Tag: beads

Liar, Liar

I set my pants on fire in Monday night lampworking. I can’t help but feel that it was a rite of passage; I now have the right to produce decent beads. (I’m exaggerating, actually my glass ‘shocked’ in the torch and hot glass shrapnel landed in my lap. It hurt though, in that ‘surprise pain’ kinda way. Let’s face it, ‘on fire’ sounds way more dramatic.)

Lampwork bead

Anyways, having paid the requisite fee to the gods of glass I went on to have a pretty decent night. They’re almost always round now!!!

Lampwork bead

My fellow Monday night lampworkers recommended “Passing the Flame” by Corina Tettinger. It’s a pretty good read, and I decided to try the simplish looking ‘Rainbow Bead’.

Lampwork bead

Nailed it?

Nailed it?

I actually feel pretty decent about the attempt, I learned a lot and I’m looking forward to giving it another go. My biggest disappointment was the fact that the clear I used for encasing got this ‘scorched’ look.

Lampwork beads

Here is my first take at encased florals – for the encasing I used a clear amber, you can see the difference in how clear it came out.

Lampwork beads

I also tried the same effect with an amber-light yellow combo. For some reason my colours didn’t blend like hers did. I’ll have to find out why.

Lampwork beads

Next week I’ll be trying to build on the same skills ;) In other news I’ve finally got a sewing machine! Quilts, customized hand bags and clothes that actually fit… I can’t wait. Begone, hole in my crafting arsenal!

Glass etching

Sorry about missing Photo-take-outter Friday last week – sometimes you just need a break ;)

This weekend I tried glass etching for the first time, and lo, it turns out to be incredibly easy. I picked up a bottle of etching cream from the craft store called ‘Armour Etch’.

Then I picked up some stencilled stickers from the dollar store, along with a few paint brushes and little mason jars.

Brush on a thick layer of the etching cream, and let it sit for 5 minutes.

Voila! If you scoop the cream off your piece and back into the jar it’s still good, and can be reused. If you’re like me, you’re way too disorganized for this and just wash it off in the sink.

Of course I tried it on my beads, the right one is the original finish, etched version on the left.

I re-purposed some of my blocking gear to get an even coat on my beads – using t-pins and a bit of my blocking mat to hold the beads up.

Here’s another before and after – I’m lampworking again tonight, can’t wait to take this a bit further! The idea machine is on fire – I can think of all kinds of fun ways to expand on this – from decorating mirrors and vases to seeing if it affects the glass in pottery glaze, or using a resist to form patterns on the glass. Can’t wait!

I’m on fire!

Tito and I were back in the lampworking studio on Monday night for what, I can now safely say, was a far more successful evening.

I worked with only 5 colours all night trying to create beads that, above all, were reasonably round. Yes, that was my only goal. Round, with nice holes. It sounds weird, but I can’t think of any other way to put that. It’s just lousy when the glass grips the mandrel in such a way that you don’t get that nice, doughnut shaped centre.

Not one piece broke in the kiln! I think the trick really was the heat factor, this time I made sure I kept my beads good and hot the entire time. I probably even overdid it – which is why none of my design work really came out well, but I’m ok with that. It’s progress ;)

Then I discovered that the beautiful frosted effect one sees on many lampwork beads is just etching solution that you can pick up at a craft store. Can anyone guess what my next round of beads will be for? Yep, etching is in my future, and I’ve already got ideas for pieces that will look like sea glass when they’re done.

One of the beads was so lovely that I just strung it on a silver chain. It’s about 15mm wide, and it made a great pendant. It’s so satisfying to wear something you made from scratch.

Tito went right over the whole bead business and started creating glass sculpture. I need to share his pieces tomorrow – they included a bee, a turtle and a butterfly! I was seriously impressed. Suddenly my goal of ’round’ didn’t seem quite so lofty. He turned out to be a real natural at this.

I love working with glass, it’s such a different feeling from pottery. I’m hoping to get further in glass blowing this summer. Over Christmas Tito and I finally did something with all those ornaments we made in our intro course last year.

Can’t wait for next Monday night – and can’t wait to get my hands on some etching solution – oh, the possibilities!

