Thursday, January 29, 2009

Murrinis & Focals - Yummm

So, I mentioned Murrinis yesterday on Facebook and this is what I was talking about.
It isn't a food, but it is glass and it is a cane that is built by forming a glob of glass, a large version of what you want the smaller "cane" to be when it is pulled. It winds up as a long "cane" which must be cut into sections to be applied to beads. This is a VERY simple version of a murrini. Some are extremely complex, for instance I believe someone made a Mona Lisa murrini.

I applied it to a bead yesterday and this is the result:
I was really happy to see the result because I was sure it wouldn't form the pinwheel, so when it did it was a happy surprise. I had fun making the base bead, just because it is such a departure for me. I've been collecting some really nice corals and pinks, so had the chance to use a few - along with some pale lavender and a bit of silvered ivory.

After that little triumph went into the kiln, I started playing with some other colors. There was also a complex stringer used in the next bead, but it disappeared in all the various layers. Oh well, I was happy with what the silver and "magic" did all by themselves:
So, I spent a good hour at the torch and the two beads about were the result. both of the focals are about 25mm long, about 18 mm wide and about 10mm thick. A nice size for a pendant.

I promise to get busy finishing up some of the vessels and pendants so I can post them for sale soon and get my website updated.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Our (as yet) unnamed holiday

Tina did such a good job posting about this (and took all the pictures) I'll just refer you to her entry which covers our day yesterday pretty well!

I do have to say that the celebration seemed to settle something in me and I wound up sleeping in until 10 AM today. I really think I haven't slept so late since our son was born - almost 23 years ago! It was wonderfully decadent, but not getting started on the day until close to noon is a very weird feeling for me!

Everything is here for the magazine (deadline was the 15th) so in the few hours I had today, I started working on that after proof-reading Tina's latest book... which I'm sure you'll be hearing about soon.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

And another day at the torch

I was still curious about the silver brown reaction on black and so had to give it another try.

This is much more what I was expecting. This time, I was sure to reduce the finished bead, just waved it through the flame and this is what happened.

I thought it required encasing, but I didn't do any of that and a gorgeous reaction happened all on its own.

I haven't made any vessels for a while and my selection was looking a little slim, so I had decided to work on a few of them.

This is the first one I made. A green opalino base with some sprinkles of spring frit. green scrolled stems with little candy flowers dancing on them.

I was so anxious to show this that it really isn't finished. It'll get wired and a cork or maybe a fancy top will be applied. Same goes for the last vessel on this page.

To the left, you will see two different views of, in my opinion, one of the most interesting vessels I have ever made.

It's interesting and beautiful.

The base is a grey-blue opaque glass and the handle and "decorations" are made of silver plum. Silver plum is a very cool purple glass that blooms in the right flame to become silver.

The decorations on the vessel are shards, which are a very thin pieces of a bubble that is blown with the glass and then broken when it has cooled. The pieces are applied very carefully so that the shards will just melt onto the shape rather than ball up from too much heat.

After everything is on the vessel, it is flashed in the flame and the silver appears. It is like magic happening before my eyes!

Finally, I have been thinking of making a new moon vessel.

I formed the vessel and then began the moonlit sky. The stars skimming across the sky are fine silver wire, melted in to become spots of shining silver in the lapis sky.

The moon was added and then I thought some filmy clouds would make this moon vessel different from the others I have made in the past.

I remember one night, long ago being with some friends looking up at the sky. It was full of wispy clouds and the moon just sailed along through the clouds, never completely covered, but dancing in and out of the "veils". One of my friends called it a Hamlet moon and ever since, when I would look up and see the moon peeking in and out of clouds, I think of her and that long-ago night.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Finally! Some time on the torch.

I finally sat down at the torch on the last day of 2008. I had received some new glass in the mail(my Christmas present to myself) a day or so before.

What to do... what to do? Well, this was the first thing....

I read up on the glass that had so intrigued me and sat down to try some of it out.

The base of this bead is regular old dark ivory.

The dots are two new (to me) colors. The gorgeous blue one is called "dense iris blue" and it is truly such an intense color, the name fits it perfectly.

The other dots, which range through many shades of amber to blue to green is called "silver brown". It reacts strongly with different colors and varies depending on the application.

The little raised dots, some of which are undercut probably because it's been so long since I was at the torch and also because this was just an experiment and never was intended as a salable bead, are also made of silver brown. Leaving them raised and just reducing them slightly made them strike to this golden color.

The one to the right is another example of silver brown with a much different outcome.

The base is black and I understood that silver brown on black would turn brown and green. Well, it does, but they are transparent, so it is very hard to see them!

In the right light, if you hold your head just so, you can see some of the hints of electric blue.

I'm not sure where the wispy inclusion came from, but it is about the most interesting thing about this bead, with the exception of a strand of silvered ivory I put down between the stripes of silver brown...

This is what I like to do with my experiments with new glass. I have a notebook of ideas and inspirations. After saving pictures by themselves, sometimes I will label them like this so I know what I did to get the effect. The Mystic Beige is a new color and I tried it with the desert chameleon. I'm afraid the beige overpowers the chameleon, but maybe I'll try it again. The striped one is much more impressive in this photo. In real life, the green stripes are hardly noticeable!
I was getting tired by the time I started working on these and they are just small round beads that I decided to use for experimentation. The one in the middle seems to be the favorite!