Saturday, June 7, 2008

Synchronicity and lampwork

First inspiration and two new wearable bottles

Just a quick post about my new wearable bottles. It's the kind of thing where a number of ideas come together at once and you end up with a new creation on your hands!
First was a request to make a double sided wearable bottle for a friend. I was pretty pleased with it, and it got me thinking I needed to try and make some wearable bottles to sell. But I really wanted them to have a nice, larger empty area to store things in. That was a couple of weeks ago.
Next I went to the library and checked out Contemporary Lampworking books one and two, and started looking at the pictures and reading techniques (again). This was just for general inspiration and further training, not specifically for bottles.
Then there was a discussion about making twisties in the cgge tips and techniques forum on etsy. And I thought- well, I really should practice my twistie again.
And last was the fortuitous delivery of some Moretti ultra clear glass at the local glass shop- Glass Concepts in Sherwood, AR. And I loved it! I haven't been using much clear. I just couldn't find any that was 'perfect'. Now maybe this will fill the bill.
The end result is some new, clear, twistie decorated bottles, built OFF the end of the mandrel rather than ON the end of the mandrel. And they're made to wear- flatter backs, and a nice long pointed end. Hope ya'll like them!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Metamorphosis of a bead

Thought you might enjoy seeing one of my beads go from inspiration and idea to finished product. I have a bulletin board in my studio area with pictures that I find interesting or inspiring- sometimes it's just a color combination, or a picture that will help me get the shape of sculptural beads right. But sometimes I really want to imitate a pattern. This is the metamorphosis of one of those beads. First I'm showing you the final finished bead next to the picture I started with.:

I began with a picture of a clam mantle that was in National Geographic- here’s part of it:

And these are all of the finished beads. You can see that number one and two are way too yellow. It's a bit hard to see the yellow in the original picture, but it's there. Number three is as close as I came- it looks a bit more like in real life, but anyway here goes! And number four is my bit of fun after I figured out what I wanted to know.

I began with a Vetrofond yellow cylinder as a base, rolled in white enamel, then oxford blue, randomly dotted with intense black.

Next came alabaster blue, a little oxford blue enamel, and two transparents blues over that. Dots were then melted down, distorted a bit. Then the whole bead was shaped and finished in the kiln.

Now, I was not so happy with this- too yellow and not yellow enough at the same time, and the colors just didn’t pop. So here I went again; this time I’ll just show the highlights:

Black base. Roll in yellow enamel, then white, then oxford blue Intense black dots again, dotted with a bit of a solid periwinkle Oxford enamel Transparent blue Shape and finish in the kiln.

And still I wasn’t pleased. I need to get some of that yellow out of there, and the dot color is still not vivid enough. Now normally about now I would move on to a new color combination ‘cause I think I know what I need to do, and I’m getting a bit tired of these being so much the same, but for you I pressed on- one more time, this one without pictures (‘cause my camera ran out of space). Now let’s see if I remember!
Again the black background A smattering of yellow enamel, then a bit of white, and last of all oxford blue (I may have dipped into the white enamel again too)- all of these were very light applications as I wanted some of the colors to show through from below. The some intense black frit before I added the intense black blobs. Then came some solid periwinkle with transparent light aqua over it, and just a little sapphire blue on top of that- this gave me the depth and color brightness I was looking for. Shape, pop in the kiln, and wait. I think I’ve pretty much got it now!
In the meantime, I’m gonna use what I think I’ve learned and bring out some purple- I should have kept a bit of that yellow enamel out for this one, but I didn’t. Maybe next time…..
And remember, if you’re using enamels, make sure your studio is properly vented and that you are using the recommended respirator to keep from breathing in bits of glass.