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.