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For the last few beadmaking sessions the bead shaper from Pegasus that I designed has barely been out of my hand! and my kiln stuffed full of mandrels! I love it!
This shaper is just brilliant to use, and all the more satisfying because I had a hand in designing it.
(for the lampworkers out there, heres the link to buy one you know you want to!)
so heres a few handfuls of beads, first up, animal print designs:
(yes, a charm box nugget did sneak in there too!)
and some brightly coloured ones, because, why not?
and a whole bunch of spotty dotties!
a selection of these will be coming with me to a little craft stall I will be having at the Handmade Arcade at McCoy’s Arcade in Exeter on the 7th July
come along and say hi!
I’m taking some of my newest stock to the Vintage and Handmade Fair in Plymouth tomorrow, Saturday 8th October, in the Main Hall at the University, 11am to 5pm.
so if you’re nearby, come along and say hello! For the first time ever, I’m taking loose beads to sell too, rather than just jewellery, so you creative people can inlcude a piece of my glass work in your next project. The facebook event page is here
if you can’t make it, there are some pictures on my Flickr! heres a couple:
Firstly, The brand spanking new Glass House Gallery and Restaurant in Middleton, Nova Scotia, opening Early November. The Newest Venture of Glass Artist and Ceramicist, Sally Tully.
Here is the facebook page, and their blog
And a little closer to home (for me anyway!) than Canada, Glass Designs and Gallery in Bedminster, Bristol, run by Stained Glass artist Claire Dadswell, Here’s the Website
Just one more, I’ll also be sending work to Toe in the Water Gallery, Fowey, Cornwall very soon! Artist Max Harrower is the owner, another website for your perusal!
I have been such a busy little bee lately! with all these new galleries now stocking my work, its a wonder I have any left for my craft fair…but, there is still plenty, so don’t worry!
I’ve been quiet for a while now,
A couple of things have been keeping me rather busy! firstly I went to spend a day absorbing some of the Genius of Lucio Bubbacco at Di East’s wonderful studio (more on that in another post soon, and pics of what I made on my flickr)
The other thing is several things rolled into one, I’ve been asked to supply jewellery to three new galleries! yes three! oh and all of them want it at the same time! not only that but requests for top ups and Christmas stock (Oh no, did I just use the c word? aaaaarghhh!!!) are beginning to filter in from my existing galleries (ever wondered if my work is available near you? check out my stockist list here)
so, amidst being distracted trying to clutch frantically at any skills I might have fleetingly got hold of whilst watching Lucio, practicing away at some very odd figures, oh but two years of life drawing are paying off! proportion is a lesser worry on the figures…well mostly, theres still an element of the glass doing what it wants!
I have been making ALOT of jewellery. As an absolute minimum I said to myself 6 pairs of earrings, 3 pendants, 3 necklets and 3 bracelets per gallery, some of them are also wanting silver cored beads, of which 25 is the minimum I like to send.
For once I have actually taken proper photos of the jewellery, and they’re not bad! and further to this I’ve actually edited them. and uploaded them! well some of them, I felt as if I was going to be stuck to my chair if I edited anymore and left it at a mere 64! added to the ones I did a little while ago, thats 104! the rest of the pictures are on my flickr, but heres a few highlights:
oh, and I’ve also created a new ring top design, morphed from two other designs I’ve been doing, the daisy style (see buttons) and the polka dot rose beads
Thats all for now, keep an eye on my flickr for more photos, and here I’ll be announcing where the new galleries are when they have my stock!
I was thinking just now, about how much nicer it is to make big holed beads with my new BHB pegasus shaper stubby barrels
its just easier and quicker to get them on centre and that lovely shape, and the encasing nice and smooth.
I looked at a bunch of BHBs I made not long before I got the shaper, and I rejected so many more from that batch than from the newest batch out of the shaper.
obviously there are other benefits, like consistency of size, though with as many holes as this its easy to make lots of different sized beads!
I noticed that someone had searched for ‘how easy are pegasus beadshapers to use?’
well, how about a little review I thought? and while I’m at it I’ll review my CG beadroller, and compare them, and chuck in a few tips along the way!
first these are the ones I own,
~ rounds 8
~ ovals 8
~ egg combo
~ stubby barrels BHB
and from CG beads the disc roller in the wand style.
