Archive for January, 2011
[end of Oct 2010]
I got back from Venice and the first thing I tried out was using my Carlo Dona press.
On a hot head it takes a long time to get enough glass on your mandrel to fill this press! He makes them in different sizes – I forget the measurements, but mine’s medium-to-large and the whole thing is a fairly puffy 3D heart. The tornado bead above I didn’t quite fill it fully and it’s a bit uneven, but I like the effect. I used transparent dark purple for the tornado so it was saturated enough that it would show up.
I made one in light ivory next so it would be faster to melt down. There was something of a washing machine disaster halfway through, which meant I had to stick it in the kiln when I was still building up enough glass. Washing machines are scary when the drum axle breaks when the machine is still on and has a spin cycle to go through… It was leaping about and shaking the entire room! I was rather shaken after that and just made a couple of fairly plain beads to calm down, so in the morning I still had my large ivory blob on a stick. Pat from FH reminded me that I could bring it up to temperature again in the kiln the next day, introduce it to the flame carefully and keep working on it, so I did just that. I messed it up a bit by using dark turquoise and getting the dots on the front too hot so they reacted messily, but I am pleased I rescued it! The back’s a bit neater.
I made an end-of-day heart next, using bits and pieces of green shorts I had lying around.
It has a SIS shard on top. I did make the mistake of making one of the central colours be CiM kryptonite and it didn’t like being encased so deeply by the others. So this has a crack down the centre that only goes through the kryptonite and doesn’t reach the surface. I do like this bead and I like the slightly random way of using up shorts. You’re not going to get the same thing twice!
Here are some of the other things I made (the hearts do take a long time so I didn’t make very many at this point):
CiM sangre, encased and with murrini on top. This was going to be a tornado, but I made the wraps too thick and then when I pressed it the effect got too squished.
More sangre. This has a black, white and red murrini from Kaz, and a MCD + hades twistie design that looks like a snake.
Tornado lentil with CiM electric avenue and murrini.
A small set with a CiM dirty martini base and a Cheeky Frit Blend called Dizzy. Dirty martini works well as a base for all kinds of things.
Lastly, some spacers in a number of Cool Colours and odds. Back: blueberry marble, Vetro cosmic storm, Vetro purple plum with dirty martini dots. Front: kiwi. Cosmic storm is lovely and has little sparkles in it. Purple plum is incredibly soft and soupy. Blueberry marble and kiwi are two of the Effetre Cool Colours – pretty striations when you just use them on their own.
The theme of the month was October Trees and the colour was Effetre 460 yellow ochre.
I haven’t much liked yellow ochre when I’ve tried it before – it’s a bit mustardy for my tastes. I generally prefer pastel yellow or dark yellow. (Or CiM creamsicle – mmm, that’s a lovely colour). Anyway, I started with these, which I think are a bit of a mess:
Then I started making trees.
Vetro odd pale avocado over clear, with the tail end of a red and brown twistie used to draw the lines, which I then added twists to. I pressed it and added the leaves/birds (whichever you prefer – I think they’re a bit more bird-shaped) as dots of a MCD + hades twistie and raked them for a somewhat abstract tree effect.
This is CiM hippo, rolled in silver leaf and pressed, with the tree done in hades stringer. I reduced it at the end. This bead was partly a test to see if the silver got the same effect as it does on African gray – it doesn’t.
Some more goes at the yellow ochre. I do like this one – it’s yellow ochre with silver leaf, then a dark ivory design and dark red brown dots. The silver leaf made it go blue!
This pair are with more of Kaz’s Cheeky Frit Blends. On the right is Tobacco Road, superheated and with the tree in dark red brown. The other is the same, with Green Green Grass frit. Not quite sure about the result – they come and go with me!
This spirally bicone is a base of dark turquoise with yellow ochre spirals, then dark red brown spirals on top at another angle, deliberately pulling the surface a little.
This is dark ivory that’s had silver leaf melted in and given a twist on each side. Then I drew a tree on each.
Etched fritty tree. It has Tobacco Road frit on the bottom and Ferry Cross the Mersey in the sky.
