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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Crazytime..... but loads of fun

New style of octopus honey dipper top

Oh dear, I have neglected my blog for a few maybe a week, but I have a good excuse.... I maybe I don't, but I have been crazy busy!  I have got stock in two galleries now....yay and my local retailers for honey dippers, beads, glass clasps and pendants are all needing more stock.......the murrini are still being done  ..... OMG

Thanks to the suggestion by a very nice customer I have been playing about a little with some honey dipper tops.... these octopus ones are particularly cute and I admit that because they are not bee or flower related I never even considered something like this.... I am having lots of fun with them.

I have got myself to the point of not knowing where to start and as usual had a dream in the night (or evening after some spicy KFC) and had to try it out, so I though I would run you all through how my dongle necklaces come about.

First off is the concept, sometimes this is the colour of the chain, the size of the links, diameter of rods or murrini, twists or just plain dongles themsleves.  Today I decided I wanted something classy, something that will go with my supposedly "slimming" outfits in black.... something delicate but busy.... hmmm, its a tall order.  Essentially I have decided to make a very small diameter fine chain out of plain black (I used some very large diameter chinese black I have had sitting in my glass stash for AGES).  I pulled stringers off the black cane, made the enclosed links, joined them together with less than neat on this occasion joining links and popped some dongles on the end to see how they will look.  One trick I have recently picked up on is to make a bracelet length piece of chain and "dongle-ise" that to see how it is going to look.  None of you would be believe how many bits of chain with ugly dongles I have sitting in a hidden bag of rejects....LOL

Dongle chain evolution

Above is a fairly good pic of the evolution process.... once I finish putting the dongles on this short length I shall extend it out each side until I have a necklace of the optimum length..... thats the plan at any rate!!!!

This is it thus far...... I think it has some potential, although being such fine small chain means LOADS of more work that the big chunky stuff.  Still, I think it will fit the bill for delicate, goes with black dresses on the rare occasion I have to go to something formal and still just a little bit busy!

Have a wonderful week everyone!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Paperweight... not QUITE epic fail.... but close!

The messy and squashy paperweight making zone
Yep, she is fresh from the kiln and unfortunately an all-round dissapointment..... but at least the shape was good!

The difficulties started when my two oxycons did not come up to speed for running the phantom, then the hotplate kept tripping the safety switch on the powerboard....etc.....etc.  In fact if adversity breeds success.... this should have been a whole lot better!!!  LOL

After joining my two 10L chinese oxycons, I realised last night there was an issue.... there is not enough pressure to adequately supply oxy to both the inner and out flame on my phantom.  Using a non-reducing flame was not hot enough to melt the puck and using a reducing flame put horrible "stuff" all over my work.  Indeed having to juggle between these two states caused me in the end to sit my phantom on a neutral small flame cross-flaming with my minor which was the only way things could get hot enough without turning black.
Construction in the stumpsucker to be preheated

The first and most worrying point the lack of heat because a serious issue was when I had peeled and then was trying to heat the puck to vacuum encase.... I was well aware that it was nowhere near hot and runny enough, but after about half an hour of getting increasingly frustrated I decided to plunge it in anyway.... therefore, the sails on the boats were all pressed down quite a bit and one came off looking like a sinking was occurring as you looked at it!  The buoy was enormous... nuff said!

The next issue was the constant need to re-peel the scum off everything, now that was very annoying....VERY!      But.... not nearly as annoying as 1hr of trying to melt the bugger enough to shape in for the final shape!

All in all, it was an excellent experience in trying to fix mistakes.... after this effort, I think the oxygen cylinder and a hot torch will make the whole thing so easy it will be a pleasure to make one.....

I am about to ring around for oxy cylinder hire and fills...... and maybe put two oxycons up for sale!!!!!  Ha ha ha
The finished article..... see the sinking ship at the front of the pic and the enormous buoy at the back... DOH!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Paperweight planning in a nautical style

Sail boat component cane and ribbon
Well, I have for one reason or another managed to avoid making my nautical paperweight for the Barracuda Gallery...... there has always been a valid excuse, but I am getting to the pointy end of the stick and I really want to give them a bit of something special and unique - enter the paperweight!!!!

