Thursday, 29 March 2012

Flowers and Dots

As you can see I have had a session of making flowers and dotty beads. I've bought a lovely new top from East and I want to make a necklace to go with it. So practicing my deep encasing I have made some dotty beads in various colours to see what goes best.

From left to right

1: base CIM Heffalump encased with CIM Count Von Count. Reichenbach Porcelain dots. I applied the dots and melted them in but they hardly showed at all so I added some raised dots. They have a lovely pearl like quality to them. Something to explore at a later date.

2: base CIM Cornflower encased with CIM Count Von Count. CIM Peace dots.

3: base Effetre EDP 254 ecnased with CIM Count Von Count. Effetre Dk Periwinkle dots. These dots have got a lovely dark blue dot in the middle. Pure reaction of the glass.

4: base Effetre Baby Pink 680 encased with CIM Count Von Count. Effetre Baby Pink 680 dots.

5: base CIM Plum Unique encased with Effetre Amethyst 040. Effetre Lt Grey 248 dots. This bead cracked. I have read that there are issues with Plum Unique. Either that or I was admiring it too much before I put it in the kiln.

6: base CIM Eggplant encased with Effetre Amethyst 040. Effetre EDP 254 dots.

7: base Effetre Baby Pink 680 encased with Effetre Amethyst 040.  CIM Adamantium dots.

8: base CIM Eggplant encased with Effetre Amethyst 040. CIM Peace dots.

It's interesting how different the colours look with different base glasses. I am so pleased that I am better at encasing now. It makes such a difference.

I wanted to see what they look like etched and here they are. You can't see in the picture but each bead has a tiny shiny spot on it. I'm guessing it is where the beads were touching the bottom on the etching pot. Not noticed it before. Will have to make sure I give them a swirl around halfway through.

I also had a go at making some flower beads which Laura Sparling showed me how to do when I had my lesson with her.

From left to right:

1: base CIM Gelly Sty encased with Effetre Rose Quartz 067.
    flowers CIM peace layered with Effetre EDP 254. Reichenbach Purple Rose dots.
This bead cracked as well.
2: base Effetre Dk Periwinkle 222 encased with Effetre Rubino Oro.
    flowers CIM Peace layered with Effetre Baby Pink 680. Effetre EDP 254 dots.

3: base CIM Plum Unique encased with Effetre Amethyst 040.    
   flowers CIM Plum Unique layered with Effetre Amethyst 040. CIM Plum dots.

4: base Effetre Dk Periwinkle 222 encased with Effetre Amethyst 040.
    flowers Effetre Dk Periwinkle 222 layered with Effetre Amethyst 040. Effetre Baby Pink 680 dots.

I was quite pleased with the way these came out.I especially like the double layer of petals with the transparent on top of an opaque dots as with the bead on the right. Unfortunately I didn't have the beads quite hot enough when I put the center dots on the flowers because a couple of them popped off in the kiln.

Still we learn by our mistakes.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Todays beads

Today I had another play with petal beads and then some encased florals. Need to work on the base colours so that the flowers show up better and the petals need to be a bit closer but on the whole quite pleased with how they have turned out.

Colours used are

Effetre - Pink 680, Periwinkle 220, Dark Periwinkle 222, EDP 254, 006 clear.
CIM - Cornflower, Peace.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Obsessed with petal beads

I haven't produced much in my last 2 torching sessions as I have been practing petal beads. Each bead takes not far off an hour each to do so that's why I don't have many beads to show.

It was a lovely sunny day today as you can see by the shadows in my photo. Of course the sunny weather means we have to get onto our allotment to prepare it for sowing and this cuts down on my torching time.

These are the petal beads I have been working on. As you can see I am getting better. The one on the right is the last one I made and I am happy to say I am very pleased with it.

I am still trying to get some colour out of DH Clio. The bead in the middle is my last attempt and has a glint of pink in it. I think I may have to try a heavy reduction as that is all I have left to try before I give up. As you can see from the other 2 beads I have managed to get some colour out of Clio before. This was from a bit of rod that a friend gave me. So far I have got zip from the batch I bought.

Another friend who is also having trouble getting any colour our of Clio said that Kalypso is much easier to use and as I have some I thought I would give it a go. I'm really pleased with the way these turned out. They are a small base of Kalypso, wrapped with fine silver wire and then encased. They are fairly small and I think they would make a nice bracelet, so I will be making some more of these. Some of the wire has turned gold in places which is quite nice.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Practice, practice, practice.

Following my few days of glassy fun I couldn't wait to get at the torch and put what I had learned into practice.

This is my kiln haul.

First off Double Helix Clio.

