Friday, August 24, 2007

I'm back!

After the success of my first experiments with enamels, I was inspired to continue and try some more.

Roses in the Snow kept going through my head and this is the result! Sometimes a bead just goes so smoothly and this was one of them.

It is about 25 mm or 1 inch high. The base is black and I sifted white enamel over the top of the bead, then applied the vines, leaves and roses. I sifted another quick "flurry" over the whole thing and wound up with the picture I had in my head.

What a wonderful feeling!

After I finished this one, I went on to make another, very similar only it was on a base of "Cocoa" which makes it look like a piece of fancy chocolate! This one is a little shorter - about 22mm. I'm not sure the color difference shows up so well here, but if you click on the picture it should come up larger on its own screen.

Now, to try something really daring - 3 colors of enamel. I felt like I was flying without a net since I wasn't sure what the finished colors of the enamels would be.

Again, I was thrilled as I watched the bead come together and held my breath until I could take it from the kiln.

I showed it to my husband this morning and he said, "It looks like some kind of domino", so I'm calling it "3D Domino". Maybe it's really a fat surfboard ...

This one is 30 mm tall, and each side is different (these two pictures are different sides of the same bead,) but the feel is the same on both.

I'm feeling better about the pendant swap since I feel like what I will send will actually be something original - and something I am excited about.

It seems that my artist block has finally evaporated and I am on to a new direction that is my own. I'm bursting with new ideas and can hardly wait to get to the torch and make more focals and some new sets!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Another Challenge

I decided to participate in another inspiration challenge and the first bead is the result. It sorta conveys the feeling of the picture (which I don't have to post - but you'll just have to trust me on that!)

I had just received a set of enamels for use with 104 COE glass and was trying to decide what to do with them. The idea of sifting dark near the top of the bead and lighter near the bottom worked out beautifully to give the bead a gently shaded background.

The original showed discs of gold and yellow and apparently one of the "yellows" I picked up was green... now it looks sort of like a mango tree! The original painting was much classier.

But after finishing it, I was so pleased and thought - wouldn't that be pretty with grapey swags instead and so, I made one in purples.

This has metallic spots throughout as well although they aren't as easy to see in the picture.

Both of these beads are pretty big - big enough for pendants which is another project I am working on - a pendant swap.

I was somewhat intimidated by some of the things that another participant posted. Her pendants were extremely ornate and very well done. I was trying to do something up to her standard and then thought - "You know, I don't do things like that and I think I'll just let my beads speak for themselves and make pendants the way I always have."

So now that I've calmed down, I think I know how to do this... and these new beads may just be
some of my entries.

While I was fooling around with the enamels, I grabbed a large mandrel and a rod of "Iced Tea" glass and proceeded to make a vessel. I still had the enamels out and sifted a bit at the bottom and at the neck of the vessel. It needed something else, so I strung a piece of silver wire around it which melted beautifully into a beaded strand.

The vessel looks like a view of the galaxy. I'll need better picture to put it on my website, but meanwhile, we can enjoy it just like this.

The Iced Tea Galaxy.

What a good idea! I think I'll go in an treat myself to a glass
right now.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The ocean & the tropics with a side visit to Florence

Yes, I must admit, the Bantams have been around longer than the Chukars, so they aren't the newest additions, just the latest pictures....

That's settles, now, on to beads:

This set is called Ocean Granite. I was playing with copper foil, some frit and a few stringers.

Next is Florentine Crackle, The scrolls make it look like a Florentine paper design. I got a bit carried away with the technique and made a large focal and a medium sized bicone to go along with it.
But this one is the real inspiration for the Florentine name. I call it Florentine scrolls because it almost looks like golden scrolls on a deep turquoise base. Love the rich look.

So, there I was in the midst of all the blues and greens when suddenly I found myself with an orange stringer in my hand.

This was the result. Tropical Chatter.

It reminds me of the edge of the jungle. Can't you just see the tropical birds and flowers in this one?

It was an attempt to encase a floral and although I didn't smear it terribly, the effect is a little blurred and it works to give the feeling of the layers of vegetation in a rain forest.

Seems like I did a little tour. Across the ocean to Florence, ending on a desert isle. Amazing where the torch can take you!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Line Up

The most recent additions to our menagerie are a bunch of bantam chicks. I think I mentioned them before when they were still chicks), but didn't show any pictures.

As you can see, there is an overabundance of roosters and we will have to do something about it eventually. In the evening, they all fly up to a perch along the side of the caged area they live in an stretch out in a rather colorful line up.

