Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Mini Mo Chocolate Limes

Whilst at Jolene's I treated myself to one of her Mini Mo's and a couple of boxes of shards. The Mini Mo is called 'Chocolate Limes' (Centre) and the shards are Cloudbusting (left) and Red River Rock (right)

Each Mini Mo contains several twisties and canes, a little pot of murrini and some shards.

 Close up of Red River Rock silver infused shards.

Close up of Cloudbusting silver infused shards.

I can't wait to get some torch time to have a play with these. Jolene gave us a demonstration on how to use them.

Sorry the pictures aren't a bit brighter, need some sun!

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Glassy get together in Middlesex

I had a lovely day with some glassy people at the home of Kitzbitz Art Glass in Middlesex. Jolene made me feel very welcome and she has a lovely family.

You can read all about it on her blog.

 This is me on the left working on Jolenes Mini CC torch.

This is the lovely bunch of ladies that I met on Saturday. left to right: Mich, Me, Jolene, Jenny, Linda, Pat and Sue (hiding at the back)

 Me on the right and another Linda on the left
 Jenny on the left on the torch with me watching

Jolene's impressive bead collection.

Some of my favourites

Friday, 24 February 2012

Which size mandrel?

One of the problems I mull over is what size mandrel to use. I was lucky enough to have a Grandad that used to be a welder. He's a bit of a hoarder and had stashed away some welding rods that made perfect mandrels. I wasn't sure what size they were but I bought myself some digital calipers the other day and have discovered that they are 2mm. I also purchased some 1.6mm from Tuffnell Glass.

The 2mm are lovely to work with but obviously the hole in the beads, with the bead release is just over 2mm. This is fine unless you want to thread the beads on wire, then they don't stay centered. George on the By George it's Lush weekend introduced me to some tube from Bead Smith that you can cut off and put a piece inside your bead and that makes the hole smaller. This is great.

Alternatively I could use my 1.6mm mandrels but there is a problem. I like to make my beads using a bead roller so that they all come out the same size. The bead roller is not made for 1.6mm mandrels but 2.4mm. This makes it difficult to make successful beads as there is play in the channels.

I have come up with a simple but effective solution!

Dip your mandrel in bead release and then leave to dry. Once dry use something to remove the bead release. I use a file which will allow enough room for the largest bead on my bead roller.

Then dip your beads again. This leaves a single layer of bead release where you make the bead but makes the mandrel thicker so that it fits into the channels of the bead roller better.

I hope you find this little tutorial useful.

DIY Button Mandrel

Another tip I picked up whilst I was on the By George it's Lush weekend workshop was to be shown how to make buttons. I didn't have any button mandrels at home and didn't really want to buy any, but I picked up a great tip from Joy.

I bought some 3mm mandrels that were for making beads for the 3mm pvc hollow tube that I bought from Julie. Joy suggested wiring two of my 2mm mandrels around the 3mm mandrel to create a home-made button mandrel. Picture of it below.

The great thing about this is, if the button gets stuck on the mandrels, you can seperate them to make it easier to remove.

This is one of my first buttons. I had a great idea of wiring it onto one of the pvc necklaces that I made. Doesn't it look cute?

A look what the kiln fairies brought me today.

Lots of lovely beads.

First up, more spacers. From left to right.

Effetre Rubino Ora, this is a colour that likes to be worked cool. The bottom four beads have come out a lovely deep pink colour. The top two are more transparent and a ruby colour. It will be interesting to see what these look like etched.

Effetre Transparent Kelp 090, no surprises here, a lovely pale yellow colour.

Effetre Electric Yellow 069, I guessed this was a striking colour as it changed on the tip of the glass after it was heated. I only got a splash of colour in the first bead that I made and even though I struck the rest I couldn't get any colour to appear. Luckily it seems to strike in the kiln as they have all come out a lovely yellow. A slightly brighter shade of yellow than the transparent kelp.

Lastly CIM kryptonite, I lost a couple of beads to cracking. Some of the beads have lost their opalness and gone opaque - A lovely pale blue. Howver I can't remember which ones were worked more than the others, so might have to try again working a bit cooler.

Test Beads
Each time I do some beads I like to do some test beads to try out different colours and makes of glass.

From left to right.

Reichenbach Opaque green, I found this very hard to work. It devits really easily. This is the first time I have actually turned down both the oxygen and the propane in search of a cooler flame. It did work but required a lot of patience because of the extra time it took to make the bead. Not one of my favourite glasses. Glad I only have one rod.

Next up we have Reichenbach Flamingo. I was reading about this colour on the Mind Melt blog yesterday and remembered that I had a rod so this is what I discovered. Like the Opaque green this is another colour that likes to be worked cool. I didn't get any colour resembling flamingo - more of a mid brown. I also tried a second bead which I reduced. I struggled to get an even reduction but got there eventually. However it didn't stay evenly reduced when it came out of the kiln.