Clio is a striking and reducing silver glass that is capable of producing lovely hot pinks. Unfortunately not for me. I know that my friend Linda is having the same problem. I tried several combinations of layering colour but mostly got orangey brown.  The two small lentil beads that are darker weren't encased. So encasing makes a difference. I did get to practice my encasing and played with my small lentil press and new ribbed bead roller. So all was not lost. Sue and Sally made it look so easy so what am I doing wrong?

I knew that I would still need a lot of practice to crack stringer work so just kept working at it.  I got quite a good spiral on the first bead.

Petal Beads

A while back I bought a tutorial for making Petal Beads from Magma Beads.  I had a couple of goes but each bead took me an hour and ended up huge. When I went to Sally's I asked her if she could show me and her technique is slightly different so I thought I would have a go.

The bead on the left is still quite large but the depth is lovely. I managed to refine the black and white bead so that it was a bit smaller, now I just need to practice on the dots.

I'm still a bit unsure as to which colour dots of glass will show up the best so made a couple of quick test beads.

The top bead left to right is Effetre Baby pink 256, Effetre Cool green tea 680, Effetre Dark Periwinkle 222, Effetre periwinkle blue 220, Effetre dark tourquoise 236, Effetre light tourquoise 232.

Bottom bead left to right: CIM Sherwood, CIM chalcedony, CIM plum over white dot, CIM eggplant over white dot, CIM eggplant.

Most of the Effetre colours showed up fairly well except the cool green tea which was very pale nearly white.
The Cim colours weren't very impressive even when layered over a white dot. The sherwood had a bit of a dark centre to the dots.

Cracked it!

One of the hardest things to do in lampwork beadmaking is encasing and stringer work. I keep trying but haven't had much success. A while ago I stumbled onto the website of Laura Sparling. I love the simplicity of her beads and her deep encasing as well as her fine stringer work is to die for. You can see a gallery of her bead sets here

I follow her blog and saw that she does tuition. So I booked up for an afternoon. The day before my tuition I had another look at her website and saw that she had some videos on her encasing technique. I am sure I have watched them before but watched them again to refresh my memory. My OH went out for a couple of hours so I thought I would get in some last minute practice.

Low and behold I only managed to crack encasing.

I couldn't believe it. As you can see my stringer work still needs some attention, but I was really pleased with these beads. You can create a lot of depth by layering the glass. It is amazing how the inside becomes magnified through the clear encasing.

I was beginning to think that I had wasted my money but I had a lovely time with Laura.

This is Laura

I got a bit of a surprise when I looked out of the window!

Making beads at Laura Sparlings
 These are the beads that I made at Laura's (the two on the right are hers) They don't look very impressive do they? but from the left. The second bead is encased and it was even all over and 5,6and 7 are all deep encased with levely smooth dimples.
The one on the left is mine and the one on the right is Laura's. Not bad for a first attempt eh?
The camera hasn't captured the colours very well but the petals are multicoloured. Made with iris orange stringer.

So that was Thursday Afternoon.

I was able to stay at my Mum's in Bookham as she was away for the weekend so I didn't have to travel back to the island each day which is lucky as I covered some miles over the next few days.

Friday saw me spending the day with my friend Sue who was the person who most inspired me to start lampworking. Foolishly I forgot to take any photos. We had a fun day playing with glass.
Sue showed me how to work Clio which is a silver glass and how to make some murrini. She also showed me how to make shards which is blown glass that is then shattered to add to beads as decoration.

Sue makes some lovely beads and sells them on Etsy: FlamingEck

Back in December I attended a Christmassy Fun day at Di East's studio in Leicester. I was sat next to Linda Mabbot who I have become friends with. We both watched some demo's by Sally Carver and following some emailing back and forth decided we would like to get together and go to her for a days tuition.

So Saturday saw me on my way to Sally Carvers studio in Hinckley, Leicester. Trading under the name Redhotsal, Sally and her husband run a successful shop in St.Ives and tuition at her home studio where she also makes beads for the shop.

This is Sally
Linda on the left

Linda and me

Linda and I were quite happy spending most of the day watching Sally and picking her brains. We were both made to feel very welcome and had a fab time.

I don't have any photos of the beads that were made to show you as Linda has them at the moment.

Catch up

You may or may not have noticed that I didn't post anything last week. This was due to a very uninspiring week of bead making. The weathers been improving which means that it's time to get the allotment ready for planting and this is cutting into my bead making time.

I was in two minds as to whether post the rubbish I made at all but this is supposed to be my diary so should include the bad as well as the good days bead making.

