Definition of insanity?


THIS.  Now you might be looking at this nicely organized selection of murrini (chips from complex glass canes) and wondering what could possibly be insane about this, right?  RIGHT? 

img_1359img_1361HA!  Ok, well it all began like this:  I was surfing LE when i stumbled across a thread discussing commercial murrini… i thought cool, i could use a few more – i LOVE murrini (but so far haven’t developed a burning desire to make my own). img_1360 img_1358

So I clicked through a few pages and links on the mentioned supplier’s site and found several murrini styles i liked.  Nothing insane there, right?  Just  appreciating all the pretty colours… a harmless bit of window shopping… i mean c’mon, these really are pretty aren’t they? And in styles i’d never seen before – in fact MUCH better than the meagre selection from the tiny assortment bag i purchased way back when.  So i clicked some more… cooooolll, all those complex designs in such miniature form…  No biggie,  i’ll just buy a few.  Yeah.  a few.

Next thing i know, all of THESE showed up at my house.  Ummm…ok.  Bit more than i planned.  Or needed.  But still, there’s nothing insane here, right?  Excessive maybe, but insane?   naaahhh.  It’s like shoe shopping – when the selection is especially cute, you can’t leave the store with just one pair…img_1354They were a little dusty – as anyone would be after making the trip from Italy to Canada (via the US) – so i figured i better wash them before putting them away.  (Don’t ask me why,  I have no idea.)  So guess what i did?  I dumped all those bags into a bowl.  Yup, ALL of them.  Into ONE bowl.  And yes (in case you weren’t absolutely sure), this is when i think i crossed the line from excessive adoration to borderline insanity.  Have i mentioned that the largest of these murrini is about the width of a child’s fingernail (4-5mm)?  the smallest the size of the tip of a marker (2-3mm)???img_1400Once i actually looked into the bowl for just a moment i thought: what the hell have i done??  Whatev, it was too late to worry about it so i swished the pile around to clean them, scooped them out onto a towel and started the sorting process.  

img_1398And yes, that’s when i fully crossed the line from borderline  to complete and utter  insanity.  It took me three days (on and off) to sort that mixed up pile of murrini by size, pattern, shape and colour.  And you know what?  I ENJOYED it!  For some bizarre reason, I found the process soothing: as i created each pattern pile it helped me come up with ideas of how i could integrate each murrini style into a potential bead design.  img_1401

Now, considering i have bins of commercial seed/glass beads i’ve refused to touch for years because they’re all mixed together, you can understand why i’m in a bit of a shock??

Ahh well… i suppose that’s the magic of hot glass: it’s so unrestricted, even what should have been a tedious chore like this, can develop into an exciting opportunity for new design directions. 

New beads with these murrini should be coming soon…


An interesting idea…


This bead is an experiment – one that turned out better than i expected but isn’t quite yet where i want it to be… 

Essentially, it’s  a strip of copper mesh encased in clear and ivory.  I’ve never used copper mesh before so i wanted to try it to see what kind of fun designs it might inspire.

I do like the window – although i wish i’d done a better of job of encasing the copper: it’s an interesting fiery red when encased but otherwise  a burnt black (i missed a spot).  I like the burnt copper effect as well,  just wasn’t what i was looking for this time…


The lines are drawn on with silvered ivory stringer (ivory rod wrapped in silver foil, then pulled into a thick string) which reacted with the ivory base to create those lovely shades of golden brown.  I tried to adjust the flame chemistry to pull out some blues as well but no luck,  maybe next time…

 I’m not sure i like the curlicues – next round i think i’ll try straight lines instead.  At the very least you can see my stringer control is definitely improving.

The tapered barrel shape and the slightly raised scrollwork give the bead a good “hand feel”.  I like beads that are fun to touch as well as being visually pleasing.

The shape of the window works for me as well as the translucency, especially in bright sunlight.  Sends me off on a whole other stream of ideas for where i can take this design…

All in all this was a good exercise.  I wasn’t sure if the look of the copper mesh would appeal to me but it actually does.

I’ll definitely need to make more.

Tales from the torch: Nov. 13/07

Custom orders sample 

This bead is a first try at a custom order.  It’s HUGE – approx. 2.5″ – I like it but the colours aren’t working for me.  I used three different shades of red frit for some colour gradations in the leaves and they all came out looking exactly the same.  WAY annoying.

Sample beads 

These are my test beads from last week.  They may not remain tests for long though, as their remakes were NOT an improvement. dammit.

On the good side that bead on the far right is my first bead to ever come out exactly the way i wanted (better even!) – i love it and it’s MINE. 

Aaah well, back to the torch!

Tales from the torch: Nov. 8th/07

This is a quick pic of the results of yesterday’s torch session and the bits and pieces that went into making these two beads.

At the top is my marver with the three types of frit ( tiny glass chips) i used.  (you can ignore the red powder, that’s the enamel i used for this morning’s torch session.)  Then the two little strips of pure 99.9% fine silver foil – that’s what gives the beads their luscious sparkle.

In front are the two rods used for the base glass.   Yup, that light blue rod made that awesome rusty red colour in the back bead as well – cool, huh?  It’s called reducing, which means bringing to the surface the metals used to colour the glass.   This time i did it kinda by accident but I’m gradually learning how to do it on purpose – it’s really quite a neat effect.