I have had the equipment to vacuum encase paperweights for more than a year now and shamefully have only got it out and given it a run once with my friend Gail at her studio.  In the meantime I have been amassing (much to Leo's disgruntlement) two 10L oxygen concentrators, a lovely GTT Phantom flameworking torch, little torch, large kiln and of course the stumpsucker and associated paraphenalia.   Yet... there always seems to be a "bit" missing.  At the moment it is one plastic bayonet fitting for the Y connection to the oxycons.....geeeze!

I am thinking I might try to Jury rig it up tonight when the sun is off the garage and shall rope in my darling 14yr old Grace to do the preheating.... mostly because Leo is away with work....again!!!!!

In regards to the planning for this one, I clearly did not see a link to a sailing, ocean themed exhibition with the usual floral type arrangement in these paperweights.  I could have done an underwater themed one like Loren showed the students recently, but I have sort of run somewhat out of time to make up some decent 3D fish murrini and do not have a flatlap to grind and polish them, so that is out.  Putting some thought into Fremantle and sailing I decided I might try something....hmmmmm.... nautical and sailing style!  Here is the rough plans along with the canes and the encasement crystal that is about to go into the kiln to preheat as I type this!
Planning sheet for making small sail boats with schott encasement crystal and component canes
I decided that the best way to make some little sail boats for the stumpsucker would be to use a striped cane for the hull of the yachts and some ribbon cane for the sail.  I did end up making a dolphin back (to poke out of the frit like a swimming dolphin) and a couple of slightly dodgy looking seagulls to add to the mix along with some red/white striped bouys, but I think I am guilty of doing my usual, enough is never enough jobs and filling the whole thing up too much.  I am keeping firmly in mind also that everything in the paperweight is significantly magnified and therefore, blobby ends and mistakes are also magnified.... doh!

The little yachts came out great although I did pull a lot of the sail cane a bit small, not considering that the sail needs to be nearly as long as the boat hull before tapering off at the top.  I think I got away with it, but next time I do something like this I will keep that in mind.

Here is the little construction before I use my little torch to put it all together and make the frit (blue frothy sort of stuff for the surface of the ocean is the plan).
Nautical / Sailing construction for paperweight
Wish me luck!!!!!!!  I have an awful feeling I am going to need it!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Galleries, glass and all things good!

Orange triangle links necklace with helix twists and murrini in boro

I am in a VERY good mood today.... no strike that..... EXCELLENT mood!  I am still insanely busy and still trying to catch up on everything (still more honey dippers, murrini, pendants, beads, paperweight etc.) but I am starting to feel like I am actually making some headway.

Last weekend I went down to Canberra and saw Jess at the Canberra Glassworks who is in charge of the retail gallery space there.  I have now signed my contract with them and dropped off some work which she seemed quite happy with ......YAY  I can now say that I have work in a gallery and a fabulous glass-centric one at that!   I took one of my honey dippers down to show as well and they are very keen to get some more..... sheesh, now I really need to knuckle down and get some more made.   I suppose now is the wait to see if anyone actually wants to buy anything....I sure hope so!

I am currently working on some pieces for Barracuda Gallery in Fremantle.  It is my first formal participation in an invitation only group exhibition and I was extremely excited to see my name on the flyer.... will have to keep a copy for the brag book!

I have made a necklace that I am hoping the gallery likes and are about to make a sailing themed paperweight using my stumpsucker.  I have decided that I am going to seconde Leo into helping me with the preheating, Grace (my 14yo) would do it, but I would probably want flog her if she managed to bugger it for me.... I know thats totally not fair, but I think I am best of protecting her from any chance of wrath.... even my own!

On a legendary note.... a really good mate put me onto some glass that was being "given away to a good home".  Apparently there was a box of boro that was not being used, was gathering dust and was about to be thrown out because it was in the way....... needless to say i was up for the rescue mission and dragged Leo and my Mum along with her station wagon expecting one or maybe two cases of glass........ OMG there was a massive pile of glass and they wanted it GONE!  The pic below is not ALL of it either, but we have temporarily popped it into my dads lean to shed out of the elements for a couple weeks and then I will have to find the space here in Sydney, I reckon Leo's man shed might have to undergo some shuffling..... ha ha ha!

Rescued boro glass, tubing and stringers
I am already missing my increased stash and a whole lot of new ideas for converting it into something interesting is running through my head at night.... needless to say I am not sleeping particularly well, but I am making sure I have my nocturnal notebook and pencil ready to go which helps somewhat.  There is a heap of small diameter tubing right down to pipette sized stuff and all together about 15 cases of the stuff..... keep in mind that here in Australia a case like this costs around $350 - $500  each, its a lot of moneys worth but more importantly a lot of fun waiting to be had!