One of the things I had a go at was the Ether tutorial by Kim Neely  (it's the 5th one down the page).

There are lots of pictures of peoples attempts on the Lampwork Etc. forum. You will have to join to be able to see them though.

As you can see my first two attempts weren't very successful. The third one was a bit better but I found that I had to really soak the bead in the reducing flame to really get any colour to come out. Was good practice for my new lentil press. More practice needed.

I bought these gorgeous glass beads from Galloway Beads on Etsy

I was really intrigued as to how they were made and emailed Elaine and cheekily asked if she would mind sharing. Unfortunately she is not sure she can repeat them, which if this is the case would be such a shame.

I really have no idea but thought I might be able to re-creat something similar using enameled stringer.

As you can see, I failed miserably but I did create some interesting effects which might be worth some more exploration.

These first two are hollow beads. As you can see my stringer work is still pants but I think my skill in making hollow beads is steadily improving. I would like to be able to make several the same size, so practice practice practice.

Following my post on Madelaine Bunyans great idea for a necklace/bracelet, I have fallen in love with Amy Kuczewski  beads. The ones I like are called Jaipur or Bollywood. Unfortunately the minute they are offered on sale they are snapped up. This is a link to her Etsy store

So as I am unlikely to ever buy some of her beads I decided (with my limited expertise) to have a go myself.  Obviously I need a lot more practice but I enjoyed making them.

They are so over the top, don't you think?

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Today's torching and beads for sale

I got some time to torch today and it was pants! After 5 beads, all of which didn't go the way I wanted them to I decided to call it a day. My mojo obviously deserted me.

I have added a couple of sets of beads to Etsy though.


A set of 7 lovely handmade lampwork glass beads decorated with frit bobbles. A base of transparent amber glass with a mix of teal, tourquoise and pale blue Also included are 6 Teal etched spacer beads and 14 pale amber spacer beads. A total of 27 beads.

7 x bobble beads varying in size from approx. 12.5mm x 10.5mm and 15mm x 12mm.
6x teal spacer beads approx. 11mm x 6 mm
14 x spale amber pacer beads approx. 10mm x 6mm


A set of 7 lovely handmade lampwork glass beads decorated with frit bobbles. A base of transparent pale pink glass with a multicolour mix of frit bobbles. Also included are 10 pale pink etched spacer beads.

7 x beads approx. 14mm x 12mm
12 x spacer beads approx. 8mm x 5mm
They are made on a 2mm mandrel so the holes will be slightly bigger than that.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Sundays beads

 As you can see Sundays bead making looks a bit on the sad side.  The big lentil on the left was supposed to be one of the pillow shape beads but it was too big so I improvised. I'm still trying to get the pillow beads the same size. More practice needed.

This is another attempt at Iris Gold. This time Effetre Rubino rolled in the frit, swirled and then encased. An interesting effect.

 This is Effetre Pale Apple Green 073 rolled in the frit, melted and pulled into stringer and then applied, twisted and encased. As you can see there is some blues on the top and bottom but still lots of brown.

 This is Effetre Cobolt 060 rolled in the frit, melted in and then encased. The effect looks nice but only in bright light otherwise it's really dark.

  Guess I need to try again.
This is a button I made with Effetre Pale Apple Green 073 dipped in Cracklin Rosie frit from Cheeky Cherub. I plan on turning it into a ring like the one I made on the By George it's Lush weekend workshop.  

Do you remember this one? I dipped it in Etching Fluid for a few seconds and what a difference it makes! 


One good thing about Sundays bead making was I finally finished the beads to make this lovely set. It contains as massive 27 beads and I'm really proud of them. Will be offering them up for sale on Etsy sometime this week. 

Todays offering, a pair of lime green glass beads

These were left over from the necklace that I made for my friends mums christmas present. I tried them etched and they look lovely! You can grab them on Etsy now.

They measure approx. 14.5mm x 12mm and would make great earrings. I was tempted to keep them for myself as I love this colour but my ears don't seem to like earrings anymore - even silver ones.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Pair of cute Lilac heart beads added to Etsy today

Front and back views of the pair of cute hearts that have been added to my Etsy shop for sale.


A pair of 25 lovely handmade heart shaped lampwork glass beads in lilac decorated with frit.

2 x beads approx. 19mm high x 22mm wide x 12mm deep.
They are made on a 2mm mandrel so the holes will be slightly bigger than that.
Due to the handmade nature of these beads sizes may vary slightly.

All my beads are annealed in a digitally controlled kiln, for maximum long life and durability. The bead's holes are always cleaned thoroughly to get rid of excess bead release.

They would  make a fantastic pair of earrings.
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