Lampworking = Fail

Last Monday Tito and I got back into the lampworking studio for the first time in almost a year, and woo boy, was I ever out of practice. Of the many pieces I made that night, almost half of them broke in the kiln. The advice I got was that I had let my glass cool down too much in between working periods – sounds like a rookie mistake to me!

I’m shooting this one from the front so you can’t tell that I had to glue it back together ;) This, and all the other big beads had split in half during the cooling process.

Yep. Also broken. And I was going to make a pendant from this one!

Mucho broken. What would I do without E6000?

All was not lost – I took the ones that looked reasonably similar (and were thankfully intact) and made them into a necklace :)

It’s always nice to work with beads that you made yourself. So even though I was totally peeved I feel nothing but determination to get back into the studio again!

Lampworked glass, session 4


lampworked pendant

Here is a view of a glass pendant that came out of the kiln on Monday. I had foolishly decided to use glue on the post, which resulted in Tito having to rescue the piece by cleaning it up and grinding off the glue. Good thing though, because I really loved the piece and felt terrible after I thought I had wrecked it!

lampworked pendant

Here is the other side. There are 4 different colours of glass involved; white, two different kinds of clear and a warm lilac.

lampworked pendant

The piece is an inch long (not including the post) and is the largest piece of glass I’ve worked so far. The rectangular shape is hand-pressed while the glass is still red hot. It’s topped off with a sterling silver post and strung onto a sterling silver collar. It’s lovely and classy – and as usual, I can’t wait to get back to the studio so I can improve on it!

Glass Lampworking, take II

Before I show you todays piece I want to express my sadness and horror at the devastation Japan experienced with this morning’s earthquake and Tsunami. I’ve been to Japan, and I can say that they are an impressive people; strong, disciplined, brilliant, cooperative and resilient, and I know they will show all of those wonderful qualities in the days ahead as they deal with this terrible tragedy.

glass lampworkingThe bead above is just a solo bead that I didn’t do anything with yet, but I was so thrilled with how beautifully it turned out that I had to put it up here – I love the colour, the details and the way the brown just sweeps across the blue! If I had the skill I’d make 12 more beads just like this one so I could make a bracelet, but alas I don’t have the skill to make things that actually match yet.

glass lampworking bracelet

Speaking of trying to match things though, here is my 2nd attempt at a bracelet. Though none of the beads match each other, they were made with the same techniques, and the same colour glass, so that helped create a cohesive result.

glass lampworking bracelet

Here is a close up view. I broke out of my colour scheme a bit this time by going with violets in stead of the predictable turquoise. I’m back in the studio for 2 hours tonight though, and I think I’ll try and make earrings this time.

glass lampworking bracelet

glass lampworking bracelet

glass lampworking bracelet

glass lampworking bracelet

I’m definitely addicted, can’t wait to go back and try some more tonight!

Glass Lampworking

Lampwork beads

This past weekend Tito and I went to BeadFX in Scarborough for my long-awaited birthday gift – an introductory course in lamp working.

Lampwork beads

Lampworking is a type of glasswork that uses a gas fueled torch to melt rods and tubes of clear and colored glass. Once in a molten state, the glass is formed by blowing and shaping with tools and hand movements. It is also known as flameworking or torchworking, as the modern practice no longer uses oil-fueled lamps. <<Taken from Wikipedia>>

I love how he looks with the protective eyewear on, reminds me of the crazy scientist from Despicable Me!

lamp working beads

lamp working beads

It’s a lovely process – our instructor Amy walked us though how to melt the glass, ‘paint’ it onto a metal rod, shape and decorate it. The results are beautiful, I’ve already got tons of ideas on how to take this further. One of the great things about BeadFX is now that we’ve completed a course, we can rent studio time from them. I can’t wait to get back in there and try out some new ideas!

lamp working beads

Here are Tito’s beads – we did well for beginners!

Here are my beads – this was very different from glass blowing, it felt more controlled and you could focus more on the decorative aspect of each piece.

lamp working beads

I decided to string mine into a big, chunky, colourful bracelet – I love it!

lamp working beads


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