Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Making Blown Glass Beads with video link

People are so interested in learning to make hollow glass beads on the end of a hollow mandrel or small blow pipe- myself included! Thanks to a wonderful bead making buddy, I was shown a way to do it that is pretty cool, without the use of diamond shears. Many people can do this better than I can~ I am still learning, but this video will show the basics, along with ways to recover from some errors that I guarantee will happen to you too!

Here is my youtube video in all its glory!
A couple of video pointers~

*  Make your first wrap of glass nice and thin and right at the very end of the mandrel and it will pull off much better and have a good hole with less fooling around.

*  I start with a small coiled bead or cup bead, very similar to the way a hollow bead might be made on a mandrel. That way there is a little bubble built in from the start.

*  First build a little bead, blow a bubble in, and then add more glass and decorate before shaping and blowing it the final time. The starter bubble is nice, just to be sure you are really going to have a bubble in the bead.

* Because I wanted to show the bead being blown, I did not blow it in the correct way, which is pointing the mandrel towards the ceiling. Pointing the mandrel up seems to work the best for consistent shaping. I have also been told to take the heated
bead out of the flame, point it down for a moment and then point the mandrel to the ceiling so it will be a little stiffer on the outside. In reality, I point down and begin to blow, then move up to the vertical blowing position to finish.

* Make the tungsten pick really hot before plunging in into the bead. Turn up your flame if necessary- white hot is good! Make sure to keep the bead warm behind the flame so it won't crack. Look down the bead through the hole once you've plunged the pick through to be sure it is nicely opened up. If not, try again.

*  When you are ready to pull the bead off of the mandrel, be sure to only heat the mandrel, not the bead. Don't let the hot fingers get in the flame, or they will stick to and mar the bead.

I was not going to put this video up because of all the mistakes I made, but then decided, what the heck~ everyone is going to make some of these errors!

Here are some video links to folks who really know what they're doing!

You can watch Olga Alianova https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atXlC1mxpo4

Davide Penso https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Phb3vjDs1PE

My favorite https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgaN1q4enk0...

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Lampwork Glass Curved Bead Tutorial- Making Curved Glass Beads

Well, I finally did it! After many requests and loads of questions from folks, I have written down everything I know about curving glass tube beads my way, which is in the kiln! If you look at the etsy listing for the booklet, you will see that there are a lot of disclaimers. Why? Because it will take some work for each person to get it right. This is not a tut in the traditional sense, but rather instructions, suggestions, a lot of information on what might go wrong and why and happy photos of some of the beads I have made using this method. It's written in more of a workshop style, with loads of information. I've really tried to include everything I've learned as I've explored this method over the years. Tester questions are answered and details I've explored are explained. I am happy to answer questions and lend support where needed.

Is it easy? Well, yes and no. Making the bead is fairly simple, and I have provided two short photo tuts to help with that bit. Curving them after they're made is a bit of a nail biter because issues can arise. This method of curving in a kiln came about through the help of a glass fusing friend of mine. It took a lot of fooling around and changes before I got a method I was really satisfied with.

Here's a little bit of feedback I've gotten on it~
'I just glanced through your tutorial and it’s really exciting. I made some assumptions about how you make your beads and not one of them were correct.'
' It's designed to encourage experimentation, and shows you a way to create these distinctive, curved beads without any special equipment. The entire process is very clearly expressed and even includes a nice introduction to making long tube beads in addition to the info on curving them. It's really like being in the workshop with Laurie and watching her process and learning from her years of experience. No, it's not a plug-and-play, effortless, "copy this and you'll get that" kind of tutorial. To me, it's much better, because it shows you a whole way of looking at your work methods.'

I have tried some other methods and read up on others. I've had more success with this method than with the 'Tom & Sage' method (which is pretty cool) or using a curved mandrel. The curved mandrel has a few problems in my book- first it is not really all that curved, secondly it is darn hard to get the beads off, and thirdly it is simply difficult to build a bead on a mandrel that is not straight! There is also a method where the bead is built on something flexible and curved while it's hot. Sounds interesting though I have not tried it ~ it sounds a bit scary and I don't like the texture left inside by the flexible rope!

Here's the etsy listing link:
Glass Bead Workshop~ an exploration of curving tube beads in your kiln

Friday, December 14, 2018

Paypal 'shipnow' link

Here's the paypal 'shipnow' link (though it looks like they've renamed it). I'm putting it up here because I'm tired of having to look around the web and find it each and every time I need it!

 If you've got a paypal account and want to ship something to someone through paypal that wasn't a purchase, this is what you use! Just click on the link below, sign in to your paypal account and you'll be ready to ship stuff using your paypal funds.


I found it here, so you can thank Goosie Girl!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Using Enamels in Lampwork Beads

Here’s a rundown of the enamels I use for making lampwork glass beads, such as it is. I don’t actually use all that many colors. I have tried a few others, but these are the ones I’ve settled on. 
I like enamels because they give nice, clean colors with none of the problems you can run into with glass rods. No devit, no mud, no worries! I also find them essential when I’m trying to duplicate most types of designs from nature~ I always use them as part of my seahorse patterning. I wrote a blog about an experimental bead of that sort a while ago, trying to imitate a natural pattern. My camera ran out of gas in the middle of the experiment, so there are no pics of the best part, but you can get an idea of what was done, anyway. 
Here are links to a few articles on this blog that talk about enamel use.

I’m still not really sure about the edp trick, but it’s worth further exploration. 

Here are the colors I use, and why!

*  White(9010)- essential~it’s great for a background and can make the colors pop. And there are other things you can do with it too, like overmelt goldstone frit into it for an interesting stone like look (there’s a little more to it than that, but not much. I need to find my old notes as I haven’t done this in years.)
*  Bright red (9840)~ great for a nice, stable red red. If folks ask me for something red and I am thinking clearly, I virtually always use red enamel.
*  ‘New’ purple #9740~ a nice, clean purple. Dark purple is OK, but this reads more true to me.
*  Light or dark orchid(9760 or 9780)~ wonderful pink either way~ also essential. I don’t know if I can tell one from the other. Reacts nicely with raku and iris gold frit.Also lovely with a line of rubino running through it.
*  Oxford blue (9650). There are several blues that are all very similar. Medium blue or blue green are OK, but I prefer oxford. There is also something called just 'aqua' I think which is quite nice.
*  Transparent aqua( might be #9452)~the only transparent I really want to have around. It’s a nice light aqua blue, not dark like all of the ones mentioned above. Probably best backed with white enamel.
*  Melon yellow (9830)~ kind of halfway between orange and yellow. I’m not a big yellow fan, but I do like this color.
*  Green~ I’m pretty sure it’s apple green (9330) that I like. Moss is a bit too grey and dark for my taste.

I have not tried orange red (9835) but it looks intriguing.
NOT black. I’ve gotten it and it just seems to turns kind of dark grey and takes over. Then again, maybe some folks know what to do with it!