Pretty morning kiln candy!

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Most of these are brand spanking new beads i pulled out of the kiln yesterday morning.  Don’t they make a fun and pretty handful?  It’s been a bit of a challenge shifting my brain back into beadmaking mode  post-vaykay but i think it’s all slooooowwwwwwly coming together…

Be sure to look for these yummy beads at this weekend’s TNAF show – details HERE

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Happy Easter everyone!

Whether  you celebrate the Christian part or just the candy part, my best wishes for you and your family on this blessed day.

Flowers and birthday blues…

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Spring by the River

I decided a few weeks ago it was time for me to practice making flowers again. Why? It’s spring… and my sister’s birthday. Now y’all know i’m not really the floral type so it was definitely more for the latter reason than the former.  My much, much older (ANCIENT actually!) sister Frances just llllooooovvves  flowers.  And not just any flowers – BLUE flowers.

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Lilies in the Deep

I have no idea what it is with her and the colour blue but she just ADORES it!  And not just any blue: deep, rich royal or cobalt blue.  Nope, no pastels, sapphires and turquoises for her, it’s gotta be dark blue and it also better be covered with flowers.  Anyone in her life understands that to be with her is to be surrounded with varying shades of deep blue… and flowers.  Lots of them.

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River Garden

So considering how often she used to beat me up, i learned decades ago to stop arguing (despite not really caring for the colour blue or flowers) and just give her what she wants… or maybe it’s a need?

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Blue Pandora Beads

Not very many people could get me to sit down and just make blue flower beads over and over again over several torch sessions but for her…well ok… since i  KINDA like her… a bit (plus she could keel over from lack of exercise any day)… i figured i could squeeze out maybe one… or two.  or three.  plus a few bracelet beads.  But that’s it.  i’m done.  No more blue flower beads for me!

(p.s. Her birthday was April 2nd and yes, through her wrinkles, grey hair and doddering i could tell she was very pleased.  I think she even let go of her walker for a moment.)

Tales from the Torch: May 19/08

It’s long weekend here so instead of gallivanting like i normally do,  i decided to stay home and make some beads.  I’ve been either sick with the flu or so busy for the past several weeks that i haven’t been able to enjoy much torch time.  This weekend has really made up for that though – just got all these out of the kiln and i’m pretty happy with the results.

First, some focals:  I’ve had a really positive response to my floral attempts so i’ve decided to practice some more (plus a couple other ideas)… all about 2″ long.  From left to right:

Swamp Daisies – (sold) this is a big bead and it really wanted to be made:  I ran out of fuel about halfway through, had to pop the bead in the kiln, wait for the torch to cool down so i could change the propane canister and then slowly reheat and finish it off.  It’s my ongoing attempt to develop a love for that finicky copper green glass – the verdigris colour is intriguing but i’m still struggling to control the amount of that dark residue it develops.  (and yes i know the name isn’t very sexy – if you have a better suggestion let me know)

Blue Lagoon – another encased floral, this time i added the flowers first then the encasing.  I had planned to add another layer of encased florals but frankly i ran out of patience.  It’s encased with Lauscha clear and while the optical clarity is truly magnificent that clear layer was so stiff it took bloody FOREVER to melt.  At several points i was ready to through the whole damn thing (burning molten glass and all) across the room.   

Part of the problem is the limits of my torch, part is due to the Lauscha clear being really quite stiff but the other though is just the process of encasing florals – you have to slowly heat the clear layer enough to smooth it out but at the same time not get everything so hot that you soften and distort the layer of flowers and the core just underneath.  So you’re constantly twirling and swooping the bead in and out of the flame and slowly, slowly, slowly melting smooth that clear layer – an incredibly tedious process.  Somewhat like toasting marshmallows to a delicate golden brown at a bonfire except that each marshmallow takes a freaking HOUR to roast.  (ok, i’m done venting.  perhaps i’ll just put the Lauscha clear aside until i get a hotter torch). I must say, I have now developed a new respect for the beadmakers who make encased florals for a living… (siiigh, i must really not have cooked it properly as it has slowly cracked in half over the last few weeks)

Summer Garden – This is me playing to create something cute and fun and completely unlike my usual stuff (do i even have a usual yet?).  The Teenager declared this one as his fave while making sure to gruffly add the qualifier that of course he “…doesn’t like flowers but it’s still nice.”

Buttercup Swirl– Again something a little different and summery with some encased stringer spirals.  Those spirals were supposed to be a pale pastel yellow but came out bright buttercup yellow instead.  Now i could go into a rant about paying a premium for an “odd lot” glass that looks soft and creamy in the store ad but then strikes to a colour pretty darned close to something i could have bought for a 1/3 the price but i won’t. cuz i’m done venting.  so there. 

ZigZag – this is a weird one.  i was inspired by a room in a decorating mag designed with these colours – it’s odd but i like it.

And here is a custom order i’m working on – pregnant goddesses.  These were too much fun to make.  As i was sculpting each one it reminded me of the last few months of my pregnancy and how alternately excited /scared /annoyed /exhausted I was as i heaved myself around with that huge belly. 

Here’s a side view – they’re not just a little bit pregnant – these babes are nine plus months and ready to deliver at any moment! (i think that grey goddess is having triplets…)

And finally a rear view – cuz no pregnancy ever passes without this extremely important question:  “Honey, does my butt look big?”