Tuesday, 17 August 2010

And these are the last beads I made in Norfolk before I packed up all the bead making equipment:

I am pleased they look so bright and happy - we had a very busy time living here, I started my new carrier as a bead artist in the shed in the garden, and these beads are a lovely conclusion to this part of my life.
I won't be posting any blogs for the next couple of weeks, but I'll be back.
So... Goodbye, Downham! Hello, something else!


Yes, yes, yes! Finally we are moving! We've been packing and everything, you can see the pix!

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Tiny Spacers

Who knows a nice and easy way of making these tiny spacers? The ones on the pic are about 4mm thick and 7mm in diameter. They seem to be so popular all of a sudden, but they are such a pain to make! I find it tricky to balance a tiny amount of glass on my mandrel, keeping the wound glass in the way that it doesn't collapse on itself. Of course, as always, the place in the flame is important, i.e., temperature control, but also I now use industrially produced stringer instead of a whole thick rod, this seems to have helped. But then there is also the cleaning of the holes, which is fun: they are so small, and holding them simultaneously with drilling is a nightmare. BUT they do look cute in a finished jewellery piece, so... back to work!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Murrini Making Part II

I had a white rod for the middle, encased it into clear, cut little "grooves", filled them with some coral, encased it all into clear again, then encased it with acid yellow. Heat, heat, attach the punty, more heat, pull. Lots of fun and excitement! You can see what came out on the pic. These are tiny. So conclusion No 1: don't do "subtle".

Then, of course, I needed to put them into my bead. As I mentioned before, everything needs practice. I started paddling them, and they just collapsed! I had to decorate these bright yellow blobs with a strange middle, so I put some tiny black dots on each of them: now they looked like little footprints of a little furry animal. Conclusion No 2: paddle only very gently, if at all.

Seeing my lovely tiny murrini being reduced to dots looking like animal paws, I decided not to paddle them at all. This was risky, but I had to think fast: remember all this was happening while I was making a bead. Just melting these murrini very slowly, watching them making sure that they don't collapse on themselves did the trick: you can see them on the bead, even the teeny-tiny coral lines are noticeable - JUST - under a microscope. It didn't come out 100%, but hey, conclusion No 3: while making one thing, you usually stumble on a new idea which you wouldn't have if you didn't do this one thing in the first place.

Now I know how I can make lovely hollyhocks inside the bead. I have been puzzled by the long middle part of this flower, not quite knowing how to deal with it. The answer is simple: murrini in pink with encased in clear yellow middles!

This particular bead needs more working on it: I put the yellow dots too close to the middle, they started touching the turquoise and now I have tiny black lines there - not good for a perfectionist (which I am not). And, of course, this murrini will do well in my "big, bright and bold" beads, so see you on ebay soon!

Murrini Making Part I

I haven't made murrini for a very long time, probably too long after I actually learnt and practised how to make it. Partially it was due to the absence of a very important tool - the rod cutters, which I couldn't buy. Last winter, when I was in Moscow, my brother took me to an amazing shop where one could buy anything one wanted: glass, mica, tools of any kind and any desctiption - a glass beadmaker's paradise! So I bought these lovely cutters there (pictured) and forgot all about them when I came back.

Everybody is making their own murrini, so yesterday I remembered about the cutters and thought I should make some murrini too. Now there is one important part in murrini making: preparing a good punty. I was quite proud of mine - and you can see it on the pic next to the cutters. The other pic shows another of my recent purchases - these beautiful golden glass scissors: I just had to show them off! I haven't used them yet, they are so shiny, I just look at them admiringly.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Busy-Busy Uploading on Flickr

What a morning! I'm sitting here uploading lots of photos on Flickr. Just the beads at the mo, jewellery will be coming soon too. Unfortunately, I am still unable to create "galleries", as the instructions are so poor. I've tried and tried, again and again, but the "Add to a Gallery" still doesn't come up, apparently, because of some security settings - well, these are my pics and I haven't set anything private or whatever, but it isn't happening. Does anyone know what I'm doing wrong? Anyway, I can't waste any more of my time, especially as I'm going to try out some new ideas, so... Flickr will have to wait!

Monday, 9 August 2010

Glass, glass, glass!

New glass arrived. Have a look: on the left is a rod of Opal Yellow that I've had before, on the right - what I got now. This is the reason for when we are asked if we can make the same beads like the ones that the customer has seen or has bought from us before, we can only reply: "I'll do my best." Batches of glass vary, and this is just one example. I hope it will behave, though, in the same way, otherwise... :(
But I want to finish on a happy note, that being that I've got all my mandrels ready and I'm just about to "dive" into my studio! Another exciting thing is that I've also bought some special mandrels for blowing beads: I haven't got any idea about how to use them. I remember seeing how these blown beads were made some time ago, and then it seemed pretty straight forward, but now, looking at these strange mandrels, I'm thinking about taking a lesson! :)

Saturday, 7 August 2010

It was easier to make another post with these photos of the Minoan necklace than to upload them in the way I wanted them to be published! Here they are (I really don't know why they can't be on the same line!):

Making Jewellery Week

I haven't realised that a week passed since my last blog! Well, there hasn't been much of bead making this week, but more of jewellery making. I needed to make pieces for galleries, and you can see examples of what I made on the photos. Typically, when I upload pix they always get in the wrong order - oh well, the first one is a bracelet with my "Celtic" beads, the other one is a "Minoan" necklace, the beads having goldstone insertions. Since I bought some goldstone about a month ago I can't stop using it! I've got so many new designs with it, and I just love the finished look, especially when light catches it.

Of course, the initial temptation was to make the "Minoan" set with copper beads and findings - they pick up the "copperness" of the goldstone beautifully, but I also had these lovely big (8mm!) fluted sterling silver beads that I bought specifically for this set, so my copper hearts had to wait till next time! If there is ever going to be a next time - almost always I only make one piece of a particular design.

I was going to write about dots... it has to be in the next blog now!

Monday, 2 August 2010

Weekend - Doing Nothing!

Hi! Saturday and Sunday were just a couple of lazy days! We went to Cambridge to see Toy Story 3 which was surprisingly good, and we also had a barbeque, which was... even better! (Sorry I like to eat nice food!). So not much bead making, I'm afraid!