Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Easy Heart Bead Tutorial

A simple method for making a hand-shaped heart bead - no press required!

Start with a round bead - I've used Effetre ivory as its soft and easy to shape.
Roll at an angle on a graphite marver to taper one end and create a cone shape.
Make the first shoulder by swiping glass from left to right on one side, don't touch the mandrel.
Make the other shoulder in the same way.

Gently heat the shoulders to round them out, keep the mandrel turning to avoid either shoulder slumping against the mandrel.  
Use the marver on the edges shown by arrows to straighten the sides.
Flatten gently against a marver to define the shape.  
You could use the rounded end of a knife to mark creases.  Decorate! 

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Some Messy Testing

Tuffnell Glass sent me some of the latest Creation Is Messy Uniques and Limited Runs to have a play with.  Rods from the top: Hollandaise Ltd Run, Mulberry Ltd Run, Ghee Unique 1, Midnight Ltd Run, Marble Ltd Run, Pumpkin Unique 5, Plum Unique 1, Lipstick Unique 3, Crocus Unique 2, Jade Palace Ltd Run, Celadon Unique 2 and Desert Pink Unique 1.

Here's a closer look at the full set of beads, both shiny and etched.  
I wrapped each bead with Effetre silvered ivory stringer and fine silver wire.
Next I made a bunch of lentils - glass testing and replenishing my show stock at the same time!  Click the pic twice for a closer look.  I used Midnight in the first 3 beads, thinking it was black - I later discovered its not! Marble is a nice opal white which has fumed a little from the silver.  Jade Palace is a lovely rich opal green. In the third row, I love the Plum Unique, its so streaky, and Desert Pink Unique is a good solid shade.  Ghee Unique and Lipstick Unique are great together, in fact these colours are all over New Look at the moment! (Hey, I have an 18 year old daughter, I can't avoid New Look!) The Mulberry is very dark - I think I prefer it etched, and the Crocus Unique is very light - definitely prefer the regular version but I think this shade is useful too.  And that final bead ... well, I just love the Ghee Unique with silver leaf - in fact, I think the Ghee Unique on its own would be fantastic too, so variable, and perfectly organic.
Now to compare the Uniques with their regular counterparts.  Desert Pink Unique is pinker, Pumpkin Unique is brighter, Celadon Unique is greener, Crocus Unique is paler (much, much paler!), Plum Unique is richer, Lipstick Unique is lighter and really its hard to be sure about Ghee Unique, in this pic it would certainly appear to be darker, but there is so much variation in Ghee regular and unique that I haven't completely made up my mind yet.

I said earlier that I originally thought that Midnight was black, but I pulled a stringer to check its density - I was expecting to see purple like Effetre black, or maybe a green tinge like Hades, but I found it was really very light grey.  So I tried it over Effetre white, and yes, Midnight is definitely grey!  I'm going to be trying this out some more, its a lovely shade and definitely worth investigating further.
Here's a ring topper in Desert Pink Unique - with a little purple rose frit on the centre.
And another ring topper in Marble with a swirl of raku frit - like other opals, the Marble doesn't bring out the best in the Raku, but I still like the finished effect.
Hollandaise, on the other hand, is brilliant with raku, and silvered ivory and is just a gorgeous colour for autumn.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Making an appearance!

For one week only, Lush Lampwork is starring in a Tourist Information Centre shop window near you ... well, if you live in Malvern that is!

Malvern TIC have a great scheme where you can hire one of their windows to show off your business, club or anything else you want to publicise.  So this week I have a simple display that I hope will get noticed by the local bead buyers, jewellery wearers and potential students. (Window Dressers are safe, I'm not going to win any prizes and certainly don't plan to give up the day job!) Do have a look if you're passing - the beads and jewellery are for sale ;0)

Its definitely worth finding out if there's a similar opportunity where you live.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

100,000 hits exceeeded!

And the winner is ... Jennifer Dangerfield.

