Tuesday, 30 December 2008

My Favourite Christmas Gift...

Well, I'm back after spending Christmas with family in England. I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas holidays! I think my Bronze Knife was well received and it cut the cheese - so thats a bonus! I got a few nice gifts but I think I was most chuffed to get this little fella above. Isnt he cute? He was made by my very talented friend Lynne Glazzard and was a complete surprise! I'm keeping an eye out for more to be made as I think this little one needs a friend!

As ever at this time of year my thoughts turn to my aims and goals for the year 09. I tend not to make resolutions for myself as I only break them, but goals are something that can be worked towards in a really positive way. I'm still working on my Masters Registry and have a few big events coming up in 2009 which I am really looking forward too - The Metal Clay World Conference in Chicago being one of them! Does anyone else have any big plans for 2009?

Monday, 22 December 2008

My Beads on the Creation is Messy site!

I was chuffed last night to log into my e-mail and find that Kathy Seamands of Creation is Messy liked my pansy beads so much she popped them on her web site! Lampworkers will know and love CIM glass - the range of colours they offer is fantastic!! You can check out the CIM web site (and the little pic of my featured beads) here.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Bronze Cheese Knife

Well - I hope the man I made this for dosent read my blog - as the Cheese Knife Survived!! It has a few small cracks on the surface that were not there prior to firing - but I dont mind them -besides it Christmas on THURSDAY so I'll have to live with them! I threw it about a bit before polishing to check that its strong - and its certainly seems to be!! I have been working on improving my photographs too. Hope you like the new look - and the knife of course!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Dragon Scale Beads

Due to the generosity of Amber Van Meter there exists on Lampwork etc a short tutorial on how to make Dragon Scale Beads. I had a go - and made these - and have to say I really like them! I think I'll be playing with some colour combinations and see what other effects you can get, lets see how long they keep me away from pansy beads .....

So Christmas is just around the corner - I really wasnt aware just how soon it is! A good job I realized that Christmas is NEXT THURSDAY because I am making some presents.... I have been making something for each close family member - but there is always one person thats hard to buy or make for. Its a man (wouldnt you know it lol) and he isnt big on wearing jewellery. So I had a good think and came up with this - a Bronze Cheese knife. Heres a picture of it before I had totally finished it. Its in the kiln right now - such a shame it was too long for the firing pan!!! I'll find out if it has turned to dust tomorrow! Fingers crossed - hope he likes it!

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Dots, dots and more dots - oh and some Pansies

Well, I have been putting in time on my torch again this week - and was drawn again to dotty beads with different reactive glasses. The top lot featuring develish EDP and the bottom two sets Cim's Cranberry Pink (which is their Rubino). I am loving CIM glass at the moment and just cant get enough of it!

If you are a lampworker then you may be interested to check out Sarah Hornik's latest publication - "Sarah's 12 favorite Colour Schemes and WHY they work". Its available as either a calender or a pdf file which is great if, like me, you are impatient! Its another lovely and inspiring piece of work by Sarah with serious eye candy! Buy one here!

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

I'm in PRINT!!!

WOW!! For the first time I am in print. There is a Lampworking Forum called Frit Happens. For the past two years some of the moderators have asked for submissions for the calendar. This time I sent a picture of my bead ring and my pile of dotty beads - and they were used!! My beads feature for the picture for April! I am THRILLED! If you want to check it out click here.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Images for Etching

I'm excited as I am expecting to get my hands on the "green" etching kit that Sherri and her husband Dan developed really soon. But I have been thinking about what images to use. I'm happy to draw some simple patterns directly onto the copper with a Sharpie but what about more complex patterns? What will work well? I dont have the answer yet - I need to experiment - but in my flicking through Flickr (get it :D) I found a link to the entire works of Kunst-Formen der Natur, by Ernst Haeckel, 1898. This book is in the public domain and features incredible illustrations. Even if they turn out not to be ideal for using in copper etching they are sure to inspire!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

More Pansies

In between trying new, and frustrating things I am taking a break and making more pansy beads! I'm really liking round beads at the moment - and had a go at making a round pansy set. Its tricky to get the exact same amount of glass in the beads- the flowers are made up of three layers of dots, but I'm happy practicing.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

If at first you don't succeed.......

try and try again right?? I'm not so sure. During the weekend on the course somebody mentioned that it takes a silly amount of hours to become an expert in something - it was thousands!! Now - I'm not really trying to become an expert on anything, but I AM trying to build a hollow on a fine silver core. Its not working. To check that it wasnt my hollow bead making skills that were at fault I made a hollow - and its quite nice even if I do say so myself. Its big enough to go on my Christmas Tree too (when I get one) - so thats not the problem! But no matter how many times I try its like the glass just collapses and falls in on itself. It must be possible, others can do it. Maybe I will experiment with no caps, a thinner core and caps with no core and see if any of those combinations work. Any way - here is what my bead looks like after I got cross and threw it in my water jug ...... its a shame I cant somehow fix the shattered glass as I happen to think its really nice!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Bronze & Fine Silver

A wee while ago I made some bronze bits, I said I had plans for them.. ..well here is the first made up piece. It needs a chain - I have one in mind but its taking me a while to make, so I thought I'd share this with you meanwhile.

I set the bronze after firing the silver - measuring and allowing for shrinkage before firing. Next time I may try setting the Bronze in paper type and also with more traditional Silver Smithing methods. The rings are Sterling Silver that I have made myself and soldered closed. My Silver Smithing class is coming in very handy! Here is how it looks at the back . . .

Monday, 1 December 2008

I'm Home!!!!

Well, I'm back after a great weekend on The Red Hot Minx Course! I had quite clear goals and I achieved one of them - which was to make a hollow bead. Suprisingly I got it first time! Maybe I shouldnt have given up so fast when I tried it months ago! I was thrilled - my second hollow is pictured above.

Our second day was spent playing with pmc. I made some cores onto which I will build a clear hollow bead- the hope is that this will allow you to be able to see the little sea shells I have set onto the core! Sally and Leigh are great teachers and Diana Easts Studio is just perfect. We drank endless cups of tea, ate too much food and had too much fun!! And the biggest bonus of all is that I made new friends!