Friday, 15 March 2013

Always Learning

I took some time to try out a couple of ideas yesterday and actually got to grips with two things that I've been struggling with, like, forever!

I made off mandrel hearts that are actually big enough to wear and have a functioning loop, woo hoo!

And I blew my first ever successful shard bulb! I know, five and a half years of beadmaking and I couldn't blow shards, shocking isn't it - but I did it, and hopefully I'll be able to do it again.  Today I will see if the shards I made are actually usable. 

(Excuse the rubbish phone photo)

Just listed on my website are some new wonky buttons and a pretty set for spring.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Beyond Beads

It's been a while since I wrote a tutorial for a magazine, so when Beads & Beyond asked if I could make beaded keys, I jumped at the chance.

The two page spread looks lovely and the instructions are very simple for any ability of glass beadmaker to follow.

I made a few extras and have now listed them in my Etsy shop and on my website.  

When the originals come back from the magazine, I will list those too (well, I might keep one for myself!).

They make unique pendants, hanging decorations or even very unusual keyrings!

Friday, 1 March 2013

Ossa - new from Double Helix

Yesterday I received a few rods of the new Double Helix glass from Tuffnell Glass, and I got straight out to the Lusherie to put it through it's paces. Both the rods and the beads are more purple (amethyst rather than Cadbury) than they look in any of my photos.

According to Tuffnell's website, Ossa is the first of DH glass's "new speckled lustres". The rods are very unusual, heavily textured with little bumps that are apparently "thousands of refractive inclusions".  When heating the glass, I found it can be prone to boiling, but this didn't appear to affect the bead.

It reduces quite easily and seems to prefer oxygen down rather than propane up, but that may just be because I work hot with two oxycons. Unfortunately I think I tend to be a bit heavy handed with reduction glasses and get a lot of yellow streakiness rather than subtle mother of pearl! I do like this little encased bead though, it reminds me of the brass wire effect with tiny golden bubbles. 

I thought a tornado bead would be a good style to show Ossa both reduced and not. There's lots of free tutorials around if you want help with this technique.

Simple surface reduction results in very shiny beads!

On the whole, Ossa makes me think of goldstone with the benefit of metallic effects. I think these disc beads really do the glass justice.

A nice photo to finish with ... The top of a wave bead - you can't see the bottom, but it's lovely and shiny.