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.


dogwood said...

Very cool! Thanks for sharing that! I'd love to see it done in real life sometime!

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing. They are lovely beads!

formfireglassworks said...

Great to see the evolution and nice tut! Oh yeah, and pretty bead.