On a happy finishing note, the recipient of my glass mojination kit loved it and has already melted glass and had some fun with it...... YAY, that sort of thing makes it all worth while.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Emergency Glass Mojination Kit...... kickstarting your glass mojo!

Dangly boro chain necklace with tiny frog at top right side
Hmmmm, well I am slowly making some headway on my backlog of glassy work which is a good feeling.  Finally knuckling down a bit and being able to tick a few things off the list really helps my morale!  Above is a sparkly pic of my latest boro chain necklace design, I quite like it and it has a little tiny frog on one of the dangly bits too just for fun - I just can't help myself!!! LOL

But..... speaking of morale, I have been trying to work out the best way for me to brighten up a mates day.  Someone who's Mum has been VERY ill and has given up her own social time and torch time to help out when her Mum really needed it.  Interestingly this very nice lady did not complain or whinge or really say much at all.... but she is the sort of person that you notice when she is missing, a very nice lady indeed.  I have heard her Mum is mostly on the mend and she is finally getting some torch time but is having some trouble kick starting the glassy mojo.... everyone needs a boost some time!!!

Well I have been mulling over stuff and have decided that I would do something proactive as a pick-me-up for her.  Today I sent off what I am calling an "Emergency Glass Mojination Kit".  I got a whole heap of different glass garnishes and interesting things to do with lampworking, wrapped them up in a small box and mailed it off......

Emergency Glass Mojination Kit... lots of glass related fun to be had!

..... I can't wait until she gets it, I just hope it makes her day a good one after a few dodgy ones lately!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A full plate.....

Handful of experimentals
I have sort of taken a breath to work out exactly what jobs I have on my plate at the moment and really.... it looks like a VERY busy time prior to Christmas!  I am having quite a bit of trouble prioritising and have sort of found myself either doing lots of bits of jobs without finishing any completely or doing something akin to procrastination by trying out experiments when I do have some torch time... naughty girl I am!

One thing off my plate is the honey dippers.  I spent two days of marathon efforts to remake the broken ones and dropped them off to the Blue Mountains Honey peeps the other day.... thank goodness they really liked them, especially all the christmas themed ones!  Apparently they have a market stall at a local festival which is usually VERY busy and with the lead up to Christmas most of my honey dippers will go up there for sale which is really cool.  I was going to try and make a few extras, but the weather has been stinking hot here in Western Sydney.... REALLY REALLY hot which is not condusive to sitting in front of a torch with a largist kiln pumping out heat behind you..... I have been working in the mornings and evenings where possible and keep my fingers and toes crossed for a cold change!

I have been busy packaging up murrini for Affordable Inspiration too.  I should really send a parcel off tomorrow and another a few days later or I am sure I will be needing a bloody box if I am not careful!  I have a couple new murrini in there and rather than a blend, just packets of the blue striped fish or the black and yellow butterfly fish as well as restocking the run out/low ones!

Watch pendants with my beads

One thing I did get in the mail this morning was a rather nice parcel (after all who doesn't love getting a parcel) and in it were some necklace watches I bought in a bulk buy.  They are completely and utterly super cute and I am already wishing I had bought more than a handful, but I am thinking of some ways of using them with my beads and then shall list in the Etsy store.  Here's a piccie of what I did with the first one I got out of the bag!
Loren Stump underwater sphere.... given to me as a gift!!!!!

Oh, and for all of those lovely people at the International Flameon Downunder in Sydney early October... here's a pic of my "precious" that Loren stump gave to me.  My Dad's best mate Uncle Geoff is a very accomplished wood turner and he made me a couple stands to choose from.  I am thinking I might change them about depending on the mood or the decor at the time..... whoa, how posh and fortunate do I sound now..... I am a lucky lucky girl!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Great Honey Dipper Disaster of 2011

Christmas Honey Dippers
Oh dear, disaster has struck at my house on Melbourne Cup day in Western Sydney.  I came home early from Leo's work Melbourne Cup function to take my new stock of christmas themed Honey Dippers up to the honey lady only to find my Mum (who was up visiting from Canberra) was in tears.... not just tears but sobbing inconsolably sort of tears.  I was understandably concerned, counted my three kids were all here, checked I had the clean undies on (something that would potentially have made her cry with frustration if not), looked around to check there were no flames.... and then asked the fatal question...... "what's wrong?"
Honey Dippers on stand before floor annealing... ie. breaking into bits!
It turns out that poor Mum had been putting a bag on the table and had knocked off my whole box of honey dippers (packed and ready to take) off the table face down into the tiled floor......hmmmmm, only one lonely one survived... wouldn't you know it.... it was the ugliest simple one!!!!!!!!!

