One for the lampworkers today. I was really rather pleased with my simple solution to videoing myself whilst lampworking, clearly my hands are busy, and I don’t always have an assistant handy, and it isn’t the easiest thing to film as I move around a lot and the camera struggles to keep continual focus. Theres also the further problem of soda flare, (thats the big yellow flare you get when you introduce soda-lime glass into the flame, it makes it very difficult to see, I’m wearing special safety specs with a filter for my eyes, but that doesn’t help the camera)
So this is not so much teach, as show…one didymium screen, one smart phone, three rubber bands. result: nice steady shot, plus no yellow soda flare, added bonus of my smartphone being protected from any flying bits of glass.
I’m well aware that not all of you have a didymium sreen as they are quite pricey, but I like to think this is a way to squeeze some extra value from mine!
Day 18 Make something and trade it for something you want.
I made some porcelain Hare beads, I’ve arranged a little swap with a friend for some of her ceramic beads. These will not be finished for a little while as they need firing.
Day 19 Make something for another #CreativeSprint-er.
I’ve not really been interacting much with the facebook group, so theres no one person I would make something for, I decided, I would make something for everyone, this little video of the sea
Day 20 Find a creative way to give someone a compliment.
Today is a beautiful Autumn afternoon…so I went for a walk
Day 12 choose an activity you normally do today, and do it backwards
Ok, so I can’t un-melt glass, and un-make a bead…but I can reverse my hands.
As a very specific handed lampworker, that is, I have my tools & glass in my right hand and my mandrel in my left . I know several other lampworkers who switch hands for tasks such as marvering (that is rolling a hot bead across a flat surface to flatten or otherwise shape it), I don’t. The mandrel always stays in my left hand.
so first, a simple bead made my normal way round, but I have increased the video speed:
(a very quick and badly edited video, the programme keeps crashing!)
and then switching hands:
this goes lots slower because of the extra thinking involved, and the unfamiliar angles.
the blue one is my left-handed bead, the turquoise my right -handed one.
Day 13 Use the front page of a newspaper or magazine as your materials or inspiration today
I always wanted to try this image transfer thing, again, never got round to it, well, todays the day!
The actual cover of this one didn’t work, but helpfully they’d printed a mini version on one of the pages inside
I think I’d like to work back into these at some point, but I haven’t decided how yet.
Day 14 Walk for 5 minutes with no specific destination in mind, make something with or inspired whats available where you end up.
I ended up at a park, and these are some of the things I found there:
I had hoped to make a drawing or some other collage type piece featuring these, I particularly liked the feather and the red berry. I need more time for that. so for now, you just get some arranged items.
(yes, I missed 11, which was ‘spill something and make something with, or inspired by the mess’ , well, tough. I’m not perfect, so much so I spill enough stuff not on purpose and generally just get cross with myself, it does not put me in a creative mood.)
In my last post I introduced you to my making process, and left you tantalisingly close to seeing how its starting to look together…
Its really starting to take shape now!
so, now its in one piece, next stop try it on!
now gravity is involved, I can start to make adjustments, the double strand section needs something to the right as its not sitting the way I want, the goddess does need something above her, just not the flower, and the big pyrite, not that you can quite see it in the picture, but it looked wrong! so out it will go.
also, those silver beads are now black silver beads!
at this point I got rather lost in it, the end was in sight and I completely forgot the pictures!
These beads are in fact two different colours, a red orange and a hot pink. I’ve sorted a few out as I think this needs to be one or the other, not both.
I switched out the tiny mauve crystals that didn’t quite work for the pink beads above, on looking it as a whole, the only pink anywhere was in the lampwork, and it needed to tie in, but as I said before, not a flat pink, and not too much of it
so now it looks like this:
and it was such a beautiful afternoon, I headed to the garden for some pictures of it being worn
Thanks for sticking with me on this journey of a necklace!
I suppose I should mention that if you wish to make this necklace yours, its available in my etsy shop
Its what I strive for in my designs. But its more than physical balance, which in itself is a tricky line to tread when working with drastically assymmetric pieces like these, coupled with using my handmade beads, which by their nature are heavy, I don’t really do small, and they are glass! I also dislike putting them in the middle, that would be like, too easy?!
In addition to the physical balance, there is colour balance, and visual balance. oh and a balance of ingredients, of handmade components, gemstones and glass, sterling silver, bronze! it will be different for each piece of course.
But theres still more, theres another balance I strive for
That between the jewellery and the beads. By which I mean, I want people to notice the necklace as a necklace, but I also want them to see the pretty amazing bead I made it around. For the necklace to be as good as the bead, and vice versa.
I really do not like to make things easy for myself do I?
Guess what though? I love it! this bit, the challenge! Yeah you knew that already.
So, how does one of these necklaces begin?
as you might expect, it starts with a bead, the feature bead.
I’ve chosen a Goddess.
She’s been photographed in the same light as I’ll be working in, rather than the usual daylight I photograph my beads in, this is so the colours look the same throughout.
