Friday, 27 January 2012

Efftre colour testing #2

Following my previous post here is my samples of Effetre opaque glasses.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Effetre Colour testing #1

As someone who is new to glass making I often make beads which are wasted because the colours don't show up. Fed up with this I decided to do some test beads. Firstly I pulled stringers of each of the colours that I had and then placed dots onto plain white tubes.

So that other newbies might benefit I thought I would post the results here.

These are all Effetre transparent glasses on CIM peace (white). Please bear in mind that colours may view differently on different monitors.

As you can see, some colours show up really well and others are just a waste of time.

If you layer a white dot first, say on clear and then a dot of one of the above transparent efftre glasses you can see what the colour will look like.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Glass storage

As my obsession with glass grows so has my need for storage space. Some time ago I book marked some cube shelves which were recommended on the Frit Happens forum as the ideal storage space for glass. Available from J.D. Williams and Co. Ltd, they are currently on special offer if you buy 2. They also give 10% discount to new customers. These are the ones I bought:,size: but they also come in various other sizes. Extremely easy to put together, all that was needed was a screwdriver.

As you can see they are a perfect fit for the rods of glass that I store in lengths of cut up plastic pipe.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Storm beads

I have posted for a while. I've been so engrosed in learning different tehniques for making glass beads. I've treated myself to a tutorial. It's called 'Taking reduction glass by storm' and it's by Amy Kinsch.

You can purchase it on Etsy here:

My first beads didn't have much storming going on and I didn't make enough stringer so the set is not the same colour. My second attempt is much more successful and I am really pleased that I managed to make a set.
Hopefully you will begin to see an improvement in my photos as I get to grips with my camera.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Getting better

Following my weekend with Di East I couldn't wait to get back home and have a play, putting my new found knowledge to use.

Di was wearing this stunning bead, unfortunately I don't have a picture, and she demo'ed how to make it. My first attempt looks nothing like it but I am really pleased with it none the less.

The base is a bicone shape of Effetre Opal Yellow. Double Helix Psyche is then applied in blobs (technical term!) completely covering the Opal Yellow, which are then poked. Reduce to get that lovely shimmer in the silver glass and then each blob is individually encased with Effetre Dark lavender 081. This creates the bubble in each poked hole. You must make sure that this is done in the back and below the flame so that you avoid burning off the reduction. Completely encase the Psyche.

A fellow lampworker donated some murrini to me. Hold the murrini in the back of the flame holding it with a pair of tweezers and then heat a spot on the bead and poked the murrini until it was is halfway in the glass. Flame polish the top and drop a dollop of clear just on the top of the murrini. Slowely melt in from all sides to spread the murrini out.

Finally shape the bead with a marver by heating around to middle leaving the ends stiff.

We had a bead swap and Sally Carver made this stunning bead which fellow lampworker Linda was lucky enough to pull out of the lucky dip. Again I don't have a photo but Sally was kind enough to demo this bead and here is my attempt. Isn't it gorgeous?

Fun with glass

Di East had a Christmassy weekend of fun in Leicester
She is a very experience lampworker and I learnt a lot just from watching her work.

She creates some fantastic paperweight beads including all the components inside and gave us a demonstration on how to make one.

Sally Carver also made an appearance and showed us how to make an implosion bead like these:

Aren't they fantastic. She offers a tutorial on Etsy if you would like to know how to make them yourself

It was great to meet some other lampworkers many of whom I have corresponded with on the Frit Happens forum.

1st commission

My friend Philippa came round to see me before she went off on her travels to New Zealand. She aims to walk the length of New Zealand hoping to raise £3000 for the Earl Mountbatten Hospice where her sister spent her final days after sadly succombing to cancer just 5 months after she was diagnosed.

Please take the time to read Philippa's blog where you can follow her journey and make a donation if you wish

Philippa is the friend who started me on my jewellery hobby. I was showing her my lampwork studio and saying that I could do with a project to get my teeth into rather than just randomly playing with glass and the next thing I know she is giving me my first commission. As she is going to be away for Christmas she asked me to make a necklace for her Mum. I had 2 briefs, either pink and green colours or the colours from a peacock feather. I started with the pink and green but was soon struggling so switched to the peacock colours as I have far more choice of glass colours to choose from.

To create the beads for this necklace was quite a learning curve as it involves several techniques. To create the beads I make 2 discs of glass, one in the opaque and one transparent and then slowely melt them together. This cannot be hurried, impatiently the first few I made and encouraged the glass to meet, this results in a bubble forming in the middle of the bead.

Once the two glasses merge, I used a round bead roller which I bought from Pegagus Lampwork Tools to shape the beads, adding a bit more glass to the edges if needed. Using SIS (silvered ivory stringer) I ran a line over the join and melted in. For the final florish I added 3 wraps of silver wire, partially melted into little silver balls.

Here is the final necklace:

My first beads

Lampworking is a strange hobby for me. I am used to being able to pick up something very quickly and like to make things perfect. Working with glass is by no means easy and hard to make consistantly.

These are some of my first beads that I was quite proud of.

To flame or not to flame

I spent an agonising couple of months trying to decide whether to take up the hobby of lampworking following my course with Becky Fairclough. I knew it wouldn't be a cheap hobby and if I decided I wanted to go ahead I wanted to do it properly and this would cost approx. £1000 to set up.

I joined the lampworking forum Frit Happens and found it so friendly and full of advise that when a second hand minor burner torch was offered in the for sale section I snapped it up.

I ordered a kiln and an oxycon (oxygen concentrator) and some other items to get me started from Tuffnells Glass. Martin (the owner) gave me a good deal and I saved on the postage by collecting it from The Big Bead Show that I went to in Sandown Park.

I ordered my pipe, flashback arrester and ventilation from Ebay and at the beginning of October I was ready to start.

Here is a photo of my 'studio' setup in the corner of our conservatory.

The oxycon and propane gas bottle live in the garage behind the wall. I will have to bring the oxycon inside during the winter as it doesn't like to get damp.

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