Thanks to Jennifer and everybody else that signed up to my mailing list or even just popped onto my website and helped those numbers along.  Yay!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

100K Prize Draw!

Right then, this is how its going to work ... it's quite simple, really!

Last time I looked my website counter showed 99,210 hits and I'm verrry excited about getting to 100,000.

Sign up to my Mailing List (half way down the home page on the left hand side) - or make a purchase from my website and I'll add your name to my Mailing List.  When I see the counter read at least 100,000, I shall pick one name at random from the list.  
The winner will receive this bracelet with all 14 silver wrapped beads.  See my last two blog posts for more info.

I have no idea how long this will take, and I'll try not to check the counter too often - because every time I look, its gonna go up some more!  The quicker you sign up to the List, the more chance you have of winning.

Oh, and don't worry, I won't inundate you with newsletters - but if you do want to unsubscribe, just click the link at the bottom of the email, or drop me a line.

How Many ....????? !!

Oh my word!  Would you look at that!  




Nearly 100,000 hits on my website!  How exciting!

Shall we have a little celebration?  How about a giveaway?

I have the perfect prize actually - remember this bracelet from my last post about glass testing?  

I just have to think of how to run it now.  I'll be back soon with a plan!!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Some Effetre Testing

Tuffnell Glass sent me lots of new Effetre colours to have a play with!

I'm in Sunbaked mode at the moment, so I thought that style would be a pretty good place to start.  This pic shows all the testing colours with silver wire, shiny.  

And these are the same beads after etching.

Marmorin: a pale streaky green, a similar shade to CIM Dirty Martini
Green Mint: a darker green, came out looking very reduced and grey but etches to a gorgeous shade, very similar to Copper Green
Green Metallic Copper:  Also known as Neptune, apparently - now that's a much catchier name!  Works similar to Silver Black and Silver Plum - a light reheat brings out a satin effect.  Appeared over-reduced when I got it out of the kiln, but that may be down to the atmosphere in my kiln.  Gorgeous deep green when etched - see the bigger bead further down the page, that has kept some of its metallic coating.
Mudslide: strikes pale then dark, similar to Tongue Pink Striking Terracotta ... must try this with silver!
Calico: I think I read that Calico is opal yellow over rubino? Its a fun colour, very streaky, great for organic lovers!
Caribbean Sea: Similar to Calico, this is an opaque blue with a transparent core and goes wonderfully streaky when worked.
Pinky Winky: great shade of pink, although apparently the inside is periwinkle - I didn't get much of the blue yet, need to play more.
Light and Dark Zucca: I love these colours, really rich shades of orange with lots of variation.  They etch really nicely.
Sediment: very streaky, organic mushroomy colour, etches great.
Alexandrite: Oooh pretty!  Reacts a little with the silver wire.
Mimosa Yellow: Well, its certainly yellow!  

Mimosa Yellow over white ... oh wow, now that's actually a much nicer yellow than I first thought (I'm just loving this cabochon, think it may have to go to my mate George and have a little shiny silver wrapped round it ...)

In this lentil Alexandrite is on the top and CIM Heffalump on the bottom - they're very similar but the Alexandrite is a little paler and creamier, a little more streaky.

Lentil with Marmorin on the top and Green Metallic Copper aka Neptune on the bottom.  The 'Neptune' has grey reduction patches so I etched the bead and love the result!  See my Flickr album for the pic.

Both these beads are made from Neptune.  I spent a long time gently reheating the larger bead to bring out the satin sheen - I don't find that more oxygen or more propane make a difference, it just seems to be down to heat rather than chemistry.  

In the previous photo they're quite grey, but after etching the brightness of the green shows through, with interesting metallic patches on the larger bead, which I etched more lightly than the smaller one.

Finally, I made some ring toppers.  The bead on the left has a Calico centre, its so streaky, there's no need to do anything to it!  The petals are opal yellow and Reichenbach purple rose.  The bead at the top has purple rose in the middle with Calico on the petal tips.  The bead on the right has a Caribbean Sea centre with sky blue and aqua petals.

