Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bead Photos

Shooting underwater was getting to be a pain. Cat fur & dust was magically attracted to the dish of water, & I found myself having to replace the water every few beads, which really slowed down the whole process.

So here's my latest setup. The heavy duty paper is taped to both the table & a heavy backrest, so it forms a curve for a nice continuous background. There's a couple of lights clipped to the table, and a mirror to bounce light around even more.

The camera is at "eye level" with the beads when they are setting on the paper.

Boro Ring Components

I've been making these with the intention of using wire wrapping & jump rings to make them into chains. Making jewelry components out of boro is fun because I can just set each down on the table as I finish, no need to be all worried about these little guys cracking. They still get annealed of course, its just nice to be able to see them all together as I make them.

These are made with Caramel Lustre

Using Murrine

I've been using some of those murrine in my ocean (& other) beads lately.

There's a photo in an earlier post of these starburst murrini. They get poked in the center as they're melted in, to bring the stripes together in a starburst pattern. These warm tones (yellow, orange & red) don't seem to like to be exposed to silver.

Flower murrine. These ones aren't poked, & I melt them in slowly & flatten them gently to prevent distortion.

These pale lavender murrini play nicely with the silver leaf used in the background.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Bullseye + Silver

These were done with a transparent base bead (I think I used red for one & green for the other, it really doesn't seem to matter what color), rolled in Reactive Cloud frit, then silver foil. Then black caps & stringer decor. I've been having fun with these reactions!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Bead Appreciation: Ayako Hattori

This morning I've been admiring the admiring the work of Ayako Hattori. Her murrine flowers are amazing. Such precise detail & symmetry. Her beads are classic tonbo-dama, perfectly executed with the soft leaded glass.

Browsing her gallery is inspiring. I want to try (really simplified) versions of these flowers in Bullseye.

Don't miss these marbles, either. This chick is good!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Flower Murrinni

The last time I was making murrini cane, I stumbled upon an easy way to make a pretty nice flower cane.

I was experimenting with murrini more complicated than my beloved pinwheels. I started with a base color, encased with something contrasting, encased it with something else, etc. Then I wanted pinwheel-esque stripes on the final layer.

Normally I create grooves for my stripes by stuffing my glob into an optical mold to create ridges (& valleys). This technique wasn't going to work - I had waaaay too much glass for the optical mold, & that mold pushes the glob around too much - it would smear my carefully layered colors.

So I went with the razor blade to create the grooves. I carefully heated 1 stripe at a time & pressed indentations with my razor. I added the stripes & proceeded to finish up the cane pull.

When I cut the cane to check the cross section, I got a nice surprise: the grooves I created with the razor tool had pushed the layers of glass towards the center, creating a perfect flower. This was very exciting because I've made crazy multi-part flower cane & this took a fraction of the time.

The colors I used for the first cane were kind of weird for flowers, so I repeated the trick with a yellow center, then some opaque peach, then french vanilla. Then I creased, striped the creases with clear & then cased the whole thing in a thin layer of clear. The slices look like pretty kick ass flowers for taking less than 30 mins to pull.

I tried them out on a test bead today, so next time I'm at the studio I can see how it worked. I'm not very confidant in my ability to use murrini yet - we'll see.

More Bullseye + Silver

For some reason working with the combination of Bullseye glass & silver seems so adventurous & uncharted. Unlike the more widely used 104 coe glass, Bullseye's reactions with silver isn't very well documented. At least not that I'm aware of. It feels like a playful experiment working with these materials, with no rules & just a few vague guides.

It all started for me when Bullseye came out with Reactive Clear & Reactive Cloud. These special run rods are now standard in sheet, so its easy to get ahold of this stuff. Plus, while looking up those links, I noticed that this stuff comes in frit! Who hoo!

Anyways, this reactive glass caught my eye because I love Bullseye for many reasons, but I also love the silver loaded glass available in 104 coe. One serious benefit to this reactive glass - it costs the same as any other Bullseye rod.

I've been playing around with this stuff for awhile now, and will hopefully get photos up soon. One drawback to the "playing around" approach, is that I never remember which stringer or short I used, and since most of my glass is unlabeled, I probably won't be able to change that. That's one of the reasons I'm trying to document my glass habit - so I have some chance of keeping track of what I'm doing!

Today I started off by pulling some transparent & translucent stringer in a variety of blues. Then I'd either make a bead with the reactive cloud or put the cloud over another color of base bead. Next some non-reactive stringer decoration, melt in, roll in silver, more stringer, melt in & see what happened. I keep the oxy up to keep the shiny metallics on the surface, rather than the drab earthtones from a more neutral flame.

Most of the time I can't resist adding a few pinwheel murrini at this point. I love those things. The warm opaque colors seem to seriously react to the silver, which I'm not loving as much as I thought in the last post. I'd prefer for them to stay true to their bright original colors, but they tend to go muddy. It still looks cool with the black pinwheel spokes, just a much more muted effect than I'd like.

One style that was appealing to me today began with a dark transparent base. Some are dark green & some a vibrant blue. Too bad the rods are unlabeled! I made the base bead, drew on it with reactive clear stringer, melted smooth, rolled in silver leaf, then added stringer decoration with a transparent stringer before melting it all smooth. When I'm careful & lucky enough, I can encase some of the shiny silver leaf without it burning into the glass, which looks like little gems encased in the bead. The colors revealed by the second round of stringer work were interesting but kind of dark. Variations caused by the layer of reactive stringer decor added depth. The silver burned into the surface of the bead can be brought to shiny reflectiveness with an oxidizing flame. These looked pretty amazing for being fairly simple beads with no expensive special glass.