I’ve been meaning to make a goddess into a necklace for a while, such a complex bead I feel must be designed around in one of two ways,
1) keep it simple, perhaps as a pendant on a nice silver chain. nothing too fancy, shes fancy already.
or 2) this is a really fancy bead, lets go to town on this and give it loads of lovely quality ingredients and shiny things, like she deserves!
so, into the stash I go…
this is so not the easiest of colours to work with! red…are you kidding me? and with pink? and gold? and deep amber?
the wrong red will clash, the right red risks blending in, the pink is kind of there in flashes, not a flat pink, so I can’t use too much, the gold is both peachy and yellowy, tricky!
first, I’ll pull out anything I think might go. some of these things once offered up, will go straight back, and some of them did, when I forgot I was meant to be photographing as I went along!
you can probably see some things glaringly wrong already, I can!
so next I do some thinning out, and we get down to something a bit more managable
some things still might, go, and others might get added, but I think this is looking good.
next, some planning where some of the key ingredients might go, I’m going for a multi strand necklace here, to keep some visual and physical bulk at the centre front to counter all that weight (shh! shes sensitive!) on the right hand side.
so heres the 2nd row being roughed in. you’ll notice that for this, I’m not working with paper, I sketch in beads, I often keep my phone handy to snap pictures of different layouts as I go along, in case I want to go back, or compare.
Next I need to start threading some things up, seeing how they actually sit when strung together, some things don’t behave, and may need spacers or something to keep them where I want, and some just don’t look right. At the back there, I’ve threaded up sections of the smaller glass beads, as quite often they’ll look very different strung than in a heap!
I tend to work at little sections at a time, and move around the whole necklace trying out and refining here and there, getting closer and closer to a point where I can hold it up and see how it hangs.
See how this flower on top of the goddess starts looking like a head? but somehow that’s just…wrong! so that will have to go.
This little combination I feel is working nicely
This one is not, the carnelian is too dark either side of the bigger bead, and I’m not entirley convinced about the gold altogether, it does overall lighten the piece, but I’m not sure thats neccessary. also the drape of my temporary thread there is poor, so I’ll switch to something more like what I’ll use for the final threading. I’m sure you’re starting to see that theres a lot of threading and rethreading that goes into one of these!
so either the gold or the carnelian has to go, lets try these…
Though the sterling silver beads are way too bright, they do sit nicely into the lampwork beads, so those will be getting oxidised.
Next I need to thread up a little more, so I can start to see how it hangs, and I’ve added in that little pink combo
still not quite sure about that carnelian, or is it the little gold bead? I think the gold needs to go.
moving on, to the part above the clasp, I decided on the larger one.
I’ll leave it there for now, so as not to make this post even longer!
More coming up soon in Part two
I will be returning to the fantastic MangoBeads Studio in June to teach a new class! (well its half new…)
In addition to day one from my first class held at MangoBeads, I will be teaching the 3D flower technique as featured in my tutorial, my cherry blossom bead, and also encased silver glass hearts among other things!
Well more of a woman really, well goddess
Sorry, couldn’t resist, my inner geek fell out a little bit there (I even read that in David Tennants Doctor voice, whoops!)
she’s back in now.
Er, so I think I lost my point a little there, let me give you a little background (for a lot of background see my other post design spirals)
I love customers. Customers are fantastic, and not just because they buy things which allows me to continue doing what I love.
Customers ask me to make things, the things they want, I love making people what they want! sometimes I haven’t even made something quite like it yet
but heres the best bit…
I was often meaning to.
So far this year (and lets face it were not that far in, are we?) I have had a customer ask me for something I already had in my notebook, as a little ‘sometime when I have a bit of time to play and experiment’ sort of thing, perhaps a little naughtily (probably should have been doing something else!) that very day I had already popped experiment one into my kiln, expecting experiment two to be much later
Something else I had in my notebook as a little doodle reminder to myself, was a graduated set of my ‘water garden’ beads in round, a shape I’d yet to make in that recipe, what does this lovely customer want? rounds! yay!
I’ve been asked for a fox, which was already on my make for flame off list, so he’s just queue jumped a little!
and then there was the absolute corker, ‘Do you make goddess beads like the hearts you have in your shop?’
here are the hearts:
No not yet but I would totally LOVE to do that! and I did, and I loved it not just because it turned out rather well…(pics in a minute, don’t wander off!) because I’ve been meaning to make goddess beads again for so long, I’m sure I’ve not made one in well over a year, just so many other things on!
I think I wasn’t quite sure of what type of goddess to make, so she was a little further down on my ‘make when you have some time to play’ list (its sounds as if I rarely give myself time to just ‘play’ with ideas and not just make beads for orders or galleries or my own stock, I totally do! I just have so many ideas to try out I never get time to do them all!)
So the first heart bead that popped into my head from my shop was the water garden one
Which had actually sold so the customer probably hadn’t seen it
Too late! I’ve seen this lady in my minds eye now and she wants to come out! I had to make her anyway, shes been waiting more than a year, or is it that she was just deciding which clothes to wear?
So here she is
I asked exactly which heart my customer most wanted her goddess to be like, and she told me a whole load of yummy colours, and linked to a specific heart of mine,
well that turned out really well too
And I liked it so much I also made a little one!
(not great pictures I’m afraid, it is February afterall! it keeps raining)
Well all three of these are sold now (Thankyou lovely customers!), but following a rather embarrasingly good response on a certain facebook group, I can tell you I will be making more! (well I was going to anyway, I loved making these so much!)
I do think that the timing of this couldn’t have been more perfect, I seriously doubt I would have had the confidence to do this a year ago…but since I now know I can make a silver glass owl…I can make a silver glass chicken, I have improved my heart shaping technique drastically in the last few months, and all of these things meant that I could just sit down at my torch, and make these ladies. There was no, ‘ooh I’d better make a test bead first’, no ‘what if this’ or ‘what if that’, I just let her out!
My first three goddesses in over a year…I don’t think I’ve lost my touch eh? infact I think they’ve improved for the waiting…