I was also sent Vetrofond Odd Pearl Grey. I really like this shade, it fills the gap between Effetre dark and light opaque grey and etches well, although its rather sensitive to silver - I shall turn the oxygen up a bit next time!  

A layer of silvered ivory stringer prevents the silver reaction and really suits this colour.

More pics to come when I've played some more.  Do keep an eye on my Flickr Glass Testing album if you're interested.

Sarah Hornik's not-so-fun Adventure

I should have written this last week but I've been rather busy ...!

Sarah Hornik - internationally renown glass bead artist from Israel and the second person I took a class with back in 2007 - was sadly (ludicrously, appallingly, scarily, humiliatingly) detained by customs on her way into the UK last week to demonstrate at Art in Action and teach at Diana East's studio.  After two horrendous days she was denied entry and forced to return to Israel. 

Sarah writes far better than I could ever dream of, so read her story in her own words, then add your name to the petition too.

Monday, 18 July 2011

A Grand Day Out!

Back in May, along with my friend Kay, I was lucky lucky lucky enough to spend a week on Murano, the home of Italian glass, in Venice.  We took classes with Davide Penso and Kristina Logan, we made friends with lampworkers from many countries around the world, we ate, slept and drank glass for a glorious week - but we didn't get to see any glass actually being made or rods being pulled.  (f you want to see more of my Venice pics, I have an album on Facebook.

So when I got home I kept thinking about this and had one of those lightbulb moments!  About 45 minutes north of me is the midlands town of Stourbridge, which I suppose you could call the British equivalent of Murano (without the sunshine, Spritz and pizza - it does have a canal though!).

Every other year, at the end of August, Stourbridge's historic Glass Quarter comes alive as it hosts the International Festival of Glass.  Sadly 2011 is not a festival year - although there will be the 5th Annual Stourbridge Bead Fair on 28th August.  (yep, I'll be there!)

So I made a few phone calls, polished up my organisational skills, gathered a group of glassy friends and knocked up an itinerary for last Wednesday, 13th July.   

9am  Meet at Plowden & Thompson
9.30-11.00 Factory Tour, Plowden & Thompson
11-00-12.30 Guided Tour, Red House Glass Cone
LUNCH at Crystal Tea Rooms, Red House Glass Cone
2.00-3.30 - Guided Tour, Broadfield House Glass Museum
4.00-6.00 - Ruskin Glass Centre 

The guided tours were very kindly paid for by Frit Happens Forum - thank you!

It was a very busy day and we all had a wonderful time.  Everybody we met at all the venues was so welcoming and generous with their information and I must particularly thank Barbara Beadman of Plowden & Thompson for her help with the planning and her super hospitality.

Incidentally, Broadfield House Glass Museum is running their Beside the Seaside Exhibition until September 4th.  The exhibition has been really well put together, its so bright and fun - and I'm very proud to have a few pieces on show there!

Hazel Crompton has written a fantastic post about the Stourbridge venues for anybody thinking of making a trip, and has given me permission to reproduce her information here, - so I shall leave you now with Hazel's brilliant article:

The Broadfield House glass museum, the Red House Glass Cone and the Ruskin Glass Centre, which are all open to the public - are BRILLIANT and well worth a trip. Plowden & Thompson and the beautiful cut crystal shop which is also onsite is equally brilliant - especially as they are a working factory...I would recommend a visit there on an open day, which I understand they have from time to time. PLUS - they are currently redesigning their website and have Reichenbach glass in stock...yes, 104 too! A very quick review of P&T, plus links to the others follow...