Effetre Teal 026. I have used this glass in spacers and it stays true to the rod. A lovely transparent teal.

CIM Pinks

I think this is all of the CIM pinks that I have at the moment. From left Dessert Pink - a nice pale pink, Chai - slightly darker. Both opaques.
I couldn't really tell the difference between the next two. Rose Quartz and Gelly Sty, both opals (I think, will have to ask someone before I keep calling them that!). I have some Gelly Sty on order so don't think I will bother to get any Rose Quartz. All colours were very easy to work and stayed the same colour as in the rod.

I was quite pleased with this one. This is Effetre Carribean Sea with Finn McCool murrini from Cheeky Chreub. Think I will make some more of these.

 This is My Funny Valentine fine frit again from Cheeky Cherub on CIM Kryptonite.

 I had another play with Iris Gold frit. I didn't reduce it this time. I have done some investigation and found out that this also likes to be worked cool with absolutely no reduction. Apparently it looks goof over Effetre transparent cobalt for greeny blue colours and over rubino for ambers with lilac shades. I'm going to take some with me tomorrow and hope that someone can give me some tips.

Following the succes of the sugar bead that I made with the Effetre Rose Quartz 067 I had another go with CIM plum. It wasn't quite as nice but I think it might look nice etched.

This was to be another spiral bead to go on my pvc hollow tube necklace. Unfortunately the CIM Plum didn't show up very well on the CIM Kryptonite. It almost looks grey.

 I think I am getting a bit better at these. On the left is Effetre Apricot Yellow 419, Effetre clear 106, Effetre Light Red 428 with Effetre Tourquoise 232 dots. On the right, CIM Plum, Effetre 106 clear, CIM Peace with the same colour dots. I will be posting some tips later on how to make your own button mandrel.

Unfortunately space became a little bit limited in the kiln by the time I made this button and dissapointingly it must have rested on another mandrel and has made a dink in one of the petals.

Todays bead set offering 'Confetti'

This is the set of beads I have added on to Etsy today. As you can see there are 5 white donut shaped beads with multicoloured frit that reminds me of Confetti. They also come with 10 pale pink etched spacer beads.

You can go to the listing here

I won't be adding any beads tomorrow as I am going to join some like minded glassy people in a get together in Middlesex. It's my first one and I'm really looking forward to it.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

New delivery of frit.

I've enjoyed playing with my frit so much that I ordered some more from Cheeky Cherub in different colours.

This is Iris Gold fine frit. It is clear and changes colour when heated. I think it's supposed to be a gold colour. I reduced it which possibly wasn't the best idea as it's gone a sort of browny colour. It's quite nice but I will try again without the reduction.
 This is Sugar Pie Honey Bunch it's a really pretty blend of muted pinks and caramels.
 This is Love me do. It's a blend of opaque peaches and soft pinks.
 This one is Mellow Yellow. It's described as 'The varying colours of sand from palest champagne to deepest saffron and golden honey'.
 Here we have Cracklin' Rosie. The description for this one is 'Peaches and roses bloom with this delicious reactive blend'.

Here we have a frit of Iris Orange or Raku. I've not had much success with the glass in the rod so didn't hold out much hope with the frit as sure enough here are my results. It's doesn't look too bad on the Dark ivory but not much cop on the black. I have seen some lovely colours obtained on black beads so will have to do some research. Or, I've got a couple of classes coming up so may ask for a demo at one of those.

I can see now what other lampworkers were saying when they said 'you can never have too much glass or frit'. It is very addictive.

Todays kiln haul

I have been very fortunate with my amount of kiln time this week. I have been torching most of today and this is what came out of the kiln this morning. I have decided that this blog is going to be a record of my progress as well as a reference for me to refer to. If I can help any other lampworkers in the process then all for the better.

I'm really pleased with these. They are Effetre Carribean Sea with Botany Bay Murrini from Cheeky Cherub. They are made using a pillow press to get the shape.

These two are some more beads made on 3mm mandrels to add to the purple pvc necklace I am making. The glasses I think are what's known as opals as they have a kind of frosted look to them. On the left is CIM Rose Quartz and on the right CIM Kryptonite. They have swirls of Reichenback Purple Rose on them. I found the CIM colours to be fairly stiff to work with but I love them.

Tutti Fruiti

This set has 5 donut beads in transparent lilac with multi colour bobbles. It also comes with 10 etched lilac spacer beads to match. They remind me of tutti fruiti icecream.

They've just been added to my Etsy store and you can purchase them here

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Todays bead set

This is todays set that has been added to my Etsy store. This set is the same as the blue set, but in peach. It consists of 7 transparent peach beach with multicolour bobbles and 12 pale peach etched spacer beads.

You can click on the box on the right to go to the store.  Free postage on this order.
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