Rounds, well, this was the first one I bought and I use it all the time.
it doesn’t take that much getting used to, you just start with a cylinder slightly narrower than the cavity you want,I use my flat marver and roll the edges so they are straight, then warm and roll again so the ends spread out onto the mandrel slightly, making the nice ends, then add discs around the bead until I have about the right amount of glass, and roll.
I have found that making a smaller one, then marvering the middle section so it forms a fat roundy ended cylinder, then adding a fat twisty, and melting it in, marvering and re-rolling in the next size up, makes a bead with good holes.
on all the rollers you can also use the outside edges to straighten up the bead holes.
not one I’ve given a full test yet, but initially I was finding that I wasn’t filling the cavity, I was using only the ends of it and producing a bead that was shorter and stubbier than the actual cavity size. and I couldnt use the smallest two much at all, its such a small amount of glass, but this could be because I just don’t like to make small beads, I’ll give it another chance and let you know!
now that I’ve taken a break from it to play more with my lentil presses, I think this will be much easier for me to use, I am refining my knowledge of exactly how glass moves.
Bear in mind that although I have been beadmaking for some years now,I have not owned a beadshaper/roller until April of this year. I also have not owned a press that I could use until about May of this year.
Now I have become somewhat addicted to both types of tool, and need to curb this spending habit! (just this morning I was thinking to myself, something squarish, like a nugget press would be a great bead to design jewellery with! oh dear… )
anyway, back to the point,
The egg combo,
Another that I’ve not yet given the full test to, what I will say is that the two biggest cavities takes ALOT of glass, so hothead users who are impatient might want to stay away from this one! these lead to making a very big, heavy bead, with not as many design possibilities as I’d like, though I havn’t tried them squashed yet.
The other cavity sizes are much more managable and have lots of jewellery design possibilities,like the smallest ones for simple earrings.
I found the slimmer ones a real challenge, theres not alot of room for error in shaping the original bead, and I can get a shape thats just as nice and quicker by normal marvering or marvering with a curved marver. however, if you want consistent shapes, then its the way to go.
I found the easiest way to get the shape (which is still somewhat tricky, need more practice!) is to make the small end first, shape it up in the cavity, then add the rest of the glass to the fatter end.
I think I’ll come back to these two rollers, and review them some more in another post. I am of course determined to master them , I wont be beaten by an inanimate object!
update 7.09.11 – made these yesterday, I think I’m improving with it, but this is definitely a ‘practice, practice, practice’ shaper! particularly these slim shapes. but as I mentioned, making the slim end first, then adding glass along the length, getting a good end on the other end, then fattening it out works reasonably well.
So, my newest addition, which I am somewhat biased towards, being as I designed it myself (see here incase you missed it), the stubby Barrels BHB shaper.
I love this, I can’t tell you how much! this, along with the round shaper, now lives on my desk, it doesn’t get put away!
The first few beads I made I had some issues with bead release, it cracked off whilst making, a couple of the mandrels had been sitting around having been dipped for a while, and my current pot has been diluted a few too many times I think, but it helped to really warm the whole of the bead release up, not only the bead section, and to keep it good and warm throughout making.
once I’d got that issue under control I was away! the current design of beads I’m doing involves marvering a wig wag down onto a base bead, so the beads are very nearly the shape of the beadroller already, but it saves loads of time smoothing and rounding up, and produces a uniform shape. its also handy to use just the ends of the cavities to straighten up a bead that is narrower than the hole, and to curve them down slightly.
I’ve yet to try this shaper out with a smooth surface design,other than a couple of simple dotties which when rolled at the right temperature did not drag.
these make a fantastic shape for coring (if I do say so myself) because they are a little straight sided, and I personally think they look fab on the charm bead bracelets.
and lastly, the CG beadroller disc.
I loved the idea of the wand style, and I love this shape, but its not actually the easiest one to use until you get the hang of it, and getting the hang of it did take a bit longer than the rounds.
you need to start with a really narrow footprint, and build outwards. however, if the hole goes wrong, melting it down into a plain donut spacer means the glass isn’t wasted!
it took me even longer to work out how to use it the way its meant to be used, for making more than one bead on the same mandrel, theres a trick to that too, make one bead, shape it and finish it, then make the second. and either dont touch the first with the flame or be sure to keep it warm, whicehever is the most successful for you. I was trying to juggle them at first, make a base donut, then make a second, then go back and add a bit to the first…er no. that doesn’t work. again I find the smaller cavities hard to use, this bead relies on making a narrow footprint first to get nice holes, but you’d have to be using stringer to get a footprint this narrow…now theres a thought!
