Sunday, May 16, 2021
I really expected that this would have a more interesting name than the 'wagon wheel' effect. Anyway~ see how it looks like the whorl is reversing directions while it's spinning around? Not true! It's an optical illusion created by quickly flashing lights and your brain's trying to make sense of what it's seeing! So cool.
This was a special request whorl, which I did not think I would be making. But one day I thought, oh why not give it a try? And hey presto, a whorl with a face on it. And it spins pretty nicely too!
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
So... I'm sure many, if not all of y'all bead makers, have some frit mixes lying around. Back when I first started to make beads, I didn't use frit. And it was in the old 'dinosaur' days before Val Cox and her 'Frit Secrets' book came out, so frit mixes were not yet a big part of the glass bead world. Nowadays, a nice mix of frit can decide the colors of a bead, making that part of the process easy. They are a useful crutch, especially for days when one is feeling a wee bit less than inspired. Just grab a mix and enjoy making the bead! Val's book has a lot of different ideas for how to use frit in a bead; it is a great resource.
I often feel like I am kind of cheating when I use a prepared frit mix in a bead and it takes a little bit of the creativity away, so I try not to lean on them too heavily. That said, I seem to be in a bit of a frit loving stage. I mean Gaffer's or Reichenbach's royal purple or purple rose frit is simply irresistible!
While thinking about some of the things that happen when a couple of different frits are mixed, or just a touch more of something is added to a mix, I realized that maybe the frit colors could basically be stacked instead of using them all at once in a mix. Say, for instance, you are inspired by the colors in a violet. Instead of using green and purple together, why not put on some green and then add some purples randomly on top of it. Would this not give more of a violet feet to the whole bead? (Without all the trouble of having to actually put wee violets all over it). How about rolling the bead in a larger size purple frit and then a smaller one~you can see in this example that little bits of purple are on larger dots of purple. Those larger bits of purple must have been sticking out when the smaller purple frit was added, making it look like glass dots were placed on the larger purple bits. Another fun idea!
Today was a 'frit stacking' experiment day. I was pretty
happy with the results. As a bonus, interesting reactions sometimes
occur between the frits. Here are a couple of the beads and how they
Here are closeups of both of these beads to show some of the yummy reactions that happened!
Saturday, April 10, 2021
There are a few different design ideas affecting my whorl making these days. First and foremost are single conical whorls, which are a bit longer and thinner than past styles. The shape simply appeals to me. It seems like the extra weight near the center is making them spin nicely and possibly longer than the shorter, wider whorls. The conical shape also allows extra weight at the outside edge. Some extra added glass 'bobbles' can add yet more weight at the outside, as well as visual interest.
The next thing is colors and designs~ oh my! This is where I get excited. I've been making a lot of two-tone beads with a line of something or other swirled between. Sometimes there's a touch of frit (wee bits of broken glass) involved, or goldstone, or a glass that changes colors and reacts in the flame. I may even add a little handmade murrini to jazz up the bobbles between the colors. There's often a bit of a 'happy accident' involved (and sometimes an unhappy accident~ ha,ha). The style can seem rather simple, but again, the look just hits me right.
One more little flight of thought~ one may wonder, why not just make whorls like the wearable beads? Can it be done? Of course it can, however... I often find that a particular type of bead begs a particular shape or design. I could not tell you why! Have I ever made a bead that is similar in shape and design with a tapered hole? Why yes, but it seems it is not something that my brain directs me to do with ease!
Here's that red accidental whorl spinning its little heart out!
Saturday, February 6, 2021
So... Roc day (Distaff day, the day after epiphany) has come and gone. This is a special day for spinners, the time for the women to get back to work after the 12 days of Christmas have passed (the men get to wait until the Monday after epiphany. Hmm...). In celebration, I made a short (20 min.) video about how to make a felted woolen coaster inside a plastic zipper bag. An idea for a 'make & take project or a quickie workshop with kids or something like that. The video pretty well tells the whole story, but there may be a few things I can add here.
~ I mentioned that I would often use white wool when making the prefelt. The reason for that is because I feel it makes the colors on the outer design show up better and not get muddy looking. And it creates a buffer between the two outside designs too, so they won't interfere with each other.
~ The 'confetti' should really have a touch of wispy wool over it here and there just to be sure it will be well attached.
~ Don't be afraid to get a bit rough with this. It will help it felt better if it is tossed, pounded and pummeled a bit after eveything has been added.
Well, I've really got to watch the video again to see if there are other tips to add~ but in the meantime, I'm going to publish this wee blog post to make the viedo more 'find-able'.