The last tree: etched pink and purple. I like the tree shape, but I wanted smaller blossoms on it :)
Finally, the last go at yellow ochre. For this I used yellow ochre stringer on amber for the focal, and I really like this set. The BHB is the same, but the stringer sunk in a bit more over the course of heating and shaping it, so it isn’t quite as clear.
Ferry Cross the Mersey
Not a full test, but I played about with this a bit. Left is a white base with silver leaf, frit on top and superheated, the ends encased in clear and then it was pressed. Right is a white base, the frit was painted on with clear, then I added some silver brown dots that were reduced and dot encased, then it was pressed. Not successful since the silver brown is the browny-ambery areas…
The bird is made of clear dipped in the frit and painted on.
Nice deep blues in this frit, and lots of saturation for using with clear.
A little something that came out unexpectedly! It’s dark ivory, CiM sangre and Reichenbach silver brown for the dots (with clear on top). I ended up with a slit-pupil gap in the centre of each dot and I have no idea how I did it.
This is Vetrofond odd topaz 791989, as far as I can tell (the one with a blue centre). All just the one colour, raked and smooshed about. I seem to recall this is a colour that doesn’t take kindly to encasing, but I really like it on its own. May have to chase some down eventually, since it’s still available here and there.
The UKJC charm swap was due on Sept 9th – I’d been making the teeny lotus beads with that in mind, but then I started making these and liked them much better!
I got out my Zoozii’s Mini Duo press for these – it has a tiny square and a tiny diamond, and I’d had a couple of goes with it but then got distracted by my lentil press. It’s just right for things like this. I think these are a great way of using up odds and ends of twisties. You just need a piece that’s an inch or so long, wrap it on and encase with clear and press. Then add a little random murrini to one side! Note: it works a lot better on 1.6mm mandrels. I usually use 2mm, but these are so small that the larger mandrel doesn’t let you press as neatly.
My favourite was a multicolour dark + hades twistie with one of Kaz’s multicolour mermaid murrini. So I used that to make my charm swap bead – put it on a nice fine silver headpin and voila! See a gallery of all the charms.
Here’s the charm I received – it’s a beaded bead in black and silver by Anita Mistry and is lovely and very clever! (We do the swaps secretly, then have a big guessing game to work out who did what).
The other thing I tried at this time was a little sculptural head. This is the second try, the first is a bit more Lego styled :p
I used CiM ginger for the face, which got a lot darker with the longer working time than it did when I made test spacers – now I know how to get what I want out of it! I was disappointed with the paleness of the spacers, but this is very nice. Oh, and the mouth is CiM chai. He went a bit little old lady, because I kept accidentally melting parts of his face in when working on others… needs more practice.
I got a second hand Kalera Long & Lean press, and proceeded to make everything into kaleras. I do like them as a shape.
I was trying a number of things, some of which didn’t work (that silver brown again!). There are some Vetro odds in there too – Jolene gave me some bits and bobs to play with when I visited her.
And this is the big version of my twistie squares. I like it a lot.
[August 2010, inbetween the frit tests]
I’ve been hopping about a bit here – the CiM tests were in the second half of September, but I wanted to get them up sooner.
I got a little carried away making lotus beads. I find them quite relaxing – dot, dot, dot, dot… Above are my first two. The cobalt is a BHB. Then there was a multicolour dark one.
Then I made more! I was trying to make some little diddy ones, but they didn’t turn out quite so well. You need colours that are dense enough for the petals to stay defined, and they look better when the petals are a bit bigger.
August’s Colour of the Month was 060 transparent cobalt, so here are a few more. I did some BHB practice (accidentally used light ivory instead of white on the skinny ones, so they got a bit fuzzy round the edges) and some little rounds.
Used some fine silver wire for the first time on one of these. Then I tidied it away and seem to have forgotten about it – should unearth it again…
My persistent mostly-unsuccessful experiments with Reichenbach silver brown continue, and I got this, which I actually like! At this point I mostly got nothing out of silver brown if it wasn’t in dots, with the exception of a single odd spacer that turned purple in the kiln (I’m getting some better results now). The dots could still be better, but I like the haziness in them. The base is avocado and the little silver dots are Plowden & Thompson black.
I was then out of gas for the best part of two weeks, which was very irritating!