Plowden & Thompson / Dial Glassworks
A friendly family run company based at historic glassworks, still up and running and producing lots of interesting stuff. They produce specific blown glass components for all sorts of things (examples onsite), situated in a completely original glass cone (with the top removed some years ago). When we visited they were making glass components for large scientific instruments which had to be made with extremely precise measurements and with very specific glass recipes - highly skilled stuff. Their new website is currently being re-designed, as it's quite basic at the moment. They have open days occasionally and I would recommend a visit then. They also have a shop onsite selling cut crystal, all beautiful! There are bonus items in the shop from some world class beadmakers (Kate Drew-Wilkinson's bead really caught my eye). They also sell rods for lampworkers, made onsite, plus another range imported from Reichenbach. This is very much a working glass factory.  I have said more about P&T because their website as yet isn't able to do justice to what is there....hopefully this will give you a small indication  Grin

The Red House Glass Cone
Incredible, historic and fully restored glass cone, with loads to see onsite including demos. LOVELY tea rooms - bonus!

The Ruskin Glass Centre
Newly refurbished, crammed full of artists and craftspeople, lots to buy or just to watch being made. This is also an educational facility and so everyone is very approachable and often willing to share lots of information about what they do.

Broadfield House Museum
Lots of historic (and some priceless) glass pieces, fascinating trying to work out how things were done. LOADS to see, beautiful!! Some rather famous (or infamous) beadmakers featured in the current temporary exhibition (of the Lush variety)...I think there are other FHF'ers there too, although I was so overwhelmed I wasn't taking everything in properly by this stage.

All the museums have guided tours available for an additional charge, I think they all have audio tours too.

Finally an interesting link to the site about the whole of the 'Glass Quarter' in Stourbridge.

(Hazel Crompton, July 2011)

Aaaagh - but I still didn't actually see any rods being pulled!    

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Striking Terracotta!

Tuffnell Glass have a special offer for the month of July - a free 1/4 kilo of Effetre Tongue Pink with orders over £10.  Now a few people do already know that I'm a huge fan of TP, but I really really don't think its name does it any favours, so I prefer to call it Striking Terracotta!

In response to a thread running on Frit Happens Forum this evening, I nipped out to The Lusherie and took some pretty dreadful pics of how I use this striking glass (the colour develops as the glass is heated and cooled).

First of all, I had a go at making a bead similar to this one, from April 2009.
Carnival focal

1. TP (I can't bring myself to use the full name) starts out white in the rod, and was still white after I wound the glass onto a 9mm mandrel.

2. I heated the glass through so that it flowed into a smooth shape - still white.

3.  I added 6 dots of dark ivory and melted them smooth - the TP  is still mostly white, but its a bit darker now around the bead hole.

4. I added a dot of Reichenbach Gold Violet on top of the dark ivory.  I like to use a strong pink underneath DH Aurae, because I don't like it to look too amber (over Gold Pink the Aurae gives pink and blue).  TP is still white.

5. Terrible unfocussed photo to show an interesting stage - whilst hot the TP is now growing darker

6. But it fades again as it cools.

7. Here we go!  I covered the Gold Violet with dots of Double Helix Aurae and melted them smooth (in a neutral flame).  The TP immediately reacts and strikes a lovely terracotta shade.

8. I cooled the bead, then turn up the propane and wafted in the reducing flame to bring out the Aurae lustre.  TP still dark.

9. I adjusted the flame back to neutral then covered the Aurae with a generous dollop of clear - leave raised.  The Aurae has crackled the dark ivory as well as striking the TP.  Success!

TP also works well with silver leaf or foil, as in this heart that I made in May 2010.

1. This time I made a large, egg shaped bead - those streaks in the middle disappeared as the glass cooled.

2. And marvered it into a cone.  Appalling photo but look!  Its actually starting to strike a bit, maybe that's because there's a large mass of glass here?

3. Rolled in silver leaf and burnished on, to expel any air trapped between the leaf and the glass.

4. I melted the silver into the glass. You can just see that the TP has struck a deep colour now.

5. Mashed flat.

6. It wasn't a very exciting bead so I texture stamped a corner, rubbed on a little more leaf and added some silvered ivory bumps.  The bead's still not very exciting but hopefully you can see that TP really does react nicely with silver.

So if you're struggling to turn Tongue Pink (bleurgh) into Striking Terracotta, I hope this helps! :0)