As you can see above Leo has made me a super cool display stand for the Blue Mountains Honey peeps and I am positive they will love that bit, but I REALLY want to take along some actual stock too, so the kiln is heating up right now and I will make another dent in the list.

Broken "bits" of honey dippers
I am sure there will be a little tiny bit of angst making more of these and the reality is, being borosilicate glass, they could be repaired, but it would be quite a bit faster for me to just make some new ones.  The added benefit is also that I would know they were lovely and strong - sort of like a new car rather than a refurbished one.  At least this time around I will be a little faster and probably do a better job avoiding the odd pitfall you have with sculptural glass items.

I still feel badly for Mum who has been totally distraught for two days about this..... she's still upset I might add!

I am a bit more prosaic about the whole thing, after all, no-one was hurt and really...its only sand!!!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Glassy confusion

Yep, I have to admit totally that I have managed to confuddlate myself lately..... I have a big long list of stuff to do and I have been working though that (thanks mostly to the whyteboard list which somewhat keeps me on track, well a bit anyway), but I keep getting distracted by other stuff.  I have been working on odd ideas, things to try out and just plain "stuff" that is not on my to do list and yet I feel the burning need to put these ideas into practice, not tomorrow or even an hour from now......... right NOW!

Is it an obsessional thing, like OCD although mine would be called OGD (Obessive Glass Disorder) or is it just the nature of the artistic beast?  Who knows for sure, I just know that if I don't follow through on some of the stranger ideas then I feel very unfulfilled and unhappy.  The main thing is that I would not worry even the tiniest bit if this didn't affect other people, but it does!  I have poor buggers waiting for things for months very patiently, which I know deep down I could have finished thier items off and had them back at least weeks ago, and I just haven't done that work.  I am equally annoying myself and having fun, like the kid at the fair who feels a bit sick, but still keeps eating the fairy floss.

Bugger.... enough of that D & M stuff.

I have been ticking a couple jobs off my list of to do's and in between making some murrini components I have been making some beads using my new lentil press (interestingly I have never ever liked presses, not even a little tiny bit, but I like this one from Peter G in Melbourne and made to my specs).  I have been on a listing fest on the Etsy store to try and get the total number of items over 100 which I have been told is the "magic" number for interesting people to have a look, so I thought I might as well try.

The other job I have been attempting to get done is to restock my honey dipper lady at Blue Mountains Honey with some christmas themed jobbies..... I have done one lot last night and have the kiln hot and ready to go right now for some more.  I am going to try and get at least 30 out to her next week and Leo is making another cute little stand for them which will be cool too.

Oh well, the re-purpling of my hair is ready to rinse and the kiln and glass are waiting for me.  Have a FANTASTIC week everyone!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Two kilns heated and life is goooooood!

Yep at the moment I have two kilns.... thats right, my new lovely big girl I have dubbed Penny (Penny Paragon) and my old, but VERY useful Aim kiln that goes on a trip to Canberra to stay forever more with my little Sister Amanda... sort of sad to see her go, but she is well needed down south and I know my sis will give her some love for sure. 

At the moment I have my Aim set up for the fusing (hence all the fusing related postings this last week...he he he) and it is currently full of glassy goodness once again, only this time I have mixed some dichro in there with the murrini, it'll be interesting to see how it comes out for sure.    Here's a pic of the sheet I threw in with just scrappy bits and pieces on it (twistie, murrini and lumps of "other") and it still sort of came out fairly cool..... I still don't know what I am going to do with this one, maybe stick some rubber bumpies on it and use it as a butter dish for visitors or something like that..... LOL
Scrap canes and murrini fused sheet
I had some interesting results from my fusing tests on small bits of sheet glass.  This one using some clear centred cane came out really interesting, although I am finding that I often like the back view (that has less murrini distortion) much better.  I will show both sides of this one, which I am going to glue a bail to and wear as a pendant I am thinking!  I am actually re-fusing a couple of these tester cabs upside down (now with the clear sheet on the top) to see if that clarifies the integrity of the murrini pictures and maybe adds some depth and magnification too.... I will be keen to check the kiln when they finish for sure!
Rear of cab
Front of cab
 On a non-fusing front, I have been madly making up murrini for Affordable (geeze I am a shocking slacker with keeping up the stock, she might need to take a stick to me I think!)  mostly because I have misplaced a whole lot of my stock murrini (some of which I had even bagged up...doh) and therefore I must pay the price of making extras.... I have really annoyed myself I tell you!

