Messy beads – well, one learns.

[Dec 2010]

These are all things that didn’t work for one reason or another. Around this time I started having a problem with dirty clear. I’d wipe it down before using, but was still getting nasty streaks in my beads and getting very confused about it. Had a look at my workspace in the daylight from a different angle… and saw there was still pixie dust all over the place from the mica beads! Whoops! Including on my marver, so even if my clear was clean before I started using it, as soon as I put it down or shaped it, it’d get dirty. New rule: clear up very very carefully after using any glittery bits! I thought I had cleaned up, but obviously nowhere near enough.

(I don’t have photos of most of the dirty ones – I was doing some things with black, white and clear and reticello twisties. Have to try again because I liked some of the results).

Amber stone

This one did get a bit dirty. It’s an amber base with silver foil, then triton trails added and raked a bit. Pressed, reduced and with some stripes of amber on top and the rest encased in clear. Came out huge and something of a mess, plus I lost my reduction.

Ivory and silver brown

Silver brown, my nemesis. This is the best side of this bead – all the dots are supposed to have bluey-purple in them, but the little ones are just the ambery colour of silver brown that hasn’t done anything, and the big dot is overheated.

Blue hollowish

This one is just a bit hilarious. I was trying to do a nice blue hollow on a larger (2.4mm) mandrel, but the inside collapsed, so I added a bit more glass to each end and I tried adding some aurae stringer decoration, reduced with clear on top. Messed that up again, so I have an odd bumpy bead that somewhat resembles a wonky Roman jar, and here and there on the surface it a few small pieces of aurae that have gone that bad milky overstruck colour. If I’d left it all blue it would have been an improvement! (It’s a nice blue – Effetre transparent mid blue).

There’s a common thread in all of these – silver glass problems. A big part of this was down to how I was encasing on my hot head. With normal beads, I’d put my encasing on, heat the bead all the way through while melting it in and use that to balance the shape at the end. You can’t do that with silver glass, so I was taking a very long time holding my lumpy spirally encasing far out in the flame, finding it wasn’t moving at all, eventually getting bits warm enough that I could squish them down with a marver and ending up with something that was still lumpy until I got frustrated and heated it up enough that it would go smooth, at which point it was too hot. The flame’s bushy and radiant enough that I couldn’t heat just the outside without getting much more of the bead warmed up.

I know you *can* do it properly on a hot head, I just couldn’t manage it. But I had a cunning plan! To be put into action after I had finished making all the things that needed doing before Christmas.

Afterword:
I thought I’d mention why I’m showing these beads – at the start I was blogging absolutely everything, week by week. Now I want to move towards more themed posts and testing, that I didn’t necessarily make all at once, but that fit together. I have some more bad beads that I haven’t photographed, so I think I’m going to only show bad ones if there’s something I learned from them, if they illustrate something, or if they’re just plain hilarious. Sometimes you just mess up, or use ill-advised colours and the bead isn’t interestingly wrong. So I’m not going to hold myself to showing all those. (Plus doing silver glass properly is on the agenda, and if you’ve seen one failed silver glass bead, you’ve seen most). Hopefully once I get caught up with my 2011 posts I’ll be able to keep up with myself for a while. Maybe?

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