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?”


Tales from the Torch: Feb. & March (part deux)

I’m back on the Teenager’s computer again as the kitten Busta finally finished chewing through my laptop’s power cable.  Now doesn’t having a cat usually mean no pets chewing random valuables around the house??? i might as well have a dog.

Soooo… until i decide whether to replace the power cable and harddrive on my laptop vs buying a new one, i’m trapped in that teenage hellhole again… damn cat.  Anyhoo, i did manage to backup most of my pics from the last meltdown so found a few more from February and March. (I didn’t torch much in April/May as I had the flu.)

These random beads were for a long bead exchange on LE.  They’re all about 2-2.5″ long (except the purple one) which isn’t huge for me at all – my beads are normally 1.5-2.5″ long.  I think the winner made a bead something like 11″ long.  not sure what one would do with a massive (and fragile!) piece of glass like that…  I wanted to try bigger but about 4″ is my max. anything larger seems to be beyond the limits of my current torch – i can get there but it takes forever to melt all that glass and the results are seriously ugly.


This Chocolate Goddess was part of a gift package for Valentine’s Day… 


My sister snapped up this Winter Garden pendant as soon as it came out of the kiln… Note my improved stringer control – that Corina stringer DVD has really helped.

I’ve been torching all weekend and have some new beadies cooling in the kiln right now.  I’ll try to post them tomorrow…

Tales from the torch: Dec. 23rd/07

 Here are the results from my last few torch sessions:

(Yup, I finally have my mojo back)

Earthy goddesses

A selection of earthy goddesses with a slimmer profile.  The last one on the right is sold, the other three are for a custom order – the client gets first pick then any remaining will be posted for sale on either Etsy or eBay.  Update Jan 2/07: Goddesses #2 & #3 are sold as well.

Spring Rain #3The Spring Rain design has been very popular, so I’ve decided to turn it into a collection – this bead is #3 (sold). The Spring Rain series is made with various combinations of transparent and opaque light blue glass, silver, and blue and white frit.  I love the way each bead maintains its own unique shape and personality while still remaining in the same family. In this bead, one of the middle frits turned slightly green (a lovely but unexpected reaction!) and the white frit was fumed a deep gold by the silver leaf.

Periwinkle SwirlPeriwinkle Swirl is a little more of an advanced bead style for me (sold).  It also begins with a base of transparent and opaque blue glass, silver leaf and frit. I then wrapped the bead in some thin blue stringer and a white and clear latticino (twisted glass cane) followed by a sprinkle of clear frit. I love the way the silver sparkles in some areas and has an opalescent shimmer in others.  Plus my stringer control has really improved!

Olive GardenOlive Garden is made with olive green glass with some darker green frit and just a touch of pure gold leaf (sold). Simple and absolutely lovely.


Winter Dove (sold) – This bead was my biggest challenge to date!  I’ve never made a bird (or any other kind of animal) before and I was asked to make a dove that could be wearable as a pendant.  I wanted it to be lifelike, full of movement and suggestive of a dove rather than a literal interpretation – plus it still had to be comfortable to wear.  It took quite a bit of planning but I’m pretty happy with the result!  The wings slant slightly to the back allowing it to rest really nicely against your chest…

Goddess beads off to their new homes

 All on sterling silver wire with a sterling snake chain.  Each bead averages approx. 1.5-2.5″ in length:

View from the front:

Goddesses front view

Spring Garden Goddess was created from a base of turquoise opaque glass. She was then lightly reduced to bring out the copper trails and sprinkled with a blend of pastel pink, yellow and white frit (tiny glass chips). She seems to have just returned from lying in a field of wildflowers.

Lime Fizz Goddess was created from a base of juicy lime green opaque glass. She was then lightly sprinkled with tiny turquoise flowers and a deep purple frit. The tiny bits of purple and blue create the effect of dancing in flower gardens.

Ocean Mist Goddess was created from a base of white opaque glass. Her thighs were encased in deep blue, before being lightly sprinkled with periwinkle frit. The periwinkle reacts with the white to create a soft, smoky mist over her torso.

Purplicious Goddess was created from a base of opaque glass. She was then rolled in a deep purple glass powder before being sprinkled with a frit blend of pink, purple and white. The powder and frits intermingle to give her a soft, dreamy effect.

View from the back: goddess beads rear view

Tales from the torch: Nov. 21st-22nd/07

Results from my last few torch sessions: 

The four goddesses are sold (custom order).

two goddess beads and a tube focal 

From left to right:

  • still playing with a warm palette – this focal combines enamels, frit and clear.  i’d originally planned to completely melt the clear encasing smooth and then decided to leave it lumpy.  The bumps feels great.
  • turquoise goddess with several shades of pastel frit.  i reduced her a little to bring out the earthy copper trails.  i think i’ve finally got the hang of reduction – at least with blue glass.  at one point i had her completely red and then was able to add and remove the red copper on her surface by waving her in and out of different parts of the flame. very cool.
  • i love purple – it’s my favourite colour but it’s one of the hardest to get in glass – the rod colours tend to either be greyish or do weird things in the flame.  This goddess is rolled in purple powder and then three shades of frit.

 last few torch sessions

From left to right:

  • another experiment with dark raku – this time i heated and cooled it a lot so the colour development progressed further – moved past the olive to more gold and hints of purple. will have to play more…
  • trying to find a way to get orange, reds and silver to play nicely together.  not quite there yet.  i’m happy with the shape though.
  • started a goddess but didn’t like the strong reaction between the light blue frit and the ivory – plus i ran out of fuel…lol.
  • tried again with a white base instead.  the softer reaction between the white and the light blue frit is much better
  • love this one!  bright green and purple frit – aren’t they awesome together??!!!