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Never know what to say in these short bios - so I won't say anything. I am a mystery even to myself.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

New lampies

Not content to tumble just my porcelain beads - I have been tumbling glass beads as well. I know a few lampworkers use this techinque instead of etching to create beads with a 'sea glass' effect, but I wanted more of and 'etched' effect - without the chemicals.
I put them in with the porcelain beads, together with some tumbled stones and some polishing compound as an experiment and I am very pleased with the result. You can see that the 'shine' has been taken off and the beads have a very pleasing matt surface now. I think it makes the details and delineation between the colours and the reaction lines much crisper. The are a few nooks and crannies that the polishing compound just doesn't get to, but overall a success I think.

I also managed some torch time this week. I got hold of some CIM Sangre and gave it a go. A very nice red, but I think I need to practise 'stricking' it a bit more - you can still see some orangy/yellow on some of the red beads. For those that don't know what stricking is - some glasses only form their colour if they are worked then cooled and then heated again. Perhaps after they have been annealled they colour will improve. I will certainly be making some more with this lovely glass.
Also been playing with pinks and mauves. Practising encasing and inclusions. I have created champange bubbles in the two beads with murrini and the mauve lentil next to them. The results are still a bit hit and miss - but at least they didn't crack.
I also used my own 'home made' bead release for these beads and I am very pleased with the results. The beads came off the mandrels very easily, and the holes cleaned up a treat with a run under the cold tap and a gentle scrub with pipe cleaner. There are a couple of bits that need a bit of a scrap at or a soak perhaps and they should then be as clean as a whistle. I flame dried the release without any problems, after double dipping the mandrels. Got a few cracks, but not near where I was working - may try a slightly modified recipe to see if I can stop the cracking.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Goddess Beads

I have been experimenting with Goddess Beads. These are a quite popular type of bead based on various goddess, but mostly the Venus of Wilendorf. It is believed that the beads were made by women in rituals related to fertility.

After several failed attempts to fashion something that I found even remotely pleasing I decided to try 'pulling' the clay. For those of you that are experienced with pottery making, this is how you make handles for mugs etc.

One of the reasons I went for pulling was that porcelain dries and cracks really quickly - and with the weather being so hot and dry when I was making them it was proving a thankless task to hand mould them.

So small lumps of clay were roughly shaped and then pulled/coaxed into shape over a bowl and using liberal amounts of water. They were then left to stiffen up a little and the breasts were applied and moulded in and the details sgrafitto'ed in with a pointy tool.

Fired then tumbled. The tumbling taks off almost all the making marks etc, and some of the detail. The result is silky smooth and warm. Glazes put such a hard and brittle barrier between you and the clay. Though I may well try some of these glazed as well.

I have listed a couple of these on my Etsy shop - and I think one may well be used as a Blog giveaway soon!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Etsy Treasury

Today someone featured some of my beads in a Treasury on Etsy. And I am absolutely delighted. It is the first time I have been included in a treasury (to my knowledge). There are some delishiously English items featured in this Treasury which is called 'Made in England.

Treasuries expire after a few days - so be quick and follow the link to take a look.