They are a great assortment of gamecocks, cochins, Polish, frizzles and many crosses of all the aforementioned breeds. We didn't know what to expect and as they have grown, it has been fascinating to watch how they developed.

On another note, I have been making beads in the mornings again lately and will be posting some new sets soon - maybe tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Yay! It's beads!

I really need to stay active with my torchwork. It seems I was away for a few weeks and came back really rusty. But, at least I made a few things to show.

The first thing is a bead I made for a challenge in a lampworking forum I frequent. This is the inspirational photo:
It's from this artist's website. And these are two sides of the one bead that I made in response:

I've been wanting to try these concentric circles and was pretty happy with the way they turned out. I've switched to a shield and "grocery store" glasses and find my control has improved immensely!

It is actually somewhat lighter than it appears in the pictures and it inspired me to try something else....

I call this one Electric Retro. I wear a lot of lime green and was planning to do something with dark blue and lime, but picked up black and away I went.

The faint white lines are encased stringers that were very thin. I expected them to show up a bit more, but as it turned out, I kinda like this effect since it looks like electrical currents flowing from the dots.

The blue and green set? Well, this is what I wound up with. There are four big fat lentils with a nice variegated stem and tendrils drifting around them and the dreamy lighter blue flowers floating inside.

The fifth bead is a large holed "slider". It can be used on a necklace or as a slide on a bracelet.

I was playing with silver the other day trying to recreate something I had seen online and although this isn't the result I was expecting, it was a pleasant surprise.

This is copper blue wrapped with silver foil. Dots of EDP were added and I reduced the whole thing just before putting it in the kiln.

I think the reactions turned out some pretty interesting beads.

This is pretty much what I was actually trying to do. Funny what a little silver and reduction flame can do, huh?

The beads I was trying to make had a silvered line in the space where you see the dark turquoise. I think I know how to make them now, but I got such pretty results from my attempts that I don't think I have to!

Monday, August 06, 2007


The resin charms I showed a few posts back didn't work out, so I wound up making beads and wrapping them with copper.

They aren't as unique as I was hoping, but I did come up with something! I do love purple glass with copper and I was determined to use copper for so many of the same thing.

While I was working on them, I was calling them "Drops of Saturn", but then remembered the song is about Jupiter. Oh, well - close. And I do love the silver drops here and there around the bead.

I had used this wrap for a moonstone colored charm a few years ago and really loved the way it looked.

So, they are finally in the mail and I will now anxiously await the gorgeous package of the final swap. The finished bracelet should be a really wonderful conglomeration of 24 charms from artists all over the world. I love the internet!

I have the kiln warming up and a bottle of Pepsi at the ready. It's only 7:20 in the AM, but I find early torching seems to work for me. I'm thinking navy and green - we'll see.

Off to pull some vine cane and get working...

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Well, it's been a couple of busy days and corny seems to be the operative word!

Last evening, Tina & I taught a class on making herbal beads at The Rosemary House in Mechanicsburg. We got there early and toured the gardens.

Susanna wanted to show the "World's largest teacup" to us and before we knew what happened, Tina and Susanna had hopped in and I snapped this picture.

No, it isn't moving, but aren't they a couple of hams??? Corny might be the operative word here.

Susanna told us that she and her sister have enjoyed dinner (along with her two children) in the teacup. What a great, fun, whimsical thing to do. I'll bet that's a memory they'll keep forever.

There were so many fun and interesting things in the gardens. Everywhere we looked was something else that pointed up the enthusiasm, imagination and love of life that permeates the gardens.

I happened to look up at the side of a barn and there was a lovely collection of unique birdhouses. The assortment of shapes, sizes and colors were at the same time haphazard and artful.

The teapot tree was in full bloom. Perhaps I'll post a picture of that later - or it may show up as a cover on the Essential Herbal one of these months.

We knew what awaited us at home today. (This is where it really gets corny!) We had called in some of the family to freeze corn starting early this morning and we husked, blanched, cooled, cut and bagged more than 40 quarts of corn that will be oh, so welcome this winter, reminding us of the bountiful summer.

A few of the ears in this particular type of corn had a second ear forming at the bottom, something unusual. Bob has been growing corn for most of his life and never saw anything like this before.

We got the freezing almost finished and the guys came in with a big pan of chicken, fresh from the grille, I sliced some tomatoes and we ate the final batch of corn which had been fully cooked. I usually add a bit of sugar when we boil the corn, but this was so sweet, it didn't need it. Fresh from the field - what a feast!