Sunday, September 30, 2012

What's been in the works...

Wow, been a little while since  I last posted, sorry about that.  But here we are nearly into October and I have a few things to share with you.  First is a lovely fall sunset we had the other night, the sky was the loveliest shade of purple for a few fleeting moments, the picture doesn't really do it justice.

Then it changed to pinks with  purples...

I played with more lampworking this week.  I'm learning as I go, the design part is coming easily enough it's the technique of getting consistently round beads that has been a bit tougher.  Now that I have found the sweet spot and correct mix for this torch things are going a little easier.  However it seems that the glass in my starting kit has different "stiffness" according to color.  Maybe that's normal, but not having any lampworking pals in my vicinity I have no one to test this theory for me.

As I have continued working on technique a few other things have become very clear.
  1. I had read in a review that the bead release in the kit isn't the greatest when it comes to releasing.  I have to agree, unless I am doing something horribly wrong, but this stuff doesn't release for me most of the time without being rather strongly persuaded (that is to say I have to put the mandrel through a hole in a piece of wood and whack it with a hammer to loosen it). 
  2.  10 mandrels is not nearly enough, once you get going you are disappointed when you get to bead 10 and are done for the time being while the group of beads rests.
  3.  The starter kit contained several not so favorite colors and most of the colors don't go that well together, at least in my opinion.  I should however just keep using them to try to perfect my technique of a nice round bead.
  4.  I need to order a whole bunch more glass since I am quickly running short.
  5.  This an addictive artform, as most things that involve fire are for me. 
  6.  I really want to sit with an experienced lampworker for an hour or two so they can give me some guidance and constructive criticism.  Did find a class for beginners up in Buffalo, so I will be emailing her soon.

All that said here is what I have pics of, like I said before feel free to laugh along with me, my feelings won't be hurt :)

The bead on the far right has release that crackled and spattered off the mandrel onto the molten glass.

These are a little better, even got the black one round and mostly balanced!

When all the mandrels were full I played with the new torch making some realllly cool enameled copper tube beads.  Going to try and get a tutorial together soon on how to make the swirl effect ones.  I really liked them and thought others might want to make them too.  Try to ignore the St. Bernard hair on that black speckle bead, it was in every darn photo.

Here is one with some copper inclusions, the little copper discs are leftover from when I punched holes in some discs.  Hey, make use of every scrap right?

These beads turned into a bracelet inspired by a design I saw by Mary Hettmansperger.  Hers uses different types of tube beads.  I strung them on leather cord for durability, I would have preferred something more supple like waxed linen but was worried about wear.  Maybe next time some suede cording?

Front side, see how it doesn't quite lie flat, that's the stiffness of the leather.

Back side and clasp.

Mailed out my Mismatched Art Bead Earring Swap earrings to my lovely partner on Friday.  She is all the way out in CA so this was a cool coast to coast swap.  Can't wait until reveal day so we can all see what everyone made!  This was my first swap and I had one heck of a time trying to make mismatched earrings.

My bead stash that I won from Lisa Lodge at Pine Ridge Treasures arrived and they are sorted into projects.  Unfortunately, I was so busy playing with fire I haven't assembled the pieces yet.  I will soon and will post them here.   Thanks Lisa for that uplifting little package :).

Went to an impromptu show yesterday.  Tractor Supply in Hornell asked for some vendors to come by and set up for the day.  Eight of us were happy to oblige.  I sold a couple of my 10g copper wire cuff bracelets.  A lovely women picked up one for her and one for a friend.  Those purchases at least covered the gas to go and a little leftover.  While I was there I made some new crafting friends, got leads on some upcoming shows, and was asked if I would like to put some things in a newly opening artisans consignment/retail shop!  You bet I will be putting some things there, thanks for asking me George.

Whew, I think that catches things all up.  Will have some other things to show and share soon.  Until then, what's in the works at your place?


  1. I think it's great that you're tackling lampworking on your own. There is obvious improvement with all your photos. Nice going!

    I had signed up for classes but they got canceled when one of the students broke her leg and the class size fell below the minimum. I haven't been able to fit it into my schedule ever since :(

    1. Thank you! I have to tackle a lot of techniques on my own due to living in the sticks, lol. I hope I can get to the 3 hr class I mentioned, she is about a 2 hr drive but I think it would be really helpful. Hope you find time in your schedule soon.

  2. Hi Ali, Looks like your coming along great with your beads. Your enameled tube beads are just beautiful, love the colors. I really want to try out enameling, I love the look but I will have to wait until I get back to work before I get all spendy.

    Can't wait to see my earrings!

    1. Hi Theresa,
      Thanks for the compliments :). Enameling is a ton of fun and fairly easy to learn on your own, and the painting with fire gang is always very helpful too. I got into it for less than $100.00 and am still working with those supplies (I have an ever growing wish list though) a little enamel goes a long way. I got your package in the mail, can't wait for the reveal so everyone can see how beautiful the are! I LOVE them.


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