When I first got interested in lampworking it was because I wanted to make beads to make jewellery with. As usual I tried running before I could walk, wanting to try all the different techniques and glasses before I was ready. During my weekend at Lush, Julie had some frit for sale from Kaz Baildon at Cheeky Cherub Designs and showed me some simple beads that I could make. I had of course seen Kaz's frit but it's very difficult to imagine what things look like when you can only see them on a screen and I have never been really sure what to go for. So I purchased some frit and Julie kindly recommended some combinations to try.
Another thing that Julie had me makings was spacers. This was really outside of my comfort zone. I'm a bit obsessive about trying to get my beads the same shape and size and usually use a bead roller. The task was to make several small beads on one mandrel, never going back to a previously made bead as this would thermal shock and crack. My first attempts weren't that successful but with a bit of practice I am really pleased with my results.
From left to right CIM Count Von Count, Effetre Pale Blue 080, Effetre Baby Blue 038,
Effetre Rose Quartz 067, Reichenbach Pearl Pink and CIM Sangria.
I don't know if you can see but with all the beads I made only 2 cracked. I was initally unsure about them all not being exactly the same size but I have to say that when strung between another bead it really doesn't show. They also look so cute when they have been etched.
I had a couple of surprises. Firstly Reichenback Pearl Pink. This is a lovely pearl pink in the rod, just as the name states. However the spacers I made came out a lovely peach colour. Still not what I was looking for so I need to do some investigating to see if I can find out how to keep the pink.
The next is CIM Sangria. I made the first bead (pictured on the right) and thought the colour didn't look right so the next two I struck. They looked very dark so I still didn't know if I had done right. The last bead I didn't strike at all. (pictured on the left). Happily the two centre bead came out the same lovely red colour as the rod. The bead on the left is quite a nice orange too.
Effetre Sunset 206 and Carribean Sea 227
The next beads were going to be something of a mystery. I had no idea what they were going to turn out like. This is how they look in the rod.
They turned out to be quite a nice surprise!
I also got some practice in with my pillow press.
Beady get together.
Next weekend I am going on a day trip to Middlesex to meet some other lampworkers and have a glassy get together. we are going to do a bead swap. This is when everyone brings a bead and puts it in a hat and then everyone picks one out. You never know what you are going to get. I had just the bead in mind after my friend Linda picked one out of a recent bead swap and Sally Carver showed us how to make it. and after 1 failed attempt this is what I made. It still needs to be cleaned and it's a bit more pinky in real life. Hopefully whoever ends up with it will be happy.
It was made using Effetre Dark Ivory, Double Helix Aurae and CIM Count Von Count.