I haven't made any complex murrini for a little while now and the bug is starting to bite..... I have some plans afoot as you can see......

Lets hope it comes out as cute as I see it in my brain.  I am yet to make a murrini that I am totally happy with.... maybe that is just the nature of the beast, but at least I do see myself improving.  You might note that the plans for this owl murrini include using the same component as Loren Stump's fish scale.... I am thinking it will make some ultra-cool feathers YEAH!  Now off to buy a can of corn for shaping the bugger (those little cans are the trick to this shape Loren showed us).

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Death of a plate..... but tried again with success!

Sharks vomit plate 1 with hole
Oh yeah..... there is no question, I killed my plate using Sharks Vomit 1 when I tried to slump it into the mold.  It is mostly due to the fact that I totally forgot that I needed to slow down the ramp up heat rate and so when the plate hit about 350deg C there was a muffled clang...well to be honest multiple clangy sounds and when I peeked into the peephole, there it sat.... in MANY parts.  I was not happy, indeed I was rather upset, but as they say... you learn much more from a mistake than you do from getting it right the first time.  I decided that because it was in pieces, I might as well ramp the temp right up and see if some of it will fuse back together.  In fact it did fuse back quite a bit, but left a little hole that I have decided would be a good spot to sit a marble ( I put a circle around the hole zone on the above pic).  The glass also somewhat dripped down the sides of the plate mold and I will have to grind that off.  I am still toying with the idea that I should re-fuse and then try slumping this one again.... just toying at the moment, but if I have to look at it too long like this, it shall feel some heat I promise you!  LOL

Being a big one for getting it right at least once, I decided to spend 4 hrs of my time yesterday to make up another fusing plate using my murrini again.  This time I tried to stick with half decent murrini (ie, not too many clear inclusions etc.) although they are still my rejected ones, I made sure they were as tightly packed as I could get them.  I even pulled some little stringer sized murrini to pop down the gaps and it really paid off.  The glass did not move around very much at all and the fuse came out lovely.  I slumped it late last night and got this beauty out of the kiln this arvo and now have a cute little square plate..... I love it!!!!
Sharks vomit 2 slumped into plate -  sweet success

I have now got a kiln full of  "testers" that I will see how they look when they come out before I think of using them in a larger plate size.  The handy thing is that I will be able to glue on some bails and voila.... instant pendant.  Hopefully they won't be too ugly to be worn and if they are, well I will keep them or donate them to someone who seed beads cabs or something fun like that.

Testers to see what happens in the kiln!
Have a fabulous week, this week is getting things done week for me....... YEAH!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The 104coe murrini fusing experiment..... SUCCESS!

Well despite my concerns about fusing the miriad of murrini (I quite like how that rolls off the tongue... Miriad of Murrini.... yeah!)  I opened the kiln lid this morning to some sweet success!  Both sides of the piece were really cool with the bottom side maintaining the integrity of the pattern where the murrini sat against the clear glass:

And then there was the top side where the different glass sort of moved around a bit an squidgied the top of the pictures.  Green and Blue glass seems to be really prone to this moving around in a very viscous (not vicious) fashion, I am sure the techno-types out there would be able to say exactly why, but for me, sometimes I really like it and sometimes not!

Here's a pic of the top side and you can see the distortion to the pics, and yet I still think it is pretty damn cool!
The next job will be to try slumping this into a plate mold, which I am now a bit nervous about given that I do not want to ruin this glass now its worked out so far.  I could be conservative and try with some other glass first...... but NAHHHH I will stick my neck out, scoff at the danger (danger of buggering it up that is) and dip my foot into the slumping waters...... ok, now I have slightly scared myself!

Have a wonderful day everyone, its sunny, warm and fabulous here in Sydney right now..... I am loving life!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Back from Crazy month... with a bit of sharks vomit !!!

