold - gotta be happy with that!
I also bought some of the dichro noodles which I am going to give a try out in the next few weeks.
My next project is a little something for the girls for easter........ think...... rabbit pendants!!!!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Bright Butterfly in glass shards

Given that I have had a nasty sinus infection for nearly two weeks and with my husband Leo away it has been really REALLY mental around my house. Lucky for me I actually managed to get a go on the torch for a very quick session today and this is what came out..... a butterfly.
After seeing a beautiful butterfly made with what looked like a decorated shard of glass applied to a base bead I REALLY wanted to have a try at my own take on this sort of technique and this is what I came up with. The shards were made from a mixture of glass and used quite a lot of reichenbach multicolour which gives it a lovely delicate hue. I actually applied four shards of a similar size after decorating a large lentil with a sort of field of murrini flowers as a background.

Here is both the front and back of the bead - notice the monkey face signature cane on the back side ;-) More and more people want a collectable bead with my signature cane on it and even my kids look on every focal bead for where it is put!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Fertility pendant........ warning..... BOOBS!

I can hardly remember when I last made a goddess bead which is quite naughty of me seeing as a few people have asked for some. When I was torching last night (using borosilicate glass) this interesting pendant came out .... almost by itself! The first thing my husband Leo said when he saw it was "wow..... weird" which I have decided will be taken as a compliment.... cough cough.

Firstly I made the "baby" out of caramel boro glass and then encased it with loads of clear to make a drop pendant. To me, it sort of looked like a big belly with a baby inside so I thought I might as well go the whole hog and add some boozies as well.

I am thinking that maybe this one could be really good luck for someone who has difficulty getting pregnant, sort of like a good luck charm or maybe for someone who works in the health fertility field........ I hope someone will luv her!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Cheap home-made lampwork tools!!!!

I am not a tight person financially - not that I have much money I don't, but I reckon money is for using to make your life better, not to hoard away or wave in someone elses face in an attempt to prove how much better you are than others!!! Its purely a means to an end to me, probably why I will NEVER be a millionaire! But, when I have needed some lampwork tools I have managed to save a few bucks and come up with things that work really well for me (thanks to Leo my husbands help). These are definitely not professional or anything, but they work for me.

Firstly, after hearing me whinging about having no hot fingers and trying to work out a way to remove marbles from the last punti with leaving a bellybutton (punti mark) he spent a few minutes huddled in the back of the garage and then came out with these....... marble holders!!!! The marble purists wouldn't like the metal against the glass which could potentially cause marks, but given that my marbles are in no way professional I dont mind one bit. They are simply a pair of cheap stainless steel tweezers with two thin mandrels sort of soldered on with some wire wrapped around for strength at the join. Leo them just curled the ends over so they met and could hold a round object neatly between them.

The other tool he made me last night was a spoon press...... what is that you might well ask - well I had a request (from my Mum) to make a glass jam spoon after she saw my boro honey dippers and suggested that a set would look good. I tried making a spoon for the first time last night and this is what I used to make it with.

I bought two cheap stainless teaspoons from an asian supermarket and got Leo to stick them on the ends of another pair of tweezers so they could meet closely cupped togther. They worked really well, although I did have to squash the gather of glass a little to fit in between the spoons nicely.

For those wondering what the spoon looks like, here is a pic of the first one I made with the matching honey dipper. They are made from borosilicate glass (encased in clear, I don't want anyone eating off any dodgy metallic additives in the glass).

The camera battery has died, so sorry about the pic!