Monday, June 5, 2017

Lampwork Glass Agates From Murrini Ends

Here's the cut murrini rod on a clear background

So, time for more experiments in glass! I am beginning to learn to make murrini. Who know what fun that would be? As my studio space slowly fills up with little plastic ziplocks full of glass slices, my mind is slowly working on new ideas. Two things can happen with my murrini pulls- they can be too thin and they can be wonky (or possibly just plain ugly). What to do with all those rod bits that you don't want to cut up into murrini?

Rather than pitch them, I thought I'd try using them with a technique I figured out a number of years ago. Simply? Lay them across the hot bead, stick them on in the flame, cut them, push them on to the bead surface and melt flush.
Some surprising results ensue. Mostly they seem to end up looking a bit like agates. Or turtle shells. So far, it seems the designs show up best on a simple clear background.

Time for pictures!

I started with some murrini end pulls- pieces that are 4mm or more in diameter will work well.
I made a long bead, slightly wider in the center than at the ends, then rolled one end in silver foil and everything in raku frit, just for a bit of 'background noise'.
A piece of murrini rod was laid diagonally from end to end. Don't stretch it out, just lay it on.

Bead and rod were melted together just until the rod was attached; then the attached rod piece was melted slowly and snipped with scissors all along the length. Heat a small section and make a few cuts, then heat another section, all the way up the bead.

There are a couple of different ways to approach the cut bits- either push them onto the bead as you go or cut all the way up, then remelt and push. I use a small knife, place it into the cut and then pivot the knife sideways to open up the center of the murrini rod. It will not look like a regular murrini, but will have an interesting design.

 Another line from a different murrini end was added parallel to the first line and treated in the same way. I added a line of clear between the cut lines, a few dots of aqua here and there, melted everything together and called it done.

My feeling about this bead is that it turned out a wee bit murky. I've made a few leaves on a simple clear background, and the design shows up much more vividly on that background. It makes a pretty cool turtle shell, I think, though next time I will try it on a clear or color encased in clear as the background.