Ascidian bead experiment
Yahoo, I am glad to say that I am home after a literal marathon of glassy goodness.  First off I was on the committee for the 2011 International Flameon event here in Sydney and whilst it was Motza fun.... it was also very exhausting!  If you would like to see some photos of the event  or of course would like a chance to bid on some of the items of art created and donated for Spinal Cord Injury Australia then try for the full listing of lovely stuff to drool over and maybe even buy.... LOL

 After spending a crazy time at the flame on with Robert Mickelson, Chris Arnold and of course Loren Stump (plus heaps of other lovely lampwork peeps), I then got to help out at the studio for Robert who is a really lovely bloke and a great teacher.  Unfortunately I didn't get to stay the whole time (friends wedding in Victoria) but the students were producing really amazing things!

After all my travelling around and being away from my own torch I have been rather desperate to melt some glass too and since I got home that is just what I have been doing.  I spent some time today on my first ever fusing project to give my new (and much larger) kiln a good run.  Here's a pic of the project before it went into the kiln.  I had some 104 sheet glass laying around and decided to use a whole lot of the knobby ends of old and crappy murrini pulls with the odd lump of "other" also all in 104 COE of course.

Sharks Vomit - Pre fused

I have decided to call this "sharks vomit" because it is basically a mish mash of all my scrappy ends and bad murrini pulls.  It had great potential to just all smoosh together and looks really foul, but then again... it also might come out rather fun!  If it turns out at all I am going to slump it into a greenware plate mold I bought a little while ago which I think might look rather funky!

Oh..... on a VERY happy note, my work has been accepted by the wonderful people at the Canberra Glassworks Gallery........YAHOOOOOOOO!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A fishy success!!!!!

Here she is:

Thanks goodness, when I got the large diameter murrini cane out of my kiln this morning and then sliced it into nice little bite-sizes (read pulling out smaller sized) I was happy to see that it looked like a fish, indeed much like the fish it was supposed to look like!  It is by no means perfect and the body shape is not quite right and the top yellow fin was too small compared to the large tail fin and I didn't get the stripes quite right and the face..... well you get the picture!  I do still have another face came component and might go back and try again when in the mood, but for just now I will pull some of this cane down to bead sized and cut into slices for Affordable to sell for me if Kerry is happy with that.... or, I will pop them into some containers for the flame-on freebie bags..... hmmm not sure, maybe both!

Last night I decided that whilst I was waiting for the kiln to heat up to component cane temp I might as well throw a couple of boro things in there..... here are the marbles I quickly threw together.  My hubby Leo is rapidly collecting a rather nice line of mibs for on his office window sill at work and he really quite likes them.   He is quite proud of my glass stuff and gets all puffed up when a visiting person asks about them. I love that he is so supportive of my glassy endeavours, but it sounds suspiciously to me like he never grew out of that boys and marble fetish thing lots of young men have, but geeze, I like them too!  Still, if a few marbles keeps him happy and cool with my buying glass, he can have as many as he likes!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Murrini-ing on and more sea themes!

Well I am now definitely back in my usual swing.  Which is in actuality a little crazed given that I have just got back from working with the lovely Loren Stump and are on the committee for the first ever International Flame-on Downunder in less than two weeks time (and things are hotting up in more than one way..... LOL) see for info .  After the flame on I will also be working as Technical Assistant to Robert Mickelson, boro flamework legend and then driving for 10hrs to attend a wedding where my twins are flower girls.......aaarrrrggh (run away, run away....)

I need to make some murrini to add to the give away bags at the flame on from Affordable Inspiration who sells my murrini for me.  But.....I have been making some absolutely horrible murrini over the last couple of days!  Just lazyness or throwing them together and hoping for the best which is an option that NEVER works out well for me.  I knew there was an issue with my blue striped fish when my kids commented that they looked like the offspring of a budgie and a fish.......hmmmm, could have shaped them better.

And here is the clownfish with the large eye and the weird mouth......doh!

I did knuckle down tonight and popped a little angelfish murrini (large diameter first off) into the kiln and hopefully something nice will come out for once..... cross your fingers and toes for me if you can, I will show the results even if shameful!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My brain is bursting with ideas.....

Well, after returning from working as a tech assist for Loren Stump for two weeks and standing and watching the students all melting glass (well, not just standing there of course, but you get the gist I am sure) I have got home and have gone into a glass melting frenzy!   I have been making murrini and beads like a steamtrain......  Some have come out ok, some NOT!  Its interesting that when you are working and not a student you really do miss out on some of the finer points of how to do things, I am of course wishing I had done the course as a paying student right now, but appreciate Gail at Goglass ( letting me work with such a great bloke and being exposed to a miriad of new ideas.  I feel frenzied to melt glass and try out new idea's .... always a good thing I am sure!