the thing about this size and shape, is that it really is only any good as a spacer bead, there really isn’t much room for decoration, maybe a few dots or bits of stringer, but you can’t get enough layers into it to encase anything, at least not right to the edges. potentially you could make something layered and stripy. but you have to think about how it will look threaded up, and you dont tend to see much of the design unless you do something cool and thread it so it is displayed end on. the good thing is though, because it is such a pretty and unusual shape, just a single colour, or a simple dotty looks pretty cool. Like these black ones, and the following coral and turquoise ones
CG rollers and Pegasus shapers comparison:
well, theres not much of one, they are both excellent quality graphite, and very well made. Personally I have a slight preference for a tool manufactured in the UK, that isn’t going to incur high postage costs, customs charges and take weeks to arrive, and I also have a slight preference for the Pegasus simple dowel handles, they are lightweight and feel good in the hand, easy to flip over and use the back as a flat marver. the CG handles look pretty cool with their flame design, but the thickness of the handle is a little too big for my little hands, but that is purely personal preference! Then of course theres shape availability, and sizes too, I chose the Pegasus rounds over the CG ones because the size range I wanted was on the Pegasus, to get the size range I wanted out of a CG roller, I would have had to buy two. though the range of different shapes available from Donna at CGbeads is vast, both her range and Bev’s range are growing all the time. I am aware this is not the fairest of comparisons, being as I have 4 of one to test and only one of the other, and of course there are other manufacturers who make similar items, but I can only test what I have, but I’m certain that ease of use is down to shape, not who made the tool, unless you particularly favour the chunky handle over the slim or vice versa.
Some words about beadrollers/shapers:
these are not a quick fix for bad bead shapes/holes. they do require learning how to use them properly, if you havn’t quite got the hang of marvering, and you’re rolling whilst too hot, you will simply drag your bead into a lumpy mess which can be tricky to re-round. and if you had a design on that bead…well now you have a smerged design.
however, it is fairly quick to learn how to use some of the shapes, round for example.
and some shapes are not possible, or at least not very easy/fast to make any other way, discs for instance
I love these tools, and they have made a real difference to my beadmaking, for instance I can now make a set of beads without wanting to scream, infact I think I might even be beginning to like it!
and on that bombshell…
The colour of the month for August is Acid Yellow.
I love acid yellow! however, I have made a small discovery.
In my glassy stash I have two batches of acid yellow. one looks normal, the other is mixed, with some of the rods looking paler.
I thought nothing of it, glass in the orange red yellow spectrum often looks different in the rod to when its melted…but this is not one of them, those rods that look paler, ARE paler.
and I rather like it!
while we’re here, this is the latest in my line of beads where I’m trying to use tecniques from the course with Lorna Prime, but trying to do designs that are my own, and not Lorna’s! hope you like it!
a selection of wig wag beads.
I made these from my own wig wags, I’ll be silver coring them soon, but I liked them as a group so I took a picture.
hope you like them!
I’ve been making more of these, and these three have been added to my artfire shop
a fabulous weekend! a great laugh and learning lots too, and also being surrounded by both Manda and Lorna’s Fabulous beads, and Davids fantastic glass work.
fine stringer work and smooth designs havn’t been my strong point, and who better to help me improve my skills?
that and since I saw Mandas beautiful studio when it opened I’ve wanted to take a class there! here are Manda’s pics on flickr of the weekend
so now I need to practice the skills I’ve learnt, and also work on how to make my beads not look like lorna’s!
A start, I’ve improved on the butterfly design I’ve been working on for ages, but not shown yet ’cause it wasn’t quite right, these are getting there. also a couple of other beads in more Lorna-esque designs, to match the colours of a top I bought recently.
and then the next days practicing, the orange ones are to match a different top, (well you’ve got to keep your practice beads, might as well wear them, so might as well make them to go with something you wear right?!)
and a close up of the lime green one, cause the camera didn’t like to see it with its friends
oh, and colins…well its more than just a fizzy jelly sweet, its an m&s fizzy jelly sweet!
finally! yes, I know , don’t fall over or anything!
and of course right now I’m not listing beads, I’m writing about listing some beads…
I’d better get back to it, but first, heres a sneak peek!
oh and a link would help eh? artfire shop here