Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Lilies and Petals, Planets and Implosion

Bead of the Day: "Planetary"

Yesterday was spent developing this new design. These beads are tricky to photograph, because there is so much going on inside - they are the ones for "gazing into", if you know what I mean. There are bubbles around the top and the bottom (you can't see those in this pic), there is a core with a lovely "lily" design and a band of silvered ivory and goldstone around the encased "petals".

Ah, this "lily" design... I literally spent days mastering it. The thing was, I bought this book by Karen J Leonardo, I suppose with the main purpose to check out the competition. And there it was, I think she called it "lilypad" or something like that. I'd seen beads with this design before, and if I remember correctly, Sally Carver won a competition with them recently. So all summer I tried and tried and tried, with various degree of success, but the beads produced by me using this "imposion" technique, were far from the image I had in my head. I found this technique extremely difficult.

One day I sat there, all upset, thinking hard about how I could achieve the look of the lilies I wanted. And I thought that it would be impossible for anybody, ANYBODY, to have temperature control that perfect, to get the lovely petals around and along the mandrel by only relying on the flame. But of course, silly me!, it's a different technique altogether: this one involves layers and layers of dots being covered with bands of large amounts of clear glass, heating and waiting for the dots to get elongated!

"Yellow Waterlilies" bead set, currently for sale on ebay

Guys, I don't know about you, but here it was a real revelation. So many people use this simple design in their work, and it looks gorgeous. Well, simple I say, of course I had to practise, but I also came up with some lovely colour combinations, and I have to write another blog on that.

Coming back to the "Planetary" design, I did use a little of the "implosion" technique here: I made a core of ivory, then created a disc out of clear on one of the core's ends. Then I used Double Helix Ekho for the dots to go onto the disc and melted them: Ekho on ivory here gives this great organic palette that I like so much, and you don't have to spend time reducing it either. Encased, put some goldstone and silvered ivory around with dots of Double Helix Calipso on each end, made indentations for future bubbles, encased again. Every technique comes handy!

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