I made myself some of the 3D clownfish Loren showed the class and boy did I wish I had actually stayed to watch how he did it.  Mine look a bit more like a squirrel fish (those ugly ones with disproportionately large eyes) and then I forgot the mouth and adding it afterwards... well its not recommended lets put it that way!

 One good thing is that I have decided to make more beads using my own murrini.  It seems mental that I tend not to use them myself and yet I see the lovely stuff my customers make with them and drool...... doh!   The frog in the jungle bead above is the first bead I have used this particular leaf cane  on and I am quite happy with it - although the frogs legs are not very well done, it did give the green leafy jungle feel and after all that is what I was going for.

This bead is where I have moved on a little from my frog on a lily pond beads I had started on before going to work with Loren.  This one I applied a bit of yellow rose cane as a waterlily and popped a dragonfly slice on top of that.  I am loving the green growth on the side at the right too (based on ascidians, water filtering animals in the ocean) but I need to do more work on the koi fish on the bottom layer and are thinking I might make some koi murrini for them rather than a swipe of white with some orange and black spots.

I am still trolling my way slowly though the gorgeous work at the Bead Soup Blog Swap and there are some fabulous and inspiring pieces of art to drool over.  I figure it might take me a week or so before I get though, but I will read all of them.  I have tried to comment on them, but either through my own stupidity or the internet systems some use, can't work out how to have a say..... sometimes I make myself wonder I tell you! 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

And... the Bead Soup is served!

Yep, thanks to Niky from Silverniknaks ( ) I recieved the most gorgeous purple-y bead soup and with a fabulous array of beads.
The focal is a wonderful lampwork glass dichro bead made by the talented Barbara Metzger of Basha Beads

The cutest little daisy clasp by Daisy Chain Extra who makes lovely stuff

Some lovely lampwork beads by Laura Sparling and

Niky also included some fabulous seed beads and lovely sparkly crystals along with some striped agate,  gorgeous pearls and sweet little silver lined rocailles.  The colours Niky chose were inspired by Peacock colouring..... rich green, blue and purple.

I simply strung the necklace together on some tiger tail first and then went back through with the needle and thread to add the extra seed beads to soften and give some movement.  I created a drop beneath the focal as a bit of a feature in the front using the lovely rainbow basha bead.

I really hope I did Niky proud.  I am not the best jewellery designer, and yet I really enjoyed making this necklace.  I will use some of the rest of my bead soup for some other projects which I will show on my blog.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chained up on Maille.... all in glass

I know... I know.... I have ten million other things I should be doing right now.  I should be getting some stock for the local shop, making murrini for Affordable and packing to go to the glass studio for Loren Stumps classes, but nope..... none of the above!

I am feeling guilty and a bit naughty too, but I have had an idea perculating about in my head for quite a long time and decided to try it out..... Glass links Chain Maille.  I aware it has been done before (a lady by the name of Kim Edwards does some absolutely bogsmacking work in this style) but I wanted to try out some byzantine chain rather than my usual dongle-y ones.  Here it is... it worked quite well and was made in boro (because I am too much of a lazy slug to try this in gorgeous italian soft glass).  I just used 3mm glass stringers to make the links.... some closed and some open that I close in the flame after putting the pattern together.  It was fun, but fiddly as buggery as you can imagine.  I don't think this will be a common thing for me to work on to be honest, but at least I can know I tried it.... its all about the fun.

 On a slightly dissapointing front, my kiln has been playing up quite a bit over the last few days and after trolling about online and finally downloading the manual for the controller I have discovered the thermocouple thingo is stuffed....... aarrrgh!  I am really hopeful my extremely handy and helpful husband Leo can wave a magic wand and fix it up, or worse case go to the electronic shop and buy a bit of wire or something to sort it out, but we will have to see.  Lucky I have my new kiln to collect in about a month......YAHOO!

I have been playing about a LOT with my bead soup.  It is so gorgeous that I don't want to bugger it up and are probably trying to get a little too fancy rather than think about the form of the thing...... I am going to zen out, watch bridesmaids (the movie) and see what comes of some random beading then.....  Nat :-)