Sunday, 6 February 2011

Flame Off Prize - Please Enter to Win!

I saw an Asian glass artist talking to his glass-making gods before starting his work. Every time I want to make beads now, I come up to my oxycon and say, "Please switch on, please switch on!". Hopefully, I'll be able to take it to Tuffnells next week for a service.

Yesterday I was lucky (the oxycon did switch on almost immediately) and I managed to start on the set of beads which I'm planning to give away as one of the GBUK prizes. This year they called for sponsorship of prizes for the GBUK Bead and Jewellery Competition which will be held at the Towcester Flame Off ( in order to popularize British handmade glass beads. For entry requirements and to download the entry form please go to To enter the jewellery part of the Competition, you don't have to be a GBUK member! I decided to make some of my "Mucha" design, the full tutorial is available in my book. So far I'm pleased with what I've made:

These are bright, with orange and turquoise twisties and dots (the photo, as usual with me, has been taken in natural light). The difference between these and the ones described in the book is that I have inserted some hand-pulled murrini in the same colours, so they look even better! (It was getting too much for the book, so at the time I couldn't explain the murrini technique, but I can do it in the second volume). There are only four tabs at the minute, but I'm planning to make a set which will also include bigger lentils, and some of the beads will have turquoise or orange opaque background.

I have also been proof-reading busily, as Rod wanted to send the third part of the Demi-Monde series off to his agent by the end of Friday. When I'm proof-reading, it takes me a lot longer, as I almost pronounce mentally every word I read. It's quite time-consuming, but I do enjoy it, as I get to read the drafts of novels Rod writes! Then we discuss them, and sometimes, if I'm lucky, I even manage to give Rod a good idea for something. Or so he says. By the time he finishes with those sorts of ideas I don't recognise them, but it's even better, because he is great coming up with twists and turns in his stories.

So off to make some more beads - oxycon permitting!

Friday, 4 February 2011

More Happy Ivory and Cool Fossil Beads!

I've been busy, but not with making beads. Well...

It was my birthday last Sunday (lovely lovely day! everybody was so kind to me, I got great presents from my family and lots of good wishes from my Facebook friends!), and, as you do, I decided to try and make some beads. "To try" - that's because, as you know, my oxycon has been disagreeable lately, I really need to take it to Tuffnell for a good check. And guess what! - on Sunday it started working and I did manage to make some beads after a long time! Here they are:

As you can see, I'm still experimenting with the Effetre Cool Fossil, I just lllllove this earthy organic feel it adds to the Ivory. The bead on the left has a Dark Ivory base with large dots of Cool Fossil, worked very hot, until the glass started moving, then cooled, shaped and decorated with a twistie of Ivory and Intense Black and hand-pulled murrini of the same composition. (I was told it looks very Japanesee - yippee!). The bead in the middle is of Ivory and Cool Fossil base, but the Cool Fossil has been added in stripes, again worked very hot until it started "breaking" or "splitting" - you can see it by the "waves" created; the simple decoration here is four chips of hand-pulled murrini from a previous bead-making session (described in my blog "Cool Experimenting Part II"). The last bead, the one on the right, started as Effetre Transparent Light Amber (the photos have been taken in natural light, on a grey day - today! so you can't really see how much happy amber-coloured light this bead can radiate), then a layer of Effetre Dark Ivory was added to the surface so that parts of the Amber were left uncovered. I applied a twistie (again described in detail in "Cool Experimenting Part II") on the very edge of the Ivory and paddled it quite well, though I was keen to leave it slightly raised. At the end I decorated each side of this bead with a chip of my own murrini made in the following way:

Start with Dark Ivory, encase it with Transparent Light Amber, encase it again with Dark Ivory, cut "furrows" in the Ivory and put in stripes of Reichenbach Dark Multi stringer. When you apply this murrini, the trick is to paddle it very gently and not to overheat it so that not to spoil the complex middle. Otherwise, as you, probably, know, it will be "eaten" by the dark lines - a pretty effect, but only if you want it!
I like the etching effect on ivory, so this is just what I did: the first bead has been fully etched, the second has the lovely murrini with some shiny mirror and multicolour reduced Double Helix glass effect left unetched, and the third... Believe me, it's a work of art! I mean, of etching art! The stripes which, again, have the reduced reactive Double Helix in their composition (which is, of course, extremely difficult to catch on a photo!), have been left uneched, together with the lovely transparent Light Amber. But the Ivory part and the murrini have been etched. It looks great. I will be putting all of these on ebay over the next couple of weeks. I have to tell you that I'll be going to Moscow soon for quite a long time, but my ebay listings will be managed by Rod (he's been so kind!).
Ah, this is only a small part of what I've been up to, but the time is running out, so I'll have to come back on this in my next blog. :)!