Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Form Follows Function

Looking around on facebook, I saw a wonderful thread with many lampworking tips and it got me thinking about one little lampworking detail that I think about a lot which is the first step in many bead style decisions, and that is- 'how will this bead hang?' I make a LOT of fish, so that's where I'll start.

If the fish has a vertical hole (as most of mine do), the front and back end need to be fairly well balanced. That means the front end of the basic body will be a little bit longer than the back end. Why? Because the back will have the fins and the tail added which, though thin, will add some weight. The side fins do not extend much past the hole, adding a little more weight to the front. Hopefully in the end it will all work out! One more thing; ever since my wind disaster, I have made my fish with the side fins against the body rather than sticking out to the sides. Much less fragile!

A horizontal hole on a fish is a bit more difficult for me. The bottom of the fish needs to be heavier than the top, so I mash it a bit unevenly and then try to extend the bottom a little more. Sometimes later in the process, when it's time to add the eyes, I can't remember or really see which is the top and which is the bottom. Today, I added a wee dot of clear at the top where I was planning to put the eyes. Problem solved~ now I wouldn't get mixed up later, and the clear does not mess with the design; I can just melt it and cover it up later. (thanks to Elizabeth Dauch for this tip)

Another new design change for those horizontal fish has made them work out so much better in my mind. No more worries about the tail being too fragile- it is now just another part of the bead.

One more thing- you might call this a pet peeve, I suppose. Both sides of any bead I make have a design on them. Why? Because they can flip over or be put on backwards and I feel they should still be nice to look at. Any time I put up a bead for sale anywhere online, I show both sides, and maybe even a side view.

There you have it~ one little step in the design of the bead that can be quite important. Or so I believe...