Monday, June 29, 2009

Six Women, Three Torches

Six Women, Three Torches- Anything Could Happen!

What a day we had yesterday- it was lampwork bead day in Sherwood at Glass Concepts. Six lampwork beadmakers gathered together for show and tell, and what a session it was! Grace brought a couple of beads she’d made using the new Gaffer Chalcedony glass on a 96 clear background. She got some really nice colors, but I forgot to take any pictures.

I tried out some shards I’d made on a black Moretti background. I had a bit of success, though I think I heated a bit too long. Rita made a base of the Gaffer Hyacinth, then added some Chalcedony dots and encased them in clear. The colors seemed to be striking nicely around the edges of the dots, so she raked it around a bit and spread them out. We’re still working on getting all the beautiful colors that are possible and getting some consistency. Everybody got a bit to take home, so hopefully we’ll have some real beauties to show off at our next gathering.
One great thing about getting the Gaffer glass is that I’ve started learning to blow shards. I’ve been pretty happy with the results- now to learn to apply them properly!

Grace has had a bee in her bonnet (which has recently been buzzing around my head) about scrollwork on beads. The lovely Rita was just the person to demonstrate this technique. My suspicion is that she locked herself in a closet and didn’t come out ‘til she got it right! The bead she’s working on here is an opal yellow background with silver plum decorations (I think). Her stringer control was mesmerizing- what patience and precision. Afterwards, I tried to use a bead press and do a bit of scrollwork. No photo of that- what a mess, but Rita watched over my shoulder and helped me to understand what I need to work on.
And the piece de resistance was Debby’s electric mandrel spinner. Debby has spent some serious hours on the torch, and her thumbs are starting to show the strain. So she bought this amazing machine to help her out- it spins the mandrel around while you add the glass. Impressive, yes? It’s a great invention that takes a bit of time to get used to. The thing is it spins around quite a bit faster than any of us were used to. There is a little brake you can put your fingers on to slow it down a little, though. While Vicki trained her video camera on her, Grace gave it a try. I wish we’d had audio- she was hilarious! In the end, five of us tried it out. Glenda and Vicki actually did pretty well. They got some fairly round results. And there was a cool bead roller to use with it that we all enjoyed trying out, and an unidentified tool pictured here. Debby's going to have to practice, pratice, practice to get some nice round beads, but she's determined, and we're all waiting to see it. It really has great promise to save all of our hands from overusage injuries.

And I almost forgot. Rita had another great little tool for making flower stamens. She made a very nice example using yellows, green and some intense black. We each got a little bit to take home and try out. All in all it was an amazing day!

Here are links to show off some of the wonderful work of these lampworking ladies:
Vicki at Parrotise Beads:
Debby at Starlight Designs:

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